Team America Qualification System – Updates for 2015-2016 Season

Andrew Gonyo brings us news on the selection process for the American ETC team for this coming season!

team_americaAndrew Gonyo here: I’ve spoken off and on over the last year regarding updates I plan to make to the new American ETC Qualification System that I rolled out in 2014, and now I’m ready. The redesigned 2015-2016 systems’ goal was to open up qualification to a wider audience, and to make sure that everyone felt they could earn a spot if they worked hard enough at it. I think the ’14-‘15 System was a pretty big success – I saw a buzz of interest generated around qualifying, I got contacted by many events, and the qualifiers for the team were competing until the very end of the calendar year for their slots. Events like the Renegade GT, the 11th Company GT being pivotal events in pushing players over the edge, or dashing their hopes, was something we’d never seen before.

That being said, every system has room for improvement. I solicited feedback from folks at every event I went to, from commenters on Torrent of Fire and other blogs, and have been listening. The key issues that arose were:

  • etcqual_11st Place points are too high relative to 2nd – 5th
    • This year, the algorithm has been smoothed out to close the gap, and 2nd-4th will earn more points than in the first year, increasing the importance of consistent finishing [1/(Event Placing^0.66)*Sqrt(Event Attendance/50)].
  • 5th Place Points do not work well under swiss systems, which have become common
    • This year, only 1st – 4th will earn points
  • Team Events need to be tempered by singles finishes to ensure no one gets a free ride
    • To “unlock” and have team points contribute to your score, you must have at least one singles event finish that earned points.
  • The veteran system may not be necessary any longer due to the increased pool of players and awareness of the ETC within the US
    • The veterans system is removed for 2016, and the ETC is now treated as a points-earning event for each years team

Some of that may feel a bit restrictive, but be reassured – during this year’s qualification circuit, I didn’t rule out any events for any reason other than not getting to 50 players.

Explanation of Changes to the Formula

The tweak to the formula for this year is a minor one, suggested by a commenter on the ToF post I put up a few months ago. However, it has a big impact in making 2nd-4th placings more relevant, as last years’ system placed too much emphasis on 1st place finishes. The different between 1st and 2nd can be nothing more than a die roll, and I want to reward consistent, high finishes.

Old Formula: [1/(Event Placing)*Sqrt(Event Attendance/50)]

New Formula: [1/(Event Placing^0.66)*Sqrt(Event Attendance/50)]

Example Numbers for 50 player and 256 player events:



Changes to the Veteran Requalification System

The veteran requalification system has been something we’ve talked about changing on the team for years. No one is ever quite happy with it, but no one ever has a good way to change it to be fair to how current team members earn points when pairings are matchup based. Because of this, I’ll be removing the Veteran Requalification System for this years’ team. Instead, the ETC will count as a points-scoring event for the qualification circuit for team members. I see this doing a couple of things:

  • In the event the team wins or places highly at the ETC, they will all be rewarded equally. The player that took the fall every round and was thrown under the bus will be just as rewarded as an attacker that got favorable matchups and smashed people all event
  • In the event the team doesn’t place highly, we’ve all got to earn the right to come back and represent the country again.
  • The team will be incentivized to work harder and stay active in the off-season

The ETC will provide points, which I expect to handle like any qualifying event in the circuit. I’ll be discussing it with folks over the coming months to iron out any additional changes to the veteran requalification system, but the only things I’m still tinkering with are if I handle it identical to a normal season team event.

So, without any more rambling, here’s how the Qualification Circuit looks as of right now. Let me know if you think I’ve missed any events that have occurred and meet the criteria, and I’ll be sure to get them added. Currently team events are listed and points included for players who scored in them. However, as I said earlier, at the end of the year I’ll be checking all of those points, and players who did not have at least one singles points finish will not have their team points included. Also, keep in mind team events are capped in the attendance math at 128, despite typically coming in higher. This is to prevent them from dominating the qualification system.


If you’d like your event to be on the list for 2016, get in touch and get it on my radar – even if it’s after the fact, providing it checks out, it can count. There’s no cost (obviously) and the philosophy behind this system is and will stay – everyone has the same opportunity to qualify for the team. If you show up to tournaments and win, you’ve got the same shot as anyone else in the country.

Changes to Team Composition

Last but not least, I’m going to be changing how the team is chosen a bit more now that the veteran spots are essentially up for grabs. How I composed the team last year and how I will be composing it this year can be seen below.


Team Choice—During the first week of the new year, the top five players in the qualification circuit will be contacted. Together with the Captain, they will choose the last two members of the team. Details of how this will be conducted will be provided at a later date.

To close us out, a huge thank you to everyone who went out and supported the independent tournament circuit, and especially to the TOs and tournament staffs who put in their time, money, and effort to make all of this possible for the rest of us.

Andrew Gonyo, Captain America


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9 Responses to “Team America Qualification System – Updates for 2015-2016 Season”

  1. fluger April 7, 2015 1:20 pm

    Awesome. It’s too bad we can’t have teams split off for each state since a US state is about the size of a European country! That being said, since we have a bigger pool, we should have the best players (USA USA USA USA USA).

    I wonder if there’d be any kind of impetus for a similar tournament structure for a state vs state style ETC. Probably wouldn’t work though.

    • dr.insanotron April 7, 2015 1:50 pm

      they do have a Club vs Club event its called the ATC

      • fluger April 7, 2015 2:08 pm

        That’s super cool. I wish had a club. 🙁

      • Chip April 7, 2015 2:24 pm

        I’d love to see a 50-state challenge. Would need some serious administration getting that set. Feast of Blades was about as close as I’ve seen.

        • Dr.insanotron April 7, 2015 2:29 pm

          That would be awesome

          • fluger April 8, 2015 12:38 pm

            Washington State represent! 😀

            Although, come to think of it, most of the big players in the Pac NW are in Oregon. Hrmmm.

          • Kwodd April 8, 2015 8:15 pm

            Washington State Wins.

  2. dr.insanotron April 7, 2015 1:25 pm

    Great stuff. I like the new format

  3. Clove362 April 7, 2015 6:52 pm

    So if the U.S. is ever going to win the etc we have to have a radical design of how the team is chosen. Right now we effectively send an all star team of very skilled individual players. Unfortunately the etc is not really about individual skill. In pretty much every competition all star teams almost never beat a team that has good players that consistantly play together at the actual competition.

    If the U.S. wants to win this thing we would encourage people to put together their own teams and we would hold tournaments that follow the etc format (using their rules rulings) and send the team that does the best. I know it’s not really practical but it’s what I believe would actually produce a U.S. team that will win the event.