Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard ANZ HotS Season 4 Qualifiers – SCHEDULE

The following specifies the full schedule for Season 4.

Each weekly Swiss tournament requires registration to participate. All tournament registrations will take place on Gamestah’s Challonge page.

Date Division Format Participants Round Outcome Registration
9-Aug Division 2 Swiss Format OPEN 1 4 teams qualify for Weekly Playoff Register here
15-Aug Division 1 Playoff (TDE*) 4 from Swiss, 4 from Season 3 ANZ Finals 1 4 teams drop to Swiss, 4 teams through to next Playoff Invitation Only
16-Aug Division 2 Swiss Format OPEN 2 4 teams qualify for Weekly Playoff  TBC
22-Aug Division 1 Playoff (TDE*) 4 from Swiss, 4 from previous Playoff 2 4 teams drop to Swiss, 4 teams through to next Playoff
23-Aug Division 2 Swiss Format OPEN 3 4 teams qualify for Weekly Playoff
29-Aug Division 1 Playoff (TDE*) 4 from Swiss, 4 from previous Playoff 3 4 teams drop to Swiss, 4 teams through to next Playoff
30-Aug Division 2 Swiss Format OPEN 4 4 teams qualify for Weekly Playoff
5-Sep Division 1 Playoff (TDE*) 4 from Swiss, 4 from previous Playoff 4 FINAL Round
Notes: * Modified  Double Elimination
Swiss format on Wednesdays
Playoff on the following Tuesday

Match nights start at 7:30pm AEST, with check-in for teams opening at 6:30pm AEST.

As with previous Seasons, there are rewards for teams that participate in all 4 weeks of competition, with additional rewards for teams that participate in three or more weeks of Division 1 brackets.

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Heroes of the Storm

Gamestah Presents: Blizzard ANZ Season 4 Qualifiers

Blizzard ANZ Heroes of the Storm returns to GamestahTV with the Season 4 Qualifiers! There are some HUGE changes this Season, which starts on 9 August.

Overview

  • Season 4 will run for four weeks, starting 9 August and ending 5 September
  • Each week there are two match nights: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Wednesday nights will feature four rounds of Swiss bracket, best-of-one (bo1) matches
  • Tuesday nights will feature two rounds of Double Elimination, best-of-three (bo3) matches
  • There are rewards for all teams that participate in all four weeks of competition
  • This season there will be no “last chance” qualifier. All spots in the Blizzard ANZ Finals will be allocated from the Gamestah Qualifiers.

Weekly Series: the Details

Chrisis has published a detailed VLOG on Season 4 changes on YouTube. Make sure you check it out!

Once again we feature two nights of match play, providing essential two divisions for teams. However, we are moving match nights to better accommodate feedback from teams regarding availability.

The Swiss bracket (“Division 2”) now takes place on Wednesday nights, starting 30 minutes earlier, at 7:30pm AEST. The first Swiss night is 9 August, and then weekly on Wednesdays after that.

Playoff night (“Division 1”) has been moved to Tuesday nights, with each playoff taking place in the week after the relevant Swiss bracket. This means the first night of Playoffs is 15 August.

Here is the full Season Schedule. Read below for details of how things will work from week to week:

Note that if a team is knocked out of the Playoff bracket on Tuesday, they will be required to play in the Swiss bracket the following night.

There are two ways to qualify to play in the week’s Division 1 matches:

1. Top 4 from Swiss

Each Wednesday, teams play against each other in four rounds of Swiss bracket. At the end of the night, the top 4 teams qualify for Playoffs on the following Tuesday. These four teams are seeded 5,6,7 and 8. The new Playoff structure will feature these four teams playing against each other in the first round, so matches should be much closer for the teams that participate.

2. Top 4 from (Previous Week’s) Playoffs

The other four teams in the playoffs qualify from the previous week’s playoff round, with the exception of Round 1. In Round 1, the four teams that played in the Blizzard ANZ Season 3 Finals (Nomia, Dark Sided, TrumpSports and NMD) all automatically qualify for Playoffs (on 15 August) and do not have to play in the first round of Swiss (on 9 August).

The teams that qualify for Playoffs from one week to the next will be seeded 1, 2, 3 and 4. They will be matched against each other in their Round 1 matches, so matches in Round 1 will again be much closer.

Double Elimination Playoff Bracket

For Season 4, the Playoff bracket will be a Modified Double Elimination format. Seeds 1-4 will be placed in the Upper Bracket, and have two “lives” each. Seeds 5-8 are placed in the Lower Bracket, and have only one “life”. In other words, if a team in the Upper Bracket loses their round 1 match, they are pushed into the Lower Bracket for round 2, but if a team in the Lower Bracket loses their first round match, they’ll be knocked out of playoffs.

Any team that gets knocked out of the Lower Bracket (in both round 1 and 2) will have to re-qualify for the next Playoff by entering the Swiss bracket on Wednesday night.

The Playoff bracket each week will feature two rounds of play only, in both the Upper and Lower Brackets, with all matches bo3.

As with Season 3, the four teams that stay in Division 1 from one week to the next may not play in the next week’s Swiss bracket!

Here’s an overview of the Season:

Round 1

Division 2 Swiss

  • Date: Wednesday night, 9 August 2017
  • Swiss bracket, 4 matches, bo1
  • Open to all teams in ANZ
  • Top 4 teams qualify for Playoffs

Division 1 Playoff

  • Date: Tuesday night, 15 August 2017
  • Modified Double elimination bracket, 2 rounds, bo3
  • Open to only Top 4 teams from Swiss and the four Season 3 Finalists
  • Top 4 teams proceed to Round 2 Playoffs (i.e. Division 1)
  • Bottom 4 teams return to Round 2 Swiss (i.e. Division 2)

Round 2

Division 2 Swiss

  • Date: Wednesday night, 16 August 2017
  • Swiss bracket, 4 matches, bo1
  • Open to all teams in ANZ
  • Top 4 teams qualify for Playoffs

Division 1 Playoff

  • Date: Tuesday night, 22 August 2017
  • Single elimination bracket, 2 rounds, bo3
  • Top 4 teams from Swiss + Top 4 teams from Round 1 Playoffs
  • Top 4 teams proceed to Round 3 Playoffs (i.e. Division 1)
  • Bottom 4 teams return to Round 3 Swiss (i.e. Division 2)

Round 3 & Round 4

Rounds 3 and 4 repeat the process from Round 2.

Qualification for Blizzard ANZ Finals

The top 4 teams from the entire series will qualify to play in the Blizzard ANZ Finals on 30 September. Please note that we are still awaiting confirmation of whether all four teams will play at LAN in Sydney on 30 September, or if only the top 2 will progress to this stage.

To identify the Top 4, a Leaderboard will be maintained. Teams earn points on the leaderboard by winning matches in both the Swiss and Playoff rounds each week:

Standard Points

  • 1 point for winning a Swiss bracket (Division 2) match
  • 3 points for winning an Playoff (Division 1) Upper Bracket match
  • 2 points for winning a Playoff (Division 2) Lower Bracket match

Bonus Points

  • 2 bonus points for finishing in the top 4 of the week’s Swiss bracket
    • Note: these points are only awarded if the team actually plays in the Playoff round
  • 2 bonus points for finishing in the top 4 of the Round’s Playoff bracket.

Understanding the Points System

Teams should be rewarded for their success from one week to the next. The first rewards, Standard Points, come from winning matches. This means that a team that wins all four of their matches on Swiss night will get four points towards their Qualification campaign. Finishing in the Swiss Top 4 earns a place in the Playoff Round for that week, and that earns two Bonus Points. Note that if a team only wins three matches on Swiss night, but still make the top 4, they still get the Bonus Points for making it through to the Playoff round!

In Season 4, we’ve changed the structure of Playoff points to better reward teams that win matches. We’ve also introduced a modified double elimination format. Because Upper Bracket matches are expected to be much harder to win (because your opponents are better at the game), a match win earns 3 standard points. Lower bracket matches will earn 2 standard points for wins.

We’ve also reduced the bonus points that teams earn from staying in the Playoff bracket from one week to the next. The bonus points still reward teams for staying in the playoffs, but keep the emphasis on winning playoff matches instead of just maintaining position.

A final note on the points system: we’re confident that the points system will reward winning behaviour but as this is a change from Season 3, we reserve the right to make adjustments to ensure the system doesn’t have any exploits that can be abused. If you do spot something that could be a problem, let us know. We’ll make sure it’s worth your while!

Participation Rewards

Blizzard ANZ will once again be rewarding teams that participate in all four weeks of the qualification series. There will be additional rewards for all teams that have participated in the Playoff rounds of three or more weeks. Watch out for a further announcement that will provide details of the rewards to come!

Tiebreakers

There is a possibility that teams will be tied for match wins after four rounds of Swiss on Tuesday nights. If this results in more than 4 teams being in the “top 4” we will use Challonge’s standard tiebreaker algorithms to break ties. In other words, if two teams are ranked 4th and 5th but have identical match wins, Challonge will order them based on tiebreaker algorithms (TB, Bucholz and Points Difference). In the rare case that two teams are in this situation and have identical records for all three tiebreakers, they will be required to play in a head-to-head match immediately after the completion of the 4 round of Swiss. The head-to-head tiebreaker match will be bo1 and the winner will proceed to Playoffs.

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Injustice 2

Statement regarding INJUSTAH Swiss format

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.

 

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Injustice 2

INJUSTAH Format Change

We’ve run two rounds of INJUSTAH now (INJUSTAH Prelim Event and INJUSTAH Circuit Round 1) and will be making a trial change to the format after observations we have made:

  • both events have run for much longer than expected
  • As a result, player and caster fatigue has been a negative factor on the entertainment value of the final rounds
  • There is a wide field of competitors with varying skill levels
  • The majority of competitors are not getting much play time – they are knocked out in the 1st or 2nd round of the Loser’s Bracket

We will be changing the format to compensate for these factors:

1 Two Stage Tournament

We will split the INJUSTAH Circuit events into two stages: a “Qualifying Bracket” stage and a “Top 8 Bracket” Stage. Both stages will happen on the same day, so the fortnightly schedule will not be affected. However, the Qualifying Bracket will not be broadcast and it will start an hour earlier (i.e. at 3pm AEST). Gamestah admins will be present during the Qualifying Bracket, so the bracket will still be actively managed.

The Top 8 Bracket will be broadcast, and will start at 6pm AEST. We anticipate this will allow sufficient time to complete the Qualifying Bracket and give players that make it to the Top 8 Bracket a dinner break of approximately one hour.

2 Introducing Swiss format for the Qualifying Bracket

The Qualifying Bracket will not utilize double elimination to find the Top 8. Instead, a Swiss format bracket will be introduced, a first for the Fighting Game Community (FGC) in Oceania. In Swiss, all participants play in all rounds of the bracket, regardless of their results – no one is knocked out of the bracket. Since most FGC players will not have encountered Swiss format in the past, we provide a brief explanation of how things will work:

  1. All participants are seeded by tournament admins. Past INJUSTAH results will be used as the primary source for initial seeding.
  2. Seeding is used by the Bracket software (Challonge) to generate the 1st round of match-ups.
  3. After the 1st round matches are complete, Challonge generates the 2nd round of matches.

We have published a video on YouTube that takes you through a full Swiss Bracket. Watch it before Sunday!

The Swiss bracket generator is designed to surface the Top 8 from a large field of competitors. We anticipate we will need at least 8 rounds to do this. If we complete 8 rounds and there is still not clear Top 8 we will manually match tied competitors in head-to-head matches to determine the ranking.

3 Top 8 Playoff Bracket

After the the top 8 has been identified through the Swiss Bracket, they will be matched up in a double elimination playoff bracket. In order to keep the playoff stage as close as possible to the way standard FGC Top 8 brackets are played, the following will be applied:

  1. The Top 8 bracket is divided into an upper (Winners) and lower (Losers) bracket
  2. The Winners bracket contains seeds 1, 2, 3, and 4. Players in this bracket have 1 extra life.
  3. The Losers bracket contains seeds 5,6,7 and 8. Players in this bracket have no extra lives, it is a knock-out bracket.
  4. First round match-ups in the Winners bracket will be Seed 1 vs Seed 4 and Seed 2 vs Seed 3
  5. First round match-ups in the Losers bracket will be Seed 5 vs Seed Seed 8 and Seed 6 vs Seed 7.

After the first round, 2 players from the Winners bracket drop down to the lower bracket, and two players from the Losers bracket drop out of the competition. The remainder of the bracket continues using standard double elimination processes; in the Grand Final one player, who enters the Grand Final from the Winners bracket, will have an extra life and the other will not.

We understand that this format is new to the FGC and so there may be many questions about it. We will be releasing additional information through the week to ensure that everything is covered off, but if you have a pressing question, 1st watch the video, then head to Gamestah Discord to ask an admin.

YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdq4q5ZTFzE

Gamestah Discord: https://discord.gg/tewyeru

Register for INJUSTAH Circuit Round 2 here: http://gamestah.challonge.com/injustahr2.

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