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2023 Warzone winners


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. Most promotions have a local base from which they draw their participants. The PAA UK & IRELAND is more like a traveling circus - the show moves around the country & creates local champions who then naturally wish to extend their reputation to a national title & beyond.

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 was repeated at Monsters in Motherwell on 22nd April 2023 . At Devastating Devon on 29th April there were enough people to run standard pro weight classes but it would be lean - a vote was taken & it was 20 to 1 to do the Warzone instead. 

Warzone solves the problems of uncertain numbers or low attendance & provides opportunites for all standards of puller. Team mates might employ some strategy between themselves - usual rivals can try new approaches & in all three instances of running it we have found it to be smoother - less stress from eliminations seems to have resulted in less fouls & delay in starting the match.

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 Novice 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 - though that occasionally happens. 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.  Alternatively it could be the odd pin here & there. This time there is no mandatory break. Once the end of the list is reached the order is scrambled.  A winner emerges.  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 have a play off between those to determine who gets them. 

The minimum number of matches to get a medal is 15.

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 participating & 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. Similarly the under 75kg champion Connor Sale made it into the final at Motherwell & took wins on larger more experienced opponents. James Stewart noted that novices competing in the Warzone who would normally be 2 & out got a years worth of competition experience of ready go's in one session.

At Motherwell some of the new novices gave good accounts of themselves, gaining a few pins from the 15 or more extra ready goes they had - a usual amount to be experienced in 4 tournaments if usually knocked out immediately by double elimination.

Obviously pullers can decide to retire at anytime - but can't rejoin once declared out. If you miss your turn you're out for that round but can rejoin after the next scramble, so look at the list & your place in it before diving off to the bar or bog. 

Those who made the finals at the events & gained a medal or certificate know it was earned. Their opponents at the national championships are going to wish they got the same experience when they come up against them. 

James Wall won at Woodthorpe.

James Stewart won at Motherwell.

Lee Webber won at Devon. 

Who will be the next Warzone champion?

Due to the popularity of the format all PAA Regional Tournaments from now on will have Masters 50+, Ladies Open, Novice U80, U100 & 100+ categories with open Warzone for the Pros. Nationals will remain the usual weight classes. 

Warzone: Welcome
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