‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
There has been a lot of discussion about different tournament formats after the elimination of Virtus.Pro from IEM Katowice. I previously wrote an article comparing different formats and for those who didn’t read it, I come to the conclusion that the TI (barring the shitty TI4) is the best format in every possible way except cost and logistics. A common argument is that “The best player will usually win.” That’s correct in only the absolute theoretical sense, but in reality it never works like that. In this blog I’ll just show examples of different players that had very different results based off of tournament formats.
Dota 2: The EG lineups that had PPD only ever won tournaments that had double elimination, and all of their wins came from the losers bracket. It’s actually a fucking mystery to me that people try to argue about single elim and double elim crowning the best team in Dota 2 when they’ve had years of watching EG win from losers.
SC2: Taeja has won the most premote tournaments of any SC2 player. “Premier” is a misnomer as the value of each tournament can vary wildly from tier 3 to tier 2 to tier 1. What they all have in common, though, is that they were all fast played tournaments that wrapped up within one week. He could play the very best players in this format at the peak of their skill and win. At the same time he has never won any long preparation tournaments (GSL/WCS). sOs is a very similar version of this though with a smaller sample size.
A counter example is INnoVation. He has attended 18 weekender tournaments and has only won three of them. He was the favorite or at least a championship contender in nearly all of those tournaments, but was never as successful as Taeja. At the same time he has found his most success in long tournament formats having won two GSLs.
In CS:GO, the core of Astralis is a good example as they had never won a big prize money event until ECS. A more concrete example is the Seangares led Cloud 9 in the summer of 2015. Steel famously called them “Counter-Strat 9” because it seemed like Sean wasn’t calling tactics, but rather scouting out and abusing tendencies and mistakes of other teams. He later confirmed that he was doing this in an interview with Thorin. If CS:GO had long form preparation tournaments during that time, Cloud9 could have gotten much farther off of his pure preparation alone.
In League of Legends, the ROX Tigers might be a good example. They famously failed at IEM and they continually lost to SKT even though they dominated the round robin part of the split. It makes me think that if they were running the old OSL format tournaments that ROX could have been exposed more for the fact that they couldn’t win bo5s.