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Preparing for Launch - Project Excelsior

by Matt Kirk, Project Excelsior Lead

30th November 2017

Shortly after the Continuing Committee began operations, the desire for a limited format to showcase newer Virtual cards became apparent. Eventually, the Academy format was introduced, which only allowed cards with rarities of C, S, or V. The format was a big hit with players looking for a new challenge in 2E deckbuilding, but it was also beneficial for newer players, as the less complex card pool allowed for easier access to the tournament scene. In recent years, the Virtual card pool has grown to the point that Academy decks were more or less on the same power level as some Constructed decks. After Project Awaken's findings that Academy should be retired in favor of a new limited format, Project Excelsior began to explore what that format could be. Now after several months of playtesting, we're just weeks away from launching Excelsior on its maiden voyage in 2018!

Instead of just creating a new tournament format, the Excelsior concept was designed to promote a new type of community-driven event that ultimately drives the development of the format's cardpool. The first series of 2018 Excelsior events are proposed to be split up into three 3-month periods, with one month in between each period to readjust the cardpool for the next period, taking into account tournament results, community feedback, and overall tournament attendance and reports. As players choose their favorite affiilations, they earn points for that HQ. The HQ with lowest score at the end of a period will be eliminated from the cardpool, and will be replaced by two new HQs. The second period then pits four HQs against each other, and the last period will have five HQs battling for supremacy!

The core concept of the Excelsior format is an evolving storyline; at the beginning, middle, and end of each chapter, 2E Creative will release new fiction articles that focus on the affiliations in the cardpool, and their conflicts to tip the balance of power in their favor. This is mirrored by the consequences of Excelsior tournament play; the better results a particular affiliation has, the more likely they will avoid disaster in the storyline. New HQ additions will depend on which existing HQs succeed; if the Romulans succeed in conquering the Federation, the Cardassians might seize the opportunity to expand their territory. It all depends on which affiliation you choose to represent!

Another core concept of Excelsior is to incorporate as much player feedback as we can each time we readjust the cardpool. If a certain card is causing too many problems, we will replace it in the next period's cardpool. We're also not afraid to address other changes and improvements to the format that the community suggests; we want to encourage every playgroup to try Excelsior at least once, and we want to provide a fun format in which players feel like they can affect change in a timely manner.

Presented below is a quick summary of Excelsior's goals and parameters, as well as a preliminary Season 1 schedule for 2018, which begins with the old adversaries, Klingons and Romulans, and the TNG crew holding each in check; how will you tip the balance of power in your favor? Also on the horizon is a new Excelsior filter for the Deck Builder; this will help immensely in building format decks efficiently. We hope you'll join us for the maiden voyage of the Excelsior format!

Click here to view the Excelsior Campaign Notes.

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