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Tournament Rules and General Guidelines

Discussion in 'Tournaments' started by Zebraiken, May 18, 2015.

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  1. Zebraiken

    Zebraiken dance through the danger
    is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a defending SPL Champion

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Welcome to the Smogon Tournaments Forum! This thread lists rules that all who wish to participate in Smogon's tournaments must follow, and also acts as a guide to acceptable practices within the forum. Please make sure you read through the entire thread at least once.


    Signing Up for a Tournament

    Before getting into this, it should be noted that signing up to play in a tournament is a commitment to playing. If you don't think you will be bothered to build the required teams to play, or you are going on a holiday in a week, please do not sign up. Tournaments will generally take a couple of months to finish, to give a general idea of the amount of time you may need to dedicate. You are expected to log in at least once every couple of days and preferably daily, and should be available for battle reasonably often. If you are only available for a few hours a week, live tournaments such as the Smogon Tour are more suitable. If you sign up to tournaments and repeatedly fail to play your matches, you risk being given a Warning and / or banned from playing in tournaments.

    Signing up for a tournament is extremely simple. All you have to do is read the first post to make sure you understand the rules, then post saying "in" or that you want to join. If the tournament requires you to do something else like submit teams before the first round, you should try to do that as soon as you can. If you have any questions, you may either post them in the thread or contact the host privately.

    Note that Smogon's hosting rules require most tournaments to accept the first 62.5% of players that sign up, and then randomize the remainder of the players, so if you posted before someone that got in and you didn't, this is the most likely reason why. The reason for this is that basically every tournament uses a number of participants that results in no byes and either two or three players in the final round (32, 48, 64, 96, 128, 192, 256, 384, or 512), and for tournaments that fill up quickly, we don't want to eliminate the chance of participating for those in unfortunate timezones.

    Even if you don't get into a tournament, if the host is efficient and willing to do it, you could ask to be substituted into the tournament if someone drops out or goes missing. If you missed out and are interested in joining, simply post in the current tournament thread or send the host a PM stating that you would like to be a substitute if possible.


    Playing in a Tournament

    Once you have signed up and the host posts Round 1, it is strongly recommended that you contact your opponent immediately by sending them a VM on their profile, or a PM if you prefer (though this makes it more difficult for the host to track who is more active). Let them know when you think you will be ready to play, your timezone (assuming you set it when you joined, it should appear at the bottom of every page on the forums), and maybe your availability if you know what that will be. For a more detailed description of what is recommended, there is a guide that details How to schedule a battle in this thread. Try to respond in a timely fashion whenever your opponent contacts you. If someone misses a scheduled time and the match is in danger of going uncompleted by the deadline, the host will nearly always award the win to the player that showed up, so scheduling a battle is a sure way to avoid being eliminated by inactivity. Don't be lazy!

    Here are some rules we enforce for players in tournaments. There is a good chance you will receive a Warning or potentially be banned from tournaments if you fail to adhere to these:
    • If your user name undergoes a change, it is your obligation to report the change to the hosts of any tournaments you are participating in, as well as your opponents in those tournaments.
    • Avoid dropping out of a tournament midway through unless you have a good reason for doing so. People that repeatedly drop out of tournaments without good reason may be punished.
      • If you do have to drop out, you must notify the host and your opponent.
    • Endeavor to complete your battles before the deadline of each round. If we notice a pattern of laziness, we may decide to punish you.
    Pre- and In-Battle Rules

    These rules explain what you aren't allowed to do before and during a battle, and what standard rules must be followed.

    Definitions of Standard Clauses: (these clauses apply across all Smogon tiers)
    • Sleep Clause: If a player has already put an opposing Pokémon to sleep using a sleep inducing move and that Pokémon is still sleeping due to that sleep inducing move, the player cannot put another opposing Pokémon to sleep using a sleep inducing move.
    • Species Clause: A player cannot have two of the same species of Pokémon on their team, based on the National Pokedex Number. For example, a player cannot have two Koffing on his or her team.
    • Evasion Clause: Players cannot use Double Team or Minimize in any of their Pokémon's movesets.
    • OHKO Clause: Players cannot use Horn Drill, Guillotine, Sheer Cold, or Fissure in any of their Pokémon's movesets.
    • Timer Clause: If a player exhausts the timer, he/she loses.
    Definitions of Other Clauses
    • (Standard in VGC tournaments) Item Clause: No two Pokémon on a player's team may hold the same item at the beginning of a battle.
    • (Standard only in RBY) Freeze Clause: If a Pokémon on a player's team is frozen and another Pokémon on that player's team would become frozen, it does not become frozen.
    • (Standard only in Smogon's fifth generation tiers) Moody Clause: A player may not use a Pokémon with the ability Moody.
    • (Standard in fourth generation VGC tournaments) Self-KO Clause: If a player uses a recoil move to cause a draw, that player wins. If a player uses Explosion, Selfdestruct, Destiny Bond, or Perish Song to cause a draw, that player loses. If a draw would be caused by a hold item or ability that causes recoil to the opponent, the player that controls the Pokémon with the hold item or ability wins.
    Disconnections and Timer Clause: In live tournaments with short time constraints such as the Smogon Tour, if a player disconnects or times out, the opponent may take the win. In other tournaments, if a player disconnects and contends that they could still win, the optimal solution is to recreate the exact situation the disconnection occurred at during the battle. If this is not feasible due to unreasonable battle length, highly improbable circumstances, or some other reason, the player who did not disconnect may choose to rematch with either the same teams or (the option to use) new teams. Timing out is still classified as a loss, unless the reason for timing out is a disconnection. If there is any suspicion that a disconnect was carried out deliberately to take advantage of this rule in any way, we reserve the right to exercise a harsh punishment.

    Simulator Glitches: Any battle mechanics not properly implemented in the simulator used for a tournament battle are fair game, unless explicitly banned by that tournament's rules. Illegal movesets that are not restricted by the simulator fall into this category as well. However, this does not include faulty tier scripts; for example, if there was a bug in the BW OU tier script that allowed you to use Drizzle and Swift Swim on the same team, taking advantage of this would result in disqualification in that battle. If a game breaking glitch is discovered, we will make a blanket tournament ban on that glitch via an announcement in the Tournaments forum until it is fixed.

    Ghosting: The player in a tournament battle should be the one making their own decisions. Do not tell a player what move to make in a tournament battle (i.e. do not "ghost" them), and do not make your moves based on another person's suggestions. If we are made aware that someone playing a tournament battle is making some of their moves based mainly on the suggestions of someone else, punishments may be handed out to both parties involved.

    Identity: Pretending to be another player in relation to a tournament battle is strictly prohibited. Do not try to impersonate or play as another player.

    Rule Breaking: If a player breaks a rule during a battle, they are disqualified from that particular battle. If it was a single battle in a series, they will still have the opportunity to play the rest of the series.

    Draws: If a battle ends in a draw in an elimination tournament or another tournament format that is unable to handle draws, there should be a rematch between the players with the option for both players to change teams.

    Forfeiting: A player may forfeit their battle during or after the battle, as long as the result has not been confirmed by the host. If a player forfeits before a battle commences in the first round of a tournament, they are eligible for substitution if appropriate. We highly recommend that you do not forfeit your tournament battles just because you got lucky, but we do not enforce this.

    Host / Tournament Director Decisions: The host may make a judgment call on the outcome of a battle with a disputed result, even if one player has broken the rules. If you believe the host has made an unjust decision, you may inform the Tournament Director responsible for the tournament of the situation and request that they make a final call on it.

    Sportsmanship: If a player displays exceedingly poor sportsmanship before, during, or after a tournament battle, they may be disqualified or otherwise punished.


    Hosting

    Hosting a tournament here on Smogon is one of the greatest ways to increase your involvement within the community. Some individuals believe hosting is as simple as updating a few match results, posting new rounds and calling it a day, but there is much more to it than that. Decision making is an important aspect of tournament hosting, and in addition to simply updating match results, you will almost always be required to make judgment calls regarding player activity, coin flips, and substitutions, among many other things. This may sound daunting at first, but once you get your get feet wet and overcome the hurdles presented by the busy first rounds, it tends to be smooth sailing onwards. Once your tournament comes to a close and a winner is crowned, you'll be wanting to do it all over again! Not so fast, though. Before hosting a tournament, there are a few things you must do. The following sections will help you become familiar with what is expected of you when hosting a tournament. Upon reading, you will also come across some handy tips and tricks related to tournament hosting to ensure that your tournament will run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

    Before applying to host a tournament, you should check if tournament applications are open or closed. If they are closed, it's likely because there are enough tournaments lined up in the tournaments listing queue, making additional applications unnecessary. Once the queue decreases in size sufficiently and ongoing tournaments start to finish up, tournament applications may be opened again, allowing you to submit an application to host a tournament.

    Tournament Ideas

    While we generally permit any kind of applications as long as they involve playing Pokemon on simulators (or over Wi-Fi for Wi-Fi tournaments), there are some guidelines you can follow to increase the chances of your tournament being approved by the tournament directors.
    • If you are new to the forums, you may want to lurk for a while to look at how the tournaments section works and look at the different types of tournaments that have been hosted in the past.
    • Standard Type A tournaments (see Tournament Listing and Queue) are generally permitted a few months after a previous tournament of the same tier was hosted, assuming it is a relatively popular standard metagame. The standard format for Type A tournaments is best-of-three, single elimination, but other formats will be given consideration if you can justify using them.
    • Many ideas for non-standard tournaments have been done before, but if the ideas made good tournaments in the past, they can be hosted again. We generally allow sequels to previous Type B and C tournaments, as well as Type A tournaments with special formats, to be hosted about one year after the previous rendition. If the previous host is still around, you may want to ask them whether they are planning to host it again before you apply.
    • Make sure you are not proposing a tournament of gigantic scope, and avoid excessive complexity. Unless you are a well known figure in the community, we probably won't allow you to host a 10 player per team tournament, for example. If you do want to host a complex tournament and can provide good justification for doing so, you are free to apply.
    • A general rule is that the more team building and work a player has to put in, the less activity your tournament will get. If you are using a non-standard format that requires players to build a new team during every single round, your idea had better be good enough to justify it and keep the interest of players.
    • If you have an idea that you want to get feedback about before you apply, we recommend you come onto IRC and talk about your idea in #pokemon, or PM one of the tournament directors if we are online (double-click on a user to open a PM window with them on IRC).
    Submitting Applications

    Once you have an idea down, go to the Tournament Applications forum to post a thread (Note: Threads in this forum can only be viewed by the author, the Tournament Directors, and Super Mods+. The details provided in your threads are private from the public). The application should outline the details of your tournament, including any special rules and clauses, and other information you deem important for us to know. The application should preferably be formatted in the same manner as your intended OP. The Tournament Directors will deliberate the status of the application in the thread. After posting the thread, do not reply unless prompted by the Tournament Directors. If your idea is approved, congratulations! The Tournament Directors will give you instructions in the thread for when to begin your tournament. If your tournament was not approved, the Tournament Directors will provide a brief explanation as to why it was not approved. Do not let this discourage you from sending further applications in the future. However, do keep in mind that you will not be allowed to send in an application again for the tournament you requested.

    There are a number of responsibilities placed on the host to ensure a tournament will be successful. Here are some general rules, tips, and recommendations that will hopefully help make your tournament a success. Failure to adhere to any of the rules will result in a warning and being banned from hosting future tournaments on Smogon.

    The sign up thread & subsequent rounds

    Sign up threads must last for a minimum of 24 hours to give people from varying time zones a chance to sign up for your tournament. Two or three days is a normal length of time to keep your thread open for registration, and you should generally keep to that length unless you are close to reaching 64, 96, 128, or 192 players. If you have 104 players and sign ups begin to die down after a day or so, you probably will not reach 128 players. If this is the case, close the sign ups, make the tournament 96 man, and post round 1 (read the First Come, First Serve section below to see how you should determine who gets admitted into your tournament). If you are very close to one of these numbers and you want to get your tournament started as soon as possible, you may want to ask people on IRC or the Smogon server to join in order to fill the last few places. You should not give out byes in order to reach a good number, but if you feel it is necessary, contact a Tournament Director and explain why, and we may grant you permission.

    For each round of your tournament, including the sign up period, list the rules for your tournament, a link to this thread, and the username of the Tournament Director you sent your application to at the top of your post. Do not let members who are banned from joining tournaments, are banned from the forum, or have a status of “I Could Be Banned!” under their username join your tournament. If a player becomes banned or close to being banned during a tournament, you do not need to disqualify them unless their ban is permanent. If your tournament is currently in Round 1, you may substitute them out, but otherwise you should allow them to finish competing.

    You may sign up to play in your own tournament, but only if your tournament does not require you to be given any kind of submission by the players (e.g. battle logs, teams, tournament-related choices).

    First Come, First Serve

    All tournaments that don't have a specifically approved sign up method will use First Come, First Serve for the first 62.5% of the players, and then the host must select the last 37.5% from the remainder at random. Here is a table to help you understand how this works:

    [​IMG]

    To get your player list:
    • First, make a list of players that signed up for your tournament. Some hosts like to maintain a list in the first post for the duration of the sign ups to lessen the effort required to post round 1 later (example).
    • Check the table above to see how many players are given entry automatically via First Come, First Serve (the first 62.5%).
    • Copy and paste the remainder of the list into random.org's list randomizer, and take the appropriate number of players from the top of the list to fill the remaining entry slots. The rest of the players can be put into a list of potential substitutes. If you are using IFM's bracket maker, you can select the "First 5/8ths Guaranteed" option to get this outcome too.
    • You are now ready to generate your pairings.
    Pairings and Tournament Format

    We tend not to use seeded brackets and instead stick with generating each round's random pairings as the previous round finishes. This is a simple to understand method and helps to avoid scouting of known future opponents. Here is a bracketmaker for generating random pairings. When you post a round, be sure that all of the participants in a tournament have their usernames spelled correctly.

    Deadlines and Extensions

    This is an extremely important point. No-one likes a tournament that drags on for ages. In order for your tournament to finish in a timely fashion, each round must have a strict deadline. The maximum length of a round is two weeks, unless longer deadlines are explicitly approved by a Tournament Director. However, not every single round will need two weeks to finish. Usually, round one takes the longest to complete, so setting a two week deadline for the first round of your tournament is acceptable. Later rounds, however, should preferably be a week or so long, to encourage participants to complete their matches sooner and get the tournament moving. This partly depends on the format of your tournament. For example, if it is one that requires the players to team build in every round, you can give slightly longer deadlines. Deadlines may be extended at the host's discretion when necessary, such as in cases where many battles are incomplete. Try to avoid making a habit of doing this, and restrict any extension you do give to a maximum of three days. One way to avoid a few uncompleted matches from holding up the entire tournament is to post the next round with a couple of uncompleted pairings (e.g. (Player1 vs Player2) vs Player3).

    Activity and Disqualifications

    As a host, it is part of your responsibility to ensure your tournament’s participants are actively trying to do their matches. If a player has shown little to no activity in attempting to get their game completed, you have the right to substitute them out for another player. If the overall activity in your tournament is low, it may be in your best interest to send out private messages to the participants in your tournament in order to find out why their activity is low. Eventually, you will most likely have to make activity judgment calls with a few pairings, unless each round of your tournament has a 100% match completion rate, which is rarely the case. In order to make the fairest call possible, here are some guidelines:
    • Browse through your tournament thread to see if a player has made any activity posts. If provided, look for the reason they gave for making said activity post. Activity posts will prove helpful in making an activity decision with a pairing.
    • Typically, if someone misses a scheduled time, the person who missed the scheduled time will receive the activity loss, while the person who showed up to the scheduled time will receive the activity win. Only in the case where someone clearly refuses to schedule another time for no apparent reason should the match not be declared in favor of the person who showed up.
    • Players commonly use visitor messages as a form of communication when scheduling battles. Make sure to look at the profiles of your tournament's participants to check for message exchanges between players.
    • If user x sends a visitor message to user y and user y fails to respond completely, then it is reasonable to give user x the activity win, especially if user x has made activity posts.
    • If during exchanges between user x and user y user x takes a long time to reply while user y responds promptly, awarding the win to user y may be reasonable, depending on the circumstances.
    • What if user x and user y both make activity posts and show equal amounts of activity through their visitor messages but ultimately fail to complete their match? Well, if that's the case, you may move their match into the next round next to their following opponent. If user x and user y fail to complete their game even after the granted extension, you may flip a coin to decide who advances. If you don't want to or cannot extend the deadline, you may also flip a coin to determine who is awarded the win at the original deadline.
    • If user x and user y show no evidence of activity through visitor messages or activity posts, then they may be communicating through PM. If that's the case, you may send a PM to both players to find out what the situation surrounding their game is. If user x replies while user y does not, you may give user x the win. If both parties fail to respond, you may flip a coin to decide who advances. If you do not have time to PM the users (i.e. the deadline has already arrived) and have been given no indications of activity, you may also flip a coin.
    • If a situation cannot be handled, ask a Tournament Director to help make a decision for you.
    Activity not only pertains to players, it also pertains to hosts. Hosts are expected to maintain high levels of activity from start to finish. A host can show they care about the well being and activity in their tournament by updating match results and making substitutions quickly, as well as posting to encourage players to complete their games before the deadlines arrives. If a host lounges and shows little activity, not only does it inconvenience players, a Tournament Director may also find a replacement and potentially ban said host from future hosting.

    Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way towards becoming a well-known and respected tournament host!

    TimeZone Converter for Scheduling

    So I know I'm not the only one that hates having to convert timezones into actual times and then negotiating when to meet for matches from there. So here's an easy timezone converter with common availability times for most Smogon users.

    When scheduling just say something like "I'm in England and available at 9 p.m. my time" and your opponent in New Zealand will instantly know that that's 10 a.m. his time and can say that doesn't work cuz of school and provide another time. No more "+6 GMT" bullshit, just places and times.

    If there's more places or times you think I should add just let me know. I'm going to add this table to Bloo's Tournaments Guide eventually so it's not it's own thread forever.

    [​IMG]

    Tournament Directors

    Below you will find a list of the current Tournament Directors for both simulator and Wi-Fi tournaments. Should you have any tournament-related questions, please don't hesitate to contact a Tournament Director.

    Simulator

    Official Tournaments

    Smogon's official tournaments are held at least once annually and are defined as tournaments which award the winner(s) with a profile trophy. They run according to the Major Tournament Schedule. Current hosts are listed to the right of the tournaments; contact them if you have any questions about the tournament.

    Below you will find the list of banned hosts / players for the simulator tournaments section. For Wi-Fi, see the Wi-Fi blacklist.

    Banned from Hosting Tournaments

    ForgottenOnes - Permanently
    RODAN - Permanently
    Crestfall - 1st, January 2016

    Banned from Joining Tournaments
    • Maxeo - Permanently
    • Prankster. - 30th, January 2016
    • marcoasd - 30th, January 2016
    • Lord Outrage - 3rd, March 2016
    • IBIREVER - 23rd, April 2016

    Trophies

    Trophies are awarded to the winner or winners of Smogon's Official Tournaments as well as The Pokemon Company International's Video Game World Championships. These trophies appear below the username in the postbit alongside badges, although they do not carry the same privileges that badges do. However, they are highly coveted and prestigious due to the extremely competitive nature of these tournaments. Check out the Badge & Trophy FAQ for all the current trophy holders.

    [​IMG] Official Smogon Tournament - An annual best-of-three, single elimination Standard OU tournament in the current generation. Usually reaches 512 competitors and is largely considered the most prestigious tournament in online competitive Pokemon.

    [​IMG] Smogon Tour - Designed to test competitors across a variety of metagames, this tournament involves playing the three most recent generations' OU tiers. It is hosted over the course of several weeks during which players compete in live tournaments to accumulate points. The 16 players with the most points after 9 weeks make the playoffs where they duke it out in three generations to determine the champion.

    [​IMG] World Cup of Pokemon - One of Smogon's oldest and most prestigious team tournaments. Players team up with fellow countrymen and face off against other teams in Standard OU in the attempt to bring glory to their nation. After a preliminary round of divisional play, the top 8 countries are matched up head-to-head based on their success in the opening round. Each member of the winning team, including substitutes, earns a blue trophy. Note that the WCoP trophy is not permanent unlike other trophies; only the current WCoP champions hold the trophy.

    [​IMG] Smogon Premier League - The second of Smogon's two major team tournaments. Players are drafted in a live auction and then compete against other teams each week. Nearly every one of Smogon's officially supported metagames, past and current, are represented in this tournament. After 9 weeks, the top 4 teams battle it out in the playoffs to determine the SPL champions. Each member of the winning team, including substitutes, earns a red trophy. Note that the SPL trophy is not permanent unlike other trophies; only the current SPL champions hold the trophy.

    [​IMG] Smogon Grand Slam - A multi-tier competition that's comprised of 6 separate tournaments: the Ubers Open, the UU Open, the RU Open, the NU Open, the DOU Open, and the LC Open. Players score points based on how well they do in each tournament, and the top 8 players make the playoffs where they face off in a best-of-five in the aforementioned tiers.

    [​IMG] Smogon's Official Ladder Tournament - A tournament held over 64 days (in 8 day cycles) that requires players to finish in the top 4 of Pokemon Showdown's OU Ladder for any given cycle to advance to the playoffs. Playoffs is played with a double elimination format that consists of best-of-three OU matches.

    [​IMG] Smogon Classic - A multi-generation competition that's comprised of 5 separate tournaments: the BW Cup, the DPP Cup, the ADV Cup, the GSC Cup, and the RBY Cup. Players score points based on how well they do in each tournament, and the top 8 players make the playoffs where they face off in a best-of-five in the aforementioned generations.

    [​IMG] Smogon Frontier (now defunct) - A Standard OU tournament where players challenge Frontier Brains, a collection of the best players among Smogon's staff members, and try to defeat them to win their frontier symbol. Those skilled enough to win 12 symbols earn the green trophy.

    [​IMG] Official Smogon VGC Tournament (now defunct) - An annual best-of-three, single elimination VGC tournament utilizing the current ruleset outlined by The Pokemon Company International. Nearly analogous to the Official Smogon Tournament, this is Smogon's most prestigious VGC tournament and attracts hundreds of competitors.


    Tournament Listing and Queue

    The Tournament Listing contains a compendium of tournaments, hosts, and winners that you can find browsing the tournaments section. It is updated when possible, usually once a month. The first section of the thread contains the queue of upcoming tournaments which are approved but have not yet been posted. If the date or event the tournament is waiting upon has been decided by the Tournament Director who updates the thread, it will be listed alongside the tournament. Otherwise, they are listed as TBD (to be determined). The second section contains currently active tournaments, and lists the current round alongside the tournament and host. The third section contains a comprehensive list of past tournaments and their winners, and is an easy way to locate the final thread of any past tournament that ended from 2006 onwards.

    The queue is split up into three sections: Type A, Type B, and Type C. Type A represents a standard rules tournament with no twists involved other than perhaps the format of the tournament, e.g. BW Ubers Tournament -- a plain BW Ubers tournament. Type B is for tournaments that have a small but interesting twist on a standard rules tournament, and may test a different set of battling and team building skills than usual, e.g. The Gauntlet -- a tournament where having as many Pokemon alive at the end of a battle as possible gives an advantage in future battles. Type C is for tournaments that are much different to a standard rules tournament and will most likely require you to build new teams and play in an unusual format, e.g. The Wyoming Tournament -- a tournament where your entire team is decided nearly completely at random.

    We generally try to process Type A tournaments quicker than the other types, to allow for more of them in the long run -- after all, people should be able to test their skills in the metagames that they have honed their skills in. Type B and C are treated basically the same, and the distinction between them merely serves as an indicator of what to expect when participating.


    Useful Links

    Smogon Bracket Maker by IFM (input list of players)
    Bracketmaker by Sarenji (input list of players)
    Bracketmaker by Alaka (input pairings with bold bbcode tags around winners)
    List Randomizer
    Coin Flipper
    Tournament Listing
    Major Tournament Schedule
    Wi-Fi Tournaments Rules
    Tournaments Home Page
    Smogon Tour Site
    Smogon Frontier Site
    World Cup of Pokemon Site
    Battle of the Week Site
    Smogon Premier League Site
    Live Wifi Tournaments Site
    Informal Tournament Engine
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2017
  2. Stratos

    Stratos Banned deucer.

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,991
    Stratos's Guide to Scheduling (with Pictures)!

    Hello everyone! I've been entering tournaments on Smogon for nearly six years, and have never once incurred an activity loss (at least that I remember). Furthermore, as a prolific tournaments host on Smogon, I have witnessed some rather... innovative methods of scheduling for tours. Having seen how an activity loss catastrophically affects some users who were betrayed by their own less-than-stellar scheduling abilities, I decided to share the secret of my success with the masses. Follow this simple guide and you, too, will never take an activity loss again! Throughout this guide I'll refer to user profile messages as VMs because that's what they were called on vBulletin and it's a much more convenient name.

    The Golden Rule: Do it in Public

    Remember, scheduling is a game with two goals. Goal 1 is to schedule with your opponent, but Goal 2—which is actually more important!—is to make sure that the host of the tournament knows you're on top of scheduling with your opponent. A tournament host has two sources of information: user profiles and the tournament thread itself. Anything they need to know should be accessible on one of these two media. Scheduling with your opponent in a private conversation without saving logs may seem like a good idea at the time, but if disaster strikes and you don't actually play, you have no proof that you deserve the activity win. Oh, no!

    The Ideal Scheduling Conversation

    The ideal scheduling conversation is exactly four messages long, and proceeds like this:

    1) User 1 contacts User 2 on his User Profile. User 1 mentions the name of the tournament for which the two are paired, states his time zone (in GMT) and lists his times of comfortable availability.

    2) User 2 responds to User 1 as a reply to the same message. User 2 states his time zone, and which of User 1's listed availability windows are convenient for him as well.

    3) User 1 replies with an exact time picked out of his ass from the times which User 1 and User 2 are both available to play. User 1 names the server on which he wishes the battle to take place. If User 1's Pokemon Showdown name does not match his Smogon name, he also notes it at this time.

    4) User 2 confirms the appointment. This step may not seem important, but it is! If I tell you that we should meet at McDonald's at 4 and you never respond, there's no expectation for me to show. Same thing with Pokemon simulators! If User 2's Pokemon Showdown name does not match his Smogon name, he too notes it at this time.

    Side note on server names: Pokemon Showdown servers have acquired some slang nicknames over the years. Here is a short lexicon to help you understand your opponent's lingo:

    main - the main PS server, psim.us. This is the one that people chat on and shit. If you don't know what it looks like, I want to congratulate you on coming out of your coma alive.
    tours - smogtours.psim.us, a special server set up for official Smogon tournaments where all battles are broadcast to the public, replays are automatically saved, and timer is often auto-set to on at the start of the battle. This server is very neat!
    anything other than main or tours - third party PS servers. Typically they have really disgusting custom schemes and are referred to by the domain name. For example, if someone says "pandora," you can reach the server at pandora.psim.us, or if they say "gold," you can reach it at gold.psim.us.

    So there you have it, that's exactly what every scheduling conversation would look like in a perfect world. Here's a pictoral representation:

    [​IMG]

    When Things Go Wrong

    Of course, things don't always go according to plan. I've noted the common mishaps that occur during scheduling here and how to deal with them!

    I can't make any of my opponent's times!

    So you're User 2 in a particular scheduling conversation and your opponent has listed their times of easy availability on your wall. One slight problem: None of them work! Maybe you're in a shitty time zone difference, or maybe you just have opposing schedules. The first step is to reply with all of your available times—you already know that you can't both be comfortable with the time chosen, so it'd be rude to only give your opponent times that are good for you and force them to play on their laptop while herding cattle in order to get the game in!

    [​IMG]

    From here, the conversation can diverge in a few ways.

    1) The best, and probably most common, outcome is that you can both actually meet, just at a slightly shitty time. If this happens to you, of course, you will then continue to schedule like normal following the above steps. Congratulations, you resolved your scheduling conflict!

    2) If the above doesn't happen, it's time to think about an extension. Typically, extensions in Smogon tournaments are given halfway into the next round, rounded down to the next full day. So for example, if the next round is 7 days long, you can get an extension of up to 3 days into the round. If it's 14, you can get a 7-day extension. So if you can't meet in the allotted time for the round, try scheduling with your opponent into the typical extension window like so:

    [​IMG]

    If this works, fantastic! There's typically no need to actually request an extension if the host can see that you have scheduled for a time after the deadline; he'll use his noodle and realize you need one on his own. That being said, it can't hurt to be safe and ask.

    3) If you can't make any time work at all, not even with an extension, I'm sorry buddy, but you're just shit outta luck. I've been playing in tournaments for almost six years and this has never once happened to me, but it does happen. If that's the case, the match is just going to have to be coinflipped. Practice your RNG skills by playing RBY OU so you can hopefully win the coinflip and advance to the next round.

    I missed the scheduled time!

    It's ok, don't worry. Everyone's had unexpected things come up that stop them from making scheduled times once in a while. Just follow these steps and you'll be good to go.

    1) As soon as you know you won't make it, contact your opponent to let them know. Everyone has a smartphone these days and this takes less than a minute to do. There's really no excuse not to do this. If you don't do this, you'll be making your opponent wait as you no-show, which will make you a dickhead. Here is how you follow this step:

    [​IMG]

    2) As soon as you have the time, contact them to arrange another time. Apologize again for missing time. If you failed to follow Step 1, apologize for that as well, and explain why, or else you will remain a dickhead. Hopefully you both followed the model of the ideal scheduling conversation so you already know what times work well for both of you, and you can just pick another one. If no remaining times in the week work for both of you, jump to the subheader "I can't make any of my opponent's times!" and work from there.

    [​IMG]

    My opponent missed the scheduled time!

    So you've been sitting on Pokemon Showdown, waiting for your opponent to show up so you can battle, but the clock keeps ticking and they're nowhere to be found. What do you do?

    1) Give them some wiggle room. Standard wait time is 15 minutes; If your opponent isn't online and it's been 15 minutes since the scheduled time, their status has officially shifted from "a bit late" to "no-show." If they show up before then, call them a good-for-nothing sluggard and play your match; if not, do the following:

    2) Get proof of them being a no-show. Hopefully you won't need this, but if your opponent tries to claim that they were in fact there at the scheduled time, you can pull this out on them and call them a dickhead. PS has a chat command called /whois which will scan the entire server for a username and display their info if they are online. Simply get a screenshot of you whoising your opponent around 15 minutes after the scheduled time so that you're immune to their vicious lies.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, we scheduled for 1:45 PM and even fifteen minutes later, Arcticblast is nowhere to be found. What a shitty john.

    3) Post in the tournament thread that your opponent missed time. Bonus points if you can make an insulting pun out of their name. (Note: Only make an insulting pun out of their name if they failed to follow step 1 of the previous section).

    [​IMG]

    The ball is now in your opponent's court. If they fail to contact you to reschedule, collect your free activity win!

    My opponent won't respond to my VM!

    You have a couple options here. Option 1 is to claim your free activity win, but maybe you don't want to do that. Maybe you really want to play, or perhaps there's a really good player sitting on the sub list and your current opponent is free af. Either way, if they haven't responded to your VM, they probably just saw the notification when they were too busy to answer and then forgot. Leave another VM to remind them:

    [​IMG]
    link to the puush in that picture

    I've actually used this line before

    Scheduling via other means than User Profile

    Sometimes, you'll feel the urge to schedule in places other than your opponent's VM wall, such as PS private message, IRC private message, or facebook, or something. That's ok, as long as you follow these steps:

    1) Follow the model of the ideal scheduling conversation in spirit, if not in practice. You should still make known both of your availabilities and decide upon a specific time. That's just good scheduling, regardless of if it's on a VM wall or not.

    2) Post logs of the scheduling conversation, or at least the final agreed-upon time, in the tournament thread or on either user's VM wall. That way the host knows this conversation happened, and can use it to make activity decisions. If you don't do this, you have broken the Golden Rule of Scheduling, which makes you a dickhead.

    Conclusion

    If you read all this, congratulations, you're now a Scheduling Master! Now use the lessons contained within to make my life as a tournament host way easier, and stop scheduling for "weekend sometime" because I swear to god if I get one more case of each opponent saying the other missed time when they never narrowed it down beyond a 10 hour window I'm going to chokeslam them both.
  3. Zebraiken

    Zebraiken dance through the danger
    is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Team Rater Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnusis a defending SPL Champion

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    This will eventually get integrated with an updated rules post in the future, but it'll be kept here for some time as it is new. If you have questions, feel free to PM me (Zebraiken).

    Definition of Ghosting

    Any form of direct advice is considered ghosting. A player should be able to make their own decisions based on what they observe by themselves. Asking for suggestions or affirmation adds an unfair dynamic and greatly reduces the chances of making mistakes. Our tournaments are designed to be tests of individual skill, not the skill of one player with the support of others providing suggestions or preventing bad plays.​

    On the ruling of calculations and other timesavers:

    Player-requested calculations and other objective timesavers* are allowed. The driving force behind allowing objective timesavers is that these actions require only minimal effort and/or the information is publicly available and easily accessed by the player in the context of the battle. The act of giving other players this information is largely considered negligible and only exists to save time.

    * It is incredibly important to understand that only *objective* timesavers that provide trivial information are allowed. There are ways that players can provide seemingly OK information that implies a move, thought process, or a route of action; this is not allowed and is considered ghosting. The simplest example of this was given in our TD PM discussion about ghosting:

    Scenario: Keldeo vs. 60% Heatran (with 39% Latios in reserve)

    <KeldeoPlayer> secret sword is probably safe here
    <SpookyUser> 252 SpA Keldeo Icy Wind vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Latios: 112-132 (37.4 - 44.1%)
    <SpookyUser> in case you need it
    A calc for Icy Wind was not requested, and SpookyUser is altering KeldeoPlayer's thought process by providing an unrequested calc. It does not matter whether or not KeldeoPlayer ultimately uses Secret Sword or Icy Wind.​
    Objective timesavers that are allowed: player-requested calculations, timer reminders akin to "dude you have 20 seconds pick a move", public RMTs upon request, general game mechanics (within reason)

    "Timesavers" that are not allowed include but aren't limited to: team or moveset speculation ("jirachi might be scarf"), gameplan speculation ("tangrowth will do good this game" / "nothing is above 108 speed dude latios could clean house"), replay information (public but not considered easily accessible), etc

    Other examples such as "asking for advice on what to do this turn" and similar were not included as they are obviously not allowed. If you have any suggestions for timesavers to allow/disallow or examples that you can think of that you aren't sure where they would be placed, feel free to contact me (Zebraiken) and I'll get back to you.
    On the ruling of voice chat:

    Voice chat (Skype, Discord, etc) will not be allowed under any circumstance during tournament matches, individual or team. It's impossible to accurately determine what was discussed in this medium, as there are no logs or information trail left behind to investigate ghosting claims. As a competitive forum, we prioritize competitiveness over what we perceive to be "fun" -- there's always the non-OLT ladder or battles between friends if people want a more casual playing experience.
    On ghosting punishment:

    Convicted ghosts will now be banned from tournaments for a full year, which means that they will miss at least one edition of every official tournament, including the one in which they cheated. They will also receive a 3-point infraction giving them ICBB status, and the custom title described below. Additional ghosting incidents will incur harsher punishments.​

    On shaming as a punishment:

    We will implement a bold red Tournament Banned custom title that will last for the entirety of their tournament ban, coupled with a 3-point infraction. This will be unchangeable and will be visible everywhere that that user posts and on their profile. We will not implement a Hall of Shame at present.

    [​IMG]

    On ghosts in managerial positions:

    A player convicted of ghosting will henceforth not be allowed to have a managerial position in an official team tournament for two years after their conviction (assuming that they have no other altercations with the rules in the meantime). The position of manager or assistant manager is pivotal to the personality and operation of the team, and we do not want to have a player who has been actively proven to cheat lead the behavior of their teammates.​

    On a statute of limitations:

    Dated evidence makes having some kind of expiry date necessary. Time gone by makes evidence hard to find and even harder to verify. Different rules, different standards, and even different TDs also make things quite difficult to accurately judge. The TD team has more or less agreed upon a length of time in which ghosting evidence is actionable, but we do not wish to disclose it publicly due to potential issues with ghosts coming out of the woodwork once they believe they are in the clear. Do not assume it is too late to present any evidence that you may have.​
  4. Vinc2612

    Vinc2612 IT'S VINCE DUMBASS
    is a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

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    As you probably noticed, the recent events and dramas linked to the World Cup of Pokémon led to the highlighting of several flaws in our anti-ghosting policy. We have been working on some new guidelines, with the objective of being more fair within the different degrees of ghosting.

    From now on, we will work on a case-to-case basis to determinate the fairest punishment according to the evidence we used. We will base our judgement on the following points, from the heaviest to the lightest:

    1/ Complexity. Was the advice given/asked for of a complicated nature (i.e. with reasoning, or planning multiple turns ahead)?
    2/ Frequency. How often was advice given/asked for?
    3/ Effect. Is it likely that the advice given was of such a nature that, in its original context, it'd change the mind of the ghosted?
    4/ Initiation. Was the ghosted/ghosting taking the initiative, or was the person merely responding to a situation?
    5/ Repetition of actions. Is it likely that the person in question would show the same behavior again?

    Our precedent guidelines were focused on number one and two, but the addition of the three other points will help us to differenciate a wider array of ghosting offenses.

    With that comes a wider array of ghosting infractions. Depending on the case, we will be giving bans going from short going entry bans to a year or longer. Note that being in a call during a tournament battle is still worth a one-year infraction, since there is no way to check what happened in the call. We will also treat repeated offenser more harshly, doubling their ban duration.

    Finally, those guidelines are retroactive. We will look into the current tournament bans and change the infraction, if applicable. Expect them to be handled within the week (with a priority on the most urgent cases).


    Here are some more detailed definitions for every point:
    Show Hide

    1/ Complexity. There is the difference between "go to chomp" and "go to chomp, so you can EQ or switch back regardless of what he does". Or even worse "go to chomp, he can't 2HKO you, then EQ will deal about 80% so you can sweep with Scizor later ; and even if he switches he'll take the hazards". You get the picture, the more you talk/explain/plan ahead, the worse it is.

    2/ Frequency. Was it one random turn, one tricky turn, ten battles in a row? A bit caricatural, but we can buy the "accidental ghosting" more easily in the former cases than the latter.

    3/ Effect. It is not only about "did the ghoster take the advice", it's more like: does it make him think differently. For example stating the obvious, or giving a non-enlightened advice is worth less than advising someone in your main metagame.

    4/ Initiation. Do I need to explain?

    5/ Repetition of action. Is there remorse or confusion involved or a disrespect for our rules? Was it more like "woops I didn't realise it" in a team tournament, or "lol I already have three other accounts on public IPs anyway"?



    Note that this does not change our definition of what is and what is not ghosting. A lighter punishment does not mean that this form of ghosting is "okay". We just agree that different offenses deserve different infractions.
  5. Mazinger

    Mazinger lucid
    is a Tournament Directoris a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    Moderator

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    We would like to remind everyone that tournament games played before the matchups are made official will not count. This also serves as a notice to hosts and people helping with randomizing matchups: Just wait for the full thread to let people know who their opponents are.

    On another note, please try to stick to VMs for any kind of scheduling to prevent disputes about what happened when.
    Lady Salamence, p2, Simiatic and 3 others like this.
  6. teal6

    teal6 doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break
    is a Tournament Directoris a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    Head TD

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    This doesn't entirely fit within the scope of this thread but I don't think it deserves its own announcement.

    If you are testing on main and don't want snooping opponents to find you using the /user function (for example if I am testing on CoolGuy420 someone could type in the User field teal6 and then message me, the message will come up as being sent to CoolGuy) you can use the logout button located in the options menu.

    While this option has always been available, a lot of us don't know it and given how competitive our tournament scene can get, most of us have been victims of the random alt messaging you a "-" just to try and follow you around. So yeah, if for whatever reason you decide to ignore the illustrious gold.psim.us server for your testing needs, just make sure to logout.
    Mazar likes this.
  7. rozes

    rozes
    is a Tournament Directoris a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Global Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnus
    NU Co-Leader

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    posting here to say we've updated the trophies to be more uniform and they are all implemented now!

    [​IMG]

    alum | classic | tour | olt | spl | vgc | ost | new tour | frontier | slam | wcop | champ
    also there should be some announcements in the next few days about some new tours so keep your eyes peeled n_n
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