Skillful ID'ing in League Cups

@KPiplup I see you mention skillful ID’ing in League Cups often in your HeyFonte posts. Could you elaborate on (write a post?) about ID’ing strategies for a 5/6 rounds top 4/8 cut tournament? I saw some friends ID’ing in the 3rd round of a 5 round Cup after going 2-0 which I did not think is a safe strategy at all because so many people were ID’ing. One guy got lucky and made 8th seed in cut with a 2-0-3 record (and ended up winning it). How should one approach early ID’ing in a Cup.

My Dad had somehow found this website: https://www.galactictreasures.com/pages/tournament-calculator
It works very well, but only if you get the right tie percentage, usually around 15. Resistance will almost always be a guess, but if you use the online pairing that keep track of your opponent’s record, you should have enough info.

Thanks, I use the Swiss standings calculator app for Android and its very
good for telling you what record is necessary for cut. But my question is
more about when do you start ID’ing in a League Cup, and what are the risks
for different size cups (10, 16, 24 masters)

An ID, while it is good to finalize something like cut, doesn’t give you much resistance just a point. I don’t know who said it, I believe @kazambolt, but someone said a bye is like it never happened. I think that this is like the case, but without the points, so ID’s are only good if you don’t want to gamble and you KNOW you are making cut, and almost never good early on.

Here’s a tip for IDing: tables are NOT done on resistance. At a Regionals my friend bubbled because he was on top table and thought this meant he had better resistance than everyone else, so he IDd. Do not fall for this.

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Just a note, this is often mentioned by @KPiplup as a joke, as some Michigan players have ID’d when it wasn’t safe for them to do so.

In a word, don’t. There are times where you might think it’s worthwhile, like against a bad matchup or against a friend, but the ID is often just as bad as a loss. It could keep 2 people in the tournament when a loss would eliminate one from Top Cut contention, but it can also eliminate both of them where a win would give one person a chance or a guarantee at Top Cut. Even if you have a bad matchup, it’s often worth playing to see if you can get lucky instead.

Once you get later in the tournament, you can figure out how many players there will be at each record or better, so you can figure out if it is safe to ID. This gets more difficult the more players are in the tournament, as it often hinges on who has played who and what the likely pairings will be for the next round, at least for the matches you care about.

It all comes with experience. You have to see how a tournament situation plays out a few times before you can predict how they will end up accurately. You also have to be able to have a good idea of what your resistance is and know if that’s generally good or bad.

Typically, I’ll only ID at a record like 3-0 (in a 5 round cup), 3-0-1 (5 rounds), 4-1 (6 rounds), or 4-1 (5 rounds). Maybe at 3-1 in a 5 round cup if it’s small enough and I’ve done the math to know I’ll make cut.

Essentially, the closer you are to a threshold to have more or less rounds, things change.

For instance, at 21 players, Top Cut increases from Top 4 to Top 8. So, at 20 players, there’s only a Top 4, so a record of 3-1-1 is usually way less likely to make Top 4, while at 13 players (the minimum for 5 rounds), 3-1-1 is safer and 3-2 might even make Top 4.

At 33 players, there are 6 rounds instead of 5 (32 players), with Top 8. At 33 players, some 4-2 records will usually make Top 8, and all higher records are usually safe. At 64 players, there are still 6 rounds and Top 8, but some players at 4-1-1 will probably “bubble” out of cut. At 55 players, it’s closer to what happens with 64 players. At 40 players, it’s closer to what happens with 33 players.

However, during the tournament, if there are a lot of ties instead of completed games, typically lower records will make cut more frequently. It’s all about experience, knowing how tournaments shake out, and analyzing the pairings later in a tournament.

For a list of the rounds to player numbers, check the “Tournament Operation Procedures” document at this link.


I’ll let Christopher talk about this a little bit. I’m pretty sure he knows TOM and match point math better than probably all but 5-10 people in the entire community.


I’ll leave you all with one last thought on this topic. If you win, you’ll always make cut. If you’re in a situation of being 4-1 and not sure if you can ID or not, just play it out. If you win, you make cut and it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s better to take matters into your own hands than leaving it up to chance and percentages.

As Alex noted, my commentary on IDs when posting standings is a running joke after the first MI Cup of the year featured total madness on the players’ parts, with some very terrible decision making.


As for the rest, Alex pretty well nailed it. Even with Best of 1, there’s a lot of variance involved that makes it hard to give concrete advice. Generally speaking, X-0-2 is 100% safe. Scenarios that can change this are exceedingly rare and usually involve TO malpractice (Swiss-1, artificial manipulation of round count, etc.).

I almost never ID before the 2nd to last round of a tournament (if I’m X-0) or the last round (if X-1). There are occasional arguments for it at Regionals, but otherwise, it’s a statistically bad idea.

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great stuff, thanks guys