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Posted on November 6, 2016, 3:15 am


Through August to October, HardDrop held its 4th edition of Tetris Tournament Online (TTO4). Like in the previous 3 editions, the platform of choice was Tetris Friends Arena and prizes were sponsored by Blue Planet Software (The Tetris Company). This time 157 players participated. Matches were streamed by Dazer, ZeroT and Chopin, sometimes Goldenshadow, Master and Firestorm provided some additional commentating; XaeL made the trailer; Riisssaaa and Alexandra helped Blink with organizing. Players were seeded by Sprint time whereas the top seeds were given to people who made it to the top 8 in TTO3.

The consensus was that the Japanese players hebo_MAI, aitsu_k and YUIMETAL (aka gorone on HardDrop) were the top contenders for the final victory. hebo_MAI won the 3 previous editions of Tetris Tournament Online but he also had some recent losses in Puyo Puyo Tetris tournaments. aitsu_k made 3rd place in TTO2 - that was 4 years ago and he had improved since then. Yuimetal recently won a Japanese Tetris Friends tournament and managed to beat aitsu_k in his last match. TheAtomicNumber (aka jkwon23 on HardDrop) was considered as the most auspicious non-Japanese player. Another notable player was MicroBlizz; he is the world record holder in 40 lines mode with a time of 17.36 seconds (that's almost 6 pieces per second).

Matches were played first to 15, win by 2. The first stage of the tournament was single elimination - one lost match and you were out. Fun fact: A professional e-sports player participated in TTO4. Malaysian player shirousaber is known as MidOne in DOTA 2. At The International 2016 he got 4th place with Fnatic which meant over 1,000,000 $ prize money for the team. shirousaber lost 9-15 against Yuimetal in the round of the last 32 - with more lucky seeding he could perhaps have made it to the playoffs.

These 16 players reached the playoffs: hebo_MAI, ajanba, YUIMETAL, natuyumeMHN, whipemerald, aitsu_k, popoi, astrsk, usi_polygon (all Japan), HD_Blink, TheAtomicNumber, Squirtle (all USA), MicroBlizz (Canada), Master (Peru), OnePunMan (Australia), wimos (Belgium)

In the playoffs, the tournament switched to a double elimination system - players weren't immediately eliminated after losing one match; instead they played in the loser bracket. Since 9 players from Japan made it to the top 16, the playoffs were a bit in the motto "Japan vs the rest of the world".

aitsu_k and Yuimetal met pretty early in the winner bracket. Both players didn't have the best seeding as they didn't participate in TTO3 and aitsu_k's best sprint time was achieved by playing invisible Tetris. Anyway, aitsu_k won 15-11 and sent Yuimetal to the loser bracket. Another interesting early match was hebo_MAI vs Master. hebo_MAI had his problems against the speedster but in the end won 16-14.

Squirtle, feared for his center 4-wide, managed to beat wimos and Blink and made it to the top 4 of the winner bracket. There he was beaten by hebo_MAI. TheAtomicNumber also made it to the top 4 of the winner bracket after beating the Japanese players natuyumeMHN and ajanba but eventually lost to aitsu_k. So the winners bracket's final was hebo_MAI vs aitsu_k. hebo_MAI misdropped much in the match and lost pretty clearly 8-15 to aitsu_k.

Meanwhile, Yuimetal and OnePunMan (aka ISuckAtTetrisALot at HardDrop) advanced in the loser bracket. OnePunMan, a relative new player from Australia, lost his first playoff match to ajanba but then became the best non-Japanese player after beating natuyumeMHN, Blink, MicroBlizz and TheAtomicNumber. Yuimetal took out usi_polygon, popoi, Squirtle and OnePunMan and secured a spot in the top 3.

So, the last 3 players left in the tournament were also the ones who were considered the top contenders before the tournament started. In the losers bracket final, Yuimetal faced hebo_MAI and won pretty clearly 15-7 (hebo_MAI was misdropping a lot again). So, aitsu_k and Yuimetal met again to decide who becomes the next TTO champion. Yuimetal would have to win two matches (sets) as he came from the loser bracket. You can watch that match with commentating or from Yuimetal's perspective:

final with commentating

final from Yuimetal's perspective

It was a very close match. Yuimetal got an early lead but aitsu_k was on his tail. At the end, he couldn't close the gap and lost 13-15. The second set took a similar course. Again aitsu_k lost 13-15. So congratulations to Yuimetal! He is the crowned TTO4 champion and gets a chromebook as prize. aitsu_k gets a Arduboy Tetris Microcard autographed by Alexey Pajitnov and hebo_MAI gets a Tetris Light for reaching the podium.

1st place: YUIMETAL
2nd place: aitsu_k
3rd, 4th place: hebo_MAI, OnePunMan
tied 5th place: Squirtle, TheAtomicNumber
tied 7th place: popoi, MicroBlizz
tied 9th place: usi_polygon, Master, HD_Blink, ajanba
tied 13th place: astrsk, wimos, natuyumeMHN, whipemerald

single elimination brackets
playoff brackets

Comment by Riisssaaa on January 3, 2017, 10:47 pm
Or we could have an infinitely long leaderboard whereby every two players are paired and play weekly. You win, you move up. You lose, you move down.
Comment by Jupiter_Joe on November 7, 2016, 5:54 am
Another option to create more complete seedings would be to have a winter tournament- a quickfire to be sure- that would seed beyond TTOs top 16. In other words, we could bring back the HDO series. Naturally, the community would need to run and support this, I'd be happy to help, but I've never done so and would need advise and assistance.
Comment by Okey_Dokey on November 6, 2016, 11:12 pm
Regarding first stage: I would prefer swiss system instead of single eimination. In the first weeks there was a lot of activity in shoutbox and Discord but it quickly declined. The reason: after 3 weeks/matches only 1/8 of the players is left in the tournament and the top 1/8 aren't really active on HardDrop. Single elimination also has the disadvantage that most players won't play any close match (usually the players who are eliminated in week 1 and 2). With swiss system it is guaranteed that players will have close matches after 3 or so weeks because they play against players with the same win-lose statistics. Swiss system also has its disadvantages of course. More matches have to be played and that can be troublesome with 128+ players. It's also harder to determine the top 16. And the worse players might get matched against the no-shows of previous rounds. But all in all the advantages should more than compensate the disadvantages.
Comment by Jupiter_Joe on November 6, 2016, 10:09 pm
A different thought about the single elimination brackets. I feel that should there be a rash of no shows, a losing player that played a competitive match can substitute for a no show once the time limit for appearance has passed. The smallest margin of defeat has first right of refusal if and only IF they are ready to play at the scheduled time. Players like MiracleMan, Johnny147 and BentoBoxer lost fairly early, but clearly played as competitively as some that advance purely by sure luck of the draw.
Comment by Jupiter_Joe on November 6, 2016, 10:03 pm
One thing I'd like to see next year (and I think this was done in TTO3) would be to have 5 place, 7th place, 13th place matches, etc. for the purposes of seeding next year. It would be a great way to keep interest while allowing extra time, as was the case this year, to generate interest for the Grand Finals.

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