Hello 6P! Welcome back to another article by yours truly. Glad to be back and excited to comment and share my experiences and thoughts on the current Standard format, along with other musings such as the big debate that has sparked up regarding International participation of SPEs (Special Events).
Let’s start with that, as I feel very strongly against the popular opinion that these events should be region locked. The only reason there has been this outcry and discontent for Special Events is because a bunch of them were scheduled (but not announced officially anywhere) in the LATAM region in March through May. What did this cause? Mayhem, as the Top 16-22 players in North America now had extra opportunities to add CP to their total, due to the lack of a Best Finish Limit (BFL). However, not all of them even knew about these events, and as of today, the official Pokémon website section dedicated to SPE’s hasn’t been updated since August of last year.
A series of events unfolded that caused the outrage, namely Caleb Gedemer winning in Colombia. Many players called this “foul play” and “elitism,” as not everyone has the money and time to go to a tournament every weekend. That is indeed very true, and a sad fact of life that we must all learn to accept at some point or another: as best as we try, more money will almost always lead to an advantage. The system put in place by TPCi and the removal of BFLs definitely encourages this, and thus this led to Sam Chen packing his bags to play and also conquer the Indonesian Regional Championship, another event not listed on the Pokémon website (to date).
The 2 North American players winning led to outrage not only at the possibility of traveling and the income differences between all of us, but also on the assumed outrage of local players at points being taken out of their region and being denied invites to Worlds. This is something that I completely disagree with, as I am part of one of these countries (Mexico) being directly affected by the Top 16 players traveling to other regions.
First of all, the “outrage” was made by American players, and other American players agreed, yet all those discussions included very little International input, i.e., none of the local players were voicing those opinions. In the end, it felt more like the Top 16 players who didn’t know about these events wanted to complain as we all already knew the removal of a BFL was a bad idea. In reality, the local players were happy to meet and play against top tier players like Sam and Caleb in those countries, and same thing for all the Mexicans who went up against them at Mexico City and Cancun these past 2 weeks.
Let me pose this question, why were people not outraged at the Americans (and Europeans: Tord Reklev was in Toronto!) taking away points from Canadians at Vancouver or Toronto? We’ve had Mexicans and Brazilians travel to the US; why aren’t people outraged at me taking over 800 CP out of NA? Well, because there’s no reason for it. Pokémon is pushing for a more International game, that is what they’re actively trying to do and the best example of that is the removal of region locked National tournaments in favor of open International tournaments.
The only thing that needs to be improved upon is the organization and scheduling of Regionals and SPEs outside of Regions that don’t have an actual TPCi office in their region. Having 6-8 SPEs in a region that had previously had zero big events is a terrible idea, and with cut-off dates for Travel Awards and stipends, organizing these sort of events in a timely manner in the Oceania and LATAM regions should be a top priority for TPCI. Outside of that, I don’t even think a BFL is going to come back, and we’re definitely not going to see any sort of region lock to events any time soon. I’d be very surprised to see either of those things once we have details of next years season at some point in July.
The moral of the story? Before jumping to conclusions, talk to the people actually involved in those events, aka the Colombian, Mexican and Indonesian Pokémon communities. It’s probably important to have their input before having 500 comment threads on Facebook groups about how they “feel” and what should be done to help them.
I wanted to get that out of my system in a more serious space than in a Facebook group. I’m part of the privileged group of people who can travel the world to play Pokémon, whilst also having a unique connection to the LATAM and NA regions which are directly involved in this whole conundrum.
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