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The Silph League Arena

Arena Update

May 11, 2022: Factions Season 2: Rules Updates

As we count down to Season 2 of Factions, we would like to highlight some of the Factions Rules and policy updates that are being implemented. Information from multiple sources has been used to make these changes, including data from disputes, and direct feedback from Factions competitors. In this article, we will be breaking down the new rules, explaining the significant changes and the reasons for implementing them, and wrapping up with some policy and information updates.



Factions follow the rules and procedures in the standard Arena Rules (https://silph.gg/rules), except that they are complemented by the following Factions Rules, which take precedence whenever the two disagree.

As noted in the preamble to the Factions Rules, Factions follow the Silph Arena Rules with some exceptions. This means that, unless expressly contradicted by the Faction Rules, all Silph Arena Rules are in force. Silph Arena Rules 2.3 and 3.6, for example, state that match outcomes should be reported as soon as a match is completed. This also means that competitors should report Factions match outcomes as soon as they are completed.


Eligibility and Format

1. Eligibility

Factions must have no less than 7 Members in order to register for competition (Alternates are optional). One Member must be designated as the Captain. Competitors may only be a Member of one Faction at a time. All Faction Members must be ranked in the Silph Arena at the time of registration to a given Cycle.

2. Format

Factions will compete against one another, organized by Tier according to past performance within their conference.

  • A Bout consists of a set of matches, one for each of the 7 Specialists: 3 Open League Specialists (Great, Ultra, and Master) and 4 Field Specialists.
  • A Cycle is a collection of Bouts, in which Factions will face others in the same Tier. Faction Members that can be assigned as Specialists are locked at the moment of registration to a given Cycle, and cannot be changed until the Cycle ends.
  • Promotion/Relegation: At Cycle end, Factions will be promoted or demoted based on performance. The Cycle may include a final Bout designed explicitly for this purpose.

A Season in Factions is a collection of Cycles. At the conclusion of a Season, Tiers may be reset.

The rules for eligibility and the tournament format are largely unchanged. Worthy of note, however, is the introduction of additional tiers and the fact that rank will not be resetting, as announced last season.


Hidden Information, Outside Assistance, and Coaching

3. Hidden Information, Outside Assistance, and Coaching

Faction Members registered in an active Cycle may provide assistance to their teammates, including the use of simulations and active coaching, before, during, and after the course of gameplay. Faction Members may not otherwise receive Outside Assistance, or seek out Hidden Information not readily available to the public. Scrimmaging with people outside their Faction is permitted nonetheless.

We also announced that an additional Faction slot is being added for Season 2. Seven is still the minimum required to participate, but now Factions may roster up to 10 members. In previous seasons, Factions were allowed to designate a coach (restricted to a single Faction per cycle), but had no way to register them in the platform. Starting with this season, any coach MUST be a registered member of the Faction. And, of course, any Faction Member can act as coach. No outside assistance from other people is allowed (see Silph Arena Rules 3.3 for the definition of outside assistance), but scrimmaging is fine and so is the use of external resources such as simulations.

This means in practice that a Faction could, for example, be made up of nine players who take on Specialist positions and a coach. Or seven active Specialists, a head coach, and two assistant coaches. Or seven to ten active players, who take on the roles as Specialist and coach at different points of time. We hope that this flexibility makes it easier for Factions to roster their Specialist positions week in and week out, and it also allows for different team structures that fit the individual faction’s style and ambitions.


Battle Teams/Pokémon Registration

4. Battle Teams/Pokémon Registration

Battle Teams may be changed every Bout and they must comply with the meta in the Specialist’s position. Pokémon registration and use follow the Silph Arena Rules, with a few exceptions:

Specialists are not required to register the actual CP of their Pokémon.
Specialists are free to TM movesets up until the start of the first battle of their Bout.
Once the match begins, no changes may be made to the six (6) individual Pokémon to be used in battle and only one Pokémon may be used at its Best Buddy boosted CP during a match. Any such changes will be interpreted as Cheating.

As has been requested and discussed in multiple fora, a major change, for Factions, will take effect in Season 2: Competitors are not required to register the actual CP of their Pokémon. Competitors may still TM their Pokémon until the start of battle, but once match play begins, no changes may be made to the six (6) individual Pokémon to be used in battle, and only one Pokémon may be used at its Best Buddy boosted CP during a match.

This means that there will no longer be disputes for CP “errors” where the CP of the Pokémon used in battle does not match the CP input on silph.gg. However, using two different Pokémon of the same species in the course of one match is NOT allowed, and a dispute should be filed if this occurs.

We would also like to note that based on suggestions from the feedback channel, when Genesect is an allowed Pokémon in Factions, there will be only a single one listed on silph.gg. Specialists should select that one but will be able to use any drive that they want, though still restricted to one individual Genesect.


Communication and Coordination

5. Communication and Coordination

Faction Captains are required to join the Silph Arena Tournaments server to communicate with the Arena and opponents. Opposing Captains must jointly find a method of communication to coordinate matches. If they cannot mutually agree on an alternative, the Silph Arena Tournaments server will be the default method.

Communication must be prompt:

  • Faction Captains must contact the opposing Captain no later than 24 hours after Faction pairings are revealed.
  • Specialists must contact their opponent no later than 24 hours after individual pairings are revealed.

Communication and coordination must be ongoing:

  • Both Captains and Specialists must respond to opponents’ queries within a reasonable amount of time until all battles have been successfully completed.
  • Specialists should inform their Captain of any communication, coordination, or other problems as soon as possible. Captains should promptly contact the opposing Captain, and subsequently the Arena Referees if necessary, to address these problems.

While the factions rules have specified that opponents should begin coordinating within the first 24 hours, we have seen some instances where a timely initial contact is made but then there is no further communication. For Season 2 the rules have been updated to include a requirement for ongoing communication and to provide more details about what communication should entail.


Captain Responsibilities

6. Captain Responsibilities

In addition to performing the internal administrative tasks of their Faction (such as assigning Faction Members to Specialist positions), which may also be performed by the Faction owner, Captains are the central point of contact with other Factions, Arena Referees, and Arena Staff. As such, their duties extend beyond their duties as Competitors, including but not limited to:

  • Managing the interactions between opposing Factions.
  • Ensuring their teammates understand and abide by the Silph Arena and Factions Rules.
  • Assisting their teammates in the event of coordination or other types of issues.
  • Reviewing potential technical issues brought up by their teammates.
  • Promptly filing a Dispute whenever an issue arises that cannot be resolved by the involved Specialists or by the Captains (e.g., Battle Team registration errors, coordination failures, emergency substitutions, concessions, technical malfunctions, misreported scores, etc).
  • Responding to requests by the Arena Referees for evidence in relation to a Dispute or any other information relevant to Factions.

To highlight the importance of the role of the Captain in Factions, and to ensure that participants who are considering accepting that role know what is expected of them, a new section on Captain Responsibilities has been added to the rules.



7. Disputes

Faction Captains must contact the opposing Captain and attempt to resolve any issues that arise during a Bout. If they cannot reach an agreement or otherwise require an official action or ruling by the Arena Referees, they should submit a Dispute following the protocol specified in the Silph Arena Tournaments server. Another Faction Member may submit a Dispute if their Captain is unable to do so. The Arena Referees will communicate their rulings to the relevant Faction Captain(s) within 72 hours of evidence submission. All rulings are final.

Given that Factions is a Special Tournament and Dispute rulings are made exclusively by Arena Referees, some notable differences with respect to dispute resolution in other Silph Arena Tournaments include, but are not limited to:

  • The Arena Referees may ask for Individual Values (IVs) of Pokémon used in Factions. Specialists must provide this information if requested in relation to a technical Dispute.
  • The Arena Referees may adjudicate a win to one of the Specialists (a battle win even though the journal shows a loss). A win may only be adjudicated to a Specialist who had the battle win secured in their favor at the time of the technical malfunction. Adjudicating a win requires a unanimous vote by no less than five (5) Arena Referees.

In the case of disagreement regarding the significance of a technical malfunction on the outcome of a battle, the Specialists must immediately play a provisional rematch of that battle, and then the rest of their outstanding battles. A rematch is presumed to be a provisional rematch in this respect, unless the Specialists clearly agree about the significance of the technical malfunction and thus restart that game. If the first provisional rematch encounters another potential technical malfunction, a second provisional rematch must be played. If following the rematch(es) Specialists still disagree about the outcome of the battle, they must forward the case to their Captains for review. If the Captains cannot agree, they should submit a Dispute to the Arena Referees. Specialists and Captains should consider the possibility of the Arena Referees adjudicating a win, even if the Specialist loses the provisional rematch, in their deliberations. Factions may be penalized for submitting clearly frivolous Disputes.

Another of the most requested changes from competitors was including the possibility of adjudicating a definitive win instead of a rematch in games affected by technical malfunctions. As Factions is an official Arena Tournament and all disputes are ruled on by Arena Referees, starting this season we will include the possibility of adjudicating a win to a competitor when a rematch dispute is raised. Keep in mind that competitors still need to follow Factions Protocol in any case, which includes notifying their opponent about a technical malfunction immediately, playing a provisional rematch according to the Silph Arena Rules (the competitor who did not ask for a rematch choses if they play only with same lead and different backline or entirely same teams) if they disagree on the significance of the problem and forward the case to their Captains for review. Finally, if Captains cannot agree, submit the dispute to the Arena Referees. All rematches are presumed to be provisional rematches unless competitors explicitly state that a full rematch is agreed upon. This season, competitors may submit a dispute even if they lost the provisional rematch, but should only do so if they are fairly confident that the Arena Referees will adjudicate a win directly in the original match. The criteria for adjudicating a win are listed below.


Definitive Win

A win may be awarded in an end-game situation when a competitor loses a game because of a technical malfunction and their opponent does not have any win condition left at that point. In order to assist with the timely resolving of technical disputes, The Arena Referees may ask for Individual Values (IVs) of the Pokémon used in battle. A Pokémon fainting or surviving a move with 1 hp may be the deciding factor between ruling a rematch, a definitive win or no rematch at all, and the only way of judging that with accuracy is to take IVs into consideration to know exactly how much damage each Pokémon deals and takes in that scenario.

This is an example of a game where a win would be adjudicated to the competitor who experienced the technical issue. Walrein only needs to throw the Earthquake to win the game, but they suffer from lag and get farmed down by opposing Galvantula. In order to make this decision, we checked that Galvantula is in Earthquake range and did not have a move ready, as it would have won charge move priority and win regardless. The competitor also has enabled the option to show taps on screen, so we know for sure they were trying to throw the Earthquake on time.

This is another example of a game where a win would be adjudicated. Qwilfish simply has to throw the aqua tail to reliably KO the Tentacruel. There is no IV spread where Tentacruel can win CMP (Charge Move Priority) over Qwilfish, and the player whose viewpoint we see experiences a large amount of lag, causing it to be KO’ed by the Tentacruel’s hydro pump. After reviewing video footage submitted by both players, it is clear that this was not a CMP error, but client-based lag that caused the server to not receive the input for the Aqua Tail.

Factions may now be penalized for submitting clearly frivolous disputes, so make sure to judiciously assess “the magnitude of impact of the error,” as required by the Silph Arena Rules, before submitting a technical dispute.



8. Streaming

Factions are allowed and encouraged to stream their battles themselves, or work with a third party to produce, edit, shoutcast, and broadcast them.

No changes here; from the get-go, we envisioned Factions as an arena where the best could meet and be showcased, so we continue to encourage Factions to stream their battles as they see fit.


Emergency Substitutions

9. Emergency Substitutions

The Arena may define a limited number of Emergency Substitutions per Cycle, which will be granted to each registered Faction. Using an Emergency Substitution means allowing a Faction Member that is allowed to be assigned to a Specialist position in the current Cycle, but has not been assigned to a Specialist position in the current Bout, to play as a substitute for a teammate who has been assigned to a Specialist position in the current Bout. The substitute is restricted to the Battle Team registered by their teammate in every respect, including Shadow status. A Faction must immediately notify the opposing Faction and subsequently the Arena Referees of their intent to use an Emergency Substitution.

Based on feedback from the Factions community, we will be adding an option for the use of an emergency substitute (placing an alternate in place of a Specialist, after the deadline to do so on Silph.gg has passed). As of the start of Season 2, this will be limited to TWO (2) uses per cycle; the substitute must field a team of the same six Pokémon the original specialist registered (including shadow status), the opposing team must be immediately notified, and a dispute must be filed with the Referees for tracking and reporting purposes.


Names and Logos

10. Names and logos

The Arena reserves the right to remove Factions from an ongoing Cycle in order to edit or remove Faction names and logos. For example, if these are:

  • Protected by third-party rights without written permission.

  • Brand or trademarked materials.

  • Defamatory, pejorative, offensive, vulgar, obscene, discriminatory, or other hate speech, terms, or imagery. Including alternative spellings to avoid these terms.

No changes here either. Please remember that Factions’ names and logos are public, and as elite teams you are part of the image the Arena projects to the outside world.


Other things worthy of note

Failure to report results after battles have been completed

As Factions has increased in size, we see more cases where battles are completed well before the deadline, but one Specialist does not report their results on silph.gg before the deadline. As there are close to 3000 competitors battling it out every single week, even though it is not prevalent this failure to report results in unnecessary extra work for the Referees to review and correct issues arising from it. While there is not a new rule regarding this, enforcement of the existing rules will be more stringent, and penalties for failure to report are likely to become harsher.

Filing Disputes

In the later part of Season 1, an updated dispute form was implemented. It uses pull-down menus to populate the dispute form with information such as the opposing faction and the involved competitors, which reduces errors and improves Referee response time. The Supporting Statement field is relatively short; if a Captain needs to make a longer statement they should note that in this field and they will be able to send it via the bot once the dispute is in process.

Factions penalty guidelines

While we recently published an article that provided some insight into the Arena Referees and how the dispute process works (Get to Know the Arena Referees), we have also seen the feedback from Factions participants that they want more in-depth information on the criteria Referees use to evaluate rules-related disputes, and what the range of penalties is for some of the more common issues. A new reference document for participants (Factions Penalty Guidelines) will be available on silph.gg. While every case is evaluated and ruled on individually, we hope this material will help the Factions community to understand some of the nuances involved in Referee rulings.


Season 2 Soon Underway

That’s it for now, folks. We are all excited and looking forward to literally thousands of great battles in the Silph Arena’s Factions Season 2.

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