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joinDOTA League Format explained



For Season 15 we decided to revamp the structure of our League. We hope to be able to address some of the more common feedback – too many teams dropping out in the middle of the season leading to a lot of default wins and little gameplay, high skill-variance in groups and a slow progression in general.

This is meant as a short overview of how the new system works, and what it means for your team.

Temporal change - “phases”



Each season is split into four phases.

Phase 0” is the Calibration Phase, a short weekend tournament near the end of the signup period, designed to ensure teams are playing at the right level. While a team cannot end up at a lower level than their previous season’s result, doing well means they will start the season placed higher than before.

Phase 1 to Phase 3 see teams split into groups of 4. In each phase teams play a 2-games Round Robin group stage. Promotions and relegations happen at the end of each phase, with results at end of Phase 3 carrying over to the following season.

Structural change - “sub-divisions”



From Division 2 onwards, each division will be split into sub-divisions – Upper, Middle and Lower. These will act as its own mini-league, with promotion and relegation possible over the course of the season. Teams can either move up, down, or hold their position, depending on the division and the phase.

The exceptions to this structure are:
  • there will be no Middle sub-division in Phase 1 of Division 2.
  • there are no Middle sub-divisions between in Phase 2 between Division 3 and the lowest division. For example, if there are six numbered divisions (2,3,4,5,6,7), then only 2, 3 and 7 will have a Middle sub-division in Phase 2.
  • there is obviously no relegation from the lowest division.


Premier Division



The only division not undergoing significant changes, the Premier Division remains largely as it was.

There is two groups of five teams playing a 2-games Round Robin group stage, with the top four teams overall advancing to the Finals. The bottom team from each group will automatically drop to Division 2 Upper for the next season, while the fourth-placed teams in each group will drop down and contest Phase 3 of Division 2 Upper — a kind of promotion/relegation playoff. The remaining teams hold their position in the Premier Division.



How does this look in practical terms?



In order to help you understand the new format, imagine a team progressing through a season.

This team, let’s say Team DotoN00b, start in Division 3 Middle:

  • They place third in their group in Phase 1, and therefore drop down a sub-division.
  • They finish second in Phase 2 of Division 3 Lower, moving back to the Middle sub-division.
  • They also finish second in Phase 3, meaning they start the next season in Division 3 Upper.
  • This means that over the course of the whole season, they have managed to gain one sub-division.


Now, imagine Team DotoLegends, starting in the Premier Division.

  • They fail to make the Finals, finishing fourth in their group.
  • They drop down to Phase 3 of Division 2 Upper.
  • They fail to win that, meaning they start the following season in Division 2 Upper (remembering that there is no Middle sub-division in Division 2 Phase 1).


All well and good - but what does this actually mean for my team?



In practical terms, not much changes for your team. After the signups are over, you will be assigned to a group, where you will play 3 matches against the other teams. After this however you will be assigned to a new group, where the process repeats, and afterwards a new group - still, the core stays the same. So no need to be worried, day to day operation will hardly change for you!
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