I'll go against the grain and say she should go conservative. Do what she can do clean, don't even try a 3-3, it's inviting downgrades and two-footing.
Asada and Kostner will beat her with even subpar skates. Suzuki is consistently better than her. Korpi, Leonova, Olyesia 1 and Olyesia 2 will like like beat her with half-decent skates, it's a combination of higher quality and more judges' respect. (though probably 2 of these will implode herself out of contention). Someone else like Gede or Murakami also has a decent shot at finishing ahead of her. So I think a medal is highly unlikely. She should instead aim for a clean 5-7th place finish, and hope Oleysia1 brings her least fragile self so the two of them can cobble together 3-spots qualification.
Ashley's checklist -
1- UR: Good John Nicks has tightened her jumps. This has helped her rotate her jumps and avoid the UR for the most part.
2- 2-footing: Fair The tightening has limited the 2-footing, but hasn't eliminated it. Though IMO, the 3 jumps she 2-footed at Nats in the LP were mostly due to the pressure she (and others) put on herself to finally deliver and finish in the top 2. Also, it was her first 2x-3t this season, so additionally there was probably some uncertainty on that particular element.
3- Pops: Not an issue The pop on the 3sal was a blip in her LP at nats. She attacks and doesn't really ever pull back IMO, won't be an issue going forward.
4- Flutz: poor She won't fix it and probably never will. She and Mr. Nicks should just keep it the way it is and expect the negative GOE. A flutz is still worth a little more than another clean 2x though, right?
I'm very happy she FINALLY got rid of the 3z in the SP. Good strategy!
Now, the elements she might want to tinker with are -
1- SP: 3f-3t in the SP, along with the 3l and 2x. Just go for it! This will boost her SP, where she lags the big ladies by a significant (but not overwhelming)point gap. She was attempting it with worse technique under Priscilla Hill.
2- LP: She already has 7 triples and a 2x, repeating the 3f and 3l. She doesn't need anything additional. She might want to think about moving the 3 jump combo to the 2d half of the program. Additionally, she might want to play with FW and her spins to achieve LV4.
Good, high PCS will only come from international judges if she skates lights-out, forcing them to give it to her
Ashley: she is the one talking about changing her programs to rank higher at worlds, but I don't think even she is thinking podium.
Ashley two foots too many jumps. She might get any with it at Nats but the internationally judges will kill her.
I just want Ashley and Alissa to get that elusive 13 or under number so we get that third spot back. Then next year we can send better skaters.
She's always had this issue Which is one reason why she hasn't dome better over the years. If, like at nats, the others just make more mistakes than her, she'll do well. But I see no evidence that the judges simply turned a blind eye. She had terrible goe on all her jumps in the lp. Is wasn't so much that she was held up, but that nats was a splatfeasts IMHO.
You know, it's tempting to say Wagner doesn't have a chance at worlds due to her issues...but the thing is that the field at worlds this year is probably more open than ever. I've seen stranger things happen...
That said, I'm not optimistic for 3 spots at all. Czisny is not skating well this season- she's hanging in there only because she is not giving up like she would have in the past, but I think she's getting tentative on the jumps again. And Wagner, well- this whole thread is about how she's unlikely to score high even if she does rise to the occasion. I see them placing lower half of top 10.
Now, if Czisny can somehow pull herself together and skate like she did at nationals or worlds last year, a medal could very well be within reach. Which would mean Wagner would only have to stay in the top 10, but of course that's far easier said than done.
Frankly, I don't seem to have as much confidence in Wagner at worlds as some do here. She hasn't been in 4 years. Can she handle the pressure, the spotlight? And one thing I'm not hearing anyone talk about- she is now champion...people will expect things from her. I don't see any previous indication on her record that says she can deal well with high expectations. In other words- don't be shocked if she has a sub-par showing (again) here...