CPL Format Summary
This FAQ is specifically for players new to CPL, or as a refresher for those who have played in the past.
Q: What exactly is preseason? Why am I playing in it?
A: The preseason is a series of games we all play to determine everyone's skill level. It's totally separate from the main tournament, and it isn't part of your normal win/loss record.
CPL is based on the idea that you'll always have a fair opponent that you stand a real chance of beating. For that reason, everybody has an MMR value (matchmaking rating) that allows us to match you to an opponent of similar skill. Preseason makes sure we have a good value for every player before the start of the main tournament.
Aside from that, it's also a good way to warm up before the tournament, and to get into the habit of organizing matches with opponents.
Q: How long does preseason last?
A: We will do three rounds of preseason in CPL 10, with each round being one week long. So preseason will last for three weeks.
Q: There's too many opponents! I can't play all these games in one week!
A: Don't worry. Here's the reality about preseason: it's totally understandable that not all matches will be played. It's difficult to organize four matches in one week, and sometimes the schedules just don't match up.
And that's fine! All we ask is that you try to get a few games in and make a decent effort at it. Each season we'll have one or two groups where scheduling turned out to be impossible for some reason or another. As long as you didn't mysteriously vanish, and marked all your games as "unable to play" on the web app, it's all good and we'll be able to figure it out.
Q: I thought I could just pick on what weeks I want to play? But I've been assigned matches for preseason even though I didn't indicate wanting to play.
A: During the main tournament you will be able to choose whether you want to play each week. Everybody has to volunteer to play, and choosing not to play is always fine.
During preseason we always assign matches to everybody, as it's necessary for tiering purposes. If we didn't have preseason, we'd end up with a lot of mismatches during the main tournament, and that wouldn't be fair towards the players.
If you believe you'll be unable to play during preseason, feel free to ping a staff member so we can figure something out.
Q: What maps do we play on? Do we just play one game, or a best of series?
A: Each week of preseason has its own map:
- Week 1: Retro
- Week 2: Neo Dark Origin
- Week 3: Apocalypse
All games must be played on the map for that week.
Each match is just a single game (best of 1).
Q: What about teams? I heard this was a team league, but we're just playing individual matches?
A: Teams will be formed after preseason finishes. The main part of the tournament is played in team format (all games will be best of 3 from then on as well).
This is another reason why preseason is important: it allows us to balance the teams out much better.
Q: How should I schedule my games during preseason?
A: Most people usually schedule games in the #coordination channel. Just send an @ to your opponent and suggest a time to play. CPL has players from all over the world, so you should probably include your own timezone.
A great resource for scheduling is HammerTime, which lets you post a timestamp that shows up in the viewer's local timezone. That way your opponent doesn't have to calculate what a given time is on their clock.
You can also create a thread: just @ all the people in your group, right click the message and hit "Create Thread". That gives you a private room to discuss a play time.
Q: Am I allowed to play on ShieldBattery?
A: Yes, you're allowed to play on ShieldBattery, and it can help reduce lag for you if you do. ShieldBattery is a custom server for Brood War maintained by the community. This can be especially important if your opponent lives on the other side of the planet, which is pretty common in CPL. However, if your opponent is unable or unwilling to play on Shield Battery, you will need to play the match on Battle.net.
Q: My opponent never responded to me! What should I say when reporting my match?
A: If your opponent never got back to you, or only sent one or two messages and then went missing, you must mark the match as a "walkover" with your opponent being the "inactive player".
Q: My opponent and I tried to schedule a match, but we just couldn't make it work. What should I say when reporting?
A: If you both tried to make it work, but it just didn't work out in terms of scheduling, you must mark the match as a "draw".
Q: Do I really need to report every match? And upload every replay?
A: Yes, you really do. If you don't report your matches, you will be marked as inactive. This might result in you being unable to play regular season.
Only one of the two players needs to report a match (usually the winner will do the reporting and upload the replay), but you should still double check to make sure it happened.
We need all replays as a matter of rule, both for casting and for verification purposes.