Sometimes team tournament formats can be unfamiliar, or for tournament organisers the advantages and disadvantages of each aren’t easily comparable. Here’s a little guide to the common formats for players, spectators, and TOs alike.

There’s a lot of team-building strategy which can go into any of these formats, especially with some of the extra stipulations.

All examples will use Team A versus Team B and players within the team are denoted by the number. Variations are possible for each, depending on format or number of games per match, e.g.:

  • Fixed character – where once you have chosen a character, you MUST keep using that character.
  • Fixed character, loser can switch options – As above, but the loser may change ultra/super
  • Loser may change character – But winner must stay same character and options
  • Loser may change character, winner can change options – Winner may switch super/ultra/etc in response to the Loser’s character switch

Additionally, there may be a restriction that only one of each character is allowed per team, just to up the variation. Or that each player may be allowed to pick between one of two characters they have preselected (to help against bad matchups).

And of course these rules just relate to a single matchup between teams. The overall tournament format can still be Single Elim, Double Elim, Round Robin, etc.

Round Robin

Each player on each team plays every player on the other team, then the total wins for each player/team are added up.

A1 vs B1, B2, B3, …
A2 vs B1, B2, B3, …

A variation is when both players change, which is much more confusing to follow but doesn’t allow any one player to get too comfortable (or fatigued!) by playing multiple matches in a row.

Advantages: Every matchup is seen.
Disadvantages: Maximum possible time used. n^2^ number of matches.


Players pair off and both leave after each game. After all pairs of players have played, the earliest winners of each team face off until all of one team is defeated.

A1 vs B1 (A1 wins)
A2 vs B2 (B2 wins)
A3 vs B3 (B3 wins)
A4 vs B4 (B4 wins)
A5 vs B5 (A5 wins)

then winners pair off eg
A1 vs B2
A5 vs B3

Advantages: Each player seen at least once
Disadvantages: Some matchups missed.


Players pair off and the winner stays on until one team is completely defeated.

A1 vs B1 (A1 wins)
A1 vs B2 (A1 wins)
A1 vs B3 (B3 wins)
A2 vs B3

Advantages: Least time used possible
Disadvantages: Not guaranteed to see every player – if A1 beats all the players in team B, that’s it!


My personal opinion is that Mikado format is a great compromise in general. Round robin can drag on a little long both for the TOs and the spectators, but I certainly get annoyed when “Exhibition” tournaments use the Pokemon format and then you don’t even get to SEE half the players. As always though, time may dictate what you have to choose.

Next Post Previous Post