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A Defense of the Most Misunderstood Tournament Format: Swiss Brackets

author
Sebastian Quintanilla
2 min

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A Defense of the Most Misunderstood Tournament Format - Swiss
Can the Swiss system work in the FGC? is it worth trying? what are the Pros and Cons? Lets find out.

Swiss tournaments can be widely confusing for players, and sometimes a headache for tournament organizers. But there is something beautiful about it, something that has not been fully explored in fighting game circles just yet. In this video, we try to both give you some context as to how Swiss systems work and convince you that there may yet be room in the FGC for the format to show its best side.

If you’ve ever played a local chess tournament, you will likely be familiar with their Swiss setup, which often runs on 5 to 9 rounds, depending on size. Another place Swiss unexpectedly shows up is Football, Soccer for our American audience, in the European Continental Club competitions, as organized by the region’s governing body UEFA, from 2024 onwards, it will feature a Swiss group stage made up of 36 teams for the Champions, Europa, and Europa Conference leagues.

It's not just traditional sports either. The Swiss format appears in Rocket League, Counter-Strike, Dota, Valorant, and dozens of other titles with competitive scenes, usually as part of qualifier-level events where there is a need to distinguish the best 4, 8, 12, or more participants from a much larger pool. Closer to home, MrAquaman’s Kolosseum, a well-known Mortal Kombat tournament, uses a variation of the system based on matchmaking, one that was inspired by one of Joshua Gray’s Xbox tournaments.

So, what makes this format so popular? Well, it all comes down to two key categories that make it desirable both for the players, and the tournament organizers.

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