By Riot Magus
With teams on the brink of qualifying for the 2015 World Championship, here’s a comprehensive overview of the tournament structure. In this article, we’ll be summarizing the 2015 Worlds format and explaining our process for determining team placements during the main stages of the tournament.
As we confirmed in our Worlds venue announcement, the 2015 World Championship will be made up of the Group Stage, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals.
The tournament is divided into two main sections:
Over two weeks, 16 teams will compete in a double Round Robin-style tournament in Best of 1s. The Group Stage contains four groups with four teams in each. Each group will have 12 total matches, plus potential tiebreakers. The groups are populated based on seeding from their regional events and determined during a live Group Draw. This Group Stage format is the same as the one we used in 2014.
Following the Group Stage, eight teams will advance to the Knockout Stage (formerly known as the Bracket Stage) and matchups will transition to Best of 5s. The Knockout Stage is comprised of Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals.
Heading into planning for 2015 Worlds, we’ve made a couple of improvements to the overall structure of the tournament. To promote transparency around how teams are selected into groups, we’ll be hosting a live Group Draw Show.
We also weren’t completely satisfied with the way teams were seeded into the Knockout Stage from the Group Stage, with teams potentially being incentivized to not win a group in order to draw a perceived better matchup in the knockout round. As such, we’ll be introducing randomization elements on which 1st place group finishers face-off against 2nd place group finishers in the Quarterfinals.
We’ll share more about the Group Draw in September, but here are some details on what this means for Worlds 2015.
To kick off the 2015 Worlds, a Group Draw will occur according to the illustration below to sort the teams into four different groups – A, B, C, and D.
Overall, the 2015 Worlds Group Pool Structure is almost identical to that of 2014 Worlds with the exception of some qualifying International Wild Card (IWC) regions. Pool 1 contains the first-place seeds from China, Europe, Korea, and North America. Pool 2 has the second-place and third-place seeds from China and Korea, LMS’s two representatives, and the second-place seeds from North America and Europe. Pool 3 is comprised of the third-place seeds from North America and Europe as well as the two International Wildcard Qualifier winners. Each of the four groups will contain one team from Pool 1, two teams from Pool 2, and one team from Pool 3.
Group Draw Procedure
Like last year, there’s one cardinal rule for the 2015 Worlds Group Draw, and it’s intended to maximize the amount of cross-regional play:
- No group will have more than 1 team per region
During the Group Draw Show, teams will be drawn until a pool is exhausted and we’ll place one team in each group before drawing the next team. However, if a team is randomly drawn that cannot be placed in the first available group; it will be automatically placed in the next available group.
For example, if an LCK team is randomly drawn with the 9th overall pick, but there’s already an LCK team in both of Group A and B, the LCK team would be moved automatically to the next available group (i.e. Group C).
Additional procedural rules apply to prevent invalid draws but we’ll release the full technical details of the Group Draw in advance of the Group Draw Show.
Previously, there was a preset bracket based on how Groups finished, but this year teams will be drawn into randomized Quarterfinals matchups. We’re making this change to incentivize teams to win their group and focus on playing their best. The Knockout Stage bracket will be drawn live on-air immediately following the final day of the Group Stage.
There are two cardinal rules for how we will decide teams’ Quarterfinal placements in the Knockout Stage for 2015 Worlds:
- First-place group finishers must face second-place group finishers
- No two teams from the same group can be placed on the same half of the bracket
The first rule is to reward teams that finished higher in the Group Stage while the second rule is to prevent rematches of Group Stage games before the Finals.
Knockout Pools and Procedure
Based on the bracket rules, we’ll assign the Quarterfinals bracket based on two pools: the first seeds from the Groups (A1, B1, C1, and D1) and the second seeds from Groups (A2, B2, C2, and D2).
The Knockout Stage Draw will proceed as follows:
First, all of the #1 seeds are randomly drawn and placed from top to bottom in the bracket.
For example, B1 was randomly drawn first and placed in the topmost matchup, then A1 was randomly drawn and placed in the second matchup, and so on.
Then, all of the second seeds are drawn. During the drawing of the second seeds, keep in mind that no two seeds from the same group can occupy the same half of the bracket. However, if a team is randomly drawn that cannot be placed in the first available matchup; it will be automatically placed in the next available matchup.
For example based on the above graphic, if A2 is randomly drawn from the second-seed group, it must go to the first valid slot (vs C1), then if C2 is drawn it goes to B1 because that’s the first available slot, etc.
After Quarterfinals, matches will proceed as bracketed for the remainder of the Knockout Stage.
We look forward to kicking off an exciting 2015 Worlds. Stay tuned to Lolesports to see what teams will qualify for the 2015 World Championship.