Highlander Open #2 FAQ and Homepage

The Highlander Open Cup

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>>> Sign your team up! <<<

Welcome to the home page of the second Highlander Open Powered by Essentials.tf and Whitelist.tf. This competition is the second Highlander Open, a tournament designed to get new players interested in Highlander and Competitive Team Fortress 2.


How do I sign up?

Check out the guide here to learn how to sign into ETF2L and how to find or make a team. Once you have a team, have your team leader click the link at the top of this page and then signup for the Highlander Open #2!

Is there banned unlocks?

Yes, you can see what weapons are allowed here.

What’s all this stuff about needing a private server for the games? How do we communicate with each other? How are servers configured?

You have a few options in regards to servers. You could purchase a server from a hosting company for your games. Another way is via the brilliant serveme.tf service courtesy of Netherlands Arie where you can rent a server for a couple hours completely free for all competitive TF2 uses. If you buy premium you gain access to a larger selection of servers as well as longer reservations and the ability to have more than 1 reservation among a bunch of other features.

Also, your team needs a way to communicate with one another right? Well in the competitive scene we mainly use Mumble or Discord as our voice chat client.

If you wish to use mumble you can rent a free mumble server here, located in either Moscow, Germany or Virginia.

Or if you wish to use discord, launch the app and create a room, see the official guide for more information.

Your server will need to have a special Highlander config file and weapon whitelist (9v9 ones here) on the server used to set the competitive environment. If you rent a server from serveme.tf, you will only need to select the right ones from the drop down menus. If you need help regarding to map changes or other config issues contact an admin.

What are the specific dates for stages in the cup/What are the stages of the cup?

The cup will be in 2 main parts, the Group Stage and the Single Elimination Playoff Stage with finals at the end. The group stage will consist of swiss style groups of 8 teams with the top two moving on to the knock out stage. You will play 3 games in your group, in case of a tie; head to head will be used first then tiebreaker score and finally rounds scored if needed.

  • Signups close: Thursday 7th July
  • Final divisions announced: Friday 8th July
  • Week 1 start: Sunday 10th July (Submitted by Thursday 14th July 23:59 CEST)
  • Week 2 start: Sunday 17th July (Submitted by Thursday 21st July 23:59 CEST)
  • Week 3 start: Sunday 24th July (Submitted by Thursday 28th July 23:59 CEST)
  • Week 4 start: Sunday 31st July (Submitted by Thursday 4th August 23:59 CEST)

At this point the top 4 in each Group will be placed into the Single Elimination Playoffs (starting Sunday the 31st July) where each round half of the teams previously will be knocked out of the cup each week will feature two rounds. These matches will will be played on the Tuesday and Saturday of each week.

  • Round 1 of playoffs: Tuesday 9th August (Submitted by Wednesday 10th August 23:59 CEST)
  • Round 2 of playoffs: Saturday 13th August (Submitted by Sunday 14th August 23:59 CEST)
  • Quarter-Finals: Tuesday 16th August (Submitted by Wednesday 17th August 23:59 CEST)
  • Semi-Finals: Saturday 20th August (Submitted by Sunday 21st August 23:59 CEST)
  • Grand Final: Tuesday 23rd August (Submitted by Friday 26th August 23:59 CEST)

The playoff structure may be subject to change.

What is the map pool? What maps will we be playing each week?

The map pool is as follows:

  • Badwater (pl_badwater)
  • Upward (pl_upward)
  • Lakeside (koth_lakeside_final)
  • Borneo (pl_borneo)
  • Viaduct (koth_product_rc8)
  • Gullywash (cp_gullywash_final1)
  • Process (cp_process_final)

The map schedule for each week is as follows:

  • Week 1 – pl_badwater
  • Week 2 – koth_product_rc8 & cp_process_final
  • Week 3 – pl_upward
  • Week 4 – cp_gullywash_final1 & koth_lakeside_final

The later stages of playoffs will have the maps decided by map elimination, it works like so.

First decide which team will be Team A and which Team B. the pick/ban order then proceeds as follows. If the sides cannot be decided a heavy fist fight will take place with the winner deciding which they would prefer.

Team A Bans
Team B Bans
Team B Picks
Team A Picks
Team A Bans
Team B Bans

The remaining map that has not been picked or banned is the decider map.

How do we play each type of map?

5cp maps are played for 30 minutes after this time which ever team has the highest score wins. If it is tied then a final tiebreaker, Golden Cap, round will be played. If one team gets 5 rounds ahead of their opponents the map will end.

King of the hill (KOTH) maps are played as a best of 5/first to 3 rounds with no timelimit.

Payload maps in group stages are played as best of three. You have to win two rounds of payload to win the map. If a third round is needed the team that capped fastest on their round starting on blu gets to choose which side they start on. In playoffs stopwatch maps are played as best of one if teams cannot agree on starting colours a heavy fist fight is to be used to determine which team gets to choose which side they start on.

I’m a team leader, how do I set my availability? What do we need to do once our game has been scheduled?

To set your teams availability go here click on availability then choose the best 3 days and times for your team to play, the system will then take into account your and your opponents availability and set the game to the best day for both teams. Once the match date has been set by the system you can move it to another day by going here and clicking propose/edit date, you can then send a date proposal to the other team, if they accept it then the date of your official has been changed. If you have any questions feel free to contact the admin team on our support channel.

Once your game has been scheduled you should add your opponents leader to make communication easier, however remember to put all agreements on the match page as well as on steam. If you want to reschedule the game or use any mercs then you should do so ASAP. You should also agree with your opponents which teams will provide the server, see the earlier post about game servers for more info on this. You must submit your games result by the result deadline, this info will be on the match page.

How do we show proof of the score when we submit results? What’s this ‘P-REC’ thing?

At least one person during the match will need to take a screenshot of the output of the ‘status’ command from the console window as well as taking screenshots of the final score of every map in every official match.

P-REC is a tool which you can install onto your TF2 client. It can automatically record a POV demo of your competitive matches as well as automatically taking screenshots of the status command output and the final score. You can find more out about it here and how to use it.

Can we have more people on our team roster as subs? (more than 9)

Absolutely. But make sure there is no more than 2 players who count as ‘buddies’ and that there isn’t more than 20 players on your roster in total as that is the limit. See the general information section below for more info on what experience is permitted and what a buddy is.

What if my team isn’t available to play one (or more) of our games?
What if the enemy team doesn’t show up for the match?
What if we cannot access or rent a server for our match?
What if I need to find out about something that’s not here?

Contact an admin via the #etf2l IRC channel with ‘!admin HLO typemessagehere’. Whatever the problem, an admin will be happy to help you.

General Information:

What is The Highlander Open?

The Highlander Tournament specifically for players new to competitive TF2. This tournament is meant for people who are new to competitive play, a competition to find the very best pub team essentially. For a short summary of what highlander is and the event itself check out the homepage of the event.

That said, we understand that many Open HL teams are community teams, so they will be eligible to take part and those that have played in Open 6v6 aswell. However if your team played in Open playoffs or more than one season of open you are not eligible to play. See the question below for more information of player and team eligibility.

How can I find a team to play with?

You can search for a team to play with by creating a thread here.

I have a team…but we need some more players! Where can I recruit players to play for my team?

You can find players looking for teams here.

Will any of the games be casted?

Yes! Certain matches will be casted LIVE on BlackOut TV so those of you who are not playing a game on some days or who weren’t able to participate because of other issues can enjoy the action as much as the participants!

What is a buddy?

‘Buddies’ are experienced players who may only play as a medic in the HLO team they are participating with. Each team may have up to two buddies on the roster but only one may play at a time. They must be tagged as buddies on the roster or they risk being removed from the roster. You do not have to have a buddy, you can have a team without one. However if you want to have a more experienced mentor on your team this is the way to do it.

Can my player play in this tournament, or does he have to be a buddy?

If the player has meets any of the below criteria they can only be rostered as a buddy and can only play medic.

  • If a player has played three or more seasons of Open ETF2L Highlander or 6v6. Seasons played will be counted by the number of seasons, HL or 6v6, that a player has played an official.
  • If a player has played any games in Open Playoffs/Div 5 or higher in ETF2L Highlander or 6v6.
  • If a player has played three or more seasons of UGC Steel highlander or any games in a higher tier, has played any seasons of UGC 6v6 Platinum or Gold or has played any seasons of UGC 4v4 Silver or Gold. For UGC experience being rostered on the team counts as playing.
  • If a player is rostered on an ESEA TF2 team or any ESEA match history.


  • A player with 1 season of open highlander and 1 of open 6s does not have to be a buddy.
  • A player with no seasons of highlander but 1 season of open 6s and 1 season of mid 6s has to be a buddy
  • A player with a season of UGC Iron Highlander, 2 Seasons of Steel Highlander does not have to be a buddy

If you are unsure whether a player counts as a buddy or not, please contact an admin here.

What if one of my players cant play can we get someone else?

Yes you can you can use what are called mercs or ringers, these are players not on your teams roster that either have to be approved by your opponents or meet strict criteria. Each team is allowed up to two Default Mercs, these are non rostered players who are allowed to play without your opponents permission however your opponents must be told of them before the game and they must be presented on the match page.

Your opponents can if they wish approve the use of a 3rd merc but this is entirely optional the admin team will not force any team to allow a 3rd merc. All mercs are subject to the same skill rules regarding buddies. Players may merc as buddies if they exceed the skill requirements however they are restricted to playing medic.


This is the end of the FAQ now Below is all the information not mentioned above from the original post:


  • Comprehensive competitive highlander guide written by Netherlands kKaltUu and Netherlands WiethoofdRussian version translated by Russia irfx
  • Play some TF2Center or TF2Stadium lobbies and gain great insight and experience in highlander gameplay
  • Find more out about Competitive TF2 as a whole at comp.tf



Players that complete all their games will receive participation medals and those that finish in the top 3 at the end will receive:

  • gold medal 1st Place – Medal + 9 class-specific Specialised Killstreak kits.
  • silver medal 2nd Place – Medal + 9 class-specific Killstreak kits.
  • bronze medal 3rd Place – Medal + 9 class-specific Cosmetic items.

The medals ingame models can be seen here

Unlockable Weapons

The full list of banned items is available here on Whitelist.tf:
Below is the list of banned weapons:

  • Air Strike
  • Vita-Saw
  • Red-Tape Recorder
  • Darwin’s Danger Shield
  • The Crit-A-Cola
  • The Diamondback
  • The Reserve Shooter
  • Pomson 6000

Huh, ETF2L?! How does this work?

For those of you who are new to the ETF2L site, to sign up for the tournament you will need to be part of a complete Highlander team of at least 9 players. Your leader can then sign your team up for the tournament. We will be adopting ETF2L’s ruleset for General and Highlander rules as well as the Highlander server configs and weapon whitelists. The FAQ section will explain everything about making accounts, teams and signing them up for tournaments in conjunction with the guide written by Netherlands kKaltUu.

The Forums are a great way to talk about TF2, competitive play and the upcoming tournament. Don’t have a team yet, or are you looking for more players to join your team? Be sure to check out the Recruitment Section or the Recruitment Thread. Even though this is a European centred event, we will welcome players from other regions with open arms. We will even try to place you into the same groups to ease the process of scheduling matches with your opponents. Against European opponents however, you will have to play on European servers at European times. The usual playing time for ETF2L matches is Sunday-Thursday from 19:00-23:00 CEST.

Make sure you are willing to (and can!) play at such times and on European servers before you sign up. If you still can’t find the answer to a question or if you have any problem, then the quickest way to get into contact with an admin is to join the QuakeNet IRC channel #etf2l, and type “!admin highlanderopen <messagehere>” to get hold of someone who will help out. You can use the webchat plugin to connect to the IRC channel here.

Where you can help

You can help us with advertising too.

  • Do you run a TF2/gaming news website? We’d love it if you announced the cup to your readership.
  • If you’re a creative type with ideas for promoting the tournament – be it propaganda posters, a competitive play survival guide for new teams, etc – feel free to contribute.

If you’re an easy-going person who cares about helping the TF2 scene, we’d like to invite you to become a HLO buddy!

  • Buddies will be the representatives between HLO and the community teams. You’ll join their roster, be responsible for answering their questions, making sure they schedule their matches properly, and depending on how good a buddy you are, organising and helping them out with practising and tactics.
  • Buddies will also be eligible to play in the Highlander games themselves. But you can only play medic to keep it fair!
  • Buddies will also be awarded with a medal like the rest of their team.
  • You can put yourself forward to become a buddy simply by commenting on the Highlander Open Buddy Thread.

Special Thanks

Many people have assisted in making this great tournament possible by supplying us with advertisement, images and many other things. We would like to express our thanks to all of them. A special highlight goes out to the following people who have put a lot of time in releasing this tournament:

Have fun and good luck to all that participate!