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Tips for players to help TO's and general tips for TO's

Muk - May 8, 2018

Hello. My name is Muk.

Normally I won't want to start things with: "people don't help TO's at all" but that is frequently the case. In truth, attendees can help TO's a lot and can make sure that a tournament is run well, because of the help we are getting from them. This is more of a list what TO's (Especially me) would love to see and able to keep up. These tips/list is also extremely useful for tournaments that are going to happen in Smash 5. As we all know we can all expect that Smash 5 will increase the attendees, but also the difficulty to run it in time and run it well while everyone is being pleased at the tournament. Of course I am not the best TO in the world nor even get close to it, but I still want to share this information to make sure that the rest can create a better experience in general. Note that I don't mean that I don't like the TOing what you do right now. These tips and tricks are for people that want to improve as a TO and able to make sure that not only people within country want to come, but also quite some out of country players as well. And if you never get feedback from people what went wrong, but still want to improve then these tips can help you as well. Smash 5 will also gives newer people a easier look, if they want to help out as well (if they want of course) to know where to check to help. I know that a lot of people already do these things for the tournament and it's amazing that people do it. It's the little things that make sure that TO life becomes a lot easier and better for everyone at the end. 

WARNING: All of this is of course not a MUST. This is out from your own to help the TO's and the community to make sure it goes well. It's all optional.
WARNING: Just a reminder again; this is not a personal attack on the TO's. These are just tips to improve.


If you can. ALWAYS bring a setup (or screens if it isn't sponsored by something):
A lot of people can bring a Wii U (or switch for smash 5) and thank god for those people. These people are the ones that can create the flow of the tournament instantly. If there isn't enough Wii U's then we can lose time or maybe later then we want to end. This is something that no one wants in the first place. And people will have to wait for there bracket matches even tho there were enough screens to use for those setups we can used for. It will delay the bracket enough that it can create a lot of problems for the TO. And not only that, people will lose the chance to play a lot of free play/money matches vs everyone.

If you are done with your set. Doesn't matter if the winner, loser or a bystander reports it. Just report the score immediately:
The TO's cant see everything whats going on in bracket so they rely on the people to give them the right score to the TO as fast as you can to make sure that bracket continues with a steady flow. And if you don't do it and decide to wait then you don't hold up the bracket, but also the people that are on your side of the bracket or in your pool. Other people have to wait, because you didn't say it to the TO.

Come on time and leave on time to make sure that you are on time:
It sounds dumb to say, but come on time. Not only is there enough practice by the time you arrive if you arrive few minutes before the bracket, but you make sure that you don't delay the bracket, because you were too late. If something out of your controls happens (NS...) then I don't blame you for it. But make sure you are on time. Also you can relax and talk for a bit to prepare for the tournament too.

Don't distract the TO when you see that he is busy:
If you see the TO can breath a little and you see he has able to talk then go for it, but when he is TOing and you want to talk to him then I would recommend waiting until he is done with it. This also with filling in scores for everyone. Let people go one by one to make sure that he can do it as fast as he can without creating chaos. This will make his work quite stressful if people just jump on him while is doing his work.

The title says it all, but even if it seen as a meme. The meme is real and really annoying. If people don't do it then some setups become unplayable and can't be used for free play or for bracket which is really annoying for everyone. It's a simple thing to do, but it will make sure that the microphone isn't used to tell everyone all the time to DQ your pro controllers. And the TO can consistently focus on his stuff and not making sure that one setup isn't playable because of it.

Sign up as fast as you can (if it is possible):
This is the biggest stress factor before the tournament itself. The reason why some big tournament can't continue is because people haven't signed up yet and then in the last week the big wave is coming. Especially nowadays that people are waiting for smash 5 and not coming to tournament's this can stress every TO big time. This is also why top players attract other top players too, if they sign up in time. It can create a flow of people coming to your tournament, if you do it at the beginning and people are more interested to come to that tournament then risking that the tournament isn't happening at all. Not only that it's also cheaper with the early bird (flaco) and we know how smashers are with money. Also if everyone comes at the last second it also creates extra time to check everything with pre-seeding (if people do that, because I do). And yes this also counts for tournament that can pay at the venue and you can register on smashgg. People can't see in crystal ball if people are coming or not. It helps to see who is going and wanting to come too. This of course creates that chain again of players coming to the tournament.

If you aren't coming then please notify the TO:
This makes sure that time isn't wasted in bracket and the other person can play instantly. Also it doesn't let the bracket wait for people that aren't coming in the first place. And if it is on the bar sign ups and you couldn't come then you don't have to be in the bracket with a DQ, but just not on the list. This also counts for people that aren't sure of coming or not before the bracket is out. It's good to tell the TO to keep it up to date with those stuff to make sure that you keep a eye on it.

Set up the venue, if it isn't set up yet:
For a bigger tournament it's useful to make sure that everything is setup as fast as it can to make sure that everyone can play and practice. This also counts for everything set and ready for bracket to start as well. Just helping with 1 thing or 1 screen is already helpful for everyone there and for the people that want to play.

If you have feedback to the TO's what can be improved on. Say it:
A lot of TO's want to know whats wrong with your tournament series and how to improve it as much as he can. This is also why the players can tell the TO where to focus on more or where to check more. If the TO doesn't want that feedback. That's fine, but then the tournament series doesn't really change through out time and doesn't really improve except by his own ways. Also positive feedback of what went well can be helpful to the TO, because the person knows where to improve that first then other things. Repeating something about something that the TO knows all the time which he gets more annoyed by it isn't feedback. Yes if multiple people say the same then fine, but if its just one thing and you repeat it consistently on the point that the TO gets annoyed that doesn't help him nor you. He knows what you said.

Asking about when BO5 is?:
I know that players want BO5 and I know that all to well from playing BO5 myself, but if the TO says its on that point BO5. It's from that point BO5. I know it's a small detail from lower players, but from top players it can matter quite a bit, but you also have to think of can we make it in time that the tournament is done before the estimated time.

Make sure that if you have a clash in bracket that the TO has missed that you report it to him:
I know that brackets in tournaments matter a lot, but if the TO has missed something which he can, because we can't get everything right. Tell the TO about to make sure that you don't have that problem. No one likes to play the same people all the time and make sure that you question if you have the same person again. Or clash within your city/country which you play a lot with. It's hard to check everything on everything that is possible in bracket so make sure you tell the TO if something is up.

If there is a mess at the end of the night or not everything has been put back, please help clean and place it all back:
It's for everyone great that people can go home after a whole day/night playing and TOing, but for some people can just say: I'm going home, see you guys later. That's fine, but the TO's has the clean it up and put everything himself back. Just putting 1 thing or 2 things back would help him a lot. Remember that he has to go home as well and that he want's to be back home on time too.

If the tournament starts then again... STOP. YOUR. FRIENDLIES!!! and be standby for bracket:
It's a small thing to just well... stop your friendlies to standby, because most of the time people don't hear where they go, because they were still playing friendlies in the meantime and if someone has to play on that setup you are going to play bracket on then please just stop the friendlies. It's not just good for the TO's but also for the players that want to play bracket on that setup.

If you are called for bracket while tournament is running and you are doing something else, then go instantly to the setup:
If you are playing another game in the meantime then just stop that or just press pause and come back when you are done with your bracket match(es). It only delays the bracket, if you don't do it and if you do it multiple times then some bracket sets are even a round or 2 further then yours, because you didn't go instantly to your bracket set.

(Stop asking for 0-2 seeding. @Patrino_Smash :eyes:)

Promote the tournament series or share it, if you enjoy it and want more people to come:
Yes the TO's should do a lot of marketing and promote the tournament and the series, but the players opinion (especially known/big/top players opinion) can help a tournament a lot to get more people to your tournament. It can be a small thing like a tweet or a DM, but it makes people aware of the tournament and maybe interested to come. And it gives people more reason to go out of country for that tournament, if it has been known as a good tournament series.


Of course I am not the best TO in the world nor even get close to it, but I still want to share this information to make sure that the rest can create a better experience in general. Note that I don't mean that I don't like the TOing what you do right now. These tips and tricks are for people that want to improve as a TO and able to make sure that not only people within country want to come, but also quite some out of country players as well. And if you never get feedback from people what went wrong, but still want to improve then these tips can help you as well.

WARNING: Just a reminder again; this is not a personal attack on the TO's. These are just tips to improve.

Use smashgg for bigger tournaments:
This kinda a weird one, because of the fact that people use other things like braacket and challonge. It isn't bad for something like locals to set everything up and you can start it within no time. But for bigger tournament; people want access to a easy way in and the biggest platform that everyone can sign up and be done in the list. smashgg has nowadays quite a lot of options to make sure that things go the way you like and able to adjust for the players as well. And it's also connected to bigger people and easy to connect with twitch and twitter which can be used to promote your tournament. Making a smashgg tournament doesn't cost anything and if your tournament is big then you can ask for things like fantasy bracket and ladder which is amazing on it's own. You can also put other information on the page which braacket and challonge couldn't do like: Housing, airbnb, extra information, contact information, pictures and plenty more.

Be open for feedback and what the community has to say:
I know that some TO's are very prideful about their work and as a TO, but if you don't listen to legit feedback that can help your tournament big time and people aren't coming BECAUSE of the fact that you aren't listening then it creates a problem. I am also quite prideful about my TOing, because of the fact I see people enjoy my tournament and having a great time. But tournaments are never perfect and the players are the ones that can improve it a lot and tips from other TO's can help you as well. If you aren't open about it at all then the tournament will only look great for the people that life close by, because it's so close. Or else people really don't want to come, because you don't listen to the community and that is something that no one wants.

If you don't know how to seed then ask someone that does:
This is for people that don't have the greatest vision on the scene, because of lack of time or lack of communication with the core of the community. This isn't bad of course if you don't have the time for it or don't know the core of the community. But seeding is a crucial thing for every player to make sure that everything is done right and there won't be any clashes happening. This is something big to do, because most of the time people agree with the seeding or it is wrong fully and people will complain. But the biggest part is that you avoid clashes by the seeding. Yes the seeding can look off sometimes, because you want to avoid clashes. But that isn't bad if you show why or just tell them why you did it. Someone that knows the scene and knows how to do it right is extremely helpful and can create fun and exciting brackets.

Don't waste time:
Most of the time people will do things a way that it's special about their tournament. Something like 2 day tournament, 3 day tournament, 1 hour break, dinner break etc. But this is all time that you could have used to run the bracket more effective and more efficient. People tend to relax when bracket is going, but when the bracket continues as fast as you can. People can relax within bracket for quite some time, because they are ahead of other people. In the meantime if you are ahead in bracket then you can do something in the meantime. Like eating/drinking, going to the toilet etc. But using a extra day, because you have things like that is not cost efficient. Not just for the TO's, but also for the players. TO's have to pay for the venue more, because its a multiple day tournament and then the costs that is on it. But the players have to pay for food, a place to stay if they don't have housing and more. This is quite sad, because that means the prize of the venue fee needs to be higher which can turn off people and then with the added bonus of the rest of the costs they don't want to come, because of overpricing. That's why make sure you can keep it within a time frame that everyone can able to come and have enough within the tournament too. I don't blame you for it if you do a major. Then you need the extra time. But make sure that time is used really well too.

Ask for ANY sponsoring:
It sounds weird, but this can still help your tournament in the smallest of ways. Easy example was the domino's sponsors at Elysium and Fortuna. We get discount codes for medium size pizza's and it worked big time. Quite a lot of people bought domino pizza's because of it. It's a small detail, but it can show off your tournament with something special that other tournaments doesn't have. Asking never hurts and if you already have a good rep with handling things then it can help big time. And this also counts for things that doesn't even have to do with video games at all. Like sponsoring from Axe deo spray. You can tell them that they don't have the time or don't have a shower so why can't you guys provide some for the people there. It has "almost" no effect to the tournament, but it still stands out for something different and interesting.

Promote to other communities:
Your own country isn't the only community that can be interested to coming to your tournament series. If you only share it within the main community where you are busy with then it has less potential to grow more and more when maybe out of country players are also interested to come. It can create more connections to other communities and more connections to the players too. NOTE: a tournament series in a country isn't only for that country. It's for everyone that can come by. So if it something big like a known national then why not promote it to out of country people too. They can create even more hype that people within that country want to come even more.

Try to avoid clashes with other tournaments:
This can only done if you already have connections with other TO's from other regions/countries, but this will make sure that people that are willing to go not have the choice of choosing between 2 good tournament. And the person will most likely choose the cheaper one or the closer one. This can turn off a lot of players wanting to come to a tournament and by that less chance to get more attendees because of that. So if you try to plan something big and you want out of country players to come to your tournament then I would recommend talking to the other TO's and checking dates that are already set to get more chance of getting people there to your tournament.

The tournament is priority number one:
No matter the situation. The tournament should always be the number one focus. Not the streams, not the side event, but the whole thing. That means that you don't have to put extra things on the smaller details like more games on stream, or more time for a side event. The tournament should be running in time and be done in time with everything done and wasting the potential of doing more.

DQ people:
This is something that TO's don't want to do because: He is a top player, He came from so far, It's just a few minutes, etc. The players should be the ones that come in time and should be ready to play when they arrive at the venue. It doesn't matter how important you are in the smash scene. If you are doing something that can lead into a DQ. You get a DQ. People get away with stuff like coming to late quite long, so if they do something while they shouldn't. You have the right and will to DQ people.

Let people play there sets:
If they already know if they have to play each other and they don't mind waiting to get announced. Let them play. It's only helpful if they are done, because they continue the flow of the bracket and then the players have more time to relax or doing something else. The only reason when you don't want it is when they are going on stream, but you should announce that to them or call it out that they have to be prepared for the stream.

Give as much information as you can to the players:
This includes a lot of things, like rules, food places, train stations, buses and a lot more. This is pretty useful when you have smashgg, because you can order it so people can read it easy and effectively so they know what to do and where to look at. Not everyone knows the area and people will ask a lot of questions so make sure that you have everything set of those questions that they can search it up instantly and don't have to ask the TO for where it is.

If you are with multiple TO's, make sure that they know everything:
From rules for the game, the places around it, everything that the main TO knows. The other TO's should know this as well. They can help the rest of the tournament very effectively if they have the same knowledge as the main TO. This of course needs to be shared and prepared that the work can be split evenly and not the main TO doing everything.

When you start with a event, make sure you finish it in 1 go or let it split within days:
If you have something like singles and doubles. Don't let them play by each other. It's not great to switch back and forth from 2 events and not only that. People have to wait on the one event while other people don't have to. And it can create a delay that could have been solved, if they did something like doubles first and finish it (or around top 3) and then start singles. People don't have to wait on something that people don't even played in.

If you want to change something. ALWAYS ask permission from the people that are involved with it:
This is basically from everything that a player has to do like bracket or helping TO a pool. These are things that people want to know before hand and want to agree on their own terms to help or to say no, because they don't want to. This also counts for the other TO's if you want to change something before and maybe at the venue. This also goes for the other way around. If people want to change something to the TO. Then ask his permission as well.

Make sure that payouts are done quite quick:
(Insert EGA payout meme), but for real. Payouts are a serious thing that people want to have as soon as possible to make sure they can enter other things and able to do stuff or go to out of country tournaments because of it. Top players can use the money quite effectively too. This isn't a big pointer for mid and lower players, but for top players this matters a lot. So please do it for them.

Make sure that you schedule everything:
If you have everything planned for the tournament then the players and the TO's know what to do and wanting and trying to keep that momentum from the schedule to the tournament day(s). It's also good for the commentators, TO's and many others that they can see what is going on that time and if they have a break or not. This can create confusion if done wrong, but if you do it right then no one asks you about then the next event/break is... (most of the time)


These tips is something that TO's loves to see. As a reminder: None of this are required to do for the players and for the TO's it can improve the tournament quality quite some. It's something that TO's really like, if you want to help them out. Remember that they use they own time, effort and money to create something amazing for the community. I know that it's the TO job for running everything, but those little things help big time.

- BYOC | ESR | Muk

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