Questions raised at European International Championships

With the conclusion of the first European International Championships in London this past weekend, many players have taken the time to reflect on the event. Though some believe the tournament was quite successful, others have raised concerns about issues that arose during the tournament.

The Team Sheet Debacle

After the conclusion of day one Swiss, the players who qualified for day two had their teams checked to ensure everything matched the team sheets they’d filled out earlier. Upon doing so, officials discovered incorrect information on several players’ team sheets, including three of the Top 4 finishers at this year’s World Championships. Jonathan Evans, Markus Stadter and Eduardo Cunha all received a game loss in round one of day two and were not allowed to use the incorrect Pokémon for the remainder of the tournament. A handful of others received the same punishment, essentially ending their hopes for a victorious run.

Though these procedures were outlined within the official rulings, many explained that they were told team sheets were to be only used for commentary purposes. Additionally, players were not informed about the necessity of team sheets until the day before the event.

“The fact they didn’t announce the need to fill one some days prior was awful, since we had to fill them in at awkward times,” Cunha explained. “I filled mine in at one a.m.”

While some viewed the punishments as unnecessarily severe, some regarded them as completely fair in accordance with the rule book.

In the aftermath, the true nature of team sheets has been brought into question. Unlike previous generations, it is possible in Pokémon Sun & Moon to tamper with the battle box in the middle of a tethered event through the use of third-party software. Many believe the strict team sheet rules were enforced to ensure players kept the same exact Pokémon throughout the tournament. An updated official team sheet was recently released for players to write down individual stat numbers, reflecting TPCI’s desire to maintain integrity within the VGC scene. Still, this leaves players wondering whether team sheets are inherently effective.

The Top Cut Dissension

Players additionally voiced their grievances about the top cut structure employed at the European International Championships. On day two, the tournament cut directly to a top 8 bracket, instead of allowing all players with a specific predetermined record to advance. Such a system was previously seen at both US Nationals and the World Championships, where players with an X-2 record on day two were able to move onto the top cut. Thanks to this different structure, many players have expressed that TPCI took a step back.

Due to the change, three players with 11-3 records missed top cut, and six players missed top cut due to resistance. One of these “bubbling” players was the reigning world champion, Wolfe Glick.

Glick also explained that one of the common arguments against an X-2 or X-3 cut is that it adds an additional round. However, Glick argued that because there were “6 games [streamed] for last round anyways,” time was not an issue.

10th place finisher Alessio Yuree Boschetto also voiced criticisms regarding the validity of the structure of the tournament.

“While some people can argue that resistance is a good tie breaker because it’s basically the strength of the schedule you had, this is a very abitrary thing,” Boschetto said. “How hard a round was for a player is not determined by the final result of their opponent. There are multiple factors that go into that, one of the most important ones being match-ups, which can’t really be rated.”

In addition to the change in top cut structure, players’ records from day one Swiss also carried over into day two Swiss. This is how day two is structured in Trading Card Game’s circuit, and this change (along with changes in timer rules) have raised suspicions as to whether TPCI is attempting to shift the VGC circuit into one that more closely resembles TCG.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect for players, however, is the lack of transparency behind TPCI. Many are asking why players are only learning of new rules on the day of large tournaments. Glick has been very vocal on this issue.

“I love this game and I love this community, and it’s so difficult as a player to know that the smallest changes one round would make such a huge difference,” Glick said. “Or one announcement on an intercom would have such a positive effect and would change the player’s perspective and go such a long way.”

Only time will tell, though, whether the Pokémon Company International plans to adjust the circuit to reflect their player-base. As is usual, there have been no official acknowledgments of any dissatisfaction or plans to address any perceived issues by TPCI.

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