Last updated: November 29, 2023
Official Rules of the Dominion League
The changelog for the Rules and Regulations can be found here.
- League Structure
- Match Structure
- Drops and Suspensions
To join the Dominion League, you must meet all these requirements:
1.1.1. You have a Dominion Online account with 10 or more rated 2-player games. You do not need to purchase a subscription to Dominion Online.
1.1.2. You are a member of the Dominion (by Donald X Vaccarino) Discord server.
1.1.5. Your username and profile picture comply with the conduct rules in 3.3.
1.1.6. You are able to commit both the necessary time to play your matches, and the necessary time to coordinate with your opponents via Discord to schedule your matches. Note that while playing your matches will require approximately two hours per week during the season, you will usually need more available time than this, in order to accommodate your opponents’ schedules. In particular, you are likely to need some availability on weekends.
1.1.7. You are not currently suspended (see 7.2).
If you meet all the requirements per 1.1 and are not playing in the current season, you may fill out the sign-up form for the upcoming season. A moderator will review your submission and contact you via Discord. Until they do, your participation is not confirmed.
1.2.1. After the sign-up deadline passes, you may still sign up for the waiting list. If spots open up during the early weeks of a season, moderators may fill them with players from the waiting list, depending on skill and time zone. Players who have dropped from the current season may not re-enter via the wait list.
If you are playing in the current season and would like to join the next season, fill out the Returning Form linked in your division’s Discord channel. Otherwise, you will by default leave the League after the current season.
Depending on the number of seasons since you last participated in the League, you may retain your previous tier placement, or you may be placed as a new player. See Tier Placement (2.4) and Flex Divisions (2.5) for details.
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.
Each season lasts 6 weeks. Breaks between seasons alternate between 2 and 3 weeks. The September break is 4 weeks instead of 3 due to the Shuffle iT Championship tournament.
A division is a group of typically 6 players who will play each other during a season. Each division is assigned a moderator from the League moderator team. The number of divisions depends on the number of players.
The divisions are grouped into tiers. The number of tiers depends on the number of divisions.
2.3.1. There is a single division in tier A. Starting with tier B, the maximum number of divisions in a tier is twice the maximum of the tier above it, except every third tier which has the same maximum number as the one above it.
2.3.2. The lowest tier has the same maximum number of divisions as the one above it. This rule overrides 2.3.1.
- 6 tiers (A-F): 1-2-4-4-8-8
- 7 tiers (A-G): 1-2-4-4-8-16-16
- 8 tiers (A-H): 1-2-4-4-8-16-16-16
- 9 tiers (A-I): 1-2-4-4-8-16-16-32-32
- 10 tiers (A-J): 1-2-4-4-8-16-16-32-64-64
Players are placed into tiers using the following criteria, in order:
2.4.1. Players who played in the previous season are placed into their tier from that season, unless they earned a promotion or demotion (5.3), in which case they are placed according to the promotion and demotion rules.
2.4.2. Players returning to the League after a short break (1.4.1) are placed into the tier they would have most recently returned to, starting with the players who played most recently, and with ties broken by seeding (2.6). If there is insufficient space in a tier to accommodate players returning from a short break, one or more flex divisions (2.5) will be created.
2.4.3. Players returning to the League after a medium break (1.4.2) are placed into the tier they would have most recently returned to, or the tier they would be placed into as a new player (2.4.4), whichever is higher, starting with the players who played most recently, and with ties broken by seeding (2.6). If there is insufficient space in a tier to accommodate players returning from a medium break, they will be placed in the tier below.
2.4.4. Players returning to the League after a long break (1.4.3), and players joining the League for the first time, are placed into tiers based on their Dominion Online level. Levels will be collected at a time specified on the sign-up page. If there is insufficient space in a tier to accommodate players exceeding the strict level cutoff, one or more flex divisions (2.5) will be created.
2.4.5. If there are still open spots in a tier, players in the tier below may receive free promotions to fill them. See 5.5 for details.
Divisions usually have a maximum of 6 players. However, divisions may “flex” up to a size of 7 players in order to accommodate players returning from a short break (1.4, 2.4.2) or particularly highly-rated players (2.4.4). Free promotions (5.5) are only used to fill divisions up to the normal maximum of 6 players.
Each tier of players is split into divisions by a seeding algorithm. For all divisions in the same tier (and in the same time zone region, for tiers E and below), players are split into 4 groups: new players, players who demoted from the tier above, players who promoted from the tier below, and players returning to the same tier. These groups are distributed as evenly as possible.
You are expected to treat all players with respect at all times. Examples of inappropriate actions include rage quitting, intentionally slow playing, and unexpectedly or suddenly changing the match arrangements per 4.7.
Be kind and polite when communicating with players and moderators. Examples of inappropriate communications include swearing, harassment, and excessive complaints of luck.
Your username and profile picture may not contain any inappropriate content. If your username or profile picture are inappropriate, a moderator will reach out to you to request you change them. You are required to comply with any such request in order to play in the Dominion League.
Always play your matches as competitively as possible. Even if your promotion or demotion status is guaranteed, the games likely have an effect on the statuses of the other players in your division or on their tiebreakers. Noncompetitive behavior is unfair to your opponents and may result in a suspension per 7.2.
3.4.2. You may never forfeit a game when it is too early or too unclear to assess a winner. In addition to a warning or suspension as appropriate, a moderator will ask you to play out any games that were forfeited.
In addition to following Dominion League conduct guidelines, you are expected to adhere to the Dominion Online Terms of Service.
If you witness or experience any misconduct, including but not limited to the examples listed in 3.1, please alert a moderator immediately and share any screenshot evidence you have. Depending on the severity of the misconduct, the offending player may be warned or suspended per 7.2.
A match is 6 games between the same two players. Each player plays one match against each other player in their division.
4.1.1. Matches must be played on Dominion Online.
A playing session is a series of one or more games between the same two players, where consecutive games take place no more than 24 hours apart.
During games, you may not attempt to gain a competitive advantage by consulting resources other than those maintained by the League on the Dominion League Resources page.
Each player should go first 3 times in a 6 game match. It is each player’s responsibility to ensure that they get 3 starts in a match.
4.4.3. If the table host makes a mistake in setting starting player, future games should be used to correct the discrepancy as quickly as possible. For example, if player A starts games 1 and 2, player B should start games 3 and 4. This should be done even if it is not possible for one of the players to receive 3 starts. For example, if player A starts games 1 through 4, player B should start games 5 and 6.
4.4.4. If the table host makes a mistake in setting starting player which is caught during an ongoing game that has not reached turn 2, and if one player cannot reach 3 starts using future games per 4.4.3, either player may request that the game be abandoned. Otherwise, the game must be played out normally.
Games played on Dominion Online should use the default table settings provided by the client, with the following exceptions:
4.5.2. The player order should be set per 4.4.
4.5.3. For games without expansions, or with a Card Pool Level of 1, the “Disliked” and “Banned” options for “Respected Cards” should be off (see 4.6.6 and 4.7.4 for more information about the Card Pool Level).
The following settings are set by default when you create a new table on Dominion Online. Per 4.5, you should use these settings, but you do not need to set them directly. They are listed here for your information and reference.
4.6.6. “Card Pool Level” should be set to the highest possible value. This will be 10 if at least one player has a Complete subscription. Otherwise, it will be 5 if at least one player has a Core subscription. If neither player has a subscription, it will be 1.
4.6.7. Under “Kingdom Options”, no particular cards, landscapes, landscape types, or expansions should be selected or excluded. Colonies and Shelters should be set to random. This will result in a randomly-generated kingdom using all cards that either player has access to, with zero to two landscapes and a maximum of one Way. Note that Allies are not considered landscapes, so this can result in kingdoms with up to two landscapes plus an Ally if a Liaison is present.
4.7.6. You may agree to generate a full kingdom using a public 3rd-party kingdom generator, such as the !mix command in Discord. You may not agree to use private 3rd-party kingdom generators, such as phone apps.
Per 4.6.7, the default card pool for Kingdom generation each season includes all cards. However, either player may opt to remove new expansions from Kingdom generation.
4.8.1. An expansion is considered new if its initial version was released after the end of the previous Dominion League season. For example, Allies, which was released in the final week of season 50, would be considered new for season 50, but not for season 51.
Players may have different opinions on which undos should be allowed, if any.
Games in the Dominion League do not use a timer.
4.10.1. The “Make (opponent) Resign?” prompt in Dominion Online should only be used to address connection issues and other technical difficulties (see 4.11). It should not be used to enforce speed of play on your opponent.
If you or your opponent have connection issues, or otherwise cannot continue a game (e.g. due to time constraints), you should suspend the game. Note the game ID, then resign the game. Resigning in this situation will not be considered a loss, and is necessary to ensure the server considers the game completed, as an in-progress game cannot be loaded at a new table. Use the Load Old Game button to reload the same game another time.
In the rare event of a game which must be abandoned, you should play a new game in its place. Abandoned games do not count toward match completion or match score.
4.12.1. If you or your opponent have connection issues or otherwise cannot continue a game, you should reload the same game another time. If the game can’t be reloaded (e.g. due to an internal error or impassable bug), you should abandon the game.
4.12.3. You and your opponent may agree to abandon a game with a Base-only kingdom that was generated by mistake, i.e. because you and/or your opponent did not realize your Dominion Online subscription had expired. This must be done before the start of turn 2. In this case, you or your opponent should extend your subscription before starting a new game. You may not otherwise agree to abandon a game based on the contents of the kingdom.
Each game you win is reported as 1 win. Each game you tie is reported as 0.5 wins.
After each playing session, you or your opponent should submit the results of that playing session as soon as possible using the Results form linked in your division’s Discord channel.
4.14.1. The results are the total wins and ties per 4.13.
In the case of a disputed rules infraction during a Dominion League game, you should initiate the following procedure:
4.15.2. Finish playing the game, as well as the rest of your games for that playing session (4.2).
4.15.3. Contact your moderator about the protest and your reasons for it, either directly via Discord, or through the Hotline Form.
There are several types of matches (adjustment, play-in, and tiebreaker) that take place outside of the normal league season, and differ from standard league matches in various ways. In all respects but those listed below, they follow the standard league match format.
The players in each division are ranked by their win rates. This is updated when players submit results per 4.14.
If there is a tie within a division, a head-to-head tiebreaker is applied. If there is still a tie, a tiebreaker match may be required.
22.214.171.124. If an unbroken two-way tie affects promotions, demotions, or entry into the Championship Match, the players play a tiebreaker match. The format for this match is specified in 4.16.
At the end of the season, you may earn a spot in a different tier by promoting to a higher tier or demoting a lower tier, based on your place in your division.
5.3.4. If your division has seven players, and no players dropped before playing any games, you demote by finishing in sixth or seventh place. Otherwise, you demote by finishing in fifth place or sixth place.
Superpromotions allow you to promote multiple tiers at once, based on how you would be placed as new player.
5.4.2. If you are eligible, and would be placed higher by the new player placement rules (2.4.4) than by the standard promotion rules (5.3), you superpromote into the higher tier. Note that, in practice, superpromoting players use a different, stricter set of Dominion Online level cutoffs than new players.
5.4.3. You cannot superpromote past E tier. If the new player placement rules (2.4.4) would place you in D tier or higher, you superpromote into E tier instead.
In order to fill open spots in a tier created by players leaving the League between seasons, players who would play in the tier below may be offered a free promotion. Players are selected as follows:
5.5.1. Players are divided into prioritized groups based on their results from the previous season. In descending order of priority, these are: second place finishers (from the tier below), fifth place finishers (from the target tier), and third place finishers (from the tier below, only eligible if the tier below promoted second place finishers).
5.5.3. If there are at least as many open slots in the target tier as eligible players in the highest priority group remaining, all players in this group receive a free promotion. The remaining slots are filled by the next highest priority group.
5.5.4. If the target tier is in tiers A through E, and there are fewer open slots in the target tier than eligible players in the highest priority group remaining, the moderators arrange play-in matches between eligible players. The format for these matches is specified in 4.16.
5.5.5. Depending on the number of slots and eligible players in 5.5.4, eligible players may receive a free promotion, play a play-in match, or neither. Players are ordered by their win percentage from the previous season for determining priority, with ties broken randomly.
5.5.6. If the target tier is tier F or below, and there are fewer open slots in the target tier than eligible players in the highest priority group remaining, the moderators choose players for free promotions at their discretion, taking into account the players’ time zones and win percentages in the previous season.
The following rules are used to account for dropped players in the standings. See 7.1 for more information about drops.
If a dropped player played any games, adjustment matches may be needed to determine promotions or demotions. The format of adjustment matches is specified in 4.16. The following procedure determines whether an adjustment match is required:
126.96.36.199. If the players with promotion (or non-demotion) claims played the same number of games against each dropped player, only the all games played scenario (188.8.131.52) is considered.
184.108.40.206. If there is an unbroken tie (see 5.2) for promotion or non-demotion in at least one of the scenarios, the tied players play an adjustment match. They do not play a tiebreaker match.
After the normal matches of A1 are complete, the players in first place and second place play a second 6-game Championship Match to determine the Dominion League Champion of the season.
5.7.1. The Championship Match uses the same rules as a standard League match (4), except that starting player in the first game is whichever player is in first place. In the case of an unbroken tie, starting player in the first game is chosen randomly.
5.7.3. If the players are tied in total wins per 5.7.2, the tiebreaker rules per 5.2 are applied, including the wins from the Championship Match. If there is still a tie, they play one final game and the winner is the Champion. If that final game is tied, the player who went second is the Champion.
Games played for other tournaments may not be counted as Dominion League games.
If one of your close friends or family members is in your division, please schedule that match to happen early in the season, to eliminate any temptation for collusion.
6.1.1. If you prefer to avoid this, let a moderator know before the season starts, and the League will try to place you in different divisions. Note that in higher tiers, we are less likely to be able to accommodate your request.
In order to ensure that matches are completed in a timely fashion, players must meet a number of deadlines throughout the season. All deadlines are on Sundays at 23:59 UTC. We encourage players to stay well ahead of these deadlines - they are not a suggested pace, but the absolute minimum expected. For the purpose of meeting these benchmarks, all scheduled matches must be added to the League calendar via either the League calendar form or the general calendar form (note that you need to specify that the match is a League match on this form), as this makes it easier for both the moderators and our automated systems to track scheduling progress.
6.2.4. At the end of the fourth week of the season, players should have no more than 3 matches remaining to be played or scheduled. This typically requires having completed and/or scheduled 2 matches.
6.2.7. By default, the moderators will drop and suspend (see 7) players who fail to meet these deadlines and do not request an extension (see 6.3), though they may waive the drop and/or the suspension at their discretion in response to extenuating circumstances.
If you are unable to meet one of the deadlines specified in 6.2, you must request an extension from your moderator by that deadline.
6.3.1. If you are in tier A and you are requesting an extension to the end-of-season deadline (6.2.6), you may request an extension of up to 3 days. In all other cases, you may request an extension of up to 7 days. If you do not request an extension, or if you still have not met the deadline by the end of the extension period, you will be dropped and suspended by default per 6.2.7.
6.3.2. You can only request an extension if you are not currently behind on any prior deadlines for the season. This means that any scheduling you need to do for an extension from a prior week must be completed before you can request another extension; similarly, you cannot request an extension for a deadline that you have already missed.
6.3.3. To receive an extension for the end-of-season deadline (6.2.6), you must schedule an uncompleted match with your opponent. Provide the date and time to your moderator when you request it. For any other extension request, you must include a plan for how you will catch up to the expected pace of scheduling.
6.3.5. Although moderators will grant extension requests in most cases, they are not required to do so. In particular, players who abuse the extension system/consistently fail to meet deadlines may be denied extensions.
If you have any scheduling issues, or if your opponent does not show up for a scheduled match, please inform your moderator.
Players may be dropped from the League during the season. All drops are subject to a suspension by default (see 7.2).
7.1.1. If you are unable to complete your League season for any reason, contact your division moderator for a voluntary drop. Your reason(s) for needing to drop will be considered by the moderator team when deciding whether to apply a suspension.
7.1.2. Players may be involuntarily dropped due to unresponsiveness, failure to play matches in a timely manner, or misconduct (see 3.6).
All suspensions occur, and may be waived, at the discretion of the moderator team. Players who are suspended may not participate in the Dominion League for the duration of their suspension.
7.2.2. The default suspension duration for dropping out of a League season (see 7.1) is 2 seasons. In addition, players who are dropped for being unresponsive must explain their inactivity to a moderator before they may sign up for the League again.
7.2.3. Other types of misconduct (see 3.6) will be subject to a warning or suspension per discretion of the moderator team.
You should notify your division moderator via Discord direct message of any issues you have. Direct messages with a moderator about League matters may be shared with the other moderators for the team to resolve together. For other questions, feedback, etc., see our contact page.
Moderators are allowed, but not required, to play in the League.
8.3.1. Moderators are assigned divisions to be the primary point of contact for those divisions. They are never assigned divisions in the tier they play in. They are responsible for checking up on players who have fallen behind and dropping those who are non-responsive for a considerable period of time (see 7.1).
8.3.2. Moderators are responsible for adjudicating any disputed rules infractions, including ruling on protested games (see 4.15).
Whenever the moderators gather for an official meeting at which rules may change, 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. This will happen at least once per season.
The moderator team will open applications for new moderators under the following conditions:
When the moderator team opens applications for new moderators per 8.5, they will follow this process:
These rules may be amended by a majority vote of the moderators.
9.1.1. Moderators may vote “no opinion”, in which case their vote doesn’t count towards establishing or preventing a majority. This also applies to other moderator votes, including rulings on protested games (4.15).
The moderators maintain a changelog for these rules. It includes the effective dates of all such changes.
The moderators may waive rules or make exceptions for the current season if and only if all the directly affected players and a majority of the moderators agree to do so.