Heroes of the Storm

Competitive Ruling: MilkShake Playoff Roster – Week 2

Last night’s Blizzard ANZ HotS Season 3 Playoff bracket (Week 2) featured some unusual circumstances that unfairly disadvantaged team MilkShake:

  • MilkShake were unable to field a full team of five.  Under rule 1.4(b) they were not permitted to change any team members. Based on this they notified admins that they would not be playing in the Week 2 Playoff bracket.
  • City Wok were also unable to field a full team of five. They contacted admins and requested an exception to rule 1.4(b).
  • City Wok were due to play Dark Sided in Dark Sided’s first match under their new organisation. This match had been advertised on Gamestah’s social media and had received considerable attention due to the entry of Dark Sided into HotS.
  • Because of these exceptional circumstances, the admins agreed to a substitute for City Wok in order to allow their match against Dark Sided to go ahead.

MilkShake raised an objection to this exception, arguing that if they’d known they could play with a sub, they would have, rather than withdrawing (and thus forfeiting their bonus point).

At Gamestah we always try to be consistent with our rulings. Given that we had agreed to allow City Wok to play a sub, for the sake of the Round 1 match against Dark Sided, we would have allowed MilkShake to do the same, had they requested to do so. The only reason they had not asked for an exception for themselves is that they assumed it would be refused under 1.4(b).

The result of these circumstances is:

  • City Wok received a Bonus Point (for playing in Round 1 of Playoffs) – a bonus point they received only because an exception to 1.4(b) was made.
  • MilkShake forfeited a Bonus Point – which they would not have done if we had given them the same exception to 1.4(b) that we had given to City Wok.

This unfairly disadvantaged MilkShake. For this reason we have decided to award MilkShake a bonus point in lieu of the opportunity to compete with a sub.

It should be noted that this ruling will not be allowed to set a precedent. Teams should not assume that they will be allowed to disregard 1.4(b) in future weeks. It is unlikely that the same set of extenuating circumstances will arise again and the admins of the Tournament will expect teams to forfeit their Playoff Bonus Points if they are unable to field five players from their official roster.

However, teams should be encouraged to raise issues like the above with admins as soon as possible. We understand that the Season 3 two-day-per-week format is new and may stress some team’s rosters. If you are unable to play in a Playoff bracket for which you have qualified, please contact the admins as soon as possible so that the option of an exception can be explored.



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.


Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard ANZ HotS Season 3 Qualifiers

We’re pleased to announce Gamestah’s production of Season 3 of the Blizzard ANZ Heroes of the Storm Season 3 Qualifiers! Once again we will be running a weekly series with two qualification spots for the Blizzard ANZ Finals and a shot at a share of $20,000, which will take place on 1 July 2017. Season 3 has some big changes, so check the details of how to qualify so that you don’t miss out!

Register here for the Week 1 Swiss Round (to be played on 30 May 2017).


  • Season 3 will run for four weeks, starting 30 May and ending 22 June
  • Each week there are two match nights: Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Tuesday nights will feature four rounds of Swiss bracket, best-of-one (bo1) matches
  • Thursday nights will feature two rounds of Single Elimination, best-of-three (bo3) matches
  • There are rewards for all teams that participate in all four weeks of competition

Weekly Series: the Details

The best way to understand the weekly structure is to think of Tuesday nights as Division 2 matches, and Thursday nights as Division 1 matches. All teams start out in Division 2, and must qualify every week for the Division 1 play-off rounds.

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

1. Top 4 from Swiss

In a given week, the top four teams from the Division 2 match night qualify for that week’s Playoffs. This means that at the start of each week, any team that plays on Tuesday could make it through to to the Thursday round – they just have to win enough matches to finish in the top four of that week.

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

The other four teams in the playoffs qualify from the previous week’s playoff round. Playoffs feature eight teams in total, who play two bo3 matches in a single elimination bracket. After the 1st match, four teams are knocked out – these teams drop down into Division 2 and must play in the next week’s Swiss bracket. The other four teams proceed to the 2nd match of playoffs – and they also qualify for the next week’s playoffs. The four teams that stay in Division 1 from one week to the next may not play in the next week’s Swiss bracket!

For the first week of the competition, there are no Division 1 teams from the previous week (since there is no “previous week” yet), so instead eight teams will qualify from the Tuesday night Swiss bracket. Here’s an overview of each week:

Week 1

Division 2 Swiss

  • Date: Tuesday night, 30 May 2017
  • Swiss bracket, 4 matches, bo1
  • Open to all teams in ANZ
  • Top 8 teams qualify for Playoffs

Division 1 Playoff

  • Date: Thursday night, 1 June 2017
  • Single elimination bracket, 2 matches, bo3
  • Open to only Top 8 teams from Swiss
  • Top 4 teams proceed to Week 2 Playoffs (i.e. Division 1)
  • Bottom 4 teams return to Week 2 Swiss (i.e. Division 2)

Week 2

Division 2 Swiss

  • Date: Tuesday night, 6 June 2017
  • Swiss bracket, 4 matches, bo1
  • Open to all teams in ANZ
  • Top 4 teams qualify for Playoffs

Division 1 Playoff

  • Date: Thursday night, 8 June 2017
  • Single elimination bracket, 2 matches, bo3
  • Top 4 teams from Swiss + Top 4 teams from Week 1 Playoffs
  • Top 4 teams proceed to Week 3Playoffs (i.e. Division 1)
  • Bottom 4 teams return to Week 3 Swiss (i.e. Division 2)

Week 3 & Week 4

Weeks 3 and 4 repeat the process from Week 2.

Qualification for Blizzard ANZ Finals

The top 2 teams from the entire series will qualify to play in the Blizzard ANZ Finals on 1 July. To identify the top 2, 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
    • Max 4 points per week
  • 1 point for winning a Playoff bracket (Division 1) match
    • Max 2 points per week

Bonus Points

  • 1 bonus point for finishing in the top 4 of the week’s Swiss bracket
    • Note: this point is only awarded if the team actually plays in the Playoff round
  • 5 bonus points for finishing in the top 4 of the week’s Playoff bracket (only awarded in Week 1, 2 and 3).

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 a Bonus Point. Note that if a team only wins three matches on Swiss night, but still make the top 4, they still get the Bonus Point for making it through to the Playoff round!

The 2nd set of Bonus Points compensates those teams that “miss out” on the Swiss bracket points. Because they have qualified for the next week’s Playoffs, they are not permitted to play in the Swiss bracket. To ensure they do not get penalized for missing those four matches (and thus losing the 4 points available), they are awarded 5 bonus points – as if they have won all four of their Swiss matches and earned the bonus point for finishing in the top 4. Note that since there is no Week 5, no additional bonus points are awarded for finishing in the Top 4 of Week 4 Playoffs.

The points system means that teams who maintain their position in Division 1 (by qualifying from one week to the next through the Playoff rounds) are rewarded for doing so, while still giving all other teams the opportunity to earn maximum points even if they have to fight their way through Swiss bracket again!

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!


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.