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HSNCT vs. NSC
Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:53 pm
Our team just qualified for both tournaments at KPAQT VIII and would like to go to a national tournament with our fairly new team (1st tournament with the 4 current A team members and 3rd ever tournament on average). However since we are also likely attending NHBB nationals, we may be financially limited to one of either NSC or HSNCT. As such, I was wondering how the two tournaments are different in terms of question distribution, cost, level of competition etc. As a team, we are very, very weak on literature, and we will be travelling from Boston so travel costs should be similar. I'm sure this is a question other rising teams are also wondering about. Thanks for the feedback!
Re: HSNCT vs. NSC
Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:02 pm
cthewolf wrote: As a team, we are very, very weak on literature
PACE tends to lean towards the humanities; if your team is not great with lit, then HSNCT might be a better choice.
Other key differences compared to NAQT HSNCT: longer, more humanities oriented questions; bouncebacks on bonuses; no clock; round-robin style scheduling. HSNCT rounds feel faster too IMO; PACE can be a grind, especially since there's no clock/longer questions.
Re: HSNCT vs. NSC
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:03 am
NSC (PACE) offers more bang for your buck as far as:
1 - Number of games. You'll play at least 18 matches that count towards your final placement. HSNCT's format guarantees you only 10.
2 - Level of competition. At least one of those games, no matter who you are, will be against somebody in the top 20 teams nationally. They'll be the #1 seed in your prelims bracket.
3 - Ability to study. There is no trash and no math calculation, which are nearly impossible to study for as there's no "canon" for those subjects. It makes for a fairer game in my opinion.
HSNCT (NAQT) gives you more when it comes to:
1 - your overall trip is just more fun. Those 18 games for NSC? Day 1 is nearly 3/4 of that. With no clock, you're in for a LONG day. You will not get to visit the town you traveled to unless you set aside time before or after the competition window. With HSNCT's clock keeping games moving, the day of games doesn't drag on you nearly as hard. Also, NAQT's ad-hoc and mini-consolation tournaments let you finish the trip on a fun note even if you don't make playoffs. I heartily recommend getting team parents in on the action during those.
2 - Level of competition (bear with me) - HSNCT's power-matching format means you will quickly find your own level of competition, and you will be in close matches most of the day as you spend more time facing teams that are at your level.
3 - Level of difficulty - both of these tournaments are hard, but for your first trip of this kind, HSNCT has just a slightly less steep of a learning curve. Also, if you're going to whiff on a tossup anyway, it's a little less painful to sit through a 5-line version than a 8-line version.
NSC rewards teams that can consistently grind out points, no matter what. It takes so much more focus to keep involved on bouncebacks and grabbing the odd stray point that the opponents give you. The distribution has much more art and music, and so teams that are strong in those areas will find it more to their liking.
HSNCT rewards momentum. Lightning just hits in games. A quick couple of -5's, a lucky bonus, and all of a sudden leads disappear. The mixed categories also reward a type of "lateral thinking" able to draw quick connections.
Re: HSNCT vs. NSC
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:18 am
NSC probably does a better job of determining the best team in the country on an annual basis, but the flip side of that is HSNCT is just a much more exciting tournament to be a part of. The vast majority of the top 200 teams in Morlan Rank will play HSNCT, while NSC's field will lean more top-heavy relative to its size. At HSNCT, your team will likely play more teams of a similar ability (though sometimes you'll draw DCC A in round 3), and will always have a chance to beat a Barrington, Stevenson, etc. At NSC, you're more likely to have a finish directly correlated with your team's actual ability. HSNCT questions favor players who are quicker and have more general knowledge, while NSC questions favor players who study, particularly in the humanities. They're both very well run and excellent tournaments to be a part of, so you can't really go wrong here.