Answered: On the Subject of Disqualification of Both Alliances in a Elimination Match

In this Q&A from a few days ago, the GDC implied that both alliances in an elimination match can be DQed at once. I have four follow-up questions to that. I’ll refer disqualification of both alliances as a “double DQ” for purposes of this question.

  1. A violation is determined to be Match Affecting if it is “a [violation] that results in a change of the winner and loser of a Match.” For potentially Match Affecting violations committed by only one Alliance, it is relatively easy to determine who would have been the “real winner” of a Match had the violation not occurred, and subsequently apply the correct penalty. However, when both alliances commit a violation severe enough to potentially be Match Affecting, it may be very difficult to determine such real winner. The question in the case of violations on both sides is, does the definition of Match Affecting first require the identification of who is the “real winner” before determining whether the score change as a result of the violation swung the match to the violators, as the wording implies?

  2. Absent any other circumstance that may be regarded as extreme, can the Head Referee call the inability to determine a “real winner” as per question #1 an extreme circumstance under <G16> and order a replay?

  3. Even if the answer to question #1 is yes, should the Head Referee interpret the inability to determine a “real winner” as cause to issue a double DQ?

  4. <T03> states in part “Any team which sits out the first match in an elimination series, must play in the second match, with no exceptions.” Let’s say that a double DQ occurs in the second match of a series. My interpretation of <T03> with regards to a double DQ is that if a replay is issued as a result of question #2, the original second match becomes null and void and this part of <T03> will still apply to the replay since this replay will be the second match. However, if a replay is not issued, but because of the double DQ, another match will have to be run anyway. In that case, my interpretation is that for the additional match, this part of <T03> no longer applies because the second match still remains valid and thus the additional match is the “third or subsequent match”. Is my interpretation correct?

Please bear in mind that this hypothetical thought exercise should be exceptionally rare in standard match play, especially due to the nature of what “Match Affecting” means. Any scenario where a referee even has to consider a double DQ is an extremely context-sensitive and case-by-case occurrence. We are going to answer your questions, but please remember that there simply is no blanket one-size-fits-all guidebook for such extreme cases - this is where head referee judgment and discretion should be utilized.

A far more likely form of “double DQ” would be if one of the alliances caused a Match Affecting violation and the other alliance caused a G12, S1, or other violation that isn’t necessarily contingent upon Match Affecting verbiage.

That said, it sounds like you’re asking about an example like the following hypothetical:

  • Both alliances are tied
  • Red robot A knocks over 3 blue Stacks, swinging the match in Red’s favor
  • Blue robot B knocks over 4 red Stacks, swinging the match in Blue’s favor
  • Blue wins the match

In this case, Blue robot B would receive a DQ for their Match Affecting SG5 violation. Red robot A would receive a severe warning for their excessive-but-not-Match-Affecting-in-the-end violation. Match Affecting cannot truly be determined until a match has concluded and an “original winner” has been established. (In this hypothetical, the Red alliance has already lost the Match, so a second DQ wouldn’t actually affect their WP)

These questions are too situation-dependent to provide blanket hard-and-fast rules. In general, referees should only resort to replays as a last option, making their best effort to determine the proper outcome of a match. But, <G16> does give the Event Partner and head referee the option in the most extreme or impossible-to-unravel cases.

This is correct.