Update to WATC (2023) Seeding and Qualifiers

February 9th, 2023

In the last few weeks, we have been hard at work looking at data and metrics from 2022 to evaluate if there should be a change to how WATC is seeded for the 2023 World Championship. This has been a top priority, as we want to ensure that everyone knows how seeding will be determined with as much time as possible to earn their best seed.

After testing multiple potential models and applying them to the bid earners from WATC 2022, we strongly believe that we have a seeding method that properly places throwers in the most appropriate spot according to their skill level.

The final model decided upon is detailed below, along with explanations and reasonings for the process, and decisions by which this was determined.

(Visual person?- Check out the full breakdown for all disciplines here: WATC (2023) Seeding Order)


We started with Hatchet, as it was the most complex discipline to nail down.

Seed 1World Champion- Dylan Teets
Seeds 2-17The top 16 circuit point earners overall*
Seeds 18-97Pro League bid earners
Seeds 98-167Non-Region locked CP bid earners
Seeds 168-233Regional CP bid earners
Seeds 234-244Qualifier bids
Seeds 245-256Other/Amateur bids

*In all likelihood these will be Pro League bid winners, thus only 80 in that tier. In the case of a Pro League bid being declined, that will trickle down to a Qualifiers spot, resulting in less than 80 Pro League bids ultimately.

Seeding WITHIN each grouping will be done by cumulative 2023 Official League Average, using the top 3 seasons that earned the thrower their circuit points. e.g. Sarah throws a 52.23 average in Winter, 51.4 average in spring, 54.73 average in summer and 53.99 average in fall. Sarah’s seeding average should she make worlds will be (54.73+53.99+52.23) / 3 = 53.65.

The exceptions are:

  • Seeds 2-17 will be seeded in order of their circuit points earned
  • Qualifier bids will be seeded by their score
  • Amateur bid seeding is TBD and will be determined when the method of earning has been decided

If there is a tie in the cumulative official season average, ties will be broken by yearly hit percentage calculated as (bulls hit+kills hit+5’s hit)/(number of games*10) using the thrower’s top 3 official seasons as described above.

General Discussion

  • Circuit points should ultimately mean something, and those who have earned the most throughout the year should feel like fighting for those top 16 spots remains a good goal (even if one already has a bid or enough CP for one).
  • It made sense to have bid order play into the way worlds is seeded. Trying to get the Pro League bid should carry more weight than those who earned CP from just league average (but did not make Pro League).
  • Seeding the Non-Region locked CP bid earners and Region locked CP bid earners by their CP was considered. However, in such a model, we found there were clear ‘pay to play’ advantages gained by those individuals with the ability/access to go to tournaments.

By giving the top spots to circuit point earners aren’t we enforcing the ‘Pay to Play model?’ Won’t those who do more just get higher seeds because of this?

In looking at data from the last 2 years, the only way people obtained spots in the top 16 of CP was by placing in the top 3 of a major/tiered tournament. This model made circuit points matter (as someone who was able to win a tournament at every tier SHOULD be seeded near the top regardless of average), while not solely basing the whole model on CP (which does benefit those with availability the further down you go). 

Why would we not use the same model we use for the rest of the tournaments?

The truth is WATC is NOT like the other tournaments. It is the culmination of the tournament circuit and league play, and all that combined should matter to some degree when deciding how participants are placed within the bracket. 

We are still a new enough sport where the local league alone can qualify you for the championship, which does make us different from most other sports; however, in looking at several models, overall yearly performance (as represented by CP earned not only in league but tournaments), is a metric we do not think should be ignored. While, in many cases, those performances line up with a league leaderboard, this is not always the case as evidenced by a few individuals even using data from last year.

How does this apply to Big Axe and Duals?

Big Axe and Duals will follow the same model, using each qualifying ‘band’ (Non-Region Locked CP, Region Locked CP, and Qualifiers) and seeding by average within that band. The top 16 circuit point earners in Big Axe and the top 8 of Duals will round out the top 16/8 respectively (seeded by their CP earned).

While Duals and Big Axe have the same size field, in evaluating the data from 2022 we found that only giving the top 8 priority seeds in Duals better reflected the goals outlined above (of teams placing at major tournaments in order to be included in this tier).

In Duals, due to the large number of teams that do not throw in every season, a team could easily be in the top 16 just from league seasons and jump ahead of others at the same level from pure participation at a tournament, but arguably the tournament team is overall a better performer.
You can see the complete breakdown of all the seeding blocks in this Google sheet: WATC (2023) Seeding Order


In the course of evaluating the seeding changes for WATC, we re-examined the criteria for qualifying to throw Qualifiers. The goal has always been to give a “last chance” to throwers that have the skills, but not necessarily the access, to qualify for WATC. In the past we have seen some throwers take advantage of this with no concerted effort to actually participate in WATL, so we are tightening up the requirements to enable throwers to participate in Open Qualifiers.

REMINDER – Qualifiers will happen AFTER all other WATC bids have been issued (est. Jan 2024). Therefore by default, only throwers that have not qualified for Worlds through any of the other methods can throw in them.

Hatchet – the thrower must have thrown in at least ONE Official Sanctioned WATL Hatchet league in the 2023 Season.

Big Axe – the thrower must have thrown in at least ONE Official Sanctioned WATL Big Axe league in the 2023 Season.

Duals – because many Duals teams are separated by distance, and cannot always throw leagues together, to throw Qualifiers a Duals team must EITHER:

a) Have thrown in at least ONE Official Sanctioned WATL Duals league as a team in the 2023 Season.


b) Have thrown together as a team at 1 Sanctioned WATL Tournament (earning at least 1 CP from that), AND both throwers have individually thrown in at least ONE Official Sanctioned WATL Hatchet league in the 2023 Season.

If any throwers or teams that choose to throw in Qualifiers do NOT meet the criteria for the discipline, they will be disqualified.

*note –  “Official Sanctioned” is defined as a league that meets all the requirements to be sanctioned, and the player is listed on the Official WATL Leaderboard for either Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall as a result of participating.

Final Thoughts

These changes apply specifically only to how the next WATC (2023) will be seeded, and the rules for throwing Qualifiers for that event. We did evaluate the need to change how trickle-down bids were assigned, in light of these changes, but there was no compelling evidence to make adjustments to that.

If you have any questions or require additional clarification on any of these rules, please email [email protected].