A tournament is a form of competition in which a group of players fight each other within an organized structure in order to get a general idea of the skill level of each player. Typically, this structure involves the creation of a bracket in which players engage each other in 1-on-1 battles until only one player remains.
The Super Smash Flash 2 tournament scene was largely nonexistent until the advent of Online Mode with the release of version 0.9b in July 2014. Ever since then, the tournament scene has been increasing at an exponential rate. At this point in time, there is at least one notable tournament every week.
In a single elimination bracket, players are arranged into an organized structure in which the number of players decreases by one half between each round until only one player remains. In a given round, each player is paired up with another player, whom they must fight against. The winner moves on to the next round, while the loser is removed from the bracket. The player who wins the final match of the bracket is declared the winner of the tournament, while the other player is placed in second. Typically, the two players who lose in the round of four (also known as the semifinals) will fight each other in an additional match, to determine third and fourth place.
Single elimination tournaments are seldom used for Super Smash Flash 2, as most people generally believe that such a tournament does not produce an accurate account of the given players' skills. This is mostly due to the fact that a single elimination bracket does not allow for any room for error, as even one mistake or one bad matchup can cause an otherwise top-level player to finish much lower than anticipated. In addition, all players play significantly fewer matches than in the other formats. Single elimination tournaments are typically only used due to concerns about time or in cases where the TO is inexperienced and does not know any better.
By far the most popular format, double elimination is very similar in structure to the single elimination format. However, in double elimination, there are two brackets: the winners bracket, and the losers bracket. The winners bracket functions much like a single elimination bracket would, except that the losers are funneled into the losers bracket rather than being eliminated entirely. The losers bracket functions as a single elimination bracket which includes entry points in every other round for the players who drop from winners bracket. These entry points are placed in areas that reflect how far a player gets in winners bracket before losing. For instance, all of the players who lose in the first round of winners will enter into the first round of losers, while the players who lose in the second round of winners will enter into the third round of losers. Once a champion emerges from both the winners and losers brackets, they must fight each other in a "grand final" to determine the overall champion of the tournament. Because the champion of the winners bracket has yet to lose, the champion from the losers bracket must win twice in order to win the tournament.
In round robin, every player in the event must fight every other player. Whoever has the highest number of wins is the champion. In the case of a tie, a tiebreaker is used to determine the winner. Typically, tiebreakers could include a final match between the tied players, or a comparison of the skill of the defeated entrants for each of the tied players. While this format is seen as the most accurate test of skill because of its structure, it is unfeasible in tournaments with more than approximately 10 players due to the exponential increase in matches for each new player added.
In the Swiss format, each player plays the same number of rounds and is paired up with other players of a similar skill level throughout the event. In each round, a player gains one point for a win, half a point for a bye, and no points for a loss. In the following round, each player is paired up with another player who has a similar number of points as them. The tournament ends after a set number of rounds, and whoever has the highest number of points is the champion.
Sometimes, particularly in larger tournaments, two or more phases are used for the event. Usually, the first phase(s) are used as a qualifier to determine the seeding of a final bracket. Most commonly, the players are divided up into a set number of groups, known as pools, in which the top players move on to the next phase of the tournament. Pools usually use the round robin or double elimination formats, though there have been some events that used the Swiss format for qualifying.