Today I'm back with another philosophical question - is an ARG Circuit Series event equal to a Yugioh Championship Series event? This question is especially meaningful when it comes to evaluating the "worth" of a given person's premier event tops and/or wins - for example, is it "right" to say that one person having 8 event wins, being a mixture of 3 ARGCS and 5 YCS events, puts them ahead of another person with 6 wins that are solely from YCS events?
It's been a topic of debate ever since ARG announced the beginning of the Circuit Series last summer, and now, it feels like it's coming back into common discussion because of the beginning of the TCGPlayer YGO Open. I want you to keep in mind, however, that this is NOT a discussion of whether or not an ARGCS is a premier event; only whether the events are equal to each other in terms of competitive merit.
Although there are several different ways of measuring these tournaments, right now I personally feel that the question ultimately comes down to whether an ARGCS can be considered roughly on par with a YCS event in terms of difficulty. I don't have a definite answer to this question, but I want to share with you guys what I see in it. So, these are the points that I've gathered:
In general, an ARGCS is harder than a YCS due to:
1. The increased chance of playing against better players, probably due to the smaller attendance rates and the lure of better prize support drawing in more skillful players.
2. The increased chance of playing against the current meta, since better players tend to favor established strategies.
3. The top cut having no time limits, which decreases the chance of a worse player winning due to the clock prematurely ending a match.
4. The finals match being best of 5 instead of best of 3. This decreases the chance of losing to unfavorable variations, making it harder for the worse player to come out on top.
5. Intentional draws making it harder to top, because you effectively must have fewer overall losses in order to make it into a Top Cut filled with people with draws.
In general, a YCS is harder than an ARGCS due to:
1. The increased number of rounds, which causes a higher exposure to unfavorable variations that can make it harder to top.
2. The increased chance of playing against rogue decks, which tends to be the case because higher attendance rates will almost inevitably cause a higher yield of players that prefer to play outside of the meta. Rogue decks can steal wins partially due to the difficulty in predicting their appearance, which causes less preparation for them in contrast to established decks.
3. The lack of institutionalized intentional draws, which makes it harder to purposefully omit rounds from a tournament and, again, raises exposure to unfavorable variations.
4. The switch to draft format beginning in Top 16 (at least in the majority of events in the Western hemisphere). This requires you to effectively learn and play two formats for one tournament if you want to place highly or win.
As I said previously, I don't actually have a definite answer to this question yet. So really, this post is more or less just gathering my findings so that anyone reading this can more easily make the choice for themselves. If you have a (logical) answer to this question or just want to point out another factor that you think is worthy of consideration in either of the two lists, please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear what you guys think.