For as long as tournaments are around the best of three format has been a classic. Lately, though, there have been these rampant experiments in the Dota 2 competitive scene where every event selects a different format. At least that’s what several people affiliated with teams like EG, OG, Fnatic and Team Secret say. They’ve expressed their dissatisfaction with that multiple times, claiming it’s obvious it’s not making the game any good.
But is that really the case? The Bo1 is nothing new in the lower bracket and that’s where the aforementioned organisations have ended lately. Are those teams just using this as an excuse to justify their bad performance? Well, let’s take a look. Note that both teams were already eliminated from DAC, OG died in the group stage, while EG were taken down by Virtus.pro in the lower bracket. Their other losses in recent tournaments weren’t even decided by a Bo1.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Extending the format to Bo3 in all stages, would make the games last effectively twice as long, putting more strain on the casters and viewers and also an increased cost to go with that. The idea is to save the most intense moments for the end, not keep the same pace from the start of the event. It all depends on which perspective you’re looking at things. If you’re a player/team/organisation you’d want a format that allows you to prove your worth and give you a better chance to win, anything that’s not Bo1 will do, we get that. Then you have the tournament organisers/hosts/casters, they are all basically aiming to increase viewership while maintaining a reasonable price for that, increasing the number of games increases the number of days needed, which in turn gets the cost higher. And in the end, there are the viewers, generally if it’s not a holiday/weekend you’d want a format that you can follow without spending all day in front of the screen, so having a degree of variance is always nice. So, is there a way to please all three groups? I doubt it.
The rules of the game are always the same, win and you can continue forward, simple as that. As long as teams are in the same boat, playing by the same rules, the format shouldn’t be an issue. If there are any problems, they’re usually related to the team itself, considering most teams that raise the question have had roster and position changes, you can only guess that didn’t end well for them. And the argument about adapting and improvement, that’s what the upper bracket is for, don’t fall out of it.