Yesterday Loki started breaking-down Finals Sunday at SS2k12, outlining how the schedule drifted off-target. This is a common problem for any major tournament and Loki’s analysis serves as a reminder that you can never plan your finals schedule too carefully.
In part 7 Loki focuses on the finals for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at SS2k12. He takes us through the “best of 5″ rules confusion that went down towards the end of the finals, explaining why he disagrees with the way it was handled.
THE FINALS – ROUND 2
Next up on Sunday was Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (UMvC3). This was where the biggest problems came in. We knew that UMvC3 and SSF4:AE were going to be the most hype games of the tournament, that’s why we saved them until last. However the problem with hype games is that they go on forever. Every match finishes in a pop-off and a huge crowd reaction. It can then take minutes before the next match starts and the UMvC3 finals at SS2k12 were no exception. UMvC3 went off like a bomb and while I loved every minute of it, despair had started to sink in; we weren’t getting out on time, we maybe weren’t even getting out before midnight, and we knew it.
The Rules as Written
What happened next was completely unexpected. We’d been trying to make it clear all night that the rules for the finals were that the grand finals were a best of 5 games set, but the winners and losers finals were a normal best of 3 games set. This wasn’t to save time, though I dread to think how late we would have been without it. This was because the rules on the Shadowloo Showdown website, perhaps through an oversight, stated that this would be the case for every game. We believed that if this is what people had seen coming in to the tournament, this is what we had to stick with.
To be frank I’m a solid believer that you should never attempt to change rules on the fly. You need to stick to your guns otherwise you lose integrity. Your rules become meaningless if someone can change them with a complaint while the tournament is underway. Even if the rule is silly, if that’s the rule everyone agreed to when they signed up, that’s what they should play. So while best of 5 was becoming the standard for many tournaments for winners, losers and grand finals, we had to stick with what we said we’d run.
Pressured by a Pro
Generally most people had no problem with this up until Marvel. Now there had been some talk in the week before SS2k12 about changing the format of Marvel completely to best of 5 games. At the time of this discussion best of 5 wasn’t the standard, although it was being championed by some people in the community. For the record I think Marvel deserves best of 5 for all games, but when I was approached a few days before the event about changing the format by Muttons, the UMvC3 organiser for SS2k12, my immediate reaction was, and I quote, “Not a f***ing chance.”
The reason for this was that we simply didn’t have the time for it. The whole timetable was based around the best of 3 format and it would have completely blown out our timetable to implement the longer one. After some discussion I told Muttons that the decision was up to him, and given that we were timetabling for many more people than we’d actually get it might just squeeze in. That aside it was untested and risky, and we’d definitely lose time on Sunday because the schedule was already so tight. In the end we decided to stick with the format we’d advertised because that’s what we knew would work. Unfortunately in the meantime some lip service was paid to the notion of at least running best of 5 for the winners, losers and grand finals for Marvel. The official decision was never made of course, but I know that the American players who had brought up the issue were under the impression that this was likely to happen.
When we reached the winners finals for UMvC3, before the match started Filipino Champ approached the stream station to confirm that the format was best of 5 games. We told him that no, the format on the website stated we’d be playing best of 5 only in the grand finals. Understandably he was upset and I don’t blame him. Marvel is such a random game that this format could be the difference between first place and third. As a result F.Champ announced that he wanted to speak to Ali. What happened next is a good example of what can go wrong in the heat of the moment at a big tournament.
F.Champ told Ali he’d been informed that they’d be playing a best out of 5 set for winners, losers and grand finals, and thus they should be allowed to play this format. At this point the players remaining in the tournament were all Americans and after being consulted, they all agreed that this should be the format. Time issues aside, Ali made the executive decision to allow this format, as was his right as the event organiser, even though I feel I should have been consulted at the very least.
I spoke to Ali shortly after the match started, and had a few choice, stress-filled words to say about his decision. I do apologise if I was a bit harsh to him but I’ll try my best to explain why I thought this was the wrong choice.
Firstly, we’d advertised the rules on the website, and while in this case there was some legitimate confusion about what the rules were supposed to be, the rules listed on the website under the official rules section (and consequently what was printed on the rules on the bracket runners clipboards on the day) was what we should have stuck with. Secondly, by allowing a rule change on the fly because someone complained, even if there was confusion about the rule, we opened the floodgates for other finalists to complain. What would have stopped another player from complaining that they should have been able to play a best of 5 set in an earlier game because their result might have been different? Of course we made it clear to all of those players what the rules were coming into their matches so there shouldn’t have been any misunderstandings, however the precedent was now in place, and we did not want to give anyone cause to complain. I think the fairest option would have been to stick to the rules we had laid out before the event. Perhaps some will disagree, but whatever anyone thinks, I’m glad that nothing more came of it after we explained the situation to the crowd at the time.
While this mid-bracket rules change didn’t get out of hand at SS2k12, hopefully this serves as warning about what could potentially happen. In sharing the details of this incident I’m not seeking to induce a flood of complaints, but rather to remind people that everyone makes mistakes and the best we can do afterwards is learn from them.
- Brendon “Loki” Watson
Next week Loki will provide the conclusion to his in-depth post-SS2k12 analysis article for Bracketed. In part 8 Loki will cover the final game of the tournament – Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition – and share his thoughts on the future of the Shadowloo Showdown tournament series.
Feedback and Future Articles
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]– Ziggy –[