Highlander (Competitive)

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Medal issued to participants who took the first place in ETF2L Highlander (Season 17 onwards).
This article is for competitive play.

The standard competitive format Highlander is a common rule set used by many TF2 leagues. Not all leagues follow all of these rules exactly, but most major ones do, and most competitive players scrim with them on. Settings not listed here are either default, don't impact gameplay, or significantly vary by league.

Most who play in leagues that follow the standard competitive format use the standard competitive lineup.

Team Sizes

Teams are limited to 9 players each. Most leagues allow teams to start with only 8 players if they are unable to field a ninth player or if the designated player can not attend the match for any given reason (though it is common practice to give opponents extra time to find all of the players necessary if any are having trouble). Teams unable to field the required nine (or eight) players generally incur a forfeit loss.

Class Limits

Classes are limited as follows:

In other words, each class can only be played by one person on each team.


Critical hits

Random crits are disabled.

All non-random crits still function, so long as their status is relevant (for example, backstabs will not crit, but still deal 600% of the target's current hit points, and a Kritzkrieg Über will still give a temporary crit-boost).

Damage spread

Damage spread is disabled.

This means that damage randomization is removed, but damage ramp-up and falloff based on distance still occurs.

Note that after the July 2, 2015 patch (The Gun Mettle Update), damage spread defaults to off on all games.

Weapon spread

Pellet spread with tf_use_fixedweaponspreads 1.

Fixed weapon spread is enabled.

This means that pellet-style weapons (Shotgun, Scattergun, Force-A-Nature, etc) fire pellets in a nonrandom pattern. The pattern is composed of 9 hitscan paths spaced like a 3x3 grid, with one extra pellet going down the center (or, for the Force A Nature, two extra going down the center and one extra going down the middle-right path).


Teamtalk, if specified at all, is enabled.

This means that team members can use in-game voice and text chat with each other even while dead (though most teams use low latency external voice programs such as Discord, Mumble or TeamSpeak regardless). Unfair ghosting is prevented by only allowing dead players to spectate allies, with third-person and free-roam spectating disabled.


All game models, textures, and particles are forced to TF2 defaults via sv_pure 2.

The wait command may or may not be disabled. Scripts otherwise function normally and are permitted, so long as they're not exploitative.

Custom HUDs are allowed in full.


King of the Hill

King of the Hill (commonly referred to as KOTH) matches are most frequently played in two match-rounds.

Each team competes to hold a single capture point until their timer, which is most often set at 3:00 minutes, runs out. In a two match-round setup, the first team to win four rounds is the victor. The first match-round is played until either team has won three rounds. The second match-round is played until a three more rounds have been completed. The first team to win four total rounds is the victor(this includes rounds from the first match-half). In an unusual situation where one team wins all three rounds of the first match-round, and the other team wins all three rounds of the second match-round the teams play a third match-round. The winner of the first round on the third match round is the victor. Possible scores for winning teams of King of the Hill maps include 4-3, 4-2, 4-1, and 4-0.


Payload matches are played with the Stopwatch config.

This means that the first team to capture every point on a payload map the fastest wins. After a team finishes attacking and defending for one round, the team with the fastest capture time is awarded one point. It is common for Highlander teams on a payload map to play in a best two out of three format. Possible scores for payload maps include 2-0, and 2-1.

Capture Point

Capture point maps are the least commonly played map type, as the full time use of classes such as Engineer and Sniper slow the game down too much. The matches are played with a 30 minute time limit, and a win difference of 5 or whichever team has the most rounds at the end deciding the victor. If at the end of the 30 minutes both teams have the same number of rounds, the match enters into a 'Golden Cap' round which has no time limit and the first team to capture the enemy last point wins the match. There is some variation in the config between different leagues.

Organizations and Leagues


North American


Country specific

Asia and Oceania primarily use the UGC Highlander league.

Streaming/Casting Organizations

RGL.gg and Kritzkast are the active organizations that provide casts for the competitive Highlander scenes in North America and Europe. Kritzkast covers the European ETF2L league, and RGL.gg covers its Highlander league (which is only currently available in North America). There are no consistent streaming organisations that cover UGC Highlander, however matches may be streamed by individuals casting or playing a match. Asian and Oceanic HL is covered by TFLIVETV.