Done CAP Metagame Future and Planning


is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Top CAP Contributor
(approved by Mx)

Hey everyone. As I've slowly started to find my way back into CAP- primarily through the ongoing tournaments- I've been thinking about the current state of the CAP metagame, and how it can be pushed forward. It's driven me to a relatively brief proposal:

Lets institute a set of scheduled tours for the CAP metagame. Bring back a coherent seasonal and individual tournament structure, build around CAPPL and CAP Snake, and use this to improve the metagame as a whole.

I'm gonna lead with a quick analysis of where I see the CAP meta as right now, heavily compared to my period of most activity (CAPTT4-5 era). Ladder isn't great, but its better: more active than I remember, has more actual legitimate competition than I remember. Room tours with leaderboard competition is something that seems really, really positive and highlights the next wave of CAP players (more on that a bit later). Tours themselves on Smogon are iffy. There's been playtest and CAP Regular Tour for individuals. Cyc Cup and Snake are huge, but there's holes here that lead to some bigger issues. The two I see as the largest are a bit of a shrunken playerbase and a lack of drive, if that makes sense? The meta definitely feels smaller than it has been at its peak, and the lack of individual tours has kinda sapped a lot of rivalry and drive to be #1. There's really not any sort of notable skill based/"these guys play a lot in events" rivalries. As a result, I've noticed a relative settled-ness in the community: its a bit accepted the top echelon is the top and where you fall is more or less where you stay.

More tours- specifically individuals- changes these issues. With more individuals, there's a clearer picture of the metagame: the top tier players are gonna prove that they belong in the top tier because they show consistency across a number of tours rather than one or two strong runs with questionable bracket strength. There's a drive to be the best when the picture of the metagame is more settled like this: every competitor wants to cause upsets, every top dog wants to continue to stay on top, and it gives matches between players more weight. If someone comes off a major upset, there's more weight to their next match. If two players meet after a match in the not so distant past, that's a big event and a big draw of attention. I even remember hosting a bit of a casual CAP Power Rankings waaaaaaaay back in the day- only really possible with this sort of understanding.

More forum tours also encourages a lot of people to make the jump from PS to Smogon and a lot of them to level up significantly because of this. This is where I feel the leaderboard is important: it highlights people with the inherent drive to top the leaderboard. To use some examples, Darek topped October and proceeded to beat Quz in Playtest and sits in top 16. Others like Carbink Dioxide also clearly show that desire that can be tapped into and converted into "okay, I want to show I can hang in this seasonal" or the like. It also attracts outward attention: to harken back to again, the era I played the most in, Stresh was brought into CAP meta from a seasonal among several others.

To bring this back full circle to the proposal, I think the first step we can do to solidify the improvement of the CAP metagame is to set up a sort of "CAP Metagame Year Schedule." CAPPL is the biggest event in the metagame in summer, and Snake is a winter counterpart that we can build on (especially if its a bit more plan-aroundable in the future). A circuit of Seasonals complements these big team tour events well by offering high quality individual tournaments: they benefit drafting for both team tours as well as giving those who play in them additional CAP Meta accolades to chase. These'd be two to four tournaments, either one for each season or two major ones (Winter and Summer were suggested) with alternative tours in between, and with each of these events awarding points to those who place. The top 16 points earners would be seeded into the "payoff" tournament for them: Champions Cup or something of the sort, where it's an invitational of the top talent of the CAP metagame in one tournament for prestige (A few outside friends have mentioned potential circuit status on Smogon- I'm not exactly sure what that means and need to do more research into it before I comment, but I think that'd put a higher level of prestige to it as well. I'm also not getting into point structure as that's a bit too much for this proposal for the time being).

This immediately sets us up with four to six major tours for the metagame between CAPPL, CAP Snake, and the seasonals, depending on the preference in format. Some of what those alternative tours could be include Smogon Tour-type live tours, and future playtests for CAPs themselves. Incorporating playtests here also adds prestige to them, driving post-CAP creation metagame development and analysis. In addition, I'd like to make clear that these are not the ONLY tours at any given point: things like OM tours, Cyc Cup-esque ideas, tours like CAP First Blood and CAP Budget Tour can still run during these periods; the goal isn't to snuff out everything else that isn't a "major" tour. These tours can also be huge for creating hosting experience, making the rest of this proposal significantly easier with more qualified hosts.

I truly think that the CAP metagame is far more ripe for a big step forward than it was back after CAPTT3, when I first started getting involved in pushing it forward. We absolutely can return to that peak time, and improve upon it, drawing more eyes and attention to the CAP Project as a whole through that metagame advancement. I think this is the most important and most effective first step to take.


is a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I just want to voice my full support for this. There's no reason why the CAP metagame shouldn't have a tournament going at any given time, and providing a thorough structure behind that would be an incredible tool for maintaining interest in the tier and retaining a well-established playerbase. With something like this as public knowledge it becomes a lot easier for users to plan which tournaments they'd like to participate in, and gives them a better idea of when to start preparing for big events like CAPPL or CAP Snake Draft. I also agree with the importance of how having frequent tournaments can better inform the drafting decisions of managers during team tournaments. Obviously I'd be more than willing to offer my help as a host for any of the tours you've mentioned.


is a Pre-Contributor
I would like to voice my support behind this proposition. The CAP metagame playerbase is definitely growing, and if we want to make sure things don't stagnate more than anything that would be considered dangerous to the health and longevity of meta, we need to keep going. I really like the idea of implementing more Solo-based seasonal tours, and I would like to add that Marjane and I are in the process of revitalizing the CAP NFE resources for an eventual updated CAP NFE tour at some point in early 2021.

As a consecutive team manager, I also have to admit that having more CAP tours would make my life significantly easier. It would make it so that I don't have to go digging up replays of OMPLs and NatDex suspect reqs lists among other things. Seeing how players play CAP and not other tiers will absolutely help future managers make those drafting decisions which, presently, sometimes feel like a crapshoot. One could argue that I should scout via room tours, but frankly it would be very nice to have more obvious places for players to show off how good they truly are, especially because there's not a localized storage for room tour replays that aren't manually saved.

Ultimately, I'm throwing my support behind this proposition and I would be happy to support it however possible.


is a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I cannot stress enough how important this is. CAP as a metagame is plagued by two major issues - a tiny playerbase and an essentially broken ladder. Regularly scheduled tours can help alleviate the problems these issues cause, as tours draw attention to get newer players (this has been proven in the past), while regular tour formats can serve as our substitute for the unreliable ladder. Regular tours means more reliable data for viability updates and a better understanding of the meta to curate analyses, sample teams and general healthy meta discussion.

I think, while ambitious, we should take that idea one step further, and commit to creating a tour nament layout at the start of next year detailing what tours take place and when. These would mainly based around the four seasons. CAPPL and now Snake Draft would be our main events and serve as the bastions of metagame development, and would take part in Summer and Winter respectively, with each singles seasonal tour serving as additional metagame nurturing while also letting managers be able to know who to scout for. As for lesser tours like Cyclohm Cup, I am mot sure if these would be placed on the Circuit, but knowimg exactly when the major tours are being held would only help us position these smaller scale tours more efficiently.

All I can say is this is a great idea you are putting forward SHSP, and these plans can only help our metagame grow.
Thanks SHSP for bringing up this issue! I think this is a very important issue we need to address if we want to continue growing as a competitive community. This last year has been very lacking in tournament structure and I think that has hindered the growth of the CAP meta quite a bit, so looking forward to 2021 I'd like to have a much more robust structure in place to make sure our metagame can flourish. After thinking for quite a while here's what I'd like our schedule to be for next year:

CAP Circuit Tournaments:
  • January: Winter Seasonals (Double Elimination Tour)
  • April: CAP 29 Playtest (Single Elimination Tour)
  • June: Summer Seasonals (Double Elimination Tour)
  • August: ????
  • October: CAP 30 Playtest (Single Elimination Tour)
  • December: Circuit Playoffs (Top 8/12/16 Players?)
Team Tournaments:
  • June: CAPPL VI
  • November: CAP Snake Draft II
First of all, I'd like to include the Playtests for CAP 29 and 30 in the Circuit. I think this would be a great way to further integrate the CAP Process and Metagame and also makes sure that the Playtests don't have to compete with any other possible Circuit Tournaments. Of course, this would mean that both CAP 29 and 30 would need to be scheduled carefully, as they'd need to be finished by April and October respectively; however, I think our last process shows that this can be done and if we start them on January and July, both of these future projects would have a few more weeks of breathing room than CAP 28. For the format of these playtest, I'd like to go back to Single Elimination. The idea of using a Swiss Tournament to maximize the amount of games sounds nice in practice, but that requires too many extra weeks if we want to also include playoffs and, as the ongoing CAP 28 Playtest shows, also causes a ton of activity wins, so I think that in this case a simpler format would be much more beneficial for everyone.

Something else that might be obvious from looking at the proposed calendar is the ??? for August. I think that given the rest of the schedule, there would be enough time to include one more tournament on that timeframe, but unlike the Seasonals and Playtests, I don't think there's a clear best option to put in here just yet. Looking at tours from different metas, here's some possible ideas to put in there:

Ladder Tour: This is probably the obvious inclusion if we look at other Tour Circuits. However, given the notorious low quality of CAP Ladder, this would be very risky addition. On one hand, this can actually give us an opportunity to actually try to improve the ladder while also giving us a tournament with a very distinct format that rewards a different kind of player than the other formats. On the other hand, having to actually use the CAP ladder might be a very negative and frustrating experience for most participants (especially on later weeks when the interest dries out a bit) due the lack of games and the dubious quality of the average ladder player, so this might end up backfiring badly. Personally, while trying to improve the CAP ladder would be great, I don't think this is worth the risk and would prefer something more safe.

Live Tours: This could be an interesting idea, we already have daily tours on our PS Room, so this feels like a good way to expand on this, while also providing something somewhat similar to a laddering experience without having to actually deal with CAP ladder.

Swiss Tour: This would be another interesting format to try which can which can reward players that can perform consistently across a number of weeks much better than an usual Elimination Tour where one bad pairing could mean your finish

My preference would be for Live Tours, as I think those can provide an unique competitive environment without having to rely on the CAP ladder. I've seen a few other formats while searching, like the Majors format, but I feel these are the three formats I'd consider for this slot, as I think they could provide something unique to the circuit.

Finally, there's the Team Tournaments. While these are not included in a Circuit, they're still incredibly important for the metagame, as they can give newer players a chance to shine, promote innovation, and encourage teamwork. That said, most other metagames have their team tours running simultaneously with their circuit tours, so I think we shouldn't be a afraid to make them overlap with Circuit Tours.


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I love what SHSP and Mx are putting forward, the idea of a CAP circuit is nothing but positive for the development of the meta. I do worry about the overlap of the team tournaments and the Circuit tournaments though, as it's fairly difficult for a player to invest their time in both, and team tournaments specifically are very time intensive. Although Mx brings up the point that other formats have their Team Tournaments alongside their Circuit Tours, I do want to bring up the fact that CAP usually also has the actual process running alongside the tournaments, and a majority of meta players actively participate in said process, some even acting as TLT. I also want to mention that the majority of CAP players are either uni students or people with full-time jobs (ergo people with not much free time), and it's difficult to expect them to invest their time in all of these sections of CAP. It doesn't help that a lot of CAP mains are drafted as builders and players in team tournaments. Hence, I think it might be wise to do one of the following:

1) Schedule the team tournaments in a way that their overlap with the Circuit tournaments is as little as possible. I feel like the best way to do this would be to shift CAPPL to May and maybe heavily time-block the Snake Draft
2) Integrate the team tournaments with the Circuit. This is probably my favorite idea, as it encourages a different type of player in regards to the Circuit, and further rewards good drafting from the Manager's end. Maybe we could give points to the players on the top 3 teams? Personally, I like this idea more, as it further streamlines our Tournament Schedule, alongside incentivizing participation.

In regards to what format to use for the August tournament, I'm in favor of both the Live Tournament system and the Majors format. As someone with a terrible active timezone, I almost never find other players on the ladder, and when I do they're a CharizardFan69. Ladder tours feel like they'd be of very low quality, especially for those with non-USA timezones. Swiss tours, although better, take a huge amount of time and usually involve a lot of activity Ws and coinflips, as seen with the CAP 28 playtest. They're also very similar to Double Elimination in their format.

I really like the Live Tournament system as Roomtours in the CAP room are really taking off right now, and Circuit Live Tournaments help steer the more casual roomtour players into the CAP Metagame and Process as a whole, possibly turning them into better contributors. The Majors format is very different from the other tours on the schedule, which by itself is a good reason to add it in. The Majors format is also known for being the most competitive way to give the newer players a chance to shine. The recently concluded UU Majors had three relatively unknown players in the Top 8, with one of them going to the Semis. Although none of them got to the finals, it goes to show that the Majors format is a really good way for a relatively unproven player to prove themselves as good players.

(whew that was a long post)
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is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Top CAP Contributor
2) Integrate the team tournaments with the Circuit. This is probably my favorite idea, as it encourages a different type of player in regards to the Circuit, and further rewards good drafting from the Manager's end. Maybe we could give points to the players on the top 3 teams? Personally, I like this idea more, as it further streamlines our Tournament Schedule, alongside incentivizing participation.
Just want to reply to this with an emphatic disagreement to this idea in particular. Including team tours in any sort of circuit with this sort of an end goal- playoffs- takes so much out of the hands of the players, for one; all of a sudden, players cannot control how much they play, what metas they play (to an extent), if they play additional games in playoffs, so on and so forth. If we were to do anything, it'd have to be based off record, and again... if you just don't play games, that goes out the window. Individuals are a separate entity from team tours, and a team you happen to get drafted to winning a few weeks in CAPPL compared to another shouldn't have any sort of bearing on if you're in the running for an individual playoffs.

I like swiss or live tours for the August one; I lean more towards live tours if they're set up in more of a Smogon Tour format where the top performers from live tours continue to a playoff bracket rather than just the results of the live tours factoring into points and the like. The biggest worry with Swiss to me is time: I'm not too familiar with them, but they appear as if they can run long at times.
Alright, we have decided on the following format for the CAP 2021 Tournament Circuit:

  • January: Winter Seasonals (Double Elimination Tour)
  • April: CAP 29 Playtest (Single Elimination Tour)
  • June: Summer Seasonals (Double Elimination Tour)
  • August: CAP Swiss Tournament
  • October: CAP 30 Playtest (Single Elimination Tour)
  • December: CAP Invitational (Top 12 Players)
Team Tournaments:
  • June: CAPPL VII
  • November: CAP Snake Draft II

This will be the scoring system we'll use to determine points for the Playoffs:
CAP Winter and Summer Seasonals::
1st: 16 CP
2nd: 13 CP
3rd: 11 CP
4th: 10 CP
5th-6th: 9 CP
7th-8th: 8 CP
9th-12th: 7 CP
13th-16th: 6 CP
17th-24th: 5 CP
25th-32nd: 4 CP
33rd-48th: 3 CP
49th-64th: 2 CP
65th-96th: 1 CP

CAP 29 and 30 Playtest:
1st: 13 CP
2nd: 10 CP
3rd-4th: 8 CP
5th-8th: 6 CP
9th-16th: 4 CP
17th-32nd: 2 CP
33rd-64th: 1 CP

CAP Swiss Tournament:
1st: 10 CP
2nd: 8 CP
3rd-4th: 6 CP
5th-8th: 4 CP
9th-16th: 2 CP
17th-32th: 1 CP
Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion! Expect more news soon.

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