No, don’t make whole Street Fighter 5 tournaments best of 5


There seems to be a growing amount of people wanting the Capcom Pro Tour to make every Street Fighter 5 match a 5-game series, from first round to grand finals.

I do not believe that is a good idea, and the numbers so far this year suggest there is no need to make the whole tournament a 5-game series.

People will point back to last year’s Finals Tournament, where the top 32 players competed in a full 5-game series from start to finish. Statistically, I was against it, but as a fan, I supported it because it was the culmination of the full year, and the players deserved it. As it turned out, there were plenty of comebacks in the Finals Tournament.

To make every tournament for the remaining 2017 season a 5-game series? No.

I’ve been tracking the top eight of every CPT event so far, and the numbers lead me to believe no.

As of Combo Breaker, the player who has reached two wins first in a 5-game series is 178-26.

That’s an 87 percent win rate for the person who gets to two wins. As more tournaments have been added in, the win rate has stayed at this level.

What about last year?

I logged as many tournaments as I could (I didn’t do all of them because I wasn’t as interested in stats, plus I was moving and my job at the time took a lot of my hours) and ended up tracking 30 tournaments.

In those 30 tournaments, I captured 273 matches that did a 5-game series.

In those 273 matches, the player who reached two wins first was 234-39. That’s an 85.7 percent win rate.

I did capture all of the premier events last year, and the player who got to 2 wins first in those events was 127-16. That’s an 88.9 percent win rate.

So, to recap …

This year in total: 87.2 percent
30 tourneys last year: 85.7 percent
Premier tourneys last year: 88.9 percent.

Some thoughts

Now that we have some numbers, let’s ask some questions.

1. If all of last year’s tournaments were tracked, would the first-to-2 win rate be higher or lower than 88 percent and how would it compare to this year’s tournament series?

I had 30 tournaments tracked, there were 40 tournaments not tracked.

If we add the results from those 40 tournaments and compare it to this year’s tournament series, I’m convinced the number wouldn’t sniff 80 percent.

There were some ranking tournaments last year that had a lot of heavy hitters, then there were tournaments that had a top eight that had mostly unknown players. Can you name any one of the final eight who competed in the CPT event that happened the same weekend as Evolution? Of course. There were a few of those type of events last year. So far, there hasn’t been that type of event this year.

Let’s go the other way. What if the first-to-2 win rate increased to 90 percent or higher? It becomes tougher to convince a tournament organizer, or Capcom Cup’s executives to make the whole tournaments the rest of the year a 5-game series since it will be 1 1/4 seasons of such a success rate for the player who gets to two wins first in a 5-game series.

Plus, the game has changed from last year to this year. There were plenty of Nash players who made top eights last year, but just one so far this year. The latest update could shuffle things around.

2. Is a 13 percent comeback rate this year enough to convince you a whole tournament should be a 5-game series?

So far, of the 204 matches this year that have happened within a top eight, only 26 players have fallen behind 2-0 or 2-1 and rallied.

Of those 26 comebacks, four have done it from the deepest pit, down 2-0 in games and 1-0 in Round 2 of Game 3. The number could really be 182-22 for the players who get to two wins first, an 89 percent win rate.

A 13 percent comeback rate in the top eight is nowhere near convincing enough to tell Capcom Cup’s executives to go 5-game series for the whole tournament.

And we haven’t even included the possibility of scrubs skewing the numbers. Yeah.

Do we think the weekend warriors who enter a tournament are going to take advantage of their matches being a 5-game series? No, they’re likely to do just as bad, delaying the inevitable.

Now, what does the comeback rate look like if we went to a 5-game series for a whole tournament? Guaranteed, it’s going to be less than 10 percent.

In order to make a whole tournament a 5-game series worth it, the comeback rate when falling behind 2-0 or 2-1 has to be higher, not lower. Maybe it is 30 percent or 40 percent. If it’s 50-50, then the game is too volatile.

3. What is a legitimate, justifiable reason for going with a 5-game series beyond the top eight, or even top 16?

I tried to think of all the reasons future Capcom Pro Tour events should go to 5-game series start to finish. Most are putty. But hey, let’s go through them.

— “It’s more exciting.”

It’s not.

Again, in the early rounds, with a lot of sub-par players in the field, we’re delaying the inevitable.

— “But what about that guy who always comes back from 0-2 to …”

No. There isn’t that one guy who always comes back.

Twelve players have at least six wins in top eights this year, and none of them is ‘that one guy.’ They’ve combined for only nine wins when down 0-2 or 1-2. If there is ‘that one guy’ who is always coming back, then that person is not making the top eight or makes it only to get eliminated soon after.

— “But in Marvel … ”

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT STREET FIGHTER 5 HERE.

— “You can get OTD’d.”

This implies that the rounds are fast, the player who strikes first wins all the time, or there’s no chance of comeback because the player who gets the right combo instantly wins.

The average round this year is 1 second faster than last year, so we can strike that down.

The player who takes the lead at the midway point (opponent at 50 percent health) wins 73 percent of the time. We can strike that down.

The player with a late lead in a round wins 19 percent of the time. We can strike that down.

This reasoning is part of the Twitter dopamine taking effect, where there are frequent videos posted of a Boxer TAP that we all know is coming. Or it’s a random Rashid somehow V-Triggering into a 60 percent combo off an Akuma EX shoryuken whiff that would never happen late in a tournament because what Rashid would V-Trigger knowing an Akuma EX shoryuken whiff is coming?

But anyway, let’s continue.

— “You want the best players to win, right?”

Be very careful when you hear this, because we’re talking about a whole tournament being a 5-game series.

What this really means is a buffer has to be added to protect notable players early on in a tournament so they don’t lose to a random person.

The top players will be ‘protected’ by the two extra games if needed. But no tournament organizer or league should extend a whole tournament to protect top players just to get them to top eight or within striking distance of it.

Of all the reasons, this would be the most justifiable reason, and it shouldn’t be used.

— “There’s time to do it.”

Tell that to the tournament organizers, many who are putting on multiple events that also are part of championship series.

— “One tournament should try it to see what happens.”

See the previous statement.

What’s next?

There are about 50 events remaining before the Last Chance Tournament, meaning there are going to be at least 500 matches that happen within the top eight.

If the success rate for a player who goes ahead 2-0 or 2-1 hovers between 85 and 88 percent as has been the case all year, that’s not enough to justify that a whole tournament should be a 5-game series.

To get the number to dip below 85 percent would mean quite a few tournaments having a lot of top eight matches with 2-0 or 2-1 comebacks. And as more tournaments get included, the fight to dip the number down will get tougher.

Can there be a compromise?

While having a whole tournament a 5-game series is not needed, I am seeing a few tournaments start to make all of the top 16 a 5-game series.

It’s a good middle ground, given that at the top 16, most of the players are known and/or are professionals on teams.

Beyond that? It’s the tournament organizers’ call depending on the time. I don’t think it’s worth it.

The Finals Tournament should be a 5-game series for the 32 players because, like last year, it is the culmination of the whole season and we should all celebrate that.

The 50 or so tournaments leading up to that should not be 5-game series from start to finish. The numbers don’t justify it.