Hey folks! Truthiness here, back after a longer than intended break following the NOVA Open. I'll dive into a true AAR of my personal experience in the near future. I wanted to start, however, by talking about the NOVA Open's unique structure for its Star Wars Armada tournament.
The standard structure for high level tournaments are pretty familiar by now. For Euros, GENCON, Worlds, and various other Nationals, you typically have four or five rounds of swiss followed by a cut, usually to the top four at most. This is often a problem in and of itself. Such a small cut means that if you find yourself in a close game, you're effectively both out of the running. After the cut, those four players then play single elimination games where the MoV just doesn't matter. Win by a single squadron kill? Congrats, you're moving on. This has been widely panned by the larger community, and for good reason in my opinion. It makes for some very boring games and some very conservative tactics. It stands in stark contrast to how Armada is usually played, where the extent of your victory matters.
|Actual footage of Q coming up with the idea for NOVA Open's format. True story.|
Before I go further into the "why," though, let me spell out exactly how the NOVA Open works. Like Worlds has some years, NOVA has a split day one. The top two from each day is guaranteed a spot in the top cut. After those four are set, the next four from the combined standings make the cut. That could potentially mean two from day 1A and six from day 1B make the cut. In practice, I don't think it has ever been more than a 5/3 split. This year it ended up being an even 4/4 split. The top eight, rather than grinding themselves in sudden death, then play three rounds of swiss. As with any other swiss, the top tournament points wins the day.
The secondary benefit is that nobody is out of the running because of a 1 point loss. If you win big, you're right back in it. Alex was the perfect example of this at NOVA. She lost an absolutely slug match against Jeremy. In a normal cut that would have been it for her. At NOVA, however, she had the opportunity to make a comeback, which she did in dramatic fashion, beating Ron 9-2 and bouncing back up to the top table. Had she beaten me, she likely would have won it all. This extends to the first day as well. By having an expanded cut, and more rounds on day one, players have a chance to bounce back.
So what do you think? Do you like Armada's existing structure, or are you in my boat of preferring something different?