I sort-of explained (not very well i might add!) what the deal is with Nationals and Nationals qualifiers to a couple of people (Louis, Alex), and said i would do a better job of it here on DT. Well, here's to trying...
What is "Nats"?
Nats = Great British National Championship, an annual event in which 200-odd of the country's best players are invited to battle it out over 12-14 rounds of standard constructed and draft Magic, in order to determine a champion for that year, and the 4-player team which will go on to represent our fine country at Worlds. It also is a breeding ground for many shenanigans and fun times, such as sleeping on a beach and losing all your belongings in the sea...
This year Nationals will be held here in London, at the Royal National Hotel, August 19 to 22. I believe the format this year will be 4 rounds standard, 3 rounds draft on day 1, same again day 2, then cut to a top 8 single-elim on day 3.
An important thing to note is that Nats is not just for players who have qualified! There are a billion (possible overestimate...) side-events, which i am sure Jason will announce shortly, which likely include GPTs, PTQs, old set draft/sealed, discount drafts, etc...
So how to i get to play at Nats?
To earn an invite/qualify for Nats, you need to either be in one of the country's top 75 based on your rating (very unlikely to most reading this, you need to be around 1900 to autoqualify), or, win a place via one of many National Qualifiers...
And what exactly are those?
Each Nats Qualifier is a standard constructed tournament, at which there is 1 place at Nationals for every 8 players who participate.So if 72 players turn up, the top 9 qualify, etc. These are held all over the country on weekends between March and April. Plus, there are likely to be last chance qualifiers (LCQs) on the night before Nationals, which may include limited formats as well as standard.
So when are these?
The following list is taken from the Wizards UK group, and may be likely to change - contact individual TO's for details. In bold are the ones within an hour and a half travel time, and thus most likely to be attended by London players.
04/04/2010 Bury St Edmunds
23/05/2010 Milton Keynes
Will post some more on testing, and organisation, in a bit...