Last updated: January 25, 2021
Official Rules of the Dominion League
Changelog for Rules and Regulations can be found here.
I. League Structure
Each League season lasts 6 weeks, and is followed by a 2-week break. Players are divided into groups of approximately 6 players. Groups are arranged in tiered divisions. There is a single division in tier A. Starting with tier B, two rules govern the size of a tier:
- The maximum number of divisions in a tier is twice the maximum for the tier above it, except every third tier which has the same number as the one above it.
- The lowest two tiers have approximately the same number of divisions.
The moderators at their discretion may decide to leave empty divisions only in tiers E and below.
Divisions are determined by a seeding algorithm depending on previous performance in the League, taking into account time zone in tiers E and below, and Dominion Online level for new players. At the end of each season, some players promote or demote based on the standings (see section III).
II. Match Structure and Policies
Each player plays one match against each other player in their division. A match is 6 games with each player going first 3 times. The League recommends playing the first game with a random starting player, and then alternating the starting player.
Matches may be played over one or more playing sessions. A playing session is a series of one or more games between the same two players. For the purpose of this rule, any consecutive games played between the same two players with less than 24 hours between them are considered to be part of the same session. The League suggests completing all 6 games of a match on the same day in a single playing session, but this is not required.
The League also has the following general rules for games by default:
- Games should be played on Dominion Online.
- There is no official timer in Dominion Online, and games should not use a timer.
- During games, players may not attempt to gain a competitive advantage by consulting resources other than those maintained by League. For example, getting advice from Dominion Strategy articles or from spectators is not allowed. The allowed resources maintained by the League are available on the Dominion League Resources page and may be consulted privately or publicly at anytime.
For games played online, players should set the following Advanced Options by default:
- Spectators should be allowed.
- “Players can see spectator chat” should be off.
- Familiar cards should not be respected.
- For games using expansions, the disliked cards lists and banned cards lists should be respected, and the liked cards lists should not be. For games without expansions, no cardlists should be respected.
- The game should not use extra Menagerie cards.
- The game should be unrated.
- The victory point counter should be used.
- Kingdoms should be generated randomly with all cards either player owns, from zero to two landscapes, and no specific cards or landscapes required. No particular cards, landscapes, or expansions should be selected.
All these defaults may be changed between games by mutual agreement of the players except:
- Players in tiers A, B, C, D, and E may not agree to disallow spectators.
- Games without expansions may not use Familiar cards or any cardlists.
- Cardlists may only be changed between playing sessions.
- Players agreeing to use an unofficial timer must agree on all timer settings and how to handle any glitches or lag.
The League recognizes players from different backgrounds may have different opinions on which undos, if any, should be allowed during a game. The League’s default is to at least grant all undos that are for small numbers of steps that did not reveal new game information. A player can choose a different policy regarding which undos they will allow, so long as they announce it to their opponent before the game.
After each playing session, one of the players should submit the result of that playing session as soon as possible using the Results form linked in their division’s Discord channel. Players receive 1 point for each game they win and 0.5 points for each game they tie (note that, per Dominion rules, a player wins a game with tied VP scores if they took fewer turns). If the match is played across multiple sessions, only submit the games just played, and the system will add the multiple submissions together.
During the season, the standings for each group will be automatically updated as players complete matches. The players in each group will be ranked based on the average number of points they have received in each match.
If there is a tie within a division, apply these steps with the group of tied players:
- Order the players by the total head-to-head wins each player earned from the matches involving only the group of tied players.
- Break any ties in total head-to-head wins by the total head-to-head wins each player earned from the matches involving only this new group of tied players.
- Promotion/demotion implications
- If the tie affects promotions, demotions, or entry into the Championship Match, move to step 3.
- Otherwise, all players share the rank of the best tied place.
- Tiebreaker match
- If the tie is between 2 players, they play a 2-game match with each player starting one of the games. If the players are tied after those 2 games, they play one final game with a random player starting. If there is still a tie, the player that went second in the last game wins. A player who does not wish to play this match may concede. If one player fails to respond promptly or is unable to play, that player concedes by default. If neither player responds promptly or both respond but cannot arrange the match in the required time, the moderators will randomly break the tie.
- If the tie is between three or more players, the moderators will randomly break the tie.
At the end of the season, players may earn a spot in a different tier by promoting to the next higher tier or demoting to the next lower tier, based on their place in their division.
- Players who finish in first place promote if the tier directly above has fewer divisions than the tier they are currently in.
- Players who finish in first or second place promote if the tier directly above has exactly the same number of divisions of the tier they are currently in.
- In any tier, players who finish in sixth or seventh place in a seven-player division, or fifth or sixth place in any other division, demote unless they are in the bottom tier, in which case they will stay in that tier.
Additionally, players who finish in first place, or tied for first place, may be re-placed using the rules for placing new players. This allows returning players to promote across multiple tiers, known as superpromotions, if a player can improve their rating significantly across a season. Players who would be superpromoted into tiers A, B, C, or D are instead placed into tier E.
In addition, the top two finishers in the A1 division will play a second 6-game match to determine the Champion for the Dominion League for that season. For the purposes of determining the Champion (and only those purposes), the results of this match will be added to the results of the season, including updates to tiebreakers. The match date and time should be determined by the two players well in advance to allow for the moderator team to find a commentator team. Even if the outcome of the match is settled before the sixth game, all six should be played out for the purpose of spectator entertainment. In the event of a tie, the players play one final game to decide the winner. If that final game results in a tie, the player who went second wins.
IV. Joining and Leaving
To join the Dominion League, new players must complete the following steps:
- Have a Dominion Online account with 10 or more rated 2-player games.
- Join the Dominion (Card Game) Discord server.
- Fill out the sign-up form for the upcoming season.
You may only participate in the League once per season. You may switch your Dominion Online or Discord account at any time by letting your moderator know, but you may not join the League additional times using other accounts. You do not need to purchase a subscription to Dominion Online, and Dominion Online subscriptions have no bearing on players’ tiers, divisions, or seeding.
At the end of each season, players who want to return for the following season must fill out the Returning form linked in their division’s Discord channel, otherwise by default they will leave the League. The following priorities are used, in order, to fill the open spots created by players who leave:
- Players returning to the League after playing in one of the past 6 seasons are placed into the tiers they would have most recently returned to, starting with the players that played most recently and with ties broken by seeding. For purposes of this priority, divisions may have up to 7 players each.
- Players returning from before the past 6 seasons, or joining for the first time with 30 or more rated 2-player games, are placed into tiers based on their Dominion Online level. For particularly highly-rated players, divisions may have up to 7 players each. Level thresholds that would trigger this will be published in the previous season’s Newsletter.
- If the open spot is in a tier roughly the same size as the tier below it, players who finished in (or tied for) fifth place in that tier with a high score in the previous season are offered a free promotion. Otherwise, players who finished in (or tied for) second place in the tier below with a high score in the previous season are offered a free promotion.
- If the open spot is in a tier roughly the same size as the tier below it, players who finished in (or tied for) third place in the tier below with a high score in the previous season are offered a free promotion. Otherwise, players who finished in (or tied for) fifth place in that tier with a high score in the previous season are offered a free promotion.
When multiple players would be offered free promotions (as described above) to a tier with not enough open spots for all of them, that tier determines how players are chosen: For tiers A, B, C, D, and E the moderators arrange play-in matches between those players. For all other tiers, the moderators choose the players at their discretion, taking into account time zones.
During a season, the moderators may, at their discretion, fill new open spots from a waiting list.
A suggested schedule will be posted in your group’s Discord channel with a specific player to play each week. There is no requirement to follow the suggested schedule, but it is recommended not to fall behind the one match per week pace. Each group will be assigned a League moderator. If you have any scheduling issues, or if your opponent does not show up for a scheduled match, please inform your moderator. To communicate with league moderators and your opponents, basic English proficiency is required.
If you are placed in a group with a player you are close friends with, please schedule your match as early as possible in the season to eliminate any temptation for collusion. You can also inform a League moderator if you anticipate this type of issue and the League will make an effort to place you in separate groups.
VI. Playing Competitively
All players in the League are expected to complete all of their matches as competitively as possible. There are times when it may appear that your remaining games cannot affect your standings, but this is very seldom the case. The average points per player in a full group each season is 15, and 6 points are at stake in each match. In some groups, the difference between 1st and 6th place has been less than 2 points at the end of the season. Even if your personal promotion/demotion status is guaranteed, it is still not acceptable to complete games non-competitively. It is possible for the result of any match to determine the fate of another player by way of the tiebreaker points. It is unfair to other players in your group if you do not complete your matches properly. Players who are found to have forfeited games or matches, colluded with other players, or posted results that were non-competitive in other ways may be banned from the League for up to 4 Seasons depending on the severity of the offense. To clarify the meaning of forfeit, there is a difference between resigning while playing to the best of your ability (like when you are way behind and feel there is a 0% or a very low chance to comeback), and forfeiting (which is like resigning turn 1, 2 or not playing at all). Repeat offenders may receive a longer ban period or be permanently banned from the League. If anyone suggests recording a result that you feel is in violation of this policy, please report it to your League moderator immediately.
Players are expected to treat one another with respect at all times. Examples of poor conduct include swearing at another player or otherwise harassing them, excessively complaining about luck, rage-quitting and leaving a scheduled match, intentional slow-playing, or unexpectedly changing pre-match arrangements (such as undo usage). Player usernames also must not be offensive.
If another player acts disrespectfully towards you, you should contact your moderator as soon as possible. You are encouraged to provide screenshots of game chats or forum/Discord messages as evidence. If you find a username to be offensive, contact your moderator.
Violations of this rule will be adjudicated by a majority decision of the moderators. Depending on the severity of the offense, violating this rule may result in a warning, a ban of one or more seasons, or a permanent ban from the League. If your username is offensive, you will be told to change it prior to joining the League or before the next season begins.
VIII. Late Finishes
Match results must be reported by 23:59 UTC of the last day of the season (note when this is in your time zone). If players are unable to finish their matches by the deadline, they must request an extension by contacting their moderator with information about when the late matches will take place. Players in tier A may request extensions of up to 3 days; players in all other tiers may request up to 7 days. If such communication does not take place or the late matches are not reported by the extension deadline for their tier, the responsible players are dropped with the penalties described in the following section.
IX. Dropping Players Mid-Season
Players dropping out during the season have a significant negative impact on their group. Unfortunately, some must drop out, or become inactive and have to be removed by the moderators. It is difficult to deal with matches that have been played by a player who has dropped because the matches they played and failed to play can have a significant impact on the group standings. The following rules are used for dropped players:
- If the removed player played no games, they are removed and the remaining players play one fewer match. If possible, the moderators will replace them with a player from the waiting list.
- If the removed player played any games, their remaining match results are instead simulated by averaging the average winning percentage of the dropped player and the average losing percentage of their opponent in all games they did play. Afterward, all the match results involving the dropped player are scaled by the percentage of their games they actually played.
At the end of the season, to account for the approximations inherent in simulated results, adjustment matches may be required to better decide the standings between players straddling a promotion or demotion boundary. To determine if an adjustment match is needed, 4 scenarios are compared:
- Scale all the dropped player’s match results by the percentage of the games the first player actually played against all dropped players.
- Round all unscaled results to the nearest 0.5, then scale all the dropped player’s match results by the percentage of the games the first player actually played against all dropped players.
- Scale all the dropped player’s match results by the percentage of the games the second player actually played against all dropped players.
- Round all unscaled results to the nearest 0.5, then scale all the dropped player’s match results by the percentage of the games the second player actually played against all dropped players.
If the 4 scenarios do not all yield the same promoter or demoter, an adjustment match is needed. In an adjustment match, the players play a 2-game match with each player starting one of the games. If the players are tied after those 2 games, they play one final game with a random player starting. If there is still a tie, the player that went second in the last game wins. The winner is placed ahead of the loser in the final standings. A player who does not wish to play this match may concede. If one player fails to respond promptly or is unable to play, that player concedes by default. If neither player responds promptly or both respond but cannot arrange the match in the required time, the moderators will randomly decide the standings.
Players who drop mid-season will be banned from participation in the next 2 League seasons. Dropped players finish last place in their division and will demote, which may affect their placement in subsequent seasons they return to. If a player drops out within the first week of the season or is in good standing with the League (i.e. has played in prior seasons without drops or late finishes), the ban period and demotion penalty may be reduced or eliminated at the moderators’ discretion.
X. League Moderation
The League is moderated by a group of players whose role is to ensure the League runs smoothly. Moderators are allowed, but not required, to play in the League. Moderators are assigned divisions (never a division in the same tier they play in) to be the primary point of contact for those divisions. Their responsibilities include checking up on players who have fallen behind and removing those who are non-responsive for a considerable period of time. Players should notify their moderator via Discord direct message of issues they have. Direct messages with a moderator about League matters may be shared with the other moderators for the team to resolve together.
League moderators are also responsible for adjudicating any disputed rules infractions. If a moderator decision needs to be made that affects the outcome of a game, the players should finish the game and the player who requested the decision may protest the game by contacting their moderator with a description of what occurred and the game number. The moderator team will review the game and make a ruling by a majority vote whether the game results stand or that the game must be replayed.
Whenever the moderators gather for an official meeting at which rules may change (at least once per season), the agenda of the meeting and the outcome of any votes, including the number dissenting, will be made public within a week of the meeting.
League Moderators are eligible for 1-season breaks, during which they retain voting privileges and access to league mod channels to stay up-to-date with information. If more moderators want to take breaks that the moderator team can afford, priority will be given to moderators that have least recently taken breaks.
Each active moderator shall moderate at least 5 divisions per season. If the following season is anticipated to have more than 10 divisions per moderator, then the League shall recruit additional moderators. New moderator applications will open week 2 of each season, allow review by the existing moderator team during week 3, and onboarding/shadowing of new moderators beginning week 4.
These rules can be amended for future seasons by a majority vote of the moderators. All such changes will be posted to the Changelog with an explanation of the change taking place. Exceptions to rules for the current season may be granted if and only if the moderators and all directly affected players agree to the exception.