Swiss System Continues to Plague the CS:GO Major

Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

The FACEIT Major London Legends Stage draws have been done for day 3. They are as follows:

2-0 Games:

Liquid vs Astralis

BIG vs compLexity

1-1 Games:

G2 vs MIBR

TyLoo vs HR

Na`Vi vs NiP

Vega vs Fnatic

0-2 Games:

FaZe vs Mouz

Cloud9 vs Winstrike

This is another typical trainwreck that I’ve become used to seeing at the Majors. On the third day, there are four games that stick out to me as having bad seeding. Forget how the system works for a moment, and think about who the best teams have been for the last 3 months. In the 2-0 games the power ranking based on results would be: Astralis, Liquid, Big, and coL in that order. So any normal person would have Astralis vs coL and Liquid vs BIG. Instead we have this set.

In the 0-2 games we have FaZe vs Mouz and Cloud9 vs Winstrike. While all four teams have gone 0-2, the paths they got there were far different. Let me write them down for you:

FaZe lost to BIG and Na`Vi (top 10 and 2nd best teams in the world)

Mouz lost to NiP and MIBR (two top 10 teams in the world)

Winstrike lost to Liquid and Fnatic (3rd and a top 10 team)

Cloud9 lost to Vega and HellRaisers (two top 20 teams)

Even if we ignore what we know about these teams, we can immediately tell that the teams that FaZe, Mouz, and Winstrike lost to were harder teams than what Cloud9 lost to. When we include the information we know about the teams, it makes even less sense for FaZe and Mouz to play against each other in terms of competitive integrity and entertainment value.

Competitive integrity demands that every team gets as fair of a shot possible at winning. In this case, FaZe got a worse short than Cloud9 did at this event. Both teams lost 0-2, but I don’t know of an argument where I equate BIG and Na`Vi to VEGA and HellRaisers. If there is one, I’d love to hear it.

The obvious answer is to actually seed the draws. Every time someone brings this up, they say that a seeding system cannot be perfect. So my question to that is why is it better to have a slightly flawed seeding system rather than an obvious flawed random system? A seeding system generally works out like this:

1st seed plays lowest seed, then mid-tier seed, then a high seed to make it out 3-0. If the 1st seed keeps losing, they end up playing the whatever teams continue to survive  later on in the group.

Low seed plays 1st seed, then mid-tier seed, then low seed in the 0-2. If the low seed keeps on winning, they will also play whatever teams survive later on in the group.

From that perspective, both teams get an evenish draw throughout the group stage. As it currently stands, some teams get easier draws and some teams get far harder draws. The fact that this happens so frequently flies against competitive integrity.

The other point we have to consider is entertainment value. There is an immediate satisfaction in watching top teams fight for their life in an 0-2 game. But I’ve seen this play out multiples times in other games and what happens is that you subsequently get worse quarters/semis/finals if you create a group of death like this and those matches become worst generally speaking*. From the point of view of growing the community, you want to have your best matches in the semi/finals, but the randomness of the Swiss System with no seeding hurts those chances.

One final thing to point out is that Majors are the most important event of a CS:GO player’s career. Even in Premier level tournaments, I don’t mind the Swiss System without the reseeding aspect because those aren’t as important. But for the Major, these are events that people have prepped their entire careers for. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when the most important event of a player’s career can be decided be decided by one bad draw.

*This assumes that better teams create more entertaining games, though there are obvious. For instance, I think TyLoo is a top 5 team to watch even if they aren’t an actual top 5 team.