The dual tournament is a competitive format typically used in the group stage of a tournament. It was used during OnGameNet Dual Tournaments and OnGameNet Starleague (OSL) preliminary tournaments, starting as early as the qualifiers of the 2002 SKY OSL. It is commonly used to this day, such as the 9th SonicTV Starleague, as an alternative to the traditional round-robin format.
The format is as follows:
- The four players of the group are split into two pairs of competitors who play each other in the opening matches (generally best of three or best of one matches).
- The winners of these two matches will then face each other in the Winner’s Match (generally best of one).
- The victor of this Winner's Match places first in the group and generally advances to the next stage.
- The losers of the initial two matches face each other in the Loser's Match (generally best of one).
- The loser of this Loser's Match places fourth in the group and is generally eliminated at this stage.
- The loser of the Winner’s Match and the winner of the Loser’s Match will face each other in a fifth or tiebreaker match (generally best of one).
- The winner of the tiebreaker match takes the second place berth in the group and generally advances to the next stage.
- The loser of the tiebreaker match places third in the group and is generally eliminated at this stage.
Differences with traditional group stage format
One of the main advantages of this format is to avoid matches with no stakes. Every match has consequences, as even players who have lost their opening matches have an opportunity to place in the top two by defeating opponents in the Loser's or tiebreaker matches.
In the traditional round-robin format, every player in the same group will meet in competition. In the dual tournament format, some players may not meet at all if one is eliminated in two consecutive matches without advancing to the tiebreaker match. At the same time, two players may even meet twice during play, during the opening matches and the tiebreaker match.
A notable advantage of the dual tournament format is its brevity. It features five matches versus the six of the round-robin. Additionally, the dual tournament format does not necessitate extra games beyond the predetermined five, whereas in the round-robin, it is common to see multiple players ending play with tied records, thus resulting in at least two additional tiebreaker matches, if not more.
This format is traditionnally show as a group stage, but it can also be represent as a double-elimination bracket, as seen below :
Dual Tournament Group
|Player A||W||-||Player B|
|Player C||W||-||Player D|
|Player A||W||-||Player C|
|Player B||W||-||Player D|
|Player C||-||W||Player B|
- Player A faces Player B and Player C faces Player D in opening matches.
- The winners of these matches, Player A and Player C face each other in the Winner’s Match.
- Winning this match, Player A places first in the group to advance.
- The losers of the initial matches, Player B and Player D face each other in the Loser’s Match.
- Losing this match, Player D places fourth in the group and is thus eliminated.
- The loser of the Winner’s Match, Player C and the winner of the Loser’s Match, Player B face each other in a final/tiebreaker match.
- The winner, Player B earns second place in the group to advance.
- The loser, Player C places third in the group.