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When the 2022 WNBA playoffs tipoff on Aug. 17 there will be a new format in place of what we've seen over the years, and if you haven't been paying attention the changes may catch you off guard. Prior to the start of the season, the league approved overhauling the playoff format, with the biggest change being ditching the single-elimination games and opting for a best-of-three series to open the postseason.

However, altering the first round of the playoffs isn't the only change that you'll see when the playoffs begin this week. To help you keep track of it all before the action begins, here's an explanation of all the changes the WNBA made to the playoff format.

Ditching single-elimination games for best-of-three series

From 2016 until the 2021 playoffs, the WNBA held two rounds of single-elimination games to start the playoffs. The first round featured the bottom four seeds in the postseason (Nos. 5-8), and the two winners of those games would advance to another single elimination round where the third and fourth-seeded teams waited. It was filled with excitement and drama, but the win-or-go-home format in the early rounds really limited the ability for adjustments and game planning that you see over the course of a series. 

Instead, we'll now get a best-of-three game series in the first round, with the higher seed hosting the first two games of the series, and the lower seed hosting the third game, if necessary. The team to win two games first advances to the second round. What's interesting about the 2-1 format in the first round is that if a Game 3 is necessary, the lower-seeded team will have a home-court advantage, which can certainly play a factor in the playoffs.

After the best-of-three series, the rest of the playoffs will be a best-of-five game series, with the higher seed hosting the first two games and when necessary a Game 5.

No more byes, or reseeding after first round

Prior to the 2022 playoffs, the WNBA's format had the top four seeds receive a bye at the start of the postseason. The top two seeds received a double bye, allowing them to bypass both single elimination rounds, while the third and fourth seeds would get a single bye to skip the first round. The winning teams in each round would also get reseeded after the first round, creating more favorable matchups for the higher seeds.

Now, though, starting with the 2022 playoffs, the WNBA will follow a more traditional bracket format with no reseeding after the first round. 

On one side of the bracket, the No. 1 seed will face the No. 8 seed in the first round, while the No. 4 and No. 5 seeded teams will face off. On the other side of the bracket, the No. 2 seeded team will meet the No. 7 team, with the No. 3 and No. 6 teams meeting. 

While the single-elimination games were an exciting feature of the WNBA, adding more games to the playoffs is a positive. Eliminating the single and double byes for the top seeds also allows fans to watch the top teams at the start of the playoffs, and levels the playing field a bit. It wasn't uncommon for the well-rested teams with byes to get caught off guard by a team that already made it through the first two single elimination rounds and pulling off an upset in the semifinals.