Draft 2.0 – The Expansion Edition

At the conclusion of the NEPA Charity Cup, we made the big announcement that NEPA was expanding into a 16-team league with two 8-team divisions. With 4 new teams coming on board, a new draft has been queued up for May 1st at 2 pm CDT – come watch with us on Twitch! In addition to selecting new pro players for the Pro series, this will also be an opportunity for NEPA to improve upon various aspects of the league regarding personnel for pro and AAA teams.

Welcome your new NEPA contenders:

– New England Stack

– Phoenix Vipers

– Seattle Thunder

– New Orleans Orions

The big shake-up for NEPA players and fans alike will be that, like other professional sports leagues, these expansion teams will be given the opportunity to draft players from the existing teams. It’s simply a necessity to ensure some level of parity between the original and expansion teams, but this power is not without restrictions. Existing teams will be able to franchise tag at least one person in order to guarantee they retain their most valuable players. Additional allowances will be made for teams who finished lower in the final season rankings and each team will only give up 1 player total, reducing their roster to 4 players. Players shown in gray below are franchised tagged.

Alongside that is the news that teams will no longer retain a fifth player as a perpetual bench sub. The fifth round of the draft will move immediately into a full snake-style redraft of the entire AAA league, from which subs will be pulled on an as-needed basis for the paid pro-level play. This gives the former 5th spot pro players a more permanent in-game spot with AAA, likely as captains, and should give more meaning to the relationship between the pro teams and their AAA affiliates. Pro teams will only be able to fill each week’s bench spot with players from their affiliate, so every draft pick until the very end is important and the development of affiliates is further encouraged.

Let’s talk numbers. Since permanent pro rosters are shrinking to 4 players, only 4 total players will be added to the pro player pool to support the new teams, keeping the pro series highly selective but ensuring everyone on a roster plays every week they are available. AAA is really where this draft makes waves in personnel though, with 4 entirely new teams being formed as affiliates to the pro teams and players sliding between the pro bench and AAA start. The draft is expected to pull at least 26 players, largely PDR hopefuls, into new AAA roles. All of the players patiently waiting on the PDR finally get your big shot!

At the end of the draft, it is our hope that disruptions to existing pro teams are minimized while giving the new teams a competitive slate of players. Drafting and developing AAA affiliates will be more important than ever, and competition levels will be bolstered by some pros moving into AAA leadership roles. The growth of the AAA player pool should bring a large swath of aspiring PDR players into the fold and provide space for a new era of PDR competitors. Come participate in this defining event for the future of NEPA on our discord and twitch on May 1!

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