How Do The Evo Smash 4 Brackets Work? Predictions, Seeding, and Info Here!

Many people are confused about the brackets released today for Evo. There have been complaints about seeding, scheduling, you name it. I’ve gone through all of the pools to mine out information on all the predictions, seeding, and figure out how the brackets work. Please note, for consistency sake I use the player tags as seen in the Evo brackets despite some sponsors having changed, such as Mr. R no longer with LLL and Anti and Dabuz now with Dream Team.

The Format

Smash 4 at Evo starts with 168 Round 1 pools consisting of approximately 16 players each. Pools are scheduled in groups of 28 at a time every other hour starting at 8am. With this schedule, Round 1 is set to complete at 8pm, which is when Round 2 will begin.

Round 2 will be home to 336 remaining players split into 21 different pools. Like the previous round, matches will continue until 1 person is promoted from winners, and 1 person from losers. Now compared to normal brackets, this is where the Evo format starts to get different.

You’ll notice that Round 1 started with a number of pools that wasn’t a power of 2. This is generally a requirement to have an even bracket, and is how mostly any tournament should run. The issue is however that with 2,637 total entrants, that would require roughly 256 Round 1 pools of about 10 players each. Scheduling in 256 pools and allocate enough setups for them is a very daunting task, which is likely why Evo instead went to reduce the number of pools as much as possible while keeping it to roughly 16 players per pool. Using 168 pools with 4 setups each requires only 112 setups, while 256 round 1 pools in the same scheduling time and say 3 setups per pool (which is possible due to 5-6 byes per pool) needing 129 setups. Going with the 168 pools frankly makes for easier scheduling earlier on, and fewer setups required, and might actually run faster.

To accommodate back to getting to an even Top 32 Semi Finals bracket, there is a 3rd round of pools that only some players play in. For the winner and loser from each of the 21 Round 2 pools, some of them are promoted directly to Semi Finals Top 32 on Saturday morning, and some to pools Round 3 at 10pm Friday night. The block is scheduled for 2 hours, so players thought they would be playing until midnight and starting up at 8am again, but realistically, Round 3 of pools should only last 30 minutes.

Each of the 10 Round 3 pools consist of only 2 sets total. either one in winners and one in losers, or two in losers. Each pool will have 3 players, and one bye that is in either winners or losers, depending on the pool and seeding. These byes are evenly distributed in this phase to bring people into the Top 32 bracket with no byes, ready to play Saturday morning. While it is definitely arguable that some players earning a bye past round 3 and others not is unfair, it’s no more than one extra match, and can be seen as having a Round 1 bye in a standard 48 person bracket. It’s not the most ideal way of running the tournament, but is far more appropriate than many players are making it out to be.

Once Semi Finals hit Saturday morning at 8am, you’re back to a standard 32 person bracket, 16 in winners and 16 in losers. They’ll play until 8 total players are left, which will play their finals later that day.

Close Matchups

Going through every pool and constructing the bracket, there weren’t as many close matchups as some would expect. While matches can certainly go either way in Smash 4, it wasn’t hard to determine a favored player, or higher seed in each matchup. Some of the closest matchups throughout the bracket include:

  • PG MVD vs NME Xzax in Round 2: While MVD is the higher seeded player, the matchup went in Xzax’s favor pretty well when the two fought at Genesis 3. Despite this matchup being close, no matter who wins this set (my money is on Xzax), I currently see both players not making it out of Round 3 and into the Semi Finals Top 32. If Xzax takes the set in Round 2, he’ll likely have to go up against both ZeRo and Ally in Round 3, and MVD will duke it out against Kamemushi from Japan, in an unfavorable matchup against Megaman with his Diddy.
  • Tweek vs Komorikiri: This is about as close as it gets, and I can’t decide a clear winner here! What’s a shame about this matchup is that whoever wins in Round 2, there’s a good chance that the two will end up facing again in Top 32. The winner will eventually run into Mr. R (and I doubt either of them can best the player from the Netherlands), and then meet in losers again. Whoever wins in the losers then has a shot at Top 8 if they can best both Mew2King and Marss, a certain possibility for either player.
  • TSM ZeRo vs Ranai: We might get a repeat of the spectacle that was Genesis 3 finals in the losers bracket at Evo, with the loser getting dreaded 9th place. Assuming that Larry Lurr defeats ZeRo again and Nairo can take down Ranai, we’ll likely be seeing the two titans face off in the losers bracket one spot away from Top 8, where only one will advance to. The set was incredibly close last time at Genesis, though ZeRo now has a far less superior grasp on the game since then after a personal injury and nerf to his primary tournament character.
  • Ally vs Dabuz in Round 2: Your guess is as good as mine, which player wasn’t seeded Top 32? The two are set to play in the winners bracket where the loser is guaranteed 33rd. Provided the loser is able to take down the winner between MVD and Xzax, then they’ll still be a lock for Losers Top 32. I currently have Dabuz winning the matchup in winners, and Ally making it all the way back to Top 8 losers, where he would have to face off against the loser of ANTi and Mr. R, which I could see being Mr. R, and going in favor of Ally.
  • Vinnie vs Larry Lurr: Hot off a hiatus throughout the earlier part of the year, Vinnie is still a feared competitor, though is set to run into Larry Lurr in Round 1 of pools! Larry Lurr is easily a top 8 seeded player going into this event, and having Vinnie sent to the losers bracket could be devestating to anyone in his way. If this round 1 isn’t changed (it likely will be), then Vinnie will continue on in losers until he goes up against the loser of Larry Lurr vs VoiD, which will likely be VoiD, could end up instead being the Larry vs Vinnie runback as VoiD is no stranger to taking sets from Elevate’s newest player. The loser of Vinnie vs VoiD or Larry in this situation would fall one place outside of Top 32, though wouldn’t have to wake up so early Saturday morning and get to enjoy Vegas!
  • CT Salem vs Umeki: Trying to avoid as much bias as possible (I promise!), assuming Salem goes down to FOW in Round 2, we’ll see Salem vs Umeki in the intermediary Round 3 where the winner makes it into Top 32 losers. That is unless Umeki happens to take down Mew2King in Round 3, though I don’t think Mew2King will have much trouble in the Cloud vs Peach matchup. Salem is a bit of a sleeper pick after being missed on the PG Ranking, though has wins over many other players seen here in the Top 32 such as Nairo, Hyuga, and Marss. Salem made Top 32 at Evo in 2015, and after his resurgeance as a Bayonetta main, he’s proven that the nerf has not kept him down and still is undefeated post patch with wins on strong players like 6WX. I can’t see Bayonetta taking a loss to Peach at top level play, and we’ve yet to see Umeki bring out a new character while in the states.


You probably caught on there in the last section, that there’s a number of key runbacks we could see happening at Evo. I recently had a debate on Twitter with a Smash 64 TO that helped me understand how certain bracket software doesn’t always shuffle losers probably between phases, and while Evo does shuffle to a certain extent, it seems like it wasn’t done well enough. We could easily see runback sets happening between Tweek and Komorikiri, Ally and Dabuz, Salem and FOW, and possibly Vinnie vs Larry Lurr. Unfortunately the bracketing is set, so this is something that can’t be changed until future iterations of Evo tweak how their between pool shuffling is handled. It’s important to note that this shuffling issue is currently in as well, though is currently being fixed.

Top 32 Prediction and Seeding

To help better visualize for you who I think will advance to the Top 32 Semi Finals on Saturday morning, I’ve made a test Challonge bracket here:

Please note though that the Round 1 matchups don’t actually happen at Evo, and are just there to show who the 16 winners and 16 losers are. The first round matchups are correct, though Evo handles losers bracket shuffling different than Challonge does, so this bracket will not play out like this. Only the Round 2 Winners and Round 1 Losers matchups are correct.

With this in mind, we could probably expect the top 16 seeds to be somewhat along the lines of (but not guaranteed):

  1. TSM ZeRo
  2. Dabuz
  3. Liquid Nairo
  4. ANTi
  5. LLL Mr. R
  6. FOW
  7. DNG Nietono
  8. Larry Lurr
  9. Zinoto
  10. Marss
  11. Abadango
  12. Tweek
  13. Echofox Mew2King
  14. Ranai
  15. ESAM
  16. SF Hyuga

The 17 – 32 seeds are a little harder to approximate, but they seem to be something along the lines of:

  1. K9sbruce
  2. Trela
  3. Rain
  4. Earth
  5. komorikiri
  6. Scatt
  7. Shaky
  8. Ned
  9. Ito
  10. VoiD
  11. CT Salem
  12. 9B
  13. Naifu Kirihara
  14. TA Fatality
  15. Ally
  16. Kamemushi

Honestly, the seeding isn’t all that bad. Every player here deserves to be here, but the big standout issue is Ally sitting at 31st seed, who is arguably a Top 5 player. If this doesn’t change, Ally can still make it to Top 8 if he takes down Dabuz or Mr. R, though otherwise, it would be great to see him higher. It’s tough to move a seed up without massively changing many pools, so it’s best to do individual swaps. Seeing Ally around Tweek’s spot in the bracket would be a pretty good spot in my opinion, giving him a shot at Top 8 Winners if he defeats Mr. R and ANTi, keeping him with very similar matchups that he currently has, except starting him off in winners in Top 32 rather than losers. While it would be best to see Tweek higher than 31st, it doesn’t feel like a terribly unfair bracket to him, having him fight Trela then ESAM (neither of which made it above 17th place at the recent CEO) to make it into guaranteed 13th place.

The Final 8

When all is said and done and that Top 32 bracket above plays out, here is who I expect to see in Top 8:


The Data

Want to see how I came to this conclusion, and my picks for everyone making it out of pools? It may be a little messy to decipher, but I have all of the data available in a following Google Sheet:–v8dyZCLoowB-H7TGwCzB1srwcydyCyUWyUwZtvM/edit?usp=sharing

Have any questions? Want to share your opinions? Tweet them to @Smash4Unet!

CT Chibo

Chibo is a long time member of the competitive Smash community, dating back to Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2007. He has shown prowess as a competitor, tournament organizer, live streamer, and more. Chibo is the owner of CLASH Tournaments, one of the leading media providers for the Smash community.

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