posted by HolyMaster,
Two weeks into the first season of joinDOTA League, it is time to clarify and fully reveal the structure of the tournament. How will my results affect the division I play in? How exactly do the playoffs work? What will the divisions look like in the future? After only providing rough guidelines so far, we now explain all rules and functionalities to you in detail.

Before we get to the new details, let us explain the basic structure of joinDOTA League once more for those who are not yet aware:

The league is divided into an unlimited amount of groups. The amount and size of groups might change in between two seasons. Each group consists of 8-12 teams. Each team is in exactly one group. Within the regular stage of one season (excluding playoffs), teams only compete with the other teams in their group.

Each group is part of a division. The division roughly classifies the skill level of teams playing in a group inside the division. The best teams of a league are supposed to be part of Division 1, the next best teams in Division 2, and so forth. The amount of divisions might change in between two seasons.

With the exception of some teams being invited or seeded into a certain division (especially for the first season), the division of a team is defined by its result from the previous season (see group format for more details). Teams signing up for the first time will be in a group within the Starter Division.

More about this in the League Rules.

How will the divisions look in future?

The long term plan for each league is to have 10 teams in Division 1, 30 teams (3 groups) in Division 2, 90 teams (9 groups) in Division 3, and 270 teams (27 groups) in Division 4. That way the top 400 teams of a league play in Divisions 1-4. The structure of lower divisions depends on the total amount of sign-ups.

Since, right now, the vast majority of teams are in the Starter Division, it will take some time to make these division sizes reality. Therefore, the divisions will look different for the first 2-3 seasons, slowly devloping into the structure we want to achieve. Here is the current plan for seasons 2 and 3. Keep in mind that details might still be changed, especially for season 3:

LeagueSeason 1Season 2Season 3----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------jDL EuropeDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 30 teamsStart Div: 1350 teamsDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 30 teamsDiv 3-4: 216 teamsDiv 5: 432 teamsStart Div: ??? teamsDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 30 teamsDiv 3: 90 teamsDiv 4: 270 teamsDiv 5: ??? teamsStart Div: ??? teams----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------jDL AmericaDiv 1: 10 teamsStart Div: 650 teamsDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2-3: 108 teamsDiv 4: 216 teamsStart Div: ??? teamsDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 30 teamsDiv 3: 90 teamsDiv 4: ??? teamsStart Div: ??? teams----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------jDL AsiaDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 10 teamsStart Div: 515 teamsDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 30 teamsDiv 3: 92 teamsDiv 4: 140 teamsStart Div: ??? teamsDiv 1: 10 teamsDiv 2: 30 teamsDiv 3: 90 teamsDiv 4: ??? teamsStart Div: ??? teams

Playoff formats

While some teams get promoted or relegated directly after the conclusion of their group (depending on the position), the destination of others is decided via playoffs. Playoffs will last 2-3 weeks at the end of a season, and will decide between two divisions. For example, the Div 1-2 Playoffs decide whether a team will play in Division 1 or in Division 2 in the next season.

The playoff format will differ from league to league and from division to division, especially during the first two seasons. Nevertheless there is a standard format we want to establish in the long run.

Format of standard playoffs

Standard playoffs will occur if 3 times as many teams and groups are part of the lower division compared to the upper one. Right now European Division 1 (10 teams, 1 group) and Division 2 (30 teams, 3 groups) are the only divisions fitting this criteria. Therefore the EU Div 1-2 Playoffs are the only playoffs to use the standard format in the first season. This will of course change for season 2 onwards. By the end of the year, only standard playoffs will be used in divisions 1-2-3-4 of all leagues.

Participating in EU Div 1-2 Playoffs are:
- the 8th and 9th placed teams of the upper division (2/6/18 teams)
- the 1st and 2nd placed teams of the lower division (6/18/54 teams)
The 8/24/72 teams compete in a double elimination bracket for 3/9/27 slots. Teams finishing in 8th of the upper division and 1st in the lower division begin in the upper bracket, while the others begin the lower bracket. All matches are best of three. The top 2/6/18 teams in the upper bracket are qualified for the upper division (so only one UB round is played). In addition the remaining 1/3/9 teams in the lower bracket are also qualified (so three LB rounds are played). All defeated teams go to or remain in the lower division.

Special playoffs

Other formats than the standard one are going to be used in lower divisions without a clearly defined number of teams. Since the amount of teams in the Starter Division is unlimited, the format for this division will probably be changed for most seasons. During season 1 and season 2, many other playoffs will also have special formats due to the developing division structure.

Special playoffs can have a very large amount of teams (e.g. the EU Starter Div has 144 groups at the moment, forcing playoffs with at least 144 teams), therefore they will usually have a one game, single elimination format. Details on those will be announced towards the end of each season.

Where can I find out what division or playoff I am in?

Go to your group page and check out the 'Destination' column on the right. It lists divisions and playoffs for every position. The destination written in line X of the score table is the destination of the team that finished the group on position X. Therefore the destination written next to your team tells you where you will finish if you stay on the same position until the end of the season. An empty field means that you will stay in the same division.

If the whole system sounds complicated to you, don't worry. It will all become clearer once we finish the first season of joinDOTA League and go into the second one. Just give it your best and you'll be put into the right division in the future.