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PlayVS Tiebreakers FAQ
PlayVS Tiebreakers FAQ
Updated over a week ago

Summary: If teams are tied, PlayVS will use the tiebreaker system to determine mid-season rank, weekly match pairing, and playoff seedings. All tiebreaker considerations are assessed in order, starting with Match Performance, and the next tiebreaker consideration is only assessed if there is still a tie in all previous tiebreakers. The last tiebreaker consideration, Coin Flip, is only assessed for playoff seedings when two or more teams are tied through all other tiebreaker considerations.

  1. First Tiebreaker: Match Performance - This will look at the number of match wins and ties.

  2. Second Tiebreaker: PlayVS Score - Your Swiss Performance, which includes how early & often you win your matches in the season and the strength of your Swiss schedule.

  3. Third Tiebreaker: Series Performance - (Where applicable*) - Looks at the number of series wins and then considers series losses.

  4. Fourth Tiebreaker: Game Performance - Looks at the number of game wins and then considers game losses.

  5. Fifth Tiebreaker: Coin Flip/Lotto - This is a random selection on who is placed higher based on the number for teams that are tied. This is the last tiebreaker that is looked at after all other tiebreakers are considered and is only used for playoff seeding.

Important: Please note that some of these tiebreaker considerations apply to specific esports and may not apply to all esport titles (Example: Series Performance applies to Super Smash Bros, but does not apply to League of Legends due to League of Legends not having series).


Why did we choose these Tiebreakers in this order?

Starting with Fall 2021, there were 5,470 teams at the end of the regular season. After applying our tiebreakers strategy, 46% of those teams were still tied. This percentage is important because the rankings of these teams would ultimately be decided by a random coin flip which was stated in our rules, but not an ideal outcome. To reduce the randomness, we implemented an additional tiebreaker: Swiss score (Tiebreaker 2) for each team based on a ranking system used in Swiss-system tournaments. After applying this at the end of the regular season, the percentage of remaining tied teams was 16% - we felt this was a great addition to our tiebreaker rules and had a clear impact on standings and playoff seedings.

At the end of the regular season for Spring 22, there were a total of 7,148 teams. With the Swiss scoring system, only 12.7% of teams were still tied after applying tie-breakers. However, we were still not where we wanted to be when it came to tiebreakers and reducing “coin flips”. As we proceed with Fall 2022, we will be adding a new component based on the strength of schedule. In combination with Swiss score, strength of schedule will be utilized to create the new "PlayVS Score" tiebreaker. If we retroactively applied this to our Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 season, we found that only 1.2% and 0.8% teams would remain tied, respectively, which solves most of the remaining coin flips. With the increase in play time all around, we’re super excited to see the impacts!

What is Swiss Performance and how does this work?

Swiss Performance is a team's performance in a swiss scheduling phase. This type of scheduler pairs teams with similarly skilled opponents as the season goes on. To help track a team's Swiss Performance we use the PlayVS Score(discussed below).

What is PlayVS Score and how is it calculated?

The PlayVS Score is a Tiebreaker based on a team's Swiss Performance. Unlike other Tiebreakers that mainly look at win & loss values, the PlayVS Score instead looks at when those wins happen in the season & the strength of the opponents in those matches. The PlayVS Score is the balance required to match some teams with higher-ranked opponents and others with lower-ranked opponents. For more information, see PlayVS Score & Scoring.

Do ties occur more often in the standings earlier on in the season?

Yes - due to the limited amount of games that have been played, then factors like “PlayVS Score” haven’t had enough data to separate teams apart. This means the other tiebreakers will be used to distinguish which team will be seeded higher.

What happens if multiple teams have the same Match Record, PlayVS Score, and Game Record?

During the regular season, teams will be shown to have the same standing as one another in this situation. When the regular season ends and the league goes into playoffs, the ties will be broken by coin flips to determine playoff entry and placement.

Why do standings move around so much early in the season?

It comes down to how much data is available early in the season and how much a second or third match can really impact that data for a team's rank. As more data is gathered week to week, standings will settle and give more accurate representations of a team’s current placement in a league.

Can you provide an example of how tiebreakers will work throughout the season?

Team A

  • Match Record: 5-2

  • Game Record: 15-7

Team B

  • Match Record: 5-2

  • Game Record: 17-4

With only the data above, Team B would be placed higher in rank, however, this is where PlayVS Score becomes required.

  • Team A won their first five matches, going into week 6 as undefeated. In week 6 they versed another undefeated team (Rank 1). Team A lost this match and went into Week 7 as 5-1 where they versed another 5-1 Team (Rank 2). Team A also lost this match, giving them their 5-2 season rank.

  • Team B had a rough start, losing their first 2 matches to who would later become Rank 10 & Rank 16. Going into week 3 they were 0-2 and versed another 0-2 team. Team B would go on a winning streak versus other teams with similar records, 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, & 4-2. The highest-ranked team that Team B versed was the Rank 10 team they lost against.

With the data in mind around the strength of each team’s schedule based on when they won their matches & the opponents that they had, PlayVS Score would tiebreak in Team A’s favor. While having Head-to-Head matches might seem like the best way to tiebreak in this scenario, there just is not enough time in the season, especially if it ends with 3+ way ties. Tiebreakers like PlayVS Score are needed to make the hard decisions. As a reminder, both Team A & B would always be ranked above any 4-3 match record team & below any 6-1 match record team.

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