Implemented SPL Format Discussion

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Coconut

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One question I have for those who want to remove Sword and Shield is, what will we do next year? At that point, it won't be a "tired" metagame anymore and won't have that same overrepresentation. I don't care what the outcome is, but kicking the can down the road to next year doesn't seem like a good idea.
 
I'll throw my opinion as someone who has been a part of every previous SPL and has seen every format in practice.

10 slots is far better than 12 slots. Leaving aside the "you get more shitters in the tournament" argument which might or might not be true, it also means, as someone already mentioned, that the contributions from one player to the final scoreline is diminished by 20%, thats huge. This would theoretically be "fine" (still isn't) if the funds from credits were allocated to players with this in mind, aka top players costing less because of a lesser contribution to the week scoreline. Except this will never happen because 12 slots also means more credits, which inflates prices, which makes top players more expensive. So you end up with an awkward situation in which the top players are really worth "less", but they cost more. Undesirable. 10 slots should be the only way going forward. 11 slots shouldn't even be discussed as it's terrible.

So what do you kick out? blunder really has the best post in the thread and it should 100% be 3 SV slots at the minimum for this tournament. 3 would be the best, I don't particularly like the idea of making the tournament basically 50% current gen OU (counting tiebreaks here) since that's not what SPL is supposed to be (hell, even in the wild west days of SPL 1 we didnt have 4 CG OU, imagine). No johns is stupid, no point discussing that. Blitz is more interesting and I've always been a fan of it because I feel calculating and making a gameplan fast is an actual skill, but I can see why people wouldn't want it. In the end, I feel like I prefer removing a tier (and saying this as a boomer that has always defended old gens in every tournament) than adding a 4th SV slot, and if you add it I think I would prefer Blitz over a normal one (if youre already going bonkers by adding a 4th CG OU, going against SPL history then might as well give it some sauce). I think the removal of SS is a crazy idea but honestly, it might just be the way to go. It's weird, yeah, but if you think about it a bit more it kinda makes some sense. The only gripe I have is removing the most played tier in the past 3 years on Smogon's best tournament but eh, might be worth it. Coconut's point shouldn't be considered as you just return to 2 SV the next year and everything's perfect.

Bo3 and Bo5 works in random forum PLs because noone really gives too much of a fuck and they just reuse teams. In SPL people actually care and can spend ungodly amounts of time building and testing, so I don't think it would work too well. People can just reuse teams here though so maybe if you're fine with seeing the same shit all the time in the tournament then its okay. Still prefer the other options if you're going with 4 SV and like I said already, 12 slots is so inferior to 10 that meh.

Doubles, VGC, Uber, and whatever other lower tier you might think of shouldn't be considered for obvious reasons.

So in my head:

3 SV + Removal of SS > 3 SV + Removal of RBY >>>> 4 SV with Blitz as the fourth one > 4 SV > 4 SV with BoX >>> 11 slots >>> Anything including a lower tier.
 
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Finchinator

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None of these are close to superb because every option comes with a pretty major downside such as adding a slot that does not fit too well, overdoing or underdoing a portion of the playerbase, or removing a deserving generation.

I think 2 SV and 4 SV are the cleanest (could probably move them up to "alright" if two had to be picked), but I am fine with adding DOU or cutting SS as well -- these last two are just hard to justify for me. Everything below that is not realistic.

My energy on here is entirely devoted to SV tiering at this point, so that's really all I have. You've been spared the finch novel
 

Sam

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Sad to see top players not supporting OU Blitz in SPL. It involves a critical way of thinking that doesn't fit the hyper-analytical mode that has dominated every tournament game for as long as I can remember. How many lines per second do you think smogtours chat will run at when the timer is perpetually low? Not a fan of players like ABR and Finchinator wielding their hegemony to potentially deny us from a fresh, enjoyable tournament experience.
 

MANNAT

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  • All 10 slot formats are garbage and the individual player’s wins meaning less in a TEAM tournament is frankly a really silly argument that shouldn’t actually shape policy.
  • All formats that remove a tier are garbage, only removing one or a few gens arbitrarily is dumb and we should avoid that as long as we can.
  • blitz is a fun idea that should be considered, and it is fundamentally pretty different from regular OU because of how important timer management actually is in it and how that affects play
  • No johns is dumb because the games themselves are going to be the exact same, and all it does is make activity and scheduling a complete headache for the course of a full season.
  • DOU is still the best “filler” slot and I don’t see why we can’t just have it for gen 9 and axe it in gen 10 when we want 3 cg + 9 oldgen slots. VGC is a fun idea too but won’t get realistic traction.
  • LC and Ubers are god awful because of available mon pools and we really should strive to avoid those.
  • At the end of the day any format is fine as long as it has 3+ SV and keeps every OU gen, and mathematically the only way to do that is by increasing the number of slots to 12 so please don’t leave it at 10 just because a vocal minority prefers having fewer people in the tournament.
 
  • All 10 slot formats are garbage and the individual player’s wins meaning less in a TEAM tournament is frankly a really silly argument that shouldn’t actually shape policy.
  • blitz is a fun idea that should be considered, and it is fundamentally pretty different from regular OU because of how important timer management actually is in it and how that affects play
- For the biggest/best tour on the site, it's not a silly argument at all. You want the best players to have a significant impact, considering this is a tour for the best players the site has, fewer slots = better. Exclusivity = better.
- Blitz is a genuinely insane suggestion and should never be considered. If anything, timers are too low to play proper high quality games and now people want a 10 second timer in the best tournament the site offers.. jokes surely..

I have no love for rby but I think cutting tiers creates a real messy precedent when you get to the ones that are really liked like adv. I don't think cutting the most recent generation should ever be an option as well considering that. It's also got a huge player-base currently, even if a high % of those players would likely prefer playing gen9. Taking away from this arbitrarily seems ass. To me, the only real solutions are 2sv 10 slots or 4sv (regular) 12 slots.
I prefer 10 over 12 but blunders post definitely has merit and hyping up SV is the best thing our tournaments can do for smogon/competitive pokemon. 2 SV would bring the coolest matchups between the strongest players which is hype in its own way though, while more sv slots obviously is better for the growth of the tier and hopefully the competitive scene.
11 slots, lc, no johns, cap or whatever other nonsense yall come up with should really never be mentioned in spl threads again.
2sv > 4sv >>> cut rby >>>>>>>>> everything else irrelevant imo
 

MANNAT

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- For the biggest/best tour on the site, it's not a silly argument at all. You want the best players to have a significant impact, considering this is a tour for the best players the site has, fewer slots = better. Exclusivity = better.
I actually agree with you that SPL is supposed to be the best smogon has to offer, but my method of how to get to that status vastly differs from yours, kind of indicating the subjectivity of what is actually "best" in the context of SPL. We need to expand the number of current gen slots to at least 3, as the tournament should be a showcase of the most popular formats with the best players playing. There is a vast number of people picking up competitive Pokemon with the release of SV, and we should do everything we can to encourage these people to migrate to smogon. Doing SPL with 2 SV slots would be an absolute travesty that would set smogon back immensely moving forward and we genuinely should do everything that we can to avoid it.
 
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The differential impact between 10 and 12 slots every week for an individual is a mere 1.67%. Surely we recognize this is just an argument to maintain the status quo rather than grounded in competitive rigor. This is just splitting hairs.
 

phoopes

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Cutting any old gen for the sake of keeping 10 slots is super dumb and is definitely not the way to go. All old gens OUs deserve representation in SPL even if it means expanding to 12 slots. This is natural, as the franchise keeps expanding SPL should expand too. We obviously don’t want to bloat too much but oh my lord expanding two slots now that there’s 9 generations of Pokemon isn’t going to kill anyone. I promise you the quality of the tournament will not drop nearly as much as you think it will: that’s just an elitist take in my opinion.

1 of every old gen and 3+ of current gen is the proper amount of representation, and the only way to get that is by expanding to 12 slots. I have faith in the players on this site to give us 20 quality SV OU games a week instead of 15 quality games with an old gen cut.
 
I wish people were more open to experimenting with 12 slots and DOU. It's the start of the gen, which is probably the best time to try new things in SPL, as there is are added benefits of metagame exploration and more people being interested in pokemon. It's also probably the worst time to focus on the maximum quality of games, as the new gen tiers will likely be unstable and a lot more unpredictable than they usually are after a year or longer. DOU often attracts new high quality players from VGC during team tournaments and this would be a great opportunity to get some of them to switch over to Smogon.

Most people seem to agree that 3 is the correct number for SS OU slots, so I think we're just better than all the other options: Bo3 OU is too demanding and would require the best players on the team spending all their time helping 1 slot, Ubers and Lc are not the highest quality singles tiers, it would be really hard to justify one over the other and I don't believe it is true that these slots are so much better at working with the rest of the team than the DOU players. Firstly, I think it's a myth that singles players can't help out in Doubles. In every team tournament I participated in DOU has always had help from players who do not main the tier and I know the same is true for most other players. Secondly, it's not true that DOU players are not capable of helping out in other tiers. We have some of the best singles players like Nails, Umbry and Z Strats and even I have been able to start in BW and get a good result. There are some players who will only focus on their main tier, either due to time or knowledge constraints, but it's unfair to say it only happens in DOU and not other tiers.

It really feels like the main group of players who are against it are very good OU players, who can play pretty much every SPL tier outside of Doubles. Unsurprisingly some of them also support limiting the numbers of slots. I think we should recognise that it might suck for them to only be able to help out in 11 out of 12 tiers or to have to play with some players that are less excellent than they are, but the majority of players are not in this position and just want a fun tour that they have a chance at getting drafted for and will likely help out with 3-4 slots max, meaning it's ok for there to be tiers that they don't understand.
 
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Actuarily

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I think it’s pretty clear that SPL has to go to 12 slots, the whole point of the revised tournament structure is to include all OU slots, which wouldn’t be possible unless you wanted 1 SV OU slot. I just don’t see what the problem is with going to 12. I understand the tournament is supposed to be prestigious, however I still think overrepresentation is preferable to underrepresentation, as it’s important to try to grow the smogon tournament scene.

I’d obviously love it if DOU was back in spl, even if it were only for a limited time, as it is technically an OU tier just with two Pokémon on the field. OSDT proved that singles players can be successful in doubles, as there were quite a few that top cut, so it’s not like it’s some foreign format like some try to claim. Managers are able to draft doubles players that can help with other tiers, just as they do for every other slot.

Trying to put away my bias, I think 4 SV OU slots is a respectable choice as well. This was what I expected to occur, and I’m not sure how including one more slot suddenly drastically devalues the level of competition.

To me, those are the two real options. Something like a SV OU blitz seems silly when everyone spends so much time advocating for “prestige”, and all it would really be is SV OU with more misplays. LC or Ubers could be choices, but again, the new SPL structure is supposed to be OU only, which I think DOU has more of a claim to than those tiers. As for adding VGC, I would advise against it. While I love the growth of VGC on smogon, and have a ton of respect for the people who’ve made it happen (especially Zee who idfk how they have the time of the day to do all that they do), I’d advocate for DOU over VGC seeing as DOU is the official doubles format of Smogon, and SPL would not even be on the radar of important tours to VGC players. DOU still provides an opportunity for VGC players that want to get into the Smogon scene to compete, while also being an easier bridge for singles players to get into doubles than VGC which has a very unique format.
 
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Charmflash

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The differential impact between 10 and 12 slots every week for an individual is a mere 1.67%. Surely we recognize this is just an argument to maintain the status quo rather than grounded in competitive rigor. This is just splitting hairs.
That's percentage points and not percent. The relative "impact" increases by 20% from 12 to 10 slots actually. However impact probably shouldn't be calculated by 1/n anyway but by the probability of one specific game mattering (for more than bd). With 10 slots your game matters if the other 9 players win 4 or 5 games. With 12 slots it has to be 5 or 6 out of 11. Assuming that all games are independant and are a 50/50 (most convenient to make comparison) the probability of one specific game mattering is 45.12% with 12 slots and 49.22% with 10 slots. To add onto this, if we use 55/45 odds your chance at impact goes from 47.28% to 42.91%, and it gets lower the less even the two teams are.

Meaning that an individual player's chance of their weekly game mattering would be reduced by at least 8.3% or 4.1 percentage points if the teams are evenly matched, and even more if they are not.

Which in my opinion makes for a significant, undesirable decrease. Your accusations are completely out of left field, and based on math on BD percentage points.

EDIT: To answer poster below me, that is exactly why nobody is arguing that we need to maximize player impact. We just need to keep it reasonably high, which is subjective, but it's better people use the correct numbers when making up their mind.
 
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Minority

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If the premise of the argument is to make each individual win more impactful, one should be arguing for teams to have less than 10 slots, but since nobody is arguing that, clearly such a premise is arbitrary at best and irrational at worst.
 
There has been discussion in Smogtours, but I want to more formally call for a survey (ranked choice vote) to help with the decision. This thread alone proves how strongly the community is split about a passionate topic, being that we are 67 posts in without a resolution in (public) sight. Amaranth himself suggested that the TDs are low on having a survey to begin with, but compelling arguments could be made to raise the chances of an official survey going out. Disclaimer: I personally would only support one with the people involved in SPL 13 as participants.

1) It would get us to a quick result. This thread was started two weeks ago and people are STILL posting every day. Week 1 of SPL was intended to be January 16th, and while I know that this is more of an estimation, we are already due to run way over schedule with the time between manager signups going up and closing->player signups going up and closing->draft->week off->week one. The results of the survey would set into stone and we could get into motion fast.
2) It would represent the largest majority of affected participants. A decision like this is guaranteed to be biased -- See: every other post in this thread if you need confirmation, TD opinions included. I would rather ~80 biased votes of people who will ACTUALLY be affected by the format of the tournament itself than 8 votes from a group where only 4 or 5 participants are actively affected.
3) Solid numbers from a survey removes ambiguity of interpretation. Sentiment is easy to misinterpret, especially if communication is unclear between parties.
4) It allows the largest majority of upcoming SPL participants to have persuasion without needing to make a public post in this thread or jabber away in Smogtours -- which can be especially daunting for newer users and non-native speakers. This benefits point #3 as well with removing ambiguity from sentiment.

Rather than posting my own survey like in WCOP, I will again ask the TDs to please send out a survey to all the players and managers of SPL 13. If it's too much man-power I will happily volunteer. There is no true down side to letting the people that matter for the tournament speak up about the tournament.
 
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MANNAT

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I hate to be that guy, but could we get an update on this from TDs? We’re past even last year’s manager signup date and really need to get the ball rolling for SPL. It’s an impossible decision that can’t satisfy everyone but a decision does have to be made.
 

Finchinator

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I hate to be that guy, but could we get an update on this from TDs? We’re past even last year’s manager signup date and really need to get the ball rolling for SPL. It’s an impossible decision that can’t satisfy everyone but a decision does have to be made.
We are working with a bit more lenient of a timeframe than last year as the projected start date of the tour is a week or two further into January, for what it’s worth.

We have a lot of moving pieces right now with potential additions to the TD team, trying to gauge integration of a new generation into the tournament, and a whole slew of options being presented.

I would absolutely expect an update soon, but we are also not in jeopardy of the tournament being compromised and I can promise you that we will not reach that point.

Options such as a survey of recent participants (it’s been brought up given concerns beee, but may not be needed), using input from our new TDs depending on if/when they are added, and compromising on an option with our current team are on the table.

You have every right to voice a concern and I appreciate the check-in, but hang-in there and we will make sure that this SPL format fits the evolving needs of our community and the tournament processes get going when appropriate.
 

Amaranth

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I hate to be that guy, but could we get an update on this from TDs? We’re past even last year’s manager signup date and really need to get the ball rolling for SPL. It’s an impossible decision that can’t satisfy everyone but a decision does have to be made.
Manager signups will run from December 8th to December 18th with a projected start date for Week 1 on January 16th. We are not in an immediate rush to decide this with SV OU still quickly developing and the TD team currently looking at integrating new members.
We are discussing merits of the proposed survey and will take action as soon as necessary.
 

Amaranth

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The TD team will run a survey between x4 SV OU + x1 RBY-SS, and x2 SV OU + x1 RBY-SS.

This survey will play an instrumental role in guiding our decision making process.

All users who managed or were drafted in SPL XIII have received a link to the poll.

(if you believe I made a mistake with the user list, please DM me and I will rectify)

We have decided to rule out all other formats for the general health of the tournament circuit.
Removing individual oldgens to cut off existing communities is arbitrary, harmful in the present, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

Introducing DOU was considered for a while under the argument that it is neither an oldgen nor a lowtier, but we deemed such a circuit imbalance in favor of DOU to be uncalled for given community sentiment in this thread overall. Some elements of the TD team are open to ideas to redefine DOU's role in our circuit, but we ultimately decided this is not the time for such decisions. Other tiers (Ubers, LC) were ruled out even earlier as we feel their place in the circuit is perfectly adequate with just SCL + Slam.

Proposals like No Johns, Blitz, or other alternative formats were rejected on the basis of being too untested. Any such radical ideas are not going to be shoehorned into a tournament as important as SPL with no substantial prior experimenting even in subforum PLs.
 

Finchinator

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I’m voting for 4x SV OU.

We have seen a massive outcry for greater inclusion of our flagship metagame during a time in which interest and activity is at a peak. I would like for it to return to a slightly smaller number for future editions, but I believe it is the better of the two options for our communities needs.
 
I ended up voting for 2x SV and I think this would be the best outcome, although 4x SV is acceptable if that's the decision. Here were my reasons for voting this way:
  1. I think 10 slots is superior to 12 slots if affordable for reasons others have already stated itt
  2. I am not convinced that adding two additional slots necessarily increases hype around the new generation. That's subjective and for me I'd look forward to the games more if there were fewer of them + these games will be almost exclusively played by the best players in the tournament with half as many slots, less team recycling too probably
  3. People will complain about the format, imo equally as much, regardless of 2 or 4 slots
  4. I think it'd be jarring to go to 12 slots and back to 10 in the next year, I like the consistency aspect of keeping the format the same throughout the generation, especially now that adding DOU is off the table
 
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