Elimination Tournaments

Elimination Tournaments

An elimination tournament is a competition where entrants play head-to-head knockout fixtures over successive rounds until one entrant remains.


In a single-elimination tournament, one fixture loss knocks an entrant out of the tournament. A single-elimination format is commonly used for weekly tournaments or as a playoff stage in a multiple-stage tournament. They are straight-forward, simple for players, and are great for tournaments with strict time constraints. Entrants: 4–512 Examples: RLCS Season 4 North American Championship, NFL Playoffs, FIFA World Cup Knockout Stage


In a double-elimination tournament, two fixture losses knock an entrant out of the tournament. A double-elimination bracket is divided into an upper (winners) and lower (losers) bracket. Entrants begin play in the upper bracket and, upon a fixture loss, are sent to the lower bracket. The final match of the tournament, referred to as the grand finals, is played between the upper and lower bracket winners. Because the upper bracket winner has not lost a fixture, they may lose a fixture in the grand finals and not be eliminated from the tournament. In this case, a bracket reset occurs and the two grand finalists play one last fixture to decide the winner of the tournament. Because each entrant plays an extra fixture, the amount of time the tournament takes is longer than if a single-elimination tournament had been used. Entrants: 4–64 Examples: RLCS Season 3 World Championship


  • A well-founded standard that players are used to.
  • Suitable for a diverse number of entrants.
  • Flexible tournament length. Tournament duration can be adjusted by changing the fixture length on a round-by-round basis.
  • Teams are eliminated from the tournament after 1–2 losses, which makes every fixture / round important and dramatic.


  • Inaccurate seeding can lead to high skill entrants playing each other early in the bracket. One of the two entrants will be eliminated and there will be less of a chance to have high-quality matches later in the tournament.
  • In tournaments with a large variance in entrant skill, the highest skill entrants have to wait until the later rounds to play competition at their skill level.
  • In tournaments with a large variance in entrant skill, the early rounds can feature blow-out fixtures. One team can be much more skilled than another.
  • Entrants are eliminated after competing in a small number of fixtures.