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二月 15, 2019
二月 15, 2019

How the Swiss-System works in esports

What is the Swiss-sytem tournament format?

How does the Swiss-system work?

How the Swiss-system tournament has developed

How the Swiss-System works in esports

With the CS:GO Major Katowice now underway, it is a good time to talk about the system that Valve and ESL will be using at the Major. We will be looking at how the Swiss-system came to be, and where it originated from, before injecting itself into esport tournaments across the world.

What is the Swiss-sytem tournament format?

The Swiss-system, at its core, is a system that eliminates the need for true round numbers from a round-robin style system, and doesn’t eliminate anyone after two losses like in other, more traditional formats.

It gives all teams or participants a fair chance to progress through to the elimination stages of any given tournament. Additionally, it gives those teams or participants equally balanced matches of people on the same score.

The Swiss tournament format is most commonly used in games such as chess, bridge, backgammon and Scrabble. For the most part they have a far greater amount of participants than a round-robin style system could handle.  One of the greatest benefits for using the Swiss-system in esports tournaments is that it gives players of all levels a fair chance to progress, whilst also providing the viewers with a better spectacle.

Swiss-System 16 team bracket

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Round-robin matches all teams in the competition (or group) and puts them against each other. The core issues surrounding the round-robin format within esports is the duration of the format, lack of progression (within the scores), and “dead-lock” results which would force teams to play tie-breaker matches.

The Swiss-system has the advantage in that gives everybody their best to have a chance to get out of the groups. Another aspect to the Swiss-system tournament is that if you are 2:1, for example, and you have a team who played you earlier on, you cannot then face that team again in the group stage (this is made possible by using Elo points for rankings).

How does the Swiss-system work?

As previously stated, the Swiss-system can be used in various different games or sports. It is more common in esports than other traditional sports so we will now look out how the format works specifically in esports.

When pairing teams or players, the first round pairings can either be made at random, or based primarily on seeding ahead of the tournament. In esports, it is the latter that is preferred because it eliminates the “randomness” aspect that we often hear cited from players and spectators alike.

Once the initial seeding has been completed, teams will then be assigned an Elo rating that reflects their seeding position; the higher seeded the team is, the more points they will have.

After the first round, it becomes a case of which teams won and lost and these are then paired together. After this, the competition keeps going until a winner of the group is determined and the losing teams are eliminated.

Tournament organisers, particularly in esports, have been known to tinker with the chess standard Swiss-system. One recent example would be the 2018 FACEIT London Major where they opted for seeding after every round of the Swiss stage based on how well their previous opponents had performed.

This combatted the issues around seeding ahead of the Major and the fact that some teams had been better seeded because they were in the Legends Stage. This specific system that FACEIT used was called the “Bucholz” system, which is explained well by a HLTV article.

Whilst this system proved pretty decent overall, it has its limitations because of the pairings system deployed, and the fact that best-of-one does lead to one-map specialists if the veto is done correctly.

One such limitation would be was evidenced by the fact that compLexity had played the map Inferno several times and had won on that map throughout the stages that used the Swiss-system. This potentially gave them an advantage over the competition. It also meant that certain teams benefited as they avoided having to play a best-of-three until the elimination stages of the tournament.

How the Swiss-system tournament has developed

At IEM Katowice, we will see a more fine-tuned competitive Swiss-system format. There will be more best-of-three matches thrown into the tournament. Heavy matches or winner play off matches (2:0 and 0:2), become a best-of-three as well as the 2:1 and 2:2 matches where elimination could be secured through the third win.

In reality only two best-of-one matches would be played in the early rounds, allowing a positive step in the right direction for getting to a full best-of-three tournament for the Valve Majors.

The other big change comes in the form of overhauling the Challenger Stage and Legends Stage seeding that we’ve seen in previous Majors, moving to a “Player Based Ranking” system. A full explanation as to how this ranking model works can be found on the ESL website.

It gives all teams or participants a fair chance to progress through to the elimination stages of any given tournament. Additionally, it gives those teams or participants equally balanced matches of people on the same score.

These changes to the traditional Swiss-system tournament format would see a stronger competitive ranking system deployed to give the teams a fairer chance of making the Playoff Stage of the tournament, whilst also making sure the correct teams make it there too.

In addition to developments with the initial seeding, the Elo system (which was used to an extent at the FACEIT London Major) will also be used to refine the Swiss-system moving forward. ESL have explained what they want to do with this particular Major (prevent teams getting an easier route) on their website in great detail.

Once the initial seeding has been completed, teams will then be assigned an Elo rating that reflects their seeding position; the higher seeded the team is, the more points they will have. Each team will be seeded according to each team’s assigned Elo points, and their Elo points will be adjusted after each round.

By having an Elo rating that is continuously updated, it prevents teams of higher or lower rating playing against a team that would be considerably different, making each round a fairer match up based on that Elo rating. The example provided by ESL: “If the #16 seed defeats the #1 seed, that suggests that the #16 team is not yet #1, but probably a bit better than their seeding and vice versa.”

Overall, the Swiss-system seems complex when you first look into it but it is much simpler to understand once you break it down. This format has obvious benefits but it still has flaws like every other tournament format deployed in esports.

Searching for the right format that suits many esports titles is going to take time, because there isn’t a perfect system. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but the Swiss-system has proven very effective over the years at providing the true winners of each competition.

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Pinnacle

「Pinnacle(畢諾克)」的電子競技博彩文章內容包羅萬象,作者皆為擁有豐富電子競技知識的 Pinnacle(畢諾克)博彩和交易團隊成員。

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