A deeper look at the Hearthstone Americas Winter Playoffs 2017 tiebreakers

The Swiss portion of Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) 2017 Americas Winter Playoffs was played yesterday, and the drama in the Hearthstone community over the Swiss format continues. Let’s take a deeper look at the tiebreakers and how different formats can change the results.

HCT Americas Winter Playoffs 2017

In the Americas Winter playoffs, there were 69 players compared to the 88 that participated in the Europe Winter Playoffs. As this figure is further away from an ideal player number for a clean Swiss cut, it was to be expected that tiebreakers would play an even more significant role.

The expected result was to have 1 player at 7-0, 4 players at 6-1, and 11 players at 5-2, of whom 3 would make the final cut into the top 8. However, actual results ended up at 1 player at 7-0, 2 players at 6-1, and 12 players at 5-2, of whom 5 would advance on tiebreakers. A significant number of players dropped mid-tournament, which had its own consequences in adding uneven pairings and this slightly surprising result.

Furthermore, there were issues with Battlefy in the tournament, so proper results of round 6 and 7 are not available. I could not therefore calculate game-win percentages (a figure not used in this tournament, but that is sometimes used as a tiebreaker), but I was able to find out all the pairings and winners, so win/loss sums and match-win percentages are within reach.

Here are the data sources:

Rounds 1-5: https://battlefy.com/2017-hct-winter-season/hct-americas-winter-playoffs/58a4edc2a64a11390325caed/stage/58a8671fb56711c10794b1dd/bracket/5

Round 6 pairings: https://gyazo.com/405769da6754ef11b5001fa795e6634e

Round 7 pairings: https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/gallery/2g/2GKL5E6YP6FF1487472662437.png

Final standings: https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/gallery/c2/C2DE7MKQFKXX1487479255994.pdf

Tiebreakers of all players who finished with 5-2 records

Here are the tiebreakers. HCT uses win/loss sum with a -3 bottom cap. I have also calculated the win/loss sums with a -2 bottom cap that I find more reasonable, and the match-win percentages that are used as a tiebreaker in Magic, which I find to be an even more balanced feature.

Amnesiasc

  • 3-2 vs Seji 1-4
  • 3-1 vs Crazylazy 5-2
  • 3-1 vs Cheese 5-2
  • 3-2 vs Fr0zen 5-2
  • 1-3 vs DrJikininki 6-1
  • 2-3 vs WoT 5-2
  • 3-x vs rayC 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 15, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 16, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 65.94%

Fr0zen

  • 3-2 vs noblord 1-2
  • 3-1 vs Coglorin 5-2
  • 3-1 vs HotMEOWTH 4-3
  • 2-3 vs Amnesiasc 5-2
  • 3-2 vs Strifecro 3-2
  • 3-x vs Leomane 5-2
  • 2-3 vs Tarei 6-1

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 15, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 15, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 64.35%

WoT

  • 3-1 vs korextron 4-3
  • 3-0 vs vcT 3-4
  • 3-2 vs Leomane 5-2
  • 1-3 vs Lucas 5-2
  • 3-1 vs rayC 4-3
  • 3-2 vs Amnesiasc 5-2
  • x-3 vs DrJikininki 6-1

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 15, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 15, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 65.31%

Lucas

  • 3-1 vs Purple 3-3
  • 2-3 vs pksnow 4-3
  • 3-2 vs Napoleon 1-2
  • 3-1 vs WoT 5-2
  • 3-1 vs dude7597 4-3
  • 3-x vs Killinallday 5-2
  • x-3 vs Crazylazy 5-2

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 10, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 10, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 58.84%

Leomane

  • 3-1 vs Demigod 2-3
  • 3-1 vs Qwerty97 3-4
  • 2-3 vs WoT 5-2
  • 3-1 vs apm65 2-2
  • 3-2 vs Cheese 5-2
  • x-3 vs Fr0zen 5-2
  • 3-x vs pksnow 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 8, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 8, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 57.76%

SilentStorm

  • 3-1 vs vanqswisher 0-3
  • 3-1 vs dude7597 4-3
  • 0-3 vs pksnow 4-3
  • 3-1 vs Daninja 1-4
  • 3-1 vs dog 4-3
  • 3-x vs PNC 5-2
  • x-3 vs Docpwn 7-0

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 7, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 9, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 58.41%

Killinallday

  • 3-1 vs Maki 0-2
  • 3-0 vs vanqswisher 0-3
  • 3-1 vs Strifecro 3-2
  • 0-3 vs Tarei 6-1
  • 3-2 vs Astrogation 4-3
  • x-3 vs Lucas 5-2
  • 3-2 vs dude7597 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 6, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 7, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 56.78%

Crazylazy

  • 3-2 vs topopablo11 3-3
  • 1-3 vs Amnesiasc 5-2
  • 3-2 vs noblord 1-2
  • 1-3 vs dude7597 4-3
  • 3-2 vs Nalguidan 3-4
  • 3-x vs vcT 3-4
  • 3-x vs Lucas 5-2

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 4, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 4, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 52.72%

Cheese

  • 3-2 vs Fibonacci 1-3
  • 3-2 vs Monsanto 4-3
  • 1-3 vs Amnesiasc 5-2
  • 3-2 vs Maxtheripper 2-5
  • 2-3 vs Leomane 5-2
  • 3-x vs Alan87806 3-4
  • 3-x vs Vlps 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 2, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 3, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 52.29%

Coglorin

  • 3-2 vs Cydonia 3-4
  • 1-3 vs Fr0zen 5-2
  • 3-2 vs justsayan 1-2
  • 3-1 vs Qwerty97 3-4
  • 2-3 vs Vlps 4-3
  • 3-x vs topopablo11 3-3
  • 3-2 vs HotMEOWTH 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 2, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 2, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 50.68%

PNC

  • 3-2 vs maxtheripper 2-5
  • 2-3 vs Alan870806 3-4
  • 3-2 vs Zalae 1-3
  • 3-2 vs HotMEOWTH 4-3
  • 3-1 vs rooftrellen 3-2
  • x-3 vs SilentStorm 5-2
  • 3-x vs dog 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 0, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 1, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 50.65%

Pascoa

  • 1-3 vs Astrogation 4-3
  • 2-3 vs Neves 3-4
  • 3-0 vs Seji 1-4
  • 3-1 vs TerrenceM 3-4
  • 3-1 vs Demigod 2-3
  • 3-x vs Leoric 3-4
  • 3-2 vs Muzzy 4-3

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) -5, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) -4, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 45.12%

What does this data mean?

First of all, it was a big surprise that SilentStorm did not make the cut, as he was paired with the only undefeated player in the last round of Swiss. These figures show that under most tiebreaker systems, SilentStorm would have made the top-8 cut.

Other than that, the differences are small, but would affect pairings in the rest of the top 8.

Standings with HCT tiebreakers (win/loss sum, -3 bottom cap):

  • 4th: Amnesiasc +15
  • 5th: Fr0zen +15
  • 6th: WoT +15
  • 7th: Lucas +10
  • 8th: Leomane +8 (final one to make it to the top cut)
  • 9th: SilentStorm +7
  • 10th: killinallday +6
  • 11th: Crazylazy +4
  • 12th: Cheese +2
  • 13th: Coglorin +2
  • 14th: PNC 0
  • 15th: Pascoa -5

Standings with Win/loss sum, -2 bottom cap:

  • 4th: Amnesiasc +16
  • 5th: Fr0zen +15
  • 6th: WoT +15
  • 7th: Lucas +10
  • 8th: SilentStorm +9 (final one to make it to the top cut)
  • 9th: Leomane +8
  • 10th: killinallday +7
  • 11th: Crazylazy +4
  • 12th: Cheese +3
  • 13th: Coglorin +2
  • 14th: PNC 1
  • 15th: Pascoa -4

Standings with Opponents’ match-win percentage, 33% bottom cap:

  • 4th: Amnesiasc 65.94%
  • 5th: WoT 65.31%
  • 6th: Fr0zen 64.35%
  • 7th: Lucas 58.84%
  • 8th: SilentStorm 58.41% (final one to make it to the top cut)
  • 9th: Leomane 57.76%
  • 10th: killinallday 56.78%
  • 11th: Crazylazy 52.72%
  • 12th: Cheese 52.29%
  • 13th: Coglorin 50.68%
  • 14th: PNC 50.65%
  • 15th: Pascoa 45.12%

Some what-ifs: who could have made it in the end?

It is obviously of some interest who else could have made it to the top 8 if the games had went a bit differently. So let’s take a look at the main challengers who fell on the final round and see if they had a chance.

Pksnow:

  • 3-2 vs Trump 0-3
  • 3-2 vs Lucas 5-2
  • 3-0 vs SilentStorm 5-2
  • 2-3 vs docpwn 7-0
  • 3-1 vs vcT 3-4
  • x-3 vs Tarei 6-1
  • x-3 vs Leomane 5-2

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 17, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 18, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 67.99%

If Pksnow had won Leomane (with everything else the same), he would have easily made it to the top 8 no matter what tiebreaker was used. Not only that, but he would have even finished 5th right after Amnesiasc.

Vlps:

  • 0-3 vs DrJikininki 6-1
  • 3-1 vs TerrenceM 3-4
  • 1-3 vs Astrogation 4-3
  • 3-1 vs Beuller 1-4
  • 3-2 vs Coglorin 5-2
  • 3-x vs Monsanto 4-3
  • x-3 vs Cheese 5-2

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 9, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 10, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 59.82%

If Vlps had won Cheese, he would have had a +7 win/loss sum tiebreaker, finishing 10th. If bottom cap for win/loss sum was -2, he would have had a +8 tiebreaker, still finishing 10th. If the tiebreaker was match-win percentage instead, he would still lose the 8th spot to SilentStorm with his 57.78% (weakened by Cheese’s weaker record if Vlps had won the match). Vlps had no way to make it with any of the tiebreaker systems examined here if only his last match had ended differently.

Dude7597:

  • 3-1 vs Seedsofblood 1-3
  • 1-3 vs SilentStorm 5-2
  • 3-1 vs Talion 1-5
  • 3-1 vs Crazylazy 5-2
  • 1-3 vs Lucas 5-2
  • 3-x vs yoitsflo 3-3
  • 2-3 vs killinallday 5-2

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 7, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 8, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 57.39%.

Dude had no way to make it on the final round if only his match had ended differently.

HotMEOWTH:

  • 3-0 vs bye
  • 3-1 vs Beuller 1-4
  • 1-3 vs Fr0zen 5-2
  • 2-3 vs PNC 5-2
  • 3-1 vs Firebat 2-3
  • 3-x vs Muzzy 4-3
  • 2-3 vs Coglorin 5-2

Win/loss sum (with -3 bottom cap) 6, win/loss sum (with -2 bottom cap) 7, opponents’ match-win percentage (with 33% bottom cap) 57.40%

HotMEOWTH had no way to make it on the final round if only his match had ended differently.

In addition to Pksnow, any 5-2s who lost on the final round and didn’t make it obviously had everything under their own control. In fact, SilentStorm was the only 5-2 who lost on the final round and did not make the top-8 cut.

Therefore, SilentStorm and pksnow were the only players on the final round who could have made it by winning their matches and didn’t, while Amnesiasc and Leomane needed their wins on the final round to make it, and were able to pull them off.

Bonus consideration: Strifecro dropped out of the tournament at 3-2 and ended up with a +6 first tiebreaker. If he had won two more rounds against equal pairings who won their other games, he could have made it to +8. If he had received one down-paired opponent, he could have got his tiebreaker up to +10. Granted, this is a long-shot, but Strifecro had a chance to make it to the top-8 when he dropped out of the tournament.

Conclusions on the tiebreakers

The further away the number of players is from the ideal number for the number of Swiss rounds, the more important tiebreakers become, as more top cut spots are decided by them. This also means that slightly weaker tiebreakers make it, and not only the best possible ones.

The choice of a tiebreaker system does not completely reverse the results. However, in this tournament it would have affected who gets into the top 8 and also the seedings within the final top-8 bracket. As in my previous examination into a fair and exciting Swiss tournament format during the Europe Winter Playoffs, I still find the match-win percentage with a 33% lower limit and ignoring byes to be the fairest alternative.

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