Done Rattling of the Snakes: A Look Into CAP Team Tournament Policy

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Tadasuke

Tuh-dah-skay
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Hey pals, today I wanted to take an honest look at the structure of CAP's team tournaments, and open up discussion regarding the policies surrounding them. As of now, I don't believe there has been any serious public discussion on this topic, so by breaking new ground we have a lot of room to work with in terms of innovating and solidifying a coherent structure for CAP's team tournaments.

The main issue I believe merits an extensive discussion at this time is that of CAP's winter team tournament, the CAP Snake Draft. While I want to be explicit in saying we don't necessarily need to replace it at all, I want to open up discussion on whether or not the community would like to see it replaced with a different team tournament format this year. This is prompted by Smogon's official tournament scene ditching Smogon Snake Draft and replacing it with the Smogon Champions League. Since CAP is unaffiliated with official Smogon metas, this shift isn't necessarily a mandate for how to run our own tournament policy, however, after speaking with many of the managers for last year's CAP Snake Draft, it appears there are some glaring issues with the nature of the format itself. The most notable of those issues is the incredible amount of luck that impacts drafting strategies. Managers have no control over their placement in the draft order, and with the fact that Snake Drafts simply allow the manager to pick a player without any form of bidding, drafting a solid team often comes down to luck of the draw. It can be argued that the increased level of nuance involved with auction-based drafts would be preferable to something with a lower skill ceiling like Snake Draft, since managers have more room to make intelligent decisions and be rewarded for them. With this in mind, I'd like to open up discussion on a few paths forward from here. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and if you have a different idea or any sort of amendment to make for items on this list, please let us know in this thread.
  • Standard Auction-Based Draft: This is the simplest option if we're choosing to replace Snake Draft. While it wouldn't be much different from CAPPL with regards to drafting structure, it would still be able to stand on its own as a tournament through the formats played in it, as per this discussion post.
  • Hybrid Draft: This format would combine aspects of the standard auction-based draft and snake draft. In essence, the managers would be allotted a diminished pool of auction credits compared to CAPPL, and use those to bid on players for the first few rounds. After a certain point, the rest of the draft would be completed via snaking. This attempts to add more nuance to picking up prestigious or more reliable players in the first few rounds of the draft, while also taking advantage of the efficiency offered by snake drafts.
  • CAP World Cup: This option forgoes a standard drafting process and instead allows captains to freely pick from the list of signups based on their geographic region. Ironing out the exact details of which locations can produce balanced teams may be difficult, as certain areas have a much higher representation among CAP players (i.e. US and India) as opposed to others.
  • Keeping Snake Draft: I've already gone over some of the negatives regarding this format, but I don't want to make a unilateral decision without gauging where the community stands. As I stated before, this format was generally disliked by last year's managers for its low skill ceiling, but if others truly enjoyed it I'd like to hear opinions from them.
  • Other Options: The list above only covers a small swathe of possible auction formats, and there's a massive variety in how these drafts can be performed. I don't want to go into too much detail on each of these, but many of the alternative formats such as a Dutch auction, sealed first/second-price auction, and others can be further researched here.
As I said before, these are only a few of our options moving forward. Please feel free to voice your support for any of the above formats, or suggest an alternative course of action. I'd like to keep discussion on this open for a week, assess the community's consensus, then proceed with a more in-depth talk about how to put our plans into practice.
 

SHSP

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Throwing some support behind a standard auction. Hybrid doesn't really appeal to me all that much or all that well: it strikes me as still having a lot of the issues with the initial snake draft format I'd prefer we get away from, and I'm not sure how the auction phase plays out. If there are examples of drafts that have been done like this, I'd be really curious to see them. World CAP would be incredibly fun, but I'm far from sold on trying to set that up without a really solid prep phase- what teams are included, getting an idea of how many signups from what areas, what teams would have prospective managers and the like. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I'd imagine its the most work of the possible options. A regular auction, though a bit more bland, is a tried and true idea that enables the formats themselves to be more of the centerpiece, especially as I support the proposal to focus more on less developed or less common metagames than the traditional ones (SM) in CAPPL.
 

Lasen

smiling through it all
is a Site Content Manageris an official Team Rateris a Top Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Top Contributor
This isn't gonna be formatted too greatly because I'm burned out from writing 5 analyses and 3 college essays.

Gonna start this off with the ideas I am opposed to: I vehemently oppose World CAP because of a lack of players. The format that best suits World Cup - whether it's all CG or a mixture with Old Gens is to have pools, and quite honestly, I don't think we could even fill up 6 complete teams. India, Latin America and the East/West US could compete no problem, while Europe is in an odd position of either playing for Team France and excluding everyone else (this is assuming Jhoffler and Jordy don't come back from the dead yet again). This also leaves Australians outside of the tournament as well as any other odd countries - if someone is from Asia and/or North Africa, what then? Surely, a plan to connect the countries could work, but then you still can't connect everyone. I can think of 2-3 Australians who would be willing to play and could connect with the side of Asia, but assuming we add 3 SS 1 SM 1 ORAS 1 filler slot or just 8 players, you still need at least 2 subs; every country cannot produce 8 players that have to be spread between 4 tiers (read: gens if need be). The very short notice means that you can't even assemble players from outside the tier's constraints.
ANOTHER HUGE PROBLEM is the existence of superteams. Say I make a team of Europe and the UK lads are allowed to join because, well, they wouldn't be able to play otherwise. In this scenario, France is its own team so Atha, Maxouille etc are doing their own thing. I now am able to run TNM/Jordy/Offler/stresh as a core and have 4 wins guaranteed every week while I ride the bench. Even if I were to then get some lesser known players who I just hand teams to, having 50% of the team tournaments be decided by something not even the TDs can change is not fun in the slightest and demoralises the playerbase in the long-term. This would make an already heavily imbalanced tour even less fun if you can't play for a team and/or you get smashed early on.
Snake draft is also out of the question for me. We all saw how big of a failure this tournament is, shafting most players that find themselves in the middle as they have to settle for 1st tier players that the first two managers didn't get but can't double down like the last pick does and pinch the pool. OU and the other main tiers dropped it off because managers could avoid self-buying and then uncontested buy the best players no matter what - CAP has an even smaller pool of players, so if 6/10 best players sign-up to manage and then NONE of them buy themselves, it means first pick is impossibly strong. Last year's Snake had some managers trolling and we still saw how flawed the system is. No more.
No lie there is 24 pages linked by Tada and I refuse to read a single word, but I saw the word "TRAPS" capitalized so whatever format that is, I'm behind it.

I don't want to have the two tournaments be the exact same but with a slightly different coat of paint in the form of what tiers are being played, but I wouldn't complain if we did another standard auction draft tournament. It's used a lot because it works. But for me, Hybrid draft is where it's at as it combines the positive aspects of snake (doing your homework and finding a hidden gem) and standard auction (keeps you on your toes).

Thank you for your time, if you'll excuse me I'll go back to using an abacus to figure out how we can min-max the stats stage.
 
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Brambane

protect the wetlands
is a Contributor Alumnus
This is gonna be a three-liner so forgive, but a standard auction CAPPL-style tournament seems ideal. There is a reason why the PL tournaments are so popular, and at this point I don't see much merit or enjoyment from mixing it up for variety's sake. I think with smaller playerbases like CAP, these kind of team tours are just more fun and develop the meta better.
 

dex

I am fucking perfect
is a Site Content Manageris an official Team Rateris a Top Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Top Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributoris a CAP Contributor Alumnus
I’m gonna play devil’s advocate here a bit and say that we should keep Snake Draft. While I don’t think that transitioning to two auction drafts is by any means a bad thing, I think that the snake draft format uniquely gives opportunities to newer players due to less static teams. What I mean by this is that the snake draft format encourages team diversity by increasing the chance people don’t just get the same friends on each team. It’s kind of a weird thing to advocate for, but I don’t think I would’ve gotten a chance to play if the first team tour I signed up for was CAPPL as opposed to Snake Draft. Snake Draft is inherently a more friendly format to new players.

I’m not opposed to changing it to another auction draft, however. I think the average quality of each team is higher with an auction draft, and it definitely results in more “balanced” teams. I don’t see too much wrong with changing it, though I would prefer to keep Snake Draft.

I think I differ a bit in saying that the World Cup format is probably doable. Every team tour attracts people from outside the community to play in it, and the same would probably be true of World Cup. I still prefer the other two options, however.
 

Zephyri

put on your headphones and burn my city
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very team tour attracts people from outside the community to play in it, and the same would probably be true of World Cup.
this owo.

The argument that we don't have the playerbase for WCAP is pretty shortsighted imo. WCs tend to attract a ton of players outside of the tier itself; you usually need only about 2 or 3 mainers to form a legitimate team (see: basically every PUWC team, LCWC Italy, East, and Brazil). To show that we do in fact have the playerbase to at least somewhat make a WCAP work, I made this very clean graphic that divides the Swiss R4 players into possible WC teams.

1634444637770.png

ES=US East, IN=India, WE=US West, LA=Latin America, SOU=US South, Spain=Spain, EU=Europe

The graphic above shows that making somewhat competitive teams for a World Cup is possible, at the very least. However, if this isn't enough to convince the community that a WC is feasible, I strongly advocate sending out a WCAP survey, similar to this census survey created by the 1v1 community, in order to gauge the practicality of a WC, based on hard facts.
 
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D2TheW

Amadán
Tada wants posts and so I will provide. Apologies in advance if this turns out incoherent, my paracetamol has not kicked in yet so two of my four braincells are out of action.

Snake Draft:
Fuck this. Snake draft is being phased out sitewide and for good reason. This auction format is ass cheeks and the advantages listed in this thread (being more accessible to new players) don't come close to outweighing the well trodden issues.

Standard Auction:
Clean, simple and effective. I'm perfectly happy to have two annual team tours with an identical auction system. There seems to be enough potential for alternating slots in oras, lc, monotype and maybe bw to keep the format from getting stale. This is similar to how monotype runs team tours with MPL and MWPL having the same auction system but different slots, see also SPL and SCL.

Hybrid:
Worse than standard auction imo but probably still functional enough to be worth using.

World Cap:
I really like the idea of integrating world cap into the yearly tours from next year on. I am less sold on having wcap this year. There's currently basically no consensus on what regions should be or who would play. My proposal would be to run a survey (as soon as possible, unless the tds have already decided against wcap this year) to 1: see how many people would play in wcap this year and 2: figure out how many players there are available in various areas so we can figure out if there is any reasonable way of divvying up the playerbase. Wcap could definitely bring in a lot of newer players, but it's also not necessarily wise to try and rely on that so in my opinion it's probably best to aim for 6 clear regions with a minimum of 6 players readily available and more potential players to be subs. We should also probably make sure that there are potential managers for each region, which hopefully won't be a problem but is worth checking. Balance is definitely an issue but world cups are inherently unbalanced and we shouldn't tie ourselves in knots trying to sort out said balance issues. Balance issues shouldn't leave the tour dead at the starting post unless they're super pronounced i.e. one or two regions having the vast majority of established players.

Also I'm with Lasen, whatever TRAPS format is, I'm in, no questions asked.

TL:DR - Snake Draft bad, standard auction good, do a wcap survey. Gn.
 

Dj Breloominati♬

born to play, forced to john
is a Top Tiering Contributor
RBTT Champion
Here to have my say on the format of the winter team tour :pimp:

Order of preference for the tour format would be
4) Hybrid / other form of auctions
Not sure if this is the popular opinion , but i feel that hybrid negates the good part of both snake and regular auction ( Managers who used their budget wisely/conservatively early rounds dont get their deserved late round picks is one important reason , can elaborate on others if required )
3) Snake
Agree with basically everything that lasen said :
Snake draft is also out of the question for me. We all saw how big of a failure this tournament is, shafting most players that find themselves in the middle as they have to settle for 1st tier players that the first two managers didn't get but can't double down like the last pick does and pinch the pool. OU and the other main tiers dropped it off because managers could avoid self-buying and then uncontested buy the best players no matter what - CAP has an even smaller pool of players, so if 6/10 best players sign-up to manage and then NONE of them buy themselves, it means first pick is impossibly strong. Last year's Snake had some managers trolling and we still saw how flawed the system is. No more.
2) Regular auction
Tried and tested, as many others have expressed, this is probably a safe bet to go for. If we do decide to go this route, changing the tiers would be something to consider to help differentiate between this and CAPPL
1) WCAP
Strong proponent of wcap, will try and address some common worries about this format rather than why i think its good

Starting off, a major concern is the lack of participation/teams. I too, shared the concerns of the lacking playerbase to back up a world cup, but i did go through the signups of all major cap tours in recent times ( CAPPL VI/VII, snake, ssnls/playtest ) just to double check.

Tentative region/player layout

Darek
Dex
Maroon
Wulf
Cbrevan
K3ppr
SputnikGT
Boat
Also adding some other country misfits into this team (as its the only one thats in shortage/can realistically accept them)
Againa ( Australia )
Sunmyser ( Canada )
People who im not sure will play :
TJ ( West )
Maki ( West )
Jrdn ( Canada )
Fc ( Canada )

Snake (-4)
Quziel (-4)
Rabia (-4)
HJ (-4)
RSQ (-4)
Velvet (-4)
SHSP (-4)
Binpin (-4)
Skysolo (-4)
Roxiee (-4)
AM (-4)
Spoo (-4)
crying (-4)
Aurodian (-4)
Rumia (-4)
BasedWhat (-4)
Avery (-4)
Brambane (-4)
Not a racist (-4)
Estronic (-4)
kj (-4)
SEA (-5)
Zetalz (-5)
Voltage (-5)

here is where i am a bit lost as a non american - as to where to put the region divide between players? Off the top of my head, it seems sensible to me to field TWO teams here, one Northeast (since i know 5-6 good players listed here to be New Yorkers), and another team comprising of midwest + south, but ill need someone's help in figuring this out.

Nalo will field enough players and captain this team. Having played for the chromes in this past PL, i can attest to how good a manager/captain he and santi (ilovescaldburns) were, and can confirm the good chemistry/skill level among the other LA players on our team (other chromeras can confirm this!)
Some players (naming them for the sake of posterity )
Nalo
Fakee
ilovescaldburns
Gibraltar slayer
luirromen
justamente

India is more than capable of forming its own team for wcap (go Indians!). However in hopes of fielding more teams, i reached out to some chinese players in case they were interested and here is the response i got
Screenshot 2021-11-01 at 8.24.22 PM.png
two of me/zephyr/arnav will manage, and we will make sure to incorporate any/all other asian players (interested) into our team.

Pitmore +0
Stresh +0
offler +0
Estarossa +0
Pip +0
Sagisolar +0
d2 +0/+1
Lilburr +0/+1
Chazm +1
Amamama +1
Lunala (+1)

Competent enough players to field a good team, also a good line to seperate between different europe regions ( so we can try and get two good europe teams instead of 1 superteam)

Jordy (+1/+2)
Felucia (+1/+2)
Scizivire (+1/+2)
Lasen (+2)
TNM (+2)
Mx (+3)
Atha +1
Maxouille +1
Situm +1

Same explanation as for europe team 1 -- enough self sufficient players to form a good team.

Potentially might also have a team france, which along with america team 3 would put us at 8 teams (yay!)

Things that also need to be considered when we're chalking up regions + playerbase
  • Number of teams : We will easily get atleast 6 teams based on the outline provided above (2 America + Asia + Spain + 2 Europe), but it is very feasible to form 3-4 american teams (more discussion about this will probably bring its feasibility to light!). If it does remain as 6 teams, the playoff structure of 1st seed --> finals and second-third seed --> semis sounds good
  • Number of Slots : Id say going for 9 slots per team (6-7 starters + 2-3 subs) is a good balance between inclusivity and quality. Again not something that can be ironed out so early, but something to keep in mind while deliberating on whether there are sufficient users from a region.
  • Weeks V/s Pools during the main tour ( wcop is usually pools ->> playoffs, but smaller tiers like dou and national dex did weeks in their wcops so thats something to consider )

A key thing that must definitely be taken into account before going ahead with wcap is the players interest. So far all ive done is just note down whether the concept itself was feasible or not, but it ultimately depends on all the players that make up the tour and whether they think that is a fun idea for the winter TT. Requesting the mod team to put out a poll regarding this, and act based on the results.

Thank you to Zephyri for helping me with timezones (and sorry if ive made any mistakes). Go wcap !
 
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Nalorium

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Seconding spitfire's great post, WCAP is the perfect format to provide a good atmosphere and a great level of competition. This being a great way to generate a fun tournament for all the teams, it is not the same to form a team that is chosen by 2 people than one that is formed by a whole region and most of them get along well with each other. This encourages great participation and a better relationship between team members. The fact that you form a team among friends or simply people who relate better either by their language or their lingo makes things like teambuilding easier, it is not the same to build with your friends than with people you don't know, the level between battles is also another aspect that is influenced by this. While it is not "the best vs. the best" as in a PL, the level is still quite high because seeing the list provided by spitfire you can see how all the teams would be formed by a fairly high level. In my opinion the most fun format would be to try weeks as a PL to make the tour a little more durable, but pools would also be a pretty good idea anyway. In conclusion Wcap seems to me the best format for this stage of the year, doing a quick calculation (counting players ins). The tour (by weeks) would last a total of 7 weeks while the pools a total of 5 (more or less), both seem to me like a good amount of time for this kind of TT. Free Wcap

E:
Spain is prob gonna be Spain + LA
 

Tadasuke

Tuh-dah-skay
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I'd like to keep discussion on this open for a week, assess the community's consensus, then proceed with a more in-depth talk about how to put our plans into practice.
So here we are, exactly one week later. To wrap things up, it seems that general consensus leans towards a second auction-based format as being the safest and most effective option for having an enjoyable winter team tournament. With the amount of support WCAP got, I'd like to look into implementing it as a spring team tour, while pushing CAPPL back a bit in the year to allot for three yearly team tours.

Stay tuned for further winter tour policy threads in the CAP Metagame subforum!
 
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