Last year 12000 qualified by pop and additional 773 by off or def. This year we have 3000 less accounts that have qualified. Turkey was the only server with more than 2000 players left in the end.
I think one reason is that MH has been more successful to clear the servers from multies and bots which is significant especially on Arabia but also on Turkey.
Another reason is probably that the tourney is so affected by heavy cheating to get the rewards which makes it less attractive to play, it’s nearly impossible for a fair player to get in the top.
A third reason can be that if you don’t belong to one of the bigger preformed metas you have a small chance to achieve something.
It’s my opinion that the Tournament need changes or it will continue to decrease. I think that this year it will be in best case 7000 – 8000 players in Final start including wild cards.
It’s interesting to check rank 1000, I chose rank 500 for Arabia since they didn’t even reach 1000 players in the end.