I respectfully disagree.
The paid version of this product exists by design and is voluntary. When you get to the highest competition event aka CRW of course whales will have an advantage in a specific timeframe and are essentially “buying” into the top prizes like they do with premier recruit wheel. However, when it comes down to time commitment, consistency and skill level p2w can close the gap that way.
Consider my own faction - we are #1 on our own server and have taken first place in CRW before and our top 10 scorers in any war would have an equal showing of whales/f2p. In fact, our top f2p during the old meta was one of the first to figure out going solo-rocket Abe to cap towers and was top 3 for early CRWs. Of course, they would have had to watch a lot of vids for free coins to do some critical repairs during important match-ups.
In summary, to say that big purse always win is an understatement - it simply means you have never taken the hard grind for the win and that’s understandable. To be clear, CRW prizes are terrible these days and should absolutely be directly compared to premier wheel toons - don’t go chasing for first place wins if you aren’t ready to spend US$300+ for the promo ascendable … this is how this digital product go and access of content through “events” aka campaigns (like ads for McDonald $1 coffee) is not free. Hence “free-mum”.