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The Future of UniVersus Formats

UVS Staff

Since the dawn of UniVersus time (2006), the heart of the game has always been about battles between players using their favorite characters from popular creative worlds. Whether that was Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, Cowboy Bebop or even My Hero Academia, the promise has always been for fighters to prove which world’s fighting style is the most powerful. Building on that history, 2023 has been a big year of announcements and exciting changes to the game where worlds collide!

Today we’re sharing some exciting updates and clarifications about our play formats for UniVersus. This information will help you plan your training regimen as you prepare for epic battles against the best UVS fighters in the land.

A Few Things Before We Begin

A “format” defines the types of cards players can use to battle one another in a UniVersus tournament. There are three additional terms that further define the parameters surrounding who and what is allowed to play in the event. They are:

  • Limited: Events that are “limited” include formats like Booster Draft and Sealed Deck in which fighters are limited to using the cards provided to them at the tournament.

  • Constructed: Events that are “constructed” include formats like Standard and Retro where fighters construct their decks with their own cards before attending the tournament.

  • Team: The term “team” refers to events in which more than one player battles per side. We don’t have any updates on team events today, but they’re a popular part of the tournament pantheon for UniVersus players.

So how do we at UVS Games think about formats? Because UniVersus players enter our world of play through recognizing one of their favorite worlds being represented in it we think of our formats in three categories:

  • Formats that are good for engaging players new to the game (such as Sealed and Spotlight Constructed)

  • Formats that are ideal for tournament play, like our primary tournament format Standard

  • Formats that provide a higher complexity ceiling, like Booster Draft or Retro

Screenshot 2023-10-16 at 1.24.42 PM

Let’s dive further into what each format is

Booster Draft and Sealed Deck

Our Limited formats are perfect for players who want to explore the world of a specific universe, train up in the strategies of that plane, and be prepared to adopt those tactics in future battles. Sealed Deck is ideal for new players as you don’t need to have any cards before playing and you’re limited to the six packs you’re given at an event for building. That’s why we use it for our Prerelease events!

Booster Draft is our most skill intensive format challenging players to both figure out what strategy they’ll build their deck around on the fly and defeating their opponent through combat with that strategy. Both Booster Draft and Sealed Deck are fantastic formats for building your collection for playing other formats while learning the fighting styles of these worlds.

Starting with Undaunted Raid in My Hero Academia we’ve redesigned UniVersus to power fun Sealed and Draft formats, including a character card in every booster pack. These formats are some of the most fun ways to play the game, and offer unique gaming experiences you can’t find in any other format. In fact, in 2024 we’re going to be leaning into Sealed and Draft beyond our Prereleases in ways we haven’t before. Stay tuned for full details coming soon from our Organized Play team.

Spotlight Constructed Format

Spotlight Constructed has fighters build their decks for battle using only cards from a specific universe. Fans of My Hero Academia will recognize this as the “My Hero Academia Only” format from the past few years. Moving forward we’ll call that format “My Hero Academia Spotlight Constructed,” and you’ll be hearing more about it for play next year as we announce our organized play schedule for 2024. The cards in a Spotlight Constructed format include all cards printed from that world, including those from boosters, promos, and Challenger Series.

As an example, the first Yu Yu Hakusho set was released in 2019. In 2024 the second set, Yu Yu Hakusho: The Dark Tournament, will be added to the YYH Spotlight Constructed format. We’ve got a special experience centered around The Dark Tournament that we’re excited to share with you soon that will make this world a one-of-a-kind adventure for UniVersus players unlike anything seen in card games before!

Spotlight Constructed is a great format for taking the collection you’ve started building through Booster Draft and Sealed and trying the fighting strategies in that world before colliding with other worlds!

Standard

The first step into the arena of worlds colliding is our most important tournament format: Standard. Historically it’s featured the worlds we’ve visited over the past ten booster releases, allowing players to experience the thrill of pitting the fighting styles from Cowboy Bebop against the sonic booms of Street Fighter. With a shift in our product releases and an increase in the worlds UniVersus will be visiting we’re adjusting Standard slightly: instead of covering the past ten sets, Standard will now feature cards printed as far back as the two years preceding the current year.

What does this look like in practice? In 2024 we’ll “rotate” cards from Standard that were printed before 2022. This means the first My Hero Academia expansion and any promo cards printed in 2021 will no longer be legal for play. Cards printed from Crimson Rampage forward will be legal for Standard play, including all cards from 2022, 2023, and 2024. This includes Challenger Series cards, promo cards, and the Yu Yu Hakusho expansion. In 2025, cards from 2022 will rotate making Standard consist of cards from 2023, 2024, and 2025.

We’re making this change for two reasons:

  • To allow players more time to play with their cards in Standard as we visit more worlds each year.

  • To make it easier to explain to newer players what cards they can play in Standard as our community continues growing.

The rotation will happen alongside the first booster release each calendar year. In 2024 rotation will happen alongside the Yu Yu Hakusho release. Cards that are reprinted in new products after they’ve rotated from Standard will become eligible for play in that format again. Standard will also transition to being the marquee combat format for UniVersus fighters; stay tuned for exciting announcements on this front from our organized play team soon!

Retro

The Retro format is where all worlds collide, and celebrates over a decade of epic battles between extraordinary fighters. With the exception of banned cards, anything goes in Retro, including using our “classic” rules set. All expansions, promos, and additional products like Challenger Series are legal in Retro. Players new to the UniVersus arena may want to consider working their way through the ranks of the other formats, training to ensure they’re ready before tackling the black belts who inhabit these events.

We’re very excited to provide this update to our fans on what our formats are. Up next: our announcements about organized play for 2024. We can’t wait to share what we’ve got in store for next year, including representation of all the formats we’ve discussed today and more!

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