Tournament Scoring Guide
This guide is designed to help understand tournament scoring and how, in general, starting position and scoring progression happens with wins and losses. The guide is in two parts. The first helps to explain a player’s starting position in a tournament. The second helps detail how scoring progression happens.
It should be noted that this guide deals in approximations. In other words, despite having a very good idea of the behavior of the scoring system and how everything works, there are occasional variances with the patterns and examples that follow. Therefore, you can in general expect the scoring to behave a certain way within the tournament, but there may be occasional exceptions to the rule. Why this occurs is unknown, but could possibly be due to the amount of options the AI has in a given instance of matchmaking.
Also, before I get any further, special thanks to the many, many players who contributed data that helped with the creation of this guide and the understanding of how tournament scoring in its present incarnation occurs. This guide would not be possible without the help of those who donated their scoring data throughout several tournaments.
Part 1: Starting Position
FIRST AND FOREMOST: IT IS CLEAR AS TOURNAMENT 20 (2) THAT AS SOON AS THE JOIN BUTTON IS PRESSED, YOUR LADDER POSITION IS LOCKED IN. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER BECAUSE THE START POSITION AFFECTS YOUR ABILITY TO SCORE HIGH POINTS. DON’T PRESS IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO.*
Starting position through trial and error was discovered to equate to roughly 1 point of starting position per 10 points of the best five heroes and troops available for a given tournament (taken from available colors for said tournament; for example, in a tournament where blue is excluded, all blue heroes and troops are ignored for the purpose of team power calculation).
This is a static ladder, meaning that there is one continuous chain of starting position rather than something that alters tournament to tournament. What this means is that we can measure our starting positions for scoring between any hero star level tournaments and know reasonably well where one will begin in a given tournament.
For example, in a recent 4 star hero, three star troop tournament, my best 5 heroes and best 5 troops for that tournament had a team power of 3875. I started my first attack against a defense worth 610 points.
In a prior 3 star hero, 2 star troop tournament, my best 5 heroes and best 5 troops for that tournament gave me a team power of 2369. I started my first attack in this tournament against a defense worth 459 points.
If we look at the differences in the team power and starting positions in these tournaments, we see the following:
Team Power difference: 3875-2369 = 1506 points. Divide by 10 and round up: 151 points
Starting position difference: 610-459 = 151 points
Others were able to replicate this as well in similar comparisons. Hence, 1 point of starting position relates to 10 points of team power (rounded up).
Right now, the absolute lowest starting position one could start a tournament at would involve having a team power of 700. This would be a team of 5 Aife’s at level one (140 times 5 =700) with no troops (attainable if all 1* troop are fed before joining a tournament), and using my 2369 team power above, we can calculate that the starting position for the weakest team in the tournament would be 292.
Team Power difference: 2369 -700 = 1669. Divide by ten and round up: 167
Scoring position: 459 -167 = 292
Conversely, the absolute maximum starting position one could start a tournament at would involve having a team power of 4700. This would be a team of five star heroes with max power of 870 each after full emblems and with full level 30 four star mana troops (870 x 5 = 4350 plus 350 for the troops -= 4700 team power). Such a team, at the moment, is theoretical. The starting position would be:
Team Power difference: 4700-3875 = 825. Divide by 10 and round up: 83
Theoretical max starting position: 610 + 83 = 693
This means that the absolute lowest starting value for a defense on day 1 of the tournament is 292. The absolute maximum starting value of a defense in a tournament would be 693. Everyone at this point should fall between these values depending on the tournament and relative to their best 5 heroes and best 5 troops available for a given tournament.
Finally, at this point in time, fully emblemed heroes and maxxed troops for each tournament would max a starting value for battle number one (IN THEORY) as follows:
5-star: 4700 max team power, max score for starting attack of 693 points (roughly)
4-star: 4000 max team power, max score for starting attack of 623 points (roughly)
3-star: 2925 max team power, max score for starting attack of 515 points (roughly)
2-star: 2290 max team power, max score for starting attack of 451 points (roughly)
1-star: 1665 max team power, max score for starting attack of 387 points (roughly)
It is important to note that defenses themselves are apparently valued differently than the max spot on the ladder. Therefore, despite the max starting position in a 4-star tournament being roughly 623 points, it is possible to face defenses worth more than that (I’ve seen as high as 627 posted).
A reason for this IN THEORY would be that it has been shown that defenses lose one point per loss, so the inverse may be true that they gain one point (or more) per win. This is uncertain at this point because of a lack of hard data on the subject, but it seems reasonable.
Likewise, other theories are possible as well, including that SG just sets the max possible score for a defense higher than a player’s placement on the ladder. This is possible as a defense of 5 non-leveled Aife’s with non-leveled 1* troop with team power 755 were shown on the forum to be worth 310 points…which is more than that team’s starting attack position would be worth on the ladder by about 12-13 points.
Part 2: Scoring Ladder Advancement
Advancement in scoring value of defenses attack actually has a pattern to it PROVIDED that one has not reached what we have collectively termed “the wall”. If you are not near the wall (more on this in a minute), over the course of the five days of the tournament, you can expect to see the scoring values of opposing defenses increase or decrease based on a player’s win or loss against the previous opposing defense. This happens in a regular pattern that we can see and track by day. Typically, this occurs as follows, though there is some variation at times for reasons that are uncertain:
Day 1: A win raises the next opponent’s score by 7 from the current opponent. A loss decreases the next opponent’s score by 13 from the current opponent.
Day 2: A win raises the next opponent’s score by 5 from the current opponent. A loss decreases the next opponent’s score by 9 from the current opponent.
Day 3: A win raises the next opponent’s score by 4 from the current opponent. A loss decreases the next opponent’s score by 7 from the current opponent.
Day 4: A win raises the next opponent’s score by 2 or 3 from the current opponent. A loss decreases the next opponent’s score by 4 or 5 from the current opponent.
Day 5: A win raises the next opponent’s score by 1 or 2 from the current opponent. A loss decreases the next opponent’s score by 2 or 3 from the current opponent.
The exception to this progression is when one hits the wall for the tournament. At that point, scores become randomized but stay within a certain range. For example, if the wall in a given tournament is 625 points and a player keeps winning, they may not see more than 625 points and instead will bounce around that total (sometimes seeing 618, then 617, then 622, etc.).
There could be several reasons for this, but I believe two factors are in play here. The first is that at the upper limits of the scoring, players are matched to a max power defense, but that defense is worth more or less because it has won or lost. This presumes, based on what has been shown when players have played the same defense back to back, that defenses gain and lose points for wins and losses.
For example, players A and B have fully stacked defenses with maxxed heroes, emblems and troops. Both defenses enter the tournament valued at the same score (to beat the dead horse, let’s say 625). For every win, the defense gets 1 point in value. For every loss, they lose 1 point in value. Player A’s defense has a great start to the tournament and has 3 wins before their first loss out of the gate. The defense is worth the following:
(625 +3)-1= 627
Conversely, Player B’s defense is worse off out of the gate and has 2 wins followed by 5 losses. Their defense value would be the following:
So part of the explanation for the random scores simply has to do with how the defense in question has performed.
The other part has to do with availability of teams at certain sections of the ladder. From what we know of the AI and defense selection, a player that wins an attack should play a harder opponent. However, the top end of the scoring ladder may not always have harder opponents available or may have to draw from a lower pool. While we don’t know how defenses are initially valued at the start of a given tournament, if a lower team power starts off with a lesser value as a defense but is drawn as an opponent, even a few points difference could explain a swing between one team at the top being a 622 and the next a 610 (as an example).
Combined, these two factors would explain why we’re able to see a fairly static progression in scoring up to a certain point in each tournament before there are issues with scoring being erratic. With around 1.1 to 1.4 million players playing in a tournament, the upper ends of any given tournament probably have less choices for the AI to select from than the middle of the pack for defenses.
The biggest implication is that the higher the star level of the heroes in a tournament, the more this system favors higher level players. There are very real scenarios where a player may be at the top of a particular tier and do well in their tier but lose out on higher rewards regardless of win total simply because they start too low on the score ladder to effectively make up ground.
In theory, the lower the star tournament, the more even the playing field between newer and veteran players, but even that is subject to how willing one is to emblem up heroes and train troops that may serve only one purpose (these tournaments) versus saving those resources for other purposes. Veterans can level lower star heroes and troops faster and probably have more emblems to use in these tournaments than newer players if they wish (as newer players can’t train troops or partake in emblem challenge events until they reach certain levels), negating the supposed new player advantage that a 1* or 2* tournament would give that group.
In short, those that have fully leveled heroes with emblems along with high powered troops are going to start in a better position overall and will therefore have a better opportunity to score more points.
Can I Do Anything That May Or May Not Be Questionable About That?
The system is designed to work so that “sandbagging” is prohibited because on the surface, there isn’t much that a player can change on attack or defense to circumvent the system. You’re locked into your ladder once the “Join” button is pressed, and your defensive heroes can’t be altered and seem set at the start. Altering your heroes from low power to high power rapidly doesn’t alter the value of you face but give you weaker opponents, for example. Tournament 20 showed that starting with a team of 1* heroes, then maxxing a team of 2* heroes to attack with, gave easy wins but less points, putting some people effectively out of higher tiers despite high win totals. But that doesn’t mean that the edges can’t be worked (in theory).
WHAT FOLLOWS IS SPECULATION AT THIS POINT. IT IS BASED ON OBSERVATIONS AND SOME DEDUCTIVE REASONING ONLY. I CAN’T VOUCH ANY OF THIS WOULD WORK, BUT, IN THEORY, IT SEEMS PLAUSIBLE. IF IT DOESN’T WORK, SORRY. WE ALL MAKE CHOICES ON WHAT FACELESS TEXT TO TRUST ON THE INTERNET; SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T WORK OUT. TRY THESE IDEAS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
The Scoring Ladder:
We do know that you can improve your attack team but that the ladder is static. In tournament 20, we had many, many players join with a weak team and then emblem it like crazy to get a few easy wins. The problem was that while the wins were easy, the point totals were low.
That said, I would argue that if only getting the 1% were the goal, the key would be to figure out a tournament’s wall and then set your max team to hit a sweet spot in the ladder so that max points were attainable but where one wouldn’t be playing the hardest teams first and would therefore preserve losses. Seeing as it’s a five day tournament at present, avoiding day one and/or day two losses can significantly help one achieve higher tiers.
The key to this would be with emblem, and to some extent, troop and hero leveling manipulation to control team power, and I believe it would work better at the lower tiers than the upper tiers.
It’s important to remember that the game reads total team power and NOT individual heroes for matchmaking and placement purposes. Combined with how we understand the initial placement in the tournament being based on best 5 heroes and troops, it is possible to make your team look like one thing to the system while planning to use another.
So let’s say one wanted to dominate on attack for a three star tournament but didn’t want to start at the top. With planning, the following could be done:
Strip your highest three stars of emblems. Eat the higher leveled three stars and have replacements ready if possible that is partially leveled. This lowers the team power that can be read by the AI for the tournament entry from your three stars.
Build a lower power team and join when you are comfortable with a particular start point (I would recommend an underpowered version of your actual attack team be used for this, though you could raise a lower star level up enough to be read like a 3* would be for hero power). If you want easy day one attacks, I’d try to enter at about 40 points below the wall (or team power in the high 2400’s/mid 2500’s for a 3 star tourney) as 5 wins on day one will get back 28-29 points against easier opponents while attack 6 will get back another 7 and attack 8 will pull you even with the top.
Finish level and emblem your three stars and troops as fast as possible. If you are all in on the emblems, troops and heroes, you should be pushing a 2600-2900 score, but you should be facing 2300 to 2500 on day one to day two. This gives an advantage without costing too many points and saving the possibility of a loss.
“But that’s expensive”. True, but there are people who can apparently fully level two 5* Challenge Heroes in less than a day, so I’m guessing cost doesn’t matter to some. In any case, this is probably a more practical strategy at 3*, 2*, and 1* tourneys than at 4* or 5* tourneys because of hero rarity and costs with adding emblems. Also, the floors and ceilings for scoring in the lower tourneys are much closer overall (for example, the 1* tourney ladder would have a floor of 292 points and a ceiling of around 387 points, for a 95 point difference overall in theory). So play around and find where you are comfortable to enter the tourney before doing so.
I suspect that the AI reads your ladder position when you press join, but your defense is read and determined for placement at the start of a battle day. But it’s hard to know exactly except by anecdotal evidence.
Here’s what I saw:
As noted above, I emblemed my tourney 20 team of 1*’s after I joined. Their team power at joining was 1110. After I emblemed them up after joining the tournament, their team power became 1590.
My first attack on offense was against a 1010 team. My first defense in the first hour of the tournament was a 1690. Then my defense was placed against teams with defense team powers 1700, 1833, 1678, 1731, 1679, 1890 and 1693. I would assume that these mirror closely the attack teams assembled as well given the limited heroes in the 2* tourney.
Those team powers seem much more in line to face off with a 1590 squad in the first two days of that tournament than an 1110 squad. Most of the levels of the players were in the 20’s as well (every single player but one was between levels 22-27), indicating players who would be naturally at that point and not vets trying to raise 2* teams quickly (though these may have been alt accounts).
I then switched it up, and at the end of day 2 I nerfed my defense team by removing all emblems and cannibalizing two troops (the troop will still show in the defense but will read as zero bonus). The next day I was attacked three times: a 1602 at level 44, a 1472 at level 21, and a 1682 at level 28.
So here’s the million gem question: How complicated is the defensive team power programming here? I see three possibilities:
My defense was just read as 1110 and I ran into a bunch of people who rapidly leveled their heroes in the two star tourney and just lost out. This seems unlikely based on the commander level of the players I faced. As noted above, it seems unlikely level 20 commanders have the resources available to speed level heroes.
During the period after I joined and before day 1 began, the game saw my defense increase in team power and moved it up to a suitable level for defense. It then locked in at this level and kept it there for the entire tournament. Plausible or likely.
My yanking of the gems actually did drop the team’s defensive value and worth, but not until the subsequent day when I started to see new, lower powered attackers. This would be similar to alliance wars: in AW you can still level your team, but if you are attacked, your team locks into its current team power and one will not see any subsequent changes until the reset of your team comes after it is defeated. In raid tournaments, the reset would be the next day…possibly until one is attacked.
The question is if adding emblems and increasing troops affects anything as the tournament progresses throughout the week.
If the answer is 2) in the above, then there isn’t much one can do to affect defense. But that also means that for the duration of the tournament, the game is keeping your tournament defense heroes separate from all other use of those heroes in the game…which seems plausible but strange. If I add two levels of emblems to my characters, I can see the difference in my attack team in the tournament, but locking those same heroes out from the same emblem bonus because they are on defense seems like some work.
But let’s say it is 3) above and that emblem, level and troop increases affect your defense team as the game moves along. Then the question becomes “when”?
If it is the start of the day and it just locks for the day, then aside from personally believing that adding a few emblems to a team or increasing a troop level impacts the performance of a D, not much is gonna happen.
But…if it acts like alliance wars and your defense isn’t locked until it is attacked, well, then IN THEORY:
- One could rip the emblems off their defense team at the end of a tourney day, dropping it as much as 500 points of team power
- One could then let the next day start, setting the defense into a tier
- One could then very quickly add emblems back into the defense after the next day has begun and before they are attacked, raising the defense as much as 500 team power points and creating an advantage against opposing attackers
- Rinse and repeat for each day
I should note that this would be somewhat expensive and not guaranteed to work at all simply because how often one defends is crazy sketchy with no guarantee of success anyway.
Whether it’s worth it, I dunno. But an A defense in any tourney can help a lot. This may be something more people would be interested in if they ever reset the tournament rewards and people want an edge.
In the meantime, I gotta stress the speculation angle. We just don’t have a lot of data, and SG doesn’t let us see attacker power like it does with defense when we attack, so it is much, much harder to draw any conclusions about how defense works than it is with how offense works. Take the above with a grain of salt, but I tend to believe that the system isn’t as completely cut and dry as “it’s set at the join button” as I am with offense.
That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading this far, and hopefully it helps some. Comments or critiques (or if you note changes to add) can be posted below. Good luck all in the tournaments.