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NiP Players Complain About Tiebreaker Rules After Elimination from ESL One Birmingham 2020

Vignesh Raghuram
1st Jun, 2020
  • NiP was eliminated from ESL One Birmingham 2020 after a 2-1 loss against VP.Prodigy
  • The team finished in 6th place thanks to a controversial tiebreaker rule which prioritized head-to-head results over other metrics.
  • Players expressed their frustration on their social media handles.

Yesterday, after a 2-1 loss against VP.Prodigy, NiP was eliminated from ESL One Birmingham 2020 - Online: Europe & CIS. 

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Image Courtesy: Liquipedia


What was surprising was the fact that NiP would have topped the group had they won the series. However, due to ESL’s tiebreaker rules, the team finished in 6th place and was eliminated from the tournament.

NiP had a much better Win-Loss (11-7) record compared to the rest of the competition for a Top 4 berth. However, ESL prioritizes head-to-head results which pushed NiP down to 6th place.

ESL’s Tiebreaker Rules:

  • 2-team tie: head-to-head result
  • More than 2 teams tie (In decreasing priority):
    • Points amassed between the tied participants
    • Map difference between the tied participants
    • Overall map difference
    • Tiebreaker matches until the tie is resolved

According to these rules, ESL likely compared the series results between the four tied teams: NiP, FlyToMoon, HellRaisers and Cyber Legacy. In the matches between the 4 sides, HellRaisers and FlyToMoon have a 2-1 win-loss record while NiP and Cyber Legacy have a 1-2 win-loss record. So HellRaisers and FlyToMoon finished in the Top 4 moving on to the playoffs, whereas NiP and Cyber Legacy were eliminated.


NiP’s Players Reactions


The players from Ninjas in Pyjamas were clearly not happy with this decision to use head-to-head results and shared their frustration on their social media.

SoNNeikO:

The team’s captain took a sarcastic dig at ESL.

SabeRLighT-:

NiP’s offlaner is clearly frustrated with the tiebreaker rules that ESL is using, stating that “This isn't about skill but about luck.”

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Era:



It is surprising to see ESL use head-to-head results as the go-to tiebreaker, especially considering the fact that today is a reserve day. There is clearly a lot of time, to play tiebreaker matches and ensure that the best teams qualify for the playoffs.

It really is unfortunate to see an upcoming team like NiP get knocked out of the tournament in such fashion. Perhaps ESL needs to consider optimising their rules for their next online tournament.


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Vignesh is one of AFK Gaming’s most experienced writers, having written over 1000 articles for the website over the last 3 years. Although his primary focus has always been Dota 2, his experience in esports also includes expertise in CS:GO and mobile esports titles.

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