By Quidditch Post Staff
US Quidditch has decided to re-implement a pool play system for US Quidditch Cup 9. In a release posted on the US Quidditch website last night, the organization announced that it had chosen to abandon the Swiss system after one year in favor of returning to pool play for the upcoming 60-team national championship. USQ also announced that it would award 16 automatic full bids based on last year’s World Cup performance. Each team that advanced to the Round of 16 secured one additional US Quidditch Cup bid for its region.
The Swiss system moves teams up and down in a tournament’s standings, meaning that teams will only play other teams of their same record as they move on, with initial matchups being the only predetermined games. Pool play is more rewards-based, and it seeds teams into places so that their better records or results give them more opportunities to play lower seeded teams.
USQ has stated that the decision to revert to pool play was motivated by a desire to reward teams for strong regular season performances and allow teams to know who they are playing in advance. USQ went through a long process before making this decision. “We read through all of our surveys and on-site and internet feedback from players, spectators, volunteers, and other members about the WC8 event,” said USQ Membership Director Katie Stack. “We then brainstormed as a staff all of the gameplay options for a USQ Cup 9 event, as well as the pros and cons for each option. After doing this, we ultimately determined a format we thought would be best for the league, the sport, and the event.”
Swiss Play was widely viewed as a success at USQ World Cup 8. USQ acknowledges that the tournament provided compelling, competitive, and safe matches, with high levels of gameplay prior to bracket play and an all-time low in serious injuries.
In future years, USQ states that it may implement a second tournament using Swiss style, but it is unclear at this point what that tournament may look like or what importance it may hold.
The announcement this morning that cross-border play can count towards gameplay requirements but not standings means that pool play could see isolated teams seed higher than those who have played more games. Some have suggested that the Swiss System allowed teams to flourish independent of their season record and on the strength of their work alone.
USQ also announced 16 automatic bids, one for each team that advanced to the Round of 16. In previous years, regions were awarded one bid for advancing to the Round of 16 and half a bid for advancing to bracket play. However, with the tournament shrinking to 60 teams, USQ chose to eliminate the latter. “[We] determined that a total of 20 auto bids in a 60 team tournament was more than we were really comfortable with,” said Stack.
The location of US Quidditch Cup is expected to be announced in the coming days; the two finalists are Columbia, South Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The dates of the tournament are also still unknown.