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[discussion]A case for shorter sets?


So, 19XX is undoubfully one of the more popular tournament series here, mostly because we get a different meta of characters which is refreshing.

So in the effort of trying to keep things refreshing, I will try and present an argument for why shorter sets and possibly faster timer, could serve a similar purpose.

The carousel of Zane beating everyone outside of Troq, and Troq beating Zane so immensly hard, and Geiger being great against Troq, makes chosing a character that is disadvantaged against any of those three a tough choice to make. One does not want to pick a character into a really bad matchup.

What we see from the historical matchup chart - and, indeed, from every other created “real” matchup chart - is that every matchup is at least 3-7, if not better. To mansplain it, in a first to 10, you should get at least 3 wins in, with every character, in every matchup.

If the standard set is best of 7 or best of 5, we are then enforcing a sort of “inevitability of result”, where the factor of a characters advantage over another character is more likely to take an effect over player skill. If sets are done in best of 3, however, even the most disadvantaged matchups have a higher chance of winning, due to the inevitable results of a 3-7 matchup only being played until one of those sides have gotten 2 of their scheduled wins.

So, in summary, I believe that shorter sets are more forgiving for chosing characters that are considered “bad” in a stricktly mathematical sense, making it more up to player skill to get the wins - rather than prolonging sets to ensure an “inevitability” of having the most likely character to win. Having character picks be more forgiving could help bring a greater diversity to character representation, which in turn is better for the game in general.

As a sidenote: I also believe that fast timer makes the skill gap higher, due to the fact that making the correct decision becomes harder - again favoring better plays and players, rather than character choices. I also think that not having to commit more than 15-20 minutes to play your tournament match is likely to bring more participants to tournaments, rather than matches that last from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.

Reservations: I am not saying that there shouldn’t be a place for longer sets and medium timer, I just want to have a discussions about the potential possibilities of best of 3 and fast timer.


I have to disagree. Here is why. Let’s say I am in the disadvantageous situation of picking Zane into Troq on game 1. If I stayed in this MU, then I would agree with you, but I would definitely counterpick in these type of situations. In addition, if I lost game 1, then I would have no additional matches that I could lose. A longer set would give me more time to come back from a game 1 loss.

I still think longer sets reward player skill. Over time, I lean more towards best of 5’s being the best tradeoff for rewarding player skill, and valuing the player’s time.

Edit: There are times that I take a contrarian stance on the MU chart. I sometimes will look at 5.5/4.5 or 6/4 historical record and think, “I can do better than that.” For the record Troq/Zane is not one of those matchups. For that MU, I need some lucky breaks. I still think longer sets are just as if not more viable in the matchups that I take a contrarian position.


I would like to add that I have no problem with shorter sets. My previous reply only was addressing the player skill question of short vs. long sets. I think Bo3 sets are good for expediency and quick adrenaline rush hype, and Bo5 sets are a good benchmark for the community. At this point, I am neutral towards Bo7 sets, but they are still pretty good.


I’ll always say that Fast timer Yomi is best Yomi. I wish every single game I play forever is fast timer from here on out, bo3, 5, 7, doesn’t matter.

I think speeding the game up makes it so much more fun and interesting.


bo5 fast timer is my waifu. bo3 seems a tad too short and bo7 can be a grind.

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I used the same code from the State of the Game thread, and found two interesting things.

  1. Shorter sets do make it easier for someone with an overall character disadvantage. In particular, comparing someone playing the 19XX meta with someone playing the 20XX meta, using the historical win rates and optimal counterpicks, you could expect the 19XX player to win 44.3% of Bo7 sets, and 46.6% of Bo3 sets. Intuitively, I think that’s because when you’re playing at a disadvantage, the shorter sets give less time for the games to trend towards the overall average, and instead the natural variance of the game tends to dominate.
  2. If you know that you’re going to be down a game, you’re better off with a longer set. In the same 19XX vs 20XX match, if 19XX is counterpicking in a Bo7, having lost the first match, then they have a 30.3% chance overall, but if they’re counterpicking in a Bo3, then they only have a 22.1% chance.
  3. In the hypothetical set posed by @CKR, where both players are playing 20XX, but @CKR has picked Zane to his opponents Troq, he’s got a 45.6% of winning a Bo7, but only a 41.6% of winning a Bo3.

The fun thing about all of this, then, is that it just sets us nicely back up into neutral and we can continue to debate the relative merits of set lengths, with extra arguments on both sides. :smile:


I think you could argue that the natural variance is what makes games trend towards the overall average.

Also, point 2 and 3 might only really emphasize the importance of the blindpick, since Bo5 and Bo5 can often find themselves in a 1-1 or 2-2 situation, where they end up having to win a Bo3, without the blindpick to “save you”.

The point I was attempting to make, and seem to have mangled, is that the more games you play, the more your winrate tends toward the global expected value. So, for short sets, you might get lucky enough times in a row to win the set, despite being at a 4/6 (or whatever) disadvantage. Over longer sets, though, that overall disadvantage reasserts itself.


As you play more games the more it goes toward the global expected value WEIGHTED FOR SKILL. I mean that’s the whole point of playing more games, right? If I play a 6-4 match against a player who is better than me we can play infinite games it will never hit 6-4 ratio.

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Oh, definitely. Any time I’m running numbers there’s an explicit/implicit assumption that the players have equal skill. But in another thread, I argued that the overall win rates are close enough that I think skill/familiarity probably outweighs the built in imbalance much of the time.

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Yes. My assumptions made in the first post are based on players of equal skill, at which point we don’t want the characters inherent imbalances (however slight or large they may be) be the deciding factor in who wins or not.

Decisions about tournament play should be made on the platform of “what happens at the top level of play”. And currently, the top level of play has in a sense “degenerated” to become a carousel of 3-4 different characters, and I believe a change of format could help improving the spectator part of the game.

I also believe that the majority of players would think that a new player wouldn’t stand a significantly better chance in a best of 3 than a best of 5 or 7 against an experienced player.

But then again, this is the ramblings of one who isn’t in the upper part of players in the community, so what do I really know :wink:

I personally think the accuracy gained by more games with regards to skill level will always trump any sort of mean value based on matchups, especially considering it’s basically impossible to have players of equal skill, and especially equal skill with all possible permutations of the infamous carousel.

Also, I see a lot of comments here and in other topics about this carousel. Isn’t everyone who rode the carousel dead? It seems everyone left is a Menelker or a Gloria or a Setsuki main.