Opinion: Seeded Playoffs Would Perfect Swiss-Style Tournaments

by Kevin Knocke

Swiss tournament systems are awesome (like, really awesome) but they are not perfect. And if you dont want to take my word for it, or dont know what they are, go here.

Now, ELEAGUE has been using a Swiss-style system the entire CS:GO Major, even starting with the qualifiers where 16 Challengers were whittled down to 8 teams that qualified for the Major.

Then at the Major itself, it just finished up five rounds of Swiss to again take 16 teams and whittle them down to 8 Legends that will compete in a single elimination bracket starting tomorrow.

In between each Swiss round and after the Swiss portion of the event completed, organizers at the ELEAGUE Major would randomly draw cards to determine matchups. This results in less than optimal matches, to say the least.

And, let me repeat that: after each round they would randomly draw cards to determine matchups.

The result is the current playoff field that will begin tomorrow at the Major (all rankings according to the WWG CS:GO Team Rankings):

No. 14 Natus Vincere vs No. 1 Astralis

No. 21 Fnatic vs No. 17 Gambit

No. 7 Virtus.pro vs No. 6 North

No. 8 FaZe Clan vs No. 2 SK Gaming.

See some problems?

Yes, random seeding may sound good in theory, but matches SHOULD be seeded to ensure competitive and interesting matches throughout the whole event.

One side of the bracket is entirely top 8 team in the WWG CS:GO Team Rankings. No that doesn't mean that each team is performing exactly according to their rankings at this event (obviously Na'Vi has been tearing it up and looks unstoppable despite being No. 14 at the moment), but it does show a huge imbalance in the overall games.

For example, although Gambit and Fnatic have certainly exceeded expectations at this event, it's still a matchup between the clear weakest teams left in the event, which means a top four appearance guaranteed for one of those teams.

Conversely, Na'Vi vs Astralis or VP and North could easily be finals matches, yet two of those teams will be knocked out while either Fnatic or Gambit are guaranteed a spot.

Of course there are merits to the counterargument here, in that a team who wins the event will eventually have the beat the best teams anyway, but that doesn't mean that the tournament shouldn't work to seed events fairly.

Plus, in the schedule, there are significant breaks in between each Major. So seeding teams based on performance at the last major doesn't even necessarily hold.

Kevin Hitt of WWG has this to say: "Seeding Legends teams that have significantly changed because of the large amount of time in between the majors doesn't make any sense. There is going to be come a time where random seating gets thrown to the curb and actual objective seating will blaze a trail towards fair tournaments."

What's needed is a fair, objective ranking system that tournaments and organizations can agree on so that tournaments can be seeded fairly and without subjective calls. More importantly, it also avoids the problems in random seeding where significant bracket imbalances can occur.

More esports influencing from Knocke: Capture the Rooster Should be the Future of Overwatch | Thanks for the Feel Good Story, Rocket League | CS:GO Has More Parity Than Ever