Hard playing games are a necessity of tournaments. Players with high skill and a wide variety of techniques need the added difficulty to present a challenge to them and differentiate the field. I also maintain that playing on tournament difficulty machines is a separate skill that has to be practiced like any other.
That said, I think brutal machines can “condense” the field for less experienced players, who have fewer skills available to deal with the randomness of the hard setups. Since they are more at the mercy of the machine, they perform less consistently and are much more likely to lose randomly (i.e. approaching 50/50). This can be extremely frustrating as it makes these matches more of a crap shoot than the players are expecting. I don’t have any data to back this up, just my own personal observation.
I think there is a balance between machine difficulty and player skill that a TD is managing. You don’t want your local beer league playing on PAPA A difficulty machines, and you don’t want a top 10 player to come play your local Medieval Sadness where there’s no tilt and the draw bridge doesn’t go up anymore. In short, if you go to a tournament that attracts the best the world, you have to accept some of that randomness that comes with playing on that difficulty of machines without the practiced skills needed to deal with it.
tl;dr: Honestly, it sucks and I hate playing on tournament machines, but it’s needed to differentiate the field as you get into the top 100, top 50, etc.