A Casual Guide to Tournaments

By Antemortem. Art by Andrew.
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If you're reading this, you're one of three: an interested Smogonite reading the articles that The Player has to offer, a new user looking to educate themselves on the Tournaments room inside and out, or just someone wanting to refresh themselves a bit on things. Tournaments is a particularly unique room given its quirks and guidelines that set it apart from most other rooms. There's a lot that goes into the processes that allow the room to function properly and efficiently, and I'm here to lend a hand to easing you into Tournaments one step at a time.

1. What's the most important thing I should know about Tournaments?

Interesting question, as there's no one thing that's most imperative in the room, but rather a plethora of pieces that fit together like a puzzle that keeps you the room running. A lot of the room's rules are different from those of other rooms and it's important to familiarize yourself with each and every one. When chatting in Tournaments, it's advised that you keep extra text formatting to a minimum. Why, you may ask? Things like spoiler usage can greatly disrupt chat presence, especially if the spoiler is multiple lines long. They are incredibly pervasive and distracting, especially when another user is attempting to advertise their tournament links.

When a user advertises their tournament, they may use bold formatting—a technique performed through use of **asterisks**—but this formatting is discouraged otherwise. Bold is another one of those things that tends to draw a person's eye to it and can tend to be a little invasive in nature. We try to keep formatting in general to a minimum, reserving it for tournament adverts.

2. What are official tournaments?

Official tournaments are scripted tournaments that are hosted by the Room Owners, who under the format of being an official room include a mixture of Leaders and Moderators. In the Tournaments room, there are three official tournaments per day: one at 10:30 a.m., one at 3:30 p.m., and one at 8:30 p.m. All of these times are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5) timezone and hosted on the dot. The registration period usually involves disabling regular users speaking in the chat and last two to four minutes depending on the usercount. This is due to the fact an immense amount of lag occurs when the entire chat is trying to speak at the same time while the scripted system is accepting registration. Once the tournament begins, everyone is released from modchat prison to talk freely again.

As with anything in the spirit of Smogon, official tournaments have a competitive edge to them with the leaderboard. The leaderboard page gives insight into the tournaments schedule for a given month as well as the master list of the current season's tournament winners, including their standings. There are numerous incentives also listed for winning a particular season, so it might be beneficial to make a point of constantly checking back month-to-month for a tournament schedule so you can be prepared to do your best and win those great prizes. You know you wanna be a Room Voice.

3. What if I want to host tournaments?

Hosting tournaments can be considered a science because there are a few ways to go about it. Tournaments in the room are delegated to Challonge, which is a third party bracket creator. There are some useful guides on creating an account and making a bracket, but I'll leave you those links for the sake of getting to the point. First and foremost, you are required to get your tournament approved by a staff member. A staff member includes anyone with a symbol (aside from a +) by their name. It's encouraged that you start low and ask a Room Driver (%) before asking, for instance, a Leader or Administrator, because upper staff are usually incredibly busy elsewhere and approving a tournament will take just a couple of seconds for a Room Driver. In any case, when asking for a tournament approval, all it takes is dropping the staff member your Challonge link and specifying the number of players you're aiming for and you're more than likely apt to get an approval! Bear in mind that if there's another tournament of the same tier currently running, you'll probably be asked to hold off on registration.

Now, what do you do with that approval? This is definitely the easiest but most important part of tournament hosting: you advertise! Yes, this is the only time that advertising won't get you a slap on the rear right off the simulator. Advertising is quite easy. All you have to do is take your registration URL and paste it in the chat with the tier your tournament is in—that's it. Seems easy enough, right? You can add extra things such as bold formatting to make sure that people see it, of course. In any case, you cannot post your advert more than once per page because it tends to flood the chat and can be really annoying; please don't be that guy. Along with that, you're always going to be required to append the name of the person that approved your tournament somewhere in the advert. If you don't have it listed, a Room Moderator (@) is likely going to assume you never got approval, so you can expect a warning/mute from them. Stay cautious!

Once advertising ends and your tournament begins, you're more often than not going to start playing the waiting game. You can announce when registration ends so your participants know when they should start battling, but after that there's not much to do until the final battle. And what comes then, you might be wondering? That's the fun part! When the battle starts you can start viewing it, copy the URL, and paste it into the chat screaming to the high heavens, "THE FINAL BATTLE HAS BEGUN!" because people just love watching a tense finale. After it's over, another bold message announcing the winner (and maybe the runner-up) is always very welcome and appreciated by whomever put so much effort into winning the tournament.

4. Am I limited to standard tiers when hosting?

Not one bit! There's plenty of user-created formats that you can choose from to host in. A lot of these formats are actually extremely popular with the Tournaments populace, especially Catch & Evolve and Survivor. Catch & Evolve, or C&E, is a format in which the tournament host doles out a randomized base stage Pokemon to participants. As each player wins battles they can choose a Pokemon of their opponent's to steal and then proceed to evolve one. It's arguably one of the most strategic and overall enjoyable user-created formats and widely in-demand. The only catch is that larger tournaments can be somewhat strenuous on the host since it requires randomly generating a Pokemon for each player with a tool such as randompokemon. Be wary of how much work it requires if you're engaged enough to host one, especially large ones (32+) during peak hours when there's upwards of 350 users in the room at once.

Alongside that is Survivor, which is a game pitting two teams of three to four players against each other and tasking them to battle each other one at a time until just one player remains, winning the game for the team. These tournaments are typically incredibly time dependent, so only host one if you've got a good two or three hours to set aside. Otherwise, they're very fun, so don't miss out on being a good sport and hosting one or two every now and again.

In conclusion...Tournaments is one of the most fun rooms you could choose to participate in as long as you've got a good grasp on the general guidelines. Whether your aim is to be a fantastic host of every tournament imaginable or to just rocket your way up the main Tournaments leaderboard and earn the nifty prizes, Tournaments is the place to do it.

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