Monday 15 November 2021

Short comments on CTWC2021


Both entering level 29 (aka the kill screen...or the second transition) with 1.15m, Richy proceeded and scored another 200k using the rolling technique. (Source: CTWC Twitch stream)


CTWC2021 has just concluded. Pretty low profile comparing to to last year. Although admittedly I had time last year to watch the whole tourney due to some coincidences.

Still I got the chance to have a quick glance on some of the group stage fights of those veterans, and of course caught the live stream for the finals today. Dog performed so consistently that although we found his opponents sometimes outperforming him he met no real troubles in overall. Now a reigning champion, but it's hard to tell whether he will win as well next year, and the 7 times champions Jonas will always be the legend to be remembered.

So, anything special about CTWC2021 comparing with the 2020 ones?

Many focused on how rolling would destroy hypertappers (the era of DAS is for sure gone forever), but the tournament showed that rolling has a long way to go before such style starts to outperform in general.

The output of rolling has been inconsistent, as shown by the performance of rollers in their daily practices or even during the qualifiers. At best you see Richy scoring another 200k+ post level 29 and at worst you see others topping out at 100k. The aggressiveness brings you survivability in the worst condition, but they do not always bring you the cleanest of the boards.

That leads to our second observation: hypertappers are still evolving in consistency. When hypertapping was first introduced it was sought as a way to handle bad situations from level 19. Then it was used to grind a little more from level 29. But people realized the most efficient way of hypertapping is to get aggressive in regular (level 1-28) gameplay for more Tetrises -- but not overly aggressive. What we observed this year is a big step by hypertappers edging closer to optimal efficiency, a balance between scoring and consistency. Dog in particular showed that top level hypertapping could reach 1.1-1.2m regularly which would always give you at least a 3-1 if not 3-0.

We would expect the same development trail for rollers. In the experimenting stage they get to solve bad situations from level 19, then the second step is to grind a hell lot more from level 29. Rollers this year already grind quite a lot out there but it's just not consistent enough. The same goes for rolling at lower levels. They have not been able to control as precise as hypertappers so their Tetris efficiency is dragging them down, so they need to devise a way to score properly as well. The strategy could be completely different from hypertapping strategies though -- the frequency and accuracy of making inputs makes the crucial difference. 

As an intermediate solution, some rollers took a hybrid approach using hypertappings before level 29. This is a sensible way of playing considering that hypertapping could probably perform close to optimal with hypertapping already so there is no need to take the risk. The only problem is to transform into the rolling stance during the light speed gameplay.

How long would it take before rollers start to boss over hypertapping in both the pre-29 and post-29 phase? This is hard to tell. It took hypertappers a few years before it finally sentenced the death of DAS, and the improvement made these two years after Joseph first won the tourney, is still significant. It may not take as long for rollers due to higher exposure to public, higher attention as a game and more top level fights held regularly and so on, but it will take some time for sure.

Rollers or not, the overall performance still improved by a lot. Remember what I describe the Koryan match as the most epic ever game with 1.1m each? Well, we have 1.2m each games this year and a hell load of 1.1m each games. Still I think that battle last year remains as the more dramatic ones, but higher scores are higher scores. We observed a major performance boost this year, and I expect the same to happen next year. The only uncertainty is that when lockdown is over for major countries, will the tournament be held completely online anymore? Does that affect out-of-America players? This is even a harder question to answer, but we will see next year.

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