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US Masters: Northwest Qualifiers

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Too long? Skip to the bottom for the quick summary.

I'm pleased to present the qualification system for the Northwest Region's US Masters. First the rationale, and then the system. Feel free to skip this bit if you only care about the numbers :-)

We wanted to use a rankings system to allow players multiple chances to improve their score, and to help ensure engagement in the tournament scene throughout the year by all players. We also needed to acknowledge that we are partway through the year, we have a comparatively small number of GTs and a community that isn't terribly used to traveling, and we have some very well attended one-day events.

We also wanted the possibility of being able to win your way in just by winning a single tournament, but we don't have the size and depth of tournaments to make this a mainstay of the qualifiers, so we came up with a way that involved something of a wild card system.

One final note: this is the system for this year. We expect it to evolved for next year, once the word is out that the folks from the region are competing at the Masters.

The System

So, we have 10 spots to fill. How do we do it?

First off, everyone who wants to go to Masters must play in both one 2-day event and one 1-day event. You can compete in as many as you like, and we'll take your best score from each category to give you a total score. Everyone is then ranked based on their total score. The top 8 will automatically qualify for a spot in the US Masters.

At the end of the year, we'll run a 2-day tournament with two sets of competitors. The first set of competitors are the top 8 I just mentioned: they will be duking it out against each other for the title of Northwest Champion. For everyone else at the tournament, they will get a chance to compete for the last two spots of the 10, in a field clear of the top 8 players in the region. The 9th spot will go to the winner of the tournament, and the 10th spot will go to the person who has not yet qualified that has the highest overall tournament score after the GT. (If we decide to continue with this method ongoing, the location of this tournament could rotate, depending on availability of organizers and venues).

Rankings are calculated using a formula that was created primarily by Tom Weber, a researcher at the UW (and Beastmen/Chaos Dwarf player from the Dimensional Cascade podcast). I've posted his explanation of how the tournament scoring works  as the first comment after this post.

The last piece that remains is to maintain a list of tournaments whose scores can be used to earn rankings points. Given that the primary driver behind the US Masters is to help engender a bigger and better community in each region, we want to include as many tournaments as possible that are held in the Northwest. This list should grow and we want to lend our help, contacts and expertise to anyone who wishes to run a tournament so that it can be used to earn Masters Points.

If you know of a tournament that is being run that should be on here, please let me know ASAP. I know there are several tournaments that are still in the works, and I've pencilled in one. The list only includes tournaments that have yet to occur, with the exception of Black Sheep Brawl which was already advertised as being a qualifier for the Masters (albeit in the old West Coast Region). Next year we will look to help grow the tournament scene and include more of the existing tournaments - this is just to get us off the ground, and we know it's not perfect.

One Day

  • Sparkle Party Deathmatch 3 (WA, Apr)
  • Sparkle Party Deathmatch 4 (WA, Jul)
  • Ordo Fanaticus Open (OR, Sep)
  • To be named event, Bellingham, second half of the year

Two Day

  • Black Sheep Brawl (OR, Feb)
  • Wet Coast GT (BC, Jun)
  • Sparkle Party Deathmatch 5 (WA, Oct)
  • NW Masters (WA, Dec (or early Jan))


Your best 2-day tournament result and your best 1-day tournament result will determine your rank.
Top 8 ranked players automatically qualify, and are invited to a play-off to determine NW Master.
Winner of the NW Masters wins the first wild card spot.
Second wild card spot goes to top ranked player who has not already qualified after Masters.

Scores can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/NWMasters.

Questions, comments, rants and other feedback all welcomed!

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From Tom, our resident math genius.



Each of your tournament performances will be converted into a score (called the T-score) between 0 and 1. This number will reflect both your ranking in that tournament, and the size of the tournament (seeing as doing well in tournaments with more players is more impressive). T is therefore a product of two functions, each of which also varies between 0 and 1. R will reflect your ranking, and S will reflect the size of the tournament:

T = R*S

R is a very simple function that represents where you finished within the field. If r is your actual rank in the tournament (i.e. position 1, 2, 3...) and c is the total number of competitors then

R = (c-r+1)/c

Which is to say that finishing 1st always gives R=1, finishing mid-pack gives R close to .5, etc.

S is determined by the size of the tournament, and will therefore increase as c (the number of competitors) increases. However, there comes a point where increasing the size of the field becomes less important! That is to say, winning a 30-man event is MUCH more impressive than winning a 10-man event, but winning a 70-man event is only slightly more impressive than winning a 50-man event. Therefore, S should increase less sharply when c gets large. We also want to make sure that winning a moderate sized tournament (say 20-man) is rewarded more than coming mid-pack in a large tournament (say 50-man), since wins are meaningful. To account for these considerations we will choose some number of players that represents a 'moderate size' (which we will define as n) and then say:

S = 1-exp(-c/n)

This function has the desired characteristics described above. All that is left to do is choose a value for n wisely. It should probably be 20-25. (GWH: after some analysis of tournament sizes in the region, and looking at a bunch of possible combinations of scores, we decided on 20 to create as fair and competitive field as possible given the size of our GTs).

With R and S calculated, simply multiply to get your T-score. For each player, we will then choose your best T-score from a 1-day event (we'll call that T1), and your best from a 2-day event (T2) and combine into your US Masters score (the final result, which we will call the M-score). All that is left to do is weight the two T-scores by the number of games played in the events (3 for a 1-day, 5 for a 2-day), because playing more games is a more rigorous way of determining the quality of a player:

M = 3*T1 + 5*T2

And there you have it! Your entire tourney season boiled down to a single score, which will be used to assess whether you can cut it in the US Masters!


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BC folk are basically in North Bellingham, so I'd say yea. We're all one region, the border is a pretty small obstacle.


Thanks for doing this! The requirements seem solid, and encourage folks to play in multiple events across the region. I also like how it leaves it up to locales how to determine winners (comp, mix in soft scores, etc.). Sounds like it'll be plenty fun!

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