How tiebreakers work at Worlds 2022

Image via Riot Games

The League of Legends World Championship is the greatest League tournament gathering the most talented individuals and teams who showcased consistency and hard work. Throughout both the Spring and Summer Splits, these teams put a lot of effort into improving and deservedly secured their spot at Worlds 2022. The finest players train in similar conditions surrounded by high-quality teams of analysts, coaching staff, and advisors that stop at nothing to see their team at the very top. So, it’s no surprise to see the matches come down to nuances that frequently decide the game. Although even the slightest mispositioning can be a deciding factor in Worlds games, teams of a similar mindset often end up settling their differences in tiebreakers. 

Tiebreakers in the professional League scene are commonly used to settle ties between two teams that could potentially proceed to the next phase, whether that be the Knockout stage or the Group stage. Since each League tournament, no matter how small it may be, has its own set of rules regarding tiebreakers, it’s no wonder Worlds 2022 has specifically designed tiebreaker rules for every occasion.

Since the official Worlds rulebook is rather confusing for the large majority, we will break down how tiebreakers will work at Worlds 2022, so you can quickly grasp any situation in question. 

Play-In stage tiebreakers

The Play-in stage will be, as usual, played in a best-of-one single round robin among two groups of six. In case of a tiebreaker, the matches will be held immediately after the final game of the Play-In group stage.

The first contributing factor that will be used to define the winner of the tiebreakers is Total Game Victory Time. In other words, teams that beat opposing teams in tiebreakers fastest will have an edge. If Total Game Victory Time is identical across all teams in tiebreakers, Riot will look at the victory game time in the Play-In stage. 

Two teams will play a single match in a two-way tie to determine which team proceeds to the next tournament stage. Tiebreakers won’t be held if two teams compete for a non-consequential spot.

For a three-way tie, Riot will first look at the head-to-head record of all teams competing for the final spot in the next stage. If each team has a combined record of 1-1 against every other team in contention, the two slowest teams play one tiebreaker to decide which team will face the team with a lower Total Game Victory Time. Whichever team wins the second tiebreaker proceeds to Play-In Knockout stage. If there is a team with a 2-0 score in a three-way tiebreaker, while the other teams are 1-1, and 0-2 in a head-to-head situation, the 2-0 team is immediately granted a spot in the next stage of the tournament.

Four-way ties will be determined by a best-of-one single-elimination bracket that will seed teams according to Total Game Victory Time. The third-place match won’t be completed in this scenario. 

Lastly, five-way ties will be decided based on Total Game Victory Time. While the team with the lowest Total Game Victory Time will immediately be granted the highest seed in the group, the other teams will play a best-of-one single elimination bracket and will be seeded according to their Total Game Victory Time. The third-place match won’t be completed in this scenario. 

Play-In Knockout stage tiebreakers

The Play-In Knockout stage is, unlike the Play-In stage, relatively simple by automatically advancing the highest placed teams to the Group stage. Teams in third and fourth place will play a best-of-five match to determine who will play the second-placed team in a second best-of-five match. The winners of these two best-of-five matches will secure a spot in the Group stage.

Group stage tiebreakers

The Group stage will be organized in a best-of-one double round robin played among 16 teams divided into four groups. Similar to Play-In stage tiebreakers, the matches will be played immediately after the Group stage ends.

In the Group stage, the Riot judges will be looking at the head-to-head record to resolve the first tiebreaker. If teams are tied in head-to-head, and they are tied for first or second place, they will play one best-of-one match. Other tiebreakers in the Group stage won’t be played. 

In three-way ties, the judges will first look at the head-to-head standings. If all teams have the same score in head-to-heads, the two teams with the highest Total Game Victory Time play a tiebreaker to see which team will play with the lower Total Game Victory Time team. The winner of the second tiebreaker will take the win and secure a spot in the next round. If we have a scenario where we have teams with 3-1, 2-2, and 1-3 scores, teams with 2-2 and 1-3 scores will play one tiebreaker match. The winner will then play against a 3-1 team, and the winner of the match goes to the Bracket stage. And lastly, if we find ourselves in a predicament where one team is 4-0 and the others are 1-3, the 4-0 team advances to the Bracket stage immediately, and two teams settle the score using a two-way tie procedure.

Four-way ties will be decided via a single elimination bracket based on the game victory time for each team.

Bracket stage tiebreakers

After the Group stage, the top two teams from each group advance to an eight-team bracket where the seeding is dictated by their placement during the Group stage. The quarterfinals are played in one best-of-five round, and the winners will proceed to the semifinals. The semifinals will feature two best-of-five rounds whose lucky winners will face in the finals. The finals, in a similar fashion to the quarterfinals, will take place with teams playing one best-of-five that will decide this year’s winner of Worlds. 

Since all matches in the Bracket stage are played in best-of-fives, the tiebreaker scenario is impossible. So, lucky for you, there are no overly complicated scenarios where teams have to play additional best-of-five or anything similar to settle a tie, but the matches are rather straightforward and easy to understand.

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