Tournament Rules

Factions is supposed to be mostly lighthearted fun, but to keep things clean we’ve developed some special, more detailed rules for Featured Matches and Tournaments, also known as special matches.


No more than five matches should be scheduled for a single day. Featured Matches and Tournaments are usually scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Format—Featured Matches

The format of featured matches depends upon the number of factions in the arc.

  • 4-Faction Arcs. There are six possible matchups. Three matchups are played on each day.
  • 3-Faction Arcs. Each weekend centers on one of the three factions. That faction plays a best-of-three against one opposing faction on Saturday, and a best-of-three against the other on Sunday.
  • 2-Faction Arcs. There are many ways to structure matches when only two factions are involved, and a default should be filled in here after the next 2-faction arc.
  • 2v2 Arcs. In alliance versus alliance arcs with two factions on each side, there are four possible matchups between rivals, and one “intra-alliance” match for each side. One of the four cross-alliance match-ups will be selected for each day, alternating on a weekly basis.

Match Reps

Each faction shall have up to five match reps, organized in a hierarchical list (First through Fifth). The initial set of reps shall be chosen from each faction’s Summoners by general vote at the start of the arc, organized by the Matchstaff Lead. There may be a re-vote during the course of the arc. Match reps may resign by informing staff. The highest-ranked match rep (other than the resigning rep) then selects a successor.

The primary responsibility of match reps is to organize teams for weekend matches, e.g. by encouraging people to sign up and finding replacements when people have to drop out. During Featured Matches and Tournaments, the highest-ranked (e.g. First, Second, Third; not in-game rank) match rep present speaks for the team. If none are present, a temporary team rep will be appointed by staff; generally, this will be the highest-ranking (Diamond, Plat, etc.) team member who wants to be rep.

Staff will do what they can to help teams get organized, to check teams for compliance (e.g. as to rank), and so on. However, the ultimate responsibility lies with the team, and particularly with the presiding match rep.

If necessary, the Matchstaff Lead may appoint match reps. Staff may be match reps.

Secondary responsibilities of match reps include organizing pickup matches and helping to develop faction strategies.

Team Composition

The rank composition for each special match shall be stated in advance by the Matchstaff Lead. Rank composition refers to the tiers of Summoners on each side, e.g., “Plat-Gold-Silver-Silver-Silver” (“PGSSS”).

The “Diamond” category encompasses Summoners of Master rank, Summoners of Challenger rank, and so on.

By default, Platinum and Diamond Summoners shall be combined into a single tier, known as “High”. This may be reverted at the discretion of the Matchstaff Lead, primarily based on participation.

Rank Defined

We use the same rank definition for Featured Matches and Tournaments as for pick-up matches. As of the time of this writing, those rules are, in brief:

  • Use the rank checker app to determine Season 4 and Season 5 rank. Use the higher of these two ranks.
  • Summoners who had no rank in either Season 4 or Season 5 shall be assigned a rank by matchstaff.

An important exception: whereas Summoners have only one rank at any given time for pick-up match purposes, and their past matches are automatically updated if and when they are promoted, this is not the case for special matches. For special matches, a Summoner’s rank at the time of the signup is what is relevant. Because bizarre hypotheticals have a way of becoming reality in Factions, it is further clarified that a Summoner who signs up for a match as one rank, then gets promoted before the match takes place but after signing up, will be eligible to compete in that match as their match-sign-up rank.

No Substitutions

No substitutions (undeclared Summoners or Summoners declared for other factions) are allowed in Featured Matches or tournaments, even to avoid a forfeit.

Exception: in 2v2 arcs, allied Summoners may substitute for each other as explained in other rules.


Teams may elect to fill a slot with a Summoner ranked below the maximum tier for that slot, e.g., by filling a Gold slot with a Silver.

Non-Compliant Teams

Teams have until three minutes after the start of the match (i.e. approximately when the three-minute-delayed stream shows the Fields) to protest that the other team is noncompliant, e.g., that they have a Summoner ranked higher than their appointed slot, or that they are using a Champion not on their roster. Matchstaff will rule on the objection. If the objection is found valid, the match will be restarted, and the noncompliant team will be subject to one (additional) Champion ban as a sign of the League’s displeasure. Both teams will be given three minutes to make any changes to their lineups, fill any new vacancies, and so on before the new match begins. Picks and bans will, as usual, be from scratch.

Teams have until 24 hours after the end of the match to report noncompliance. If matchstaff determine that the winning team was noncompliant, staff will do their best to reverse the outcome so that wronged team is treated as the winner for story and other purposes. (Exception: where a team is “noncompliant” in that an opposing faction’s Summoner snuck onto the roster, the fault will be ascribed to the winning faction.)

It is stressed that the responsibility for ensuring compliance shall be with the teams. It is logistically difficult for staff to check both teams while arranging other aspects of the matches, and in any event it would invite plausible accusations of bias if staff caught some deviations but not others. In the ordinary case of (e.g.) a team winning with Summoners ranked above match limits that goes unnoticed until after the deadline, the result shall stand.

Undeclared Summoners

Undeclared Summoners are not eligible to sign up for Featured Matches. However, should an undeclared Summoner end up fighting in a Featured Match, we will treat that participation as an implicit declaration for the faction (or their ally, in a 2v2 arc), and require them to submit a sign-up form ASAP. This is done primarily to avoid match nullification.

Match Start Times and Forfeit Rules

These are the rules for getting matches started. If the degree of precision in the wording seems odd, it is because the interpretation of these rules becomes quite the heated topic under pressure.

Summoner Selection

Tournaments generally use pre-made teams. A signup is posted, and any set of at least five Summoners may submit their team to staff. Priority is given to the first-submitted teams, but if possible, matchstaff will try to give them each a chance. Teams may alter their members freely, so long as they remain rules-compliant. If no team is submitted for a tournament, that responsibility shifts to matchstaff, who will make an effort to assemble a team. (This is not a guarantee.)

For Featured Matches, matchstaff will select teams from the signups. They generally do this through random selection; part of the purpose of Featured Matches is to give everyone a chance in the spotlight. Selected Summoners are notified at least 24 hours in advance by email.

  • 5 minutes prior to scheduled start. Summoners who signed up in advance and were selected for the team may show up anytime prior to the t-minus-5-minute mark to claim their spot. At 5 minutes before the start, matchstaff will check in. If any registered Summoners are still missing, it is the responsibility of the faction to find eligible Summoners to fill the empty slots.
  • Scheduled start. At the scheduled start time, if the team is not yet ready, matchstaff will formally state the deadline for team completion in the team chat, e.g., “Pinguland, you have until 2:44 PM to complete your team.” (If both teams are missing members, they will be given the same deadline, but it will be announced separately.) The deadline shall be about 10 minutes from the scheduled start time.
  • 10 minutes after scheduled start. If a team is still missing members 10 minutes after the scheduled start time, it automatically forfeits. If both factions are missing Summoners, the team with more missing Summoners forfeits. If both factions are missing the same number of Summoners, the match begins as-is.

In the above examples, “scheduled start time” means either the time listed on the official schedule, or ten minutes after the nexus exploded on stream from the previous match.


A forfeit due to a no-show is counted as a regular win.

Overfills by mutual agreement

Where both sides are missing Summoners for the same slots (e.g. both sides are missing their second Gold), they may mutually agree to replace that tier with a different tier, so that they can both play with a full team.

Overfills not by mutual agreement

Once per set of three Featured Matches, a faction that does not have a full team at the scheduled start time can overfill by one rank to avoid a forfeit. (Gold becomes High, if Platinum and Diamond are condensed into a single High category.) Before resorting to this, the team should announce their need for a Summoner of the given rank or below in chat, and make a reasonable effort to underfill.

The other faction receives a ban against the overfilling faction, in compensation.

Disconnections, Pauses, and Remakes

Technical problems do sometimes arise. For the most part, Tournaments and Featured Matches operate on a “play it as it lies” basis: do not rely on these rules to save you or your team if you have a spotty connection. We adopt this approach not to be jerks, but for two main reasons: first, we don’t want to compromise the schedule or impose on the audience’s patience, and second, we don’t want to even possibly encourage people to fake technical problems to gain an unfair advantage, as an overly generous remake rule might allow.


Each team has 5 minutes of pause time, to be used in case of technical problems. After that, the team must play on, braving the storms of chrono-thaumic distortion (“lag”) as best they can.

It should rarely if ever happen that a match must be paused on account of the streamers or casters. If this occurs, however, the time consumed is not deducted from either team’s pause time.


Remakes are generally not allowed. There are two main exceptions.

  • Large-scale server problems. If massive server problems are causing a significant number of Summoners to d/c or have unplayable levels of lag, we may call a remake.
  • Five-minute rule. Within the first five minutes of gametime (i.e. not counting pause time), either team may call a remake if one of their Summoners is involuntarily disconnected or has extremely serious lag issues (e.g. 1000ms). They will have 5 minutes to get a substitute in place. Each team may call a remake only once per match. Remake requests are subject to staff approval. Lag happens, and brief d/cs happen; this rule is in place for the most serious problems only.


Featured Matches and Tournaments will have their story significance announced ahead of time. Featured Matches are also worth points on the Balance of Power. Standing adjusts apply as in a pickup match. There is no rank adjust, except where a non-mutual overfill occurred.

Tournament matches have no independent Balance of Power significance.

Conduct and Language

Summoners who engage in a little friendly all-chat banter, compliment others, or otherwise add to the enjoyment being had by players and viewers alike will win my appreciation and favor, possibly in the form of video clips of red pandas playing in snow. Anyone who rages, whines, or otherwise behaves in a toxic manner is to be reported by all other Summoners, and may be suspended or expelled from Factions.

Since this is a common problem in the gaming community, it bears special mention that the use of discriminatory slurs will be punished especially harshly. Also, please find a better word than “rape” — pwn, stomp, wreck, whatever.

  • Enforcement. The penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct will vary based on its severity and degree of culpability. Staff may simply issue a formal warning in some cases. For repeated or otherwise sufficiently severe violations of this rule, a Summoner may be suspended or permanently banned from future Featured Matches.

Bullying and Team Composition

A special mention should be made of appropriate conduct in the context of assembling a team. It is not appropriate to harass a team member into leaving so that “someone better” can fill their spot.

  • Enforcement. Matchstaff will put a stop to this if it occurs, and will punish the offending players at their discretion.

General Principles

  • Match organizers may hold tournaments with special rules, announced ahead of time. The rules on this page are the default.
  • If both teams agree on a change, it should usually be allowed, unless a third party would be adversely affected to a significant degree.
  • It is the responsibility of each team to regulate the conduct of its own members.
  • When possible, avoid retroactive rule changes.
  • Look to the purpose behind each rule, and interpret it to accomplish that purpose.
  • If a strict, technical reading of a rule produces a manifestly absurd result at odds with the purpose of the rule, then it is a bad reading of the rule which should yield to more reasonable interpretation.
  • Crafty attempts by any team to circumvent the letter or spirit of these rules, or to exploit them for unfair advantage, will be rewarded with due appreciation for their cleverness and unreasonably harsh retribution.

Interpretation of Rules

The Matchstaff Lead is responsible for interpreting and applying these rules, or appointing others to do the same. No ruleset can reasonably be expected to address every contingency. That said, there is a strong preference for applying the rules as written.

When the Matchstaff Lead makes a judgment call that involves re-interpreting a rule or inserting an exception, or otherwise involves significant discretion, they will notify CupcakeTrap so that it can be reviewed. In all but the most extreme situations, the ruling will be upheld as to the immediate situation. However, staff may decide to clarify the rules for future matches, and may choose a different interpretation going forward.

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