9v9 Spring 2023 Rules

1. Highlander Spring 2023

1.1. Tier System

1.2. Playoffs and tiebreakers

1.3. Mercenary clause

1.3.1. Permanent mercenaries are not tolerated

1.3.2. A team can use up to a maximum of two mercenaries in Grand Finals official matches

1.3.3. Default Mercenary

1.4. Teams with two Default Losses will be expelled from the season


2. 9v9 Highlander Rules

2.1. Class limits

2.2. Maps

2.3. Rosters must contain a minimum of nine players

2.4. Minimum of eight players needed to play a match

1. Highlander Season 29

1.1. Tier System

All teams will be split into different tiers according to their skill level, past season results and stability. In the highest tiers (Premiership, Division 1 and Division 2), teams will be distributed into groups of six teams where each will play against the others in a Round Robin format. In the remaining tiers, every team will play weekly fixtures against similarly skilled opponents in a Swiss-Style System. All of these matches will be played during the competition’s regular season, which will last five weeks. 

Two maps are played per official match during the regular season. League points are awarded based on the final result of each map:

  • Regular wins award 3 points
  • Regular losses award 0 points
  • “Golden Cap” wins award 2 point
  • “Golden Cap” losses award 1 point

A “Golden Cap” is defined as a decider round played on a map to determine its winner. Decider rounds are defined on a per-gamemode basis.

League points are awarded purely by the final result of a map. Aside from the necessity of “Golden Cap” rounds, the number of captures has no effect on league points themselves. Captures only determine which team wins a map.

1.2. Playoffs and tiebreakers

The playoffs stage will be held after the regular season ends. Its schedule can be found on the competition’s [homepage].

For playoffs official matches, maps will be chosen by the participating teams using the Picks/Bans Map Elimination System, with seeding coming from their relative placement in
the regular season.

Teams tied for any playoffs spots in their respective tier will be ordered using the following methods, ordered by priority:

  1. Head-to-Head record (if applicable)
  2. Sonneborn-Berger score
  3. Total map rounds scored

If the first method does not split the teams, the second method will be used. If the second method does not split the teams, the third method will be used.

The “Tiebreaker” score for a team is computed as follows:

  1. For each “valid” official match, calculate the ratio between the number of points earned by the team in that match  and the maximum possible score (i.e. 6 points), and multiply that ratio
    by the opponent’s total score in the regular season.
  2. Calculate the sum of all scores obtained from Step 1.
  3. Divide the result of Step 2 by the number of “valid” matches played by the team.

Matches are considered “valid” if they were not defaulted and were not against opponents who dropped from the season.

1.3. Mercenary clause

Mercenaries or “Mercs” or “ringers” are defined as players who are not part of a team’s roster. Players who are listed as “unverified” on a roster also count as mercs if they were listed as such at the time an official was set to start.

A team can use up to a maximum of 3 mercs (including default merc) per map and simultaneously, even if the opponent would allow the use of more than 3 mercs.
A team can only use 1 default merc as per rule 1.3.3 Default Mercs.
Otherwise, no team may use a merc at any time during a match unless the player(s) is/are granted explicit written permission to play by the opposing team.
Other leagues are included in experience. You can see how we count experience compared to other leagues in the tables in 1.3.3 Default Mercs.

Merc permission grants are player-based and class-based: teams are free to choose whether a player is allowed to play for their opponents as a merc and which classes they are allowed to play. All permitted classes should be explicitly stated by the team granting permission. If no specific classes are stated, a player allowed to play as a merc can play any class of their choice.

All agreements for merc permission grants and the usage of default mercs must be logged and provided in the official match’s respective comments. Those logs must explicitly contain links to each approved merc’s ETF2L profile. Teams are advised to check if the proposed default merc is indeed eligible as per rule 1.3.3 Default Mercs.
All mercs have to be registered on ETF2L.

The team that requested the merc is responsible for making sure that this permission is granted. If a team wants to use any players who are not eligible to be a default merc, they must contact the opponent before the match starts.

Breaking the rules:
Failing to present a default merc to the opposing team will grant you a minor warning.
A team using an unapproved merc or an unregistered player will receive a minor warning and Default Loss.

1.3.1. Permanent mercenary are not tolerated

A player can only be used as a merc up to 2 times for one and the same team during the entire competition (regardless of the player being an approved or default merc). If a player has already played as a merc twice for a team, they are not allowed to join the team in question. After the third match as a merc for the same team, the player is considered a permanent merc and the team may be punished.

All cases of players being caught or reported as permanent merc are reviewed individually, with any decisions being made at the full discretion of the admin team. All circumstances will be taken into account.

Note: In accordance with [General Rule 2.3], two team changes per competition are tolerated.

1.3.2. A team can use up to a maximum of two mercenaries in Grand Final matches

A team can use up to a maximum of two mercs in a Grand Finals official match of any tier, even if the opponent would allow the use of more than two mercs.  Breaking this rule will result in a Default Loss for the offending team.

1.3.3. Default Mercenary

One merc is allowed by default in all divisions:
– For Premiership, default mercs cannot be rostered in a Premiership team and/or have Premiership experience. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. RGL Invite is considered to be equivalent to Premiership.

– For D1/High, D2/High, D3/Mid and D4/Mid default mercs cannot be rostered in a team and/or have experience in the tier that the match is being played in, or any other tier above that. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. Experience in other leagues is also included. (e.g. A high team will only be able to present a default merc from mid.)

– For D5/Low and D6/Open specifically they cannot be more experienced than the tier the match is being played in, and they cannot be rostered in a team placed in any tier higher than that of the official match in question. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. Experience in other leagues is also included.

If you wish to contest the default status of a merc, please contact a League Admin on [ETF2L’s Discord server] so they may decide whether or not the player is valid for the Default merc clause.

1.4. Teams with two Default Losses will be expelled from the season

If a team receives a second Default Loss during the competition, they will be expelled from the league for the running season.

2. 9v9 Highlander Rules

2.1. Classlimits

The Highlander gamemode is played 9v9 with a general class limit of one.

2.2. Maps

In the 9v9 format, 5CP maps (such as Gullywash), A&D and Payload maps (such as Steel or Upward) and KOTH maps (such as Product) are played.

  • 5CP

The time limit is set to 30 minutes (mp_timelimit 30) and the win difference to 5 rounds (mp_windifference 5). The first team to reach a five point lead over the other, or the team with the highest amount of points once the map timer runs out, wins the map. If the map score is tied once the time limit is reached, a decider round (“Golden Cap”) will have to be played.

  • Golden Cap in 5CP

“Golden Cap” rounds have a time limit of 15 minutes (mp_timelimit 15) and a win limit of 1 round (mp_winlimit 1). If neither team manages to win the round within the time limit, they must play a second “Golden Cap” round. Whoever captures the middle point first is then declared the winner. 

The winner of a map that ended with a “Golden Cap” round is awarded 2 league points, while the loser is awarded 1 league point.

  • KOTH (King Of The Hill)

There is no time limit. A win limit of 3 rounds (mp_winlimit 3) is set. The first team to win three rounds in the map wins.

If the final score of a KOTH map has a difference of only 1 point (3-2 or 2-3) it is classified as a “Golden Cap” result, with the winner being the team who won 3 rounds.

  • A&D and Payload (Stopwatch)

There is no time limit. The map is played as a best of three rounds using the “ABBA Format”, regardless of whether it appears multiple times (during the regular season) or only once (during the playoffs stage) in the official match’s page. The team that first wins two rounds wins the map. 

For official matches that feature the same Stopwatch-based map multiple times, its final result should be submitted equally on all map slots. This includes ticking the “Golden Cap” checkbox if applicable.

If all three rounds were required to decide the result of a Stopwatch-based map (i.e. its final score is 2-1 or 1-2), it is classified as a “Golden Cap” result, with the winner
being the team who won 2 rounds.

  • ABBA Format

Two to three rounds have to be played in A&D and Payload maps. In the first two rounds, an “ABBA Format” will be used: teams take turns attacking and defending each round; starting the first round while attacking requires the same team to start while defending in the second round, and vice-versa. 

In cases where both teams each win a full Stopwatch round, a “Golden Cap” decider round must be played, with one of the teams being granted the right to choose which side they start on. The team that gets to choose is determined as follows:

  1. The team that captured the most points during any half of the first two Stopwatch rounds gets to choose.
  2. If the highest number of points captured by the two teams was the same during the first two Stopwatch rounds, the team who captured them faster gets to choose.


Team A attacks during the first half of round 1 and captures 3 points, and Team B only captures 1 point, causing Team A to win the first round. Team B then attacks during the first half of round 2 and captures 4 points, and Team A once again captures 3 points. Since Team B managed to capture more points during a Stopwatch round half than Team A, they get to choose sides for the third

Team A attacks during the first half of round 1 and captures all points, with a time of 4:56. Team B then attacks and captures all points faster than Team A did, in 4:31, winning the first round. Team B then attacks during the first half of round 2, and sets a time of 5:28 while capturing all points, but is beaten by Team A’s faster capture of 5:12. Both teams won one round, and the highest number of captured points by the two is the same (i.e. all points), but since Team B’s lowest attack time of 4:31 was faster than Team A’s lowest time of 4:56, they get to choose sides for the third

2.3. Rosters must contain a minimum of nine players

A team’s roster must consist of a minimum of nine players to be eligible to sign up to Highlander competitions.

2.4. Minimum of eight players needed to play a match

Teams need at least eight players to play a scheduled Highlander match. A team can ask their opponent to allow a merc to play for their team, following the rules of the [merc clause]. If you are not able to field nine players, you can choose to play 8v9.

A team that is not able to field eight players will receive a Default Loss.