That’s right. We already have confirmation on the first events for the 2019 season. And it’s approaching quicker than you think.
In a recent announcement on the official Pokemon website, a new Special Event tournament was confirmed to be taking place at the upcoming Dreamhack convention happening in Valencia, Spain. For those unfamiliar with Special Events, they are additional tournaments held in certain parts of the world that award regional-level Championship Points to the top finishers.
What’s notable about this event in particular is its timing. Dreamhack Valencia will throw players into the 2019 season this July.
As if having events just a couple weeks after Worlds was too soon, we have an event for next season happening less than a month before the final 2018 International, and two months before the 2018 World Championships.
Naturally, this has presented more questions than answers. Many players are unsure of their plans regarding this tournament. Levels of concern are currently wavering between “not worth it to travel” to “this could be too important to miss”.
The Timing and Location
A huge concern for a lot of players when considering this event will be the matter of when and where this tournament is taking place.
The timing is one thing, as this tournament is taking place just months before some of the biggest tournaments of this season. This creates a conflict of focus on tournaments for players. Does one want to become the 2018 World Champion and focus on this season’s remaining tournaments? Or do they want to get a head start on becoming the 2019 World Champion by focusing on the new season’s first tournament? Depending on how (or if) the Championship Point structure changes next season, missing out on an event this early could be costly.
Being held in Spain, this gives a massive advantage to European players for next season. It’s not unheard of for players in other nations to travel for regional-level events. Considering the timing, however, it may not exactly be a financially viable option for most.
On the other side of the spectrum, European players are planted into an awkward situation. Should European players give up their chance to compete in one of the most prestigious tournaments of the season just so they don’t fall behind the competition for next season? Or should they focus on preparing for Dreamhack Valencia, a closer and less expensive tournament? As stated above, this dilemma has provided more questions than answers.
The Championship Point Dilemma
The main point of anxiety when approaching this tournament is the matter of Championship Points. Announcing a tournament before we even know if the current Championship Point structure will change seems odd, to say the least. If next season’s structure remains similar to this one, this tournament becomes very important.
This is the case because of the “snowball effect” that large amounts of CP early in a season can do for a top player. If a player does well at a high-level tournament earlier in the season, they earn travel awards to other big events. They also earn more CP. This creates a cycle of CP acquisition, which can repeat until a player is well over the Championship Point requirement to secure their Day Two invite to the World Championships. The snowball effect has been exacerbated in this most recent season, as the best-finish-limit for regionals and international championships has been lifted. Players that travel are given the opportunity to earn ridiculous amounts of Championship Points.
But what if none of that remains for next season? Special Events could be reduced in their CP payout, and this might not be a big deal after all. Ideally, we’ll learn how next season works before players make plans to attend. However, The Pokemon Company’s track record in providing vital information in a timely manner, to put it lightly, isn’t worthy of praise.
Is This Tournament Worth It?
As of now, we have no idea. One deterring factor that players are sure of is the fact that the €35 entry fee doesn’t promise any cash prizes like a regional. And we’ve already been over the issue of tournament entry fees.
All we can do is hope that our questions are answered before this tournament happens so that players can decide whether or not this tournament is worth attending. The announcement of new tournaments coming to the circuit should be exciting. In this instance, however, we’re left with nothing but skepticism and anxiety over the implications of said tournament.
Including two of the season’s most high-profile tournaments, there is still a fair amount of the 2018 season left to play. For that reason, it’s perhaps too early for most players to already be looking towards the 2019 season.
That said, how will Dreamhack Valencia fare amidst the yet-to-be concluded 2018 season? Only time will tell.
Images from Dreamhack’s Official Webiste, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon Shuffle, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International.
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