Mees Brenninkmeijer - Card Strategies - "Tournament Series and Structure"

Mees Brenninkmeijer – Card Strategies – “Tournament Series and Structure”

Hey Complexity Card Games followers and fans, I’m back to write another article! Today I want to talk about the newly announced tournament series structure and how this impacts different kind of players. I’ll also try to lay out simple strategies to lay your focus where it matters in your effort to get a worlds invite, if that’s your goal.

 

For starters, I would like to start with the elephant in the room: 500 CP for worlds is a big increase from the past two years, and many people have given up hope because of the increased limit. I personally could go either way on the decision, I think it’s a lot of fun that Pokemon is as inclusive as it currently is, but on the other hand the fear of playing in a the massive tournament that day 1 Worlds has become is overwhelming and it’s nice to see the tournament size being limited in this way.

 

I actually think that with other changes to the way we are steered to to play the tournament series, the inclusion is still there, just without the big Worlds as the inclusive international event. Before we get into that, I want to start with the changes at the smaller kind of Pokemon events, and work my way up from there.

 

League Challenges

 

League Challenges have not changed, but have lost it’s impact to any competitive player and most average casual players as well. This is solely because of the choice to include League Cups, which we will talk later about, in the best finish limit with League Challenges. This is not only bad for League Challenges because they will now for ever get confused with League Cups when abbreviated (LC and uh, LC) but mostly because League Cups have the same amount of points as last year’s City Championships. This means that any top 8 at a big enough League Cup will overwrite your previously earned League Challenge points.

To highlight where League Challenges shine (for now), we have to look at the new seasonal best finish limit, which splits the year into 4 different seasons with LC/LC sharing the same best finish limit of two in every season. Interestingly enough, there are no League Cups in the current summer season, which means League Challenges are the only way to acquire points during this season.

After that, I think this change has a positive impact on League Challenges for casual players. Currently, top tier players are forced to play League Challenges if they want to push for that top 22 finish, often disrupting the casual atmosphere of a League Challenge. With the new system, I assume casual players to play on a more level playing field, and competitive players being able to relax and play some fun decks they would not necessarily play in a more competitive environment.
League Cups

 

Aside from the name, and added significance because you can earn 100 more CP from them, these are the same as City Championships. Same point structure, same mix between casual and competitive play and the same fun. With the seasonal structure, we get to enjoy these year round and as you’ve probably noticed they are a favourite of mine. There is not too much to say about these otherwise, but I expect them to play a prominent role in most players their invite.

 

Special Premier Events

 

We don’t know much about these, but they go into the regionals best finish limit slot and it will be interesting to see of how much importance these are gonna be with the lower CP they award. Only time will tell.

 

Regional Championships

 

Regional Championships have gotten a huge change for Europe, compared to the old version of these these will be massive, more rewarding and will definitely feel like more of a special event. Some of the old Regional Championships felt like justified City Championships with more CP thrown in there. Now, winning these grants you a large sum of money, at the price of being far less frequent than they used to be. Because of this added prize pool and infrequency, I expect competitive players to hit up as much of those as possible, with more casual players opting to go to one or two of the ones close to home. Luckily, travel across Europe is not that expensive with Ryanair/Easyjet and Airbnb making travel very affordable. Pokemon also extends their cash prizes up to top 32 depending on the size of the event, but sadly they have opted for a very top heavy approach to cash prizes. 250$ is enough to pay for most expenses, but even with a top 4 finish you can go home without a good profit. However, there is no way we can complain at cash prizes when we look at the past, but I would still have liked a more spread out way of awarding those prizes. The prize layout is shown below for reference.

 

pic1

 

International Championships

 

International Championships are the new kid on the block, and they are starting of just the right way. Maintaining inclusivity by requiring no invite, they still give an exclusive feel because of their limited appearance and their locations. Every continent that plays a major role in Pokemon gets their own International Championship with the same prize pool, which is very close to the old prize pool for Worlds. I feel that for many people who may feel intimidated by the high level of entry for worlds, this might be their perfect way to explore the highest level of competitive play. Pokemon has shown real interest into getting the best of the game to this tournament by retroactively awarding travel stipends for last year’s best performers. This will surely guarantee the top tier level of these tournaments. In contrast to Regional Championships these have a prize layout i’m much more comfortable with, awarding prizes spread out all the way to top 64. Travel to these tournaments will usually be expensive, but a competitive will love the potential upside of the International Championships. Having 4 of these big tournaments will make feel the Championship series of Pokemon run almost continuously, which might be bad for the sanity of people who just want to chill out. I feel like every player, competitive or casual, should try to attend at least the one closest to them, to experience how amazing it can be to be part of a big event as a competitor.

 

 

The prize layout is shown below for reference.

pic-2

 

Worlds Invite

 

pic-3

 

Acquiring a Worlds invite will be harder this season, that’s for sure. Not only in playing, but also in dedication to traveling to tournaments farther away, as Regional Championships with their enormous best finish limit of eight will play a large role in getting your Worlds invite. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, considering a certain amount of dedication is surely preferred by Pokemon for letting you access their most prestigious event of the year. Having said this, establishing a goal of CP for League Cups seems like a solid idea to get a good idea of how much you will have to invest into going to Regional Championships for the season to reward a Worlds invite. Six first places is obviously the maximum, and should be hard to achieve. A stellar performance like a first place, two second places and three top 4 finishes will have a CP yield of 220 CP. I think a reasonable goal for any competitive player should be 200-250 CP depending on your skill and means to attend these events. This means you have to get a little bit more than half your points from Regional Championships and International Championships, which might seem hard because of their size at a first glance, but with the new CP structure should be a legit possibility. Getting an average of top 32 points and filing up your best finish limit should reward you your worlds invite if you manage to top 64 at an International Championship is enough for a worlds invite, but I feel like this is very hard to talk about, as one big finish at a tournament and some decent finishes at others can already award you enough points for the invite as well.

 

 

CP structure is shown for reference.

 

 

Closing Remarks

 

With that, I want to conclude with the note that i’m very happy with how things turned out this season. It seams like Pokemon is willing to invest a lot in growing the competitive scene, while keeping the inclusivity they held so high the last couple of season. Aside from some minor errs, it simply got me super excited for this year. Complexity Card Gaming will also play a big role in attending all of these events, and I’m especially stoked that we’ve got such a dedicated team to enter this new tournament structure and establish ourselves as the best competitive team in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. I want to give a big shoutout to all of our supporters thus far, and those to come.

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