Organising any tournament in a new location runs the risk of not being supported. Everywhere is local to some & too far away for others. The safe option is to have two big classes - sometimes promoters do under & over 95kg, or it's the round 100. Of course, if you're on the lighter side of the 75kg pro class you're used to the shit end of the stick in regard to pulling the guys who are 94.9kg or 99.9kg in such instances. The big guys too often lament having to get hit quicker than they might be used to. Two losses & you're on the way home but there is always the side pulling & the pleasures of the good company. Then again, you make the journey & find there is only two others pulling in the class so you're taking home a medal but it's a bit of a disappointment because the competition you wanted wasn't there. Such are the considerations of the promoter.
I'm hoping Warzone rules make the journey more worthwhile for those who want a scrap & be part of an event where the winners will know they've been in a war.
The Warzone format was played with at UdezumouUK in January & was adapted slightly for the Woodthorpe Warzone Pro class on 25th Feb 2023. It's going to be repeated at Monsters in Motherwell on 22nd April 2023 . After that we'll look at how it went & see if it the format works or needs adjusting. If popular it could be the pro format for all the regional tournaments in the future or it could be a contingency in case of a poor turnout of numbers.
How does it work Dan? is what will be asked a dozen times if I don't explain it, so here goes...
Usual armwrestling rules apply to the actual matches - none of that has changed. Warzone is King of the table style - winner stays on (but not indefinitely) & there is no elimination for the losers which normally happens in the tournament format.
It's open weight format so the pullers can eat well & keep hydrated to be their best weight. Novices can enter but first timers at a tournament are advised to be cautious - pull your own class first & see how you fare. If you feel confident have a go with no expectation & keep yourself in safe positions. That last piece of advice works well for everyone actually.
There is a random draw for the order of pulling. First two pull, winner stays on for a maximum of four wins before they have a mandatory break. Why? So someone super doesn't automatically smash the ten behind him & miss the other killers waiting down the line. When the bottom of the list is reached, the order is randomised again so if you had two either side of you that were impossible to beat it is unlikely you face them again in the next rotation. The rests also vary - you might have the first match in the rotation & the last in the next. You could get selected to face the same opponent you had on the last fight straight away in the next. Or like me, the random draw puts you against Chris Rimmer three rounds in a row - proof at least that I don't fix the order. This continues until 6 pullers get ten pins & advance to the final stage.
Once ten pins are made, the puller is out until the final stage so the remaining pullers don't face them again until the final. There is no elimination unless a puller decides to retire from the competition. Once there are six finalists, the other arm is contested before the two sets of finals.
In the final stage it is a race to get 5 pins to win. Again, the draw order is random so the first puller could concievably win against the other 5 straight away. The winner is made. The next puller to 5 gets silver, the one after that who gets 5 wins bronze. Fourth, fifth & sixth places are decided by the amount of wins gained at that point - if there is a tie, we'll have a play off between those to determine who gets them.
The minimum number of matches to get the gold medal is 15. Silver & Bronze will be more. Those fighting for 4th 5th & 6th might have an easier ride, but they will know they have been in the battle.
At Woodthorpe there were 15 pullers in the right arm class & it took 81 matches to determine the finalists. The final 6 had a further 18 matches to find out what the place order would be.
If there were a large number of pullers we will split the group in two & run it over two tables with the top three of each combining for the final.
There is scope to run it shorter with a time limit - after say an hour, the rotation plays out & the numbers are counted with the highest amount of pins determines the finalists. The format can be adjusted depending on the numbers & time available.
Obviously this means more chances to pull for the entry fee. Those who would normally exit the tournament after 2 straight losses can try other tactics & get more ready go starts & better competition experience. Pullers saving themselves for a big match might participate & let themselves get pinned by a few killers they would otherwise war with, gaining some insight into the techniques they will face at a later date.
Stamina & recovery is going to play a part, so some of the bigger guys who would normally have a big advantage in an open tournament might find that reverses in later rounds. Have the smaller guys got any chances? At Woodthorpe PAA UK & IRELAND under 65kg champion Connor Zuccotti placed fourth in both finals. His speed & stamina gave a lot of problems to everyone so the bigger guys are getting their reactions sharpened & the fearless like him come away with extra tools to inflict upon opponents of their own weight.
Obviously pullers can decide to retire at anytime - but can't rejoin once declared out. If you miss your turn you're out, so look at the list & your place in it before diving off to the bar or bog.
It's going to be severe. James Wall was the first Warzone winner. Who will be the next?