This year USQ World Cup 8 will have a new gameplay structure. Instead of the traditional pool play format, preliminary rounds of this year’s World Cup will be conducted via Swiss-style pairings.
The Swiss system is a tournament format that has been in existence for over 100 years and has been used for competitions including chess, squash, curling, badminton, and ultimate frisbee. The fundamental characteristic of a Swiss-style tournament is that teams of equal skill are paired against each other in each round. For example, after each team has played one game, each team with a 1-0 record will compete against another team with a 1-0 record, and each team with a 0-1 record will compete against another team with a 0-1 record. After each team has played two games, each 2-0 team will play another 2-0 team, each 1-1 team will play another 1-1 team, and each 0-2 team will play another 0-2 team, etc.
Swiss-style pairings are ideal for large tournaments such as World Cup, where there is often a significant performance disparity between the top and bottom tier teams. At World Cup VII, of the 32 preliminary games played by Pot Five teams against Pot One and Pot Two teams, not a single game ended within snitch range. Instead of a pool play system that encourages this sort of result, a Swiss system will ensure that almost all games played at World Cup feature teams of roughly equivalent skill and therefore are much more competitive.
At World Cup 8, the preliminary rounds of gameplay will be organized as a two-flight, seeded, Swiss-style tournament. Each of the 80 teams at World Cup will be placed into one of two 40-team “flights,” or preliminary groupings, and all preliminary matches will feature teams competing within their assigned flight. In addition, each team will receive a seed before arriving at the tournament, numbered 1 through 40. For the initial round of preliminary games, the top teams will play the bottom teams. This seeded system will avoid the possibility of two top-ranked teams competing against each other in the first round. After this initial round, teams will be paired against other teams with identical records. In this format, only the first matchup for each team will be available before the tournament begins. The remaining preliminary matchups will depend on the outcome of each of the previous rounds. More information on the logistics of how teams will identify their opponents and their assigned pitches during the tournament will be released as the tournament date approaches.
World Cup 8 will consist of five preliminary rounds (one more than in World Cup VII), guaranteed for each team, of Swiss-style competition followed by a 24-team, single-elimination bracket. This system guarantees a minimum of five games for each team. The top 12 teams from each of the two flights will advance to the 24-team bracket. These teams include every team with a 5-0 record, every team with a 4-1 record, and the top teams with a 3-2 record, as determined by the tiebreakers below.
The official tiebreakers - in order of use - will be as follows:
Strength of Schedule
Head to Head
Point Differential (of final score, including snitch catch, with a 120 point hard cap)
Snitch Catch Percentage
Based on this format, every team at World Cup will be guaranteed five games of competition, with the fifth preliminary game for each team being held on Sunday morning.
This format will still allow volunteers and officials to be scheduled in advance. With the two-flight system, each round of games alternates flights. Therefore referee crews from Flight One will be able to be scheduled in advance for the Flight Two games, without needing to know exactly which teams will be playing on that pitch. Additionally, this format will make the schedule much more consistent; teams will have games more evenly spaced out, whereas under the pool arrangement many teams had their games packed into one part of a day, or spread out between the morning and evening with excessive downtime in between.
While the final gameplay schedule will be released as the tournament approaches, this tournament will be held within the same general time constraints as World Cups VI and VII, with preliminary matches taking place throughout the day on Saturday and into Sunday morning, and the tournament concluding with the finals on Sunday evening.
For additional information about how the Swiss format will be implemented at World Cup 8, please click here. More information regarding the logistics of the tournament structure in general will be released as the tournament date approaches.
USQ is extremely excited to introduce this new format and looks forward to seeing the increased numbers of competitive, marquee games for all levels of teams that the Swiss-style preliminary format will provide.