Hello all! With the season winding its way down, I think that it is important to begin to reflect on the structure as a whole and begin to examine what worked and what did not work. In general, I have never quite agreed with the current 400 CP benchmark and have voiced this concern several times in the past. I think that its main flaw is that is situated in an awkward position between too hard and too easy. Upon initial read, that may sounding conflicting, and perhaps even contradictory, but allow me to explain further.
In the three seasons before this one, the invite structure has gone through two different permutations. In 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, the bar was set undeniably low, only requiring 300 CP for the initial qualification and allowing the Top 16 players to battle it out for a skip into Day 2. After that, we shifted from 300 CP to 500, while leaving the Top 16 race unchanged.
With 300 CP, the main complaint was that too many people were able to qualify and that Worlds would no longer be a field of the best of the best. Despite these complaints, I think that this model did exactly what TPCI wanted—and that was to not just make the event more accessible, but also put more people in seats at every event. A lower threshold incentives many people to “try” to go for the invite, whereas a higher one has a lot of people draw their line before the competition has even begun.
Historically, I have gone back and forth about whether or not this structure is ideal, and while I know I have voiced the complaints of other jaded, older players like me—bemoaning how much harder it used to be and how an invite hardly matter anymore—I realized sometime later that these sentiments were not only invalid but also hopelessly elitist. I think that this system was objectively superior to our current one.
Allowing more players to qualify does little to harm your own personal achievement, and it is important to never attempt to measure ourselves in terms of others. By only focusing on others, we become sort of curmudgeon, vindictively focused on others’ failures and successes rather than working harder on personal growth. Putting more people in seats at tournaments (and by extension Worlds) is intelligent from a business standpoint and does little to hamper the playing field. If there are more players in Day 1, it makes it that much easier. You have little to worry about as a competent player and merely should work to strive within the system rather than doing your best to undermine others.
The 500 CP system was problematic because it did not allow enough players to qualify. The lower thresholds of the other regions also make the statistics a little more difficult to analyze, but I recall going into Anaheim last year that there was an unfortunately low number of players that made Day 1 before the North American International Championship, with hundreds of players (like myself) needing to score a good finish at the NAIC to have a chance of qualifying. This ought to continue being the case as long as the International Championships have such a bloated pay out (and as long as North America continues to have a majority of the player base), but I digress. The situation last season was so dire that it saw the Championship Point structure adjusted in the middle of the year, which allowed many players who were lagging in the rankings to jump hundreds of points up when the changes took place retroactively.
The point of all this, of course, is to illustrate that 500 CP was too high and too difficult for many players to realistically aim for. I think there is nothing wrong with demanding more of players, and generally I am a strong proponent of a more exclusive World Championship, but based on most of TPCI’s recent actions, I think it shows that they are more interested in making a system that allows all players to aim big and qualify—and the 500 CP was not conducive to that aim.
With that explained, I think it should be self-evident how 400 CP is unfortunately in the middle of both of these systems. It is somehow not easy enough for many players, while also not having the difficulty of the 500 CP season. Considering the fact that EU and APAC regions are cutoff at a much lower 250, I see no reason why this current season could not have been yet another 300 iteration. I look forward and anticipate a new system come this summer when we are officially given information on the next season, but until we get the big announcement, I wanted to take some time in this article to further examine our current structure and propose several alternatives and solutions that can potentially yield our best season ever. Let’s jump right in!
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