Ok - so over the past year or so there has been a lot of discussion on how to change tournament formats. A few thoughts on this topic.
Historically, 40K tournaments had been a points based affair. You would get points for how well you performed in a game (battle), how enjoyable of a player you were (sportsmanship), and how well your army looked and was painted (painting). Your total points were added up and that determined the overall rankings at the end. Those with the best painting score could win a best painted, the best sportsmen could win an award. The person with the most battle points could win Best General.
But at least a portion of the overall gaming community was unhappy. With the above format, a person could lose a game, but still win the best overall. It didnt' separate the BEST player. You could get as many points for painting your stuff well as you did for crushing an opponent in a game. You could get "chipmunked" on your sportsmanship because someone didn't like the fact that you beat them. So - from that arose a format that was dubbed the "Nova-Format" (from the Nova Open - the first tournament to use it). While painting and sportsmanship were still involved -the overall was now decided by who could win their way to the title. Only those winning all their games would play in the finals. The winner would be undefeated.
So - my thoughts on the two formats.
Pro's - To win you had to be compentent in all areas of the hobby. You had to be nice to people and be a good sports. You also had to win or do well in your games. Losing your first game didn't put you out of the running for the overall. As long as you could get points along the way - you could be competitive. Battle points weren't everything - Painting, Sportsmanship, Best General - all were equal categories.
Con's - It was possible to game the system somewhat to get good sportsmanship scores (although I still see the problem with being nice to people even if it's just for a game), chipmunk scores (the dreaded bad sports score - which I think was usually deserved even if the recipient didn't realize it - and don't think it happened all that often), and painting was subjective (you could hire a pro to paint your army and thus increase your chances for the overall).
Pro's - It's all about the win - forget that soft and fuzzy stuff. There are still prizes given out for it - but it's all about who wins the overall. The true winner is the person who can win 6 games without a loss. There can be only ONE!
Con's - Lose your first game - you are done. There is no seating for pairings - just random matchup. Two top players get paired at the beginning - someone wins/someone loses. One advances towards overall - the other is playing for fun or consolation prizes.
Overall - the jury is still out on which is best. There are elements to both that are good and bad. So far, the Nova has yet to have any of the big name players with big tourney wins really get involved or comment. This year I believe the Adepticon Nationals tourney will use the format - so that will be interesting to see the feedback there when it's used at a major event.
Personally - I think the historical format still the best. The fact of the one and done without any kind of seating skews the vote for me. Thoughts from those blessed few that read the blog?