Season 39 - Newsletter

The First Eight-Tier Season

March 17, 2020 / by SamE

Hello everyone,

Season 39 will be the first Dominion League season with eight tiers. As I’ve been explaining to people, the easiest way to think about it is that we’ve added tiers D/E and E/F, and then renamed all of the tiers to just the letters A through H. In fact, the E and F transition schemes from Season 38 are the exact same as the F and H transition schemes going forward, so it’s really as if E and F players were already in F and H, respectively. Here are those transition schemes again:

Other Changes Apart from this big change, we only have a few small changes (see the minutes below for full details):

  • This will be the first season with Menagerie! The default rules will be to include the new cards. However, we ask that all playtesters identify themselves to their League opponents and offer their opponents flexibility to play without them if they desire.
  • The moderators have more flexibility to address inequities around dropped players with extra “tiebreaker” matches.

Moderator Churn While there is a lot of change going on, it helps to have a steady set of leaders. We will have the exact same moderator crew for the fourth consecutive season!

Suggestions? As a reminder, you can reply to the forum post with any reasonably-complete suggestions you would like the moderators to discuss at their next rules meeting, tentatively scheduled for the weekend of May 9-10, and we guarantee we will discuss and vote on your suggestion. (You can also still give feedback in the Returning Forms and through Town Halls as usual.)

  1. Returning Form Questions
    1. Dominion: Menagerie
      • Motion to include Menagerie cards in the coming season.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • From the Returning Form responses, a majority of players had a weak or strong preference to include Menagerie cards as the default table setting. Only 20% of players were opposed. The default table settings in client will have the cards included, so their inclusion by default for League matches reduces the number of settings that need to be changed prior to a match. - alibby1152
      • Motion to have playtesters announce as much to their opponents as a courtesy.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • Some League players have advance knowledge of the cards as a result of playtesting the original designs and/or the client implementation. We believe that making their opponents aware of this will help ensure a level playing field. We ask those playtesters to be flexible with their opponents should they deem this to be an unfair advantage. - alibby1152
    2. Automatic !match Posts
      • Motion to include !match in division channels when results are posted.
        • YES (2 dissenting)
      • Posting the !match results into Discord accomplishes several objectives: (1) It helps players process their games after the fact, either internally or in discussion with their opponent. (2) It provides accountability that the games were actually played and reported correctly (e.g. with equal numbers of starts). (3) For partial matches, it helps keep track of whose turn it is to start. We already see many players posting this sort of information when they fill out the form, and can do so automatically for them. -SamE
      • The addition of the !match command will add significant clutter to division channels. I’m a bit wary that this may bury messages related to scheduling that take place over the course of hours and/or days. I would prefer a different channel to post the !match results for tracking purposes. - alibby1152
  2. Town Halls
    1. Dropped Players
      • In situations where the moderators deem the consequences of a drop to have a significant effect on a promotion/demotion outcome in a division, should the moderators decide (at their own discretion) to settle the results with a tiebreaker match between the two players?
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • Including this additional leeway was a popular opinion that emerged from the Season 38 Town Hall. It will allow for intervention in cases where drops have a significant impact on promotion/demotion. It’s not something that will be taken lightly, but until now, there has been little we could do within the League rules to remedy such a situation. - alibby1152
      • If there’s actually something tangible separating players at the end of the season, there’s no need for a remedy. The system works. Do we have faith in the simulation system or not? - volfied
    2. Rounding Simulated Results
      • When players with at least 18 games drop out, the rest of their results are simulated in the following fashion: For each game between player A and player B, we average the win% of player A and the loss% of player B to get the “expected win%” of player A, and this fractional number of wins is then awarded to player A. This is designed to be the most balanced extrapolation of the two players’ previous results, but can result in outcomes that are not multiples of 0.5 as all the other results are. Should we instead round the resulting simulations to the nearest 0.5?
      • YES (2 dissenting) * No one could actually win a game by a decimal fraction, so we’re not producing a realistic situation. There’s something unsatisfying/frustrating about winning/losing by 0.1 points that can’t exist in the real world. - volfied * With the flexibility above, rounding is unnecessary. It’s fine for the scores to look “weird” – after all, something unusual did happen in that division. - SamE
  3. Suggestions from last season
    1. Add clarification on how play-in matches are determined
      • Many league players have asked how play-in matches are decided. We will be adding an entry into the FAQ describing our procedures for filling open spots in a tier.
  4. Changes from Moderators
    1. Season 39 Town Hall
      • Table decision on whether we should hold a Town Hall in Season 39
        • YES (unanimous)
      • While we are open to holding a Town Hall during Season 39, we don’t want to hold one just for the sake of holding one. If a topic emerges and/or is suggested by the community, we will revisit this matter. - alibby1152
    2. Update forum rules page to match FAQ for description of the new tier system
      • There were inconsitencies between the rules and FAQ emerging from the change to the new tier structure. These will be reconciled and cleaned up.

To no one’s surprise, given world events, Season 39 will be the biggest League season ever! We have crossed the 300 player mark for the first time to 315 – our previous high was 281 in Season 32 (Winter 2019). And that’s even before counting the 17 additional players we’ve invited off the waiting list.

Correspondingly, we are now up to 51 divisions: 1 A, 2 B, 4 C, 4 D, 8 E, 8 F, 8 G, and 16 H. Yes, the original plans only called for H to go up to 12 divisions, but these increased numbers don’t necessarily indicate a broader skill range than before, so there’s no impetus to add an I tier.

In addition, we have also expanded in another way: This is the first season when we are actually implementing a rule change passed a couple seasons ago, allowing for 7-player divisions if enough players return to a given tier. For instance, in the A1 division, E.Honda rejoined after taking last season off, and with the other six players remaining, we expand the division to 7 players.

A similar story occurred in C, when we had 5 returning players for only one spot. However, we’ve also hit our limits in E, F, and G, but rather than moving nearly all new players into H, we’ve chosen to expand those tiers to nearly-ubiquitous 7-player divisions, including inviting nearly the entire waiting list at this point to join. If all of them do, we will only have one division in each of E, F and G with only 6 players, the division with the most difficult time zone differences.

7-player divisions mean more Dominion for everyone involved! It’s six matches in six weeks, so really try to keep to about a one per week pace. We will be especially proactive moderating these divisions since there’s more to catch up on if you fall behind.

For the A, C and G divisions, at the end of the season, only 2 players will demote from each 7-player division, so there could very well be 7-player divisions in that tier in the future. However, we will no longer be promoting any additional players into any tiers with 7-player divisions, so if/when anyone leaves (or more technically, if more people leave than return), they will go back down to 6.

For the E and F divisions, because these are taking place in an unusual circumstance, we have decided to anticipate potential future growth and by default demote three players from each of these divisions. Nothing is certain at this point, especially months away, but given that we could see greater than usual shifts in the number of League players, we would like to offer how we anticipate we would deal with those:

  • As the default, if future seasons appear to be around this size, we will keep this structure and promote only the 1st place finisher in each H division. If this holds, we wouldn’t have to demote 5th place finishers in 7-player divisions in E and F.
  • If the number of League players goes back down, we will additionally reduce the number of H divisions, offering some additional promotions to 2nd (and maybe 3rd) place finishers in H in the process.
  • If we see another big increase in the number of players, we would expand G to 16 divisions. This is the situation that would require additional demotions from E and F to make space and put those extra players in G. We would also likely see the 2nd place finishers in H promote in this cirumstance, too.

Given these potential changes, we will be publishing the Promotion Rules tab for a new season along with the signups. We’ve gone ahead and done that for this season (see the Signups post), which was that same table you’ve already heard of. You’ll see Season 40’s in its Signup post when it goes up in a week, and so on for future seasons, but here’s a sneak preview:


The highlighted boxes are subject to change, currently set to the worse of their two outcomes. As with many things in the coronavirus era, we’ll be playing this by ear. Stay safe, everyone!

And here are the minutes from the setup meeting.

  1. Outstanding Rules Questions
    1. Rules around 7-player divisions
      • Motion to go with the 6-player demotion rules if there is a drop from an originally-7p division with fewer than 18 games played, but otherwise to go with the 7-player demotion rules.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • This middle ground will prevent any surprise end-of-season demotions if a divisionmate drops, while also taking advantage of the reduction to 6 players if it happens.
  2. Season 39 Specific Details
    1. Promotions and demotions
      • Motion to announce that only one player from each H division will promote. (This would be the case if we stay at about the same or slightly lower.)
        • YES (unanimous)
      • There are currently twice as many H divisions as G divisions.
      • Motion to announce that 5th place finishers in E and F will demote by default. (This would be the case if we grew any amount further.)
        • YES (1 dissenting)
      • We are nearly at capacity in all tiers except G and H, and if we grow any further, there won’t be space even with every division at 7 players. To be clear, this is a temporary injunction for Season 39 in particular, which we might not have to invoke.
      • Demoting 3 feels wrong even if its just a potential temporary measure (apostolosoruler).
    2. Waiting List Invitations
      • There are 19 players on the waiting list currently. Apart from LaLight (addressed later), and the last of the H signups (who would be next in line), motion to add all of the players to create four more 7-player divisions in E, F and G, and fill the last 5 H divisions to 6 players.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • This waiting list was much longer than usual, and with so many people stuck at home, we wanted to give everyone who signed up the opportunity to play. If they confirm quickly, there won’t be any cost to being on the waiting list.
      • Motion to only fill to 6 players with any players not currently on the waiting list.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • That said, future waiting list signups will start as late as Week 2, and we don’t want to exacerbate 7-player divisions that late.
      • Motion to invite LaLight to take the open spot in D3.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • A spot in D unexpectedly opened up for LaLight, who had earned a C tier return but signed up late.
    3. Future Changes
      • Motion to decide at the S39 Rules Meeting whether to add Tier I to Season 40.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • The moderators will examine whether the H tier should be further split up if we remain at a similar size.
      • Motion not to have a town hall this season.
        • YES (unanimous)
      • We are currently all out of topics and will be collecting more in the Returning Form!