FACEIT has announced some changes to the format for the upcoming Major, with the introduction of the Buchholz system as a seeding tool and of best-of-three matches in the 2-2 Swiss round.
Typically used in tiebreak scenarios, the Buchholz scoring system makes it possible to measure how hard a team's route at a tournament has been by summing the scores of their opponents.
The system had been suggested in an HLTV.org feature released in April by Milan "Striker" Švejda titled "Searching for the Perfect Format", which pointed out the flaws in the four-team double elimination groups and in the typical Swiss stage.
FACEIT will be using Buchholz as a seeding tool in rounds 3-5 of the Swiss stage in both the New Challengers and the New Legends stages. It will also be applied in the playoffs, this way preventing a repeat of the infamous Astralis-SK quarter-final clash from PGL Major Krakow (both teams had a higher Buchholz score than North, who in the end got the easier match-up against Virtus.pro). For the first two Swiss rounds, the seeding process will be the same from previous Majors.
An extra day of matches has been added to both Swiss stages to facilitate the introduction of the best-of-three format for the crucial fifth round, which, according to FACEIT co-founder and Chief Business Officer (CBO) Michele Attisani, "will add value to both the competition and the storylines" of the tournament.
“Every decision we’ve made has been carefully considered with the competition, players and fans in mind," the FACEIT chief added. "We discussed formats with CS:GO stakeholders and presented multiple options to Valve to ensure the new format was fully supported across the board
"We are always looking for ways to improve the quality and integrity of the competition, and we did see a number of issues in past format structures. We can’t wait to see the new format in action next month, and to bring fans and players a whole new standard of CS:GO Major."
These are the first changes to a Major's tournament format since ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017, which was the first $1 million Valve-sponsored event to feature the Swiss system.
Meanwhile, FACEIT has revealed that both the New Challengers (September 5-9) and the New Legends stages (12-16) will be held at the Twickenham Stadium, in London. The venue, owned by the governing body of rugby union in England, staged the four Minors and will continue to offer an executive chef and 24-hour access to private practice rooms to all the competing teams.
The Major will then culminate with a live event from September 20-23 at the 10,000-seater SSE Arena, in London, which staged the offline finals of the first and the third seasons of FACEIT's Esports Championship Series (ECS). The New Champions stage will span four days, the first two of which will feature the quarter-finals. The semi-finals will be held on the 22nd, while the final day of the event will feature the title decider.