Introduction and Purpose
These Official Rules (“Rules”) of the PlayVS Youth Program Esports League apply to each of the teams who have registered and met the requirements for the 2023-2024 year, as well as their adult sponsor, 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 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.
1.1.3 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.
1.1.4 Season. Scheduled league play that will occur over an approximately three-month period of time.
1.2 Roster Requirements
Each team must maintain one adult sponsor, and a full “Roster” of starting players on the PlayVS platform at all times during the season. It is recommended that a team also maintain “Substitutes”, or alternate players, on the “Bench” in the event that a rostered player is not available on match day. For the avoidance of doubt, starting players and substitutes are subject to the same roster eligibility requirements at the sole discretion of League Officials.
In League of Legends, each team may have a maximum of ten (10) players, broken down into five (5) starting players on the Roster, and five (5) substitutes on the Bench. No individual may simultaneously hold two or more roles as listed above. All players and coaches are expected to be present physically or virtually for all official PlayVS matches.
In the event that a player on the starting roster cannot compete in the match, and there are no available Substitutes, competition may continue without that player as long as it does not put the opposing team at a disadvantage.
Players on the bench may be used for any match their team is competing in within their assigned league. Eligible substitutes for a match will be displayed on the Bench tab of the team’s roster card. Only the players shown on a team’s Bench can be used as substitutes in an official PlayVS Match. Both the Roster and Bench must be finalized prior to the Roster Lock Date.
A player is only allowed to compete for the school that they 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 adult sponsor. For the avoidance of doubt, the verification of a player is an agreement to a summary of the Rulebook needed by League Officials 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 Youth Program Competition Rulebook). Examples of conditions which establish GOR:
1.3.1 Any attack or ability is landed on an enemy Hero.
1.3.2 Line-of-sight is established between players on opposing teams.
1.3.3 Game timer reaches two minutes (00:02:00).
1.4 Stoppage of Play
If a player intentionally disconnects without notifying an Adult Sponsor 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 Adult Sponsor. Adult Sponsors should communicate any disconnections or pauses inside Match Lobby chat.
1.4.1 Directed Pause.
League Officials may order the pause of a match or execute a pause command on any player station at the sole discretion of the League Officials, at any time.
1.4.2 Player Pause.
Players may only pause a match immediately following any of the events described below, but must signal an Adult Sponsor immediately after the pause and identify the reason. Acceptable reasons include:
An Unintentional Disconnection
A hardware or software malfunction (e.g. monitor power or peripheral disability or game glitch)
Player illness, injury, or disability by default is not an acceptable reason for a Player pause. In the event that a pause does occur due to one of these reasons, then the pausing team must alert their coach of the pause. The coach will contact a League Official immediately and report the issue and reason for the pause. The League Official will review the information and determine if the pause will be approved or be considered an Unauthorized Pause (covered in section 1.4.4). The League Official may approve or extend the pause in order to evaluate the identified player to determine whether the player is ready, willing, and able to continue playing within a reasonable period of time.
If the League Official determines that the identified player is not able to continue playing within such a reasonable period of time, then the identified player’s team shall forfeit the game unless a League Official, at their discretion, determines that the game is subject to a different outcome.
1.4.3 Resuming the Game.
When the pausing team is ready to unpause the game, a player from each team must confirm the resumption by typing “ready” or “r” in the chat. To communicate with the opponent, players will press enter, type “/all” followed by a space and the message, then press enter again to send the message.
1.4.4 Unauthorized Pause.
If a player pauses or unpauses a game without permission from the Adult Sponsors, it will be considered unfair play and penalties will be applied at the discretion of League Officials.
1.5 Game Format
Series: Best of 5 (First to Three Maps Wins)
Format : Competitive
Teams each consist of groups of five (5) players with an in-game role spread of one (1) tank, two (2) healers, and two (2) DPS.
Games will be played in the standard “Competitive” format found in-game which will limit role selections on each team to one (1) tank, two (2) healers, and two (2) DPS. Roles will be selected in-game at the beginning of each map by each player on the team and cannot be swapped once the round begins. Players may swap roles at any time between games and the beginning of each game.
In the case of a Draw leading to a tied score between teams at the end of Game 5, teams will play a Tie-breaker game with the game mode and map outlined for “Game 6” in section 1.6.1 below.
This phase consists of each team enrolled in the league competing in the official preseason weeks. Results of this match will not count toward team standings 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 Youth Program 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 Youth Program Competition Rulebook.
1.5.5 Playoffs Format
This phase consists of the top teams from each league and is limited to two Overwatch 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 Game Mode Selection
Each match will follow the Game Mode order listed below with the map pool selection listed besides it. Teams MUST follow the Game Mode order, if an incorrect Game Mode is selected for a game, the game must be restarted before a “Game of Record” has been established as per section 1.3 of this rulebook. Failure to restart the game with the proper game mode may result in action being taken against the host’s team by League officials.
1.6.1 Game Mode Order & Map Pool
Game 1: Control
Nepal, Lijiang Tower, Ilios, Oasis, Antarctic Peninsula
Game 2: Push
New Queen Street, Colosseo, Esperança
Game 3: Escort
Junkertown, Circuit Royal, Dorado, Havana, Rialto, Shambali Monastery
Game 4: Hybrid
Blizzard World, King’s Row, Midtown, Paraiso
Game 5: Control
Nepal, Lijiang Tower, Ilios, Oasis, Antarctic Peninsula
Game 6 (Tiebreaker ONLY): Control
1.7 Map and Side Selection
The losing team of the first game will have map selection. The losing team will determine the map, while the winning team will have side selection. (Note: In the lobby, Team 1 will always defend first and Team 2 will always attack first).
Home Team ➤ Picks Map 1
Loser of Map 1 ➤ Picks Map 2
Winner of Map 1 ➤ Selects Side
Loser of Map 2 ➤ Picks Map 3
Winner of Map 2 ➤ Selects Side
Loser of Map 3 ➤ Picks Map 4
Winner of Map 3 ➤ Selects Side
Loser of Map 4 ➤ Picks Map 5
Winner of Map 4 ➤ Selects Side
1.8.1 Qualifying Substitutes
All verified players enrolled on a team as part of the bench are eligible substitutes for any Overwatch team match throughout the regular season. They will be displayed under the "Bench" section of the team management page. In the event of an emergency, a team will be given up to 30 minutes to find an immediate substitute for a game. 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.
1.8.2 Substitution Window
Players may be substituted before each game starts. Once a game has started the rosters are locked for that game.
To correctly substitute a player, the Adult Sponsor MUST change them on their dashboard from the Bench pool to an Active Player on the team BEFORE the start of the game. 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 PC/Xbox One/ Playstation 4/ Nintendo Switch System
2.1.2 Headsets and/or Earbuds and/or Microphones
2.1.3 Table and Chairs
2.1.4 Peripherals for computer (mouse, keyboard) or console (game controller)
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.
2.2 Console Specifications
Overwatch 2 is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
PC Specifications (Recommended)
Operating System: Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 or AMD Ryzen™ 5
Video Card:NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 or AMD R9 380
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Storage: 50 GB available hard drive space
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 3 out of 5 games in a Best of 5). 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 Game Lobby Creation
One player from the home team must create the lobby (preferably a Team Captain, though any player from the home team may step up to create the lobby). The lobby leader must follow the Overwatch Game Day Protocol.
Each lobby must allow for a max of 12 spectators.
3.2.2 Game Type Selection.
After the home team has set up the match and everyone loads into the lobby, teams will play a best-of-five series. The game order found in section 1.6.1 must be followed.
Following each match, the host is responsible for taking a screenshot of the results and uploading them to the PlayVS match lobby. However, both teams are encouraged to do so.
3.2.3 Map and Side Selection
After each game, teams will follow the Map and Side selection rules found in section 1.7 before beginning the next game.
3.2.4 Lobby Management
The home team player who created the lobby must move teams and change team names after each team has sorted to their correct side.
If competitive mode is selected as per the Game Day Protocol in the match creation process, there is not a need for tiebreakers as the current map type selections will always yield a winner in best of 5 format. In the case that the match is not in competitive format and is tied after Game 5, please play the tiebreaker on Control Map - Lijiang Tower. If a Game 6 has been played, please report the Game 6 result in place of the hybrid map.
3.3 Match F.A.Q.
In order to avoid giving any team an advantage spectators should be removed from spectating unless both Adult Sponsors have agreed to allow for a spectator by following section 7.7 Match Spectating from the Youth Program Master Rulebook.
If an Adult Sponsor is using a spectator, the lobby host will need to ensure that spectators are set to only be able to spectate their respective team using the in-game lobby settings found within Overwatch.
3.3.2 Game Disconnection
If a player disconnects from the online match during a game a pause will be allowed. The player will have to reconnect back to match within 5 minutes or the game will be unpaused and teams will continue to play with the current players found in the lobby. For all disconnects, please provide a screenshot as proof of when the disconnection happens.
You may NOT fill the spot of a disconnected player with a different player in the middle of a game. You must wait until after the game to substitute the disconnected player for another player. Rosters are locked for each game once the game begins and a “Game of Record” has been established according to section 1.3.
3.3.3 In-Game Content Updates
Overwatch 2 is a live service multiplayer game which may release new heroes, maps, or competitive game modes while the season is occurring.
New maps and heroes added to the competitive pool of Overwatch 2 during the regular season may be available for use in a PlayVS match. All competing teams will be notified of any map pool or hero changes and/or additions at least one (1) week in advance to them being available. Any maps or heroes currently disabled in-game by Blizzard Entertainment will not be available to use in PlayVS official matches. This rulebook will be updated as needed to act as a source of truth.
Any new map or hero added to the competitive pool of Overwatch 2 after the regular season has ended will not be available for Playoffs. Any new competitive Game Modes added to Overwatch 2 will be assessed for the following season. We will not be adding any new Game Modes mid-season to our competitive Matches.
4. Post-Match Process
If the match is completed using the PlayVS Match Assistant tool, results will be recorded at the conclusion of each game.
If the PlayVS Match Assistant could not be used, 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.
V 1.0 - 2023//2024
V 1.1 - Removed Section 3.3.4 In-Game Restrictions to align with in-game requirements.