Matt Okimoto here from the Meta Potion squad! As most of you may know by now, it seems that all of the Crystal Cups in NA & EU are going to be using a 6-pack draft on the second day of those events. This does not seem to be a huge deal to EU players as it is to NA players. I’d like to explore what I feel is the reason for that along with going over some benefits to this that people may overlook. So on that note, let us begin!
First off, it seems like a majority of the EU players enjoy this change; let’s try to digest why that may be. Below you will see a brief break down of all of EU events and structures that are to my knowledge:
These feel to me more like glorified fan meet ups with tons of events outside the main event, and sweet prizing all around. No stress of any qualifications on the line.
These are competitive events which use the constructed format for the entire event. This provides a leaderboard system that incentivizes people to attend as many as they can with Worlds & Euros qualifications on the line.
These are uniform with NA, where it is a mix of constructed and draft format, and the winner of these events qualify straight to Worlds with the Top 4 qualifying for Euros. Day 1 Constructed Swiss - Day 2 is Top 32 draft cut to Top 8 Best of 3 constructed.
Local events that stores submit results so that players are incentivized to go to locals to climb that leaderboard; not only for notoriety but also for Euros qualifications.
This is the last event before Worlds, in which Top 3 will qualify for Worlds. This event you have you have to qualify for. Last year it was a 2 deck format, so it may be perceived to be a 2 deck format again this year since everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Looking at the above events in EU, players have events of all structures which sort of molded their community to be accepting of all different types of formats. Formats that players don't enjoy they can still qualify for without needing to go through the CC Structure. I also believe this is why EU players tend to be the strongest we have for this game. Along with Japan players because both regions mix formats, which in the end get the "best players" to attend Worlds. This is not taking away from any other region but it’s based off facts from the last 2 worlds where the Top 4 have been nothing but JP/EU players.
Next let’s take a look at the NA Structure and break it down:
Events spread throughout the NA region where 1st place will qualify for Nationals. This is normally using the Constructed format.
These events are meant to cater to a smaller crowd and normally expect a smaller attendance; hence the name; however, they are not limited to small attendance. These can be as big as the community would like to make them. These are spread out through NA to try and cater to regions that could help grow the game. Top 4 from these events qualify for the Petit Cup Championship.
-Petit Cup Championship:
Top 4 from each petit cup qualify for this event, where 1st place qualifies for Nationals. This is more so a glorified Local Qualifier, but prizing will be much better than a local qualifier.
1st place qualifies for worlds; this will use the constructed & draft format. Top 4 qualify for Nationals. Day 1 Constructed Swiss - Day 2 is Top 32 draft cut to Top 8 Constructed Best of 3.
-Gen con events (2):
These events do not have an announced structure, however, I will take a guess and hope it will be 2 deck format (to see how NA likes it compared to EU) and some sort of limited format. Regardless of the format, these events will award 1st place a qualification to Worlds.
This event structure has not been announced yet, but referencing last year, it was Day 1 constructed into Day 2 cut to top 31 best of 3 constructed (the x-0 got a bye in day 2). Top 4 will qualify for Worlds.
Looking at both structures, it seems like this year SE is doing their best to become uniform, like we asked of them, as a community. That means NA will start getting more events that are influenced by multiple formats and more than just constructed, similar to EU.
This will be the first milestone NA will need to process because as normal, people are not used to change and anytime something changes we all immediately put our pessimistic hats on and assume worst-case scenarios. In this case, we assume everything that can go wrong introducing draft in day 2 will happen. We will also assume that we will be the x-0 that goes 0-4 in draft and not top 8.
While scenarios like this can happen, for the average player these will not be the case. I think us as a community here in NA need to take a step back and look at this decision from all angles. Why do some players around the world not find this as big of concern as others? Why are some more accepting of this change and are willing to at least give it a try. This may be due to the fact those players are used to playing in multiple different kinds of formats from the previous year for their organized play or from other games in General. In NA, we have only worried about Constructed except for 1 Sealed Crystal Cup. I want to point out some things people are not bringing up when it comes to this new structure since most of the positives are being overshadowed by the amount of hating on draft:
-Top 32 compared to Top 16.
This means that in NA when you spend $300+ to fly to your CC you now have double the chance to Day 2, compared to last year. This means you get to play the game you love, even more! This means your EV on the trip is increased due to not only increasing your chances at qualifying for worlds, but also allowing you to play more of a game you enjoy.
Since it is Top 32 instead of Top 16, this means prizing will now go out to top 32, instead of Top 16 like the previous year. Even if this is a black playmat, deck box, whatever, it is an improvement from the previous year and something more you can earn at the event.
-Variance in Draft can also happen in Constructed.
Those who are worried about draft hurting your chances of Top 8, I am sure if you are skilled enough to go x-1 or x-0 in your constructed Swiss day 1, you will be able to evaluate cards and at least put together a draft deck that allows you to go 2-2 which puts you in a spot to top 8. Now let’s say you had a "bad" day 1 of cards and you ended up going x-2 or x-3. In a Top 16 scenario you barely make day 2 or don't even make day 2 at all, but in this new Top 32 scenario you have an almost guaranteed chance to make Day 2. That means you can have another shot to Top 8 and further your chances to qualify for Worlds.
-More rounds of a game you love!
For those who perceive themselves as a 'higher skilled' player: this introduces more rounds. For someone who feels they are good, you would want more rounds because this increases the chances of consistently doing well at events.
Sure there are some questionable things about this like cross-pod matching, but all the "worrisome" items have been brought up several times by others that I don't feel I need to go over them myself.
I urge those who are dead-set on being against this idea to at least try it and give it a few CCs. If it really ends up being as bad as you feel, and the entire community dislikes it, I am positive SE will take that data to further influence their decisions going forward. This could mean they change the rest of the remaining CC format, or next year they don't use this format, etc. If anything, use this as an opportunity to branch out to other players who may be good at the limited format, talk to other NA players, talk to EU players, grow yourself as a player and grow the community. I hope people read this and can try to see the positive sides to a decision like this and realize it’s not as bad it may first initially seem.
Thank you for taking the time to read,
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