Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

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Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:41 pm

So it's been a few years since I've seen discussion of a comprehensive "Top 10" list of sets or teams. In particular, I've been thinking recently about this list of the best college sets of a bygone decade. For reference:

Matt Weiner's list of the best college sets of 2001-2009 wrote:#10) ACF Regionals 2006
#9) The July Crisis 2008
#8) Minnesota Undergraduate Tournament 2008
#7) Michigan MLK 2006
#6) Chicago Open 2005
#5) ACF Fall 2007
#4) ACF Nationals 2007
#3) Teitler Myth Tournament 2005
#2 ) ACF Fall 2008
#1) ACF Regionals 2001
Honorable mentions: Chicago Open 2006, ACF Regionals 2008, NAQT SCT 2007, ACF Nationals 2002, the January 2009 edition of Terrapin, ACF Fall 2009, ACF Fall 2004


If we were to redo this lists today (and remove the "of the last decade" criterion), what sets from that list, if any still hold up by today's standards? Which of the sets on the old lists should be bumped off, and which sets should replace them? What's the oldest set that still holds up against today's stringent standards of good quizbowl writing?

Just to get discussion moving: I'd almost certainly put EFT 2008 and ACF Regionals 2008, 2010, and 2011 close to the top of the list. I'd argue that MLK 2006 and ACF Fall 2007 haven't aged super-well by comparison (having practiced on them recently), but I'm not as familiar with the other older sets. In my opinion, the Seth era of improved NAQT editorship might let a recent SCT (probably 2012) into the list as well. I share 2009-Matt-Weiner's concerns about dropping too many hard tournaments on a list like this, but certainly ACF Nationals 2010 and 2012 were both acclaimed as very solid tournaments, and It's a bit tough picking the best Minnesota Open (probably 2010?) but the best MO probably deserves a shot as well. I'm a fan of the ever-controversial VCU Open 2011 as well. If I had my way, I probably wouldn't put any subject tournaments on a list of this sort (not because they're all bad, but because they're usually a pretty far-flung comparison from all-subject fare). What are others' thoughts?

There was also this list of what were the best high school teams ever, circa 2008 just before the national championships of that year. For reference:

2008 Matt Weiner wrote:1. Thomas Jefferson 2005
2. Thomas Jefferson 2004
3. Maggie Walker 2007
4. Dorman 2003
5. Richard Montgomery 2002
6. Richard Montgomery 2006
7. State College 2001
8. Detroit Catholic Central 2001
9. Maggie Walker 2004
10. Lakeside 2005
Honorable mentions: Raleigh Charter 2006, State College 2005, Irmo 2002, St. John's 2002


This one seems a lot harder, because it's easy to just drop in the national champions of the past few years and bump everyone else off, but there are bigger concerns. As a meta-question, has the game changed too much (for the better) for high school teams of the past, I dunno, five years to even be compared to teams that came before? I'm unsure how meaningful it is to ask questions like "if you sent Ladue '13 and TJ '05 played each other through a time machine, who would win?" because question style, content, and "canon" trends have shifted a tremendous amount in eight years. It's easy to assume that a cloned set of TJ '05 players "would be" as dedicated at studying the modern game as they were at mastering the game-circa-2005 (or that time-traveling-Ladue-'13 would be flummoxed enough by topics that go unasked today but were once commonplace), but it's impossible to falsify assumptions like those. Also, it's probably the case that most 3rd, 4th, and 5th/"T-5th' place teams today (if not every superplayoff team and others further down the standings) put in the kind of effort that used to be evident only in champions and runner-ups; you could certainly say that, for example, Seven Lakes '11 or Hunter '09 would give any team on the old list a run for its money. To avoid all these issues, we could take "top high school team" to mean "top high school team given the era it played in," or define "top"ness as "degree of closeness to unifying HSNCT and NSC in a single year while going undefeated at both", but those might have downsides that penalize more recent teams.

The quizbowl-historian in me is also Interested to hear that the 2001 NSC was the NSC "at its hardest difficulty level ever" and that the Maggie Walker-TJ '04 NSC finals match was "the greatest game ever played" (in Matt Weiner's estimation). Do those things still hold up? I'm really interested to hear from folks of that era (particularly Matt Weiner) about games that might have surpassed that one in excitement and/or "great"ness.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:48 pm

In response to your "top 10 best sets" prompt, my list of the top collegiate sets of the past five years is:

1. ACF Regionals 2010
2. Minnesota Open 2010
3. VCU Open 2011
4. Chicago Open 2011
5. VCU Open 2010 (Saturday)
6. EFT 2008
7. Penn Intergalactic
8. ACF Fall 2008
9. ACF Nationals 2010
10. ACF Regionals 2011

These top four choices are probably fairly uncontroversial as selections, even if their ordering might seem a surprise. ACF Regionals 2010 was the best overall Regionals thus far, I think. Minnesota Open 2010 and Chicago Open 2011 are the best hard tournaments of our era. The former is more consistent, and remains the standard by which I've measured every subsequent hard tournament. VCU Open 2011 is one of the few tournaments to pull off the majority of its "creative" ideas and make them seem rewarding and fun.

The choices after this are where I expect people will vary more: VCU Open 2010 (Saturday) was an excellent tournament that seems oddly forgotten in the wake of the differing responses to the creativity of 2011. And I think it did good work in advancing the cause of author tossups clued from very few works, and hard tossups on easy answers. I think EFT 2008 was the best easy tournament I've played, although I'm perhaps prejudiced because it was the first quizbowl tournament I ever played period, and thus earns a special soft spot in my heart. It was better difficulty-controlled than subsequent EFT's and was more consistent in question quality than most ACF Fall's. Penn Intergalactic was not quite as good as MO 2010, but was nearly as good, and was still better than all ACF Nationals I have played. ACF Fall 2008 was the best ACF Fall I've seen, ACF Nationals 2010 was the best Nationals, and ACF Regionals 2011 the second best Regionals of our era.

By today's standards, I'm not sure how many of the original Matt Weiner Top 10 could topple any of the Top 10 I listed. The quality of quizbowl writing has clearly improved dramatically. However, an interesting question might be: is that how a Top 10 should be structured, or should it take into account the very different climate in which the original set was written, and adjust for how good the set was relative to its context?

Personal Honorable Mentions (sometimes sets that miss greatness nonetheless feature individual contributions worth recognizing):

- Ted's literature questions for Harvard International 2010: HI 2010 was not a great set overall, but Ted's contributions to it were very solid. These days, Ted is probably better known as a quizbowl polemicist than as an editor. Whether or not one agrees that Ted's conception of canon is the only way to go, his portions of this tournament prove that it is certainly viable option. Also, often lost in the furor over Ted's arguments about canonicity are his eminently sensible arguments about good middle-clue selection. His literature clues in this set were a good demonstration of this in practice: well-chosen plot points, clued with the necessary level of clarity and detail to make them consistently buzzable.
- Magin's editors' questions for ACF Nationals 2013: Perhaps the major problem with this year's Nats for me was that the editors' packets felt very different from the rest of the tournament. The submitted packets mostly cleaved to a traditional conception of Nats, with almost exclusively hard answer-lines, but the editors' packets pushed in two directions at once: there were quizbowl-canon-expanding but yet real-world-important answer-lines (e.g. Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony) alongside hard tossups on hyper-canonical answer-lines (The Iceman Cometh). Those Sunday rounds were really an "anything goes", where that "anything" genuinely included all levels of the quizbowl canon from the easiest to the hardest, juggled pretty expertly. The fact that this new flavor of Nats was only really present during the Sunday rounds made the experience of the whole tournament somewhat uneven, but to play even just a half-day of well-written questions of this kind was exciting.
- Matt Jackson's editorship of MAGNI: Due to a couple of community concerns,this is not on my list of top ten tournaments. Looking back at the discussion, the only strong objections against it were that there was insufficient pronoun use in the tossups, and that Auroni and I did not write good lead-ins for some our painting tossups. However, MAGNI is the only non-Regionals tournament that has been cited multiple times as a benchmark of regular difficulty. This was in no small part due to Matt Jackson, who was the closest thing this set had to a head editor, and who was responsible for zealously driving down the difficulty of many questions proposed the other writers/editors. We all did good work on this set, I think, but I feel that he is more responsible for the most-praised aspect of the tournament than the rest of is, and this on his first and only collegiate editing job, no less!
- Penn-ance: This tournament is here for its symbolic value. It is not one of the great tournaments of our era, though it's certainly a good, solid effort. However, it is only major recent instance (that I know of) of a team of writers being (justifiably) roundly criticized for producing a bad set (Penn Bowl 2012) and then taking those criticisms to heart and producing a good set as recompense. We always hold this kind of progress as the ideal goal of tournament discussion. And I'm sure all of us who have written/edited enough can attest to how the process has helped us improve. But rarely do we get a clear example of same writing team growing from criticism in such a short time. Also, I was there for the playtesting and can attest to the fact that they took the feedback they got there too very seriously, and transformed the set based on those comments. As a positive testament to why, in spite of the unproductive nature of some of the bickering on these boards, community feedback is a very good thing that improves the quality of the game, I think Penn-ance deserves some recognition.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:45 am

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:In response to your "top 10 best sets" prompt, my list of the top collegiate sets of the past five years is:

1. ACF Regionals 2010
2. Minnesota Open 2010
3. VCU Open 2011
4. Chicago Open 2011
5. VCU Open 2010 (Saturday)
6. EFT 2008
7. Penn Intergalactic
8. ACF Fall 2008
9. ACF Nationals 2010
10. ACF Regionals 2011

Interesting that you don't have a single tournament from the past two years on here.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Ike » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:05 am

On the one hand, I agree with some of what John has said. I personally think that Minnesota Open 2010 is the most consistent of the hard tournaments and that ACF Regionals 2010 is the best regular-difficulty tournament I have played, with MAGNI being a close second. For all of the other tournaments on this list I either had a lot of fun at them or thought them well-executed enough to deserve their inclusion if you evaluate them by John's standards.

On the other hand however, I think John's list suffers from blind spots. For example, science is routinely not even considered for tournaments on this list, presumably because John isn't a science player. In my opinion, MO 2010 had more consistent science than 2011: the latter had questions on Emil Post, metallicity, and the FT theorem that don't make for the best tossups. As another example, I personally thought the science at CO 2013 was much better than at CO 2011, even if it wasn't perfect. I personally liked ACF Fall 2008 over any of the other ACF Falls as well, but that's also because in recent years the science at ACF Fall has been laced with so many errors, ambiguous clues and just downright lies that cause a player not to buzz.

I also think hard tournaments have different agendas, and John's list doesn't seem to incorporate that. MO and CO are two entirely different beasts. John, I read through your post about CO 2013. While I probably agree that Marivaux and Trevor are too hard to come up in one packet, I think a lot of the reason why I didn't knock the tournament for having those clumping of questions is that I played on a team that was able to get them: We didn't pick up Arden of Faversham or Marivaux, but we did get Trevor, Cavalcanti, Swamplandia!, Kramer and many of the other hardest lit tossups in the set. To me, one of the great things about playing CO is that my teammates would always surprise me with some obscure thing they would know that I would have no chance of getting - while I did the same on different questions. I don't know how many of those questions you were able to get, but I think that if you were playing with a team that did get them, you wouldn't notice them as much, which leads me to believe that saying one tournament is better than the other is largely dependent upon your tournament experience and what the tournament is trying to achieve.

Lastly, I think these lists are predicated on so much on what one person says, and then everyone else just follows suit rather than try to think for themselves. I think MAGNI needs to be ranked on this list. John, it seems to me that you object because of some of the painting criticism, which I think is mostly invalid. For example, talking about the tossup on Masaccio that Ted claimed had a worthless lead-in, I actually buzzed on that clue (or led it bleed into the next clue,) because it described a Madonna with a baby that is ugly. In class we talked about that exact painting and how Masaccio was notoriously bad at drawing babies, so it was buzzable to me. Many of the other painting tossups that I recall were fine, and that ultimately, the painting was very good in my eyes.

Also, there are so many things in science that MAGNI got right: in the physics, all of the clues were stuff that people actually study, rarely wrong and easy to parse. Speaking as a generalist for bio and chem Auroni did a fantastic job. Very few tossups clobbered you with clues that are only useful to an expert, I was actively engaged on almost every tossup. I can't think of any tournament in recent memory that actually also has that quality. The computer science was really well done, as was the rest of the other science as far as I can tell. If you notice, some of the complaints that were discussed about MAGNI's science was Will Butler claiming erroneously that no one studies quantum computers in class and Eric saying some clues were too easy in his topics. Even if you accept Eric's arguments about how the particle-in-the-box leadin was too easy, this set's science got so many things right, and it's a shame that no one holds it up more.

Last thought: Most of us are incapable of completely judging a set for its full value, and that ultimately, what a set offers to you completely determines what metrics you are using to evaluate a tournament. I personally don't think there is value in ranking one tournament over the other, except for an intellectual exercise for social discussion, I will always treasure what I have learned from Sun N Funs and the notes I took about various things I learned about in the various Andrwe Yaphe edited ICTs, moreso than what is objectively good about any of the tournaments on the list.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:22 am

I don't know if MAGNI makes the list, but I read through it again recently and it was far better than I'd remembered. I think I'd stand by most of the individual criticisms I made - music questions being more top-heavy than the rest of the set, paintings that could be better described, significant variation in hard parts - but they weren't really game-changing flaws. On the other hand, it actually pulled off a 7-line cap and had a very reasonable gradation in clue difficulty, such that the second line of a tossup was almost always worthwhile and meaningful rather than randomly chosen. I think I'd put ACF Regionals 2011 above it due to an intangible "excitement" factor, but the two are very similar in conception and execution.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:40 am

Ike wrote: On the other hand however, I think John's list suffers from blind spots. For example, science is routinely not even considered for tournaments on this list, presumably because John isn't a science player. In my opinion, MO 2010 had more consistent science than 2011: the latter had questions on Emil Post, metallicity, and the FT theorem that don't make for the best tossups. As another example, I personally thought the science at CO 2013 was much better than at CO 2011, even if it wasn't perfect. I personally liked ACF Fall 2008 over any of the other ACF Falls as well, but that's also because in recent years the science at ACF Fall has been laced with so many errors, ambiguous clues and just downright lies that cause a player not to buzz.


I'll cop to the complete blind spot on science. For that aspect, I tried to incorporate the community's reactions to the science in coming up with my overall assessments.

I also think hard tournaments have different agendas, and John's list doesn't seem to incorporate that. MO and CO are two entirely different beasts. John, I read through your post about CO 2013. While I probably agree that Marivaux and Trevor are too hard to come up in one packet, I think a lot of the reason why I didn't knock the tournament for having those clumping of questions is that I played on a team that was able to get them: We didn't pick up Arden of Faversham or Marivaux, but we did get Trevor, Cavalcanti, Swamplandia!, Kramer and many of the other hardest lit tossups in the set. To me, one of the great things about playing CO is that my teammates would always surprise me with some obscure thing they would know that I would have no chance of getting - while I did the same on different questions. I don't know how many of those questions you were able to get, but I think that if you were playing with a team that did get them, you wouldn't notice them as much, which leads me to believe that saying one tournament is better than the other is largely dependent upon your tournament experience and what the tournament is trying to achieve.


In all tournament discussion posts, I try to step back from my experience when assessing what's good. I regularly praise good questions that I failed to convert or criticize overly-difficult questions even if I happen to convert them. I'm not saying that I successfully transform myself into an objective critic, but please do give me some credit. You will notice that this list contains tournaments I personally performed terribly at (ACF Nationals 2010) and tournaments I didn't attend myself (VCU Open 2011), and it omits my personal greatest victories (CO 2012 & 2013, Nats 2011 & 2012). I included CO 2011 in the fourth slot even though I did not enjoy the music questions, and my loss in the finals felt anticlimactic because the two finals packets were not of equivalent difficulty. I recognize that both of these are circumstances that disproportionately affected my personal experiences vis-a-vis an average player's general experience of the tournament, and I have consequently reduced how much I count them against the tournament as a whole.

I don't regard the fact that, with different teammates, my team would have converted certain tossups at CO 2013 as a strong argument against my criticism of those questions; and I assure you that I would be voicing the same criticisms even had I converted them. Likewise, my reaction to people complaining about some of the difficult questions at Nats 2011 has not been to just say "Well, I converted those at the end, and they helped me win the tournament, so they must be fine…". Also, as I tried to make clear in my post on CO 2013, those methodological points I made were constructive criticisms of a largely solid tournament, that I regard as a success and a credit to Bollinger and the editing team. My Top 10 list is not a list of "the only 10 good tournaments of the past five years".

Lastly, I think these lists are predicated on so much on what one person says, and then everyone else just follows suit rather than try to think for themselves. I think MAGNI needs to be ranked on this list. John, it seems to me that you object because of some of the painting criticism, which I think is mostly invalid. For example, talking about the tossup on Masaccio that Ted claimed had a worthless lead-in, I actually buzzed on that clue (or led it bleed into the next clue,) because it described a Madonna with a baby that is ugly. In class we talked about that exact painting and how Masaccio was notoriously bad at drawing babies, so it was buzzable to me. Many of the other painting tossups that I recall were fine, and that ultimately, the painting was very good in my eyes.

Also, there are so many things in science that MAGNI got right: in the physics, all of the clues were stuff that people actually study, rarely wrong and easy to parse. Speaking as a generalist for bio and chem Auroni did a fantastic job. Very few tossups clobbered you with clues that are only useful to an expert, I was actively engaged on almost every tossup. I can't think of any tournament in recent memory that actually also has that quality. The computer science was really well done, as was the rest of the other science as far as I can tell. If you notice, some of the complaints that were discussed about MAGNI's science was Will Butler claiming erroneously that no one studies quantum computers in class and Eric saying some clues were too easy in his topics. Even if you accept Eric's arguments about how the particle-in-the-box leadin was too easy, this set's science got so many things right, and it's a shame that no one holds it up more.


I mean, as the writer of a considerable portion of MAGNI, I personally agree with you. Matt Jackson and I were both disappointed at what we perceived at the lukewarm reception to MAGNI, because we both thought going in that we had written a great set.

I was really proud of my distribution of my categories (as you surely know by now, sub-distribution is one of my big hang-ups). I thought that I avoided the quizbowl traps of either writing my pet categories or writing on only things I don't know well in order to improve. For literature, I purposely explored works that might reward the different reasons why people we read (by exploring both works primarily in an academic environment and those that are read primarily outside of the classroom) and what kind of hard facts are valuable to us (supporting characters and plot details from major works, minor works of major authors, culturally or historically significant less-read works and authors, literary criticism, etc.). And I was very conscientious with my clue selection for literature, reading every work carefully to find good clues. For visual art, I sub-distributed by genre as well as by geography and chronology, to make sure portraiture, landscape, still-life, etc. were all represented. I know Matt Jackson put a lot of care into balancing the "real"ness and accessibility of the social science, especially the linguistics.

I don't know if other people feel you did about it, though. [EDIT: Apparently Matt Bollinger at least partially does! Yay!] Perhaps Matt Jackson and I took the criticism too much to heart. This line on the QB Wiki page for MAGNI: "Though the set was largely well-received among the 104 teams that played it at ten sites, major critiques of the set included a reticence with pronouns that confused players, frequent grammatical errors, and hard bonus parts that were systematically very hard" seems to be a rueful, self-critical acknowledgment of community opinion by Matt Jackson. I don't think either of us feels comfortable belligerently saying: "Why didn't you love our tournament? You should really value all these secondary concerns that we put a lot of thought into!", and I don't feel the final assessment of that tournament is up to me.

But I think I learned a lot from it. (For example, since Andrew Hart's denunciation of my pronoun use, I have been very careful about that aspect in all future editing work; I kept Ted's criticisms of the painting in mind that year when editing Fine Arts for ACF Regionals 2012; etc.) My portions of ACF Regionals 2013 were my attempt to retain all the things I personally valued most about MAGNI while nonetheless responding to the criticisms of my work on MAGNI (variability of hard parts, insufficiently accessible music, etc.). Because this was very difficult to do in a packet submission tournament, I am very proud of my work. Cane Ridge Revival will be my attempt to apply these values in a high-difficulty set, and across the set (which I hopefully can control somewhat as head editor).

Last thought: Most of us are incapable of completely judging a set for its full value, and that ultimately, what a set offers to you completely determines what metrics you are using to evaluate a tournament. I personally don't think there is value in ranking one tournament over the other, except for an intellectual exercise for social discussion, I will always treasure what I have learned from Sun N Funs and the notes I took about various things I learned about in the various Andrwe Yaphe edited ICTs, moreso than what is objectively good about any of the tournaments on the list.


I don't know what you mean by "judging a set for its full value". But yes, I think many not-overall-great sets offer many valuable contributions on the level of individual questions or categories. I tried to recognize that in my Honorable Mentions column. I should emphasize that I posted my Top 10 in response to Matt Jackson's call for just such a post and in the hopes of inviting further discussion, and not as a proclamation of any sorts. And it's precisely the kinds of re-evaluations of undervalued parts of previously dismissed tournaments like what you do in your post that I think makes this kind of discussion thread a valuable exercise.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:51 am

Ike wrote: in recent years the science at ACF Fall has been laced with so many errors, ambiguous clues and just downright lies that cause a player not to buzz


Wait, they have? I'm interested and sort of confused that I've actually never heard this claim in discussions of recent ACF Falls, and I'm curious why this goes undiscussed and unsolved if it's a recurring problem.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Cheynem » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:19 pm

I actually really liked MAGNI. If I can be a dickhead for just a sec, I think there was a mild backlash against MAGNI (at least among me) when the MAGNI writers/editors seemingly kept over-praising their own work all the time. But it was a very good tournament, probably the best regular difficulty tournament that season.

Most of the recent SCT's, excepting maybe 2010's, should get some praise. The 2009 one was quite good, as were the sets Andrew Hart edited.

I like a lot most of the tournaments John brings up. I'm happy that two of the sets I worked on (MO 2010 and Penn Intergalactic) make the list, although I'm not overly enthused with my stuff for MO 2010.

CO is a tough beast for me to judge--aside from the 2009 set, I've generally liked all of the sets I've played (2009 onwards), but I recognize a lot of them are different animals. I enjoyed 2011's best, but the rest were all quite good too, even the very hard 2010 set. I agree with Ike that part of the fun is CO is seeing who can get what when--during our game, someone had an excellent buzz on Swamplandia and looking at the stats, he wasn't really scoring a whole lot that tournament--that's what makes CO great, you never know who's going to get the superhard, super cool buzz. But does that make the set great? I'm unsure.

Judging a set is also somewhat colored by the context with which you play it. It's easier for me to objectively look at sets that were more or less played in a vacuum--a lot of SCT's and ACF Regionals were played at local sites with small fields, so it wasn't like we were going up against Penn or Yale on it. Maybe I would have liked ACF Nationals 2011 (one of the least favorite experiences of my career) if my team had won the tournament.

I'm glad John listed some "easier" sets: EFT 2008 was the very first collegiate set I played and it was a blast. Same with ACF Fall 2008. I'm not 100% sure how much of the sets would hold up to the modern eye today (they do to some extent), but within the context of their day, quite superb.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby theMoMA » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:13 pm

The ideal high-modern mACF/circuit regular-difficulty tournament hasn't yet been written, so someone should get on that. There have been plenty of solid entries in that category lately, but some combination of over-difficulty, cross-category or inter-packet inconsistency, and general sloppiness have undermined all of them to some extent.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby AKKOLADE » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:56 pm

Since 2008, eight teams have finished at least 2nd at both nationals:

2008 Thomas Jefferson
2009 Wilmington Charter
2010 State College
2010 Maggie Walker
2011 State College
2012 Bellarmine
2013 Ladue
2013 LASA

If I had to rank them, I'd probably go something like:

1. 2011 State College
2. 2009 Wilmington Charter
3. 2010 State College
4. 2013 Ladue
5. 2013 LASA
6. 2010 Maggie Walker
7. 2008 Thomas Jefferson
8. 2012 Bellarmine
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Sam » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:36 pm

Cheynem wrote:I actually really liked MAGNI. If I can be a dickhead for just a sec, I think there was a mild backlash against MAGNI (at least among me) when the MAGNI writers/editors seemingly kept over-praising their own work all the time. But it was a very good tournament, probably the best regular difficulty tournament that season.

Well, and the inexcusable habit of calling animes mangas. When will people learn!

EDIT: I agree with Mike Cheyne MAGNI was probably the best regular difficulty tournament of that season, and I'd say it was better than the next season as well. I had completely forgotten about the ambivalent response to it, but it was mostly undeserved.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:04 pm

Sam wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I actually really liked MAGNI. If I can be a dickhead for just a sec, I think there was a mild backlash against MAGNI (at least among me) when the MAGNI writers/editors seemingly kept over-praising their own work all the time. But it was a very good tournament, probably the best regular difficulty tournament that season.

Well, and the inexcusable habit of calling animes mangas. When will people learn!

well TECHNICALLY the clue was about a storyline that only happened in the MANGA but not in the anime ADAPTATION of the--

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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:22 am

Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:If I had to rank them, I'd probably go something like:

1. 2011 State College
2. 2009 Wilmington Charter
3. 2010 State College
4. 2013 Ladue
5. 2013 LASA
6. 2010 Maggie Walker
7. 2008 Thomas Jefferson
8. 2012 Bellarmine


In general, "won a title" is usually a better indicator of all-time greatness than "didn't win a title," but I'm really inclined to put 2011 LASA on a list of the best high school teams of the past few years despite that. They really stood out all season, came within 20 points of winning one title, had their shot at another affected by botched protest(s), and contributed several players to Texas's winning NASAT effort.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Ike » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:07 am

Wait, they have? I'm interested and sort of confused that I've actually never heard this claim in discussions of recent ACF Falls, and I'm curious why this goes undiscussed and unsolved if it's a recurring problem.


Yeah, I am interested too. I know one of the things Billy Busse and I were incredibly annoyed by was that there was so much backlash against IFT's science for whatever reason, but ACF Fall's was much worse.

The more I think about it, it wasn't that ACF Fall was filled with straight-out lies, it was that the editor really had no idea what he was doing. Here's an example.

20. Hydrogen bonding in gaseous molecules of formic acid allow it to violate this rule...
ANSWER: ideal gas law


This is the lead-in to a tossup on the ideal gas law, and it sucks for two major reasons: As you learn in basic AP chem, any substance that experiences an intermolecular force (of which hydrogen bonding is an example) will violate the ideal gas law, not just formic acid, thereby making that clue super confusing. Secondly, this tossup can be lateral-ed in the most obvious way possible: you're dropping the fact its a gas law after four words, and the fact that this rule can get violated, which is dumb since it is an ideal gas rule. To me, the tossup editor / writer wrote the tossup without knowing a thing about transparency or how chemistry works and just tossed that sentence into the question straight out of the wikipedia entry on formic acid. There are many other examples, the lead-in to the orbits tossup mentions that these systems have a radius, r associated with them and that physical bodies are part of it while trying to describe a Hohmann transfer. I mean never mind the fact you didn't describe the Hohmann transfer in a pareseable way, you just made the tossup so incredibly obvious by giving the things that specify a radius.

I just spoke to Billy just to confirm my suspicions, but he assures me that the science was indeed not very good when he played it. I don't know why people didn't post about it. Personally, I didn't because I didn't want to come across as someone who was annoyed about how IFT was received by taking down someone else's tournament. Also, I thought that eventually someone from the east coast would eventually complain about it, and I am kind of surprised Eric or someone else wasn't there to say something.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:21 pm

Ike wrote:Also, I thought that eventually someone from the east coast would eventually complain about it, and I am kind of surprised Eric or someone else wasn't there to say something.


I stopped playing ACF Fall in UG and haven't been paying attention to the set in the interim.
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Re: Updating old "top 10" lists for best sets and teams?

Postby AGoodMan » Wed May 23, 2018 1:11 am

A discussion of good sets that were produced recently came up on Discord, and I wanted to bump this thread. I haven't read a lot of sets through, but I really like 2016 Terrapin, 2015 CALI, and 2016 PACE NSC.

As for teams, maybe 2016 LASA?
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