If you’ve never attended an esports tournament before, you may not know what to expect. In many ways, an esports tournament is similar to a conventional sporting event. Just like conventional playoffs and tournaments, esports formats include qualifying rounds and elimination brackets. However, various esports tournaments approach things slightly differently. Below, we break down the main types of tournament formats you are likely to encounter when exploring live esports events.
Who Can Play?
Any esports tournament will be advertised as an open or closed event. This essentially lets you know who can participate with any given event. Open events mean anyone is free to enter. By contrast, closed events tend to operate on an invite-only basis. In these cases, those organizing an event will decide who can compete.
Major esports tournaments usually involve qualifying rounds, with eligible teams or individuals playing against competitors in their respective regions. These rounds whittle down the overall number of would-be competitors before play progresses to the next stage. If you need some help selecting a suitable esports event to attend, sites like 1337PRO are always worth looking into. These platforms provide a user-friendly overview of upcoming fixtures, as well as insight into whether you’re dealing with an open or closed event.
Different Types of Matches
Come the day of an esports tournament itself, you will start noticing the key differences between this sector and standard sporting events. Unlike regular sports that offer more of a level playing field for professionals, esports has other factors to consider. With co-operative games like Call of Duty, game-play takes place across maps. Participating teams may excel when playing on one, yet fall short when playing on another. To even things out, esports tournaments will often see teams compete over a series of matches.
Although single games are encountered in esports, they are the exception. Knockout stages are far more common. A best of two approach is often utilized during group stages, with points awarded in the event of a draw. More common still is a best of three approach. Best of five matches are also popular, especially when it comes to grand finals. These extended sessions can often take more than three hours to complete, so if you intend to witness all of the action in person, be prepared to stand around for a considerable amount of time.
How Do Tournaments Play Out?
Most of the time, esports tournaments comprise two distinct stages. The first of these is the group stage. These can vary somewhat in structure, but always involve participants being divided up into groups. This division is sometimes random, with a round robin approach that will quickly allow the number of participating teams to be whittled down.
However, if the overall number of participants is high, a Swiss seeding system approach may be adopted, especially if conventional rounds can not be implemented. To begin with, opponents are placed against each other at random or via seeding. Come the second round, all winning competitors will face off against each other, with losing participants competing against other losing teams.
Playoffs, otherwise known as knockout stages, take two forms. The first is a single elimination bracket. This approach is relatively simple. Qualifying teams for this bracket will play out their fixtures, with the victor progressing to the next stage. The loser will simply be eliminated from the tournament. Another approach is a double elimination bracket. Things start off in much the same was a single elimination bracket.
However, rather than being eliminated outright, the losing team will be relegated to a second bracket. Teams will need to win fixtures in the second elimination bracket if they hope to continue. Those who lose their matches in the lower bracket are subsequently eliminated from the competition. This ultimately means that teams have an improved chance of progressing to the final, even if they lose an initial match. However, those who remain in the upper bracket maintain a strong advantage over those who fall into the lower bracket. Those teams that remain in the upper bracket throughout a tournament will usually receive additional points come the grand final.
Different tournaments utilize formats, but the above guidance should give you a clearer idea of what to expect the next time you head to a live event. Although many esports tournaments have recently had to move online, the appetite for live attendance remains healthier than ever and it looks likely that crowds will return to pack out stadiums in the future. You only need to glance over the list of upcoming esports events in 2021 to see the industry is as a buoyant as ever.