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ESL are gearing up for what looks to be a great Major at IEM Katowice. The tournament, which is currently at the Minors qualification stage, will receive a number of widely requested improvements to its format.

Best-of-3 Swiss

The New Challengers and New Legends stages of the Major will continue using the Swiss format, but ESL are fine-tuning it to suit competitive CS:GO. First, best-of-3 series will apply to all advancement (2-0 and 2-1) and elimination matches. At the FACEIT London Major, best-of-3 was only played in the fifth round, featuring the teams in the 2-2 pool and everything else was best-of-1. The improvement will reduce the volatility of best-of-1 matches and assure that the better team gets the win at the end more often than not.

Player-selected ranking

During IEM Chicago 2018, ESL tested a new system to rank teams, called “player-selected ranking”. In short, each team is asked to rank from strongest to weakest every other team in attendance. Based on this ranking, each team is assigned points and then the points total for each squad determines its placement in the tournament-wide player-selected ranking.

“As an additional measure to protect the seeding from manipulation we removed two votes for each team that were the farthest away from the final average,” ESL explained. “This protected the seeding from a team deliberately ranking someone high or low in order to potentially dodge them.”

The former two points combined will address one of the biggest issues in earlier Majors. Previously, a top tier team could have the bad luck of losing a random best-of-1 and be paired against another such top tier team in the following round. This would mean that after that series, one of the squads will be down 0-2, or another best-of-1 dice roll away from elimination. With a ranking system in place, IEM Katowice will ensure that even if a top tier loses a best-of-3, it will play a lower rank team in the next Swiss round.

ELO ranking

The player-selected ranking will be the starting point, but with each Swiss round that passes, it will change depending on the match results. ESL are implementing an ELO system, which means that teams will lose or win points depending on who they beat or lose to. The player-selected ranking will determine the initial ELO rank for each team.

Getting closer

IEM Katowice will take place Feb. 13 – Mar. 3 but there will be some great CS:GO action leading up to it. The Americas and Asia Minor championships are happening next, between Jan. 22-26. The EU and CIS Minors have already determined their winners, including ENCE, Vitality, AVANGAR and Team Spirit.

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