Answered: Disqualification as applied to Qualification Matches

Recently some hypothetical discussions came up in regards to the concept of disqualifications. Currently in Elimination matches a DQ results in a disqualification for the entire alliance, which is logical because a team is responsible for how the entire alliance behaves during elimination rounds. However, the current punishment system is much different in regards to disqualifications during qualification rounds. Most rules only give disqualifications in the event that a team’s actions were illegal AND that if they had they not broken a rule their alliance would have lost. It seems strange that by the definition of Match Effecting, the teams that should have won (had no illegal action been taken) actually lose the match.

Ridiculous Scenario (Alliance A composing of 1A,2A and Alliance B composing of 1B,2B)
Team 1A spends the entire match (2 straight minutes) driving Alliance B’s robots into a wall. Or more dramatically, the drive team members hop onto the field and start scoring for their team.

The referee decides that the actions made by team 1A were illegal and were the difference between Alliance A and B winning. Thus team 1A is disqualified. At this point it seems unjust to keep the score, letting Alliance A win and making Alliance B lose. Originally it was discussed that the correct answer was to give the win to the team that the referee had concluded should have won but that would penalize the second robot on Alliance A. In a qualification match penalizing the second robot for the actions of the first was definitely an over correction in our eyes.

The proposed change that we were able to actually agree on was that every team not currently being disqualified should earn a win. This would allow disqualified teams to be penalised while minimizing the effect on the rankings of the other teams participating.

Under the current rule, what usually happens in a qualification match when a DQ is awarded is that the two opposing teams, who “should” have won, will lose (Because DQs are usually awarded for match-affecting circumstances, i.e violations that cause the opposing alliance to lose). The ally of the disqualified team, who probably “should” have lost, will win. The disqualified team will of course lose. The problem is that while the team breaking the rules is penalised for doing so, the disruptive effect of their action on the rest of the tournament isn’t corrected.

Under the proposed rule, what will usually happen is that the two opponents will win, as they probably would have if no rules had been violated, but ally of the disqualified team will also win. The ally of the disqualified team probably doesn’t deserve a free win based on their alliance partner breaking the rules, but this is still an improvement on the current rule and preferable to disqualifying both teams on the offending alliance.

An important thing to consider is that in VRC tournaments, a win that is mistakenly recorded as a loss is much more likely to have a disruptive impact on the tournament than a loss that is mistakenly recorded as a win. The most important qualification match results are the results by the teams who will become alliance captains, because those results decide the ranking of the captain teams and directly change what alliances can be formed. Qualification match results by teams who end up being picked are somewhat important as a means of proving your team’s ability to the teams who might pick you, but they are much less important than results by alliance captains since a lot more goes into picking a team than just their win-loss record in qualification matches.


At Skyrise worlds, the 40 alliance captains won 87% of their games overall and lost 13%. A win becoming a loss when it shouldn’t is much more likely to affect these teams than a loss becoming a win when it shouldn’t, just because these teams win a lot. So a VRC competition in which teams sometimes win at random when they don’t deserve to is preferable to one in which teams sometimes lose at random when they don’t deserve to.

We believe that this modified rule - when a team is disqualified, every team not disqualified in that match will win - is fairer for the teams playing in those specific matches, and also fairer for all teams participating in alliance selection.

Opinions? And of course if my understanding of the current rules are incorrect then feel free to give me a smack upside the head at worlds.

Is this something the GDC would consider changing in the future.

Disqualification – A penalty applied to a team for a rules violation. A team that is Disqualified in a Qualifying Match receives zero (0) WP and SP. When a team is Disqualified in an Elimination Match the entire Alliance is Disqualified and they receive a loss for the Match. At the head referee’s discretion, repeated violations and Disqualifications for a single team may lead to its Disqualification for the entire tournament. Please see Section 3 – The Tournament for further details and associated definitions.

Thank you for your detailed analysis of the situation. The GDC will use this feedback when discussing the rules pertaining to Disqualifications in future seasons.