Regarding Wii U Singles Phase 2 Pools at Genesis 4
You probably don't know who I am, nor should you. I'm the guy who made all the brackets for Genesis 4. I also made all the brackets for Genesis 3, as well as The Big House, CEO, Combo Breaker, Super Smash Con, Pound, BEAST, and others. Chances are, if you've entered a major Smash Bros. tournament in the past couple years and were assigned to 10am pools, I'm likely the person to blame. I try to stay out of the limelight save for the occasional twitter joke. The fact that I'm writing this means that something in the realm of brackets went awry. The following is the story of what happened.
Even though I made all the brackets for Genesis 4, I was not able to attend the event itself. I had already made other plans before it was confirmed that I would be working on G4, and it was too late to change them. Instead, I offered to be “on-call” in the event of any bracket problems. I did the same thing for Genesis 3, which I also was unable to attend, and I never got a message about any issues, so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen this time either.
On Friday evening around 9pm, I was clicking through brackets for Melee and Wii U in an unofficial capacity just to see the results of day 1 pools. When I clicked through to look at the Phase 2 brackets for Wii U Singles, I noticed something wrong. For some reason, Pool I203 only had 23 competitors in it, instead of 24 as it’s supposed to. There was a player in losers bracket missing. Somehow, that player had moved to the next pool, I205, giving that pool 25 competitors. Additionally pool I207 had all of its losers matches mixed up. All other pools, I201 and all the J wave pools, were correct. I don't know for certain what caused just 3 out of the 8 pools to be jumbled. Most likely, somebody with event admin access had moved players around unknowingly and accidentally. Regardless of how it happened, I needed to fix this issue immediately.
I will go off on a bit of a tangent for a second to explain a bit about how I work. When I’m hired to make brackets, I make bracket pdfs for tournaments to print out and give to pool captains, and I upload the brackets to an online service (usually smash.gg these days) so that competitors and viewers can follow along. My bracket pdfs are different from smash.gg’s bracket printing feature. Because I use pre-made bracket templates when making the bracket pdfs, I always make the smash.gg brackets to match up with the pdfs, rather than the other way around. This link shows the exact pdfs that I made for Wii U Singles Phase 2 at Genesis 4: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mjv746aa8az30fg/wiiu-singles-ph2pools.pdf?dl=0
Back to the main story, knowing that the online brackets for pools I203, I205, and I207 are wrong, I set about fixing them manually in smash.gg. I first move back the player that had somehow migrated from I203 to I205, then I drag all players into their correct places in the bracket. While I’m doing this, I make sure to let Bear and Sheridan know that I’m fixing this issue. Once I get everybody set up where they’re supposed to be, I assume everything is correct, and I move on to check the brackets for other events.
On Saturday, I leave the apartment to go on a few errands. At 2:39pm, Bear messages me saying that pool sheets aren’t matching smash.gg, saying something about it causing double jeopardy. Unfortunately, because I never set up notifications for Facebook messenger on my phone, I don’t see this message until 15 minutes after it was sent, at 2:54pm. When I finally see it, I’m extremely confused. (I know for a fact that these brackets will not cause double jeopardy because people who advance out of winners in each phase 1 pool advance to a different phase 2 pool from the people advancing out in losers.) I immediately check the brackets on smash.gg again. It is at this point I learn that the online brackets for I203, I205, and I207 are using an incorrect pattern to send players to losers bracket, one that doesn’t match the pattern on the paper brackets.
The way I had setup the smash.gg brackets for Wii U Singles phase 2 pools is demonstrated in the bracket for pool I201, which was correctly structured. (Link: https://smash.gg/tournament/genesis-4/events/wii-u-singles/brackets/104878/314178) Look at Losers Round 3. Notice that the loser of B is placed in the first match, the loser of A is placed in the second match, the loser of D is placed in the third match, and the loser of C is placed in the fourth match. Now look at Losers Round 5. Notice that the loser of F is placed in the top match and the loser of E is placed in the bottom match. This is the pattern I had intended, as it exactly matches the pattern shown in the pdf brackets in the first link. (The pdfs have a different notation for the matches, but the pattern is the same.)
Now look at the bracket for pool I205, one of the wrong brackets. (Link: https://smash.gg/tournament/genesis-4/events/wii-u-singles/brackets/104878/314180) Look at Losers Round 3 here. We see that the loser of D is placed in the first match, the loser of C is placed in the second match, the loser of B is placed in the third match, and the loser of A is placed in the fourth match. Looking again at Losers Round 5, we see the loser of E is placed in the top match and the loser of F is placed in the bottom match. I believe this is the default structure for smash.gg. What this means is that somehow—either when the online brackets for pools I203-I207 got messed up the day before, or when I fixed those brackets to have the correct matchups—the bracket structure got “reset” to default, and I had neglected to check to make sure it was right.
Needless to say, I was mad at myself for not noticing this issue sooner. I frantically tried to message Bear back to let him know that the online brackets were wrong, and that he should run the pools off the paper brackets only, while I'd try to get somebody from smash.gg to fix the bracket structure for I203, I205, and I207. (I had tried to fix it myself but couldn’t figure out how.) I tried messaging him through Facebook, Slack, Twitter, and even called at least four times. I also tried texting, messaging, tweeting at, and calling the only two other people I knew on Wii U staff at G4, Vayseth and Josh. Eventually, I finally get through to Bear, and I let him know not to use the online brackets, and just use the paper for I203-I207. I’m even able to get him on the phone to again confirm that, yes, the paper brackets are correct and he should follow them. At this point, I feel like I can relax a bit.
I then start to try to get in touch with somebody from smash.gg to fix the online brackets. But as I’m doing this, I see ESAM tweet that he just beat Samsora. It dawns on me that ESAM has played not just one, but two wrong matches. According to the paper bracket for pool I203, Samsora and MrConCon (ESAM’s prior opponent) were supposed to be sent to the bottom half of losers bracket. Meanwhile, ESAM should’ve played ANTi, and then either Jan or KOSSismoss were he to win. The following link shows how the losers sides of pools I203, I205, and I207 should have looked (please forgive my bad handwriting): https://www.dropbox.com/s/75qmejtb5k4c8i2/g4-wiiu-singles-ph2-annotated.pdf?dl=0
I then realize that in the 15 minutes I didn’t see Bear’s message, he had the pool captains go ahead and run the matches as they were displayed on the website. So my message to him to run everything from the paper brackets was too late. At this point, assuming that it was impossible to go back and play the correct matches in Losers Round 3, the correct thing to do would’ve been to just run those pools the rest of the way as they were shown online. This meant that for Losers Round 5 in pool I203, DSS should go to the top half of losers bracket to play ESAM while Ito should go to the bottom half to play ANTi. This way, if you’re going to use the wrong bracket structure, you’re at least using a CORRECT wrong bracket structure. However, because of my repeated insistence that the paper brackets were correct and they should run everything from paper from that point on, the pool captains used the paper’s bracket structure for Losers Round 5, which sent Ito to to the top and DSS to the bottom. This could easily have caused a double jeopardy situation, but it was somehow avoided. Meanwhile, the same thing happened to the bracket for pool I207, although again we dodged the double jeopardy bullet. (I205 managed to be run incorrectly in the correct way.)
By the time I finally understood what was going on, all the matches had already been played and there was nothing I could do. Brackets for pools I201, J201, J203, J205, and J207 were all correctly run.
I firmly believe that none of this would’ve happened if I was there in person. But because I wasn’t there, because I didn’t double-check those brackets the night before, and because I didn’t see Bear’s original message that there was an issue for 15 minutes, there was a communication failure that caused the wrong people to play each other, and it’s only by sheer luck that double jeopardy was avoided. In total, there were 24 matches and 30 players affected by this mix-up.
I feel that I should take most of the blame for this issue, since I could very easily have prevented it. The very first thing I did after this happened was turn notifications on for Facebook messenger on my phone, so that has been corrected. I have also reached out to smash.gg so we can try to figure out how the bracket structure got reset to default, and how I might be able to fix issues like this should a similar situation arise. I apologize to all the players affected, and I promise to be more careful in the future.
If you have any questions about this post, you can tweet at me @CurlingW and I'll do my best to respond.