Young Ink - what it is and why YOU should care!
Feb 02, 2018
Logo courtesy of InkTV's own UBERU!!!
At this very moment Young Ink 6 finals are just around the corner (which you can watch HERE) but what is this tournament? Why should players and teams that have too much experience and far too many high placings care? What is in it for them? Why should MORE tournaments like this be encouraged? All these questions and more will be answered in this article!
What is Young Ink?
Before we get anywhere, I want to clarify the series itself. Young Ink is currently run by its two co-founders, Bob and Flara from OnSight Gaming. The goal of the event is to provide newer and lesser experienced teams with a chance to gain tournament experience, face teams on their skill level or similar to their skill level, and establish themselves as a team that more notable and veteran teams should watch out for. And they have come a long way since the first Young Ink event, which had two tiers of qualifiers in a similar fashion to how there are two tiers of finals with the current events.
According to Bob, these tiers were initially based on the ranks of the teams participating (so taking their S or S+ ranks straight from Splatoon), but he also told me that it wasn't very successful so they moved to the system that they currently use in Young Ink 2. This system, like the first one, takes place over the course of two dates and utilizes the Swiss bracket format for all qualifier rounds. But unlike what Young Ink 1 had, there is one set of qualifiers that all teams partake in, and then they are split into S and S+ divisions based on their placement in the qualifiers. From there, teams compete in a standard groups to single elimination bracket tournament on day 2. For an example of this format, let's take a look at Young Ink 5, which happened in early December 2017.
If you analyze the standings from the qualifiers (which take place day 1 of the event) and compare to how the teams were sorted into the S and S+ groups, you will hopefully see that they do an approximate cut through the middle of the standings to determine placement. In other words, take the teams that finished 15th and 16th, respectively, in the qualifier standings, Feel Good Ink and Downtown Marina. Feel Good Ink ended up in S+ division, group B, while Downtown Marina was placed in S division, group A.
Why Young Ink is important
That's the gist of Young Ink as an event, but if you are a player on a consistently well placing team, why should you care? You cannot play in it, so it doesn't matter to you, right? Well, I genuinely believe that if you are a player or scene contributor that wants to see this community grow and see Splatoon as a franchise become bigger, you need a line of thinking that is the exact OPPOSITE of that. Here's a few reasons why:
Events like this encourage newer teams and players to get into the competitive scene without having to face the top teams right out of the gate, getting stomped, and risk their confidence and drive being shaken or shattered to the point they decide not to pursue a competitive team or experience.
This type of event also allows teams to learn the ropes of competitive play from those that have been there before - something I should note is that the winners of both S and S+ divisions final brackets earn the right to be coached by notable members of the community, from teams that have had their share of success.
If for no other reason, encouraging new teams to play and improve allows the scene to grow, both by having more teams to compete and get better against, but to appear as a welcoming community that wants to see new faces spring up and grow the game that we all love (if we didn't love it, we wouldn't be here).
Personally, I love Splatoon/Splatoon 2 and the community that has formed around it. That is why I have been here for close to three years of my life, longer than I have stuck with anything of this nature. I would love nothing more than to welcome new players, new teams, and new ideas into the community, because that is how we all grow, as players, as commentators, as event organizers, and as people.
What YOU can do to help the cause
Young Ink as an event is wonderful and a great way for new teams and players to get adjusted to this thing we call the Splatoon community. But what can the average person do? They don't have to run a tournament like this, even though there are a couple that have popped up recently based of the Young Ink model. Here are some ideas, and I challenge everyone that reads this to consider at least one of them, if not more:
- Offer to help new teams with advice and feedback after you face them in a regular tournament, especially if you are a more experienced team that has a better understanding of the game.
- Encourage these newer players and teams to enter events like Young Ink or the Squidboards Splat Series, where casual and competitive players collide in a tournament series that sees more entrants than most.
- If you are a newer team, you can also scrim other teams that are on your skill level, to help everyone involved compete and grow together, because while top teams will likely know more about the game than you, you can gain just as much if not more from facing teams similar to your skill level.
- If you are not sure which teams are "on your skill level", take a look at the final standings of tournaments you enter. Teams that finish in a similar placing to you are likely adjusting and getting to know each other just like your team, so reach out to them! You never know, you may find yourself a scrim partner and group of friends for your team!
- You can also participate in Young Ink and scrim some of the other teams that play in it, because regardless of where you finish and where they finish, both teams are likely on a similar skill level.
- If nothing else, watch notable player streams and see what they do and how they interact with their team. You can learn a lot about this game from watching others, even if you do not realize it.
And without stating the obvious, since Young Ink is currently on a monthly schedule, you can also try and start up an event like this that appeals to new teams on a more consistent basis. It may be hard admitting you're a lesser experienced team or that a tournament like this could help you, but from who I have talked to, it helps and then some. Something else that may help knowing is a bit of background on OnSight Gaming (formerly Spicy Kraken Rolls, who were one of the teams to enter the first Young Ink event). They started this event because they realized they were one of the lesser experienced teams at the time, and genuinely felt an event like this could greatly benefit their team, both in terms of actual skill and overall morale. Bob has told me of the struggle they faced in the early days, where they would get knocked out quickly in tournaments and struggle finding teams to scrim that could benefit them in the long run, and has said that his team is better because of the opportunity Young Ink provided them.
Two events I would check out if you are looking for a more frequent experience like this are the following (please note, you MUST have a Discord account in order to use these links):
Squid Spawning Grounds: Biweekly on Mondays, something I consult for
New Squid City: Weekly on Wednesdays
Advice from people that have been there
Now that is my advice, but what about Bob and Flara? What do they say in terms of advice? I posed the question on what they thought would be good advice for something like this, and they echo a lot of what I already said.
What Flara told me:
What Bob told me:
That wraps up this overview of what Young Ink is as an event, why people should care, and what YOU can do to help them out! For more details about their events, be sure to follow them on Twitter and check out their Discord server where all the fun goes down!
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