The 2023 - 2024 Hearthstone Rulebook for High School leagues.
Introduction and Purpose
These Official Rules (“Rules”) of the PlayVS High School Esports League apply to each of the teams who have registered and met the requirements for the 2023-2024 school year, as well as their head coach, assistant coaches, vice principals, athletic directors, Starters, Substitutes (collectively “Team Members”), and other members.
Table of Contents
1. Game Rules
1.1 Definition of Terms
1.1.1 Game. An instance of competition that is played until a winner is determined by one of the following methods, whichever occurs first: (a) completion of the countdown timer or objective achieved, (b) Team Surrender, or (c) Team Forfeit.
1.1.2 Set. A series of games. The winning player will receive a win tally in favor of their team for the match.
1.1.3 Match. A group of series (or "sets"). The winning team will either receive a win tally in a league format or advance to the next round in a tournament format.
1.1.4 Phase. A section of scheduled league play that comprises a season. There are three distinct phases: preseason, regular season, and playoffs. Each phase has its own league format.
1.1.5 Season. Scheduled league play that will occur over an approximately three-month period of time.
1.2 Roster Requirements
Each team is required to maintain, at all times during the season, one coach, and at least three players in the starting lineup (“Starters”). It is recommended that a team also maintain two players as Substitutes or Alternates ("Substitutes"). For the avoidance of doubt, Starters and Substitutes are subject to the same roster eligibility requirements. No individual may simultaneously hold two or more of the roles listed above.
The Starters are considered collectively as the “Starting Roster.” The Starting Roster, including any Substitutes that are competing, will be required to be on-site for every official game that the team participates in.
Substitutes are considered collectively as the “Substitute Pool.” Players in the Substitute Pool may be used for any team within an assigned league. All eligible substitutes for a league will be displayed under the Substitute Players area of the Manage Teams page. The players shown under the Substitute Players area are the only players that can be used as subs for the selected league. Only the substitutes for the selected game from the dropdown will be displayed. Any verified player can be enrolled as a substitute through the enrollment process by navigating to the enrollment page, selecting a game, and then switching to the substitute players tab and selecting the players you would like to be enrolled into the substitute pool for the selected game. During the playoffs, substitutes must be assigned to one team.
The Starting Roster will be displayed on www.playvs.com. The Starting Roster on the PlayVS website will be considered the most up to date roster that could be applied within a reasonable time. Roster eligibility is at the discretion of League Officials.
All players associated with a school are considered collectively as the "Complete Roster." The "Playoff Roster," Starting Roster plus two Substitutes, must be locked in one week prior to the playoffs.
A player is only allowed to compete for the school that he or she is enrolled in. A player will not be allowed to compete for more than one school simultaneously and therefore cannot be listed on the roster of more than one school. To verify that these players are officially enrolled at their school, each player must be verified by the team's coach or another member of the faculty. For the avoidance of doubt, the verification of a player is an agreement to a summary of some key terms of the Rulebook needed by the league to verify eligibility and confirm agreement by player and team.
1.3 Game of Record
A game of record (“GOR”) refers to a game where both players have loaded and which has progressed to a point of meaningful interaction between opposing teams. Once a game attains GOR status, the period ends in which incidental restarts may be permitted and a game will be considered as “official” from that point onward. After the establishment of GOR, game restarts will be allowed only under limited conditions (see Section 7.4 of the High School Competition Rulebook). Examples of conditions which establish GOR:
1.3.1 Players see their opening hand for mulligan.
1.4 Stoppage of Play
If a player intentionally disconnects without notifying a coach or League Official or pausing, a League Official is not required to enforce a stoppage. During any pause or stoppage, players may not leave the match area unless authorized by their coach. Coaches should communicate any disconnections or pauses inside PlayVS’s Match Lobby chat.
1.5 Game Format
Series: Best of 5
Format : Standard Conquest
Teams each consist of groups of three (3) players using three (3) different classes each.
Games will be played in Conquest Format, in which each team brings three (3) different classes. A team can only bring one deck for each class. Each player will be the “pilot” of one of the three decks the team brings and compete in a match consisting of a best of 5 game series. The pilot will be in charge of deciding the moves in the game while the other two teammates watch and help with strategy. Teammates will be able to take notes and help the pilot with their decisions during each game. Each time a team wins with a certain class, they will no longer be able to use that class for the remainder of the match.
Game Format Example: Team A brings a lineup of one Mage, Priest, and Warlock deck while Team B brings a lineup of one Rogue, Shaman, and Warrior deck.
Game 1: Team A’s Mage deck defeats Team B’s Shaman deck. Team A may no longer use their Mage deck for the rest of the Match.
Game 2: Team A brings out Warlock and Team B stays with Shaman. Team B beats Team A, which means Team B cannot use Shaman anymore.
Game 3: Team A chooses Priest and Team B chooses Rogue. Team B defeats Team A, which means they can only use their Warrior for the rest of the match.
Game 4: Team A goes back to the Warlock and Team B has to play on their Warrior deck. Team A wins and both teams are now left with their last deck to play.
Game 5: Team A’s Priest deck beats Team B’s Warrior deck. Therefore, Team A wins the match!
This phase consists of each team enrolled in the league competing in the official preseason weeks. Results of this match will not be recorded however this match is required in order to properly test equipment and player game connections.
1.5.2 Regular Season
This phase consists of each team within a state, each playing a weekly match in a league format against opponents within their region. Ranking in the league will be determined by each team's win-loss ratio.
1.5.3 Regular Season Tiebreakers
The ranking of the teams will be determined by the standings of Wins and Losses. Tiebreakers are covered in Section 5.3 of the High School Competition Rulebook. More information about Tiebreakers can also be found here.
1.5.4 Playoffs Brackets
Playoff eligibility requirements and bracket information can be found in section 5.2.3 Playoffs of the High School Competition Rulebook.
1.5.5 Playoffs Format
This phase consists of the top teams from each league and is limited to two Hearthstone teams per qualifying school.
These teams will compete in a single-elimination tournament until only two (2) teams remain. Each match will be a Best-of-Five (BO5).
Rosters with starters and substitutes must be submitted, “locked,” one week prior to the playoff phase.
Teams with missing results and/or forfeits in more than 2 matches will be disqualified from the playoffs.
1.5.6 Finals Format
This match consists of the top two teams from each league. The Finals will be a series of Best-of-Five (Bo5) games. The team to achieve three game wins will be awarded the match win and will be declared the League Champion.
1.6.1 Qualifying Substitutes
All verified players enrolled as substitute players for the Hearthstone game, are eligible substitutes for any Hearthstone team throughout the regular season. They will be displayed under the Manage Teams page under the "Substitute Players" section of the page at the right while “Hearthstone” is selected from the game filter. In the event of an emergency, a team must find a replacement substitute within the 30 minute grace period that occurs after the scheduled match time.. If a replacement cannot be found then the team will forfeit the game in which that player was competing. League Officials will determine if an event qualifies as an emergency. During playoffs, substitutes must be assigned to one team for the entirety of the playoffs phase.
1.6.2 Substitution Window
Players may be substituted before each match starts. Once it is match time the rosters are locked for that match.
To correctly substitute a player, Coaches MUST change them on their dashboard from the Substitute pool to an Active Player on the team BEFORE the start of the match. Once a player is confirmed to be substituted on the dashboard by both teams, the game can begin with the substitute in place.
2. Player Equipment
Each player on the Starting Roster must have access to school-provided equipment or must be permitted by the school to provide their own equipment in the following categories:
2.1.1 Computer/Android/IOS devices
2.1.2 Headsets and/or Earbuds and/or Microphones
2.1.3 Table and Chairs
2.1.4 Peripherals for computer (mouse, keyboard)
2.1.5 Stable Internet/Wifi connection
Equipment may be acquired through the school or, if permitted by the school, by players supplying their own.
3. Match Process
3.1 Order of Play
A PlayVS Match will consist of a predetermined best of format depending on the current league phase. Teams will be required to play each game until a clear winner has been determined by winning the majority of the games (Example: Winning 2 out of 3 games in a Best of 3). Once a clear winner has been determined, the rest of the games within that match will not need to be played and will not count towards any scoring or tie-breaker systems within the league.
3.2 Pre-Match Setup
3.2.1 Equipment Setup. Restart all systems at least one hour before scheduled matches and test each game client by loading into an online multiplayer lobby
3.2.2 Technical Failure of Equipment. If a player encounters any equipment problems during any phase of the setup process, the player must alert and notify a coach and a League Official immediately.
3.2.3 Technical Support. Coaches must be available to assist with the setup process and troubleshoot any problems encountered during the pre-match setup period.
3.2.4 Timeliness of Match Start. It is expected that players will resolve any issues with the setup process within the allotted time and that match will begin at the scheduled time. Delays due to setup problems may be permitted, at the sole discretion of League Officials. All players competing must be in the battle arena to be considered “present”. Teams that are over thirty (30) minutes tardy will forfeit their match.
3.2.5 No opponents. Teams may not start a match without opponents present and ready.
3.3 Match Lobby Setup
3.3.1 Have Your Opponents Add You on Battle.net
Use the “Add a friend” option on Battle.net, and add your opponent’s BattleTag (ie. Username#0000)
3.3.2 Start Hearthstone
On the Battle.net home screen, click on the hearthstone logo on top, and select “Play”.
3.3.3 Create the Lobby
In game, click on the Friends tab on the bottom left, then click on the play button icon next to the player you will be competing against
Select the "Standard" option
Wait for your opponent to accept the request
Once in the match lobby, please confirm with your opponent what classes each team will be using and who will be piloting each class in match lobby chat. Each team must post screenshots of their decks of each class to the other team in order to ensure that decklists are not changed during the match.
3.3.4 Choosing the first class
Select the first class that the team will be playing
Click on the “Play” button on the right when you are ready to play!
Once you've confirmed your class, have the pilot of that class ready to play, and wait for your opponent to confirm on their end. The game will start automatically once both teams have hit the “Play” button on the right. Teammates and coaches are able to spectate the game from their respective player’s perspective once both players have loaded in.
3.3.5 Conquest Match Flow
After game one finishes, repeat the process from Section 3.3.4 until one team has won three games. When a team wins a game, the deck used by the winning team is now locked and cannot be used for the remainder of the match. If a team is using a different account after each game, make sure that is communicated through match lobby chat and the players swap into the appropriate accounts and challenge each other. If a team queues a class that had won previously, the game will need to be reset with the team selecting a class in their lineup that has not won a game yet.
3.4 Match F.A.Q.
In order to avoid giving any team an advantage spectators should be removed from spectating unless both Coaches have agreed to allow for a spectator by following section 7.7 Match Spectating from the High School Competition Rulebook.
3.4.2 Game Disconnection
If a player disconnects from the online match after a game of record has been established, they will have 10 minutes to reconnect, or the game will be forfeit in favor of the connected team.
For all disconnects, the connected team must provide a screenshot showing the disconnection lasted longer than 10 minutes.
3.4.3 In-Game Content Updates
Hearthstone is a live service multiplayer game which may release new content patches with new and/or updated heroes and cards while the season is occurring.
Any heroes and/or cards currently disabled in-game by Blizzard will not be available for use during official PlayVS matches. All PlayVS matches will occur on the most up-to-date patch, and any available heroes and/or cards are eligible for use in PlayVS matches unless otherwise stated by League Officials.
The use of any in-game exploits during a PlayVS match will not be tolerated. Any match disputes or submissions involving possible players exploiting the game will need to be backed by video or screenshot proof. If a player is found to be using an in-game exploit to gain an advantage during a match, their team will be given a loss for that game and may be subject to further penalties at the discretion of league officials.
4. Post-Game Process
If the match is completed using PlayVS Match Assistant tool, then in-game statistics and results will be recorded at the conclusion of each game using the tool.
In the event that the PlayVS Match Assistant could not be used, then statistics will not be tracked, and the match results would need to be submitted manually within 1 hour of match completion. Players should take screenshots of the match results and share those with their coaches.
In the event of an error, coaches must contact PlayVS directly.
V1.0 // 2022-2023