Attendance and Day Two in Oceania and APAC

APAC attendance

Overall, attendance is up in the APAC region. The same number of tournaments were run, with the addition of one Special Event. This means that it’s especially easy to compare attendance from last year to this year.

Let’s start in Australia and New Zealand. Last year, the region had the International Championships and two Regionals in Australia, and a third Regionals in New Zealand. This year, New Zealand exchanged its Regionals for a Special Event, and Australia received a third Regionals. This change means that Australia is still the only country in the entire rating zone with more than one Tier Two event. However, once we see how the Day Two race is going, we will see that it isn’t a huge advantage. It’s always disappointing when events are taken away or when someone loses something. The only loser in the region is New Zealand, who lost the cash from their event. However, their attendance dropped from 49 to 36, which means that cutting $4250 in cash prizing only meant a drop of attendance of 13 people. Fiscally, I wouldn’t want to spend $326 per person to show up at a tournament I was running!

Everywhere else, attendance is up. Perth Regionals grew significantly, as it was announced very last-minute last year and it is on the far west side of Australia. Last year, it was embarrassingly small at only 32 Masters. However, this year, it grew to a very respectable 71 Masters, which is much closer to being on par with other Regionals in the area. I believe that this is a big win for advocates of announcing tournaments farther in advance! The Internationals grew, and the newly established Melbourne Regionals was the first Australian Regionals in the cash era to have over 100 players, clocking in at a whopping 156 players. This means that we might only be a few years off from Australian Regionals hitting the low end of American or European numbers, and it hopefully means that the IC can grow more too.

The events in Australia and New Zealand are run by different organizers than the tournaments in the rest of the region. To my knowledge, every Tier Two event not in Australia or New Zealand is run or sanctioned by Adrian Foo, an employee of the Maxsoft distributor. I don’t personally know if Adrian does the decision-making for allocating and scheduling tournaments, or if Pokemon provides direction. What I do know is that Adrian shows up on as the organizer for all of these events, and that usually he is in attendance, although there are some situations in which he does not attend the event in person.

Most countries in the region have exactly one event: either a Regionals or an SPE. Taiwan has Organized Play for VGC, but no TCG Tier Two events are held there at the moment. I believe that the choice of whether a country gets a Regionals versus an SPE is based off of that country’s gambling laws and not by attendance. For example, last season's Indonesia Regionals got beaten out in Masters attendance by two separate SPEs, and it was still a Regionals this year.

This year, all of Adrian Foo’s events grew. The greatest gains happened at Malaysia Regionals, which grew from 135 to 173 Masters. Like I said about Brisbane, this Regionals shows that in a year or two, Malaysia could be hitting U.S.-level numbers, which is very exciting. The Thailand SPE also grew from 35 to 48 Masters, which is great growth for a country that is so new to Organized Play.

I included Dubai on the map because the event was sanctioned by Adrian Foo. I don’t believe that Adrian himself attended the event, but he was the organizer according to Players from Dubai attended Malaysia Regionals, but other than that there was no other overlap this season between Dubai players and the rest of Asia Pacific. I’m going to discuss Dubai more when I do my analysis of European attendance, and I’ll set aside the country in the rest of my discussion.

Cost of Travel in the Oceania region

The APAC region is unique in that most tournaments must be flown to, which means that in theory we should be able compare travel costs very well for every country. Tournaments in Europe or the United States don’t lend themselves quite as well to the analysis I have completed below, because many more Europeans and Americans can drive themselves to tournaments without a sea or an ocean blocking them.

What I wanted to know was if there was any particular country in the region in which it was easier or harder to race for Day Two. I created a travel chart including the cost to travel from any country in the region to another:

This chart’s purpose is to compare travel from country to country, so my goal here is not exact accuracy. I selected the origin and the destination on Google Flights, looked two to four months ahead and picked the lowest possible prices. Here are some potential problems with that methodology:

1. Some of these prices are only available on weekdays. Sure, maybe you can get from Kuala Lumpur to Perth for under $200, but maybe that is only if you fly on a Wednesday. That might also be a flight with a twelve-hour layover that you would want to avoid.

2. This also assumes that prices are similar from either direction. For example, I searched for round trip flights from Hong Kong to Jakarta and not vice versa. I’m assuming that those prices are similar.

3. This assumes that you don’t get any discounts on airfare or use miles for purchases.

4. This assumes that everyone in a given country lives in the city where their SPE is. If you live in the Philippines but you live five hours from Manila, then this chart won’t accurately predict your travel costs at all.

5. This chart does not include driving. It’s possible to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and possibly cut travel costs in half with a full car. Sydney <-> <->Brisbane and Sydney <-> <-> Melbourne are also both technically drivable. I believe that’s all of the possible driving scenarios, but this chart assumes that players fly instead of drive.

The cost to attend every event ranked by city of origin:

<-><->To my knowledge, no one on the APAC circuit attends every event. However, this year, events were spread out in a way that it was technically feasible, although expensive. If one was to travel the circuit this way, the best place to do it from would by the Malay Peninsula which includes both Malaysia and Singapore. The worst places to make this grind from are two Australian cities as well as New Zealand.
<-><->Kuala Lumpur, MY - $1883

Singapore, SG - $2025

Jakarta, ID - $2185

Bangkok, TH - $2209

Melbourne, AU - $2402

Sydney, AU - $2423

Hong Kong, HK - $2543

Manila, PH - $2544

Perth, AU - $2614

Auckland, NZ - $3482

Brisbane, AU - $3656

Traveling to everything while splitting Australia and New Zealand from Asia

This chart assumes that Australia and New Zealand are totally separate from the rest of the APAC region. So in this scenario, anyone in Australia or New Zealand would travel to all three Australian Regionals, the New Zealand SPE, and the IC. This is what many competitive Australian players do. As you can see, that is relatively affordable from Sydney or Melbourne, but impossibly expensive and/or frustrating from Perth or Auckland.

This scenario removes the possibility of Asian players traveling to Australia (except it still includes the Internationals), which is relevant because players from both Singapore and Malaysia attended Australian Regionals this season. Without the cost of attending extra Australian events, Malaysia and Singapore become the best jumping off locations to attend the rest of the Asian events affordably. 
<-><->Sydney, AU - $589

Melbourne, AU - $621

Kuala Lumpur, MY - $642

Singapore, SG - $738

Brisbane, AU - $762

Bangkok, TH - $806

Jakarta, ID - $822

Manila, PH - $883

Hong Kong, HK - $1021

Auckland, NZ - $1138

Perth, AU - $1156

Accessibility based on budget

This chart shows how many tournaments one could attend depending on their flight budget per tournament. For example, the first row shows that if you live in Jakarta and your flight budget per tournament is $100, there are three tournaments you could attend (this includes the local Regionals).

I’ve highlighted the most important numbers. With a flight budget of just $100, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia have a huge advantage in terms of event accessibility. The only Australian city that is comparable is Sydney. Extending the flight budget to $200 makes the disparity even greater. Each of the Asian countries has access to six or more events at this price, while Australian Cities have only three. Even when we move our budget up to $300, the disparity still exists. Most pitiful is Auckland, where a player would clearly have to spend a lot of money to make a run for Day Two.

I believe that I have laid out the different opportunities that each country had. Now let’s go country-by-country in terms of results.

How much did Day Two cost?

Before we get into this, I have a few disclaimers. First of all, I checked the leaderboards on July 2nd, 2018, so it’s possible that the NAIC or late-to-upload tournaments will change things. Secondly, the data is from Limitless, so I’m blind to T16 points from SPEs. Third of all, when computing travel cost, I could only use where people got points for cost of travel. If a player went to an event and went 0-5, my data just isn't good enough at this point to know if they attended or not.

I would like to again emphasize that these travel prices are low estimates. They are the lowest possible prices, so they could be cheaper than what players paid in reality.


Singapore currently has three of the Top Eight spots on the APAC leaderboards. In 1st place is Clifton Goh with 925 points, who according to Limitless has finishes from two Internationals (London and Sydney) and two SPEs (Thailand and Singapore). This means that according to the travel chart, Clifton may have spent $369 to travel the three tournaments in the region. This does include a travel stipend to Sydney that he may or may not have received. Clifton also earned $500 in cash from Sydney, so if he didn’t attend any other tournaments, he would have made money off of the season.

Joey Ho is in 5th place with 787 points from 1 Regionals finish (Melbourne) and 3 SPE finishes (Philippines, Thailand, Singapore). According to the chart, Joey may have spent $611 on travel. However, he won Melbourne Regionals netting him $2500 in cash, meaning that he most definitely made money off of the season.

Klive Aw is in 6th place with 762 points. He earned his points from a Regionals (Malaysia) and two SPEs (Philippines, Singapore). According to the chart, he may have spent only $154 on travel, which is extremely efficient. In addition, from his Regionals finish he netted $1,500.

Those are the three Singapore players in the Top Eight. Regionally, Singapore players benefit from having a Regionals that is very affordable to attend in Malaysia. However, only one of the above players had a big cash finish in Malaysia while the other two got their cash from Australia. Looking only at Singapore, the system does not appear to be pay-to-win because the players all came out on top money-wise. However, I don’t know how many tournaments these players paid to attend in which they did not receive any points.


Brent Tonisson is currently the highest-ranked player in Australia and 2nd in the region, but he has his points from three IC finishes (EUIC, AUIC, and LAIC) and one Regionals (Brisbane). At Australian tournaments, he received $1000 in cash, and the chart says that he only spent $99 on travel. That also does not include stipends.

Tait Tran is ranked 4th in the region and got his two finishes at the Sydney IC and Perth Regionals. Between the two, he earned $1,750 in cash. According to the chart, he may have spent $200 on flights, plus cost of travel to drive to Sydney twice (which is about a four-hour drive).

Angus Johnson is ranked 7th with 722 points and got his finishes at the IC, Perth Regionals, and the Auckland Special Event. This puts him up to $490 in travel and $1000 in cash prizes.

Lastly, in 8th place, we have Jordan Palmer who has 708 CP. He has a finish from the London IC, Melbourne Regionals, and the Auckland Special Event. He has at least $358 in travel costs solely from those tips, and $1500 from getting second in Melbourne.

In Australia, it costs a fair bit to travel. However, the fact that there are four Tier Two events that give out cash means that it’s easier to break even or make money from traveling. In addition, even though they have less Tier Two events in number, having the IC in the country gives out massive opportunities for points and cash.


If you’ve been counting, you would know that seven of the Top Eight spots have been spoken for by the combination of Singapore and Australia. However, the #3 spot in the region goes to Shane Chee of Malaysia. Shane has an IC finish in addition to having finishes from Melbourne Regionals, Malaysia Regionals, SPE Manila, SPE Bangkok, and SPE Singapore. This adds up to a whopping $744 in flight costs which is balanced out by the $1200 in cash prizes.

As you can see Shane has two finishes from Australia. However, it isn’t like Malaysia has a huge disadvantage in this regard. Singapore has three people in the Top 8 and Malaysia currently only has one. But scanning the chart, flight prices look similar out of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps the difference here is cost of living meaning that less Malaysians can grind tournaments than people from Singapore can.


The highest ranked Filipino player is ranked #11 on the APAC leaderboards. Patrick Ebio has 550 points from Malaysia Regionals as well as SPE Manila, SPE Singapore, and SPE Hong Kong. His estimated cost of flights for these finishes was about $325, and Patrick won $250 from the Regionals in Malaysia. There’s definitely a selection bias at the top that causes those players to break even or make money, while a player ranked 11th isn’t even breaking even.


The highest ranked Indonesian player is Tito Santoso with 467 points. His only Limitless finish is from SPE Manila, but those points must have come from somewhere! My guess here is that I have blind spots from kickers from Regionals, T16s at certain SPEs, and League Cups that fill in the gaps. Because of this I am guessing Tito’s cost of points to be $128. He has achieved Day Two for at least the last two years if not more, so it’s disappointing to see him fall short this year.

New Zealand

Unfortunately, it seems like it would be practically impossible to make Day Two from New Zealand without spending a lot of money. The highest ranked player from there is ranked #24. Shaun Leong has his points from the Sydney IC and the Auckland SPE, so his estimated cost of points is a respectable $218, and he earned $500.

Hong Kong and Thailand

Neither of these countries has very highly ranked players, and it looks like neither will have players representing them at Worlds. However, glancing at the travel chart, it doesn’t look prohibitively expensive to travel within the region. Thailand especially benefits from four events within the hundred-dollar range, so the fact that they don’t have players with invites is probably due to a lack of travel or underdevelopment in terms of skill. I hope that as more competitive players enter the scene in these regions, more people are able to qualify from there or make a run for Day Two.

Comments on the system and structure

APAC is a region that uses and leverages their SPEs almost perfectly, in my opinion. The cost of travel is such that it is feasible to travel to multiple events. However, excessive travel is not necessary, shown by the fact that few players have an excessive number of finishes.

The two Regionals in Asia give chances to earn cash, which avoids a pay-to-play scenario. The Top Eight in the region is largely dominated by two countries, but this doesn’t necessarily point to a broken system. Instead, cost-of-living has a real effect, and a severe lack of League Cups probably has a large effect as well.

If I had one recommendation, the current weak spot in the system would be spacing out and timing events. The large majority of all Tier Two events held in the region occurred in 2018. Really, they should have been spaced out over double the time. However, this year is already a huge improvement over last year, so it looks like things are moving in the right direction.

Other than scheduling, I think that the circuit in APAC is looking very strong. I hope that they continue to avoid a pay-to-play environment and work on making sure that the circuit is fair for all.


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