National Championships are over and the 2012-2013 season is coming to an end. Now is a good opportunity to have a look at how much the new Championship Points system affected players this season.
First of all, I would like to share with you the number of players with an invite for Worlds 2013 by country. I took this data from Pokémon.com.
|Tier 3 – South America/Asia-Pacific||Masters||Seniors||Juniors|
|Tier 3 – Europe/Africa||Masters||Seniors||Juniors|
|No CP System||Masters||Seniors||Juniors|
Disparity Between Age Divisions
As we can see on the table of invites distribution, Masters have more invites than Seniors and Juniors. I think that this can be explained by the fact that Masters can travel alone to tournaments. Therefore they can attend more tournaments and thus earn more Points than younger players.
There is a single exception though; the United States is the only country in the world to have more Juniors and Seniors qualified for Worlds than Masters. The reason I’ve found to explain this is that the game is so developed and accessible in the US, that Juniors and Seniors do not need to travel that much in order to play several big tournaments.
In order to analyze the impact of the new CP system, I will discuss each tier one by one and interpret the numbers. I will only take into account the Masters figures as it the most developed divison and has the most reliable data.
The first tier is composed of the United States only. It has the most developed Organized Play in the world, and therefore they have a different treatment than the other countries.
|Tier 1||Masters Invites – 2012||Masters Invites – 2013||Change|
As we can see from this table, compared to the last year, USA has more invites. The Championship Points benefits to USA because there are a lot of tournaments, attendance is usually large, and thus more Championship Points are distributed to more players.
Also most countries only have Regionals Championships and no S/P/T Championships. That means USA has more opportunity to gather points. We also have to take note that the US had, unlike the other countries, a Last Chance for Championship Points tournament.
In an overall, I would say that the CP system is good for the US and quite fair in my opinion. I’ve never played in the US, but I would believe that this year, more than usual, the players were more willing to travel than before for those precious CP.
The tier two countries are the ones that have at least four invites awarded from Nationals. This tier is composed exclusively of European and North American countries. The countries listed here have more tournaments than the ones from the tier 3 during the whole season.
|Tier 2||Masters Invites – 2012||Masters Invites – 2013||Change|
As we can see in the table of comparison, the number of players getting the invite for Worlds has only very slightly increased for most of countries. Only Finland, Denmark, and Mexico have fewer players qualify for Worlds 2013 compared to 2012.
I think that North America and Europe should be analyzed separately even they are on the same tier.
Unlike North American players, European players are more likely to cross their national border in order to get more Championship Points. This is due to the geographical proximity, the Schengen Area that allows to travel without passport, and also the highly developed rail line and low cost air transports between the countries.
Playing across the borders was something already natural for European, but with this system it is now even more frequent than before in my opinion. I felt that the Regionals this year had a more “international” taste than usual. For example, in Lyon (France) for Regionals, there were not only French players, but also German, Italian, and Swiss. This Championship Points system made big tournaments even more exciting than before in Europe.
Regarding the two North American countries, Canada and Mexico, I am not sure that they really benefited from this new system. I actually think that it’s maybe a little bit more difficult to get an invite than before. The reason might be that most of players compete against each other in the main tournaments held in Toronto and Mexico where most of the players of the nation are concentrated. The players from the less accessible regions with fewer players and tournaments have probably more issues to gather the 400 CP without having to travel to the other side of the country.
I think that from an overall point of view the new system is fair for this tier.
Tier 3 – Asia-Pacific and South America
Asia-Pacific and South America have two invites awarded through their National Championships. The difference with the other tier 3 countries, Europa and Africa, is that those countries players need only 200 CP to achieve the qualification for Worlds.
|South America||Masters Invites – 2012||Masters Invites – 2013||Change|
|Asia-Pacific||Masters Invites – 2012||Masters Invites – 2013||Change|
Here again it will be important to separate the two continents for the analysis, because the impact is clearly not the same.
We’ve never had so many South American players with an invite for Worlds. Brazil had only 3 Masters last year and has now 28! The impact is huge for Brazil and those Latin-American countries. The reason is that those countries have almost as much tournaments as Europe and North American countries, and only 200 CP are necessary in order to achieve the invite.
Without wanting to remove the merit of the players from South America that got their invite, I think that it is easier for them to get an invite compared to the other countries through the Championship Point system. 300 CP for South American players to get the invite would make more sense in my opinion. I wouldn’t surprise that for the next season there will be changes for them.
Looking at Asia-Pacific, things seem to work better. Australia and Singapore that share in my opinion the same level as tier 2 countries, achieving almost the same numbers as France and Italy. This region has fewer tournaments all the season than the rest of the World, so it was clearly needed for them to have a limit low as 200 CP. It is a good choice from TPCi.
I would say that for this tier, the system is too kind with South Americans and a change might be necessary for next year. All countries from this tier benefited from this new system.
Tier 3 – Europe and Africa
This tier is probably the one where it is the hardest to achieve the qualification; it concerns all the countries that have only 1 invite awarded through their National Championship. They have less tournaments than tier 2 countries.
|Rest of Europe||Masters Invites – 2012||Masters Invites – 2013||Change|
|Africa||Masters Invites – 2013||Masters Invites – 2013||Change|
It is probably the only tier where you will find countries having less invites with this system in general. The reason is that unlike the previous years, a 2nd place finish at Nationals does not mean an invite for Worlds anymore.
Only Portugal might have benefited from this system in this tier. I think the reason why it works for Portugal and not the other European countries is because they have an isolated geographic position and do not have foreigners trying to “grab” their Championship Points. Also this year Igor Costa was already with an invite since he won the Worlds last year.
The main reason why it does not work that great for the other countries from this tier is that there aren’t enough tournaments. 400 CP are difficult to sum with only 1 National, 2 Regionals, and a bunch of City Championships in a season. All the Swiss players for example had to get their Points from tournaments in France, Germany, and Italy in order to get the invite. If they did not have success outside their own country, there might have been only 1 player per category this year at Worlds.
As for South Africa, the Championship Point system is totally useless. Besides the National, it is almost impossible to reach the 400 CP. South Africa has wider player pool than most of Asia-Pacific and South American countries, I think this country deserves at least the same treatment as them.
I think that the new system does not work well for this tier. It seems too difficult to get the invite compared to the other countries in the world. The fair solution for the European countries would be to give 500 CP to the runner-up at National instead of 200 CP. It’s my opinion, but as quick example I would say that Portugal (tier 3) has not only a wider player pool, but has also more competitive players than Austria (tier 2) and there is a difference of three direct entry spots from their Nationals.
It would be fair in my opinion that South Africa joins the South American or Asia-Pacific region or that a new African region separated from Europe is created. Then they would need fewer CP in order to get the invite. 200 or 300 CP would be a good idea for them.
The Rest of the World
The rest of the world, Korea and Japan, do not work with Championship Points as they have a totally separate Organized Play.
I will not make an analysis of those two countries, because I lack of data. However I think a reform will quickly be necessary. It is quite unfair to me that the Japanese Seniors have almost no possibility to qualify other than playing the LCQ.
Japan has barely the same number of Masters players at Worlds as New Zealand and Indonesia (tier 3). I think situation is not good because they have a lot of competitive players that could shine at Worlds. Also a single spot for Korea seems to me very low, even I have to admit I do not know how competitive the game is there.
Top 5 Countries in Terms of Players
Ever wonder which are the largest nations in terms of players? Using Pokémon.com Elo ranking entries I was able to count the number of registered players in the world (with the exception of Korea and Japan).
Without surprise United States has the largest player pool in the world. TPCi has home in this country and tournaments have free entry. There are also tournaments in every state, so this is nothing very surprising.
We have two other North American countries on the list. Brazil is the 3rd largest Poké-country in the world; this is something I wasn’t expecting. Italy is the only European country in the top 5.
Bottom 5 Countries in Terms of Players
And now let’s have a look to the smallest Poké-countries in terms of players.
There is one Maltese player in Masters that got his points for Worlds through his National, but aside from that I don’t see any player from this country in the rankings. Malta is probably the smallest country. The numbers aren’t clear, but with only Nationals registered as a premier event it seems quite clear. Malta is also a country with only 500,000 inhabitants, so this is not really surprising.
There are 3 Asian countries in this top 5, and two of them have an Organized Play for the first time this year, so this seems quite normal. Belgium is the other European country in this ranking; the Organized Play does not seem to be very healthy there.
Top 5 Poké-Maniac Countries
Ever wanted to know which country has the best ratio of players per inhabitants? It’s time to answer to that question!
I took the total of players from a country and divided by the total population of that country. The ratio players/population will show us how much the Organized Play has success in the country in question.
|Rank||Country||Players||Population (in Millions)||Players/Population|
The city-state of Singapore has the highest ratio in the world. I am not surprised of those numbers, because Singapore has a lot of positive factors to have success in this game.
United States is 2nd and this again is due to the good work that TCPi has been doing all these years in North America.
We have then Norway as a European country, and also another North American country and another Asia-Pacific country.
Bottom 5 Poké-Maniacs Countries
Here is now the ranking of the countries with the lowest players/population ratio.
|Rank||Country||Players||Population (in Millions)||Players/Population|
I think we should not interpret those numbers as “they don’t care about the game.” We should consider the fact that most of those countries are new in to Organized Play and still have a lot of potential to achieve.
National Championship Invite Distrubition
In order to compare how much difficult it is to get an invite at a National Championship (NC), I took the number of awarded invites and the total of players in the top cut. As I could not get the data for Malta and Sweden, those countries are out of the ranking. It would have been better to compare the number of Master players attending the National, but I was unable to find this data for every country.
|Rank||Country||Invites from NC||Top Cut at NC 2013 for Masters||Ratio NC Invites/Top Cut Players|
According to this table, playing in the tier 3 countries such as Portugal, Australia, and Brazil is not as easy as people use to think! The ratio is the same as in the United States.
It’s interesting to see that all the Scandinavian countries have the highest ratio of invites/top cut.
I would say that the new Championship Points is quite positive on a worldwide scale, even if it has room for improvement in the upcoming seasons. With these numbers we were also able to a look at how the game has developed around the world.
We cannot compare the United States with the other countries for obvious reasons. The tournaments are free and available almost everywhere, TPCi has spent almost all his efforts to develop and maintain the game healthy in this country and the results are natural.
However I would like to point how the game has considerably grown in some non-North American countries such as Brazil and Australia. I think they are a very good example to follow in terms of development.
There are countries that in my opinion have still a lot of potential. All the Southeast Asian countries have a lot of promise, and it seems that the distributor that is based in Singapore has the objective to create a healthy OP there. We will have to wait one or two more seasons to see if this work will pay off or not. South Africa has reached amazing numbers in terms of community, and I hope that TCPi will encourage the development in this region of the World.