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Flaws in Asia Championship Plus 2010 Final format

December 21, 2010

I should post about this before it is ‘expired’. Asia Championship Plus 2010 Final used a different format from its qualifiers.

There are 2 main talking points:
– Format itself
– Trump card

Click HERE for the rules and regulations of Asia Championship Plus 2010 Final

For the format, the 8 teams were divided in to 2 groups (4 each) by drawing lot. Then the winner of the each group will play against each other for the 1st place, while the 2nd place of each group will play for 3rd. I feel a swiss format is better, but apparently Konami wants more ‘excitement’ than determining the winner in a better manner. The part which I dislike is that the 2nd team of each group can’t compete for overall 1st place eventually. It is hard to judge if it’s fair, but it is about how much luck will play apart in it. Anyway, if Konami wishes to use grouping then playoff. The usual way in sports is that the 1st of  a group will play against the 2nd of the other group, in an elimination after group stage. E.g. FIFA World Cup (although there’s seeding)

Another thing is that I don’t like the idea of calculating ‘minor score’ for the duel. By winning 2-0, 2 points are awarded and winning 2-1, 1 point is awarded. So winning 2x 2-1 is only equal to 1x 2-0. If a player wins 2 matches by 2-1 for both, and another player wins with a 2-0 and loses another with a 1-2. They’ve the same score, isn’t it silly? The player who won 2 matches is just as good as the one who one just 1 match simply because he won 2-0.

The interesting part is trump card. When I first looked at the rules on trump card, I had the presumption that there will be difference in which round the trump card is used. So I’ve tabulated the possibilities to use trump card in each round.

(Click images to enlarge)

In the first row, the possible score that a team can earn is ranged from -3 to 6, that is before applying multiplier. The above table shows the score you can earn when you use trump card in any of the 3 rounds. To make it simple, just look at the total (in red). It shows that there’s no difference in which round the trump card is used. The score isn’t affected eventually, but it is down to playing the match itself. I’m surprised.

Next, I calculate the possible score when 2 trump cards are used together in a match. (I call it ‘trump crash’)

Again, just look at the red figures. It shows that it is more rewarding if you use trump crash in round 2. (keep in mind that, the rule stated that you can’t trump crash in round 1)

Since there’s no difference in which round the trump card is used when there’s no trump crash, but it is only different when you trump crash. Here comes the bug: since you know who your opponent will be in the 2nd round before the tournament, you can cooperate with them. Both team will trump crash in round 2, and both team will benefit from it.

Credit to Akira, he pointed out something that I’ve missed out. The above theory is under the assumption that all things are equal. When I say all things are equal, it includes all teams are equally good. Therefore you will want to use trump card against the weakest team in the group as it stands the highest chance to maximise your trump card bonus. The unfair part is that the sequence of the pairing for the round robin is pre-determined.

To explain it better, I will give an example. Team A, B, C & D are grouped together. Assuming that in term of strength that A is the best team, and B is 2nd, C is 3rd and D is 4th. (I’m not referring to any actual teams, but just an example.)

Round 1: B vs D, A vs C
Round 2: A vs B,  C vs D
Round 3: A vs D, B vs C

Using the earlier assumption that teams wish to use trump card against the weakest team, which is D for this example. Therefore, B has an advantage because they play D in the 1st round and trump card multiplier is 2x. While C will have their score against D x1.5 in round 2 and A will have their score against D x1.25 in round 3.

Since it is pre-determined, then it is just down to luck. Furthermore, the team that won 2nd in the group will not be given a chance to play for the 1st place of the tournament. The advantage of pairing against the weakest team in the group early can change everything.

In conclusion, I feel the trump card concept is apple sauce.

Obviously, Konami has thought about the calculation, since it’s the same no matter which round you use your trump card. The difference only arises when there’s a trump crash. Then what is the purpose of having the complicated multiplier of using and after using trump card? The rule can be simplified by only apply a fixed multiplier when you use trump card since it does not matter, and an additional multiplier for trump crash. Konami wanted to hide the small bug when teams trump crash in round 2? I can’t think of any logical reasons for such complicated trump card concept. If the purpose is to create more fun and excitement by having such unnecessary rules, I doubt it is working as intended, as I’m annoyed and unimpressed. Furthermore, it only creates more bug in the format as stated above.

I can’t help but to mention this again. There’s no English version for the rules, which is a disadvantage to non-Chinese speaking communities. Oh, the Chinese version is unclear anyway. Unprofessional.


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