Official statement on the server selection issues for EU qualifier #2
Hi, I'm Julmust, the tournament director for TeamLiquid Starleague 5. Yesterday, during the first day of the second European qualifier for TSL 5, a controversy arose regarding the server selection, mainly in the series where SpeCial played. I want to be as transparent as possible with the community regarding our decision-making process and what led us here.
There are two main reasons as to why the situation arose, in the first place:
- The “fairest server” rule and a failure in communication
- A failure in updating the official ruleset.
The “fairest server” rule and a failure in communication
Due to a miscommunication at the start of the tournament, a “fairest server” rule was implemented. In short, the rule says that if two players are to play a game, it should be played on the server where the ping differential between the two is as low as possible.
Unfortunately, this caused matches to be played on servers outside of a qualifier's 'home' continent, contradicting the official rulebook. . SpeCial (Korea) vs MaNa (Poland) in the European qualifier was the most notable example. When approached by SpeCial, who had questions about the NA qualifier, I informed him of the fairest server rule under the assumption that he would play in the NA qualifier. A few rounds into the European qualifier, we realized the flaw in the rule. As the fairest server rule was in place and had been used in previous qualifiers, the decision was made to remain consistent and follow it. This ended up in a big debate before SpeCial’s match against MaNa. The discussion concluded in the two players compromising and agreeing to play on NA Central, instead of NA West.
Both the organizing committee and the admin group did what they thought was best for the tournament. However, the two did not communicate properly prior to the qualifier, and did not properly adhere to the rulebook once the issue was discovered. The person responsible for that communication is me, the tournament director, and I take full responsibility for this failure.
A failure in updating the official ruleset
Another issue was that the official ruleset for the tournament was never updated to reflect the “fairest server” policy. Even though this policy may not have been correct, it was still being enforced in practice, and thus it was our obligation to update the rulebook to reflect how the qualifiers were actually being run.
Regarding the “double qualification” issue
Due to our two-part scheduling of the EU and NA qualifiers, we encountered an unintended situation in which the same two players, Lambo and Special, qualified for the winners match of the upper bracket in both the EU and NA qualifiers. This means that both winners bracket matches effectively become irrelevant, as the winner of the first match would forfeit the other, handing the other player the top spot of the other qualifier on a bye. The unfortunate consequence of this is that other players in the second qualifier were knocked out by someone who then, due to our scheduling, would later forfeit their spot in the bracket. This is a flaw we did not anticipate.
Going forward, we will continue to apply the fairest server rule to the qualifiers. The rule, while not properly communicated, has been in place since the first round of qualifiers and I believe that changing the rules now will be counterproductive and will hurt the players left in both the EU and NA qualifiers.
Reviving a tournament is never an easy endeavor. Valuable experience has been lost over the years which has resulted in situations where we’ve made mistakes without realizing it until it was too late.
However, we are not out to create excuses. Just as with the scheduling affecting the first Korean qualifier, we messed up. Unfortunately, in this case, there’s no quick fix. One positive thing we’ll take away from this is the fact that everyone, from the fans to the organizers, care so much about getting this right. To us that is a sign of how much TSL means to the community. Thanks for keeping us accountable and I hope through this communication you understand where we are coming from.
I also want to officially apologize to the players affected by this rule. Our intention was to create a fair playing environment but we ended up creating the opposite. Words cannot repair the damage done but we hope that you accept our apology. For the main event, we will have clear rules for server selection and will reach out to the qualified players for feedback.
Jesper “Julmust” Bergeskans
— Tournament Director, TSL 5