Opinion: Experimenting with “Double Elim, Best Two of Three”

By on September 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

“Double elimination, best two of three (or three out of five, for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3).”

That’s the standard tournament format for pretty much any mainstream tournament event in North America. As a community, we’ve come to accept that as the competitive standard and practice for those conditions. But while I was watching Daigo Umehara’s drastic range in results this weekend — contrasting his 10-0 and 10-2 victories over Evo 2013 champ Xian and Evo 2012 champ Infiltration in recent showmatches to his 7th place Evo 2013 finish and his out-in-four-straight-rounds set at the Tokyo Game Show Capcom Cup Qualifier tournament this past weekend — I am reminded that there’s more to explore in fighting games than just “double elim, best two of three.”


Borrowing Bans from MOBAs

The fighting game community has historically thought of banning a character as the ultimate in scrubbiness; if you decide to ban a character, you’re basically saying “Developers, we know better than you; this character is unfairly overpowered in a way that makes the game not fun, and we don’t think it’s worthwhile — or possible — to learn how to beat him.”

That’s why I was very interested to see Complexity Gaming’s Long “ShadyK” Tran’s recent post on the FGTV house blog about a suggested rules permutation for their upcoming “When’s Marvel?” weekly tournament. This week’s rule would allow each player in any given match to ban one character from the opponent’s roster before character select, and it’s inspired by the picks/bans mechanic in League of Legends, Dota 2, and other MOBAs. In these games, both teams take turns banning characters so that neither team can choose them (which is notably different from Tran’s suggested rule, mind you). Banning a champion isn’t scrubbiness, it’s an essential part of maximizing your chances of victory, and it adds a fascinating meta-game layer to your team composition strategy.

League of Legends, for example, has over 100 playable characters. Like fighting games, you’ll typically see a much smaller set of characters in regular rotation for competitive play (though, like fighting games, there’s nothing to stop a team from working an uncommon character into a team to surprise their opponents), but still, the range of potential teams is massive, especially when you factor in the difficulty of preparing for different permutations of five-man teams using that set of characters. Banning characters gives you a chance to cherry-pick your matchups somewhat, but give your opponents that same opportunity, meaning both teams need to be a little bit more versatile, with each player comfortable competing with a wider range of characters than just the one they may favor the most. Success goes to the team with the best knowledge of characters, matchups, and team composition strategy, not necessarily the most dangerous single composition.

As far as I can tell (I am, admittedly, a relative newcomer to MOBAs in general) this has a few effects; it means that you see a wider range of character played on the competitive stage (which makes it more entertaining to watch, certainly), and it forces players to cultivate both a broad base of character/matchup knowledge and a very solid base of execution fundamentals, since no one can rely on their favorite character making it past the ban phase. (Heck, your team might even decide to ban your favorite character if you’re going up against a team that plays that character even better than you do.)

It also gives players an instant Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is card with regards to game balance issues. If you think one character is ridiculously overpowered and don’t want to play against him, you can ban him — and you may find over the duration of a competitive season that people who play that character get so good learning to play other characters that you want to ban them instead, meaning you’ll have to learn that original banned matchup after all.

Bans in UMVC3

Considering it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any major patches for UMVC3 any time soon, adding a bans phase could be an interesting way to mix things up and give each player their own game balance tool — with the caveat that their opponent has one too, and they’ll have to learn how to play permutations of their team that don’t have their preferred point, second, or anchor characters. It would also force us to identify exactly which characters we depend on (and think others depend on for their teams) the most. Ban Chris G’s Morrigan, and you won’t have to deal with the bullet hell, but if you think Doom’s Hidden Missiles are what really makes her scary, you can ban Doom instead and save yourself from losing to TAC infinites. (Or maybe he’ll just pick his Ryu team.)

As a Zero player, I’m sure I’d immediately feel the sting of a bans-phase tournament. (What am I fighting for?) But I run Zero/Doom/Vergil, so banning Zero is probably the easiest pick for me to adjust to because anyone fits into the Doom/Vergil shell. Ban Doom, and you’re denying me a great assist and TAC infinite options; ban Vergil, and I’d have to find a new anchor and an assist I can use to help Zero with midscreen conversions. Basically, in order to be competitive at UMVC3, I’d have to be comfortable with combos, assists, and matchups for at least three different teams instead of just one. In my eyes, the player who can win with three teams is better than a player who can only win with one.

Who’s the Best?

We love tournaments because they tell us who the best player in the room is — whether than room is my living room, or the ballroom at the LVH for Evo 2014. And we’ve determined that “double elim, best of three” is the best available tournament format to determine the best player; double elimination allows players a chance to make mistakes, best of three allows players to counter-pick difficult matchups and learn more about their opponent, and both of those are doable without needing a whole month to run through the bracket.

But the way we structure our tournaments reflects the kinds of skills we value the most when we think of what it means to be “the best”. When we want to see players excel with their chosen character and show you how profoundly they understand their matchups on the big stage, let’s try running a single-character tournament like so many Japanese tournaments used to do, where each player has to lock in their chosen character at registration. When we want to see players display a broad understanding of character strengths and show off their alternate picks in competition, let’s run more character auction tournaments like the ones we see at UFGT. And when we want to see what a player like Daigo can do with several weeks of preparation time, let’s put on more showmatches. We can’t change the game itself, but we can change how we play and practice it — and it doesn’t just have to be “double elim, best of three.”

  • Guest

    Nothing in marvel needs to be banned if capcom won’t patch it then so be it also I would love for top the GF of AE to be a FT5

    • Do yourself a favor … delete your comment, actually read the article, then think about what you just wrote.

      • LOL

      • Kevi Johnson-el

        I did myself a favor

  • NyuBomber

    I’m in favor of experimenting with this.

    • awwnuts07

      So am I. At the very least, it would add some much needed variety.

  • $19298411

    Bans in marvel would work, but I can only really see it working in Marvel. SF4 has shown that it’s possible to win with a lot of different characters in that game.

    • xelad1

      I think this idea is only geared towards Marvel since the game seemingly can’t get developer support in terms of patches and updates at this point. SF4 is continually being updated and the game has already proven to be pretty well balanced, even in terms of the characters who are considered overpowered (who really aren’t THAT strong).

      The team dynamic in Marvel are what make bans interesting. In SF4 everyone would just ban your main if you’re a tournament player so the choice is pretty obvious. Very few players in SF4 have secondaries that are just as good as their mains. Even Infiltration who likes to play multiple people would probably not give up Akuma for Ryu, Gouken, or Hakan.

      • Andrew John Keeton

        The idea has little to do with balance though. It’s more about making your opponent prove they aren’t a one trick pony, or simply banning out a charecter you hate playing against regardless of how “good” the character is. Imagine banning Cammy vs KBrad for instance, how far would he get into a tournament?

  • J.D SRK

    This could only work for Team Tournaments.
    Doing for 1v1 would be a clusterfuck IMO

  • The ban idea sounds pretty fun actually. Good points about the player assist strategy that would be really interesting to see. I purpose some concept matches. That would definitely be something to watch.

  • Rock

    I like this idea, and would even go so far as to make it more than one ban per side. You’re not running as many characters, nor are there as many to choose from, so instead of each side getting 3 bans before a pick phase, maybe 1 or 2 bans per side followed by one character pick per side. Follow that up with another ban per side then a pick. Now, both players are looking at 2 out of the 3 that are making up the team, add in one final ban phase and you’ve got a match on your hands.

  • TehTy

    This is worth a shot for UMVC3. I’m interested to see how it would work with the three character mechanic, and it would kind of force players to not only learn more characters, but also study more team compositions, which would liven up play. The only problem I see is trying this with other fighting games that lack the 3 character system, which is probably why the article is focused on UMVC3. I don’t really see this working with AE, because even though most people know how to play multiple characters, people can use this to their advantage for match-ups if they know who the person plays.

  • Justyce Rose

    good read

  • Yousend

    I know this might not be realistic for the FGC in its current form, but before I got into fighting games, I used to be a big BW fan and I always loved how for tournaments, players knew who their opponent was, what map/matchup they had to fight up against.

    Players also had a week or so to practice for each tournament (they ran at the same time) and watching it you could tell that the players had practice for that particular matchup and they had mind games for their opponent because they had time to analyse their tendencies.

    I think it would be great if in the long run, the FGC could become big enough to accomodate tournaments this way, so a tournament might last 2-3 months, but you get a few games every other day, kind of like a sports season.

    • Rock

      What’s BW?

      • Yousend

        Starcraft: Brood War

    • awwnuts07

      Topanga league in Japan is kinda like the old BW Starleague. I doubt we’d be able to something similar in America. Our top players are scattered throughout the country. No way would they be able to get solid connections like they do in Japan (our internet sucks dick compared to Asia’s).

  • Hunter

    I actually really like that idea, would probably see a lot less vergils and more creative team comps. +1

    • Then why not just ban Vergil instead of going through all this trouble?

      • Raynard

        It’s not about banning Vergil it’s about making people adapt and adding another metagame.

  • RenegadeVA

    This article was the worst thing that has ever been posted on this site.

    Fighting game players spend months and years practicing and perfecting characters. They are infinitely more complex than MOBA characters that only have 4-5 different active moves. You can’t just ban them willy nilly. There are players that focus their entire tourney careers on one character.

    IMO, Bans in MOBA games are scrubby as shit. Let people play their best characters and may the best team win.

    Can you imagine this in real sports?

    In the playoffs: Baltimore Ravens BAN Peyton Manning. He’s just too good. 7TDs was OP.

    Deal with it.

    • Rock

      “This is the worst thing that has ever been posted on this site.”

      Good disclaimer for your comment.

      • GustavoGoose

        Alright that was pretty funny but you knew what he meant. And I agree with him as far as fighting games go, but bans in mobas just need to exist. Players should be expected to know every character in mobas, this isn’t the case in fighting games.

        • Patrick Miller

          “Players should be expected to know every character in MOBAs”

          Part of that expectation is because the bans mechanic is built into the games! If we tried banning out in tournaments, we’d be saying “Players, we expect you to learn how to play more characters.” It’s a different set of skills and practice habits than standard dbl elim best of three.

          • RenegadeVA

            Why do you wanna force people to not play who they want to play?
            If someone is happy playing their 1-3 characters, let them.

          • ThisNab

            Is it really so out of the question for them to learn one more character?

          • GustavoGoose

            But there is a huge difference between a character in a moba and a character in a fighting game. A hero in dota usually only has 4 abilities you need to know. A character in a fighting game can have upwards of 50 attacks, all with different frame data, hitboxes, walk speeds. And that doesn’t begin to explain all the different combos and option selects, ect.

            Players devote their entire career into one team or one character, sometimes that team isn’t even top tier. Banning Guile against Dieminion would completely disregard all the years of effort he put into making that character good. It would be an easy win to simply ban the character that he has played for so many years.

          • Steven C Carefelle


    • Ryan Underwood

      I disagree with the MOBA Bans. It makes sense when there’s over 100 champions. But there’s some argument as to how many characters this becomes a good idea for. It doesn’t make sense in AE because you get rid of the fantastic tech you see when someone practices a specific match-up. Yeah, you reward broad understanding of the characters and good fundamentals when you do ban phases, but the trade off is boring looking matches. And I feel that it’s the same issue with MVC3. Even the author admits that if someone bans his Zero in his Zero/Doom/Virgil, he’s still good, but screwed if Doom or Virgil gets banned. You get new match-ups for sure, but it doesn’t get nearly as crazy when someone takes their OP team and gets bodied by a log on a rope.

    • Expiriment_Kow

      The fact that you say “Bans in MOBA games are scrubby as shit.” shows you have no understanding of high level competitive AoS’. Ban/Pick phases are extremely important and are a part of the game. A good captain can win a game at the ban/pick phase

      • RenegadeVA

        Because winning a game at the ban/pick phase instead of in the field of play is SOOO admirable.

        “good job banning, man. you’re the best MOBA Banner ever!”

        • ThisNab

          But they can win on the field of play. A team composition may be poor but if the team is any good they can still pull it off even with the disadvantage.

          It’s like I am watching someone talk crap about a Golfer compared to a Football player because “Oh he can choose the right kind of club for the situation? Wow that’s SOOOOO impressive”. Apples and Oranges mate.

        • Expiriment_Kow

          It’s indication of a more mentally strong player? Fighting game players talk a lot about how at higher level it becomes about mind games and learning opponents, and guess what it’s the same thing in AoS’ wow whoa mind blown

        • ashxu

          He said ban/PICK phrase. Just shut up dude, you don’t even play MOBAs. How would you like it if a dude with no FG experience started talking shit about it with no experience?

          • RenegadeVA

            Actually, I used to play the hell out of classic DoTA, but before “bans” became a thing. As someone who loved to play Pudge, bans would have made me really mad.

            I tried LoL for awhile, too, (got up to level 20 or so) but realized that now that I’m older I can’t really devote an hour to playing one game without pausing all that often…

            Also, I didn’t really like that the game/community reinforces “in the box” thinking. You HAVE to play X champ X way, or you HAVE to have top/mid/bot/jung/supp team composition, etc etc.

            Sure, you can fuck around, but then people get mad and yell at you, which is no fun.

    • ashxu

      Spotted the dude who doesn’t play MOBAs.
      You don’t just pick your best character in competitive games lmao. Team compositions are a thing and going 5 glass cannons is fucking retarded. “Oh but we’re all good with our respective heroes”. No, that’s not how MOBAs work. Keeping in mind you also can’t play who you ban.

      • Exactly, MOBAs are a different thing and bans make sense for them. Also, the game is constantly being updated so that new characters are added, stats/skills/whole characters all can get re-worked.

    • José Ramón Pepino Ojeda

      Your comment makes some sense, but still a banning option is good for newcomers to stand a chance at their temporary weakspots and for seasoned players to adapt and expand their career character roster selection. I think getting Doom banned in grand finals leading to watch the champion getting his way around an alternate character it’s a much exciting tournament to be watched.

      We all know how hype is Hakkan at a serious level, or, in the Marvel case, imagine ChrisG figuring it out at top 8 with a recently dusted Firebrand team nobody knows how to counter since it was popular and effective 2 months after Vanilla release.

  • Missing Score

    Longer sets is really interesting. Think of how many games make up a set in tennis, and then again how many sets make up a match. I’d love to see fighting games played in this style. However, the reality is that as a grassroots community where 99.9% of the players are amateur we don’t really have the time to run long sets to judge who is the best. It’s always good to see long sets for exhibitions though. It could also get boring if every match lasted 30+ minutes–it’d remove the “anything can happen” excitement. And with regards to black balling an opponent’s character in Marvel, it’d be fun to experiment with at the very least.

  • Sage

    Bans are stupid in MOBAs and they’re stupid in Marvel.
    Either learn to play or don’t

  • GustavoGoose

    I have a huge problem with the banning system. It works better in a MOBA because they are team based games and people are expected to know a larger amount of characters. A character in a moba is significantly simpler than a character in a fighting game. The depth in those games comes from the strategy and teamwork rather than from the character themselves. After learning your 4 skills, all thats left is picking your items and working as a team.

    A ban of a character in Marvel would mean that somebody who put serious effort into learning a character would be screwed over. Against Chris G I would ban Morrigan every time, what does he have then? A few alt teams? A team he is only ok with? Ya it may not be fun to watch Moridoom but I would still rather watch that than everyone playing mediocre with a team they aren’t comfortable with. Once again, it works in mobas because most characters are only 4 skills and some of those skills are passives; players are expected to know how to play every character, in fighting games it isn’t possible to be good with every character and thats why people only have a couple pocket characters for certain matchups.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention, if this is going to become commonplace in the FGC, you may see a noticeable stagnation. If everyone bans Morrigan, nobody is going to find new Morrigan tech, and if she is commonly banned nobody is going to find ways to beat her. This creates stagnation.

    • double B

      Exactly. Bans in fighting games would be
      absolute nonsense. And it would be even worse in a game like SF4.

      There are many people who put almost 100% of their
      time into 1 character. Have you ever seen Dieminion pick anyone besides
      Guile in a major? What if you told Dieminion he couldn’t use Guile. Does he have another character that even comes close to his 5 years of Guile experience?
      You basically just reduced his chances of winning to 0%.

      It can take years of commitment to 1 character to finally start winning at high level. Look at SnakeEyez. What if we told SnakeEyez “sorry, everyone will ban your Gief from now on. I guess you better start learning a new character. See ya in 3 years!”

      • GustavoGoose

        I don’t think the article was looking at SF4, more Marvel where it would make a bit more sense considering its a team comp based game. It would still be bad but not nearly as bad as AE.

        The biggest issue with this is that it doesn’t hurt people who play common characters, it hurts character specialists more than anyone. Nobody is as good a Morrigan as Chris G, he pretty much put that character on the map, he is the reason she is good. Ya you could ban Vergil and most people would be able to find an easy replacement, but banning a character like Morrigan from Chris’ team would mean that all the work he put into that character meant nothing.

        Could you imagine banning Strider against Clockwork in mvc2? He was the only person to do Strider/Doom well and Strider would be an easy ban for anyone playing against him. There is no thought to the bans, its just instantly screwing over your opponent by taking away his best character.

        • PointCtrPoint

          but if they knew that would happen, they would have been practicing other teams, because the rules are known already. Who’s to say clock can’t take another character to a high level?

          • GustavoGoose

            Who said he should? Why should people be punished for learning a character? Everyone would be playing mediocre with a team they didn’t want to use in the first place. It wouldn’t be fun or interesting to watch.

      • ThisNab

        But the article is not proposing it for SF4 or any of those games, it was proposing it for MvC3.

        It also only suggested one ban for each side, are you telling me the top players of MvC3 in the world can only play 3 characters and will fold like a house of cards if they can’t pick those 3 specific characters?

        On the note of tournament stagnation, I don’t buy it. You say “Oh everyone will just ban Morrigan” but only one player frequenly plays Morrigan, and is probably as capable of more then just the Morrigan/Doom combination he is in/famous for.

      • Andrew John Keeton

        This brings up an excellent point though. If he can only win with Guile, does he deserve to be getting farther in tournaments than other people? It’s certainly more impressive to be good with more than one character as opposed to just one. And completely unrelated to the post im replying too, but if this ever became a real thing, Chris G would still be winning everything so how much would it really change? Makes me think.

        • GustavoGoose

          Because only playing Guile is a very respectable thing, the fact that he plays one character so well without having alts for bad matchups is impressive. If you only play one character in a Moba you are a bad player because you need to be able to play any role on the fly. In fighting games that is not the case, you should know one character really well and you should have a couple alts you are viable with. By only playing Guile, he has become the best Guile in the world and that is extremely impressive.

  • Dectilon

    Interesting idea… I think it could definitely work for marvel, but it’s hard to predict what would happen long term of course.

  • Personally I don’t think this would work in a FGC environment although I think the idea is interesting, but I have to agree with most of the comments, saying that its not quite fair to ban a character when its a 1v1 game. Also not really realistic when you have people that may only run one team, and know only those specific characters (in Marvel).

    Is the main idea behind the bans is to just level the playing field? If that is the case where is the competitive aspect in that?

    I thought the character auctions idea was fun but there just wasn’t enough people wanting to participate at least that’s how it looked on stream.

  • Ban phase in Marvel? I think it’s unnecessary, and I rather watch someone play their optimal team. Leave Marvel the ugly game that it is.

    What I would really like to see is more events beyond the standard double elim tournament. There’s plenty of those. There needs to be more showmatches, Topanga-styled round robins, etc. Something that builds hype and breaks away from the monotony of the everyday tournament because things have been a bit stale in the period between post-EVO to the start of the second half of the tournament season.

    • NickLeake

      This. Let Marvel continue to be ugly cause it’s beautiful that way. Same with 3S. Don’t like it? Play in your scrubby nice wonderland Kappa.

  • Jelani-Akin

    This actually sounds like a very fun idea – not certain if its the BEST way to go for the main tourneys but certainly worth a try. Perhaps experiment with a few side tourneys /events for this kind of thing, see if it catches on. Then go from there.

    And from a viewing standpoint, that would be pretty entertaining.

    Good article overall.

  • Expiriment_Kow

    I feel like this style of tournament would be fun as it’s own thing, but I don’t see it ever becoming the standard. It’d be interesting to watch it play out, kinda like Arcade Infinity’s KoFXIII ratio tournaments

  • Spabobin

    This would be incredibly unfair to the more well-known players, since everyone knows their best characters. Imagine someone like Cloud805 (before last Evo, of course) going up against a top player. They wouldn’t know who to ban from his team, but he would certainly know who to ban from his opponent’s team.

    Then again, people are likely to pick Zero and Vergil if they had to guess characters to ban, so the example with Cloud doesn’t work perfectly. But the scenario could still easily happen.

  • FMJaguar

    Let’s not label every ‘different’ format is a viable alternative, Character Locks and Bans are for convenience and appearances, respectively. I would not call either an innovation over standard or alternate FGC formats.

    Additionally, the FGC has never been all about 2/3. When tournaments were smaller, top 3 was 3/5 and the finals were 4/7, MvC2/3 is known for extended sets between players, ft10/ft50/ft100/etc…. low tier tournaments, team tournaments, cross-game exhibitions, it’s all there if you look for it… in part because the players are not distracted with endless arguments over how to structure the standard tournament.

    Lets continue to have an efficiently run main tournament with straightforward rules, and use extra resources to experiment. In experimenting, let’s think about how we can expand choices for players instead of restricting them.

  • Guest

    The FGC shouldn’t look to MOBA for tournament format ideas in the same way Olympic swimming shouldn’t take its cues from the NBA.

    • randomguy101

      You saying sports should have tunnel vision and not look at other sports to see what could benefit them? Like, let’s say football was the first sport to use instant replay to make final decisions. NBA shouldn’t think, “hey, that’s a good idea, let’s do that!” but rather “Nah, NFL got it first. We’ll just continue to make calls with in real time, even though there are 50 thousand cameras in various angles that could help us out. All because NFL did it first and it’s definitely a good idea.”

      People are scared of change. Let’s run it as a side tourney, or maybe even just 1 month at weekly tournies, and see how it goes. What’s the harm in that? It’s not like Evo or any major is immediately jumping on this.

      Plus, you guys don’t even acknowledge the point about MAYBE banning other members of Chris G’s team. Without Doom’s missiles, is Chris G’s Morrigan good enough to win? If you ban Clockw0rk’s Strider, he still has Doom which we all know he’s amazing with. An option would be to ban Doom and then snap in Strider.

  • Richard Smith

    Ban Chris G.

  • Ht Jaku

    i think one thing that people are forgetting (or don’t know about) that once a ban is casted, no one can play that character. So say player A bans Doom and Player B bans Vergil neither player can choose doom/vergil. So while banning has obvious downside to it, but it also has a positive. I think its interesting, and will be watching to see what happens.

    *edit: read through the FGTV blog, and it debunks what i first said.

  • Flonominal

    I think instead of banning characters, they try a point based team selection like the old mvc2 low tier tournaments. It can be out of 5 points. vergil phoenix zero doom etc be 3 points. morrigan dante wesker etc 2 points. tron deadpool ryu blah blah 1 point. that way you wont see stacked teams like morri/doom or zero vergil.

  • Rahavic

    Yuck! no ty

  • King9999

    I would like to see some kind of mock tournament with this ban rule in place. That’s the only way to know if it works.

  • Nybb

    I don’t care what the FGTV guys do on their own time, and I might even watch a bans-Marvel exhibition if they stream it, but it just plain stupid as a competitive standard. Other good arguments have already been made here, so I’ll just add this: banning just raises the barrier to entry even higher than it already is, and for what benefit? If I play, say, Firebrand/Doom/Ammy, under ban rules I’ll have to prepare a whole new team in case somebody bans Doom (since he is so important for the team); this effectively doubles the amount of practice time I need to be competitive. Then if everybody just bans Vergil or Morrigan, I’ve doubled my practice for nothing. Why would any new player ever want to get into competitive Marvel under those circumstances?

  • Louis Lam

    Almost puked reading about character bans in fighting games.

    Let’s keep that cancer in the other cancer.

  • windsagio

    Conceptually I love the idea, it would definitely mix things up.

    Practically it’s pretty much impossible though, can you imagine the logistical slowdown at a tournament of any size? It would be a nightmare.

    The other problem is that it just KILLS practice-based games (Marvel, anime games), because the really top players tend to have specialized practice.

    … so the games that need the limits the most are the ones that would be most broken by it ><

  • Devil Jin

    This would have made sense for Marvel 2 since there’s like exactly 6 to 8 playable characters in that game. Not really the case for Marvel 3. Bigger issue with Marvel 3 is people still using unoptimized teams with the other characters that have potential. If people hate Vergil that much, snap him in and create better incoming mixups or traps for him when he’s falling in.

    It wouldn’t be bad to have this as a side tournament thing like the low tier events in Marvel, but you will NEVER have this work as a regular rule in all Marvel matches. This is just the next “ban XFactor” and it’s not gonna go well.

  • ReddChief78

    Telling players they can’t play with their characters that they have trained with and learned and comfortable with why not just ban Marvel all together because nobody will keep playing it at tournaments unless it’s a free to enter side tournament

  • Pete Q.

    The character ban format seems really interesting, but as a guy who’s usually a one character (and one team hero), I’m against it, purely because I don’t want to have to learn any new characters hahaha.

    What’s more interesting to me is these FT10 showmatches / exhibitions that have become more prevalent in the past year or so. Daigo’s complete destruction against Xian and Infiltration shows just how different a fight can go when fighters have the weeks of prep time to get ready for a specific opponent.

    Seeing a particular match up played out to the fullest is more interesting than forcing people to play different teams for variety. Yes, players would be forced to learn different teams and be more versatile, but I want to see people finally figure out how to stop Chris G’s team, not just ban a character and avoid the problem all together.

    It’d be awesome if we had more “Fightcard” style events where big names faced each other FT10, like the UFC. I love the current tournament format right now, but the truth of the matter is, anyone can beat anyone in a tournament. That’s part of the excitement and draw, no doubt, but does that lead to better results? The best players usually come out on top, sure, but in a FT10 set, there’s no way anyone’s getting randomed out.

    If there were FGC events like the UFC, where like 8 to 10 matchups are chosen for a fight card, it would fly in the face of our current FGC culture, where competitions are open and everyone has a shot, but would lead to really interesting fights.

  • maelxich

    It just is not the same banning works in a moba because each character is simple I can play anyone in a moba and still know exactly how to play them

    in marvel its much more difficult players study there characters for weeks months years perfecting them and then they enter a tournament and told oh hey you are that strider player yeah you can not play him oh you only main strider sentinel ryu oh well guess I win because I have a back up and now you are at a disadvantage.

    One rule of thumb to go by make your own rules do not try to copy someone else ideas for a completely different thing it gets messy.

    side note its also a slippery slope as an example “hey I can ban this guy from using wesker why can’t I ban this guy from using zangief in sf4 so what if he only plays gief its only fair” and then you will have other games like SG Tekken calling the idea dumb then you will have kotaku reporting how the FGC is unaccommodating for new players then the FGC looks bad again not that this will happen as soon as you add bans but in 2 years you will hear people demand bans in other games.

    Its a bad idea to consider for main tournaments but as a side tournament it could be fun just like no xfactor tournaments were fun low tier tournaments in MVC2 but just like those tournaments they were never the main rule set and thats what ban tournament rule set should be a fun side tournament.

  • Phil Wright

    Generally speaking bans are mostly in LOL to keep the meta reasonable, as constant patching leads to constant balance shifts. That having been said, you see the same characters getting the ban in many lol matches.

  • NickLeake

    This would only semi-work in side tournament land once the game is a million years old like ST, and could be somewhat fun like how ratio tourneys are for that game. That or in some similar party, casual, setting.

  • Steven C Carefelle

    The main problem is that people put so much more time into FG characters… just imagine banning out a character specialist… that person would feel defeated. I’m not that good but if somebody banned out Tron I just wouldn’t even want to play. Why the hell do I want to win with my backup characters, I don’t even like them.

    But if it’s mainly for team games I guess it’s ok… I don’t really like those as much anyway xD

  • DonaldHoganMark3

    In 1v1 tournaments I think it would be a mistake to have a ban system. The very best players already have multiple teams, the ban system would basically ensure we always saw B team vs B team at the highest level.

    And as much as a ban system would reduce the appearances of characters like Virgil and Doom you’d also see bans used on characters like Zak Bennett’s Firebrand or Angelic’s Shuma that people aren’t comfortable fighting. A drop in character variety at a high level isn’t what this game needs.

    I do think for team exhibitions a moba style draft with bans and picks would be great. Something like a 5v5 where the draft occurs a month before the event so players have time to practice their teams. That could be a lot of fun. But anything that devalues or speads thin prep time with bans on the day of the tournament would likely just reduce the quality of play imo.

  • Kevin Starr

    That’s not how or why bans work in Dota and it’s variants! The purpose of the banning stage is to allow for hard counters, not for OP heroes. You want to run hero X but know that hero Y totally shuts down their skillset, so you ban hero Y. Same with strategy X and not wanting to go up against Y. That’s the purpose of the banning stage. In Dota games you also want to ban what’s currently dominating, but that is due to having no mirrors possible; you’re denying a possible character because you would not or could not pick it. In addition, it takes far less time to become competent with a hero than it does a fighting game character; the latter is exponentially harder as Dota is about knowing the game much more than the matchup.

    Now, I see the possible upsides; get more niche characters a chance to shine, broaden the pool of playable fighters. It just does not work out well in fighting games. I feel like this article is not from someone with competitive Dota experience nor in its variants (although less so here, due to the much lower skill ceiling for drafting in other forms of AoS games).

  • Klimax

    Ok let me put in hundreds of hours learning a character to never play him, will totally work out.

  • Kevin Webb

    I feel like this would undermine a lot of fan favorite teams, like KaneBlueRiver’s. Even beyond the emphasis on character loyalty within the scene, I think that this system simply promotes straight up counter picking. Dota and LoL drafts are more complex due to the laning scenarios and greater number of characters. The best characters in Marvel already synergize well enough together to where implementing bans wouldn’t change the way the game is played, it would just be an additional handicap to place on the players, and another hurdle for players trying to get started or improve.

  • VicViper

    side tournaments? maybe

    real tournaments? holy fucking shit no this is a horrible idea for ANY
    fighting game. A couple of quick looks at how a fighting game roster
    works will debunk any chance of this being anything more than a side show

  • Matt Frank

    Why do I feel like the only reason this is an article is because people want Morrigan banned when Chris G is playing?

  • CharmingRogue

    This is the most stupid idea I’ve ever seen. People put in tons of hours in training mode to perfect their skill and know their character inside and out. To be able to ban their ‘main’ character so easily would be a huge upset. If a character is broken, then I’m all for a universal ban. One that you know in advance, so that you won’t put in all the work prior to tournaments in learning the character.

    If people enforce this rule at tournaments, I wouldn’t even bother going to any anymore.

    And to be honest, the only people that would support this idea are people that just want to be entertained on stream. They don’t go to tournaments themselves so they have no idea how this would affect the tourneys, and the players.

  • ReoAyanami

    To be honest, this sounds like a really bad idea.

  • Mr. X

    MvC2 low-tier tounreys. Save handicap matches for exhibitions and the side event.

  • Tekknight

    I play Marvel and Soul Calibur (oh and Smash). I usually learn exactly one team/one character really well. It takes me a lot longer to get to the same level as others. In Soul Calibur IV I always planned to learn another character after Maxi. But every time I played online I always felt I had room to improve. And I DID improve. It astounded me how I kept managing to up my skill. I stuck with one character because I kept pushing and pushing my skill. In Marvel 2 I became maybe the most annoying mid tier user online (oops). I like to think that if I went to a tournament with a team/character I have now, I might get somewhere. But for me that’s only because I put in a lot of work with limited characters. Not everyone is a training genius or even universally good. Take away my one character/team and I’m lost. I can get a second character, but they’ll never be as good as my main. And that’s because my main(s) were always getting better mostly through exclusive use. Not to say I couldn’t get good, but just not able to reach my full potential.

    I mean The ban system is interesting. It sounds fun. But I can see it backfiring a lot. For players AND viewers. Some characters take longer to master but when mastered are amazing. Some are really good right out of the box, but can be beaten by more complex characters. Take Fchamp vs Daigo. Remove Ryu and Daigo still has his amazing Yun. Take away Fchams Dhalsim and who does he have? (no offense FChamp). Yeah given time Champ could learn Seth, but would his Seth be as good? Not for a long time. Or he could use that time making his Dhalsim that much better!

    I DO however think this method has a place in informal matches or team tournaments. I’ve seen some suggestions. A forced character (ie. SOMEONE on your team has to use Hsien-ko/Dan). Locks; your team gets one unbannable character. Like if Jwong and friends used their “In Logan We Trust” team, they’d lock in Logan. Maybe A 3 character ban for each 4 person team. Maybe you affect only one person’s whole in-game team, maybe you affect a few of the players. Or maybe you can use up all 3 bans to undo 1 lock! “You wanna lock in Wolverine? We use all our bans to take him out! (Now we only have to deal with Doom, Vergil, Spencer… aw crap!)”. Any combination of that.

    If you ban someone’s main/key character, chances are you won’t get to see the top level gameplay we expect at tournaments. Not everyone has a pocket team/character. Sometimes someone’s main is their only. Part of what we enjoy seeing in tournaments is a player playing to the top of their ability, moving their characters in ways most of us aren’t capable of. Sometimes a character take a LOT longer to make them high level than others.Sometimes a character becomes someone’s signature. Imagine Kane Blue River without Hulk. Marlinpie without C. Viper. Dieminion without Guile. Yipes without his Curleh Mustache!

    Basically I’m not saying this idea is garbage, just not the style to use when we want to see a player play at the peak of their ability with all of their gameplay knowledge on display. This is more for fun and entertainment. For the viewer. For the community. But it has a time and place.

  • d3v

    The problem with a MOBA style ban phase is that it unnecessarily punishes character/team specialists. With it, you’re discouraging the Clockw0rks or the Kusumondos of the world, people known for exclusively playing and mastering one single character or team. Imagine then if Clock was unable to perform well since people just keep banning Strider or Doom on him in MvC2, or if Kusumondo was never able to play Honda in ST because people banned that character on him?

    • windsagio

      That, to me, is kind of the interesting bit of the idea. It’s like everyone is working around the very un-FGC thought that certain characters are a bit problematic to the overall health of marvel 3.

      They don’t wanna say it, but barring the clockw0rks and ChrisG’s, we all know the characters that would be consistently blocked, and there’s only 2-3 of them.

      • ReoAyanami

        Why not just outright ban those 2-3 characters instead?

        • windsagio

          Because the FGC has some very very strong feelings about bans.

  • Guest

    The problem with a MOBA style ban phase is that it unnecessarily punishes character/team specialists. With it, you’re discouraging the Cl0ckworks or the Kusumondo’s, people known for exclusively playing and mastering one single character or team. Imagine then if Cl0ck was unable to perform well since people just keep banning Strider or Doom on him in MvC2, or if Kusumondo was never able to play Honda in ST because people banned that character on him?

  • PointCtrPoint

    It’s an interesting idea. I always had a similar idea where you had to pick 9 characters and use three different characters in each of three games. Recently I participated in Street Fighter tournament in this format and it was actually really fun.

    As a mainline competition standard, I think it is too drastic for umvc3. But there is no reason it’s not worth trying in side tournaments or just as an alternate format in a weekly tournament.

    I understand all the arguments against it–no one should tell you how to play. But on the other side, there’s no real harm in trying a new format once in a while as long as it doesn’t permanently replace the standard format we all know. We weep for specialists whose team utility drops to one third. But we also see great players who might bring a bottom third-tier character to greatness. Don’t be so quick to reject change. As much as we respect the game that has been made, we should also realized that we are empowered to compete in the metagame as well.

  • RichHobo

    Isnt this the same community that shouts “Collusion!” when top players veer away from their main teams Kappa.

    Well, I’m not entirely joking.

    • RichHobo

      Cynicism aside, it is an interesting experiment I would like to see happen for a tournament or two. Very well written and interesting article.

  • Quintus Havis

    I think it’d be interesting for something like Marvel. Damn sure not for tournament play, but exhibitions and stuff, it could be cool.

  • Timothy Ian McMillan

    I got to the word ‘bans’, then stopped.

    I’ve a right mind to call for your resignation, Patrick.

  • L_Z_N

    I think most major tournaments need to stick with double elimination format. But event organizers should dabble with other formats to see how meta game in these games change, and the outcomes from these changes. I believe when organizers design events with clear goals, then these changes can bring positive results.

    People should experiment with these new rules at small scale events, like a local weekly tournament. Or use these rules during side events at majors.

  • Jam Pyo

    Bans in UMVC3 <<< ban chris G ahahahahahahahaha!!

  • Jam Pyo

    ban chris G 😀 hahahahahaha

  • ReoAyanami

    Fighting games are like mixed martial arts tournaments. Everyone comes fights with their own style that they’ve spent years practicing.

    MOBAs are like gladiator fights where everyone gets to pick their own weapon and also ban ones they don’t like.

    If you ban judo, do you expect him to just pick up karate or jujitsu or muay thai instantly?

    If you ban broadsword, there are still scimitars, short swords, daggers, katanas and etc.

    This is the problem with banning in fighting games. 99% of the players already don’t have enough time to master one team, and you now want to force them to learn 2 or more teams to compete? Might as well just watch a random match online if I want to watch sub par teams dropping combos like it’s hot.

    • I could not agree with this more.

  • Ndebe

    It sounds like a good idea until you realize that in MOBA, you can easily learn the ins and outs of a character. You won’t master the character but if you are a tournament player you definitely can bring the character to a tournament after a month. The individual characters are so simply designed and simple to play. Banning characters is an awesome idea because all the pros can play a big variety of characters at a high level. In fighting games, learning the ins and outs of a character never ends. Banning a character would actually discourage players from picking up highly synergy dependent teams where opponents can just ban a certain character, and rather point them towards teams with less synergy and more individual strength, because getting one character banned wouldn’t matter as much. There is a reason why MOBAs aren’t FGs and FGs aren’t MOBAs.

  • Hey_Sim

    Using that rule will put an unnecessary limit on the way that the game should be played. If certain tactics (top-tier/cheap) in fighting games keep winning matches, then you are playing the game correctly. If you can’t beat it, continue to find solutions or simply join the wagon. Stop banning tacticd and deal with it. It’s your fault that you chose to stick with a character that strugles against everybody.

    • windsagio

      Alternatively there’s an inherent flaw in the game which the developer refuses to fix :p

  • Travis Lynn

    I believe this was brought up before on some stream, I can’t remember where though. It seemed to be shot down immediately on that stream though. Glad to see the concept is still floating around.

  • mikanko

    So if we start Banning Clock’s Doom, Moons’ Modok, Ray Ray’s Mags, or Angelic’s Shuma it’s going to make this game more competitive or entertaining somehow?

    I do not sees it. Seems to needlessly punish character specialists, which will lead to fewer entrants overall. People put too much work and practice in these games to be told they can’t play their favorite character that they’ve put hundreds of training hours into.

  • MasterChibi

    Fantastic job FGC!

    We went from heralding collusion and being gung ho about to banning characters to make things more ‘interesting’!

    Stay classy?

  • ReoAyanami

    If there is one format that I believe would benefit from trying new formats, that would be the team tournaments.

    At the moment, all team formats such as the one used in Canada Cup and Aftershock are basically just 1v1 times 5. What if there is a format in which players actually relied on each other and work together more than that?

    One such format is the unified team format, inspired by MTG. Players in the same team cannot pick the same character. In other words, they will have to share the characters.

    You will get a situation of whether everyone should bet all their eggs on Chris G by giving him Morrigan/Doom/Vergil or give Vergil/Doom to someone else so that they have a chance.

    You can further deepen the strategy by having P1 from team A only playing P1 from Team B, P2 on Team A only playing P2 from Team B and so on and so forth. Then, it’s no longer just about the strength of one player but the strength of the team as a whole and the willingness to trust another player with some of the better characters.

    As time goes on, other rules such as drafting, banning and etc can be introduced if deemed necessary. Such experimentation works with team tournaments because the rules are less defined and the format is generally seen as a diversion anyway. But if someone finds the winning formula, it could take off more seriously.

    So yeah. Stop messing with 1v1 and do something about teams.

    P.S. I imagine SF4 teams can use the same drafting rules as MOBA. Everyone picks one character from the same pool with bans. After that, Pokemon or Waseda format works fine.

    • PointCtrPoint

      I had similar ideas. Personally I didn’t take this article as ‘let’s do lol’ but more like let’s try something different.

      However I do feel like the slot that team tournaments take up could easily be replaced by an alternate format tournament, 1v1 or not.

  • José Ramón Pepino Ojeda

    Loving the way people comments with sense AND aggressivity in this discusion. I’m in favor of a ban/pick phase. Especially now when Marvel has achieved maturity and we know which char builds are OP and which aren’t. The phrase “deal with it” sounds more like “random out a hit and get away with it” to me and we know we ain’t getting a patch fix for the now numerous glitches, so banning it’s an interesting house rule that deserves to be observed.

    I guess this policy would increase the need of understanding the game wholly instead of the very boring to watch tournament replay-like finals. I got so sick at watching people continuously rely on the usual suspects that I quitted watching Marvel streams some months ago, nothing new! and what’s worse, newcomers getting top 8 and 4 by ZMC and/or MorriDoom teams! Was like watching multiple Flocker clones!

    i suggest people to watch what the SSB community did with Meta-Knight. I do want diversity back in Marvel!