This has been mentioned by others before, but not yet addressed by anyone in charge, so I’m going to try to sum up why the Grand Final ruleset has a lot of issues.
There are a number of advantages gained by coming from Winner’s Bracket in the Grand Final (BO5, 4 games max):
- A 1 match advantage, meaning you just need to win 2 matches instead of 3, as you essentially start 1-0 up in a BO5.
- Fewer strategies showed to potential opponents, which is very important in something like the Alliance Tournament.
- Fewer games overall, less stress and overall work, also a lower overall chance of any potential screwups (in logistics or match execution).
- If the game goes to game 5, with the WB team having won 1 game and the LB team having won 2 (2-2 total score), then the WB team has a massive banning advantage. The rules state that:
The two series on the final day of the tournament will have an extra wrinkle added to their rules: in each series whenever a team wins a match they will be banned from using any of the ships they fielded in that match for the rest of the series
- (cont.) With that rule in place, the 5th game in the Grand Final will be played with 23 (10+10+3) bans imposed on the LB team, but only 13 (10+3) on the WB team. That is insanity. It will potentially make for a worse viewing experience for spectators since the final game of the tournament will not be played on even footing.
Grand Finals in most major esports tournaments do not have any advantage to the WB team except the one mentioned as 2)+3) above, which is natural. Dota 2’s The International, arguably the biggest esport event in the world, has no Winner Bracket advantage stated in the rules - it is a straight BO 5 game. The players and the spectators prefer it this way and they still consider coming from the WB a large advantage because you show fewer strategies and you avoid potential fatigue.
I think the easiest and most sensible choice is simply to remove the 1 game advantage. The final day already starts 2 hours later than the matches the weekend before - we could simply start 30m/1h earlier and have plenty of time for the (possibly) one extra game.
I would be interested in knowing how other teams serious about the AT feel about this, because this feels like a massive oversight to me.