In the early 2000s, several phase change results from distributional convergence to distributional non-convergence have been obtained for shape parameters of random discrete structures. Recently, for those random structures which admit a natural martingale process, these results have been considerably improved by obtaining refined asymptotics for the limit behavior. In this work, we propose a new approach which is also applicable to random discrete structures which do not admit a natural martingale process. As an example, we obtain refined asymptotics for the number of leaves in random point quadtrees. More applications, for example to shape parameters in generalized m-ary search trees and random gridtrees, will be discussed in the journal version of this extended abstract.