Event number four! Crait, based in New York, United States, on 3.-4. October. The timezone is easily playable for a huge playerbase and we see a massive 264 lists. The top 32 will get an invite to Coruscant and can also fight in the cut for more fame and glory.
Also, more Spamtex.
This time we see a big shift though, and some expected lists finally break through while others went missing. It’s definitely an interesting event!
Adding another ring, even though it starts to get confusing. I want to highlight a few things here, going counter-clock wise through the factions. Rebels are very consistent with their player base. 16, 18, 19, and 17% of participants. It seems no matter where we go, players like the rebels. Imperials on the other hand lack the dedicated playerbase. The numbers recovered a bit again and went back up to 15% of lists. Scum is now at the lowest of these four events. Resistance, like Rebels, seems very stable. Surprising to me is that they are apparently rather unpopular at only 10% of players now. But oh boy Republic has a comeback! The LAAT has breathed some desperately needed air into the faction and it exploded from just 3% to 16%! First Order, like Rebels and Resistance, is very stable. It has a small increase, but whether that’s due to the Xi or just fluctuation is impossible to tell. Finally, Separatists. The objectively best performing faction dropped massively and we are now back to numbers that look more familiar. Maybe players are tired of Spamtex themselves, but we see the decrease.
If you are interested in the numbers for all four events, here they are in a table. The total number of lists is 777, and they fought for 112 spots in cut.
More important than attendance is cut conversion though. Top 32 out of 264 lists is a base rate of 12.1% and as such the lowest so far. That makes this event the hardest to advance for a player. We would expect 5 in cut for Imps, Scum, Republic and FO, 6 for Rebels, and 3 each for Resistance and Separatists if the factions were perfectly balanced. Of course, small fluctuations can happen easily.
Oh boy, the Empire and Republic crashed hard! Scum and FO are very close to the expected value, Rebels and Resistance is slightly above. And Separatists… don’t we know it already? Spamtex continues to dominate.
Combining all events gives us a more solid picture. Overall, Rebel, Republic, Scum and FO are underperforming. Imperials still benefit from early dominance at Corellia and Dathomir, but they are losing ground. Resistance is doing a bit better than expected. Separatists should have had 13-14 players in cut. Instead, they had more than double at 29.
Looking at cut conversion for all four events, we see the following in Fig. 5 and this graph like last time works the following way. Each event has a different base conversion rate. To account for that, I subtract the base conversion rate from the conversion rate of a faction in a given event. For example, Rebels at Crait had a 15.2% conversion rate, the base was 12.1%. That gives us a delta of 3.1% and puts them above the zero-line because they did slightly better than expected.
A second, really important note I want to make here is the dominance of Separatists and its effect on the zero-line. What I call our expectation is only true for a balanced meta. In an imbalanced meta, which we undoubtedly have, the expectation for everything but Spamtex is lowered! That means the negative but very similar totals (light blue) for Rebels, Scum, Republic and FO indicates that they might be doing just fine if we had no Spamtex. It also means that Imperials and Resistance would otherwise be a bit concerning.
I see recovery for Scum (twice around 0 now), Rebels (first time positive value), and a positive trend for FO. Republic and imperials are on a downwards trend (remember the outlier at concord dawn for Republic!). Resistance is alternating. Jumping a bit ahead, that might indicate that Rey is fine but heavily matchup- and player dependent. At least that would be my interpretation.
A friend asked me a very good question: How well do Seperatists do without Spamtex? So I split Separatists into Spamtex (My definition: a 6ship list with at least 5 Nantex) and non-Spamtex. The results are mind-boggling. I did that for all four events.
And looking at the Δconversion rate makes it outright ridiculous:
Corellia had 100% of Spamtex advancing. That gives a plus of 100% – 15% (the base conversion of the event) = around 85%. You can see how well balanced non-spamtex lists actually are. This is the maybe saddest conclusion from these four events: Finally, Separatists get some traction. And immediately they get outdone by a single list that went down 48 points in one go.
Opinion time: Based on this, I entirely understand it if tournament organizers simply ban the ship. The effect of Nantex is two-fold: more middling players will suddenly crush other middling players. And very good players are nearly unstoppable as it takes other really good players with very good lists and possibly a bit help of Lady Luck to beat them. That can directly lead to a feeling of unfairness and, as result, suck out fun of an event.
Personally and as general rule, I want to play the hardest matchups online to do well offline. With lack of offline events, it is a bit less motivating now.
Back to numbers, specifically the top32.
First Order has 4 lists. Half sport the new Xi Shuttle with Malarus, the most promising pilot of the new ship. Particularly Malarus+Terex with 6 Epsilons seems to be a crazy good list. Trading Kylo for 3 of them seems to work, though personally I’m skeptical. Holo with the 3 Silencers continues to do well – this is one out of just players bringing that list. The other one, Holo with Tavson and Thanisson is a good idea. I saw that with Kylo, but Holo as one of the best pilots seems to do that just as well.
The Galactic Empire relies heavily on Sloane. I am surprised that a Lambda is a good carrier. But maybe it just does not matter all that much.
The Galactic Republic has just one in cut, but it is a good one! Warthog, an ARC, and 4 Gold Troopers. A lot of health to chew through, and no initiative kills for an opponent.
Rebels continue with Wedge and large ships. Han+Leia is beautiful but might be a bit of a fluke because I don’t understand how that list did so well when a Dash does not. Wedge Luke and Norra is a trenchrun that does well?! Again, I don’t get how. Wedge Hera Jan played on stream in a really close match, and I can see how devastating that list must hit. Actually, I played against it in early 2019 already and losing an A-wing a turn was not fun! The other 3 lists are all QuadWookie. They finally made their way into the cuts. 12 players tried the list after Drew Brody did so well with it at Concord Dawn. In any other meta, we would call that a solid conversion!
Resistance continues to be the REYsistance. All five lists had her. Three times the extremely fun ReyAA aka ReyWings list. Once the in my opinion better but more difficult ReyAAA version. And finally, Joshua made cut with a Starfortress! He played a game on stream and it was awesome how well he leveraged his tools!
Scum continues to rely on Boba in 3/5 lists. BobaNym is a good metacall that made a splash last event. Dengar continues to do really well, and 2 out of 6 total Dengars advanced. I want to point out that only those two also had the Punishing One title. We also see a list with 6 Scyks! Seems like the Fangs are not really necessary when you have marksmanship and autoblasters. It is a different approach that evidently works.
Separatists had Spamtex, of course, and a single gun ship made cut. That is not for lack of trying. Indeed, 17 non-Spamtex lists tried and only 3 advanced. One of them notably has 3 Nantex anyway. A word on the Spamtex, we see now that the players accept that the 6 Nantex version is the best, and that the bid can be sufficiently fine-tuned with the upgrades. No more Gorgol, no more Chertek, just PAAces and crackshots.
I thought about digging through the different Spamtex-Matchups, but at this point there is not much to be added. Maybe surprising that ImpAces are basically gone. Only three tried, none succeeded.
Notable absences are aggressors (one player tried the AggressorSloane). A full ten players took the world champ advice and tried Dash, but none made it to cut. Which reminds me of that time in 1.0 when both I in my second ever tournament, finishing as second-last, and the winner of the event both used the same list with Dash. It is definitely not a list that anyone can pick up and do well with.
I will be rooting for the A-wing lists in the cut which should start in a bit more than one hour from posting this. Good luck to all players!