Just came back after 36 hours to reconfirm:
AYASE DIAMOND <3
Seriously? So instead of using the standard tournament bracket matching, the Staff used its own discretion to place the Contestants, regardless of how well they actually finished during the regular season? What exactly is the issue with intra-series fights that would necessitate altering the starting brackets?
I don't know about the seeding for the initial brackets itself, but the QF set of Yukino vs Jibril and Shiro vs Yuigahama was changed to not be intraseries as it was deemed too many. It should've been obvious though, given by looking at the PS1 main poster, you see Yukino and Yuigahama next to each other and Shiro and Jibril next to each other, meaning in the standard format, they should've met each other in the QF. So the staff split them and had Y vs J and Y vs S. Which is kinda weird since Jibril had the higher SS rank, so we got 1st vs 3rd in the QF. I'd have thought Yukino vs Shiro while Yuigahama vs Jibril would've been more appropriate, even though I know Shiro is stronger than Jibril (like how Ayase wasn't a rank 16), even if still resulting in both OreGairu girls advancing. I was interested in seeing if the staff would change the semis too (ie have Onodera vs Yukino and Chiyo vs Yuigahama), but they didn't, probably because having an interaseries finals was worse.
I don't know the full intricacies of the seeding formula for the initial bracket placements, but I do know it had a strong reliance on Topaz results, which is why Ayase ended up 16. Probably not that great to rely on Topaz so much, given the schedule is known and manipulation is ripe. On the whole, it's not a bad idea, as the ultimate winner has to beat everyone, and the losers all get a fair chance at making it into PS2 (well, unless people are wise enough to manipulate Quality Wins). It does affect seeding for PS2 though, seeing how Shiro would've made semis and then fought Chitoge in Round 4 (so beating Jibril then losing to Yukino), so she could've been seeded higher if she then also beat Chitoge. Heck, I guess she could've faced Kurisu in PS2 first round.
I honestly don't mind the staff changing the brackets, especially for PS1 (PS2 is a bit different as we want to see Stella vs Nova) and I think it would be cool to introduce the same seeding utilised to determine the losers bracket be used to determine the winners bracket. Then the staff can chuck in criterias like minimalising intraseries fights, since voters do shy away from them. It might not have made much difference in terms of what we actually did get though, but at least it wouldn't be this weird mishmash of changed and strict brackets.