Good news! Alliance Tournament 10 is almost over, which means I can soon return to my normal blogging output. I've literally put hundreds of hours of work into the AT. Any way things go this weekend, I'll be happy that it's over. ;-)
EDIT (21/Jul/2012): Aaaaand CCP has randomized the octo-finals, so the first part of this blog post is not accurate. The brackets are now up and available for viewing at the AT Community page.
For those not familiar with how the next phase of Alliance Tournament advancement works, here's how it works. The finals are a standard single-elimination 16-team bracket. First, the two winners of each of the eight groups are matched up this way:
- 1500 O1: Group A first place v. Group B second place
- 1520 O2: Group C first place v. Group D second place
- 1540 O3: Group E first place v. Group F second place
- 1600 O4: Group G first place v. Group H second place
- 1620 O5: Group A second place v. Group B first place
- 1640 O6: Group C second place v. Group D first place
- 1700 O7: Group E second place v. Group F first place
- 1720 O8: Group G second place v. Group H first place
These are the "octo-finals". For reference, I list each of these matches as "O1", "O2", and so on. Losers of these matches are eliminated. Each winner from these matches is matched up in the quarter-finals this way:
- 1820 Q1: O1 winner v. O2 winner
- 1840 Q2: O3 winner v. O4 winner
- 1900 Q3: O5 winner v. O6 winner
- 1920 Q4: O7 winner v. O8 winner
Again, losers are eliminated and we proceed form there to the quarter-finals:
- 2000 S1: Q1 winner v. Q2 winner
- 2030 S2: Q3 winner v. Q4 winner
And the finals:
- 2100 S1 winner v. S2 winner
All of this means a couple of things in practice. First, it means that any given team that advances won't face their group-mate until the finals. Take Rote Kapelle as an example. We have Pandemic Legion in our group. If we advance, we won't fight PL until the finals. That actually played a part in the strategy we've used during the group stage.
Second, it means that teams still have to think about the strategy they use in terms of what's going on in other groups. Another example: Rote Kapelle is in group H which means that if we advance, our first finals match would be against a group G team. That made us happy because the teams in group G aren't -- and forgive me, group G teams -- aren't all that threatening. It means that some teams are going to have easier times of it in the "octos" than others and some of those "octos" are going to be pretty one-sided.
You can also have an easier match in the octos and even in the quarter-finals by massaging the points that you come out of the group stages with. As I write this, for instance, Agony Empire lost their final group match to The G0dfathers. Strategically, this was a mistake. In my view, G0dfathers as the group B winner is going to have a much easier time during their first couple of finals matches. Agony is going to have a much tougher road; they probably don't realize how the finals work or they would have tried harder to win their last group match.
More about the bracket later today. Enjoy the matches!