Been watching this off and on during the first round of competition (55 total baristas). Looks like the vast majority of these highly skilled tradesmen (and women) have settled in on using a grooming/distribution tool and a leveling tamper (e.g., LevTamp, EazyTamp, etc). One exception was the US barista (Cole McBride). He used a EK43s from catch cup to pf, a couple of karate chops to the side of the pf to level, then tamp with Pullman big step. Not sure where he placed yet.
Looks like some are freezing their beans, others are warming them. Since they are limited to using either a Peak or EK43s grinder, maybe what you can do to the beans is limited too?!
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."