Season Guide to CSL Fall 2019 - Spring 2020
Magic: The Gathering Arena
CSL is an intercollegiate gaming league open to all accredited colleges and universities in North America. We will be running a year-long season with weekly matches. There will be a single unified division - Star League. During the regular season, teams will play Best of Three matches, with each team fielding 3 players playing individual games in round robin conferences. The round robin will be (roughly) geographical, played across both Fall and Spring, with the top teams advancing to a single elimination playoff bracket, Best of Three. The final match will be Best of Three.
Summary of Key Points
- Platform is defaulted to PC (steam) using MTG Arena ID's
- Regular season is round robin group play, with a format of best of three
- Playoffs will be a single elimination bracket, best of three
- Teams need (1) a coordinator and (3) three unique players; a coordinator may also be a player if eligible
Schedule - Regular Season
- October 26: Match 1
- November 2: Match 2
- November 9: Match 3
- November 16: Match 4
- November 23: Match 5
- December 7: Match 6
- January 11: Match 7
- January 18: Match 8
- January 25: Match 9
- February 1: Match 10
- February 8: Match 11
- February 15: Match 12 (Note: some teams may have two matches during the final weekend of play)
Schedule - Playoffs - TBD Based on Final Enrollments
- February 29: Ro32
- March 7: Ro16
- March 14: Ro8
- March 21: Semifinals
- April 17-19: Finals (LAN)
- Total: $50,000
- 1st: $15,000
- 2nd: $10,000
- 3rd/4th: $2,500
- 5-8th: $1,500
- 9-16th: $750
- 17-32nd: $500
Tips for New Coordinators and Teams
Running a CSL team can be daunting, fun, or both! Here are some tips that we've gathered over the years to make the best of your experience:
1. Read the rules
Carefully. Rules are very important for creating a smooth experience!
2. Pick a responsible coordinator
This is the person who will submit lineups/reports on time, file disputes for forfeits or cheating accusations, and communicate with other coordinators and CSL admins on your behalf on a weekly basis; coordinators will also be responsible for making sure all team members are eligible under the rules. Coordinators must have a Discord name attached to their CSL profile, since Discord is where most communcation between teams will take place. You don't want to incur penalties because your coordinator is disorganized or forgetful!
3. Know that not all players are flexible
The default time for CSL matches is set for Saturday 12:00pm Pacific (and 1:30pm Pacific for the second weekly lower bracket matches). Most of the time our teams are friendly and can reschedule, but you may run up against a team that also has other obligations and cannot. Sign your team up for this league knowing that you will have to set aside time on Saturday afternoons.
The following are the official rules of the CSL MTG Arena league. Rules cover eligibility, format, match procedures, reporting, penalties, and more. Any issues that arise which are not covered within the current rules will be settled at the discretion of CSL admins on a case-by-case basis, and when applicable, penalties set when deemed appropriate. Rules may be added or modified if deemed necessary.
- Coordinators are responsible for ensuring that all members of the team follow the guidelines outlined in the section: player eligibility
- Each team must belong to an accredited college or university with a physical address (online universities are ineligible). The university must offer at least a 2-year degree program
- All teams must have a minimum of 3 players who are all students at the same university. There is no maximum number of players per team nor a maximum number of teams per school
- Each player must be currently enrolled in their university with a valid university email address, taking full time courses, and in good standing
- Players must be registered as current students at their team's school
- Each player must be enrolled as a student with a full time course load for each academic term the season takes place (generally a minimum of 12 credit hours or 3-4 classes for undergrads, depending on the university's requirements). Graduate students are eligible to participate as long as they meet the full time status requirements of their university and program (likely less credits/classes required, or possibly even none on a research track!)
- One-time exceptions to this rule for part time students are possible for high performing students with an academic history of full time course loads for at least one full school year, and having no prior part time status or other issues (recurring issues are not eligible); please email [email protected] with relevant information about your situation to get approved to participate; exception requests should be made BEFORE the player in question plays in a match
- Players graduating during the school year season do not have to meet the full time credit requirement if they need less than required amount to graduate, they only need to be part time status, as long as they have been full time for their entire academic history (and in good standing), and they will also continue to be eligible to participate for the rest of the current season if they graduate in the middle of the school year; contact [email protected] if clarification is needed
- Players must be in "good standing" or equivalent, as defined by their university/program (generally 2.0 term GPA) for the duration of the season; standing at the beginning of the season is based on the previous academic term. Students on academic probation, leave of absence, or any circumstances other than the norm of taking enough classes and passing, are unable to play in CSL until they return to good standing. Players found in violation of this rule are subject to penalties. See section: penalties
- Players must be registered with valid MTG Arena ID's
- Barcode IDs and any other offensive names are not allowed. Players with disallowed names may be asked to change their names. Failure to have updated information will result in penalties. See section: penalties
- Player registration is open throughout the regular season. After the start of each team's last regular season match, their roster will officially LOCK and no new players may be added.
- Players can only play for one school; players on dual enrollment may not play for multiple schools and must be approved by tournament admins
- In the case of a school transfer, if a player has already played in the current season, they must be reviewed and be approved by the tournament admins at their discretion. Players who have not played a match in the current season will be automatically approved
- If a player continues to play under their original school without explicit approval, they will be counted as an illegal player and may be subject to penalties. See section: penalties
- Players cannot be suspended by CSL for previous infractions outside of the CSL.
- With the exception of Fortnite, players may only actively play in one (1) CSL league at any time (League of Legends, Rocket League, etc.), though they may play as a substitute in another CSL league during the regular season. Substitutions across leagues will count towards a team's limit of five (5) substitutions.
- CSL staff may request and check transcripts/academic files of all players at any time during the season. Failure to provide proof of education will result in penalties. See section: penalties
Regular Season Format
- There will be a single unified division for all teams - Star League
- There is no team limit for each school. Participants may only play for one MTG Arena team for the duration of the season; once they participate in a match, that player will be locked onto that roster for the duration of the season
- CSL will organize teams into (roughly) geographical round robin conferences, with the top teams advancing to the playoffs
Playoffs and Tiebreakers
- The top five (5) teams per conference will qualify for the Playoffs. Additional top-performing teams may qualify, based on the criteria below.
- Seeding for playoffs is based on performance during the regular season with all groups mixed together for the playoff bracket. Bracket setup is systematic and there is no inter-group seeding to skew the positions and forcing teams from the same groups to play each other early on (e.g. 1st place in group A = 1st place in group B)
- To determine the top performing regular season teams we rank the following criteria:
- Match record (defined by total matches won - total matches lost)
- Set differential, if applicable (defined by taking the total number of sets won - total number of sets lost). A set is defined as a single game or map within a match or series
- Head-to-head matchup, if applicable
- Number of forfeits and infractions
- In the case of teams being tied in both match score and differentials with no head-to-head result available and no difference in infractions, the teams will play in a tiebreaker round which will be a series of matches between the tied teams, played with the regular season CSL format to determine final rankings
- Tiebreaker games are ONLY played if the result will impact priority seeding positions (defined as a seed which grants a first round BYE vs not receiving a BYE, or a seed granting a playoff spot versus not granting a playoff spot)
- Ties that DO NOT affect priority seeding positions (e.g. if two teams are tied for the 12th and 13th seed) will be decided by coin toss rather than a tiebreaker match
- Teams will compete against each other in weekly 3v3 matches throughout the season. A Team of two (2) or fewer players will not be eligible to participate at any point during the season or Playoffs.
- Default times for matches are Saturdays 12:00pm Pacific (and Sunday 12:00pm Pacific for the second weekly lower bracket matches).
- The form of competition is defaulted to PC using MTG Arena ID's, but any cross platform may be used
- All matches are Best of Three, and will feature each team fielding 3 players, who will play best of three's against each other. The first team to win two best of 3 series wins the match.
- A 'match' = a series of 3 individual best of threes between players on each team
- A 'series' = an individual set of best of three games between two players
- A 'game' = a game of MTG Arena between two players
- For each match, coordinators will designate Player 1, Player 2, and Player 3 on their team.
- During the match, the two players designated Player 1 (one from each team) will play each other, the two players designated Player 2 (one from each team) will play each other, and the two players designated Player 3 (one from each team) will play each other.
- All three series should begin at the scheduled match time and be played concurrently, unless the match is being broadcasted by CSL.
- All games are played on Magic: The Gathering Arena, on the curent patch
- All games are to be played as a Direct Challenge, Tournament Match.
- This will default to a best of 3, allowing standard legal decks, with two minutes between games for sideboarding.
- Players are not responsible for submitting deck lists prior to the matches during the regular season, but will be required to do so for the playoffs
- Decklists for the playoffs must be submitted via email to [email protected] two days before the match (Thursday). Once the deadline passes, the decklists of each team will be emailed to the respective captains
- If a player disconnects, players have up to their 30 minute chess clock timer to reconnect to the game. Players who time out without reconnecting will lose the game
- All live streamed matches must have at least a 5 minute delay, with both teams consenting. PLEASE NOTE: any time a game is streamed there is the potential for cheating
- Interactions should be limited to glhf or related (for STARTING the game), gg, good game or related (for ENDING the game), and general game setup, technical problems, or other game-relevant issues. Teams may speak or otherwise have friendly banter if both sides are amenable, however excessive or bad mannered interactions may result in penalties for the offending player and team. See section: penalties
- All interactions, including but not limited to, chat, PM, emotes, emails, or any other interactions, whether in-game or outside the game, will fall under this rule; to put it simply, if a team tells you to stop interacting with them, your team must cease all interactions, other than for necessary technical-related issues
- Procedural note: To claim a set win, please request politely: "please stop interacting with us or I am reporting you for an interaction violation," and then do not respond to further provocations by other players
- Other than giving an acknowledgement or one of the allowed interactions above, if the other player continues to interact with your team, your team must leave the game and send us the replay, VOD, or other evidence from the entire game for context in order to claim a forfeit win
- If there is a violation during the game, your team MUST leave the game in order to attempt to claim the forfeit, otherwise the completed results will stand if you finish the game
- Note that interaction violation forfeit requests will be denied if your team does not follow the proper procedures, if your team also uses bad manners yourselves, or if your team is goading the opponent into it, so if you leave the game prematurely/erroneously, your team will end up with the forfeit loss
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember, results will stand if you play through the game. If there are problems or issues (lag, chat violations, etc) that call for a regame or forfeit, please pause the game and speak to a CSL admin. If you play through the game, you CANNOT retroactively request regames or forfeits (unless both teams agree on a regame)
- Each team will have a coordinator that is responsible for organizing his or her team, submitting lineups and results, taking accurate screenshots as evidence for forfeits and other issues, and serving as a point of contact with CSL staff and other coordinators. Coordinators must have a Discord name (i.e. PlayerA#1234) attached to their CSL profile, since Discord is where most communcation between teams will take place. Beginning January 18, 2020, if a coordinator has not added a Discord name to their CSL profile and an opposing team's coordinator is not able to reach them, they will risk forfeiting their team's games at the discretion of tournament officials. The coordinator is also responsible for making sure all team members are eligible under the rules
- The pre-set time for all matches is Saturday at 12:00pm Pacific (and Sunday 12:00pm Pacific for the second weekly lower bracket matches). Matches must be played at the default time unless both teams agree to play at a different time. Normal non-broadcasted regular season Matches during the Fall semester may be rescheduled to any time on or before December 8, 2019, and regular season Matches during the Spring semester may be rescheduled to any time on or before February 16, 2020. Any Matches that have not been completed by the deadlines will be treated as double-forfeits. No playoff matches may be postponed past the default weekend except for CSL broadcast purposes (exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis upon detailed review by CSL administrative staff)
- Procedural note: When agreeing to reschedule a match, both teams must email [email protected] with the agreed upon date and time to confirm or provide applicable evidence of the reschedule. Once this date and time is agreed on it will be considered the new official match time, and forfeit rules will apply to it
- A team that does not show up for a match 15 minutes after the default start time will forfeit the match. Players are given a 3 minute grace period in between sets; a player who is not ready for his specific set within 3 minutes of the previous game ending auto-forfeits
- Procedural note: in order to claim a forfeit win, please click the “request forfeit” button on the match page ON THE CSL WEBSITE, submit your screenshot (if you have multiple, please combine them into one image) and write a brief description to explain the situation. An administrator will then review your request and accept or deny it. If your request is denied, you likely did not show the proper evidence or date/timestamp in your screenshot; check with the tournament admins if clarification is needed
- Match results must be uploaded to the website as soon as possible; even if your match is broadcasted, all teams must still report their matches. All unreported or unfinished/pending matches will result in a loss for BOTH teams after the reporting deadline on the last weekend of each group stage. Unreported playoff matches will result in BOTH teams being removed
- In order to report your game, the WINNING COORDINATOR MUST: (1) add the lineups played by BOTH teams, and (2) select the deck color used by each player. Optional: coordinators may submit deck list strings for the matches. Failure to report properly will result in penalties; see section penalties
- We encourage teams to save screenshots and recordings in case disputes need to be resolved. Disputes without replays, screenshots, or other evidence will likely be ignored
- If assistance is needed, please email [email protected]. For live assistance, there will be an admin available on CSL's official DISCORD CHANNEL during the default match time. Click HERE! to download the app and join the CSL channel!
- During the week, CSL will have open "office hours" on our official DISCORD CHANNEL. Mondays 8pm-9pm PST you'll be able to hop on our DISCORD and receive assistance from our admins
- We understand that CSL is a long league and not every team can play every single week. However, repeated forfeits impact the playing experience for all teams, and repeated forfeits may result in removal from the league. If a team is removed from the league because of forfeits (especially in the playoffs), that team will: (a) not be entitled to any refunds if registration fees were paid; and (b) will forfeit any and all prize earnings
- If a team forfeits two matches during the regular season, they will be given an official warning. This warning will be sent via email to the team's coordinator and all players on the roster
- A third forfeit, with no explanation given by the forfeitting team, may result in CSL removing the team from the league. This decision cannot be appealed. If a team is able to provide CSL administrators explanations or specific reasons for their forfeits, that team may be allowed to continue playing
- If your team has been selected for a broadcast your coordinator will be notified via email
- The match will be moved from the default time to a broadcasted time slot. Please check your individual team pages to confirm these changes
- Yes, this is mandatory
- Once you're scheduled for a broadcast you may not move or reschedule the match without the approval of the production director. Doing so or playing ahead of your broadcasted time will result in a forfeit for both teams
- This year we will allow teams to notify us no later than 7 days prior to their broadcast date if they have an issue with the time presented. Any team that cancels later than that 7 day period will be automatically forfeited.(Certain times there will be exceptions, e.x. first couple weeks of the fall, as it's very sudden for those team to prepare/adjust schedules for match times.)
- If your team is planning on dropping out or going inactive please let the production director or one of the admins know asap. Going dark and not saying anything leaves us vulnerable and creates a bad impression of your team/school
- You can view the publicly available broadcast schedule HERE (TBD)
Penalties and Bannable Offenses
- Player verification: a player who fails academic verification by CSL (e.g. on probation, fails to send in files, etc...) will have all of his or her CSL matches overturned. That player will also be banned for the remainder of the CSL season and the following season. If it is found that the coordinator knowingly used an ineligible player upon investigation, the coordinator may be removed from his or her position, or harsher penalties may be levied on the team, on a case by case basis. The team will also forfeit a minimum of 20% of all prizes, but may be higher, depending on the severity of the case as determined by CSL admins
- Addendum: a student who starts the season eligible to play, but ends up on academic probation mid-way through the year will not be allowed to play in any future matches, but his or her previous games will stand as valid. Any such case should be pointed out immediately to CSL administrators. Failure to do so will result in the penalty listed above for any game a player plays after going on probation. Failure to notify CSL administration of such cases will again, result in penalties
- Falsifying records: a player or coordinator found falsifying records, including but not limited to a student's enrollment or transcript information, will be immediately removed from the league and banned for 1 year. Furthermore, any and all matches played by the player in question will be overturned and all prize money earned by the entire team will be forfeit
- Incorrect MTG Arena ID's: We will send one warning to the COORDINATOR of the team if his or her players are found with incorrect MTG Arena IDs in their profile. The errors must be corrected before the team's next match. If the error is not fixed by the time of the team's next match, said team will receive one game loss, and will continue receiving one loss each week the player's information is not correctly updated
- False or incorrect result reporting: Teams who upload false or incorrect results will receive one warning. A 2nd warning will result in the reversal of the game(s) in question. A 3rd warning will result in the entire match score being reversed. Any further infractions will result in removal from the league
- Illegal Players: Players can only be an active player on ONE MTG Arena team. Illegally using a player from another MTG Arena team, will result in a match forfeit penalty, and potentially having the player suspended from ALL activities in CSL and the team removed from the season, depending on the circumstances; CSL admins will determine the adequate punishment for repeat offenders at their discretion. If your opponent is using an illegal player, notify an admin immediately
- Bad manner: Players who use excessive bad manner, insults, or other such related behavior towards another player or admin as determined by CSL staff will be given a single warning. Another instance of excessive bad manner will result in the offending player being banned from the current season. In more extreme cases, a player may be penalized or even banned without warning, permanently, at CSL tournament admin discretion
- Hacking, Ghosting, Stream Cheating: Any type of use of an illegal 3rd party program or map hack, stream cheating, or other activity that leads to one player gaining an unfair advantage will be immediately banned from the current season and 1 year thereafter. Furthermore, any and all prize money earned by that player will be forfeit, and all his or her matches reversed. For documentation purposes, prize money earned by an individual will be calculated by taking the team's winnings divided by the amount of players total (e.g. $10,000 / 6 players)
- If a team that is selected to play a LIVE BROADCAST game fails to show up for its match on schedule, and did not notify us of any scheduling conflicts during the registration period will be subject to ONE warning. A second instance of a team not showing up to a live broadcast slot will result in a forfeit of $150 in any prize money the team wins. This amount will double for each subsequent violation
- If a team qualifies for the live Grand Final and can not attend -- the team will forfeit its total prize money
Fees, Data, and Other Legal Notices
- CSL's Magic: The Gathering Arena league is free for the 2019-2020 school year
- As stated above: CSL will collect data from our users, including educational information found on their transcripts. This information is used solely for the purpose of verifying eligibility in CSL. Educational information is kept securely in CSL's files and are retained for a period of 6 months (to see through the conclusion of the league and paying out of prize pools). After this period, the files are permanently destroyed. CSL never retains this information for longer than 6 months
- CSL must collect tax information for all winning teams (W9 forms for American citizens, W8 forms for Canadian citizens). This information is required in order to receive prize payments from CSL. CSL uses these forms for tax purposes only
- After any tournament or league concludes that has prizing attached, CSL will reach out to all winners to collect their information. Teams or players have 30 days to submit the required information to CSL. Failure to submit prize information within 30 days may result in a forfeiture of prize (this will be handled at CSL's discretion)
- At the conclusion of the collection deadline, CSL will process all payments through its finance department. Payments take up to 45 days from this point, pending complete information. If any team or player submits incorrect information, prize payments may be delayed
For any Magic: The Gathering Arena related questions - please feel free to email us at [email protected] or speak to an admin live at the default match time on DISCORD in the MTG Arena Tournament chat.