Breaking Down Esports Tournament Structures: From Swiss Systems to Double Elimination

Esports tournaments are always exciting due to their complex, entertaining game play. However, a significant factor is the way the tournaments themselves are structured. Some have sequences of matches to complete, while others include formats such as round-robin, double elimination, and Swiss seeding. Understanding how the different formats affect players’ progress can enhance the enjoyment and suspense of the events.

Multiple Matches

To give every team and player the best chance of using their wide range of game playing skills over different terrains, tournaments usually have multiple matches. These can often include the best of three or five matches. The successful team achieves the highest number of victories over the sequence of matches. It’s not very common to find a tournament with stages based on a single match.

Popular Formats

The group stages of tournaments have gradually evolved into many different formats. They provide additional interest and suspense for players and viewers. Points are usually awarded to teams based on their results. The ultimate victory goes to the team that has accumulated the most points at the end of the stage.


The league format of the round-robin involves teams or solo players playing against each other. Points are awarded for wins and draws, but not defeats. The double round-robin structure means the combatants have to play each other twice.Swiss Seeding

This format aims to provide balanced opportunities for every team. It ensures matches feature players with similar skills. For instance, successful teams in the first group stage play each other, while those who lost are drawn together to fight another day. It is a popular choice where there are large numbers of teams such as in Rocket League tournaments.

Single Elimination

This format is commonly used in the later stages of tournaments. They replace the league format, and create even greater suspense as teams have only one chance to succeed. Single eliminations are usually played out over the best of three or five matches.

Double Elimination

This is an exciting alternative to the single elimination format. Teams that win are placed in a high bracket for their next match, while the losing team heads for a low bracket. Both tiers provide a path to the final, but any team in a low bracket that is defeated is eliminated. Any team reaching a Grand Final from the low bracket must win a preliminary match before being allowed to compete in the ultimate stage.

Checking Tournament Schedules

Esports tournaments are often termed closed, meaning they are restricted to teams with exclusive invites from the organizers. Earning an invitation usually depends on teams displaying successful performances in other competitions such as regional leagues. If a tournament is declared open, it allows any team to enter. Check out forthcoming esports tournaments and their formats by visiting

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