**I neither condemn nor condone the WG handles loot boxes. My purpose here is to only provide factual information. Do your research before buying**
Short lists are NOT new. They have existed since the beginning of the Christmas crates in 2016. However, here is the interesting thing, in my research for this post, I had a terrible time finding an article for the 2016 containers, the original article appears to not exist anymore. However, one from January is still up and gives the details of the short lists, It also advertises a "slim chance" at pulling one of the other premium ships. And the forums are filled with people talking about pulling Emden's and other ships on the short lists:
Small: Warspite, Molotov
Medium: Indianapolis, Blyskawica, Emden
Large: Ishizuchi, Atago, Prinz Eugen
in 2017, this trend continued, short lists with the same advertised "slim chance" at the other premium ships:
Small: De Grasse, Mutsu
Medium: Okhotnik, Scharnhorst, Leningrad
Large: Lo Yang, Alabama, Gallant
Now we come to 2018, where things seem to be a bit different. Nowhere are there listed any short lists for any of the boxes. It simply gives the list of all ships available in the boxes. But it seems like there is some data in the pages that could have been removed as they changed some elements. However Jingles talks about in his unboxing video about there being short lists this year in his unboxing video. Looking at some videos of crates being opened, I saw Huang He, Perth, Krasny Krym, Dunkerque and LOTS of Monaghan's dropping from the Christmas crate, while other ships dropped from substituted SC's. My memory of that year seems to recall a lot of talk about Monaghan and Huang He and Perth being pulled by a lot of people.
2019 appears to be the same, no mention of any short lists, just a chance of pulling any ship from the list. Same thing, there appears that there could have been some data missing from the articles now that some elements are removed from the article. However, same thing with unboxing videos: I saw ships like Exeter and Haida being dropped from Christmas crates and other ships being dropped from substituted SC's. I do recall there being a lot of talk about Exeter being a standard drop for the Christams crates.
So that brings us to 2020 and again the article has no published short list, however, we can be sure that the article is accurate as its newly posted and nothing has been changed. And everyone is aware of the discussion surrounding these crates and the "short lists"
So in conclusion:
1. Short lists have always existed. They have never gone away. This is not new
2. It doesn't appear to me at this time that they have always been published (2016 and 2017 were, it doesn't appear that 2018 and 2019 were). (And if they are in effect, I DO believe that WG should publish them along with the odds for drops in all containers)
3. While it appears that if you don't have any of the short list ships you must pull at least one of them before moving on to any of the other ships listed, whether it worked this way in the past is unclear. I do not know if the published "slim chance" was in effect before having any of the short list ships in previous years.
I do not know why all of a sudden this year, people decided to make this an issue. It has ALWAYS existed. The only real problem I have with WG in this is them not publishing those short lists as they used to do. Don't kid yourselves, they are a for profit company and don't expect them to follow scrupulous business practices... But the amount of effort being used on this, the 5th year of Santa crates, is mind boggling to me.