Proposal SPL Format Discussion

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Arcticblast

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I think if we want to replace Snake with a second SPL then they both need name changes

SPL Spring (Smogon Spring PL?)
- 2x CG OU
- SM
- XY
- BW
- DPP
- ADV
- GSC
- RBY
- one of DOU / LC / Ubers

SPL Autumn
- 3x CG OU
- UU
- RU
- NU
- PU
- two of DOU / LC / Ubers
- one filler slot (an old gen could possibly end up here, or maybe this is the part where Monotype gets a trophy tour?)

Thoughts:
- DOU, LC, and Ubers are the hardest to draft for, because their players are usually more dedicated to that meta and branch out less (if they do play multiple metas, it’s usually one of these and an old gen or two), so putting them all in one SPL makes drafting a little harder
- a split SPL model requires some of the classic teams to be split up or the fall edition will still feel like “SPL 2” rather than an equal. Names for the remaining slots can be made up on the spot or can be “borrowed” from forum PL teams or Snake teams
- I really like the idea of bringing communities together that SPL has done so well in the past, but I don’t think that splitting up old gens and low tiers across both editions will make for a good tournament - old gens players usually play multiple old gens, same with low tier players, and the cross play between the two isn’t quite enough to justify splitting the two
- Monotype has a top level forum and can actually be played on cart (unlike natdex). It’s time
- putting oldgens in the spring tournament lines up better with official release schedules, otherwise it doesn’t matter who gets which slot

organizing your ideas is for chumps, stream of consciousness is the wave
 

peng

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I think if we want to replace Snake with a second SPL then they both need name changes

SPL Spring (Smogon Spring PL?)
- 2x CG OU
- SM
- XY
- BW
- DPP
- ADV
- GSC
- RBY
- one of DOU / LC / Ubers

SPL Autumn
- 3x CG OU
- UU
- RU
- NU
- PU
- two of DOU / LC / Ubers
- one filler slot (an old gen could possibly end up here, or maybe this is the part where Monotype gets a trophy tour?)
Whilst I agree with the drafting issues that may occur when DOU / LC / Ubers are all put into the same team tour, doesn't it undermine any attempts to bring identity to a Snake replacement? Having Spring SPL be "All gen OUs and then Ubers" doesn't feel intuitive, for example.

I think an underrated benefit of cleanly splitting between all the OU formats and all the current gen lower tiers is that it also streamlines the (I believe intended if not confirmed) plan to switch grand slam and classic in the calendar? This way old gen players would get their team tour in the first half of the year and individual tour (classic) at the end, with lower tier players inverted. An issue with the way its been layed out above is that you could potentially have LC players having both their individual (grand slam) and team tournament in the same 6 months, potentially overlapping, and then have huge gaps before their next major tournament.

As a result it feels odd to split up DOU / LC / Ubers without a standout option to put in the 10th slot for Fall SPL / SPL 2 anyway, might as well put all three in there?
 

Hogg

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If we do move forward with Hogg's proposal, however, I want to make sure we knock the new tournament's specifics out of the park. The name has to be good and the names of the franchises have to be memorable and great. Concerns listed by Ajna, lax and others shouldn't be understated, because as much as I'm enjoying Snake this year I definitely get why they feel it's much, much less prestigious than SPL. Realistically nothing will ever match SPL, because it has a decade long lead in building history, but surely we can do better when it comes to actually setting up a second team tournament alongside SPL, right?
Regarding branding, my favorite suggestion is still just doing a Winter Premier League and Summer Premier League, which I believe z0mog mentioned upthread. My own personal preference would be to have the Winter Premier League have lower tiers and Summer Premier League have old gens, since that would mean avoiding the SPL/Classic and SSD/Slam overlap we’ve got going currently. Previously there were timing concerns with the release of new gens (which seem to follow a November release schedule) and the formation of lower tiers, but Sword and Shield has demonstrated that we can use turboshifts to quickly populate lower tiers, and has also shown us that things like DLC can throw a wrench into our best-laid tiering plans regardless.

For new team names, if we were sticking strongly with team names that referenced a part of the site, there are still a lot of untouched areas. We’ve largely moved away from the themed names for our competitive sections, but there are still options. Between current and former areas of the site, Indigo Plateau, Mt. Silver, Uncharted Territory, Power Plant, WAIL, Trainer’s School, Orange Islands, Internet Renaissance, Smeargle’s Studio and the Flying Press could probably all have team names made around them, and I’m sure someone more creative than me could come up with ways to make other site sections work as well.

And of course, a big part of why the SPL theme works so well is that it’s NOT heavily married to its theme. I mean yeah, every team references some part of the site to some degree, but beyond that there was a lot of freedom. The team names ended up being more about sounding cool or having a fun concept than they were about sticking to a hyper-regimented format like “Region + Pokemon” or whatever. That means we don’t need to be super literal and have the exact section name verbatim as part of the team name. After all, imagine how much more lame it would have been if we had the Ruins of Alph Unowns or the Inside Scoop Scooters instead of the Alpha Ruiners or the Indie Scooters.
 

GaryTheGengar

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please don't include more than 3 CG OU slots. There aren't enough good players to fill up even 30 slots without some massive discrepancies between the top 5 and the lower half as is; having 50+ CG OU players is just asking for trouble. Not to mention the quality of the matches themselves - reused teams, improper execution, etc. The current snake tournament was one of the most unappealing, boring tournaments I've ever seen. Sure, with the inclusion of DLC 2 the teams will no longer be clef/corvi vs clef/corvi, but I can assure you there will be multiple matches featuring the same cookie cutter sand team, or the most popular iteration of stall/webs. If the concern is including the top 100 players on the site, 50+ CG slots sure isn't the way to do it. I didn't watch much of snake, because of how repetitive and uninteresting it was, but even in the limited matches I watched I got to see multiple chokes from inexperienced players.

In terms of cutting old gens, I understand why some people want to cut RBY. Personally, I'd rather watch any RBY match than almost any lower tier match, except maybe those featuring the very top players. No offense to them, but no one really wants to watch the #7 NU player play the #10 player. While many will disagree, I believe RBY has a competitive player base that can offer quality matches. If you want to make the arguments about the same teams, I believe that this only benefits the player who plans and executes their gameplan better. You can't simply load a team that auto wins on turn 0 thanks to the limited pool of pokemon available. In terms of hax, I've heard troller put it best. To play RBY properly, and his record reflects that it is possible, one must put themselves in the best positions to minimize the effect of rng. While this applies to other tiers, it is especially important in RBY.

My largest objection isn't cutting RBY, even though I would be sad to see it go, as it has always been a part of the SPL experience for me. My concern is the precedent that it sets (why do I feel like we've had this discussion many times before). SPL would feel incomplete without watching Fear butcher the competition in GSC, or watching people like lavos/FOMG try to keep up. Although many people don't like to watch the "boring, stallfest" meta of GSC, I find it a great exercise in long term planning and execution, instead of matchup and cleaving your way through teams with broken mons like the kartanas and magearas of later gens. I believe it would be a shame to see GSC go, and eliminating RBY only sets the precedent for this to happen. Even more of a shame would be to lose RSE, which as hip said is essentially the perfect competitive meta, and has a fantastic, active player base.

I'd like to see the 10x10 format, as I think we're already stretching it when it comes to the last few players drafted in terms of quality.

My proposal (which seems to fit in line with multiple other people)
CG OU 1
CG OU 2

SM OU
XY OU
BW OU
DPP OU
ADV OU
GSC OU
RBY OU
DOU

I know only two CG slots seems like a small amount, but the tier is very heavily represented on the site. CG players have plenty of tournaments to prove themselves, while there are less opportunities for old gens. The same goes for lower tiers, but I believe this could be addressed with a grand slam-esque tour like in the past. If RBY must be cut, I'd prefer to see a b03 style match with the smog tour tiers than another CG ou match where you get to watch the #21 ranked player vs #27, both using teams built by the top pick in the tier on their team.

To address LC, I've participated in SPLs both with and without lc included. The tier simply has too much variance and isn't competitive enough to include. I watched blarajan cruise to a perfect record, and I've also witnessed a game end in 6 turns by way of 6 mienfoo HJKs. Although no one has mentioned it, I'll address ubers as well - the tier also suffers from an inherent lack of balance. Sometimes we forget that it is a banlist first, and a tier second.
 

Kevin Garrett

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My original post had a good response, so let me follow it up with a more complete model. It introduces a sustainable concept for keeping every gen in play indefinitely, but it is not perfect depending upon your core values for what matters to you in SPL. At the very least, it's a wonderful debate to have because it will clarify the purpose of the tournament and then we can move on from this with a clear identity for SPL moving forward.

Let me preface by saying that with a focus on OU metagames for SPL, Snake needs to be improved upon and rebranded (if necessary) to put it on an equal playing field as SPL for the tiers involved. I strongly do not recommend calling it by the name of SPL because then it will blur the identity of the the SPL brand and create different levels of prestige within the same tournament billing. We had this debate with Smogon Tour back in 2012, which led to the genesis of Smogon Grand Slam. With that team tournament taking on mantle for all the tiers, the leaders of those tiers and the TDs can work together to steward that tournament into something that carries much more significance in the community than some may feel it holds currently.

As for SPL, in my proposal, very little would change in the next year or two. There are still enough slots to accommodate every generation being played individually. The shift would occur with the introduction of Gen 9, in which case the older generations could fold up into a bo3 structure in order to conserve their representation whilst keeping the focus on the current OU. What would that mean for this year? There are a few options to explore for 10 slots:

Option 1: 3x SS OU / 1x SM OU / 1x ORAS OU / 1x BW OU / 1x DPP OU / 1x ADV OU / 1x GSC OU / 1x RBY OU Bo3

Option 2: 2x SS OU / 1x DOU / 1x SM OU / 1x ORAS OU / 1x BW OU / 1x DPP OU / 1x ADV OU / 1x GSC OU / 1x RBY OU Bo3

Option 3: 2x SS OU / 1x SS/SM/ORAS Bo3 / 1x SM OU / 1x ORAS OU / 1x BW OU / 1x DPP OU / 1x ADV OU / 1x GSC OU / 1x RBY OU Bo3

Option 1 maintains the separation of different tiers until a later time. Option 2 includes Doubles OU metagame. I'm not qualified to discuss if this should be included here, but I'm stating it because it is important to Smogon as a whole. If it isn't included, it needs to have equal representation in Snake and Grand Slam or a unique official individual tournament. Option 3 is experimental, and has been suggested by a number of people already in this thread. It would provide a litmus test for what we might expect in the coming years if we were to do this with other generations. Personally, I quite like the idea.

The debate I have been met with on Discord is that individual game quality suffers when having best-of sets, such as those in Smogon Classic. Some people in the community feel that it alienates the mains to a degree. This is regrettably true, however, there are only two solutions in the big picture: Adopting a format that condenses generations together like this to keep their representation or lose them entirely. I don't want to see them lost, but everyone is going to have an opinion on whether they would like to see them continue to be represented or let them be lost to time for the community to organize in smaller and less prestigious events.
 
Option 1 (3x ss ou + 7 oldgens), even if it doesn’t compress into bo3s, is still extremely sustainable.

3x ss, 7 oldgens
2x gen9, 8 oldgens
3x gen10, 9 oldgens
2x gen11, 10 oldgens

This formula includes all gens and caps at 12 slots for 10+ years, and that’s IF we keep getting new gens every 3. Sustainability is absolutely important but I think we don’t need to worry about stuff this far into the uncertain future.

Also the tier separation here really does make the most sense for our circuit, and I agree with most points about polishing / rebranding SSD.
 

lighthouses

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Probably a minor point but i feel is worth reinforcing. I also agree with the idea of changing SPLs name in addition to rebranding the other team tournament. Having the SMOGON PREMIER LEAGUE right there while LTs are relegated to a secondary tournament really doesnt sit well with me and is my main gripe with the whole thing, feel like we should at least put in some effort into dispelling this notion that lower tiers are second class.
 

LonelyNess

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I feel somewhat deserving of having an opinion on the matter, what with having helped create the tournament.

If we want to change the "goal" of the tournament, that's definitely a discussion worth having, but anyone wishing to cite the original intent / spirit of the tournament should just look right here for the source. The "original intent" of SPL was always to showcase the players of the most important formats of the day. When the tournament started that happened to be OU / UU / Ubers and Past Gen OUs. The Smogon tour was multi-tier not multi-gen at the time and past gen OU tourneys were very popular even if they weren't represented in the trophy circuit at the time. That's why the slots that were chosen were chosen and as SPL continued and grew it maintained the same flavor of "current gen OU and alternate tiers + past gen OU", but that wasn't because there was anything special about making sure alternate tiers or past gens were represented, it was solely to showcase the best players of the tiers that people were playing the most of.

To that end, it would be my opinion that the slots should go tiers with the biggest / most competitive playerbases. I'm not super active anymore obviously, but as a fly on the wall it would appear that Current / Past Gen OUs are far more active / competitive and the playerbases / interest in the current gen alternate tiers has waned considerably (probably what with having split the playerbases into a dozen different formats).

I'd recommend

SS OU x3
SM OU x1
ORAS OU x1
BW OU x1
DPP OU x1
ADV OU x1
GSC OU x 1
RBY OU bo3 x1

10 slots of what are clearly the most important formats of the day. As a former current gen alternate tier player it makes me sad to see that the alternate tiers are not as popular as they used to be, but I think it's pretty clear that this format (or some slight variation thereof) would produce the highest quality tournament.
 
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peng

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Probably a minor point but i feel is worth reinforcing. I also agree with the idea of changing SPLs name in addition to rebranding the other team tournament. Having the SMOGON PREMIER LEAGUE right there while LTs are relegated to a secondary tournament really doesnt sit well with me and is my main gripe with the whole thing, feel like we should at least put in some effort into dispelling this notion that lower tiers are second class.
If this is the route things were to go down, then there's also the opportunity to rebrand Smogon Classic and Grand Slam into "Individual Classic" and "Individual Grand Slam", then to rename the current team tours into something like Team Classic / ClassicPL and Team Grand Slam / GSPL. This would be in line with many IRL sporting events (e.g. swimming medley events, track cycling etc) and would be very easy to keep up with.

That said, I can't imagine there's much support for renaming SPL at all considering how highly its revered, and this is maybe a discussion for another thread and time.
 
I'm usually pretty hesitant to ever post anything in PR, but after a nod of agreement from Eo I feel confident enough to share my ideas here. I don't want to regret not expressing my ideas and letting the moment pass. Before I begin I want to mention that I will not be point blank referencing any of the posts in the thread, as what I'm proposing takes things in a different direction entirely. Throughout this post, you will not see me once argue about old gens or lower tiers being more competitive or "better", as I think it's a fruitless, largely self-serving shit flinging contest. My stomach has turned at some of the posts deriding lower tiers here, and the same can be said of what I've seen over time in RU discord alone, meaning blindly bashing old gens. I love all of the competitive formats currently represented on an official level, whether as a spectator at large or player in RU. My system will intend to keep all parties happy, or at the very least represented & involved in a meaningful way. If you're familiar with my posts (ru people) then you'll know I tend to write a lot of words, but if there's a post I could ask you not simply skim over it'd be this one, given the nature and gravity of the topic, which ultimately will affect a large group of peoples' enjoyment here. Anyway, here we go.

I propose that we restructure the entire teamtour cycle. We keep 3 teamtours, but we essentially rebrand all 3 of them. World Cup and Snake would cease to exist. The tournaments would go as follows:

1) SPL Classic - SPL format with CGOU+oldgens. CGOU x 3 (for now, i'll cover this) and then 7 tiers of the old gens. - takes place in current SPL timeslot
2) SPL Modern - SPL format with CGOU+lowers. CGOU x 4 + UU/RU/NU/PU/LC/DOU. - takes place in current snake timeslot.
3) SPL (something, TBD) - SPL as we know it currently with oldgens and lowers mixed in. This would be 14 slots, vs the other 2 being 10 slots. this goes in the WCOP timeslot.

Let's start with SPL Modern, since it's the easiest to address. It's pretty much a carbon copy of snake, now complete with team identity, retains, and the improved auction format. I ultimately can't imagine this is too controversial beyond people who hate naming everything the same, but we'll get there. Next would be SPL Classic, which again would go in the upcoming SPL timeslot. It'd currently exist as shown above, with potential changes as generations progress. As gen9 rolls around, there would be a couple ways to move forward. One (my idea) would be extending the slots in the tournament to 12, and doing 8 oldgens+4 CGOU. In gen10 this can be 9oldgens+3CGOU. Needless to say this would suffice for many years to come, particularly more so than what the past has presented.

The bombshell change will get its own paragraphs, since I feel that only makes sense. Replacing WCOP with this unified SPL sounds very daunting, but there's good reasons to in my opinion. WCOP simply isn't a competitively sound format, regardless of the nostalgia goggles some may view it through. To start, WCOP features a billion players, a chunk of whom wouldn't make the cut in a normal draft system. It really isn't a degradation in game quality whatsoever comparatively in this new format. 14 starting slots over 10 teams replacing a format where there's 16 (more in qualifying) teams with 8-10 starting slots. The game quality argument also can be made for the fact that this new tour would obviously have the best in every format, even if it's more formats than teamtours have ever seen. This certainly isn't achieved with region-locked teams. Some teams are supercharged beasts and others have an extremely minimal chance of ever winning, let alone making playoffs. A lot of people here chirp about creating the most competitive tournament cycle possible, so it should be completely acceptable to acknowledge that WCOP by definition creates an environment that isn't competitively sound. You are arbitrarily born where you are born, and for many that is where you exist for your entirety of your days in WCOP. This is laughably nonconcrete competitively compared to a draft, even snake, format. I shouldn't even have to point out the obvious levels of disparity here, whether you're born into East or exist as blunder/fooly on Team Canada, to name two easy examples. It might be in ones natural instinct to say "but look at how many different teams qualify for playoffs, surely it is still competitively fine." I would disagree and point to the dynastic nature of multiple WCOP franchises, purely on the circumstances of their birth, in comparison to SPL/Snake which has seen nothing of the sort save for the anomalous sharks in a 3-4 year stretch. Another draft tour is infinitely more competitive than this overlooked mess, but that's not my only issues with WCOP, which I'll cover more of lightly later.

So, a big question you may be asking yourself at this time is how would this tournament exactly work. After all, generations continue to pop up, right? In gen8 it would be 2CGOU, UU/RU/NU/LC/DOU & all old gens. PU gets chopped off, but now they have an SPL, so, rad. They weren't getting into this SPL anyway even if lower tiers "won" in the previously discussed means, so I can't imagine they're too mad. In gen9, and here's the rub, I would have RBY removed and 8 oldgens exist alongside everything else as planned. I plan to make this up to RBY later, but they at least would have more years with at least 2 forms of official representation. My main goal here is to make it so pretty much every format has two forms of representation available to them (again, we'll talk later about rby) AND we make it so people who value tournaments including all parties are happy. I value this too, as otherwise we truly are two separate communities with negligent interaction. This isn't a driving selling point I'm trying to throw at you, but if you value this then just consider the prospect of your means of meeting 'the other half' you wouldn't otherwise being eternally strained. With this it's solved, and everyone gets two forms of representation, and the tournament cycle is overall more competitive.

I did mention I'd return to issues I have with WCOP, so here we go. This first one is less of something I want taken as an official point compared to everything else above, but it's something I want to talk about and get a feeler for. I think it's abundantly easier to cheat in WCOP than the other two teamtours. I say this because, imo, it's easier to feel safe enough to cheat since these are your country-people who are less likely to rat you out. They're your friends that you most likely know well, your native comrades. If it wasn't for social fallouts and voodoo hacking, we never would have learned about relatively to recent examples such as team germany & team west. It doesn't end there, as casually browsing recent WCOP admin threads would show you what I mean. It's largely people requesting their players get ghosted, which again probably feels safer to do with the people you know best. It also ties into the point above that a chunk of these cheaters would not make it into draftable formats. See bdlc requesting his player cheat in this WCOP. See Aquafinity of India. Frankly see India in general, as it's been multiple times now that antics have surfaced. See faking an IP address for eligibility. The list goes on. It's not proven in anyway but the fact that the arguably two most talented oldgens franchises of current (US Northeast, US West) swear on their mothers' grave that the other cheats every year is such an abysmal look. Cheating goes on in other tournaments surely, and even in similar environments to those listed above, as we've seen once before. Though, per above, I'd argue it's a problem that's exacerbated by feeling safe among your countryfolk and the less than typical competition members.

Earlier I mentioned how RBY would at least be gracefully acknowledged. I also recognize that some may be emotional at the thought of not playing with their fellow countrypeople when they've grown so accustomed to doing so. I intend to kill two birds with one stone here, and I have to thank Eo Ut Mortus for the idea. Instead of completely abolishing WCOP, Eo had the idea of making WCOP occur once every four years, timed with the real life world cup. I think this is a wonderful idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly I want to mention that the format, in my mind, would be STRICTLY CGOU+oldgens. It'd exist essentially the same as SPL classic would now. 10 slots with 3 OU when suitable, 12 slots with 4 OU when needed. This entire project not only allows all tiers (including RBY, minus PU) to maintain 2 forms of official representation as of now, but also in the inevitably RBY needs to be pushed out of the unified SPL, they still have years with two forms of official representation. This also allows people who adore WCOP to still have the hype of playing with their fellow countryfolk instead of never doing so. I'd argue it occurring once every 4 years makes it way more hype & important, in a sense. That's a winning country's bragging right for 4 years, just like irl. Do I expect every RBY player to love this idea? No. But it's a compromise that allows everyone to be as represented to the maximum I think is possible while being suitable. It respects everyone.

Lower Tier, LC, and DOU players shouldn't fret this, since you're looking at a theoretical 7 official representations in 4 years. I'm not sure if anyone noticed but the tour-replacing order was not random. This system allows for lower tiers to always have time to grow and mature in new gens, so there's no more swapping lower tiers out of SPL due to new gen December woes.

I think I am going to call it here and edit more if something comes to mind. I've been writing for an hour flat, so I'm a little razzled on everything I truly wanted to include. Some various points I foresee as potentially relevant before I click post, and I suppose some things I want to recap:

-growth & spotlight of new players indeed does lose a form of representation, though I'd argue there's still a plethora of this in the form of the many open-to-join tournaments.
-yes there would be retains for all of these tournaments.
-2x representation at least semi-consistently for every relevant party, including a tournament where you indeed team with the other half of the community.
-an uptick in overall competitiveness
-you never have to edit the formats for lower tiers to develop
-decisions on behalf of the oldgen side of these tournaments can be made without lower tiers always being at stake.
-uniformity in tournament formats, something I think should be well-received. It's the most competitive system at that.

Thank you if you read the whole thing. There's no need to exclude an important part of our community.

*addition number one: i forget to mention but i'm open to anything on how alumning trophies would work. snake->modern is easy enough, and im fine allowing previous 'spl wins' to now change to the unified spl win. wcop trophy will still exist, so spl classic would need a new color.

*addition number two: it's probably too late for most people to truly see and digest but WCOP can easily just replace SPL Classic in this guide, i really don't mind. If anything this post was just to show 14 slots over 8-10 teams being competitively viable in comparison to WCOP, as competitive viability and depth of 14 slots was the main criticism of it. you can keep wcop and make this work w/ the same representation. i am grateful to the swath of people who recognize WCOPs flaws and would be fine putting it biyearly.
 
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Hipmonlee

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I dont understand what nostalgia goggles would have to do with liking WCOP. The format hasn't changed, people who liked it in the past liked the format that it still has now? The only way you could say it has become a worse tournament over time is the general increasing levels of toxicity of the tournaments forum. Which is even worse for SPL...

I can see there is a case to be made that playing with your friends makes people more prone to cheating. I would argue that there are a couple of upsides to letting people play with their friends though. Like, it makes the tournament actually fun.

It seems to me that everyone loves WCOP except North Americans, which kinda makes sense because their region doesnt really work in the format.

And the issues with eligibility are such a waste of time. Who cares? Let people represent the country they want to... Oceania isn't gonna add people from out of the region, I can't imagine any of the European or South American teams adding people who arent at least reasonably connected to their countries. NA should just sort their shit out, stop ruining the best tournament on this site for the rest of us.
 
I dont understand what nostalgia goggles would have to do with liking WCOP. The format hasn't changed, people who liked it in the past liked the format that it still has now? The only way you could say it has become a worse tournament over time is the general increasing levels of toxicity of the tournaments forum. Which is even worse for SPL...

I can see there is a case to be made that playing with your friends makes people more prone to cheating. I would argue that there are a couple of upsides to letting people play with their friends though. Like, it makes the tournament actually fun.

It seems to me that everyone loves WCOP except North Americans, which kinda makes sense because their region doesnt really work in the format.

And the issues with eligibility are such a waste of time. Who cares? Let people represent the country they want to... Oceania isn't gonna add people from out of the region, I can't imagine any of the European or South American teams adding people who arent at least reasonably connected to their countries. NA should just sort their shit out, stop ruining the best tournament on this site for the rest of us.
nostalgia goggles is used here to exhibit a love of WCOP blocking a realization that it's competitively unviable. It has nothing to do with the increased toxicity of the tournament or anything else you mentioned. People regularly buy their friends in other tournaments, too. I could care less about my region for WCOP, i again take the most issue with the actual issues I described above. I don't see a point responding to the bottom part, all you've done here in totality is nitpick at a phrase choice and strawman some of my reasonings for disapproving of WCOP.

e at below: so we're as a community fine arguing for the competitiveness of tiers and that criteria delegating what we play, but not when it comes to tournament formats just because they're beloved? i disagree w/ this general rational even if you specifically didnt post in the thread. we can't possibly have it both ways logically, though.
 
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Tomahawk

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WCoP is the most fun tour on this site, and should not be cut under the guise of competitiveness. Yes, the teams are unbalanced, but so what? We are all playing this for fun in the end anyway. Three copies of the same tour with different tiers seems incredibly bland, and once every four years is ridiculously infrequent.

edit @ edit above: You're projecting arguments on me that I never made, this is my first post in the thread. Regardless, SPL is a different tour from WCoP with different expectations.
 
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Amaranth

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WCoP is the most fun tour on this site, and should not be cut under the guise of competitiveness. Yes, the teams are unbalanced, but so what? We are all playing this for fun in the end anyway. Three copies of the same tour with different tiers seems incredibly bland, and once every four years is ridiculously infrequent.
We call "just for fun" tournaments unofficials, usually. WCoP should be perceived on the level of CPL if not worse, it's circlejerks fighting against each other except you can't even pick the circlejerk you belong to. And CPL was great - the only one I played was an amazing experience - but I wouldn't in a million years think about equating the level of that tournament to SPL. Very fun, not very competitive, should not award a trophy. Much like WCoP.

I'm 100% behind Nat's proposal. Maximizing competitiveness in official tournaments is the way to go.
 
Overall I agree with the idea proposed by Hogg / z0mog and some others about splitting SPL in two tours, one having CG OU + Lower Tiers (or lowers tiers alone as Ajna proposed), and the other having CG OU + Old Gens, while keeping WCOP as CG OU. This would create a perfect balance and every tier would be adaptly represented. It also would solve the sustainability issue. Either way, even if we don't make Snake into SPL fall or something, its format should get reworked because the current one is inherently flawed as many have pointed out.
The bombshell change will get its own paragraphs, since I feel that only makes sense. Replacing WCOP with this unified SPL sounds very daunting, but there's good reasons to in my opinion. WCOP simply isn't a competitively sound format, regardless of the nostalgia goggles some may view it through. To start, WCOP features a billion players, a chunk of whom wouldn't make the cut in a normal draft system. It really isn't a degradation in game quality whatsoever comparatively in this new format. 14 starting slots over 10 teams replacing a format where there's 16 (more in qualifying) teams with 8-10 starting slots. The game quality argument also can be made for the fact that this new tour would obviously have the best in every format, even if it's more formats than teamtours have ever seen. This certainly isn't achieved with region-locked teams. Some teams are supercharged beasts and others have an extremely minimal chance of ever winning, let alone making playoffs. A lot of people here chirp about creating the most competitive tournament cycle possible, so it should be completely acceptable to acknowledge that WCOP by definition creates an environment that isn't competitively sound. You are arbitrarily born where you are born, and for many that is where you exist for your entirety of your days in WCOP. This is laughably nonconcrete competitively compared to a draft, even snake, format. I shouldn't even have to point out the obvious levels of disparity here, whether you're born into East or exist as blunder/fooly on Team Canada, to name two easy examples. It might be in ones natural instinct to say "but look at how many different teams qualify for playoffs, surely it is still competitively fine." I would disagree and point to the dynastic nature of multiple WCOP franchises, purely on the circumstances of their birth, in comparison to SPL/Snake which has seen nothing of the sort save for the anomalous sharks in a 3-4 year stretch. Another draft tour is infinitely more competitive than this overlooked mess, but that's not my only issues with WCOP, which I'll cover more of lightly later.
I hate that this thread is getting derailed again, however I feel like I have to respond.
''To start, WCOP features a billion players, a chunk of whom wouldn't make the cut in a normal draft system'': Firstly, are we sure this is correct? Looking at this year's starting lineups, almost all the teams had their lineups composed for their biggest part of players who already made it onto official tournaments with a normal draft system or that went on to do that after WCOP (Germany 6/8, Italy 7/8, West 8/8, Europe 8/8, Midwest 7/8, France 7/8, LA 6/8, Greece 5/8, Brazil 7/8, Spain 8/8, Asia 5/8, Northeast 8/8, Canada 7/8, South 8/8). The only real outlier here is India who only had 1 player who made it in before (Serene Grace).
Secondly, even if it was correct, is it really a bad thing? I see WCOP as one of the biggest trampolines to push newer talent onto the official team tour scene, at the same level as OLT and other individual tournaments. I can name countless players who got their debut in WCOP and went on to get picked in other draft tour formats (to name a few from my own team, Italy: Lopunny Kicks, Santu, Tricking, Kebab mlml), or players who play other tiers and got a second wind playing OU (I'll take me as an example, I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten picked for SS OU in Snake if it wasn't for my WCOP performance). Just looking at other teams, I can also find many other examples (gefahrlicher random, the pharaoh, ewin, devinn, the list goes on). Each year new players with huge potential debut in WCOP, I myself am planning to make more italian players debut next year and I cannot wait to see how they perform in an official teamtour setting.

''Some teams are supercharged beasts and others have an extremely minimal chance of ever winning, let alone making playoffs et cetera.'': I won't argue about WCOP being more competitive than draft formats, the format has its issues, but I really feel like they're being exacerbated here. Yes, it's true, some teams are stronger on paper than others who have a minimal chance of ever winning / making playoffs, but that balance has shifted during the years greatly. A team that has a minimal chance to win / make playoffs this year, can always pick it up and become competitive in the next years, someone who was born in a team who did poorly in the last edition of WCOP isn't doomed to never win the tour or make playoffs in it ever again. I find it funny that the most blatant example for this is this year's world cup: Italy, a team who was consistently garbage for most of the 2010s, not making playoffs once from 2006 to 2016, started picking it up (luck? work? I'd like to think some users had a great deal of merit in making Italy the team it is today so I wouldn't attribute it all to luck), and it culminated in this year where we won. Funnily enough the final was also the first ever all european final, after many years of American domination. On the other side we've had strong teams in the past like Asia and Oceania who aren't doing so hot right now, so if that isn't a counterargument to what you said I don't know what is.
The tournament may be unbalanced at the start of it, but I'd argue a big side of WCOP is the preparation side, fostering your own country's playerbase in order to field new talent each year and from there build the base of a solid team, and I feel like this aspect has been ignored. Our cycle is also inevitably going to end, just like the cycle of other winning teams did, and when that happens other teams, maybe the same teams who this year didn't make playoffs, will take our place.
WCOP, with its pools system, brings a wind of fresh air during the year and is nice tour to interpose between SPL and Snake. With the rework of Snake, possibly being made into an SPL draft style tour, we'll already have 2 draft formats, which I think is pushing it. Abolishing WCOP, which despite its flaws still has an unique format, for a 3rd draft tournament, is overkill and extremely reduntant.

Won't touch on the 4 years WCOP idea, I think it's a fair proposal but 4 years is an huge timeframe related to this community, some players playing timespan isn't even 4 years long, so you may want to consider dropping it to 2-3 years.
 
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Not going too in depth, I like WCOP occurring less often and overall like Nat's proposal. However imo 4 years in between WCOP is too long. Athletes play for 15-20 years so they get their fair share of world cups. Most players on here move on after a few years, realistically giving them one or 2 wcops. Obviously the importance of the Football (soccer) World Cup is way greater relative to the World Cup we have but I think there is still something in representing where you're from.

I think alternating between SPL as we know it and WCOP every year makes this a lot better. I know I haven't played many tournaments but having 6 'SPLs' in the space of two years would make people incredibly prone to burnout. WCOP acts as a less serious tour which also gives newer players a chance to make a name for themselves. This also avoids any issues every 4 years trying to fit WCOP in while trying to decide what tour to cut.
 
i dont think the topic is derailing anything, it's relevant to the subject matter at large. anyway i am fine conceding on the point of players qualifying for officials, though i'm unsure if you mean solely this past year or lifetime. if it's lifetime that's less impressive of a stat.

i mentioned it but you can point to most singles tours and find undiscovered talent being found through them. You guys worked hard surely, but i think it's disingenuous to not attribute the win in part to the format change, like many others have done, and less so much of a sudden burst of skill change out of italy. I'm not going to continue to beat the competitiveness drum to death since it's been done, though I'm glad we agree on that. I'm not strictly opposed to making WCOP every 2-3 years instead of 4, though I'm glad you like the idea and think change is welcome. I'm sure a compromise can be found regardless.
 

NEWAL

THE MAIN MAN
I couldnt have asked for a better solution than Nats post. It ends this topic and also makes the tournament circuit better, so its worth disscusing. I would suggest WCoP every 2 years instead of 4, or every 3 year aka at the end of every new gen, which appear to be adequate.
 
3) SPL (something, TBD) - SPL as we know it currently with oldgens and lowers mixed in. This would be 14 slots, vs the other 2 being 10 slots. this goes in the WCOP timeslot.
for what it’s worth, it might be difficult for competitiveness to slot in a 14-person tour over an 8-person tour (WCOP).

i also think that wcop has a unique identity, and removing that identity to add another auction tour in its place makes all the tours a lot more similar. we’ve already seen that lots of top players sat out rather than playing OU in snake, because they would rather just do it in spl. without the unique motivating factor of playing for their countries, participation might struggle due to how similar this tour would feel to the other two. (you could argue it will be helped by the more competitive nature of the tour due to more balanced rosters. fair, but participation would need to go up a ton to move from 8 starting slots/team to 14).

i also think smogon benefits from having more variety between its tours; seeking to squeeze every ounce of “optimal competitiveness” out of the tour circuit might remove much of the identity and community aspects of tours, which play a big part in making them so enjoyable.

i do think your post contributed a lot to the discussion, though, so thank you! happy to hear your thoughts on what i’ve said here
 

atomicllamas

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for what it’s worth, it might be difficult for competitiveness to slot in a 14-person tour over an 8-person tour (WCOP).
I think when you look at it mathematically, a 14 slot 10 team format (140 starters) is not that different competitively than an 8 slot 16 team format (128 starters). Especially when you consider that because of how WCOP is set up, there are actually more than 16 teams vying for qualification (18 teams = 144 starters in WCOP), and that unlike draft formats, whether auction or snake, the "competitive resources" (read top x players on the sight where x is the number of starters) are inefficiently distributed. What I mean by this, is that there may be 15 of the top 128 OU players in Italy, or US northeast, or wherever, which means that there will be 7 starters for other teams who might actually be below that 140 starter level. This is compounded by the fact that the current WCOP format is only current gen OU which means that there will be players who are certainly in the top 128 on the site that won't even play in this tournament (for example Ajna again comes to mind for lower tiers, McMeghan for old gens (at least for the last one)). I think if we're arguing which team tournament should be cut or changed from solely a competitive stance, WCOP is objectively the one to change. That being said WCOP has a ton of unique appeal so I understand why people don't want to do that, but if anything WCOP being an official tour, points to the fact that a 14 slot 10 team tournament would be competitive enough to be official as well.
 

Hogg

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Yeah, I love the history and excitement of WCOP, so I'd be pretty sad to see it go, but I can't pretend it's a balanced tour. Of course, that very lack of balance is also what gives teams their strong identity and is what makes it so fun when we see the tides shift. It's also one of the only team tours where as a spectator I really care about the games between non-playoff-bound teams. (Actually, outside of the finals, I think my favorite part of WCOP might be the qualifiers - I love seeing scrappy new teams fight it out!) Personally I don't care if it's a trophy tour or just a well-promoted and well-organized unofficial, but I would hate to see it go away completely. I'm also a firm believer that the sweet spot of competitive team tours is 8-10 playing slots, so moving to 14 slots in a proposed "SPL 3" or whatever we call it isn't my favorite idea (not saying more slots is a dealbreaker for me, just my own preference). Otherwise, though, I can't deny that Nat's layout has some appealing symmetry and seems to check all the boxes as far as representation goes.
 
i completely disagree with virtually every criticism launched against WCoP in Nat's post and in other discussions. i am obviously biased towards the tour, but i also have experience with the tour. i'd like to think this experience makes me qualified to speak on the strengths and weaknesses of WCoP and why it is deserving of a place in the circuit. frankly, i am shocked that this is even an argument being brought up, but nonetheless i will entertain it.

on "making our circuit as competitive as possible"

Shrug's earlier post and some of Eo Ut Mortus's comments highlight the foolishness with these arguments. yes, we strive to have a competitive circuit here on smogon, but many players are wrongly referring to prestige as competitiveness. this to me is the core of the snake problem and why i fully agree with the main proposals being thrown around in this thread: make SPL 10 slots OU + old gens, make snake an auction tour with OU + lower tiers, and keep WCoP as it is. the issue with snake is it lacks prestige, and i think the gist of peng's post (among many others) highlights these issues perfectly. reforming snake gives lower tier players the higher quality tour they deserve. this also fits nicely with Hogg's original proposal of 1 OU + old gen tour, 1 OU + lower tier tour, and 1 all CG OU tour. i won't get into this further.

i alluded to Shrug's post before, but i want to highlight it more. we don't actually want the absolute most competitive tournaments possible. we want tournaments that are enjoyable while also being highly competitive. if we wanted the most competitive circuit possible, we would make every single tour all CG OU and probably do a snake draft instead of an auction with retains. this is obviously not what we want.

Nat's idea of having three SPLs is bad for many reasons because of this. for one, we will be having basically nonstop SPLs. yes, i understand that with the current circuit there is a break in the spring, but if you go from one SPL to another to another, it will start to get really dull. this is also why i disagree with snake being rebranded as "SPL 2/fall/junior/w.e." making snake an auction tour seems to be the best move to improve it, but it needs to have its own identity. even then, i worry that having two auction tours with similar format will lead to people viewing one as inferior, let alone having three all back to back to back.

back to WCoP: it breaks up the monotony. it is a tried and true format that has been truly optimized in recent years with the US region changes and the shift back to all CG OU. it is different from an auction or a draft, it is shorter with an interesting pools format instead of weeks, and it is the one tour where you can team with many of the same people year after year (yes, "dynasties"). this diversity helps to make the circuit enjoyable. one might argue "but this goes too far into uncompetitive territory!" no, it doesn't. WCoP is still a very competitive tournament.

on WCoP being competitive

i want to focus on this year's WCoP. the aforementioned changes make it more competitive, and it is the variant we are currently working with.

1605628336047.png


teams needed 13 points to qualify. 12 points got to tiebreaker. there are four teams that were literally ONE point away, and 3 that did significantly worse than the rest. i understand that "sheet looking" doesn't tell the whole story, but speaking from experience, this one does. the tour was extremely tight. just like week 9 of SPL or snake, the last weekend of pools felt like almost every team was still fighting hard to get to poffs at the very end. if i remember right the only team that was out significantly early was canada.

point being, the tour was definitely competitive with the new changes.

still, one might argue that you can look at the rosters as proof the tour is uncompetitive. comparing these rosters to SPL and snake, you can clearly see some on paper discrepancies. you have teams that look absolutely stacked like northeast, and then you have underdog teams that clawed their way out of relegation like india (shoutout india). i agree that this degree of roster "imbalance" would be a problem in tours like SPL or snake, but it is not a problem in WCoP unless you make it one. this is due to WCoP's unique format.

the beauty of WCoP is that the power is in your team's hands to define your roster. this means, unlike in the other tours, you get to team with many of the same people year after year. i already talked about why this makes WCoP fun and unique, but it also helps to curb the on paper imbalances.

kinda giving away the US Midwest playbook here, but fuck it. using our team as an example, we have a pretty dry region in terms of new players. on top of that, we had 2 starters leave the team for other regions. it's also worth noting that prior to this year, we were considered to have stronger old gens than CG OU. with all that in mind, this was the year we made playoffs for the first time in awhile. this is because of the unique format of the tour: we were able to assemble as a team way back in january. we trained and practice and reshaped the team dynamics in ways that better suited the changes we endured. this allowed us to overcome "imbalances."

speaking more broadly, this means every team has a whole year between WCoPs to scout their region, bring new players on board, train them, and give them a shot. this aspect of WCoP makes it the most TEAM centered TEAM tournament: the synergy of your team is tested way more here than any other tournament, and you have ample opportunities to develop that synergy. the shift to all CG OU helped with this immensely for the following reasons:
  • you now have all your slots working together in 1 tier, testing your team's synergy as i described above.
  • CG OU is the most accessible tier: it has the widest pool of players and the highest volume of high quality tournaments. this means it is easier to find players and easier to train players in those tournaments.
  • it cut the number of starters on each team down, making it easier to field a more optimized team.
i can't speak too much for other teams, but when you look at how tight the race was the story tells itself. just like in SPL and WCoP, you had some preseason favorites succeed and others fail. same can be said about some of the lower ranked teams, even ones that were negatively impacted by the shift to all CG OU. this was a competitive tournament. maybe it wasn't in the past, but the last few years things have been clear.

on other points brought up
  • cheating can easily happen in any tour; WCoP is no exception to this. an SPL or snake manager could just as easily assemble a team of all their friends that they trust to be able to ghost or whatever.
  • while atomicllamas brings up some interesting points about 14 slot "SPL" vs WCoP, i think this idea fails to take into consideration how much more of a pain it is to field a 14 slot team than a 8-12 slot one. beyond that, one could argue that teams should be cut from WCoP. i'm not sure about this personally, since the idea of underdog teams being able to compete if they can assemble a roster is really cool (though maybe not the most competitive).
  • 4 year / 2 year / 3 year gaps between WCoP is ridiculous. there's a lot of player turnover over this amount of time, so you're basically asking teams to do the same amount of work fielding players each year with way less payoff since they only play every 4 years lol.
Nat's post mentioned vitriol towards lower tiers and old gens from various communities, and i do agree that this is a problem. this thread has been more civil than past ones, but i think a lot of this stems from people not having experience in those tiers. while i personally think a 10 slot, all OU SPL is the way to go, i only think that should be the case on the condition that snake is improved to give lower tier players a higher quality tour. we cannot just leave sizeable and competitive communities in the dust like that, and it is to the circuit's benefit to have representation for both lower tier and old gen metagames.

similarly, i think many people arguing against WCoP lack experience with it. just like your lower tiers or old gens, it is something many people love. it's an exciting event that brings people back to the site just to play in it. also, just like with lower tiers and old gens, there are clear rebuttals against those arguing it is "not competitive."
 

Finchinator

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Doing away with WCOP as an official is a bad idea. This past year, WCOP saw a ton of new players get a chance with the format shift and many of them have made the most of it, as we have seen in tournaments since then. I'd be glad to make a list of all of these players and what they are involved with now. WCOP being all CG OU has been amazing for the tournament, the tournament community, and Smogon as a whole. It also was a very close tournament in qualifiers whereas playoffs highlighted the dominance of a group of players (Team Italy) that absolutely deserved to have their collective efforts rewarded with a trophy.

Using competitiveness as the main metric is arbitrary and we should focus more on balance/inclusion. What is most "competitive" to Mr. A can be something that is less desirable to Ms. B. Lower tiers can be the perfect competitive outlet for Mr. C because it forces players to regularly adapt to shifts, but to Ms. D old generations could be the ideal competitive format due to stability being present and consistency being rewarded. Then you have Mr. E, who does not care about what is most competitive and just wants to find niche ways to use Smeargle and Meganium in GSC. The point is that competitiveness is something that is in the eye of the beholder, not something you can universally define in this context unfortunately. It is no surprise that some people have been arguing that lower tiers in SPL makes for the most competitive tournament and some people have been arguing that old generations only in SPL makes for the most competitive tournament -- a lot of the arguments on both sides are super valid, too. Any argument that has most of the substance focused on what is competitive is less valid to me because of this; the focus should be on balancing the circuit, giving official formats representation, and encouraging participation. These are things that are more set-in-stone and less subjective.

Moreover, Hogg's initial proposal, making SPL old gens based/Snake lower tier based SPL, is the best way to achieve this. It makes it so that Snake is not on the verge of dying out because of SPL outclassing it overall and it gives SPL a consistent format moving forward with less moving parts. I find all of these changes as beneficial and while the details behind it absolutely do deserve future discussion, I think that sticking with the general concept is of the utmost importance here.
 

freezai

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Any analysis of nuking WCOP needs to contend with the fact that people love world cups, and overwhelmingly so. Just look at UUWC, RUWC, PUWC, LCWC, DOUWC, 1v1WC, and OMWC; all these communities have either gone out of their way to make a WC their second team tour or outright added a WC when there previously were no plans for a second team tour. WCOP's distinctive appeal and its extreme popularity cannot be glossed over. People care and always will care more about Italy, France, Brazil, etc than they would about the Stark Sharks or the Rumble Hall Rattlers and that's just intrinsic to the tour.
World Cups, while relatively less competitive, are still quite fierce and still meet a general competency level (read Raiza's and Starry Blanket's posts). To remove something as popular as WCoP, there needs to be major flaws with competitiveness and I just don't think there's enough to justify it.

In essence, we have a tournament that is one of this site's most popular formats and offers a unique change from a potential monotony of SPL and clones. Is it really worth removing it just to eke out just a little more of that "competitiveness" juice?
 
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