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Best-of-X 

Definition

In the competitive landscape of esports, “Best-of-X” (BoX) denotes a series system for determining a winner through multiple matches. The first competitor or team to achieve a majority of wins in a predetermined number of matches (X) is declared the victor. Commonly used systems are Best of 3, Best of 5, and Best of 7 matches, and their use depends on the game and event they are being used for. This system ensures a more definitive outcome compared to a single match, allowing for a better assessment of skill and resilience between competitors.

Applications

BoX formats are employed across various esports titles, with the specific format chosen depending on the tournament structure, level of competition, and desired viewing experience. Some popular applications include:

  • Regular Season Matches: During the regular season of leagues, Bo1 or Bo2 formats are often used due to their efficiency in scheduling and maintaining a fast pace. This allows viewers to witness a larger number of matches and keeps the competition fluid.
  • Playoffs: As the stakes rise in the playoffs, Bo3 formats become more common. This adds a layer of depth and strategy to the competition, requiring teams to adapt and showcase their ability to adjust tactics mid-series.
  • Grand Finals: The pinnacle of any esports tournament is typically contested in a Bo5 format. This extended series format provides the ultimate test of a team’s skill, mental fortitude, and adaptability. It also contributes to heightened drama and anticipation, creating a more climactic conclusion to the tournament.

Common variations

  1. Best-of-3 (Bo3): This is the most prevalent BoX format, requiring one team to win two out of three matches. It offers a sweet spot between brevity and strategic depth, allowing for both quick-paced action and tactical adjustments within a series.
  2. Best-of-5 (Bo5): A longer and more demanding format, demanding that one team win three out of five matches. Bo5s are often used in high-stakes matches like grand finals and major tournaments, where a definitive victor and a more comprehensive test of skill are desired.
  3. Best-of-7 (Bo7): Rarely seen in modern esports due to its lengthy duration, requiring four wins for victory in a seven-match series. Some exceptions remain, with certain major esports leagues using Bo7 for championship matches, particularly in games where individual matches are shorter, such as fighting games.

Significance in esports tournaments

Beyond simply crowning a champion, BoX formats significantly impact the structure and experience of esports tournaments. Key aspects include:

  1. Length and Pacing: Shorter BoX series like Bo1s offer quick, action-packed encounters, catering to wider audiences but potentially sacrificing strategic depth. Conversely, longer BoX series like Bo5s facilitate intricate tactical play and captivating comebacks, rewarding dedicated viewers, and testing players’ mental fortitude.
  2. Skill-Gap Assessment: BoX formats act as effective barometers of skill disparity. While an upset victory is possible in a single match, longer series tend to reveal the team with superior strategic prowess and adaptability.
  3. Tournament Structure and Scheduling: The chosen BoX format influences tournament planning and scheduling. Bo1s enable faster qualification stages and more matches overall, while Bo5s demand meticulous scheduling and consideration of player fatigue.

Implementation

Dota 2’s The International: This prestigious annual tournament culminates in a Bo5 grand final, showcasing the ultimate test of skill and endurance for the competing teams. The extended format allows for intricate strategic battles and captivating narratives to unfold, creating a truly grand conclusion to the tournament.

League of Legends World Championship: Similar to The International, League of Worlds features a Bo5 grand final, offering the highest stakes and most intense competition of the year. This format ensures that the champion emerges through a comprehensive test of strategic prowess and adaptability.

19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022: The esports competition at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou marked a significant milestone for the integration of esports into the prestigious multi-sport event. It featured Best-of-3 (Bo3) formats for all six of the game titles that were included: Arena of Valor (AoV), League of Legends (LoL), PUBG Mobile, Hearthstone, Dota 2). The Bo3 format proved successful in the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, offering competitive and engaging matches while adhering to the event’s scheduling constraints.

Author

  • Yudistira Adipratama

    Yudistira Adipratama is the Managing Partner of K-CASE Lawyer, the first esports dedicated law firm in Indonesia. K-CASE Lawyer has worked with and provided legal consultation to various esports stakeholders in Indonesia, including game publishers, esports clubs, event organizers, streamers, game associations, government, and universities. Yudistira holds a key position in the policy-making process of the esports parent organization in Indonesia. He was involved in the drafting of Law No. 11 of 2022 on Sports, which recognizes esports as a competitive sport for the first time in Indonesian history. Yudistira is also the drafter of PBESI Regulation No. 034/PB-ESI/B/VI/2021 on the Implementation of Esports Activities in Indonesia, a policy that regulates the implementation of the esports industry ecosystem in Indonesia. His expertise in law and the esports industry also led him to be involved in the drafting of Presidential Regulation No. 19 of 2024 on the Acceleration of the Development of the National Game Industry. In addition to esports, Yudistira also has a deep understanding of sports law and actively serves as a speaker representing Indonesia at various high-level international conferences attended by representatives of the International Olympic Committee. Under his leadership, K-CASE Lawyer has supported Indonesia’s participation in various international multi-sports events, such as the 19th Asian Games in 2022, the 2023 SEA Games, and the 14th IESF World Esports Championships.

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