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  • Writer's pictureHigh School Esports League

High School Esports League Dev Blog: Tiebreaker Update

Updated: Feb 23

Today we welcome a guest author, Elijah Smith, to discuss our new head-to-head tiebreaking system!

For the past couple of seasons we've received a lot of feedback from High School Esports League coaches that our system for handling head-to-head tiebreaking was confusing and sometimes controversial, especially in cyclical head-to-head tiebreaking scenarios (e.g. Team A defeated Team B who defeated Team C who defeated Team A) or increasingly complex scenarios such as (A > B > C > A, also with D > E > B, and A > E) .

Now, head-to-head tiebreaking will be handled in buckets defined by a participant's win-loss record. From there you are compared head-to-head against other members of your bucket instead of just your immediate leaderboard neighbors. Further ties will continue to be resolved by our other existing tiebreakers. This solves the case of cyclical head-to-head scenarios and also provides a more accurate team ranking. Internally we've coined this system as "Nonogrammatic Head-To-Head" because of how the validation of this new process by hand kind of looks like a Picross board.

High School Esports League example before and after the new tiebreaking system is applied.

To see it in action, we took a look at what previous tournaments might look like with the new system in place. Below is an example from the HSEL Fall 2022 Valorant Major East Division on the teams with a 5-3 record at the end of the regular season. As you can see, the impact is quite large. One team in this example went up 5 places, while another went down 6!

This new tiebreaking system goes into effect today for the High School Esports League winter and spring seasons. The leaderboards for completed events will not be affected and still display their original finalized standings.

The Winter Blitz features seven of our students' most popular esports titles in a fast-paced season that features six matches in three weeks. All twelve of our official titles will return for the spring season!

While we were working on the leaderboard, we were able to deploy a bonus fix! Previously, if a participant was removed from the tournament (e.g. the roster was deleted after the tournament's completion), the remaining participants' leaderboard placement numbers were displaying incorrectly. Now, the placements will display correctly even if participants are removed. (This is why the numbers are different in the above image!)

Elijah Smith

Elijah Smith is a software engineer with a passion for esports. As a high school student, Elijah competed within HSEL. In college, Elijah was an Eastern College Athletic Conference League of Legends champion, and served as an HSEL Tournament Operator!

With his experiences as a former scholastic esports player and administrator, he uses the power of technology to deliver an unforgettable competitive experience for students.


Generation Esports is proud to work with Intel to power scholastic gaming.


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