The International 5 competition structure analysis

As The International 5 is underway, let’s talk about its complex structure and the way it handles performances, elimination and other matters.image

Let’s be honest: last year International was a mess to follow: regional qualifiers, last chance tournament, round robin, double playoff, main bracket, all intricated with one another.

For the 5th iteration of its grand tournament, Valve made things simpler, but retained the multiple phases format. Here’s our break down on these choices:

Open Qualifiers (NA, EU, CN, SEA)

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  • Up to 1024 teams
  • Single Elimination bracket
  • Match format: Best of One
  • The winner is qualified for Main Regional Qualifier

Toornament’s notes: the first step to The International is a brutal welcome. Hundreds of opponents and no misstep allowed!

The combination of “Single elimination bracket” and “Best of 1 Matches” is really steep, but what choice do you have, when thousands of competitors around the world want and can take part in it?

This format is very time efficient, but should never be picked for any advanced stage of your competition.

Regional Qualifiers (NA, EU, CN, SEA)

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  • 10 teams
  • Group stage : 2 groups of 5
  • Double elimination bracket: Top team of each group enters through the
  • Winner bracket, 2nd team enters the Loser bracket
  • Match format: Best of 3, except for the Finals in Best of 5
  • Winner is qualified for the Wildcard tournament.

Toornament’s Notes: Classic structure. The limited number of participants allow for a double structure format, the classic “Group to Playoff”. This allows a good amount of matches and the right balance of forgiveness when a competitor stumbles.

The only twist here is that your group performance weighs more than usual on the rest of the competition, as the 2nd ranked in the group directly goes to the Loser bracket, instead of entering the Main bracket with a low seed. This method will be used throughout the whole competition.

The Wild Card

  • 4 teams
  • Double Elimination Bracket
  • Match format: Best of 3
  • Top 2 teams advance to the Main Event
  • Bottom 2 teams are eliminated

Toornament’s notes: A small, quick competition qualifying the two last teams for the Main Event. This phase wasn’t necessary, as the organizer could just have invited 12 teams instead of 14 and qualified the 4 winners of the Regional Qualifiers.

We think it’s a good way to start the Main Event with an appetizer, and a perfect rehearsal for the admin, streaming and casting teams.

Main Event – Group Stage

  • 16 teams
  • 2 groups of 8
  • Round Robin: Everybody plays each other within a group
  • Match format: 2 games. 2-0 earns 3 points, 1-1 earns 1 point, 0-2 earns 0 points
  • The top 4 teams of each group enter the main Bracket, the Bottom 4 teams of each group enter the Loser Bracket

Toornament’s notes: This is The International specialty: a huge amount of 112 matches being played in the course of 4 days. Still, the largest phase of the competition doesn’t eliminate anyone.

The rankings it produces are purely Seed intended, as everyone will go to the next phase no matter what. Again, Valve leans toward the “top to the winner bracket, bottom to the loser bracket” method.

We thus feel that this phase is very forgiving for everyone and that the organizers want to give as much chances as possible to every participant. We wouldn’t expect less from the most anticipated Esport tournament of the year.

Main Event – Playoff

  • 16 teams
  • Double Elimination bracket
  • Match format: Best of 3, except the Grand Finals using Best of 5 and the Loser Bracket Round 1 using Best of 1

Toornament’s notes: The last phase of The International 5 follows the ever popular Double Elimination Bracket, adding two modifications to the original model: at the very end, the Grand Final is a Best of 5 match, instead of a set of Best of 3 matches, where the competitor coming from the Loser Bracket has to “reset” the Finals by winning a first Best of 3, whereas the competitor from the Winner Bracket just needs one set to win it all.

At the very beginning of the tournament, Valve has left a steep Loser Bracket 1st round for the bottom competitors. This round is played in a Best of 1 match, meaning a swift elimination for 4 of the bottom teams.

We do understand this decision – Group Stage rankings must come with a price, or no teams will be motivated to really perform, or show their strategies and best moves.

Final Wrap Up

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The International is really one of a kind. Its much hyped, crowdfunded money prize is the talk of the town, but its competition structure is worth a look. Valve went with a very unique way to treat its competitors, going from brutal phases to more forgiving ones

The fact that all the teams play a lot of matches over an extended period says one thing for us: The International is a massive competition, but also a massive  celebration of DOTA 2 as a game, a community and an Esport discipline.

The generous amount of matches reminds us the NBA league, where the fans get plenty of show and exciting moments. The extended length of the competition – 2 weeks from the start of the Wild Card to the Finals of the Main Event – leans toward the World Cup (4 weeks), which gives time for everyone to celebrate.

As a tournament organizer, you should take notes from The International. There are great ideas (we haven’t even talked about All-star matches, 1v1, media days, days off etc.) to keep in mind, but also lessons you should take as a warning. The main one being that The International is a huge event with huge resources. Valve did a good a job to size the need for their phases, but few people and companies can afford the millions of dollars needed.

All in all, always think about your competitors and the audience experience! The right balance between the amount of matches, the timeframe and people’s endurance will be key to your success. Share with us your ideal Tournament structure and in the meantime, let’s enjoy The International 5!

We’re enhancing our tournament structures

Good news for you today! We’re enhancing three of our tournament structures, reinforcing Toornament’s leadership in terms of tournament structures and options.

Let’s have a look at the new features!

Swiss system: new pairing rules

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Our community has been very happy since we released our Swiss system. Today, we’re enhancing it, adding new pairing algorithms, to fine tune way you want your participants to meet each other.

The default pairing method so far was “Score Group + Random”, which pairs random players with similar Win / Draw / Lose performances in the group.

With our update, you are given the choice with 3 additional methods :

  • Score Groups + Adjacent: The strongest participant of a group is paired with next strongest one of the same group, and so on.
  • Score Groups + Balanced: The new default setting. The strongest participant from the first half is paired with next strongest one of the second half, and so on.
  • Score groups + Opposite: The strongest opponent is paired with the weakest one.

Group stage: new tie breaker options

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Deciding the final standings in a group with tied participants is always a tricky situation. We thus added new tie breaker options to help you rule this out.

You can stack up all those rules, the one on the top being the first rule to apply, while the bottom being the last rule to apply.

Note that we’ve added three new rules dedicated to the match score: match score for, against and difference. You can apply these rules to the overall performance, or just focus on the performances between the tied participants.

A League of its own

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Last but not least, our League structure has been largely enhanced, now boasting great features:

  • league’s divisions
  • match day view
  • the same new tie breakers rules as in Groups and Swiss system

We hope you’ll enjoy and use these new features and options, stay tuned for more!

“Swiss System” added

As we announced it earlier, the Swiss System has just joined our array of supported competition formats.

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As you may know, the Swiss System makes all participants face each other. Each victory grants the victor 2 points, whereas the loser gets 0 points. A tie results in a split 1-1 point between the competitors. Note that you can edit those values later. As the matches go, the Swiss system will pair people with similar result, making it harder and harder to win, for example.

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The Swiss System thus allow a great amount of fair matches for everyone, from the top dogs to the underdogs. The Swiss System can be picked a a whole tournament format, or be paired with single or double elimination systems. Reminder : be careful about your time management, as this Structure grows exponentially with the number of participants.

Welcome (board) on Toornament !

Your dashboard homepage has changed and from now on, you will be greeted by our welcome board, which contains plenty of goodies :

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– Our latest tweets about the Esport economics and latest trends
– Our latest blog posts
– An invitation to become a trusted user
– Your tournaments
– Your money status
– General informations and links about Toornament.

We find this landing page more useful, convenient… and welcoming. Hope you’ll enjoy !

New feature : Draft status

You look at your dashboard today  and yes, something has changed. This orange box wasn’t there before. Half-Life 3 confirmed ? Nearly : We’ve changed the way you can handle your tournament status.

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By default, your tournament is now marked as a “draft”. This means it is 100% operational and working, but cannot be found through search engines on Toornament site and mobile app. You can still share its unique URL to people, but that’s it.

Publishing your tournament will make it visible, searchable and sharable by everyone.

The draft status is very handy when you’re building your tournament and just need to manually share it with a few trusty people (admins, sponsors, players).

The Published status make your tournament 100% visible and sharable. It’s of course great for your audience, media partners and competitors.

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We hope this UX update will make the process smoother for you. Feek free to send us feedback !

Introducing the schedule functionnality

Let’s start the week with a new feature on Toornament: Schedules!

This new tool allows you to create schedules with various purposes. Schedules can be set as public or private.

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Here are some examples of public schedules:

  • Opening and closing hours
  • Extra activities (autograph signings, special events)
  • Main stage schedule

And some examples of private schedules:

  • Admins time of arrival on site
  • Match process (when to go get the players, set-up the machines etc.)
  • Admins meeting

To
create a schedule, just go to the “Schedule” in your dashboard. From
there, you can create and edit pretty much everything you need. The
public schedules will be visible in the tournament widget.

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You can now start to test and use them, feel free to send us your feedbacks!

 

Here’s the new Toornament TV

Our public display and in-between match content solution has been updated !
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This new version embeds a live info strip, based on a Twitter feed and hashtag. Toornament TV is also customisable through its main elements :

  • Background picture
  • Main layout picture
  • Border color (CSS)
  • Text color

You can check it Live on this page.

The ESWC CoD 2015 starting this week end will be the first tournament to use the new Toornament TV.
Toornament TV is still underwork and thus, not directly available from your dashboard. If you’re interested, feel free to contact us !

Light theme !

Here are today’s new features, one invisible and other much more visible.

First, we’ve had our server maintenance process and internal changes, enhancing Toornament’s global performances and responsiveness.

Second, we’ve added a new color for our widget : Light. This white, clean look will make our widget a perfect embedabble content for more sites using white backgrounds and clear color schemes.

You just have to pick it from the “Share” tab in your dashboard. Here’s one in the flesh :

A full black theme is also on the way.

Meanwhile, other features and improvement are on the way, just let us know what you’d like to see !