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The Tome of Tournaments

Everything you need to know to run an amazing tournament

  1. Fightersword
    The Tome of Tournaments
    A Guide on How to Make and Run Efficient and Enjoyable Tournaments
    Section A: Intro and Pre Tournament

    V. 1.00

    Update History
    v 1.00: guide was finished and posted. Had to split it into 2 guides because it was too long

    Table of Contents
    (cntrl f the roman numeral or the parentheses + letter to search a section. sections may be named a bit differently than in the ToC)

    intro. What you should expect to get From this Guide
    intro part 2. About Me, why I’m a Credible Source

    General Tournament Guide

    (SA) Registration, Signups, and other Pre Tournament Stuff

    i. Gathering a team of TOs and how to go about Discussion
    ii. Making Rules: The full thought process that should go into which rules make the final cut
    iii. Pre-testing: Notes about stress testing tournament rules and programs you use
    iv. Advertising: Making your Tournament Attractive
    v. Signups: How to Make sure everything Goes Smoothly
    vi. Further pre-tournament Preparations Up until the start of the tournament

    (SB) Running the Actual Tournament

    vii. The Golden Rule of Tournament Organizing: Everything will (might) go Wrong
    viii. Democracy Versus Dictatorship: How to effectively make Decisions with Your Team
    ix. General Duties you Should Expect During the Tournaments
    x. Commentary: Some Notes on how you can help Commentary Teams
    xi. Personal Opinions on Some Tournament Related Things

    (SC) Conclusion

    (EX): Extra section: Other stuff I’m involved in or work on

    Note: This guide is very very long, hence Tome of Tournaments. So long Squidboards made me split it into 2 guides. I do NOT recommend reading it in one sitting, unless you really want to. For those that don’t want to read it all the way through, focus on the sections you’re currently working on or the ones you have the most trouble with.


    Running a Tournament is an exciting thing. To me, there is no greater feeling than running an event, no matter how big or small, that goes off without a hitch. There’s this immense satisfaction that comes with running a competition because the results are tangible and very positive: Other people who are passionate about the game you’re running a tournament for sign up, bash the hell out of each other, make ****ty trashtalk, and have a lot of fun.

    At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. A lot of why running a tournament is so satisfying is because it’s quite a bit of hard work. A TO’s job is only as fun as he makes it. The average person isn’t going to enjoy the hustle and bustle of taking names, writing rules, and showing up hours before their tournament just to make sure everything is set up and nobody is having issues, just to then spend a chunk of his life solving problems and entering results. That’s why dedicated TOs are so important. Running a good tournament isn’t only something most people can’t do, it’s something most people are unwilling to do. Yet, there’s a huge demand for it: Teams love the chance to put their skills to the test in even the crudest tournaments. A TO is a servant of the people, and even though he sometimes has to make players feel his harsh might under the banhammer, at his source he’s always trying to do what’s best for the community, his tournament, and most of all, the players.

    With all that being said, let me get to the meat of what this guide is about. This guide is meant for TOs of all kinds: from the aspiring new TO just about to run his first tournament, to the established veteran who feels there are just some kinks to work out. If you are already a TO, I encourage you to read this guide and let me know anything you think of that can be added, or anything you feel is wrong or missaid. If I think you make a good point, I will update this guide to reflect it and give you credit. This guide is also not meant to be totally Splatoon centric: Indeed even though most examples that I use will be related to Splatoon, and I will generally focus on Splatoon, most of the information in this guide can be used for any tournament.

    Intro Part 2: About Me, Why I’m a Credible Source

    The skeptics among you may be wondering “Who is this Fightersword guy, and why does he think he has the knowledge to write about running tournaments? Is he a known TO? Has he run successful events in the past?”

    This section aims to answer that question, with a laundry list of some of the things I’ve run in the past. If you don’t care and want to get to the meat of this guide, feel free to skip this section.

    Most of my TO experience comes from Yugioh and Splatoon related tournaments. In the past, I have:

    1. Almost singlehandedly run the largest event in the History of the Dueling Network Forums. It was a brony Versus Anti brony war with over 200 people in attendance (exactly 212 if I remember right). Though I’d be lying if I said it went off without a hitch, it was still a smashing success

    2. Two more similar events that ran much smoother were also run: One for coke versus pepsi, and another between old staff and new staff.

    3. After this, I became an official TO for the site and ran several tournaments until I grew tired of the game.

    4. I also inspired a few other events, including the Head Admin Clashes, which were very popular events both on the forums and on the main site. Though I didn’t run them, if not for my framework they would have never happened. Youtubes of them can still be found.

    5. I was (and still technically am) an official certified judge in Yugioh, and have assisted running local tournaments numerous times, as well as a few other, larger ones. I was never head of any of these, however, just an assistant judge.

    6. So far I have run 9 seperate tournaments for Splatoon. I run the SCL Bi-weekly series, a series well known for its speed and generally liked by everyone involved.

    7. I also ran a handful of small smash tournaments for a facebook group for a short time.

    As you can see by this list of some of my tournament organization, I have pretty ample experience running smooth tournaments of many sizes, and have been confronted with many problems in running them. If this is not enough to convince you, then read on and see how the material holds up under your own eyes.

    Section A (SA): Pre-Tournament: Everything that comes before the Special Day

    So you want to run a tournament. Your eyes glisten at the thought of putting on an event that everyone will talk about for days. Your fingers move in anticipation as you type up the topic. The rules flow effortlessly from your head, and soon enough, you have something to post. You eagerly name your tournament and post the topic. And then… it gets ignored. Several days pass and not a single person has even taken the time to reply to your topic at all. When someone finally does post, you’re met with a laundry list of complaints and perceived problems with your tournament. Knowing there’s nothing wrong with any of it, you simply dismiss him and move on.

    When tournament day finally comes around, only 3 people have signed up and you call the tournament off. Disappointed and discouraged, you go back to simply discussing the splatoon meta with your friends and never try your hand at a tournament again. Your tournament was a failure.

    So what went wrong? Well, the poor aspiring TO in the example didn’t put much thought towards his pre-tournament planning. He simply threw his thoughts down on an ugly topic and expected people to sign up. He thought all that there was to running a tournament happens during the tournament.

    Frankly, a lot more work goes into pre-tournament planning and work for almost any tournament than the work it takes to run it. This is ESPECIALLY true with online tournaments, which require a lot less work during the event than all of the hoops that have to be jumped through for tournament setup, especially if it’s the first tournament being run in the way it's being run. A person new to the scene and to tournaments in general may not know what makes a tournament tick, and then, because he skips out on a lot of essential work, not only dooms his tournament to failure, but communicates no professionalism and a lack of effort in his tournament design, whether he knows it or not.

    To put it simply, if a tournament looks like it’s going to be crap, and everything about it is crap, it doesn’t matter how good you are ‘on the floor’ of the tournament. Your tournament will fail without ample preparation. This half of the guide contains many sections dedicated to the things you have to do before the tournament: from rulemaking, to the topic posting and general advertising, to other problems and jobs that must be done.

    i. Team Building and General Discussion

    You will not run most tournaments by yourself. It is certainly more than possible to run an amazing tournament by yourself, but the fact stands that having a competent team of TOs makes it easier to run a good tournament. This means several things. First of all every TO needs know how every part of the tournament will be run. If every TO is a part of the initial discussion about how the tournament will be run, what rules will be used, etcetra, then they will know how the tournament is going to run. What this means is that any discussion you have with your team must be effective. This part of the tournament is the most ‘democratic’ phase, where everyone has a say and a lot of things can be decided by consensus or vote.

    What must be stressed, however, is that anyone you have on the floor with you on tournament day or working things before the tournament needs to be aware of their job and how to do it. if the Head TO makes all the main decisions and has the final say on problems, the sub TOs would handle things like the signup topic, minor problems, or updating the bracket (or score in the case of some formats). In the case of big yugioh tournaments, most of us would handle initial signups or questions related to card rulings, tournament procedure, and others. A few of us may be in charge of putting up the list of players and their scores. We’d also need to hand out prize packs, and if we were running a draft tournament, draft packs. What didn’t happen, however, was TOs running around doing random jobs. The signup TOs didn’t run to the floor every 5 minutes to answer a question. The TO in charge of scores isn’t going to be expected to tell annoying players or spectators to take a hike, and the head TO isn’t going to stop all the administrative duties and final say floor decisions to go chat on a yugioh stream.

    So what this all means is that in the discussion and planning phase, you will not only be ironing out the things that need to be done, but who needs to do each thing. This is a very vital step you need to remember regardless of what it is you’re planning for the tournament. This is also the phase where you need to make sure everyone is on the same page in regards to rules and other things, like how the scoring system actually works. It all boils down to one simple thing: A tournament, regardless of how many rules it has, can’t be run without its TOs. If no one knows what they’re supposed to be doing, why have TOs at all? Without specialization and setting who does what very clearly and in advance, your tournament will collapse in on itself no matter how good the rules are, how beautiful the signup topic is, or how great the cast or prizes are.

    ii. Making Rules

    So let’s get down to business. Your fledgling tournament won’t go anywhere if the rules are crap. But what makes good rules? This is, to an extent, very tournament dependant. However, let’s start with defining what a rule is in this context. A rule is meant to regulate what players do during tournaments, from the signup phase to the final match, to keep them from going far off the framework, which is the *road* of the tournament from the signup to the end. If a tournament framework is the path the tournament goes on, the rules are there to keep people from straying far from that *road*. However, there is a common trap people get into that usually results in their rules being overbearing, and it’s due to their mindset. They think, whether in these words or not, that the rules should be made to guide the tournament. That the ruleset becomes the *Road* that the tournament goes down. This leads to very stringent rules and formalities for what people need to do before and during the tournament, often leading to players being dissatisfied with the level of strictness presented. Generally, you want the tournament to flow nicely and be amicable to the people in it, so getting people to signup in very specific ways and go through very specific formalities in the tournament, for example, is a good way to choke the tournaments flow.

    Let me use an example to better illustrate what I’m talking about regarding this mindset. Temple Grandin is a well known person with autism who dramatically improved some areas of the cattle industry with her ideas. One of the things she did was change how slaughterhouses were run to be both more efficient and humane (at least, the movie on her credits her with this). What she devised is a system where the cows natural movement, which involves some odd semicircles that frankly I don’t understand, would siphon them through the cleaning area and into the slaughterhouse where they’d be met with a quick *ping* to the head and killed. The ranchers, or as I like to call them, the Cattle Organizers, would walk in semicircles in a certain way at first to get the cows to move in the path they needed to. Now this is compared to what it was like before, where the Cattle Organizers would essentially try and chase the cattle down to the bath and slaughterhouse, which not only took longer, but also caused cattle to die from drowning in the bath.

    So think of it like this. When you try to use rules to pave a road and *force* people to act a certain way, you become the cattle organizers that chased the cattle. It might get to the end, but it will be a lot less efficient and more difficult in the process. In the second example, the “Rules” simply helped encourage the cattle to go a certain way, while the framework was setup so that the “road” lead them right to the slaughter. This is essentially how rules should work. They should be used to curb abuses and to keep people on the path that the framework lays out. This distinction may seem trivial, but it is important for good rulemaking. Most good rules focus on abuses and things that shouldn’t be done, while very few rules are used to tell teams what they should be doing. That’s what the framework is for.


    [This Graphic should help you Understand the Difference I personally draw between Framework and Rules. As you can see, The Framework is the relatively simple set of things that that teams are expected to do, like signup, showup, and play. This also includes the format they play in. The rules are used to make modifications and nuance the framework, usually by restricting certain things, like keeping players from signing up on multiple teams, punishing teams that are late, or disallowing certain exploits. Rules will also tell teams what to do in the event of specific issues, like disconnects]

    So, now that we’ve sufficiently defined what a rule is and how it is used, we come to the elephant in the room: What makes a rule good? A good rule typically hits a few important notes.

    1. The rule is clear as are its punishments

    2. The rule is fair and easy enough to follow

    3. The rule punishes the right parties and punishes them a correct amount

    4. The rule cannot be abused for gain, or if that’s impossible, the rule results in the least amount of gain possible

    5. The rule is relevant to the tournament

    6. The rule is enforceable without overly high amounts of trouble or good faith

    7. The rule doesn’t negatively affect the tournament’s timetable when evoked.
    (Typically this means slowing the tournament down noticeably)

    Now for each of these bulletpoints, examples will be shown of rules that fulfill the criteria, and rules that do not.

    1. The Rule and its Punishments are Clear

    Good Rule: Teams more than 5 minutes late to the tournament will be Disqualified

    Bad Rule: Teams that are found to be too late to the tournament will be punished accordingly

    Note that the Rule’s meaning doesn’t actually change here, it just becomes a lot less clear in the second example what constitutes “Late” and what will happen if a team is late. This can lead to teams feeling frustrated for being kicked out or teams who were on time feeling frustrated due to TOs being, in their eyes, overly lenient. Putting a straight number makes it easy to understand and easier to enforce.

    2. The Rule is Fair and Easy to Follow

    Good Rule: Teams that do not follow the guidelines above when posting their roster will be asked to correct their roster. If they cannot do this, they will not be entered in the tournament

    Bad Rule: Teams that do not follow the guidelines above when posting their roster will be expected to correct their roster. If they do not do this, they will not be entered in the tournament

    The second rule is unfair because it does not give the team proper notice when they break it, and teams will also be less likely to be aware when they mess something up if not being told properly that they are, making the second example a lot harder to follow because teams must find the issue on their own.

    3. The rule punishes the right parties and punishes them a correct amount

    Good Rule: Using the exploit on RM Hamerhead Bridge will cause the offending team take a loss.

    Bad Rule: If a team uses the exploit on RM Hammerhead Bridge, The game will be replayed and the offending team will be given a warning.

    The bad rule not only under punishes what amounts to cheating, but it also punishes the Other Team by making both parties restart the match. It’s also not clear if further punishments will be given to repeat offenders, or if they’ll only receive more warnings.

    4. The rule cannot be used for gain, or if that’s impossible, results in the least amount of gain possible.

    Good Rule: If a team has at least one person drop in the course of the match, then that team must stop playing immediately and call for a replay. The same setup and player list must be used for the replay, except in the case where a person cannot reconnect for whatever reason, then that person may be swapped out. Matches can only be replayed in this manner once by each team, so any D/Cs in matches after that one must be played out. If the match ends very quickly afterwards so that it is very clear it wouldn't have made a difference in the results, then this rule cannot be invoked. If a team continues to play after a D/C it will be presumed they did not intend to call for a replay.

    Bad Rule: Whenever a team has a player disconnect, that team can declare a match restart with the same loadouts and players

    These rules relates to Splatoon’s D/C problem, and these are some the trickier rules to be made due to the fact that there’s no optimal solution. However, the bad rule is clearly off the mark, as it can easily be used by players simply shutting off their wii U for a match reset when they start to lose. The first one can be abused to an extent once per round, but has more stringent requirements and limits the number of times it can happen to keep the tournament moving and minimize abuse. the TOs can also watch for anyone who tries to abuse the former rule, and let people know they are watching for people who seem to constantly D/C.

    5. The rule is relevant to the tournament

    Good Rule: Teams must signup for XXX ranking system to enter the tournament so that you can be ranked according to your match results and seeded more effectively if you enter future tournaments

    Bad Rule: Teams must subscribe to the TO’s youtube channel to enter. The channel will not be used at all for the tournament or any future ones.

    The Bad rule doesn’t have anything to do with the tournament, and is simply just a sub grab by the TO. The good rule, though it also requires the team to *sign up* for something, works directly with the tournament and future ones.

    6. The rule is enforceable without high amounts of trouble or good faith

    Good Rule: If a team has at least one person drop in the course of the match, then that team must stop playing immediately and call for a replay. The same setup and player list must be used for the replay, except in the case where a person cannot reconnect for whatever reason, then that person may be swapped out. Matches can only be replayed in this manner once by each team, so any D/Cs in matches after that one must be played out. If the match ends very quickly afterwards so that it is very clear it wouldn't have made a difference in the results, then this rule cannot be invoked. If a team continues to play after a D/C it will be presumed they did not intend to call for a replay.

    Bad Rule
    : Up to once per round, if within time X to Y a player experiences a disconnect and it seems like team U is going to win, then a reset can be called. However, in case of situation B (etc.)

    It’s time to evoke the D/C rule again. In the Good Rule it’s mostly clear what must happen in all situations, and those situations are a lot less hard to enforce than the Bad rule. In the Bad Rule a lot of subjectivity and situation analysis gets thrown in, and it becomes almost impossible to prove different things regarding it without a stream or players stopping playing to take quick photos with their phone. Note that the second example is a good rule in theory, because if circumstances are ideal and TOs have full knowledge of all goings-on, it would be more fair and effective, and less abusable than the first one. The problem comes down to putting it into effect in reality, where it becomes impossible to enforce.

    Good faith means essentially trusting the teams on their word. This kind of goes along with number 4, where giving too much good faith will lead to teams abusing rules by lying. This is what the bad rule gets most right. The good rule gives what I deem to be an acceptable amount of good faith. If I wanted to eliminate all amounts of good faith that would be needed, I could ask for in depth evidence, but I personally think that may cause problems relating to the following rule...

    7. The rule doesn’t negatively affect the tournament’s timetable when evoked.

    Good Rule: In the event of bad sportsmanship, players must provide logs of what happened, and TOs will come to a quick decision. In the meantime matches are still to be played.

    Bad Rule: In the event of bad sportsmanship, players must provide logs of what happened, and TOs will come to a decision as quickly as they can. Until then, the tournament will be stopped so that punishments can be doled out if needed.

    The problem with the bad rule is it stalls out the entire tournament for an infraction that affects almost no one. TOs can also slow down the tournament by being slow to make decisions and enforce rules, creating a similar effect or exacerbating the effect the bad rule causes.

    Hopefully this section on rules allows you to better analyze your ruleset and edit things to work in a way that will keep your tournament smooth. Refer to those 7 bullet points whenever you’re hung on whether or not you should use a rule: if it doesn’t check out to all 7 of them, you should probably try and edit it or scrap it altogether.

    iii. Pre-testing: Notes about stress testing tournament rules and programs

    When you decide to run a tournament, after you’ve set up a framework, come up with the rules, and gathered up any programs that you may need to use to help you, such as Challonge to run a bracket, you will need to stress test certain parts of your tournament to make sure everything works smoothly. The amount you have to do this is usually inversely proportional to how much work you’re going to be doing manually. For example, if you were to, say, rank players, if you wanted to use a program, you’d need to make up a few dummy teams and numbers to make sure everything checks out and works properly. For simple programs like Challonge or ELO calculators, it’s as simple as becoming familiar with the program, as you still have to put everything in more or less by hand. Programs that do things for you automatically, like Swiss scoring systems or automatic rankings will need a little more work to make sure everything you want to happen happens by playing around with a few dummy teams and double-checking any rules you had to input to the systems. The upside is that after you’ve tested these programs once you’ll be able to make use of them over and over in the future as you run more tournaments.

    Programs aren’t the only things that need to be stress tested, though. You will need to dig up other common problems that have happened with other, similar tournaments and see to it that you and your TOs are able to hypothetically handle them efficiently, and that your rules cover them if you need them to. This also requires some knowledge of the game for some problems, such as being aware of the Hammerhead Rainmaker Glitch (which has been fixed at this point) and knowing to ban it. If you aren’t sure, ask other veteran TOs or players how your ruleset stacks up, and see if they point out something you didn’t notice.

    The third thing you need to do is stress test your other TOs. This is just checking to see if they remember their job, and hitting them with a few common problems they might see when working. It’s not all that hard, and lets you ensure that everyone does remember the place you’ve assigned.

    There isn’t that much more to say about pre-testing. It’s all just making sure your **** is in order. A minute of stress testing is worth an hour of problem solving. The best part is that once you have a tournament or two under your belt, you’ll be able to skip a lot of this so long as you’re running similar tournaments with the same staff.

    iv. Advertising: Making your Tournament Attractive

    There is absolutely NOTHING that will bomb your tournament more quickly than having a pathetic, unprofessional, and boring topic about it. I’m dead serious: it doesn’t matter how much experience you have under your belt or how amazing your tournament is going to be, if your topic looks lazy and pathetic, then you simply won’t have anyone sign up. Luckily for you it doesn’t take a special amount of creativity or effort to make a topic that’s eye catching and gets people to read on and ultimately sign up.

    First things first: the title

    A good title is one that’s simply intriguing, sometimes a little funny, and gets people to wonder “wow, what is this? Maybe I should click on this and read it more.” Remember in English class when your english teacher was talking about writing a good essay and mentioned the ‘hook’ that draws the reader in and gets them to read on. That’s pretty much what you want your topic name to be. Luckily this isn’t that hard to think up.

    Inkstorm, Booyah Battle, Messtival, Calamari Cup, even SCL’s crazy dumb names like “SCL Super Ultra Turbo Edition”; All are attractive names that make the person want to sign up over other generically named tournaments. Why? Because they’re interesting and show effort. They’re all also a little silly and feel really casual: When you think of something called “Booyah Battle” you don’t think of a stressful tournament. Compare that to a generic tournament name. “Splatoon Tournament One” or something equally mundane. It makes it feel almost like signing up for the tournament and competing will be work. It doesn’t show any individuality, or effort, or fun. If the name of the tournament feels like a slog, why should the person expect the tournament not to be?

    Ok, so next is the topic. If you’ve came up with an awesome (or really ****ing stupid) name, you’ll probably be able to turn some eyes, even if you’re a new tournament. How can you keep them attached?

    It’s actually pretty simple. The topic needs to be relatively concise, well written, entertaining, and professional. It also is a great idea to make use of pictures and other artistic garnishes to brighten it up.

    Allow me to compare a well worked tournament post with one that isn’t so well worked. First I will discuss one I’ve made up myself that is meant to be extremely horrible. Then I will do the same with one of my SCL posts, discussing what I did right and ways that it may be improved.

    And note, a lot of what goes into tournament posts is rules, framework information, etcetra. For the bad post this has all been left out, but I will go over proper rules format when discussing the good example. The bad one will mostly focus on hooking the player and all the mistakes it makes within the first paragraph.

    First, the bad post:

    Topic name: Squidboards Splatoon Tournament, This November 5th

    Hey everyone. My name’s Fightersword, and I’m here to bring u an amazing tourney, straight from the hands of SCL. This Sunday on November 5th we’ll be hostin’ a splatoon tourney for anyone interested. Just drop a signup post down below, the signup rules can be found here (Link), and we’ll get you added in as soon as we can. Remember to check out the rules for the matches and when the exact time the tournament starts here (Link). Make sure you’re on time, and have a great day everysquid

    Let’s begin with the topic name, shall we. It’s the epitome of bland, lazy topic names, and isn’t going to make any team take a second glance. At the very least he included a date, something I personally recommend doing in your topic titles.

    So at this point most teams are already turned away, but the few that actually decide to click into it anyway are met with about the same amount of effort that was obviously put into the topic name. There’s still no name for the tournament even within the topic, and there’s no information at the top of the post, meaning teams looking for a quick reference to how many teams have signed up, when the tournament actually is (the hour), and more are **** out of luck and have to read through the boring, generic paragraph that follows to get any information. That’s not where the paragraph’s problems end either. It hasn’t been grammar or spellchecked at all, with the imposter! Fightersword even shortening words like you to u. This isn’t a ****ing text conversation, you’re trying to convince people to play in your tournaments. But that’s not where it ends, either. All of the actual information for the tournament is in a bunch of poorly inserted extra links, which means teams are going to have to open up new tabs just to find any actual information about your tournament. It’s nice when that information is posted in a separate document in addition to being put into the topic, but if essential things, minus the signup document, are only over at another link it becomes a chore at best. The conclusion for the topic ends just as un-excitedly as the opener, and most teams are likely to be left with an overwhelming feeling of ‘meh’ before moving on to the next tournament topic. Plus it doesn’t even end in a period. Shameful Display.

    Now let’s cheer ourselves up a bit and look at an example of a good topic, ripped straight out of the second SCL BI weekly. I have omitted the things I put within the spoilers and marked those as (in depth rules)

    [Note, I removed the colors and didn’t reformat it. The original thread, for full reference, is Here]

    Squids and Squidettes:

    We at SCL are proud to announce our second Splatoon community League tournament

    SCL: Supreme Edition (Bi-weekly Live #2)

    current signups: 12/16

    Riding on the coattails of SCL's first, successful tournament comes the wildly improved, even MORE bombastic second entry in the SCL Live series: SCL: Supreme edition! Promising to be an even smoother, even more exciting tournament, with an updated ruleset that is easier to understand and fairer and faster for everyone involved, this tournament will host a number of improvements from the previous tournament while ramping up everything good about the first one. Put your skills to the test once again in this 16 team, single elimination tournament on Sunday September 20th at Noon EST.

    How to Sign up

    Team captains are expected to post a roster in the following format. This roster will not only be used for this tournament, but it will also be entered as a team in SCL: our custom ranking system, so that you may be ranked when playing against other SCL teams during this tournament and in the future. If you are already signed up for SCL, you can simply post your team name down below. This second option will hopefully be applicable for most of the teams returning from the previous tournament.

    All signups need to be made following the rules and format below. Make sure all the information is there and correct. Your team will be edited into the bottom of this post after you are added, and we will let you know if you mess something up.

    Rules for signups. If you're not already signed up with SCL, read these carefully
    (In Depth Rules)

    Signup Format Reference
    (In Depth Rules)

    How the Tournament will be Run

    On Sunday the 20th at Noon EST, teams are expected to be prepared to play. Team leaders or another designated representative will also be expected to be present in the Discord chat, where the TOs will be communicating with them. We will provide the means to access the discord chat in this topic, later, so keep an eye out for that.

    Teams will be asked to play against each other as laid out in the challonge bracket which will be provided ahead of time. This tournament is not taking place over an extended period of time. As such, teams are expected to remain active until they are knocked out of the tournament. If a team is not responsive when their match is set to be played, they will be disqualified from the tournament.

    Games are played as a best of 5 set, until the top 4, which will be played as best of 7 sets. There will be a bronze match (third place tiebreaker)

    For this tournament, one of the major improvements we are introducing, is introducing Halo Map Rules. In short, this means the mode and map combinations you will be playing on will be provided to you by the TOs in a way that is not biased for any team. For more information on Halo Map Banning rules, check out the topic by clicking Here. If you'd like to know my opinions, which do reflect the opinions of SCL for Halo map style, look for my post in the thread.

    You may also sub up to 2 players from your roster in between games, every time. You may of course sub in less than that or no one at all.

    Map/Mode Comboes For Tourney: These shouldn't need to be changed, but if they are it will be made known.
    (In Depth Rules)

    Disconnect Rules
    (In Depth Rules)

    Reporting Problems
    (In Depth Rules)

    We hope this tournament goes even better than the previous one, and that the rule changes and additions made help foster an even better tournament. We hope that you all enjoy yourself, and come out of this feeling it was a positive experience. Good luck to every team involved, and we hope you bring home the gold.

    Also, As hinted at by the name, we plan to do these tournaments Bi weekly on Sundays from here on out. This is to maintain a sort of regularity without having them being too close together

    Teams signed up will go here, in an unfinished bracket that will be added after two signups. quick number check: current signups are 12/16 since last update


    Finalized unless someone else signs up.

    So there’s a lot to say about this topic. First thing you may note is that this tournament didn’t actually manage to reach its cap of 16 players. This was mostly due to a scheduling conflict we had with Calamari Cup. To put it short we actually managed to finish the tournament extremely quickly after pushing it to one hour earlier to avoid the conflict, something I am very proud of my staff for managing to accomplish. For now though we should focus on the actual meat of this topic.

    Let’s start with the title. The title isn’t as ridiculous as some of our other names (Super Ultra turbo Edition comes to mind), but it does a lot to say “hey, we’re a tournament with effort put in, and we’ve got one hell of a serving for you”. We also went with supreme because it started with an S, like SCL, similar to what Booyah Battle and Calamari cup did. Finally I added in Edition to say that this is the ‘better’ version that was much improved on compared to the past tournaments. Overall my intent was to communicate that this tournament was an improved upon version of the original, with a somewhat cheesy name that would keep people from feeling like it was taking itself too seriously. The name in the parentheses is my ‘sub-name’ for the tournament, which is something completely optional that I like to do so I can keep all of my tournament names fairly original while making sure they’re all under the same series. Since this was part of my SCL Bi-weekly AKA SCL Live series, I indicated that in the sub name so people knew it was part of that series. You can also just put it under the first name in slightly smaller font. Sub names are something I recommend using when running a series of tournaments that you want to all have fairly different names.

    Let’s move on. Immediately under that is the signup count. This was put here specifically so if we fill up we don’t waste teams’ time who come in when the tournament is full (back then we had a tournament cap). They can come in and glance, see if there’s a place open, and if not not have to waste any more time going through just to see that it’s full. This is really something I do mostly out of courtesy and professionalism, and is typically a good idea if you don’t want to have your preview lineup at the top of the topic. If you don’t have a cap you should still do this.

    Next is the intro, or where I really want to try to hook the player to read more. I immediately confirm that, yes, it is a tournament in a series, and it’s an improved on version. I try to hype up the players and get their blood boiling with sort of typical calls to honor and fun while I promise this is going to be the better tournament. It’s frankly written to be professional and interesting. Who wouldn’t want to play an improved version of the original tournament, which was already relatively successful? Who doesn’t want to battle it out for glory? Doesn’t this all make it sound like the tournament is going to be fun. Truly that’s the goal of the intro, to make it seem like this tournament is going to be fun and that you should play. I feel this intro is a pretty typical example of this in action.

    Next I immediately delve into signup rules. The order here is important. You’re trying to convince them to sign up with that intro, and if you’ve done so they’ll be like “how will I sign up”. They look down two inches and there’s this nice neon green title that catches the eye. “How to Sign up”. Once we get past that I slow down and get more professional in my language. I want the information to come across clearly and smoothly, without too much wordiness. You’re not trying to hype people up in this stage. You’re trying to communicate information, which means you don’t want to bury it under much more hotblooded language. It could cause confusion if you’re not careful, and is generally unneeded in my experience.

    Next I have the signup format reference and a more in depth version of the signup rules, both sectioned under bright orange (another eye catching color) headers and inside spoilers. The spoilers mean if someone doesn’t need to or doesn’t want to check those rules, they don’t have to (though they’re still expected to adhere to them). It also keeps makes the topic seem more concise. Also note the rules are included in the topic, so the players don’t have to open up new tabs and separate documents to read them. However, it never hurts to have a seperate rules document so long as you make sure the rules are also presented inside the topic.

    The topic repeats the same pattern for the next set of framework and rules, which is the set for use during the tournament. This also includes the map/mode combination list for the tournament, though this is something I usually give out on the tournament day instead. It’s important that you keep the floor rules separate from the signup rules for online tournaments so teams don’t have to dig between signup rules to find the tournament rules the day of. It also feels cleaner, smoother, and more professional to keep them separate.

    I end it with a conclusion right above the signed up teams list. A good tournament is one where the teams enjoy themselves. We are there to make sure that happens. We know it may not be perfect, but we work harder every time to make sure it is better than the last. We are the servants of fun and promise to bring a smooth and enjoyable tournament to everyone who signs up.

    The conclusion doesn’t have to be about that, but it’s where I like to discuss how I feel about the tournament and how I hope it goes. Feel free to use it to hype them up more or whatever else you want to. Below the conclusion I have a preview bracket (which isn’t seeded until signups close, and which I consider separate to signups) and another reference with signup numbers and the names of teams signed up. This can probably go on the top too or at the bottom of the signup rules section, but I personally prefer it at the bottom where it is.

    The topic was also spell-checked and formatted before posting. This is something I highly recommend doing, because nothing says “I don’t give a ****” more than misspellings. Get your other TOs to give it a read too before you post it so you can get their opinions as well. They might catch something you missed.

    However, I did make a few mistakes. The date and time were not in the header (though the date was in the topic name), meaning teams couldn’t at-a-glance the time. Furthermore the discord link wasn’t easily accessible either.

    So to quickly summarise, a good tournament topic is one that grabs attention with a hotblooded, maybe somewhat cheesy title and introduction, and then follows it up with refined, non-confusing, concise explanations of what will go on and the rules surrounding such things. While making a topic like the one above is far from a guarantee of gathering interest in your tournament, having a bland one is a good way to turn people who would otherwise join your tournament away.

    v. Signups: How to Make Sure Everything Goes Smoothly

    So you’ve gotten everyone to give more than a rat’s *** about your tournament, and you get your first applicants. So how should you handle signups? Well, a big part of how you will end up running signups (for online tournaments) has to do with things you need to control for. Do you think you need to take up rosters? Then that should be incorporated in signups. Do you want a list of people who will represent the team(s) on whichever communication platform that you choose to use? If so you’ll have to make that clear and ask for that. Examples of this in other tournaments would be things like the need to take up decklists in Yugioh, which are used to check the player for using forbidden cards or too many copies of a card, or cards that are otherwise restricted, and to check for deck errors that crop up all the time in duels.

    Once you have that figured out, signups tend to become trying to take the things you need and getting teams to present them in the cleanest, least confusing format possible. Since you’ve already eliminated information you won’t need, that already goes a long way towards simplifying everything. Try to avoid things like forcing people to sign up in multiple areas, and make use of programs that everyone understands that make it easier to signup. It also may benefit everyone, especially you, to get teams to post in the signup topic as well as a mandatory part of signups. While technically an extra step, they’re typically already in the topic and only need to say “I’m/My team ____ is signing up for this”. Not only does this make it easier to cross reference who’s signed up in case an error comes up somehow, it also typically allows the teams to more easily explain anything they may need to explain to you, gives you a backup in case something goes wrong with your program, allows you to manually enter teams if need be, and gets them to watch the topic by posting in it, which means they’ll more likely see any announcements you need to make. Plus it bumps your topic when people post in it, and that means more people see it.

    For offline tournaments signups are much, much trickier. For one thing, you typically have at least some signups at the door (if not everyone), which means you will need to dedicate a team of TOs to deal exclusively with signups early on. Time becomes a huge issue when signing people up at the door, and errors will likely abound without checking and doublechecking signups to make sure everything's A ok. Note that these things are mainly problems for extremely large tournaments, and typically a good, organized process for handling signups quickly and with minimal errors works wonders. I recommend checking how tournaments for your game do it (assuming your game has offline tournaments) and emulating that if you expect a large tourney. I unfortunately cannot comment on this directly for splatoon because offline tournaments haven’t happened much at all in Splatoon for many reasons, and I have certainly not been able to run any. Note that after signups are done, TOs used for signups will probably be able to work other jobs. Typically I would assign them to jobs that make direct use of the information they took up, depending on what it is, and have them doublecheck things while they have downtime. For smaller Offline tournaments you should be able to handle signups fairly easily at the door with just a few people. Use your discretion for everything inbetween.

    In closing, signups are often simpler than you’d expect them to be, especially for online tournaments. The trick is to get the method down and figured out. Once you’ve stress tested it, run some practice signups between TOs if need be, and made sure you understand what you need to ask for and what you don’t need to, it usually falls into place pretty easily. The only things after that are getting the data, which is at most a lot of stressful busywork for offline tournaments, and making sure you don’t make any errors by being prudent during them and checking and doublechecking them as they come through. If you do make an error, let people know, and then change it if you can. If you can’t change it for whatever reason (it’s rather game dependent what the reasons will be) then just make sure everyone understands it was a mistake and strive not to let it happen again.

    vi. Further Pre-Tournament Preparations up Until the Start of the Tournament

    This section will mostly be made up of a list of things other than signups, pre-testing, and others mentioned above that you may have to do before the tournaments.

    1. Answering questions:

    The number one thing you’re going to have to do besides all the other stuff is going to be answering all sorts of queries from players. Typically you’ll get more questions if your topic is confusing, or if you tournament has a large framework (2 day group stage then finals or something), or if it runs a format or rules people aren’t familiar with. Otherwise you’ll normally get questions like can I change my roster, can I do this, is there a rule about this, etcetra. Above all remain respectful and professional throughout the process and respond to questions as clearly as possible, without insulting or otherwise berating anyone. Even if someone calls you names. (as an aside, I hope you have a good sense of humor and don’t get offended, because you’re gonna have a rough time as a TO otherwise).

    2. Defending your tournament:

    This is the other thing you may have to encounter. Put your debate skills to the test and don’t call people asshats. Understand your tournament and why you made the decisions you made for every rule, so you can put up a defense against anyone who takes issue with the tournament or its rules. Not to say they might not have a point, in fact player feedback is very important to developing your tournament and your abilities as a TO, but don’t let people trample all over the rules or get upset if someone has an issue with something. Let them know why you did it your way, concede points if you need to, and be respectful and polite. Most people will be polite to you if you’re polite to them, even if they didn’t start out that way. If they don’t and you do, well then you’re probably not going to be the one coming out looking bad from that situation.

    3. Look up when other tournaments are being held, and work with other TOs to set up a better schedule:

    I do this all the time with the other splatoon TOs. we have to work around each other to make sure weekends don’t get too saturated with tournaments before anyone’s tournament is set in stone. Generally if you want a good timeslot for your tournament and don’t want to share a weekend with another tournament that’s probably better known than yours, you’re going to need to reach out and do this. And for Callie’s sake please let other tournaments on the same day as you know your schedule. It would be horrible for them or you to have entrants held back due to other tournaments, with neither of you knowing.

    4. Talk with teams about commentating their matches:

    If you plan on doing commentary, you need to let teams know you are, especially in splatoon where you have to feed off of other’s streams to get any feed. Let them know this somewhat beforehand, and ask them if they can help out with it. Most will probably be ok with it if they can stream.

    5. Review the Tournament:

    Make sure everything in your tournament looks as it should in general. Let others in your group give it a once over, and approach other TOs for their opinion if you want. In Accounting we have these things known as Prevention, Appraisal, Internal Failure and External Failure. Preventing would be things set up to help things not go wrong while making the tourney, like signup programs and rules for signups and other things. Appraisal would be this step: you review the tournament and let others review it to make sure it’s A OK before the public sees it. The last two you don’t want to deal with: Internal failure would be the equivalent of having to cancel it early, make sweeping changes, or other faults that come up during setups that are large and will impact things, and External Failure would be if the tournament sucked when it was put on.

    6. Seeding:

    You’re probably going to have to seed your tournament, unless you just want to do random seeds. Most teams will also want you to seed your tournament according to skill, and it does improve the quality of your tournament. Do research on the signed up teams and be ready to seed them accurately. Luckily for Splatoon BestTeaMaker has created rankings making use of the tournaments that go on, so you can typically seed people mostly accurately and fairly easily making use of his lists for the current month and all time.

    There are of course many other things that could probably be put on this list. if you have an idea for this list, let me know. I will update it if I think of anything.

    continued in part b. The guide was too long to process as one guide...
    Part B is Here

Recent Updates

  1. The Tome of Tournaments

Recent Reviews

  1. Trieste Sp
    Trieste Sp
    As a TO of a local smash tourney myself. This is a really good guide for anyone who wants to be one.
  2. Aweshucks
    Incredibly insightful guide. Very in depth. Like, extremely in depth. It is a must-read for new TOs
  3. GameGalaxy64
    Very insightful information! Hopefully it comes in use for aspiring TOs!
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