The World of Warcraft TCG World Cup tournament is coming up in less than two weeks. I’m flying out to Paris next week to help manage the tournament. It’s definitely something outside our comfort zone as far as traditional tournament structures. We wanted to try something new, and OP, R&D, and brand all helped come up with what we think is going to be an exciting weekend. In this blog I wanted to walk through the design process for this event, and talk about a few decisions I think were interesting.
First off, we wanted this tournament to capture the essence of its namesake – the FIFA World Cup. The Cryptozoic office here in California has a lounge with a big projection TV, and during the summer there were more than a few “meetings” scheduled in the Dragon's Den during games. The Day 2 structure was created to capture this feel.
To quickly sum up, teams that move on to Day 2 will be seeded into either four or eight groups, containing six to eight teams each. During Day 2, each team will play all the other teams in their group round-robin, and the best team from each group will move on to the single-elimination matches on Sunday.
We think this is a very cool way to capture the group competition, but also creates a bit of a hurdle. In normal tournaments using Swiss pairings, the tournament structure naturally narrows down the number of players at the top of the standings with the best records.
If you value your life, you should avoid this threes team at the World Cup.
In a round robin event, it’s possible for a number of teams to sit at the top of the standings with the same record. Traditional tiebreakers won’t work either, because they assume Swiss pairings. So for the World Cup, the top 8 for Sunday and top 24 for prizes will be determined by:
- Total number of match wins
- Head to head results
- Seeding after Day 1
“Head to head results” mean that if two teams have the same number of match wins, they’ll be sorted by who won in the head to head matches. For example, if Team USA and Team France both have a 5-2 record on Day 2, but USA beat France in their head to head match, then Team USA would move on to Sunday.
It’s possible for there to be loops – Team USA beat France who beat Germany, but Germany beat Team USA. In this case, the teams seeding from Day 1, which is the combination of the wins from all three players, will determine the final standing.
We really think is an elegant solution to the potential for ties in the round robin system, because it means that every match matters. That is one of the core foundations of our Organized Play structure, and you can see implementations of it everywhere: the Honor Points system, the number of rounds in Core matches, the elimination of draws / intentional draws. As often as possible, we want every match to be played out because that’s what a tournament is.