A zoomed out photo of all the participants of the 2019 Urban Open outside of Urban Axes Baltimore

2023 Urban Open

What to expect at this year's event!

urban open event cover

Multiple events make up the Urban Open weekend. Here's a run-down this year's events and their formats so you know what to expect in Baltimore!

Jones Cup

Friday, August 4th

Jones Cup returns to the Urban Open this year and we look forward to crowning a new king and queen! Jones Cup is a unique doubles format featuring mixed gender teams, and each match between two teams consists of three rounds:

  • Round 1: Singles, best of 5 throws
  • Round 2: Singles, best of 5 throws
  • Round 3: Mixed doubles, best of 5 throws


Jones Cup features two stages: a Group Stage and a Single Elimination tournament. Teams are randomly placed in groups of 4 and face-off against each of the other 3 teams in their group in a round-robin format. Each team plays 3 matches in their Round Robin group before any elimination occurs. The top two teams in each group progress from the Group Stage of the event to the Single Elimination tournament.

The Group Stage of Jones Cup will be played on Friday evening and the number of teams will be determined after we have opened registration for the Urban Rules Tiered Swiss and Urban Open tournaments. Please plan to attend Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the tournament weekend as we may schedule the Single Elimination portion of the event on another day depending upon capacity.

We will announce tickets for Jones Cup before they go on sale, so keep an eye on our event page and on our Facebook event to ensure you're ready to purchase.

Skills Events

Friday August 4th

We'll announce the specific Skills we'll be playing closer to the tournament, but we assure you Skills will be included in the Urban Open weekend! We intend to host these on Friday evening following Jones Cup but might end up throwing one or two elsewhere in the weekend, and we will announce that timing before the tickets go on sale. A mix of team and individual games will be included, so expect some familiar favorites and fun new variations as well! 

Ticket sales for Skills will be announced in advance here and on the Facebook event page.

Urban Rules Tiered Swiss

Saturday, August 5th

This one-of-a-kind tournament is comprised of three elements that each require a little explanation, so let's break it down.

Tiered Tournaments

All throwers competing in Urban Rules Tiered Swiss tournaments will sign up for the event together. Throwers will then be ranked by their IATF average over the last 12 months (Standard or Premier + 15%, whichever is higher). For any WATL throwers, be will calculate an equivalent IATF average for use in this ranking. We will use this ranking to split the field into their respective tiers, and the number of tiers and how many throwers are in each will be determined by the amount of registrations we receive for this event.

We've found our Tiered Tournaments to be some of the most exciting and popular events at the Urban Open and other Urban Axes tournaments. We believe they represent one of the best ways to make sure that ALL levels of throwers can experience a competitive tournament environment, and we all love cheering throwers on as they experience the thrill of appearing on the Live Stream of a tournament finals for the first time.

Urban Rules

These tiered tournaments won't be run under separate Premier and Standard rulesets. Instead, all competitors will be playing under a brand-new scoring system we recently announced called Urban Rules. We've developed this ruleset expressly for use in Urban Axes tournaments, and it is intended to address some of the feedback we’ve heard from the axe throwing community about the divisions caused by Premier and Standard rulesets. We've designed Urban Rules to accomodate both Premier and Standard axe throwers, and these rules provide us another way to bring throwers of all ability levels together at our tournaments while remaining challenging, strategic, and fun! Click here to read more!

We will be running trial events with Urban Rules between now and the Urban Open, and we will be updating the ruleset based on the results of our testing and feedback from the axe throwing community. We will publish any changes to the ruleset in advance of the Urban Open, but the current iteration gives a good picture of how the Urban Rules Swiss tournaments will be scored

Swiss Tournaments

For those unfamiliar with Swiss tournaments, this is a new tournament style for axe throwing that Urban Axes has been hosted at our Ladyblades/Madness and Urban Only tournaments within the past year. Urban Swiss is a two stage tournament comprised of a Round Robin stage and a Single Elimination Bracket.

The Round Robin portion of the Swiss format is non-eliminating, which guarantees everyone who enters will play at least 5 matches before anyone gets eliminated. No more 0-2! The Swiss format is also self-leveling, so opponents in each round will have the same (or a very similar) win/loss record, offering more evenly skilled matches as the Swiss tournament progresses. For a more in depth explanation, check out blog post from last year's Urban Only Swiss tournament.

Our Swiss tournaments will be divided into 32-person brackets, which allows us to finish the Round Robin with 1 undefeated competitor from each bracket. Players are ranked by their wins and losses throughout the Swiss portion, and only the top 8 from each bracket will advance. These throwers will join the other qualifying competitors from their tournament tier in a Single Elimination bracket, and we will crown a champion from each tier!

Morning and Afternoon Sessions

Our Urban Rules Tiered Swiss tournaments will be one of the first opportunities for the wider axe throwing community to try out this new scoring format, and we want to extend that opportunity to as many throwers as possible.

We'll be running two Swiss sessions, a morning and an afternoon. We will split the field as appropriate once we know how many throwers will be competing and notify everyone of the timeslot and tier in which they will be throwing. Some throwers will arrive early but have the afternoon off to relax and some throwers will arrive later but won't receive the afternoon break. The morning and afternoon sessions will allow us to accomodate the most throwers with less overcrowding while still providing everyone more matches for their money!

If you sign up to compete in the Urban Rules Tiered Swiss tournaments, please plan to attend both Saturday and Sunday of the Urban Open weekend. The Single Elimination tournament may be played on either day depending on scheduling, and its timing will be announced with the full tournament schedule in advance of the event.

Urban Open

Sunday, August 6th

This is the flagship event of the tournament weekend and the one that started it all. The Urban Open will be played as a random-seeded, double elimination tournament. The tournament begins on Sunday morning, and we will work our way through the bracket until we reach the finals in the late afternoon. This event will be scored under IATF Premier Rules but is open to throwers of all ability levels. It presents a great opportunity experience the scale and challenge of a major tournament like the International Axe Throwing Championship but with no limits on qualification.

In addition to prize money, the winner of the Urban Open receives the Clutch Jacket and joins the ranks of throwers such as Stefan Herda, Mike Kump, Shane Shep, and Joe Nessler. It's a coveted trophy representing a significant accomplishment, and you could be the one to wear it home this year!

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Urban Open and Urban Rules Tiered Swiss tournaments will go on sale next Thursday, June 1st at 8:00 PM EDT. Visit https://urbanaxes.com/events/urbanopen to purchase. This event is known to sell out fast, so save the link to our event page and be ready to purchase at that time to secure your spot.

Tickets for Jones Cup, Skills events, and Homecoming will go on sale at a later date, and we will announce their sale in advance here and on our the Facebook event page. Be sure to check back often for updates and other information!