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 2021-2022 year, as well as their adult sponsor, Starters, Substitutes (collectively “Team Members”), and other members.

Overwatch is part of our Youth Program offering. It is rated “T” for Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

Please direct any questions or rule disputes to PlayVS support only via the orange chat bubble or through

Table of Contents

  1. Game Rules

  2. Player Equipment\

  3. Match Process

  4. Post-Game Process

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 is required to maintain, at all times during the season, one Adult Sponsor, and at least six players in the starting lineup (“Starters”). It is recommended that a team also maintain 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 “Bench.” Players on the Bench may be used for any match in which that team is competing within an assigned league. All eligible substitutes for a league will be displayed under the Bench area of the Manage Teams page. The players shown under the Bench area are the only players that can be used as subs for the selected team within that enrolled league. Any verified player can be enrolled as a substitute through the enrollment process by navigating to the enrollment page, selecting the team, and then switching to the Bench tab and selecting the players you would like to be enrolled into the Bench for the selected team. During the playoffs, substitutes must be locked in as part of the roster as part of the roster lock requirement one (1) week before playoff’s begin.

The Starting Roster will be displayed on 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 are considered collectively as the "Complete Roster." The "Playoff Roster," Starting Roster plus the bench, must be locked in one (1) week prior to the playoffs.

A player is only allowed to compete one team. To verify that these players are one team, 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 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 7.3 of the Master 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 is not an acceptable reason for a player pause. In such a situation, the team must alert a League Official, who may in his/her sole discretion, grant a pause in order to evaluate the identified player to determine whether player is ready, willing, and able to continue playing within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the League Official, but not to exceed a few minutes. If the League Official determines that the identified player is not able to continue playing within such reasonable period of time, then the identified player’s team shall forfeit the game unless a League Official, in his/her discretion, determines that the game is subject to an Awarded Game Victory.

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

  • Format : Competitive

  • Teams each consist of groups of six (6) players with an in-game role spread of two (2) tanks, 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 two (2) tanks, 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. Playing off-premises is preferred but the adult sponsor can use their discretion to ensure that all matches are played safely and fairly.

1.5.1 Preseason

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 Playoffs Format

This phase consists of the top teams from each league and is limited to two Overwatch teams per qualifying program.

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.

1.5.4 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 Mode

Map Pool

Game 1: Control

Ilios, Busan, Lijiang Tower, Nepal, Oasis

Game 2: Assault

Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries

Game 3: Escort

Dorado, Havana, Watchpoint: Gibraltar

Game 4: Hybrid

Hollywood, King’s Row, Numbani

Game 5: Control

Busan, Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal, Oasis

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).

Map Selection

Side Selection

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 Substitutions

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

2.1 Equipment

Each player on the Starting Roster must have access to equipment:

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

2.2 Console Specifications

Overwatch is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

PC Specifications (Recommended)

  • Operating System: Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)

  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 or AMD Phenom™ II X3 or better

  • Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 or AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 or better

  • Memory: 6 GB RAM

  • Storage: 30 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.

3.2.5 Tiebreaker.

In the case that the match is tied after Game 5, please play the tiebreaker on Control Map - Ilios. 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.

3.3.1 Spectating

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 Exploits

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

4.1 Both teams will share the results of each game and any screenshots with their Adult Sponsor.

4.2 The winning team’s Adult Sponsor is responsible for inputting the results of all games of the match within 1 hour of the last game played.

4.3 Winning team Adult Sponsor will input the results by selecting "Add Game Results" from "Mission Control".

V1 - 2/4/22

V1.1 - 3/15/22 - Indicated that the Home Team will Pick Map 1 (Previously "Higher Seed")

Did this answer your question?