Ties in Team Tournaments

-Tsunami-

Lonely Feather
is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis the 2nd Smogon Classic Winneris a defending World Cup of Pokemon championis a Past SPL Champion
#1
YAHALLO!!!

Okay, now that I have left the general public stupefied by this wild foreign greeting, it is time to make my main point: Ties should be left as ties in team tournaments.

If two players tie (in tiers where ties are part of the cartridge mechanics such as DPP, ADV, GSC, and RBY), the battle should be left as a tie. If a series ends 6-5 with a tie game, then so be it. This situation comes up roughly once a year, so the ruling in general isn't one that has been talked about as much as it maybe should. In the past, Smogon had two different sets of tie rules. For Smogon Tours, which are live, Self-KO clause was enforced to prevent any and all ties and speed up the tournament. In team tournaments, ties were left as ties, as can be seen in the infamous Scooters vs. Sharks bloodbath that is perhaps my favorite SPL week ever. Conflict vs. Karrot was ruled as a tie, and the decision was deemed so typical that an Administrative Decisions post was not even created for it. At some point, the rules flipped entirely, and ties became automatic rematches. Most likely due to the aforementioned scarcity of this event, no one really seemed to create too much of a fuss about this rue change. In addition, DPP is now officially out of the Smogon Tour circuit, so ties are no longer part of live tournaments either.

However, I feel that in team tournaments, ties should once again roam free. My main argument here is simple: the end result of the game / series was a tie, and thus, the outcome should not be altered. Previous generations had ties for a reason, and it seems nonsensical to me to essentially eschew the cartridge mechanics and enforce our own rules. Individual tournaments can obviously be an exception to this rule, as one party is required to advance. However, in team tours, the issue at hand is much less severe, and because of that, I see no reason as to axe ties from the tournament circuit. The main concern of the TD team seems to be that they do not wish people to attempt to play for ties, and would rather them all attempt to play for a win. It is fine to have this philosophy, but personally, I do not feel that that opinion alone should be enough to circumvent a fundamental part of older generations. If a DPP game comes down to Snorlax vs. Swampert, and the Snorlax blows up, the game should be left as a tie. The same can be said for RBY series; if one game of a series ends in a tie, and the other two games are split, the series should be ruled a tie. If you wish, you can make a distinction between manually forced ties in GSC and 'natural' ties in other generations, but for practical purposes, I will consider them to be equivalent to one another, as this is a decision made solely due to logical reasons.

Now then, people will obviously call into question the effects that reintroducing ties would have on SPL and WCOP series. However, I legitimately feel that some of these concerns are overblown. We had ties for 5 years during an era of Smogon with countless instances of team tour shadiness that would put any of the events today to shame, and, at least in SPL 3, 4, and 5, I do not recall this so-called "playing for a tie" mentality to really be an issue. Ties are extremely hard to orchestrate in a game; "playing for a tie" in DPP and ADV seems almost impossible, and even in RBY the event rarely occurs (I suppose someone could theorize how many ties there would be if the outcome could benefit one's team). There are also three games in an RBY series, so there inherently remains more opportunities for one to showcase one's superior skill than other generations. In GSC, I feel as though it legitimately just becomes a mind game before the match, which we already have plenty of regardless. If a series is 6-5, and the final game is GSC, the team with a higher score would naturally be more inclined to bring a much more bulky team in order to potentially gain another win condition in forcing a tie. However, the enemy team would obviously be aware of this as well, and could easily use something like Marowak + BD Snorlax to counter this. Because both teams are aware of the potential motivations of one another, I do not really see this as an issue.

Ultimately, this decision hinges on whether you believe that wanting our community to have a "play to win mentality" is enough to essentially alter the game's mechanics. Smogon is based on following the gameplay present in the cartridge games, only changing the rules to rid the competitive atmosphere of inherently broken attributes such as the ability to put multiple Pokemon to sleep. In individual tours, ridding Smogon of ties is obviously mandatory. However, for team tournaments, I do not feel that the aforementioned concerns are enough to warrant changing the tangible outcome of a series. I am perfectly fine with these two entities not having identical rulesets for this scenario; individual and team tournaments differ in the consequences that come about when ties are forced, and as such, I feel that differing rulesets are justifiable. Forcing ties to be mandatory rematches can alter the course of entire tournaments; everyone knows the importance that 1 point can have in an SPL season (just ask the Sharks last year, or the Wolfpack in SPL 4). In team tournaments, I see no reason to stray from the mechanics of the cartridge games. Ties should remain as ties.
 

Lutra

All generations forever.
is a Community Leaderis a Community Contributor
RoA Co-Leader
#3
I don’t really see it as changing the result. It’s just the fault of the rules if it doesn’t specify first-to-1 win clearly in situations like these where it’s especially ambiguous as opposed to an individual elimination tournament. The tie should still be a battle and have a public replay within the match.

I guess the problem with changing to ties is that RBY could still be first-to-2-wins to prevent confusion with elimination tournaments (like tieing out a match when ahead), so RBY might be even less consistent with the rest and that might cause the very rare confusion when someone rotates to RBY and is actually in a potential tie situation.

I’d lean towards keeping the status quo or changing RBY back to 1 battle and going with these ties.

P.S. Are you proposing a 0 point tie or a 1/2 (1 if doubling) point tie?

Edit: Only read what you said about rby after I posted, but it’s still kind of relevant, so slightly edited my second paragraph and left it in.
 
Last edited:

ABR

is a Tournament Directoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributorwon the 13th Official Smogon Tournamentis a defending World Cup of Pokemon champion
Moderator
#4
If it appeases you at all, let me illustrate how we handle ties in a different manner than how you are currently viewing them. Your argument boils down to something along the lines of, "when we give rematches for ties we ignore the result of the game." Instead, you can view something like an SPL pairing as a "first to 1" and RBY sets as "first to 2" (wins). So we aren't really ignoring ties fully, they just don't contribute to what we see as the objective of tournaments - that is, winning games. For all intents and purposes our games/series are functioning currently as "first to" instead of "best of", but we just say "best of" because it's more universal and easy to understand. If you see it this same way, you shouldn't see it as discounting ties, but rather ties not contributing towards the objective for either side, and thus more games still need to be played.

Moreover, beyond the above definitional argument there is the practical implication of whether we count ties as final or require more games to be played. At the moment, individual tournaments don't have ties in any game or series. This is inevitable and final because people must progress in individual tours. From this point, we have to assess how we want to handle ties in team tournaments. We can count ties as the final result in team tours in order to be "closer to cart mechanics" in the most minor of ways possible (my aforementioned definition of our tours being "first to" mostly alleviates this concern), or we can unify the circuit between individual and team tournaments. I prefer the latter and so does most of the TD team - I expect and hope that most of the community feels the same way. It is simply more harmful to separate the rulesets for the two types of tournaments than it is to keep defining team tour games as "first to." Ideally, we can say that universally on Smogon, all games/series in all official tournaments are "first to" and thus ties don't have any impact on the result and require a rematch / new game. Our current rules help achieve this ideal.
 

elodin

formerly papai noel
is a Past SPL and WCoP Champion
#5
The issue with the current tie definition is that it completely excludes an important aspect of the game (playing for a draw), therefore lowering its competitiveness by removing strategies that can be worked on from both parties. If you play for a draw under the current ruleset you're essentially playing to have another chance of winning, which is something neither player deserves and also goes against cartridge mechanics for shallow reasons.

As of now, ties aren't a result. As Shake illustrated in his post, there are situations in which teams might prefer to tie a game than win it, and there are situations in which the opposite would happen. A situation I mentioned previously on Discord was if you had a 40% chance of winning by clicking A move and a 100% chance to tie by clicking B move at the last turn. If your team needs the win to qualify for playoffs, the player is likely to click move A because it's the only way his team is qualifying. If his team only needs to maintain its current advantage, the player will probably click move B (unless he wants to potentially boost his individual record). This type of thinking around draws is completely excluded from the game under the current ruleset, as the player's decision becomes "should I play this game again to have better chances of winning?" instead of "should I try to win or draw?". And why would we grant players a new chance of winning when they put themselves in a position they couldn't win or chose not to win?

If you see it this same way, you shouldn't see it as discounting ties, but rather ties not contributing towards the objective for either side, and thus more games still need to be played.
I don't see how ties aren't being discounted in the current system. If they're an integral part of the game that contribute to its competitiveness both before matches happen (regarding team choices) and during them, why would we change cartridge mechanics to exclude this aspect of competition from the tournament scene? Also why don't ties contribute to the objective for either side, if the decision to draw coming from a player might influence the result of a week or the team's battle differential and consequently a potential playoff spot? Ties would definitely contribute to the objective for both sides if we accounted for them, we just choose not to in order to preserve this "first to win" mentality that disconsiders relevant aspects of competitiveness, which Smogon and the Tournament Section should defend above everything else.

I do believe your mentality is correct regarding individual tournaments - as one party needs to advance -, but we all know that playing and preparing in team tournaments is completely different than doing the same in individuals because there are several other elements to take into account when doing so due to the team environment.
 

teal6

禅になる
is a Tournament Directoris a Forum Moderatoris a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a defending Smogon Snake Draft Champion
Moderator
#6
The issue with the current tie definition is that it completely excludes an important aspect of the game (playing for a draw), therefore lowering its competitiveness by removing strategies that can be worked on from both parties. If you play for a draw under the current ruleset you're essentially playing to have another chance of winning, which is something neither player deserves and also goes against cartridge mechanics for shallow reasons.

As of now, ties aren't a result. As Shake illustrated in his post, there are situations in which teams might prefer to tie a game than win it, and there are situations in which the opposite would happen. A situation I mentioned previously on Discord was if you had a 40% chance of winning by clicking A move and a 100% chance to tie by clicking B move at the last turn. If your team needs the win to qualify for playoffs, the player is likely to click move A because it's the only way his team is qualifying. If his team only needs to maintain its current advantage, the player will probably click move B (unless he wants to potentially boost his individual record). This type of thinking around draws is completely excluded from the game under the current ruleset, as the player's decision becomes "should I play this game again to have better chances of winning?" instead of "should I try to win or draw?". And why would we grant players a new chance of winning when they put themselves in a position they couldn't win or chose not to win?



I don't see how ties aren't being discounted in the current system. If they're an integral part of the game that contribute to its competitiveness both before matches happen (regarding team choices) and during them, why would we change cartridge mechanics to exclude this aspect of competition from the tournament scene? Also why don't ties contribute to the objective for either side, if the decision to draw coming from a player might influence the result of a week or the team's battle differential and consequently a potential playoff spot? Ties would definitely contribute to the objective for both sides if we accounted for them, we just choose not to in order to preserve this "first to win" mentality that disconsiders relevant aspects of competitiveness, which Smogon and the Tournament Section should defend above everything else.

I do believe your mentality is correct regarding individual tournaments - as one party needs to advance -, but we all know that playing and preparing in team tournaments is completely different than doing the same in individuals because there are several other elements to take into account when doing so due to the team environment.
Yo elodin , just a headsup but the TDs are working on a response to this. I'll be fully truthful and let you know that I opted out of responding because this isn't an issue close to my heart whatsoever, but I trust in ABR and co to come up with good solutions. Just want to let you know that this isn't something posted and forgotten about.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 5, Guests: 1)