How tiebreakers work at Worlds 2019

Who will advance to the next stage of the tournament?

Photo via Riot Games

The 2019 League of Legends World Championship is in full swing. The play-in stage is drawing to a close and the group stage is quickly approaching. But what happens if there’s a tie? 

The play-in and group stages share a similar ruleset when it comes to tiebreakers. But there are a few alterations. 

Here’s everything you need to know about tiebreakers at Worlds 2019.

When will the tiebreakers be played?

In the case of the play-in and group stages, tiebreaker games will be played immediately after the final match of that respective group.

Play-in stage: Two-way tie

If there’s a two-way tie after the play-in stage has come to a close, the head-to-head record will be used as the first tiebreaker. If the two teams have an identical record, however, the two teams will play a tiebreaker game to determine the standings.

Play-in stage: Three-way tie

It gets a little more complicated when three teams are tied for first. The total amount of time each team took to win their games is calculated and the two teams with the highest total game victory time will play one tiebreaker game. 

The loser will be eliminated and the winner will play a single tiebreaker game against the team with the lowest game victory time. In other words, the team with the shortest victory time will get a bye and play against the winner of the first tiebreaker. 

The winner of the second tiebreaker will then be declared the No. 1 seed of the group, with the loser taking the second seed.

Group stage: Two-way tie

If there are two teams tied after the group stage, the head-to-head record will be used as the first tiebreaker, similar to the play-in stage. If the two teams have an identical head-to-head record, though, and the teams are tied for first or second place, the teams will play one tiebreaker game to determine the overall standings of the group.

Group stage: Three-way tie

A three-way tie in the group stage could lead to multiple outcomes. If three teams are tied, the head-to-head record of each of the teams will be considered. There are a total of five possible combinations in a three-way tiebreaker:

  • If each team in the tiebreaker has a record of 2-2 against the other teams in the tie, the teams with the highest game victory time will play one tiebreaker game. The side selection will be awarded to the team with the lower total game victory time. The loser of the game will then be given the lowest standing and the winner will play a tiebreaker against the team with the lowest total game victory time. The winner of the second tiebreaker will then take the highest spot in the standings, while the loser takes the remaining slot.
  • If one of the three teams has an aggregate record of 3-1, the next team is 2-2 and the third team is 1-3, the teams with the 2-2 and 1-3 records will play a tiebreaker game. The loser of the game will then take the lowest standing and the winner will play a tiebreaker against the 3-1 team. The winner of the second tiebreaker will then take the highest seed, while the loser takes the remaining spot. Side selections belong to the team with the better aggregate record (3-1 > 2-2 > 1-3).
  • If two teams have an aggregate record of 3-1 and the third team has an aggregate record of 0-4, the 0-4 team is given the lowest standing. This will be decided by the tiebreaker. A new tiebreaker will then be declared against the two teams with the aggregate record of 3-1, in the same vein as the two-way tie procedure. 
  • If one team has an aggregate record of 4-0 and the other two teams have an aggregate record of 1-3, the team with the 4-0 record is automatically granted the highest seed in the tiebreaker. The tiebreaker is then declared among the teams with an aggregate record of 1-3.
  • If one team has an aggregate record of 4-0, the next team has an aggregate record of 2-2, and the third team an aggregate record of 0-4, the team with the 4-0 record is automatically granted the highest seed in the tiebreaker. The 2-2 team takes the second-highest seed and the 0-4 team will get the lowest remaining seed.

Group stage: Four-way tie

If all four teams in a group are tied, they’ll be drawn into a single-elimination bracket based on game victory time. The teams will then play best-of-one matches through the bracket and the seeds will be given in order of the teams that won their games the fastest. 

The four teams will be split into two first-round matches with the first seed (the fastest total game victory time) facing the fourth seed (the slowest total game victory time) and the second seed will play the third seed in the first two games. The losing teams will then be eliminated from the tournament. The winners of the first-round matches will face off in a third game, with the winner taking the top seed and the loser earning the second seed.