Tournament LC Circuit Format Discussion Thread

Merritt

literally the textbook definition of a tsundere
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In lieu of a survey, I wanted to open up a public discussion about the LC Circuit format, particularly for the upcoming 2022 year as the 2021 circuit enters its final stages. While final say will still be between me and the TLs, we do want to hear what you want to see in the circuit and why.

Note that this isn't just for things you want changed, if there's something you strongly want to see remain as a part of circuit then let us know that too!

A few points as a jumping off place:

LC Swiss - Swiss is a pretty painful tour to host due to the sheer number of games remaining constant until people drop out (and of course absolutely huge numbers of players drop out of the tour by the end). It's also either a fairly long tour (12 weeks for a 7 week swiss+5 weeks for a 32 person playoff) or requires that we hack together a point distribution that doesn't require playoffs, as done this year. Personally, I believe the main selling point of Swiss, that you get to play more games even after losing or being 'out' in general, is accomplished by the much more successful and less stressful to host Majors. I'm strongly in favor of cutting Swiss for the 2022 circuit and replacing it with a different 'last chance' single elimination tour like we had previously.

Championships - Last year we shifted to a 12 player championships with the first 4 seeds receiving byes, from the previous 16 person championship after receiving feedback that once you guaranteed yourself a spot in playoffs there was little reason to continue pushing for a higher seed. In addition, there were concerns that reducing point gain by using the type A/B/C tour system would make the cutoff for seed 16 low enough that a single good (but not tour winning) performance in a Type A tour with otherwise little participation would be sufficient to quality. To summarize, the goal was to incentivize players who put up strong performances early in circuit to continue participating even after guaranteeing qualification. Should we continue to have a 12 player championships or should be shift back to 16? In addition, a few people have asked about making championships double elimination in the interest of competitiveness, though keep in mind this will significantly increase the length of championships and result in 'down weeks' for those in winners bracket.

Additional Tours - Currently we have 6 tours as part of the LC Circuit, with a full half of them being Type A tours. I'm not against adding additional tours to the circuit, so if there's a style of tour you'd like to see added, please, make a case for it. To go alongside that, additional people interested in hosting tours should feel free to reach out, it's difficult to feel comfortable adding tours to the circuit without knowing for sure that we won't be overloading the fairly small current hosting pool. Be aware that tours that include OMs aren't eligible for being added to circuit and anything that covers oldgens, if added, would guaranteed as a Type C tour since championships will always be current generation LC. Alternatively, if you feel that we should drop a tour then please let us know that too!

Don't take these as the only things up for discussion, just somewhere to start. Thanks for your feedback and for participating in the LC Circuit.
 

Kipkluif

Liever Kips leverworst
is a Tiering Contributor
Regarding Swiss - I feel that theres some value it has over majors in that you are playing multiple best-of-three sets instead of single games, which is more subjective to rng screwing things up. I understand that this is a relatively small gain and might not outweigh the downsides of the format.
I don't see much value in the ladder tournament. In my eyes, it heavily values quantity over quantity of games. I understand this is somewhat mitigated by the playoff phase afterwards, but it still skews the seeding and point distribution away from being competitive in the tier and towards grinding. I also don't think the first phase is necessarily very fun; teambuilding-wise you try to prepare for everything, resulting in more standard teams and play, because on average this is more consistent. What format to replace the ladder tournament with, I have no clear idea for.
 
1. LC Swiss
I'm in complete agreement that this should be dropped - majors serves the same purpose and it isn't really as worth it on the player end (espeically without a playoff) either. Unless anyone really wants it, if its a pain to host last chance seems a much better alternative

2. Playoffs format
I don't really have an opinion on how many people should be let in, as long as the 1 round bye for the top 4 qualifiers is maintained, as I think we should incentivize consistent performance as much as possible. I generally favor double elimination - at first I was in favor of single elimination after our old losers bracket would often not be taken seriously, but I now think that this was more a result of the particular individuals involved at the time. With a couple exceptions people still aren't really building for circuit playoffs, so I think that adding the losers bracket will just give us the positive benefit of giving people who were lucked out of winners a second chance. I don't think that the extra time is really a big deal, either in terms of scheduling or in terms of engagement - people still watch the drawn out seasonal tournaments, and we can just start the next years seasonals while the playoffs are still taking place without much issue

3. Other tours
I probably won't be managing LCPL this year, but speaking from past experience the lower end of the oldgens pool can often be a nightmare to plan for - I would much appreciate more community engagement with old generations through some sort of type C tournament. This would help give some much needed replays for LCPL and to introduce more people to the metas. My preferred format would be 4 separate tournaments - I know that this is a lot, but collected tournaments tend to favor some of the old gens over the others through 'pick' systems. Type C is also usually negligible, so having a couple is in my mind not too big a deal.

Edit: I didn't realize that people were discussing bo5 seriously so I didn't include it in this post, but I saw some mentions on disc and one on this thread and think its generally a pretty awful idea and would hate to see its inclusion.
1636706984704.png

I know that "anyone to take these seriously" is hyperbolic, but I mean that when it comes to teams many of the people who qualify for these just end up reusing: I've had multiple occasions where ppl have asked me for teams shortly before playoffs because the meta they qualified in became outdated and they had not played LC since. A bo5 system would just result in everyone - not just the people less familiar with the current meta - reusing the same teams over and over, as actually building for what could potentially be five games is a nightmare. I don't think we should encourage that - its less interesting on the spectator end, less fun on the player end and is less representative of other contexts in which LC is played (Finals theoretically decides the best performance in the circuit that year - changing it to bo5 makes the dynamic very distinct from the qualifying tournaments). It does mitigate hax a bit more (as much as that is possible in the current speed tie meta), but I don't think that this benefit is even close to worth it.
 
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LC Swiss - I think this years swiss was underwhelming since there was no playoff phase and it was the final tour of the year. If you lost a game and aren't in seasonal, there was little reason to continue circuit-wise. My stance is either shift it earlier on in the tour season where gaining a smaller amount of points is still useful for most people, keep the playoffs like prior editions, or find a new tour to replace it.

Old gens - I would enjoy having each old gen added to the type C slot even if it requires more work. I totally see the argument against this as if someone were to theoretically dominate every old gen tour they can make circuit without playing SS lc at all. I don't think combining all these tiers into a single type C tournament is worth the effort for a small amount of points. Overall, pretty neutral about including them.

Majors - I really enjoyed watching and participating in the tours that deviated away from the standard double elim style tournaments this year. Majors I feel like was a hit with the amount of sign ups and the pools element. I would actually like for this tour to be at the very end of the year where pool leaders are selected based on circuit standings.

Ladder Tour - Opposed to Kip I would actually like to see this ran bi-annually as two C type tours. One edition would be the regular format with cycles and those people qualify for a playoff stage with top finishers securing byes. The second edition would be a fun twist incorporating the idea of ladder core challenges [ex. use 2 relevant meta pokemon and create a team around them]. I believe it would be a pretty skillful display for individuals to compete in 4 core challenges. Each challenge would award points and the top 16/32 finishers with the highest cumulative point totals would enter a playoff stage. This would also keep the ladder active for a longer period during the year. It's already impossible to qualify using a single type C tour alone for the circuit playoffs, and even winning 2 type C tours is not enough points alone to qualify for a top 12 circuit playoffs as displayed by this years threshold.
 

kythr

save the ocean
is a Tiering Contributoris a former Tournament Circuit Champion
hi

1) lc swiss this year was a pretty garbo format ngl. by not incorporating the playoffs it felt like a tour for the sole reason of racking up circuit points which is not great imo. swiss in general is a pretty fine format, but if there's not enough time in the schedule to fit the playoff portion like this year, then i'd rather it be replaced. i see the positives that come with it — people can still play in a competitive setting even if they've lost more than twice, which promotes metagame development and lc as a whole. but if playoffs need to be cut and it's too much of a pain for the hosts, then i'm pretty supportive for substituting it out with a different tour. maybe last chance single elimination or something cool idk.

2) i understand incentivizing people to try and do well in tours after qualifying for circuit, but at the same time i think this logic also has a negative impact on people's motivation for qualifying in the first place. by reducing slots from 16 to 12 the implicit message is that you have an overall lesser chance to make playoffs, and therefore if you find yourself well outside the playoff picture by the middle of the year, you are more likely to stop playing in lc tours altogether as your perceived chances of qualifying are lower than if there were 16 spots available. the fact that lc has one of the largest player bases also does not help. i think we should make playoffs 16 participants with no byes, just like every other tier on the site.

3) i like ladder tour; it appeals to a different player base than most circuit tours which is a good thing. please dont delete it.
 

Daruma

^-^
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Hello,
lc swiss' format was rly bad and i feel like it would be better to just put a basic tournament over it, like a last chance.
i think 16 participants to circuit would be better, byes for 4 first seed is kinda a too much reward while facing a low seed is probably already enough
tazz's idea about an oldgen tour could be fine, but it shouldn't be anything else than a type C tour. Ladder tour is fine too imo
 

ninjadog

levi of the decade
is a Tiering Contributor
1. if there's no playoffs then yea scrap Swiss, I wouldn't do a last chance though.

2. I think 12 is fine, i've always thought it dumb that across smogon in team tours and individuals there is literally no advantage for finishing with a higher seed so I'm glad lc is different.

3. Ladder tour sucks bc it just isn't worth the effort as a Type C, playing the LC ladder is an absolute chore with how long it can take to find games and qualifying is just a matter of playing enough games for anyone competent.


I strongly agree with tazz that we absolutely need an old gen circuit, ideally in the way some other tiers do it where there is a DPP/BW/ORAS/SM Cup and then you receive points for these for an 'LC Classic' playoffs which I think should give Type B points. These tiers get played in both our major team tours yet there is never any individuals for them except in the rare occasion someone hosts an unofficial, for any other tier if you wanted to go main an old gen there are individuals to help you get into it but in LC they are very gated to new players.
 
These tiers get played in both our major team tours yet there is never any individuals for them except in the rare occasion someone hosts an unofficial, for any other tier if you wanted to go main an old gen there are individuals to help you get into it but in LC they are very gated to new players.
I'd just like to really reiterate the effect of the current system: as it stands the only real way to get experience in these tiers as a new player is to know someone who plays the tier or to be thrown into the tier in lpl / lcpl / lcwc. I know and watch enough oras, sm and dpp to say that our old gen team tour pools are in extreme need of some new blood (especially sm), something that other tiers have fostered well through a classic circuit. Our old gen metas are actually really good and are something we should be proud of, I wish I could say the same about how we treat them and of how their pools appear in our team tournaments.

I would be more than willing to create some resources to help newer players get into oras and dpp, I'm sure someone who know sm/bw a bit better than I do could do the same for those.
 
Hi everyone!

1. LC swiss : this year was really ambivalent for swiss on my part. I like the format where you get to play more than 2 series and it allows you to play many competitive matches and against poeple with the same level as you or roughly. Unfort, the timing was bad with the SCL, LPL and LCWC coming so the playoffs were cut. I highly recommend to place the swiss earlier in the year since it's a tournament i think a lot of poeple appreciate. Bringing back the playoffs is for me not even an option and by placing it earlier in the year you can avoid a big part of the drop outs (not every but most part) and also by putting a bigger circuit point distribution.

2. I've never been part of the playoffs but i think 16 would be a better standing and will help keep the hype all year long and not disappear after like mid-summer. I also think that the first round byes prevent the community from very good games and it's not necessary to give an advantage to some players, simply cuz it's circuit playoffs and if you want the trophy then play them all and beat them all.

3. I really like the ladder tour cuz it gives the opportunity to a different type of players to shine and to boost the ladder for a certain amount of time. Maybe putting it as a B type tournament would attract some high standards players and give a better level to it could be an option. Please keep it. I like the core ladder challenge that Pamplona suggested but it might be too time consuming for the majority of poeple so that a good base of poeple care enough and it becomes a good and high level tournament. I recommend that it could be implamented in the lc forum so that poeple can challenge each others.

4. I'm also a big fan of an old gen tournament. I don't agree in the 4 part tournament tho. I suggest that we could do a BO3 old gen, like for example BW-ORAS-SM or we could do like other tiers and put SS as the first game and then choose two other games between the 4 old gens (DPP-BW-ORAS-SM). In that way you don't restrain players to a certain gen but you give the opportunity to certain generations to shine and poeple will discover them as well.
 
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Acehunter1

Doubles LC Leader
is a Tiering Contributoris the defending LC Circuit Champion
Gonna try to keep it short and sweet

1. I like that Swiss is a different type of tournament, but the format this year is really bad in my opinion, and the amount of drop-outs just doesn't make it feel like people enjoy playing once they can't get points anymore, and for those who do, they might not get to because their opponents might drop out. Also, bringing back Swiss playoffs feels kind of obscure with the tiebreakers too. Despite it being a different format, which is good for variety, I wouldn't mind scrapping it. However, I wouldn't mind that it stays either, just for the different format, but if it does, I still think it's better with playoffs.

2. Championship : keep it top 12, top 12 is good even if I end up 13th for the third year in a row this year.

3. No need for additional tours, this is fine. Already cramped enough, and you would really have no break at all if you want to make all the tours.

4. NO TOUCH LADDER TOUR

5. I heavily support oldgen tours, and circuit too. However, I'd rather not mix different gens in the same tour. I think we should let the players pick the oldgen they want to play, so that they can play for fun.
 

ACNT

formerly Aconit
LC Swiss: I think everyone will agree that this year's format is not interesting at all. The first problem is to have cut the final round, the second is the positioning of the round at the end of the calendar: if a player needs to win the tournament to finish in the playoffs of the LC Championship for example, if he loses once at the beginning of the tournament he has no interest to play the rest seriously, so he will drop. If this year's format were to be kept (which I do not wish), it should at least be placed at the beginning of the year to keep some semblance of interest. But to be honest, this year's format doesn't seem interesting to me. Maybe it should be replaced if it is too annoying to host ?

LC Championship : I'm a little divided. On the one hand, I think it's fair that those who finish well over the year get an advantage over the last qualifiers. On the other hand, it would generate more hype throughout the year to have 16 spots. I would say that I am pretty much in favor of having 16 spots, but I could totally understand those who defend the current format.

LC Ladder Tour: I have mixed feelings there too. On the one hand, the ladder tour allows some particular profiles to shine, and I personally love the idea of this format. On the other hand, we have to be honest: it's mostly about grind. And its low distribution in terms of points means that not many people really want to invest in it. So, two choices: either put more points on the line to get more people to participate, or revise the tournament format. I have to say though that I would be a little disappointed if the Ladder Tour was cancelled: the LC Ladder is completely dead and the level is abysmal, it would put the final nail in the coffin. I started playing on the ladder around 2013, and I remember a time not so long ago when a lot of the best LC players of that time were fighting on the ladder. So well, that would be a bit sad. But I understand that nostalgia is not a valid argument.

Multigen Tour : the idea of multigen is debatable. Even if I like the idea on paper, I have to say that I have several problems with it: first, I would find it strange to have 90% of the tournaments in SS and to have this small exception, especially since what is judged in the LC Championship is normally the level in current gen. Another problem: to test teams in old gens, there is no mystery, you need to know competent players to test with. The LC ladder is what it is, but it allows at least in theory to test teams for players who don't have playing partners. This is not possible in the oldgens LC. So it would, in my opinion, favor players who are already used to playing these generations in team tournaments and who have partners available to help them test their teams. I'm not personally opposed to it because it would make the older generations more attractive again, but I think that if this type of tournament were to happen, I think it should be a C tournament, for the two reasons I mentioned.
 
agree with tazz’s post mostly, lc classic is a glaring omission relative to other tiers and would make a great addition to the circuit. ppl care more about it if it’s in circuit and giving a small to medium amount of points for strong classic performance is really not an issue in practice (particularly in lc due to the similarity in top mons & core mechanics between gens)

i think playoffs should be bo5 or bo3 single elim but NOT double elim, which would take forever and drastically reduces the stakes of any given series. strongly oppose a delim playoffs

i have advocated for 16-man playoffs in discord & kythr’s post makes great points for it; on top of that, a bye awards a massive advantage for a minor difference in performance (for instance, im 5th right now with 590 and the 4th seed has 594). the incentive to keep trying even after you guarantee top 16/12 is compelling, though, so i can understand the current system. i personally prefer 16 man playoffs over 12 man playoffs but am fine with either

swiss sux yea

ladder tour is fine as is

Oldgens tour > swiss
 
LC Swiss: In general is a very long tour, with a lot of inactive players as mentioned in the OP, so perhaps shifting to an open system like the Smogon VGC Fall Scramble, but the division is done based on how many people sign up (or no division at all). This incentivises people to play as many games as they can, and the one match against each opponent rule prevents people farming points. Inactivity shouldn't affect the overall tour, especially if the time is kept to 4-5 weeks or less for regular season, following which a standard playoffs bracket can be played.

Championships: 16 Slots would increase the number of player actively trying to qualify as opposed to giving up midway through compared to just 12 slots. In Favour of also maintaining some uniformity in this regard with other tiers, so supporting 16.

Ladder tour: Is honestly a ton of grinding IMO, but some people like it so maybe keep it? Totally would support it being replaced though.

Also BO5 playoffs: Bo3 is fine imo. Perhaps add an option where if both players agree they can play a Bo5 instead by notifying the host.
 

LilyAC

encore encore encore
is a Tiering Contributor
I strongly agree with tazz that we absolutely need an old gen circuit, ideally in the way some other tiers do it where there is a DPP/BW/ORAS/SM Cup and then you receive points for these for an 'LC Classic' playoffs which I think should give Type B points. These tiers get played in both our major team tours yet there is never any individuals for them except in the rare occasion someone hosts an unofficial, for any other tier if you wanted to go main an old gen there are individuals to help you get into it but in LC they are very gated to new players.
I love this idea, having separate tours for each of the oldgens makes sense, and this is a good way to do it because it makes sure they don't count for too many points (only the oldgen playoffs should count)


about ladder tour, it's been said already, it's too time-consuming for some people, which makes it less competitive. I disagree with the suggestions to make it worth more points - yes that might make some people more motivated, but it won't give people more time. but clearly there are people who like it, so it should definitely still be a thing, just maybe shouldn't count towards circuit.
 

DC

LC Main, No Brain
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- Nuke Swiss
- 12 or 16 both good for their own reasons (12 incentivizes getting a higher seed and 16 encourages more activity and upsets)
- Third point is gonna be the big one. I am in favor of an Old Gen LC Classic, but I think it is important to look at the logistics part of implementing it. The tournament would roughly take around 3 months of time to get through signups + cups + POs (considering an average amount of participants like around 64 people per cup and 16 man playoffs), which is roughly about a month more than the average LC type B/C tour. Also ideally, you would have the tour before LCPL, which means that it will overlap with several important Type A tours like Winter Seasonal and LC Open and other circuit tours like Ladder Tour and Majors. We can move one to the Swiss spot, but do we get rid of the other or have it during a team tour? Lastly is the playoff scenario for the Classic. Unfortunately, LC has only four viable Old Gens, which makes it difficult to decide on a Bo3 or Bo5 format. My solution was either to have Bo3 with higher seed removing a gen or Bo5 with game 5 SS (which sounds redundant with an old gen tour, but hey. We still get four old gen games in the series).
 
Multigen Tour : the idea of multigen is debatable. Even if I like the idea on paper, I have to say that I have several problems with it: first, I would find it strange to have 90% of the tournaments in SS and to have this small exception, especially since what is judged in the LC Championship is normally the level in current gen. Another problem: to test teams in old gens, there is no mystery, you need to know competent players to test with. The LC ladder is what it is, but it allows at least in theory to test teams for players who don't have playing partners. This is not possible in the oldgens LC. So it would, in my opinion, favor players who are already used to playing these generations in team tournaments and who have partners available to help them test their teams. I'm not personally opposed to it because it would make the older generations more attractive again, but I think that if this type of tournament were to happen, I think it should be a C tournament, for the two reasons I mentioned.
Eseque dpplc anyone?

Ftr most of us who play one or multiple oldgens at what I guess you could call a competent level are usually down to test when asked, no matter who asks. Not speaking for everyone else but at least personally I don't feel I get nearly as many bwlc games in a year as I'd like, so any challenge is welcome for me to test new ideas or just have fun with a team I like no matter who challenges. Just pop into the LC room or check an LC forum post about the gen to see who's invested and hit them up :)

Deadass just in this thread to support oldgens tour, can't give a fuck about anything else lol
 

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