To participate in the International Axe Throwing Championships players must qualify via four possible routes for IATC Round 1, compete in Round 1, and achieve a high enough score to advance to the Final Round.
Qualification for International Axe Throwing Championship Round 1 is possible via four routes:
1. Winning a Regional Tournament
2. Having an average of 70 or better in three non-concurrent axe throwing league seasons (The 70 Rule)
3. Earning a spot in the top 4 Champion Points of an IATF sanctioned axe throwing league (The Top 4 Rule)
4. Winning a Wild Card Tournament
1. Regional Tournament
Regional tournaments are one day double elimination tournaments for axe throwing competition within a single regional division to qualify for Round 1 of the NATC.
2. The 70 Rule
This route is intended to ensure that skilled players in competitive leagues are given an opportunity to qualify. To qualify under the 70 Rule, an axe thrower must not have already qualified via a Regional Tournament. To qualify, a player must throw an average of 70 or better in three non-concurrent seasons. The three seasons do not have to be back-to-back, nor do they have to be in the same league night; but they have to occur within one organization and they must be in three separate time frames.
3. Top 4 Rule
Champions Points are awarded at the end of every regulation axe throwing league season and totaled at the end of the calendar year. The top 4 Champions Points earners in each IATF sanctioned league qualify for Round 1 of the IATC.
Four players will qualify from each league. The top 4 players, ranked by Champion Points earned in a league, qualify to represent that league. Players that have already qualified by winning a Regional tournament are removed from consideration, meaning a league's top 4 may adjust, with the fifth player moving into the top 4 if a regional winner is removed.
Players are encouraged to play in multiple axe throwing leagues, however a player can qualify to represent only one league (called their Home league). If a player is among the top 4 players, ranked by Champion Points, of more than one league, their Home league becomes the league where they earned the most Champion Points; they represent that league and the player is removed from consideration from the other leagues, meaning the other leagues' top 4 adjust, with the fifth player moving into the top 4.