The acutal format of Natsu Koushien has changed! And boy is it a doozy.
No longer are the blocks of death. Instead, teams depending on where they initially draw, will redraw once their game is completed into a designated day pool. So:
- The team that drew #1 and all the first day's winners will draw into a pool for Day 7.
- Day 2 and 3 winners will draw into Day 8.
- Day 4 winners and winners of games 1 and 2 of Day 5 will draw into Day 9.
- Day 6 and 7 competitors will immediately draw for 3rd round.
- In 3rd round draw, all slots are open except for those playing in Day 9. Winners of those games will draw into Day 11 guaranteed.
- Winners of Day 10 will draw into first two games of Day 12 (Quarterfinals), and Day 11 will draw into the last 2 games of Day 12.
- And I believe as normal, winners of Day 12 will redraw for semifinals. But there will be a day off for all teams.
So why the change? Well, I think the issue is that with fixed draws until the Best 8, there was the chance for "groups of death" as it were. Strong teams could draw the same group and thus knock each other out in the early stages.
With the new format, there is still the chance after round 1, but even if strong teams drew lots close to each other, the redraw after each round lessens the chance that they'll play each other early in the tournament.
This format also makes sure that teams get rest days as often as possible before the schedule finally can't afford it. Teams are guaranteed at least one day of rest until the quarterfinals. After that, teams that play on Day 11 will play on the latter of Day 12 on no rest before having a day off for the semifinals.
While the format appears to be more equitable, it does probably mean one thing:
The chance that powerhouse teams will win Natsu Koushien will increase.
With powerhouse teams like Osaka Touin and Nichidai-san with increased chances of missing each other early on, it means they'll be feasting on lower level schools until then.
For instance, Osaka Touin will play one of the following schools in the 2nd round:
- Tokoha Kikugawa
- Oogaki Nichidai
- Arata Kougyou
And your chances of drawing Nichidai-san in the 3rd round, should both of them get there will either be 1 in 9 if they draw 7-2 (7th day, 2nd game), 1 in 8 if they drew 7-3, or even 0 if one of the prior schools drew Nichidai-san. And if they don't draw the same day in the 3rd round, and if I understood the rules correctly, they will not face each other until the semifinals at the earliest!
So the revised draw means that for the underdog schools, your chances of winning Natsu Koushien just got that much harder. *sighs*