COMBO BREAKER is always searching for new ways to improve the quality of life for players at our tournaments. In 2017 we are looking to improve our Loser’s Bracket pool progressions by utilizing a 3-player advancing format. To better outline what this means, and our rational for implementing it, please read the following from our Competition Director Max Wasserman.


“At COMBO BREAKER, we are always pushing the envelope in order to make the event an even better experience for our competitors and other attendees. This year will be no exception, as we are excited to announce that COMBO BREAKER 2017 will be our first event where larger tournaments will have 3 people advance out of each pool.

All tournaments at COMBO BREAKER 2017 with at least 81 entrants when online registration closes will have 3 people advance out of each pool, instead of 2. There is no other change to the tournament format; pools will remain double-elimination as always (meaning you must lose twice to be eliminated from the tournament). The main difference is that for pools where 3 players make it out, Losers Finals of the pool is not played. Instead, the two people who would normally face off in Losers Finals will both advance to the next phase of the tournament, where they will face people from other pools. A notable change when using the 3-out format is that final brackets will be 50% larger than usual: Top 16 brackets are now Top 24, and Top 32 brackets are now Top 48.

The 3-out format provides two main advantages over the traditional 2-out format. First, it lets pools run more efficiently by omitting the Losers Finals match. Losers finals is always the last match of pools to be played, and it cannot be played simultaneously with any other matches. 

The second advantage of 3-out is that dropping the Losers Final match of pools greatly reduces the number of Losers Bracket rematches, also known as instances of “double jeopardy”. Double jeopardy occurs when two people who played in Winners Bracket meet again in Losers Bracket. While double jeopardy is not an issue when it occurs in the late stages of a tournament, such as Top 8, it is considered extremely unfortunate when it happens in pools. Losers Bracket rematches are undesirable early on in tournaments regardless of the result: Either it means both of the eliminated player’s losses were to the same person, or it means that the eliminated player lost to somebody he or she had previously beaten.

Here are some statistics from COMBO BREAKER 2016 on the frequency of Losers Bracket rematches in pools for five events—Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat X, Skullgirls, Guilty Gear Xrd, and Killer Instinct:

–    The five events had a combined total of 72 pools at last year’s COMBO BREAKER

–    In these 72 pools, there were 60 total Losers Bracket rematches.

–    27 rematches (45%) occurred in Losers Finals of the pool, the most common round for rematches to occur.

–    48 pools (67%) had at least one rematch.

–    19 pools (26%) had a rematch in Losers Finals but no other rematches in any other round.

–    Had we used the 3-out format for these events at COMBO BREAKER 2016, there would have been just 33 total Losers Bracket rematches, and 43 of 72 pools (60%) would have had zero rematches (our desired goal).

We believe that by allowing pools to finish quicker and reducing instances of double jeopardy by nearly half, the 3-out format will be beneficial for COMBO BREAKER’S competitors. As such, you will see it implemented at COMBO BREAKER 2017, taking place May 26-28 at the Mega Center in St. Charles, Illinois.”


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