1. General rules
(a) Ignorance of the rules does not pardon any violation.
(b) The Code of Conduct applies to this tournament and can be viewed here. Player communication and conduct are to be kept as civil as possible. While playful banter is acceptable, any abusive act or communication is unacceptable.
(c) Players must use their name and Steam Account registered with the NSL.
(d) Any issues or disputes are subject to Referee discretion and Admin review. Referee or Admin are available on the NSL discord if they are not present in the match.
2. Server rules
(a) There are two options:
(i) Teams agree to use one server with the fairest possible ping.
(ii) In case of disagreement, the server will be decided by a Referee or Admin. Players from both teams may offer their input to the Referee/Admin in this case, who will take their feedback into consideration.
(b) Apply common sense and sportsmanship when deciding servers.
EU vs NA - NYC Server
EU vs AUS/Pacific Region - Paris, <BAD> Alemania or NYC Servers
NA vs AUS/Pacific Region - Paris Servers or <BAD> Alemania
(c) Community and private servers are acceptable, as long as they adhere to the server guidelines and are approved by an Admin in advance of the tournament. See NSL Server Guidelines.
3. Tournament rules
(i) The format of the tournament is double elimination, which means that a team ceases to advance if they lose two matches. Early Rounds and Semi Finals are played on Saturday, with the Finals and Grand Finals being played on Sunday.
(ii) Matches are played between two teams in a 6 versus 6.
(iii) Teams must have at least 6 players and a maximum of 8 players on their roster to register to the NSL Open Tournament and sign up at least 1 day in advance of the tournament start time.
(iv) Players must be registered and assigned to a team at least 1 day in advance of the tournament start time. Players must be registered in no more than one active team in a tournament. A player registered in more than one team may forfeit their right to play.
(v) A round ends when the victory screen is displayed.
(vi) The winner denoted by the victory screen receives 1 round score.
(vi) A Referee or Admin is to be consulted in case of any rule or match issue.
(b) Coin Flip
(i) A Coin Flip is done on the match server and in the presence of each team’s Team Captain. The upper bracket team is heads, and the lower team bracket is tails.
To do the Coin Flip simply type “coinflip” in the chat.
(ii) The team that wins the coin flip decides whether they want to choose the first map or to choose Aliens/Marines first.
The map choice is selected first and before the second team picks Aliens/Marines.
(iii) Picking order is reversed for any additional maps.
(iv) In the Grand Finals, the team in the upper bracket has the option of first right of choice instead of a Coin Flip.
(v) Each team decision at the Coin Flip stage is final and cannot be changed afterwards.
(vi) Teams have 1 minute to make each decision alternatively after the Coin Flip. If a decision takes more than 1 minute, right of choice is given to the opposing team. If neither team makes any decisions all choices are randomized by the Referee or Admin.
(c) Early Matches
(i) Matches consist of up to two maps, teams play and alternate sides until one team has 2 round wins (Bo3). Teams will play a round on aliens and marines for the first map, and one round on the second map if required.
(ii) Teams are encouraged to play their next matches as soon as their opponents are available.
(d) Semifinals & Finals
(i) The Semifinals and Finals matches consist of up to three maps, teams play and alternate sides until one team has 3 round wins (Bo5).
(ii) The Grand Final match consists of up to four maps, teams play until one team has 4 round wins (Bo5).
(iii) If the team which hasn't lost any matches prior to the Grand Finals loses the first set, another Bo3 will be played which will determine the winner.
(iv) (PICK/BAN) Both teams are allowed to ban 3 maps and the team choosing the first map gets the first ban. Teams alternate in their ban choices until 4maps have been banned in total and then proceed to alternate in picks of maps until 3 (4 in Grand Finals) maps have been chosen. Map bans are in effect until the conclusion of the match.
(e) Map Pool
(i) Map pool / Spawns for Matches:
All maps have close spawns disabled.
(ii) Maps for the Early Matches are chosen through agreement of both captains, coinflip, or through a pick/ban. In the case of a split captain decision between the three options, a pick ban will be used to decide the two maps (see iv).
(iii) Aliens can choose any available alien spawn locations on a map.
(f) Spectators / Livestreams
(i) The only allowed spectators during a match are Casters, Admins and the Referee for the current match. ANY violations of this rule will result in an IMMEDIATE contest ban for the subsequent season.
(ii) Anyone streaming the match must do so with at least a three (3) minute delay. Failure to do so may result in disqualification from the tournament for the offending team, or a ban from casting for any offending Caster. In the event of this infraction being due to a Caster, the affected rounds must be replayed. Casters MUST message the executive admin for permission to cast the games.
(g) Starting a match - Live/not live on matches
(i) Team Captains or delegates must be available at least 30 minutes before the first match of the day for pre-game duties like map and server selection. If one Team’s Captain is not present, the Captain that is present on time is able to choose pre-game options by default (if Referee/Admin approves it) including all map bans, server choice and to be a side picker or map picker.
(ii) When present, Referees and Casters must be confirmed as ready prior to round start.
(iii) A team forfeits if they fail to have 6 players, including any approved mercs, ready to play in the match server 15 minutes after the opponent team has readied up.
(iv) After a team finishes a match they have a right to a maximum of 10 minutes of break before starting the next match. Teams are responsible for ensuring timeliness.
(v) A team may, within the first 15 seconds of a round, use “ready” in chat or in the console to restart a round (ONLY FOR TECHNICAL REASONS). A team must have reasonable grounds for a round restart, and be verified by the casters/referees present if possible. Teams are only allowed to restart a round a maximum of 2 times per match. Any violation of this rule may lead to round forfeit.
(vi) Starting spawns must remain unchanged in case of round restart.
(h) Pause function on matches
(i) NSL Mod’s pause function freezes the entire state of a game, including all movement and timers. A pause can be initiated by typing “pause” in chat.
(ii) Each team is allowed 2 pauses to use during a map. If the 2 pause limit has been reached, additional pauses remain possible but only if Referee/Admin are present.
(iii) Pauses must have a legitimate reason such as a player disconnect or severe lag, and communicated to the presiding Referee or Admin. “Tactical pauses” are not allowed.
(iv) An individual pause lasts a maximum of 5 minutes.
(i) After a Match
(i) Once the match has ended captains must report Match results to a presiding Admin or Referee.
Check the Matchpage or ask a Referee or Admin for information regarding your next match.
4. Mercenary Rule
A Mercenary (merc) is a player that is not registered with the team requesting the substitution. Teams are responsible for ensuring that they have substitute players available in their active roster. A team may substitute a player on their roster in exceptional circumstances, so long as they satisfy a set of requirements.
The following requirements must be met to allow a Merc on a team:
(i) Teams can use up to 2 mercs at any given time. A merc is a player that is not registered on an actively competing team with unplayed matches.
(ii) Players who are not currently on the roster of an uneliminated team are allowed to merc.
(iii) The merc must be approximately the same skill level as the least skilled player in the match so as to ensure that a team does not gain an unfair advantage. An exception is possible if both teams are in agreement.
(iv) The opposing team has the right to deny any submitted merc, but not unreasonably deny a proposed merc. If an agreement cannot be made between both teams, all players must respect the Referee or Admin decision to forfeit the match or let the merc(s) play.
(v) The intention of the Mercenary Rule is to allow teams that can’t field 6 players the ability to play a match. It is not meant to be used to bolster the skills of a team’s roster.