Kenny’s Wisdom: Proposed Adjustments for the 2012-2013 Season

Hello lovelies,

It occurred to me recently that I hadn’t written an article since before the US National Championships! With Worlds coming up and a new season upon us shortly after that, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. I didn’t do too hot at Nationals so my report is going to be short and sweet, and after that we’ll go over what adjustments I think should be made for the 2012-2013 competitive TCG season.

As I said, my Nationals run was pretty poor. I ended up finishing 5-4 with Mew Prime/Accelgor DEX. Ross Cawthon gave me the decklist so I don’t feel comfortable giving it out, but it was pretty much standard with a few key choices that ended up giving it added consistency. Even though I did poorly, I think Mew/Accelgor was probably the best deck for the tournament.

It was pretty much the only hard lock deck available (Vanilluxe NVI is a soft lock as you have no answer after you’ve KO’d them, and even the Mew version relies very very heavily on flips), and I think it was just under the radar enough that few were expecting to play against it/knew how to play against it, and even fewer went so far as to tech against it.

Additionally, it wasn’t as soft against Espeon DEX or Unown CURE techs as Vanilluxe or some of the other lock decks because it had access to Chandelure NVI. Although a well-timed Unown CURE can still lead to a blowout, Espeon essentially only allows the opponent to get one free turn, assuming you get Chandelure online in a reasonable amount of time.

Overall, my losses can mostly be equated to luck and not testing enough against Klinklang. I lost to Klinklang twice (once to our National champion John Roberts II, who is a great player and an even better guy. See you in Kona homie!), and although I’m assured it was a bad matchup, I still feel as if I could’ve played a little bit smarter against it had I put more focus on it during testing (to be fair, I drew completely dead vs. JR2).

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Outside of my two Gear Grind losses, one I can’t remember at all (Indianapolis does crazy things to a person), and one was to Vanilluxe, which is usually not the worst matchup in the world, but he got out both Vanilluxes early, and I didn’t have the Chandelure to answer the Slippery Sole Vanilluxe, which pretty much means game over.

Outside of the tournament itself though, I had an absolute blast. I thought long and hard about it and I still like Worlds more, but Nationals is definitely a great time and I’m going to do everything in my power to never have to miss it again. Speaking of, I have a few thanks and shout outs to give. I promise that after this we’ll skip ahead to the actual Pokémon-related content!

Adam Capriola, for letting me stay in his incredibly nice room. We were casually texting one night and he asked where I was staying, and upon hearing that I wasn’t sure yet immediately offered Amelia Bottemiller and me a bed. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, I definitely owe a lot to Adam. I promise when I win Worlds I won’t ask for a raise. ;)

Michael Wijaya for flying me out. Again, out of the kindness of his heart, Michael offered to buy me a plane ticket to Indianapolis. Another ridiculously nice person who I’m blessed to know.

June Clanton, Chris Clanton, David Nelson, and Niki Nelson for letting me stay in their hotel rooms on the days that Adam wasn’t available. The Northwest really is the best. :D

Tyler Ninomura and Ross Cawthon for hooking me up with a deck and testing it with me. Tyler has a bigger impact on my Pokémon career than he’ll ever know, and I’m lucky to have people like him and Ross around me.

Trevor Whiton for being there for me before and during the tournament, as always. Also for getting third at the Professor Cup.

There are too many others to name. If I met you at Nats, you know who you are. In specific I’d like to give a shout out to Jay Hornung and our glorious leader John Kettler for their spectacular finishes. Great job guys, and see you in Hawaii!

The Article

Change?

Now to get to the meat of the article. 2011-2012 was a big year for Pokémon. They introduced Championship Points, Play Points, added a third State Championship and a second Regional Championship, did away with some prize support, added some prize support, and overall just shook up organized play a great deal.

The purpose of this article is to go over the changes that TPCi made, give constructive criticism on them, and give suggestions for what I think the majority of players would like to see for the 2012-2013 season. I guess you could kind of call this an open letter, and personally I hope that someone from TPCi reads this article and takes it to heart.

I would also be more than willing to discuss any of the subjects talked about in this article with any employees of TPCi whenever (maybe in Hawaii, eh?) and think that opening up a discussion like that would be an amazing move for them and would show that they really do care about what their fans think (which they’ve proven time and time again, don’t get me wrong).

As is typical with my articles, I want you, the reader to be involved as well. If you agree or disagree with something I have to say, please feel free to post a well-written comment and let me know how you felt. I’m just one player and while I obviously think my ideas are correct, some of you may disagree and I think regardless, if TPCi is to read this and let it affect their thought process, they should be making changes based on what the majority of players want, not just one guy who writes for a website.

This is your chance to let your feelings be known, and I hope that every one of you who is passionate about these subjects takes this opportunity to share your thoughts.

Topic 1: Championship Points and The Grind

pokemon-paradijs.comI don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that I think Championship Points are a net positive for the game. They reward consistent performance without punishing players for one bad match/tournament. They are a clear, traceable indication of who did well, at what events, and during which season, and overall I think they are a significantly better tool for rankings than Elo.

With that being said, they’re not without their problems. They only reward you for top cutting, meaning that X-1 or X-2 bubbling can often lead you rewarded with nothing, whereas under the Elo system you at least would’ve gotten some amount of points.

Additionally, and I think most importantly, they encourage what my friends and I have come to refer to as “the grind.” Whereas under the old system one could incredibly well at a small number of events and lock up an invite, with CP you’re forced to compete in as many events as possible, because if you don’t someone else will.

I know that there are exceptions to this rule, and that you can still get an invite simply by Top 8ing US Nationals or Top 4ing Worlds from the previous year, but those examples are few and far between. Unless your name is Jay Hornung or Tom Dolezal, you better be prepared to go to two Cities every weekend (and that’s not even considering marathons!) for eight straight weeks if you plan to lock up that invite.

pokemon-paradijs.comAs I said in the first paragraph, though, I don’t want Championship Points to be done away with and I don’t think they’re a positive for the game. I simply think that there need to be some adjustments made to how the points are given out, what they mean, and what the best finish limits are for each event.

Please keep in mind while reading this next section that these are all rough estimates and examples. I could see the points being skewed slightly in any of the presentations below and I think it would probably be fine, I’m just giving a suggestion based on what I know about CP.

Firstly, I think that both the number of points being given out at each event and the best finish limits should probably look something like this…(I’m only going to cite the points given for first place, as the subsequent places and their respective point totals matter much less and are influenced by kicker points and such)

Battle Roads
Points: 2
BFL: 2

City Championships
Points: 5
BFL: 4

State Championships
Points: 10
BFL: 4 (when combined with Regionals)

Regional Championships
Points: 12
BFL: 4 (when combined with States)

National Championships
Points: 20
BFL: 1 (obviously)

World Championships
Points: 25
BFL: 1 (obviously)

The most important bits here are the changes to Battle Roads and Cities. The only other changes are to give two additional points to a Regional winner, which I’m not even sure will be correct now that there will be three Regionals per year, therefore making them more and more like States. Still, Regionals will probably always be bigger than States to some extent, so throwing a few extra points to Regionals can’t hurt.

I also think it’s very important, in the case of Regionals specifically, to give out as many points as possible to the T32 and beyond. Topping an 8 or 9 round Regionals is no easy feat and should be rewarded much more heavily than it is now.

On to Battle Roads, you want to keep them at a low point total and a low best finish limit because you need them to be casual events. TPCi has said that they intend Battle Roads to be smaller, more new-player friendly tournaments, and not incentivizing competitive players is just the way to do this.

Competitive players will still show up to some events to try and get the needed points, but given that there are ten weeks of Battle Roads and any given player only need win two to reach the BFL, there are going to be a lot of soft Battle Roads that newer, less experienced players will be able to feel at ease during and maybe even win.

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No easy buckets.

Another possibility that I’ve been throwing around is to completely eliminate CPs from Battle Roads. This would be a pretty big change to the system as it stands, but would lessen the grind for competitive players a ton, and truly position Battle Roads as the beginner tournament, where you can expect few competitive players to show up, and even fewer to be invested in the outcomes of their matches, try to angle shoot you, etc.

Not completely sure how this would be implemented, but off the top of my head it doesn’t seem too negative.

Cities are interesting. From speaking with players I know that there exists a large portion of the player base that believes Cities are far too heavily weighted and that either Cities should be worth less or States should be worth a lot more. I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong.

I know it’s easy to make the argument that States are much harder than Cities and that getting second at a States should give you more than winning a Cities, but a similar (and better) argument can be made that putting in consistent work at Cities deserves to be rewarded more heavily than getting lucky and crushing one States.

Overall, you want to reward consistency at a small level, and I would be willing to bet that there would be a lot more bitterness around CP had Cities been worth any less than 5 or 6 points. I agree that they’re not perfect, which is why I’ve advised a change of – 1 CP and – 1 to the BFL, but any more extreme and I think you’re tilting the scales too much in the wrong direction.

A Point Cutoff

Lastly, I think that in order to fully succeed with these plans, Pokémon needs to set a number of Championship Points required to qualify for Worlds, rather than a number of people. I realize that this could cause problems if too many or too few players are invited, but I’m certain that the minds at Pokémon can come up with something that works, given that they’ve had a year to prepare.

Naming a certain point limit would be positive mainly because it would allow players to know for sure whether they were safe or unsafe. I saw many players rack their brains at Nats trying to track down the records of all the people that could possibly pass them, the people they needed to pass, etc. While this isn’t necessarily a negative, I think that eliminating that kind of stress can only be good for the game.

Naming a certain number of CP also allows one idea that I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere: Byes for the LCQ based on CP. To paint a picture of what I’m talking about, I would envision something like this (mind you that these numbers are pretty much completely made up, so don’t read too much into that…)

50 CP – Worlds Invite
45 CP – Three Byes at LCQ
30 CP – Two Byes at LCQ
20 CP – One Bye at LCQ

This system would reward players who are good and have worked hard, but couldn’t quite get there, lessening the “all or nothing” sting of the CP system. It also does what the CP system was originally intended to do — encourage players to play Pokémon! I skipped nearly all of Spring BRs because I couldn’t qualify through CP, but if I could’ve potentially earned by second bye or whatever, I certainly would’ve put more of a focus on those tournaments, as would have a lot of other players I know.

Topic 2: Dwindling Prize Support

pokemon-paradijs.com
TPCi should take a page out of PDL’s playbook…

It should be no surprise to anyone that Pokémon’s prize support is pretty bad. There are countless examples of similarly-sized tournaments in other games that have 5× the prizes that Pokémon does. Throughout all of this, the argument from the other side is that Pokémon events are free, and that we as players should feel grateful that we even get anything for playing in a tournament that costs us nothing to enter.

While it’s true that all of the other games that offer the big prizes (Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, WoW) charge for tournament entry, it’s not as if that’s a negative. If anything, that is a positive, and something that Pokémon should adapt to immediately. I know that this, more than any other subject spoken about in this article, is probably going to inspire the most disagreement, so allow me to lay out my exact plans.

Like with the Championship Point subject, these have all been thought about deeply, but could also be adjusted a little and work just fine. Heck, there are probably even topics I hadn’t thought of, which is why I’m opening up discussion to the readers!

1. Only Masters would ever get charged.

I agree with Pokémon’s philosophy that kids are what drives the game, and we need the younger age divisions to continue to get everything for free. If done right, not only would charging for Masters increase prizes for Masters while leaving Jrs/Srs exactly the same, but it would also encourage Jrs/Srs to want to be Masters.

Imagine a States tournament where all of the nicer, more expensive prizes for Masters are displayed, the Masters tournament is roped off, and there is a feature match (whether filmed or not) every round. The goal here would be to enfranchise Juniors and Seniors deep into the game and have them looking forward to the day when they can become “famous” through Pokémon.

2. Only States and above tournaments would be pay tournaments.

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Battle Roads, as the introductory event, need to stay free. Charging for Cities, while not an insane idea, would be a net negative due to the sheer amount that a competitive player has to attend, and the fact that in terms of size, frequency, and location, they’re not all that much different from Battle Roads.

My rough idea would be to charge $5 for States, $10 for Regionals, $15 for Nationals, and $15 for the LCQ. While these numbers might seem a little high, please keep in mind that a Magic The Gathering Grand Prix (open events that are most comparable to our Regionals, although they’re often the size of our Nationals), often charge $25 to $30 for entry.

Moving on, the benefits of having paid tournaments are plentiful. Here are a few examples that I think best represent the overwhelming positives of this system…

Prize support would be increased.

This one is pretty obvious, and doesn’t really need to be spoken about much, but obviously if you charge for tournaments you need to increase the prize support to make it worth it to the players. For example, a States tournament with 150 Masters would net $1,500 in entry fees.

pokemon-paradijs.com

I don’t believe that 100% of this money would go toward prize support as there are also things on the TO side of the game that could be improved (as much as we players sometimes don’t like to admit it), but an extra $1,000 or even $750 in prizes would go a long way, particularly if a plan that I will outline a little later on is followed.

Tournaments would mean more.

I haven’t seen this discussed a lot in the community, but in order for Pokémon to grow as a game, it’s going to need to start making it worth it for people to pick the game up competitive. Magic did this in a big way by putting a focus on pro players. For a short time Pro Player tokens (for use in games of Magic) were given out, with stats on the back like a baseball card.

Although I don’t expect Pokémon to go this far, I do think that the level of player prestige could be upped. If you create drama, tension, and stories in your game by making your players into celebrities, you not only draw people in, but also make them want to aspire to greatness.

Being able to say “I won $X at a Pokémon tournament, and then was interviewed by the Pokémon company and had my deck tech featured on the front page of Pokémon.com for a week” is a pretty neat thing, regardless of whether you care about fame or not.

Attendance would go up.

pokemon-paradijs.comI guess this is more of a positive for TOs and for TPCi than anyone else, but I have no doubt in my mind that attendance would increase steadily. Any backlash that would occur would be immediately outweighed by the number of competitive card game players who now find Pokémon worth it to play, with it’s increased prize support and upped level of player prestige.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about card gamers, it’s that they love gambling. Opening packs is essentially gambling, entering a tournament where you’re paying money is gambling, pretty much every thing you do as a TCG player is investing time, money, and energy and hoping that your skill and luck make it all value out for you. Give MTG, Yu Gi Oh, and WoW players more opportunities to gamble, win prizes, and play card games and they’ll come. Trust me.

Pokémon is also missing out in a big way by not giving out any intangible prizes. If the cost of scholarships, flights, packs, trophies, etc. is most of the reason why prize support hasn’t been increased, why not give players things are are free or virtually free? There are quite a few examples of this, including PTCGO packs (it would cost Pokémon literally nothing to ship each Regionals winner 500 online packs), alternate art promos and playmats (that is a cost, but not a substantial one), but the one example I’d really like to talk about is a “VIP package” of sorts.

This idea would entail receiving some sort of ID card that you could bring to tournaments for extra bonuses. Things like static seating so that you don’t have to worry about finding your seat, a VIP line that allows you to skip over everyone else in registration, even things like a more comfortable chair to sit in during your games, and cheaper or free registration to all pay tournaments. Something that costs Pokémon little to nothing, but feels like an important prize.

Now that I’ve touched on the main points of this article, let me round this one out by touching on some quick topics that I feel need to be addressed.

Topic 3: LIGHTNING ROUND

Coverage.

For those who don’t know, The Top Cut was not allowed to film any feature matches on Day 1 or 2-of US Nationals, and was only allowed to film certain top cut matches, not including the finals. I’m not sure everyone is realizing how insane this is. The finals of the biggest Pokémon tournament of all-time, featuring a new player with a fairly unique rogue deck that few believed in vs. a veteran player (whose brother took second in 2010) with what many considered to be the best deck is forever lost to history.

This is a huge problem, and there is no doubt in my mind that Pokémon is making a huge mistake by not allowing The Top Cut to film whatever they want. Wizards of the Coast spends who knows how much money filming one feature match every round of each Pro Tour as well as doing interviews with big name players, hiring commentators, making highlight packages, etc. The fact that there are trustworthy, well-respected players who are willing to do this service for free and being turned down is ludicrous.

I don’t know what the problem is, but if it has anything to do with manpower, please hire someone (like me! ;)) who can handle this sort of thing for you. The game cannot and will not grow without increased coverage.

Establishing a Hall of Fame.

As a fan of statistics and legacies and numbers, this might just be a personal dream for me, but I would love for Pokémon to establish some sort of hall of fame. I know that at Worlds they have the screens set-up in the walkways with the face of everyone who’s ever made it to the final table at Worlds, but that’s not enough. A hall of fame, along with increased coverage, is a way to give players something to look forward to, increase player prestige and fame, and get new players interested in the game. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about, and this is the story I think you can tell…

pojo.com

This year in Hawaii (in my opinion you need to kind of slowroll the HOF so you can have a steady stream of inductees in future years) you announce that there’s going to be a Pokémon HOF next year, and that it’s already been decided that the first inductees will be Jason Klacynzski and Tsuguyoshi Yamato.

I don’t think anyone out there would argue against the inclusion of these two, and you can then set up a highlight reel package talking about how Jason and Yamato are the most decorated of the American and Japanese players, show some footage of them winning Worlds, do quick interviews with their friends, themselves, and Pokémon staff, and reveal even more footage and have a full ceremony in San Diego in 2013.

From there announce that there will be 2-3 inductees every two years, and have a ceremony for them at Worlds every year. Giving out some sort of HOF ring would be neat, but is not necessary, and you can get into what the benefits of being in the HOF are later. For now, just establish one and get the ball rolling.

I admit that this is probably the least important element addressed in this article, although it is very important to me personally and I think that it would prove to be an incredible success if it were to be implemented.

Conclusion

That’s all I’ve got for this week. With my work and testing schedule I doubt I’ll get around to writing another article before the World Championship, but maybe I can do another mailbag segment or something. Regardless, I hope you like what you’ve read and as always I’d love to hear feedback and would love even more to hear what you guys think needs to change in the future!

As competitive players we are who matters most when developing organized play, and thus it’s our responsibility to make sure that are voices are heard.

See you in Kona!

xo
kw
@kwisdumb
kenny@sixprizes.com

Reader Interactions

62 replies

  1. Martinus

    I’m a huge sceptic of the whole “pay to compete” idea. I think pokémon is a very expensive game already. To win tournaments, you have to play with top tier decks, which mean you’ll have to spend alot of money on buying the right cards.

    Secondly, I live in Norway. If you think it’s hard for you americans to get point, think of how it is for us norwegians? We have a very small player base which means fewer tournaments.

    Personally, I think pokémon should be for everyone. Wether or not you have a lot of money or recources. My dream is to one day compete in US nationals, even though I’m norwegian. I can’t imagine anything more fun than competing in a tournament in that size.

    • Mark Hanson  → Martinus

      When you’re already paying anywhere between $10 to $50 to compete in various Cities, States and Regionals (travel cost), as a player, I’m pretty alright just saying “another $5 is NOT going to break the bank.”

      • indercarnive  → Mark

        i think a couple bucks for the bigger torneys is fine. but cities and BRs need to be free. i just want a friggen medal.i cant wear a black of glass-like substance.

    • Aaron Worob  → Martinus

      I couldn’t agree more. I will NOT pay to play in tournaments. That is why I play Pokemon and not Magic or any other card games.

  2. Ryan Palmer

    Well i don’t know how it works in the US but i had to pay entry for every tournament i entered last year in the UK so paying for tournaments isn’t unusual (i think Nats is free but i didn’t attend). I know the Top cut previously spoke about a Hall of Fame and i think it would be a great idea. The whole issue with the Top cut not being allowed to film matches is an important one and people need to be made aware of what happened at US Nats. Like you said these people are providing coverage at no cost to Nintendo/Pokemon because they love the game so much. Unless the Pokemon company are planning on providing coverage themselves they should be grateful for the exposure the Top Cut are providing for the game.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Ryan

      Completely agreed. And I knew about the pay structure in the European tournaments, I just didn’t know all of the details and didn’t feel qualified to speak about it. Thanks for reading!

  3. João Motrena

    +1.
    I loved this article. I enjoyed reading it, and I agree with, well, almost all of your ideas. I just don’t think that the prizes for Masters should be better than for Juniors/Seniors even if Masters paid for the tournament. Maybe this is just because I am a Senior, but well, who cares.
    Nice article, keep it up! I’m looking forward for your next article!

    • Kenny Wisdom  → João

      Thanks for reading! Increasing prizes for all age divisions would be great too of course. :D

  4. Adam Capriola

    I think the reason The Top Cut wasn’t allowed to film the finals is because the camera might have in the way for photo opportunities plus people watching. I know when I was taking photos of the top 4 from a distance, the tripod was kind of in the way. Look at the setup during the semis:

    View 1: http://on.fb.me/OpWzyL
    View 2: http://on.fb.me/SZXSUs

    And then during the finals, here’s the view:

    http://on.fb.me/LWQCIJ

    The tripod would have needed to be at either end of the table, then the players need to slide over towards the edge to get a good camera angle (at least that’s how it appears). Judges go on the opposite side.

    So even if the tripod is situated to the back (which is probably the only option), then the judges need to switch sides and it likely becomes difficult for anyone in the audience to have any idea of what’s going on because the players are pushed back and the judges are in the way.

    Does this make the finals less exciting to watch live? Possibly. Is Pokemon losing out on some exposure from not letting the finals be recorded? Possibly. Which is the better option? I don’t know. I wouldn’t call it “insane” that Top Cut wasn’t allowed to record the finals though. I’m sure someone who is fairly intelligent had to make a tough call.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Adam

      I understand that complications can arise and that the view wouldn’t be perfect for spectators, but I think it’s better value for Pokemon to have a video on the internet that will be there forever that millions of people can watch at any time, rather than a match which a few dozen people can see from the sidelines once.

      Definitely fair points though, thanks for reading!

      • Adam Capriola  → Kenny

        Yeah that’s a fair assessment. What Pokemon really should do is invest in some overhead cameras that come down from the ceiling which would be a lot less obtrusive. They seem to have those for the finals at Worlds; why not use them for Nationals too?

    • Josh Wittenkeller  → Adam

      I know TTC has the technology to stream what they’re recording to a muted external monitor. While it wouldn’t prevent the problem with pictures, it’d at least fix (and drastically enhance) the view that spectators get. I wonder how much those enormous “cameras that dangle down from the ceiling” contraptions they use to record worlds cost :P.

      • Adam Capriola  → Josh

        This is the setup: http://on.fb.me/NeTHPG

        It would be awesome if they could let TTC project the finals onto a wall in the open gaming room perhaps (and have mics to announce the play-by-play action for spectators), but I’m sure the equipment needed would be pricey. As far as I know there is very limited or non-existent internet in the convention center, and I don’t think it would be possible to have cables strewn that far without people stepping on them and getting damaged.

  5. Nicholas Inzeo

    Love the artical, Thats why I made a store with great prize support and cash tournaments. Also the fact I have trouble traveling. http://www.VastAbyss.com

    I’m honestly going to play around with the hall of fame idea for the upcoming 8/18 tournament for the new set. Wouldn’t mind the master idea of paying something to boost up prizes either but then again not everyone has $5.00+ laying around.

    would love to see Pokemon adapt some ideas and ways from Wizards

  6. indercarnive

    i agree with pretty much anything. i really wish i could see the US nats final game even though i was there i was couldnt see well and kept an eye on the juniors(since i pretty much made the idea for the he was playing)

    • Kenny Wisdom  → indercarnive

      Yeah, I really think that recording these games and allowing people to watch them days/weeks/months/years after the event is going to be very important for Pokemon taking the next step as a competitive game. Thanks for reading, sorry you couldn’t see the tables well enough. =

  7. Ethan Mommaerts

    I would have absolutely NO problem paying $10+ for higher tournaments to get a better prize support. I’ve been wanting that to happen for a few years now.

  8. stephen shirley

    in the uk we pay for tournements so i guess i would’nt care about paying cus i already do

  9. DrMime

    SixPrizes readers may remember Kenny’s 2011 article on Pokemon prize support, in which he guaranteed that reducing prize support for the 2011-2012 season “will kill this game. Not even debatable.”

    Well, I debated it then. And, after a 2011-2012 season with record-breaking attendance stats, I debate it now. I think that TPCi and Kenny have had different opinions about what level of prize support would make Pokemon a better game, and I think that’s a fair argument–we all have ideas about how to make the Pokemon experience better for players. But as for what will increase attendance? Those numbers are already in.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → DrMime

      I admit that I did use some hyperbole in that article, but I still stand by the idea that reducing prize support while increasing the cost of playing this game will eventually lead to it’s downfall if nothing is done about it.

      And your point is definitely fair, although I would make the argument that my ideas outlined in this article would increase attendance even more, AND make a large portion of the player base much happier.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the thoughts!

  10. Balasar

    according to top cut’s twitter, they were denied filming the finals due to “publicity issues”. that’s just messed up. does tPCi NOT want more players? top cut PROMOTES the game, which tends to lead to more competition and higher tournament standings.

  11. Mark Hanson

    “As I said in the first paragraph, though, I don’t want Championship Points to be done away with and I don’t think they’re a positive for the game.”

    typo?

      • Mark Hanson  → Kenny

        Haha, just a bit confused on that one, otherwise an interesting article. Though I don’t entirely agree on each point, I can say that there is talk in the professor forums of various ways to change the CP system to better reward players for performing well and also promote growth, at least at the event level.

  12. Grant Manley

    I thought this was a great article… until you mentioned paying for tournaments. What? Dude, that just ruined the whole thing for me, especially that you were promoting it. We already pay enough for cards; that is one of the major things Pokemon has going for it, and sets it apart from other TCGs. Sorry, but disliked, just because of that, otherwise it was good, but that just ruined it.
    EDIT: And it seems to me that Vileplume would have a very good matchup against Klinklang, due to Klinklang’s extemem reliance on Items such as Rare Candy, Heavy Ball, Max Potion, etc.

    • Micah Tate  → Grant

      If you can get vileplume out by T3 without twins, sure, if not than Kyogre wrecks your oddish.

      • Grant Manley  → theo

        Yes, but that doesn’t take away from my argument. I think it is ridiculous to pay for tournaments, but that is just my point of view because I’m fine with the current prize support.

        • Liam Williams  → Grant

          I’d think a 10-20 dollar entry fee would give me more EV than the 10-20 I put into entry fees at regionals provided prize support is bumped

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Grant

      I’m glad that you’re expressing your opinions through comments and likes/dislikes, that’s the point of the article. Obviously I disagree, but sharing is what this article is all about.

      Are you happy with the prize support Pokemon is providing? If not, how would you like to see it changed? I just don’t think that you can expect Pokemon to increase prize support drastically without bringing in more money. If you have alternative ideas though, I’d be all ears. :)

      And the matchup is decent if you get Vileplume out early, otherwise they can play around your Accelgors by evolving and other such tricky nonsense.

      Thanks for reading!

  13. Micah Smyth

    THANK YOU FOR SAYING IT!! I think there should be a point cutoff to. I made 55 CP and thought I had a secure invite (even though I wouldn’t use it)( don’t have the funds) an then found out it was top 40 not 40 gets invite I was like why didn’t I do more battle roads. :(((((

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Micah

      I can understand why there wouldn’t be a points-based invite this year as Pokemon has no data to go on and could potentially invite far too many/few players to Worlds, but I agree that next year it should be implemented. Thanks for reading, sorry I won’t see you in Hawaii!

  14. Bryan Ward

    I don’t really understand how like, High school and College students can afford to go to enough events to be competitive. I certainly can’t afford to drive 7 hours total for multiple Battle Roads and City tournaments while still maintaining a strong deck. Or do all successful Pokemon players live within an hour of multiple tournament locations?

    If they increased the prizes, even with an entry fee, it might be worth it, or just make it so you don’t need to go to 6+ Battle Roads and 4+ City Championships…

    That’s my biggest problem with your ideas, I don’t see what’s wrong with limiting it to 1 best finish of each Tournament (Ex: 1 for Fall BRs and 1 for Spring).

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Bryan

      The problem with changing the BFL to 1 is that you’re giving players too few chances to succeed. I agree that there is a happy medium, but I don’t think BFL = 1 is the answer.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Bryan Ward  → Kenny

        People would still have the same number of chances to succeed. They can go to as many as they want, but only their best would be counted.

  15. Dane_Carlson

    I agree with everything here minus the paying for tournaments. Now I know you said that only Masters would have to pay, but I just think that’s a major bad idea. Then again, just IMO.

    btw:There’s this dude called, um, what was it. . . Oh yeah! His name is Kenny Wisdom. He should go in the Poke Hall of Fame for his amazing articles. That dude’s beast. ;)

  16. Drue Millman

    this is in the regards to the HOF point kenny made. sure it would be cool to have but is pokemon a game where you can even have a HOF? i assume you are getting this idea from the magic one. i just think pokemon has too much of that “any given sunday” aspect to it to ever deem people elite above the rest. anyone can take a deck that has goodmatchups and have a good luck streak. yes there are those handful of players you can say are some of the greats but (and i want NOONE to take this in ANY personal way. I AM NOT calling the players of this game less skillfull then any other game and i AM NOT taking away ANY achievements away from anyone cause it was well deserved and earned) i feel like pokemon is too much of having the right meta call rather than making a deck and playing that said deck to the fullest.

    one big reason for this is the format of pokemon and the single game swiss rounds. yes i understand pokemon cant do this because of time. another thing is that there is no side board in this game. magic and yugioh matchups are so much harder because after game 1 its a whole new ball game. but the last thing is that (please refer to above parenthesis) pokemon just isnt that deep of a game. the people in the magic hof arent in there because of how many pt’s they have won. a lot of them have never even won one. but many of them are innovators to the game of magic. making format defining decks, some are judges, and a lot are just people that really helped the game of magic grow. yes there are people who are in there because of how many pt’s they have won, but (read above) it is a lot harder to get a pt top 8 than it is to win nats in pokemon (imo).

    even if we did the idea kenny had of starting the hof with jason and yamato and inducted 2-3 each year the hof would run dry pretty fast. and 90% of people would be in there based soley on wins which i dont think that is the purpose the hall of fame was created. i think magic needs one because there are people who totally deserve to be recognized for all the achievments they have achieved in magic, but pokemon players would just want one to slap a title over their head and say “look at me im in the hof”

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Drue

      This is definitely a fair point, and I agree with you that Pokemon is more luck based than MTG and could end up with a less legitimate HOF if things weren’t handled correctly. The fact that Pokemon also has less big events (aka less chances for players to shine) is also a factor.

      However, I think that it could be manageable, and I think there are a number of players who have shown that they are consistently good, and deserve to be in the Hall. Obviously if you win one big tournament you don’t deserve to be inducted, but I can name probably 10 players off the top of my head who I think have played consistently enough over the years to earn an induction. And if you start in 2013 and invite 2-3 players every two years, I think you could build up a steady stream in enough time. Plus, you can always adjust that to one entrant every two years, two every three, etc. As long as you had some level of consistency about it.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  17. Cory Glore

    I liked it. Good article. Considering I am an adult and support myself, paying for tournaments would not be a big deal whatsoever. The main downside to that is attending several of the same back to back weekends, however I digress.

  18. Julia Follan

    Osha-what?? You don’t have to pay any tournament entry over in America? How does that work, what about the costs for the venue, every tournament I’ve entered has cost £5?

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Julia

      In the US we don’t have to pay entry for any sanctioned tournaments besides pre-releases. I know that this is different in the UK (and possibly elsewhere?), but I didn’t feel educated enough to speak about it in-depth.

      Also, the idea behind the emphasis on Masters was to enfranchise younger players in the game while allowing them to play for free. Increasing prize support for Jr and Sr players would be great too, but I don’t think that it would be possible without charging and entry fee, which I think would be a poor choice.

      As far as the prizes go, I don’t think there are many players in Pokemon who play purely for the prizes, due in part to the fact that they’re so low. However, I think that growing as a game means increasing prizes and bringing in players who are primarily interested in prizes. It’s also worth mentioning that trips and money are what people are looking for for the most part, and that Pokemon stuff (playmats, bags, etc. ) = money for a lot of people.

      Than ks for the input, really appreciated!

  19. Aidan Boyce

    I agree that the prize support should be raised and that it’s not just going to “happen” but I really like the fact that the tournaments are free and that’s one of the main reason why I go in the first place. However I’m 14, going into masters now, and I’m by no means rich. I have a seasonal job and I use that money just to keep up with the meta. If I had to go down to Philly, spend the weekend, and then pay for a tournament, I’d be going to Regionals alot less often. So no offense, but I hope the game remains free for everyone as it’s one of the best parts about pokemon!

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Aidan

      No worries, it’s always good to hear differing arguments! If you’re passionate about the game, even if you disagree with me, I wanna hear it here! Like I said, this article is mostly for the folks at TPCI to be able to read and learn from, so all kinds of opinions are warranted.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  20. pokejav

    I enjoyed and agreed completely with your article’s basic premises. There needs to be more emphasis on player rewards, especially for Masters to encourage and motivate more people to play. For all the money people say they pay, and extra $5 to $10 dollars for a States/Regionals/Nationals event, will NOT break the bank. I’ve said it before, Pokemon needs to listen to the players, and make this game more alluring, using the types of suggestions you make, like a Hall of Fame, increased prizes, and an outstanding ONLINE game. JWittz posted an article about this several months ago, and I responded saying that I thought Pokemon should establish a coucil of players, who gives them feedback from a grassroots player level. Finally, recording the final matches at top tournaments is a NO BRAINER, and as the article said, would allow the majority of people cannot attend to feel like they are a part of the event, and to learn! BIG KUDOS to the Top Cut for what they do. They rock!!! Thank you for an excellent article.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → pokejav

      For what it’s worth, I know that Pokemon held a private meeting with a number of high-level players at Nationals. They all had to sign NDAs so I don’t know what was talked about, but they seem to be trying to establish a council of players from whom they can take advice.

      And agreed with everything you said. Thanks for reading!

  21. Aaron Minjoot

    Thumbs up from me, agree to practically everything presented in this article. I just hope the game gets a little more attention in the other regions of the world, and not just Europe or North America. I know for one the prize support here in Malaysia is horrendous (1st at Nationals won a booster box of Black & White Base Set!). Thankfully I’ll be moving to Australia for studies within the next year or so, but I wonder what the future is for the game right now in smaller nations.

    On the matter of paying for tournaments, I don’t see what the fuss is about. You already spend tens of dollars, maybe even hundreds, to make decks in the first place, what is $5 to $10 to at least guarantee a good prize support?

    Another thing which you might have overlooked is the possibility of better entry gifts or packages. Promos are a start, and maybe even things like commemorative dice and/or tokens are decent ideas. Of course they should be given out at the end of events to prevent those who sign up for tournaments just to get these items and then flee.

  22. Liam Williams

    If you’re paying 300+ for a deck and another 200+ on travel, another 5-10 dollars won’t break the bank. An extra couple thousand dollars into prize support could actually justify playing this game.

  23. Quentin Goss

    I completly disagree that anything should be changed. I’m sure that they(whatever the company is called in charge of the structure) have done plenty of research and put much thought into their current structure. Someone is paid just for the purpose of demographics etc. Personaly, the current structure is great for someone who plays casually as I do, just leave it be.

    Now, about the prize support. I wouldn’t be with Play!TCG if I had to pay anything to enter a tourney. I’m 16, without a job and I have to fight with my parents for them to take me to any tournaments. Of course I don’t want to have to pay!

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