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How to Run a Tournament (With Special Guest FirstBlood)

Today I am joined by special guest Auryn Macmillan, Community Director at We’ve worked with them on a number of events already, including their Blood in the Street series (BITS) and they even helped us put on our own PUBG tournament this spring.

For the record, Firstblood is a platform designed around the idea of taking a player, whether they are new to e-sports or a veteran, and giving them a way to earn money, prizes, and even find high level teams to join. One major way they do this is through their regular tournament events for games like DOTA2 and PUBG.

So when it comes to finding out what the secret sauce is for running a good tournament I went straight to the top, as it were, and sat down with Auryn to find out!

Plan, Plan, Plan...

Running your own event can be crazy, especially if you’re planning on having announcers, production crew, support staff, and of course - 80+ players. The one big tip I got was plan, plan, plan.

You’re going to want to create a checklist of everything you need, everything you need to know, and answers to every question, as not to have to make things up on the fly and then conflict your answers later.

First, the obvious question of how are you getting the info out to players and teams? But then we get into the less obvious questions and planning:

  • What are the specific rules to the event?
  • Where do players need to be at what time?
  • Who are they communicating with if there is a problem?
  • What is our policy if there’s a disconnect, technical glitch, or outage?
  • How will they be compensated if they win and what info do you need for that?

These are just a handful of examples. If you ever want to run a tournament, you need a list of every possible question, answer, and piece of information and you need to get that into the hands of the right players.

And by right players we mean this: Not every player needs to be in contact with you for a team game. Auryn says to utilize a team captain based structure to cut way down on the number of players you have to be talking to simultaneously. In PUBG they do this by assigning a squad leader at the time of signup. The leader’s job is to send along information like lobby passwords, rules, and to relay any questions their squad members have.

Tools for your Toolbox

So what tools can you use to make a tournament a success? Well, Auryn is quick to point out that for DOTA they have their own tournament system you can use and he claims they’re working on one for PUBG as well.

Outside of these proprietary softwares, the FirstBlood team is big on Discord as a player based communication system. If you’re planning on streaming or recording the event the easiest method may be OBS (See our tutorial on Streamlabs OBS here), but for a more professional setup they have recently migrated to using Vmix, which allows for functionality beyond what OBS can handle.

The most important tool, however, is having a lot of hands available to help keep things organized. Who’s handling Discord? Twitter? Twitch Chat? Player problems? Community problems? Technical issues? Announcing? Your support staff is the best tool… just don’t call them that.

Our best tools in our Discord

Things will go wrong (But plan anyway)

No plan lasts past first contact with the enemy. Still, plan for things to go wrong. In the old days of PUBG, Auryn tells me, you couldn’t have a server in lobby mode for more than about 4 minutes or it’d wig out. This created a lot of problems early on trying to “wrangle the cats” into their proper lobbies on time. On the plus side as a result of players getting used to having only 4 minutes to drop, Auryn believes there’s no group more punctual than PUBG players! Have a plan in place for when things go wrong!

Maybe most important is to have someone (one of your tools) watching and recording the event. This has several important effects. First is immediate feedback if something is wrong with the stream. Auryn recalls a time where their building was having an unexpectedly high bandwidth day, and immediately they knew they needed to turn their stream down from 1080p to 720p. Not ideal, but better than having an unwatchable stream! Second is, if there’s a problem with some automated system (such as player score capture) they can go back and get the data from the recording.


No matter if you’ve got a 5-8 man crew like FirstBlood or are running solo, make sure to give yourself enough time to get people in order. That may be sending PMs about lobby information or just giving people enough time to get organized. Every tournament is a marathon of sprints, if you can imagine, you really need to give yourself a little breathing room between each sprint, so be sure to have content ready to fill those waiting times while everyone is getting (re)arranged.

I’d like to thank Auryn for stopping by to chat. He’d like to remind everyone that they have a new PUBG tournament app coming soon, so sign up at


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