Fact check: Is it possible for average players to qualify for weekend league?

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In a recent thread on Reddit, I came by the claim that average players can’t qualify for weekend league. But is this true? I decided to check it out.

The claim

In a recent Reddit thread, I saw the claim that that average players in reality can’t qualify for weekend league.

“The “average player” doesn’t even qualify for WL.”
Comment on Reddit

Also, it was suggested that “Division 1 is within the top 1.3% of all players playing the game (on PS4 at least)” with reference to the fact that you can qualify by either winning, staying in or getting promoted into division 1.

It’s obvious that if you don’t try, or give up after a few attempts, then of course you won’t qualify. But what’s the probability that an average player, who starts completely from scratch and gives it his absolute best, will qualify for the weekend league? As it turns out, it’s pretty big!

Qualification requirements and the “average player”

You can qualify for weekend league in three different ways:

  1. Through FUT seasons, by getting promoted into, staying in or winning division 1
  2. Through the daily knock out tournament, by winning 4 matches in a row.
  3. Through weekend league, by ranking silver 2 or above in the previous round

For the sake of this article, we will narrow the scope to a worst case scenario in regards to starting point. Our player starts from scratch, meaning that option 3 above is out of the equation, and he starts out in division 10.

We also need to define what we mean by “average player”. The term “average player” means something different depending on whether we are talking daily knock out tournaments or FUT seasons. In a tournament context, an average player is someone who has the exact same probability of winning and losing his next match, i.e. 50/50.

In FUT seasons, an average player is someone who has the same probability of winning and losing and an average probability of drawing. We don’t know the actual draw ratio in FUT 18, so going forward, we will assume that the probability of drawing is the same as it was in FUT 16 seasons, namely 18 %. With this, an average player is someone who has a W/D/L ratio of 41/18/41 in FUT seasons.

Qualifying through daily knockout tournaments

There are two weekly knockout tournaments and 8 attempts per tournament, i.e. 16 attempts in total.

We need to work out the probability of winning 4 consecutive matches in 16 attempts.

You can either do this analytically or through a simulation. Although the math is fairly simple, we chose the latter option. We ran a simulation where we allowed 10000 virtual players to compete in 16 rounds, counting how many of them managed to win 4 50/50 matches in a row.

The probability of winning 4 50/50 matches in a row is 1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 = 6.25 %. But since you have 16 attempts, the combined probability is much higher. If you complete all 16 attempts or keep playing until you have qualified, you end up with a total probability of 64 % chance of qualifying through daily knock out tournaments.

Thus, there is 64 % chance that our average player will qualify via the daily knock out tournaments.

So, if we have 1000 average players, 640 of them have qualified by now. The remaining 36 % have one shot left: Namely FUT seasons.

Qualifying through FUT seasons

How many of the remaining 36 % will qualify?

An issue that we need to consider here is that players are allowed to play maximum 75 matches per day. Since our players also spend some of their daily matches on daily knock out tournaments, they don’t have a full deck of 7 * 75 = 525 matches available.

In this case, our average player would have spend between 16 and 64 matches trying to qualify through the daily knock out tournaments. So, going forward, we will assume that our players on average have played 40 matches and have 485 attempts left. 48 attempts equals 48 seasons.

Using a simulation that we developed for an earlier article, we can assess the probability of an average player making it all the way to division 1 in any given number of attempts.

Our simulation shows that after 48 seasons, 69.5 % of the average players have made it to division 1 minimum once. And since our players will stop as soon as they qualify, 69.5 % of our remaining average players will qualify for the weekend league.

Conclusion

If we start out with 1000 players, all of them giving it a full go and playing night and day, 64 % will qualify through daily knock out tournaments. Among the remaining 36 %, 69.5 % will qualify by making it to division 1.

Hence, the probability of qualifying as an average player totals 89 %. This is of course provided that you give it your best attempt and play night and day if needed. Needless to say, the probability will be lower if you play fewer matches.

But in regards to the claim above, we can reject it. Some average players will most likely qualify for the weekend league one way or another.

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