You might have played Team Fortress 2 for a long time now...

Have you heard of competitive TF2?

TF2 Competitive Formats

The 6s (sixes) format has been designated as the more "serious" format for competitive TF2. Though there are no mandatory line-ups, the standard competitive line-up for 6s gameplay is 2 utilities (usually both scouts), 2 soldiers, 1 demoman and 1 medic.

Highlander is a 9v9 format that is played with one of each class. It is often referred as a game mode that makes it easier to transition from public to competitive play. In Highlander, the 9 classes are allowed and weapon bans are less restrictive, while still leaving room for intense action and teamwork, thus making it greatly appealing to many players.

4s (fours) is a format that is relatively new. It features a 4-on-4 scenario with a limit of one of each class, at the exception of medic and heavy (there can be 1 medic or 1 heavy, not both). 4v4 is faster paced and more deathmatch-focused than standard 6v6 competitive play, although meta for this format is constantly changing.

Enough talking! What does it look like?



TeamFortress.TV has seen constant growth throughout the years. They cover 6s in North America & Europe and have contributed to the production of multiple LAN casted events such as GXL & ESEA.

BlackOut TV

BlackOut TV

BlackOut TV is the place to catch Highlander action from the top competitive teams around Europe and more. For over 3 years, they have seen rapid growth bringing on the best casting talent from around the world.



eXtelevision has been a pioneer in TF2 entertainment for years. They have contributed to the production of multiple LAN casted events such as ÉTS & GXL. They have multiple past casts on their channels. However, they're now focusing on videos such as the TOP 10 of the month.

TF2 Competitive Leagues


UGC is a free-to-play, world-wide league (North America, South America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand & Asia), that primarily caters to the Highlander scene, as well as 6s and 4v4.


ETF2L is a free-to-play, European league, that primarily caters to the 6s scene, as well as Highlander. Their Premier division is the highest division you can reach in European comp TF2.


ESEA is a pay-to-play, North American league, that caters to the 6s scene. Their Invite division is the highest division you can reach in North American competitive TF2.


ozfortress is a free-to-play, Australian league, that caters to the 6s scene.


AsiaFortress is a free-to-play, Asian league,
that caters to the 6s scene.

How to join competitive TF2


In collaboration with eSports league "FACEIT", TF2PL seeks to offer the ultimate competitive 6v6 pickup games platform for players of all skill levels.

TF2 Center

TF2Center is a lobby system to organise competitive pickup games (PUG). The supported gamemodes are Highlander, 6s, 4s, Ultiduo & BBall.

Newbie Mixes

Newbie Mixes organize 6s PUGs, mainly for North American players, in order to help newer players understand how TF2 6s is played (mentorship). PUGs are usually on Fridays and are announced on their group page.

Did you have a bad experience in the pickup games mentioned above? If so, don't get discouraged. A good experience in competitive TF2 starts with players & atmosphere. Sometimes, those factors are hard to come by when you regroup strangers together.

Finding a team can seem difficult at first. But don't get discouraged and keep looking. After all, what hobby doesn't require a little sweat ;).

If you are new to competitive TF2, you can head to the UGC Forums to post a LFT (Looking for Team) thread. For players with more experience, you can head to For European players, ETF2L has a Recruitment Section, you can create a recruitment post by connecting to Steam and accessing their Website dashboard. There are also a few other ways to find a team. Putting LFT (Looking for Team) in your name when you play in lobbies or PUGs, checking out the UGC Steam Group Discussions, the r/TF2LFT sub-reddit, etc.

A constant influx of new teams is crucial. Therefore, if you think you have what it takes to become a team leader, then by all means, go for it! Grab a bunch of friends that might be interested in competitive TF2 and fill the rest of your roster with players you'll find in the links above.

TF2 Competitive Resources


A Wiki dedicated to competitive TF2. Find class guides, location names on specific maps, the mechanics of the game & more!


Essentials.TF contains a list to dozen of competitive TF2 resources, split across multiple websites, in one place to find.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Some players like to install optimization scripts to increase their game performances, configuration files to their preferences, new HUDs, etc. However, the only external program required is a VoIP client such as Mumble. Mumble will allow you to communicate with your teammates while playing. In-game communications are rarely used for multiple reasons, such as the fact that it can only be used in-game and that it has a 2-second~ delay before it's transmitted.

It's a question of preference. Highlander is often regarded as an easier format to transition to from pub play, because all classes are allowed and weapon bans are less restrictive. Moreover, since there are more players on the battlefield, each death (usually) has less impact on your team, which relieves stress for some players who are concerned about bringing their team down. In the end, only you will be able to decide what format fits you the best and which one you have the most fun with. So whether it's Highlander, 6s or 4v4... test them all and decide by yourself!

Everyone can play competitive TF2. Most leagues have divisions for players with less experience. For example, UGC's Iron divisions are exclusively reserved for new players and the teams who register are under tight scrutiny. Iron players represent more or less 25% of UGC and they're, in the vast majority, all discovering the wonders of competitive TF2! ETF2L's Open Division is also mostly for players with little competitive experience. Don't be afraid, the best thing to do is to get your feet wet.

There is no time requirement. In general, players get around 100 hours~ (more or less) in order to get familiar with the game. That requirement is not set in stone, the faster you will get into competitive TF2 and play against better players, the faster you'll get better. However, as recommended above, you should know the basics of the game and of your role before deciding to jump into competitive.

If you wish to participate in league plays, time commitment depends on the league you wish to participate in and the team you play on. For scrims, some teams prefer to only have fun and show up on match days, while others scrim (practice) multiple times a week. Contact your team Leader to know if their schedule fits with yours.
For matches, default days for UGC are Monday 9:30 EST for Highlander, Wednesday 9:30 EST for 6s and Friday 9:30 EST for 4s. In ESEA & ETF2L, match schedules are flexible and depends on your opponent.

Competitive TF2 is strongly reliant on communication, but it depends on your team. While it's not against any rules, some teams will require their players to have a mic while others might not mind (and only ask them to be in Mumble). However, using a mic to work towards a common goal makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable. If you feel uncomfortable using a mic, know that most teams won't mind what you sound like, as long as you act mature. If they're the ones who act immature only because of your voice, they're probably not the right fit for you and you should look elsewhere. You will spend many hours a week with your teammates, respecting each other and having fun is essential!

You are not required to have a server. However, it is very practical to have one. A 13-slot server can cost around $12/month while a 19-slot server will cost around 16$/month. Most server providers will also provide you with a free Mumble server. If money is a problem, you can always ask your teammates to chip in. Some server providers even have built-in tools that allow players to send donations directly towards funding your server. If you are still not able to get a server, here are a few things you can do: 1) Always use your opponent's server. 2) Rent a server from free services such as 3) Get more information on whether the league you play in offer servers to their players. For example, UGC has 70 servers at the disposal of their players, at a first-come first-serve basis.

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