Heroes of the Storm

Competitive Ruling: Season 4 HotS Tiebreakers


  • Future ties for top 4 spots will be broken by playing a head-to-head match between tied teams
  • MilkShake and TeamDC are each awarded 2 Bonus Points in compensation for missing out on qualification through no fault of their own


Each week teams must qualify for Playoffs by battling through four rounds of Swiss bracket matches. At the end of four rounds, the matches won by each team determines their placing in the Qualifier standings, and the top four teams advance to the week’s playoffs. In some cases, teams’ scores are tied and then tiebreakers must be applied to determine who advances to playoffs and who doesn’t. The tiebreakers that are applied are those provided by Challonge, namely (in order applied):

  • TB (Number of wins against tied opponents)
  • Bucholz
  • Points Difference

The Problem

Season 4 has a high number of teams entering, and, due to time constraints, we are only able to provide four rounds in each Swiss bracket. This means that it is possible (and even likely) that teams could be tied, but not all teams will have a TB score (since they will not have played against the opponents with whom they are tied). This happened in the 1st week of Season 4, where:

  • 4 teams were tied (Mad Because Bad, MilkShake, Roles Unspecified, TeamDC)
  • Only 2 of these teams had played against one of the other tied teams – in this case Mad Because Bad played against Roles Unspecified.
  • This meant only 1 team earned the TB point (Mad Because Bad)
  • MilkShake and TeamDC were denied any TB points because they had not had the opportunity to play head-to-head against any of the other teams

It is immediately apparent that both MilkShake and TeamDC received an unfair placing through no fault of their own.

The Solution

For future rounds (starting with Week 2), teams that are tied for a place in the top 4 will have the following tiebreakers applied:

  1. If the teams have played head-to-head against each other, the team that won the match will be placed higher than the team that lost the match
  2. If the teams have NOT played head-to-head against each other, the tied teams will play in a bo1 match and the winner of that match will be placed higher than the loser.

In the case of (2), the teams affected must play the match immediately after the fourth Swiss bracket match has completed. The tiebreaker match will be broadcast by Gamestah.


We will award both MilkShake and TeamDC the Playoff qualification Bonus Points (2 points each) in compensation for missing out on qualification through no fault of their own.


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.


Heroes of the Storm

HotS Update: Playoff Seeding

When considering seeding for the weekly Playoffs, the following principles apply:

  • The Season 3 Qualifiers should surface the top two teams in the region. At the end of the season, these two teams should have the highest points and progress through to the ANZ Finals
  • The Top 4 teams in the region should, as often as possible, play in the weekly Playoff bracket, and not in the Swiss bracket
  • Seeding should be consistent from one week to the next

From a regional development perspective, the ideal would be for a competition to provide all teams (at a given level) to play against each other. While we would like to ensure this happens, teams should remember that the Qualifiers is a qualification series, not a practice ground. With that said, the following seeding system will be used for the Weekly Playoff Bracket:

  • If a team qualifies from the Swiss Bracket, their seeding is based on the rank achieved in the Swiss Bracket:
    • Rank 1 is seeded 5th
    • Rank 2 is seeded 6th
    • Rank 3 is seeded 7th
    • Rank 4 is seeded 8th
  • For seeding the teams that have qualified for Playoffs from the previous week’s Playoff:
    • In the first instance, the team with the most amount of total points will be seeded higher
    • If teams have equal total points, seeding will be applied to provide varied match-ups from the week before

The above method will ensure that teams with the highest points will continue to receive favourable matchups, but, where possible, teams that haven’t yet faced each other will get the opportunity to do so.


Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard ANZ HotS Qualifiers – Season 3 Maps

The new expanded format for season 3 includes two rounds per week: Tuesday nights we play four bo1 rounds in a Swiss bracket, and Thursday nights feature two bo3 rounds in a single elimination bracket. Each phase of play requires a different map selection process.

Swiss Rounds

Each week the Swiss Round features four bo1 matches. For each match, the map is specified. This is identical to the selection of maps in Season 2. The following specifies the maps for all four weeks of Swiss Rounds:

Week 1
Round 1 Towers of Doom
Round 2 Infernal Shrines
Round 3 Battlefield of Eternity
Round 4 Sky Temple


Week 2
Round 1 Tomb of the Spider Queen
Round 2 Dragon Shire
Round 3 Cursed Hollow
Round 4 Braxis Holdout


Week 3
Round 1 Warhead Junction
Round 2 Towers of Doom
Round 3 Infernal Shrines
Round 4 Battlefield of Eternity


Week 4
Round 1 Sky Temple
Round 2 Tomb of the Spider Queen
Round 3 Dragon Shire
Round 4 Cursed Hollow

Playoff Rounds

Playoff Rounds each week feature two rounds of bo3 matches. In both rounds, maps will be drafted from the following pool:

  • Towers of Doom
  • Infernal Shrines
  • Battlefield of Eternity
  • Sky Temple
  • Tomb of the Spider Queen
  • Dragon Shire
  • Cursed Hollow
  • Braxis Holdout
  • Warhead Junction

The drafting process will be conducted as follows:

  • The higher seeded team (here labeled “Team A”) will begin by banning one battleground.
  • The other team (“Team B”) will then ban one battleground.
  • Team A will then select a battleground from the remaining (unbanned) battlegrounds.
  • Team B will be granted first pick/ban during hero select.
  • At the end of the first game, the losing team will have the option to choose either the next battleground to be played, or to have first pick/ban, with the winning team performing the remaining option.