Building on the past few weeks of variety, Zed have announced they will be trialing seasonal tournaments and tomorrow the first of these begins.
Dubbed “Season Zero” it is a game loop built around the flagship Maiden event and a horses career up to the 250 race mark.

Each season will be run over a 24 day period.
It will begin with the 3 day Maiden tournament that is followed by 6 further tournaments called “heats”.
As well as being standalone tournaments, these heats will also act as qualifiers which build toward a Grand Final qualifier event and then a major Grand Final showdown.
An excellent format for potential streaming.

For Season Zero the heats have $5,000 prize pools and the major Grand Final has a prize pool of $15,000.
That’s a total of $45,000 up for grabs.
It should be noted that some of the money required for the initial season was borrowed from the Maiden tournament prize pool, however going forward these seasons are to be self-sustaining events.
Based off the recent weekly rake generated prize pools and the extra volume I expect from this more engaging format, I would hazard a guess of about $80,0000 or more in play next season.

So how does a stable qualify for the major Grand Final?
I will break that down in this article along with some constructive ideas for changes I’d like to see for next season.

First off, I wanted to say I really like the fact that Zed have decided on 24 days for each season.
This means that we won’t see foals from the same breeding pairs every season due to the breeding cycle reset time frame.

So on to qualifying for the major Grand Final.
To play the new game loop you will need to breed a new race horse (or use/purchase an under 250 race horse).
I like the thinking here as this puts breeding at the forefront of the game and should help keep our Maiden prize pools as juicy as they are now.
It also gives new foals plenty of opportunity to earn money.

Once you have run in the Maiden or bought a horse you will need to enter it in to the 3 day heats.
These will be class-based with paid entry qualifying races and will have various qualifying criteria and scoring formats.
So for some horses you may need to wait for the right heat to enter.

If you’re lucky enough to take a podium in the final of your heat you will move directly on to the Grand Final qualifier tournament.
Win that race and you move on to the big Grand Final race.

Another way you can make the Grand Final qualifier event is to be one of the top 3 fastest horses in qualifying.
So if your VAR beast runs a scintillating time but lucks out in qualifying you can still progress.
Again, win the Grand Final qualifier and you’re in to the big race.

If you have not had any luck making the qualifier via those two routes then there are two other ways you can make it to the qualifier.
The first is via special condition horses. (These will differ each heat)
For example, in Season Zero these will be the 4 horses of particular coat colours that qualify highest on the leaderboard.

Last but not least we have wild card entrants.
28 of these lucky horses per heat will progress to a wild card round made up of 168 horses.
The top 84 finishers of that tournament will progress to the Grand Final Qualifier event.

Whatever path you take, the ultimate goal is to make the Grand Final qualifier event and to win that.
The 12 horses that do will move on to the major Grand Final where glory and prize money awaits.

For more details on the actual heat scoring and qualifying formats for Season Zero you can visit the official guide here: CLICK HERE

In all, there is a lot to like about what the Zed team have put together here.
It’s been well thought out and I’d like to thank them for the effort that has gone in to it.

One thing I particularly like is the way the heats build toward a major event.
This is excellent!
The regular 3 day heats keep stables engaged and excited on the lower time frame while the monthly final is something bigger to aspire to.

I hope streamers like Red, Whale and Arbitrage.Run can pick up the baton for the community and make the finals and Grand Finals even more exciting.
(As always it would be very much appreciated!)

I for one am super excited for season racing to get started and hope to get at least one horses through to the major Grand Final! (Kamikaze Larry I’m looking at you!)

Yes, Season Zero looks great, but I would also like to offer some constructive ideas that I think would further enhance things for next season.
I hope the team can take the time to read over them and consult with the community about there possible implementation.

1. Wild Cards.
These are a great idea and I imagine the thought behind them is to;
a- Give less competitive stables a chance to be in the Grand Final qualifier.
b- Give stables a reason to run a horse that they may not otherwise run competitively.
That helps volume and it gives people a chance, I total understand the thinking.
HOWEVER, I would drastically reduce the number of Wild Card spots.
I think they should fill a maximum 10% of the field.
Breeding champions is the aim of the game so the lions share of qualifying spots should go to well bred (or lucky) horses.

** After posting this article I spoke with fellow Zed stable “CrazyHorse” and he had a similar view on the Wild Card system.
He suggested another potential scenario which I really like.
It features 30 Wild Card horses and the entire12 heat finalists progressing.
Below is a diagram of his idea:

2. Over 250 Race Horses.
I understand the young horse focus works very well for both the season game loop and for the health of our game overall but I think the over 250 race horses should still have a shot at entry, though a much smaller one. (As they have had time to shine)

I did see Dan mention in Discord that there will be incoming tournaments that cater for these horses but here is my idea.
Of the 6 heats we switch one of them to be an open age heat.
The volume for that heat will be off the charts as EVERY type of horses from Genesis to new breed can enter.
That will be good for the game and for the Season prize pool. (Extra rake generated)
It also helps to keep over 250 race horse values up and players that own them happy.
(Not to mention that many 4.0 breeds can now out run the old legends as they reach 250+)

3. Scoring Formats.
I will admit bias here but I noticed in Season Zero we have 2 Pity Point heats with Double Up as a qualification opportunity.
I won’t break down in to why I am not a fan of Double Up qualification other than to say I am a win focused stable and I think that should be the bigger focus of the game.

That said I did see Dan address this in Discord where he said in future seasons “we will be able to have two scoring systems for two different race types going at the same time”
This is actually pretty exciting but I hope we can weight those qualifications more toward the win side rather than finishing in sixth place.

Anyhow, back to Maiden tournament qualification for me.
Good luck on the track guys and see you in Season Zero!