There have been a few comments made about the success/failure of our experiment with Swiss format at INJUSTAH (Gamestah’s Injustice 2 Circuit). Almost all of the negative feedback has been concerned with how long it took to complete the event.
Why Swiss (a reminder)
To begin with, we should consider the two previous events: we held two rounds of INJUSTAH (the PRELIM event, and Round 1 of the Circuit) using double elimination format and this was the result:
- Both events had a large number of entries (PRELIM: 36; Round 1: 30)
- Both events ran for over 5 hours from start to finish – Round 1 in fact ran for 6 hours
- Both events were streamed in their entirety, so caster fatigue became a real issue by the end of each event
At the end of Round 1, the suggestion was made to split the event into an off-air qualifying stage, with only the top 8 being broadcast. At this point, Gamestah took the decision to test Swiss format for the qualifying stage instead of double elimination.
Round 2 – what happened
On the day, 25 competitors checked in (of 45 registered). We proceeded to run six rounds of Swiss bracket, taking 2.5 hours to complete the qualifying stage. Unfortunately, this was much longer than anticipated, mainly because we had two competitors who had entered that were sharing a console. This meant that before one of these competitors could start their round, the other competitor had to complete their round. This effectively doubled the total length of each round, and thus the qualifying stage (the nature of Swiss is that each round takes as long as the longest match). So what was meant to provide all competitors with 8 matches (we intended to run 8 rounds of Swiss but truncated this to 6 due to time concerns) over a maximum of 2 hours, delivered 6 matches over 2.5 hours.
Obviously this is unacceptable, and as a result the INJUSTAH Rule Book has included clauses that will force matches that start late (for any reason) to be forfeited (by the player that causes the delay). Our intention is for each Swiss round, on average, to take no longer than 15 minutes – something definitely achievable for a standard BO5 Injustice 2 match.
Round 2 Top 8
The top 8 was run as standard double elimination as recommended by the players we consulted with. Here, things again took much longer than expected, due mainly to connectivity issues experienced by one player. Again, the INJUSTAH Rule Book has clauses to deal with this situation, placing the onus on the affected player to sort out their network issues within 5 minutes of the match start time, or forfeit their match. That said, the length of time to complete the Top 8 stage of the tournament had nothing to do with Swiss format.
Some comments about mid-bracket withdrawals
We had a number of players (three or four) that dropped out of the tournament early. This may have been because players decided they had no chance to qualify by the third or fourth round. It may also have been caused by players not realising the commitment that a full Swiss bracket requires – someone that has grown used to being knocked out in LB1 may have experienced a shock when they were expected to play more than 30 minutes of Injustice 2!
Again, we have specified rules to combat the phenomenon of early dropouts. However, we believe that players won’t need a stick to keep them playing – the opportunity to pit your skill in a competitive environment with a wide range of opponents should be enough of a carrot to do that for all but those who have real emergencies that require them to drop out.
Round 3 – Swiss’ Second Change
This brings us to the current round of INJUSTAH – Round 3. We have again set up a Swiss bracket for the qualifying stage. We are going to ask players to give it one more try – the first attempt, with its particular issues should not be used to judge the format. However, should the 2nd attempt not deliver on expectations, we will reconsider the format and schedule in a two-stage double elimination tournament for Round 4.