With non-cgear, there's an initial advancement of about 40-50 when entering the game. After that, the NPCs advance it pretty quickly and when an egg is produced, it advances as much as it needs to to find acceptable inheritance. This is for the PID RNG, of course.
I made it to round 3 as well. Although that was Regionals. You complain about people coming from other countries, I complain about having to win two tourneys to make it to Worlds. And I lost to a misclick. Well, I'm not sure I would have won, but having the Reflect up instead of having that Shadow Force hit me through Protect would have made a big difference.
I've steered clear of catching stuff until slots are out, so that's actually something. And how far did you get last year? I'm not sure I'm going to try this year. I don't understand gen5 well enough yet.