Swiss Guide

What is the Swiss-Format?

The Swiss system, also called Swiss format, is a tournament format that is used very often, especially in chess. The idea behind it is that if you have a large number of participants, you want to play a group phase. However, since this would mean playing a lot of matches in a normal group stage, Swiss offers a compromise: with each match played, your team, on average, gets closer and closer to other teams at your level.

As an example we take our Starter Division. Before the first match, all teams have 0 points. On the first match day, all matches are randomly created (the rank in League of Legends from the current or previous seasons is intentionally not taken into account. However, known strong teams are seeded to avoid early matches between them). Each match is played as a two-game series, so up to 2 points can be scored in each match.

After the first match day, all teams have 2, 1 or 0 points - depending on the conclusion on the first match day. Now the special feature of the Swiss format comes into play: Instead of also throwing the dice for the second matchday, as in a normal group stage, a complex algorithm takes effect. The basic principle is: teams with the same number of points play against each other, if possible. Exceptions occur, for example, when there is an odd number of teams with the same number of points. Apart from these few exceptions, the matches are determined in exactly the same way. On all other match days, they are made in the same way, so that the playing strength of each team is reflected in the table over a longer period of time. Finally, the ordinary group stage is shortened to the merely "relevant" matches without sacrificing competitive integrity.

Why Swiss?

We use Swiss in two places: In the Starter Division and in the calibration phase. It is easy to see why Swiss is particularly well suited here. In the calibration phase, for example, there is a large, three-digit number of participants and we are ultimately not looking for one or two winners, but rather want to sort all teams into divisions later on, as far as possible according to their playing strength. This is also the case in the Starter Division. Here the advantage over a single or double knockout round becomes clear - there is no luck of the draw in the Swiss. Even if you get somewhat weaker opponents at the beginning, you will get stronger and stronger opponents as time goes on. At the same time, teams that had particularly strong opponents at the beginning will have more chances to reach a top position anyway. Even if you lose two, three, four times, you are not eliminated. In a knockout round, this is inevitably not the case.

The advantage over a group stage is also obvious. With possibly several hundred teams, a large group is hardly possible, since this would mean hundreds of matches (minus 1) per team. A division into small groups again promotes the topic of luck of the draw.

What is the Buchholz-Score?

It's clear that with many teams and comparatively few matches, many teams will end up level on points. How do you solve the problem? The answer is: the Buchholz score. In short, the Buchholz score of a team is the sum of the points of its opponents. If you have played against a lot of strong teams that have scored a lot of points, your Buchholz score will be higher (and therefore better) than if you have played against weaker teams. This means: If you play against strong opponents and have as many points as a team that played against rather weak teams, you have an advantage. By the way, the Buchholz score is already taken into account in the calculation of the matches.

How does Swiss work in NLC specifically?

Calibration phase

The calibration phase will take place at the end of the registration phase and will be played in Swiss format for the reasons mentioned above. Its purpose is that of a mini-pre-season - all teams below Division 3 can participate and will potentially be assigned to a higher division depending on their performance. Note that a poor result in the calibration phase will not assign you to a lower division than the one you otherwise qualified for.

During the Calibration Phase, up to five rounds will be played over two afternoons each. Once all matches in a round have ended, the next round can be created with new matchups. Even with the 3rd or 4th defeat it is still worth to continue playing. Every point more can be decisive for a higher ranking in the end. Also, the matchups should become more and more interesting. If you are extremely strong, you will gradually encounter opponents more suited to your skill, which should lead to tighter matches. The same is true for newer teams. It can be frustrating to be significantly defeated by players who have thousands of hours more under their belt in League of Legends. But for you, too, things should get more interesting in the later rounds.

Starter Division

We also decided to use the Swiss format in the Starter Division. The main reason for this is that the skill differences in the Starter Division can potentially also be very large. The goal here is also to sort the participating teams into the different divisions for the following season according to their playing level as much as possible.

Every Monday the next match day is calculated and announced. All teams then have from Tuesday to Sunday to play their match. The whole thing runs for seven weeks, which means that each team has seven matches. Afterwards you will receive a classification for the following season of the NLC in a division that is appropriate for you, based on your result.

Who do I play against next?

In the Starter Division, the next matchday is always created on Monday, probably in the late afternoon or early evening. On the one hand we want to make sure that all possible protests of the previous week can be checked extensively. On the other hand, all matches must be completed for the creation of the following week's matches.
In the calibration phase, the next round will be created as soon as all matches of the previous round have been completed.

Do you have any detailed questions or is something still unclear? Just send us a Support-Ticket.