Tournament Structure


The groupstage will consist of 4 groups of 6 contestants. Each contestant will play each other contestant in their group once, playing one match per week.


If two or more contestants are equal on points on completion of the group stage, the following criteria are applied to all tied teams to determine the ranking between all of them:

    Return to point 1. in case the number of tied participants has been reduced by any criteria point.
  1. Points amassed between the participants themselves
  2. Round/map-difference between the participants
  3. Number of won maps/rounds between the participants
  4. Overall Round/Map Difference
  5. Overall Higher score (as counted in column “score difference”)
  6. If after all points the teams are still indistinguishable, a match or mini league between the teams has to be played.


The playoffs will be 12 contestant single elimination bracket. The top 3 contestants from each group will qualify for the playoffs. The group winners will be seeded 1 to 4, the group 2nd places 5-8 and third places 9-12. This means in the first round the group winners winners will have a bye and the 2nd and 3rd places face each other. The contestants will be seeded so that two contestants from the same group can only meet in the grand final.

Counter-Strike: Source Specific Rules

Head Admins

Specifics Requirements

Player Age

The minimum age for participating in the ESL Major Series Counter-Strike:Source tournament is 16 years of age, unless an other age is specified by the national law of his country.


Players must enter their SteamID (HL2/CSS) on their ESL profile before taking part in ESL Major Series matches.

Playing with a wrong or missing gameaccount will be punished with 1 minor penalty point.

Match format

Qualification Rounds

A Qualification match is best of 3 map, first to 16 rounds. In the event of a tie, overtime will be MR5 with 10k startmoney for the first round of each half.


A groupstage match is one map, first to 16 rounds, tie is allowed.


A playoffs match is best of 3 map, first to 16 rounds. In the event of a tie, overtime will be MR5 with 10k startmoney for the first round of each half.

Starting side

The choice about which side to start with is made by the team that wins a knife round before the beginning of the first round of the first map only.

Match procedure


A PlayWeek start from Sunday to Saturday.

Time agreement

By default all matches are scheduled for Sunday 20 CET of the playweek but they may be rescheduled. The deadline for open a protest to reschedule a match is friday 23:59 before the PlayWeek. The other team has 48 hours (till 23:59 Sunday) to answer and find an agreement. Lack of agreement for both time after deadline will be considered as default time.

Wildcard and reschedule

Usage of a wildcard to reschedule a war can lead to penalties depending on the time it is used, the amount of penalties can be seen below.(see #Schedule)

Pre-match statements and line-ups

Between 7 days and 24 hours before a match is scheduled it is compulsory for both players or teams to post a pre-match statement and announce their line-up for the match. This should be done using the 'add report' link on the match page.

Teams that do not comply to the above will be punished with 1 minor penalty per match.

Meeting Point

In order to improve the communication between the teams and admins, each team has to send a representative to a #esl.ems.css IRC channel 60 minutes before the schedule match start time.

Server search

The server search can be done by the teams themselves but ten minutes before the match starts the teams need to have come to an agreement on the server or else the admin for the match will force a decision.

The selected server should have the have at least one spectator slot for a match admin and SourceTV must be enabled via the official config. If both teams cannot come to an agreement, the admin will enforce the most fair server to play on.

The internet is changing continuously and the connection to a server is not always perfect. Players and teams have to agree on a server that offers both sides an equal ping. Nevertheless every player should know, that they will sometimes have to play with a bigger ping difference. In this case we have to appeal to the sportsmanship and fairness of the players and teams. The right to change server or fake lag does not exist.

A team that does not show up in time for server search in time forfeits the right to discuss the server enforced by the admin.

Team that own the server had too :

  • Set sourceTV and send IP to Admin at least 15minute before the game.
  • Upload screenshots score and status and recorded sourceTV record just after game.

Client Settings

ESL Wire Anti-Cheat

ESL Wire Anti-Cheat is mandatory for all players to use for the full duration of all matches without exception. If a player cannot use Wire Anti-Cheat then they are not allowed to take part in a match.

If the website is down, making WAC unusable, then the match must be postponed.


The following CVAR values must be used:

  • mat_dxlevel 80/81 (using a mat_dxlevel between 80 and 81 is mandatory)
  • mat_bumpmap 1/0 (if you use "mat_bumpmap 0", you also have to use "mat_specular 0"; if you use "mat_bumpmap 1", you can either use "mat_specular 0" or "1")
  • net_graph 0/1 (0 and 1 are allowed values)

The above settings are forced by Zblock, i.e. joining the server with wrong client settings is not possible. Therefore you are not allowed to file a protest if your opponent uses different settings.

  • mat_fastspecular 1
  • r_rootlod 0/1/2 ( 0, 1, 2 is allowed)
  • cl_pitchspeed 225
  • cl_yawspeed 210

Any kind of overlay that displays the system performance while playing (e.g. Nvidia SLI Display, Rivatuner Overlays) is illegal.

Illegal script and bind examples

In general, all scripts are illegal except for buy, toggle & demo scripts. Some examples of illegal scripts:

  • Stop Shoot scripts [Use or Awp scripts]
  • Center view scripts
  • Turn scripts [180° or similar]
  • No Recoil scripts
  • Burst fire scripts
  • Rate changers (Lag scripts)
  • FPS scripts
  • Anti flash scripts or binding (snd_* bindings)
  • Bunnyhop scripts
  • Stop sound scripts

Customs Files

Custom-files are not allowed. Everything is considered as custom-file which changes or replaces the original ingame-grafics, *.gcf-files or sounds. This also includes changed HUDs, Scoreboards or sounds (volume, soundscapes).

Color depth

The usage of a color depth of 16bit is not allowed. Evidence of usage can only be given by ESL Wire, protests because of Screenshots are not allowed and will be rejected.

Graphics card drivers or other tools

Changing the game graphics or textures with the help of videocard drivers or similar tools is illegal. Furthermore any kind of overlay that displays the system performance while playing (e.g. Nvidia SLI Display, Rivatuner Overlays) is illegal. Failure to comply with this rule will result in 6 penalty points for the player and the team. Tools that only display the FPS are legal. Regardless of being actively used, if these scripts are found in part or in full in your config files, you will be penalized.

Punishment will be given regardless of whether the script/binding is executed via external hardware or software.

Also binding any snd_ command is forbidden.

Content of the Configfolder

In the config folder you are only allowed to have config files. Pictures, Demos, Screenshots and zipped Files are forbidden. If an Admin is hindered in his work because of too many unclear/chaotic config files, penalty points will be distributed. Protest and Support tickets opened because of this rule are illegal and will be ignored.

In-Game Overlays

All In-Game overlays - provided by the game itself - except the following are forbidden:

  • net_graph 0
  • net_graph 1
  • cl_showpos 1
  • cl_showfps 1

Server settings

Config and plugins

Servers used for ESL Major Series matches should use the ESL Major Series server configs. Servers must be running the latest version of Zblock and the ESL Plugin. All other server plugins excepting "CrashBlock" are forbidden. The team which provides the server is responsible for the correct setup of the server.

The pack includes a config to be put on the server, and a config that is executable by rcon, the ESL Plugin is active after loading the settings and make a mapchange. You can control it with type "eslstatus/rcon eslstatus" in tne console.

Download link:

ESL plugin

EMS config


SourceTV (tv_enable 1) must be enabled. A public SourceTV Relay must be set.


Map pool

Map choice (Groupstage)

The map used for each playweek of the groupstage is fixed in advance by the ESL. The map to be played will be shown on the match page.

Map choice (BO3)

To decide which maps are played in a ESL Major Series BO3 match, a veto system is used. Both teams alternatingly remove or choose one map from the pool :

  • the higher ranked team begins to eliminate the first map
  • the lower ranked team eliminates the second and the third map
  • the higher ranked team eliminates fourth map
  • the lower ranked team picks his map and his starting side
  • the higher ranked team picks his map and his starting side
  • the match starts with the last one, starting with a cut round.
  • the second map will be the one chosen by the looser
  • the last one will be played then if necessary.

If there is no official rank between the team yet in the competition, admin will have to drawn.

Match Media



The recording and uploading of a SourceTV demo is compulsory by the team who is responsible for the server. If the SourceTV demo is not uploaded within 24 hours of the match ending, the team responsible will be punished with 1 minor penalty.

Point of View (player)

Each player needs to record point-of-view demos of the entire time they play in a match. These demos need to be kept for a duration of 7 days after the game has ended and need to be uploaded on request. Missing point of view demos may be punished with 1 minor penalty, or 1 major penalty with a sufficient tiemtable.

Requesting Demos

If a team suspects a player or players of another team of cheating in an ESL Major Series match then they must request demos by match protest within 1 hour of the match ending . A demo request has to be made as follows: – team side – player name The maximum number of demos that can be requested: 2 demos per match, a maximum of 2 halves per player. If a requested demo contains both halves when only one half was requested, the additional half does not count towards the demo request.

Cheat accusation (timetable)

If a team wishes to accuse a player or players of another team of cheating in an ESL Major Series match than a timetable based on the SourceTV demo for each half for each player must be submitted in a protest within 48 hours of the demo being uploaded to the ESL match page.

If the SourceTV demo is not available then the point-of-view demo is used if the team making the accusation was not the team responsible for the server, otherwise an accusation cannot be made.

Each timetable must contain:

  • Download link and name of demo
  • Player name and type of suspected cheat/hack (wallhack, aimbot...)
  • Specific times in the demo which look suspicious, along with a reason for each (I.e. why it cannot have been coincidence, luck, hearing or skill)

The head admins for the ESL Major Series will decide whether the timetable is sufficient to be forwarded to the Anti Cheat Team to be judged.


The punishment for missing screenshots is no more than 1 minor penalty per match.

Score screenshot

Teams that own the server is responsible for taking a score screenshot of the end of each half and uploading them to the match page.

Status screenshot

Teams that own the server is responsible for taking a status screenshot showing all players in the match. If a player reconnects or a player is changed, a new status screenshot should be taken. If a team has rcon access to the server then they must take rcon status screenshots.


Linesman is an integrated ESL Wire module that sends information like your game-configs, colour-depth, SteamID and used starting parameters directly to the ESL. There is no need to manually upload any files after your match. Though there are some constraints regarding the size and number of used config files:

  • The total size of all configs may not be larger than 200kb
  • One file may not larger than 50kb
  • The maximum amount of config files is 30

If the Linesman Log is incomplete because of a violation of above rules, a penalty will be given and the match may be replayed.

In-game rules

Before the match

It is each team's own responsibility to check if the correct version of the map is loaded. Should bugs still be present you should ask to reload the map. Not testing the map means you agree to using this version of the map and also accept the consequences if the bugs are used. If a team uses bugs intentionally then rounds may be awarded to the opposing team.

Bug using

Using bugs is strictly forbidden. If bugs which are not listed below should be used, the admin can still decide to give out penalties.

During the match

  • Moving through walls, floors and roofs is strictly forbidden. This also includes skywalking.
  • "silent bombs" (i.e. the planting of a bomb which doesn't make a sound ) are illegal.
  • Planting bombs so that they cannot be defused is illegal.
  • This does not include plants where multiple players are needed to defuse.
  • Boosting with the help of team mates is allowed in general, but it is forbidden in places were the textures, walls, ceilings, floors become transparent or penetrable. For more information read the map specific bugs section.
  • Flashbugs are forbidden.
  • Throwing grenades under walls is not allowed, throwing grenades over walls or roofs is allowed.
  • "Mapswimming" or "Floating" is illegal.
  • "Pixelwalking" is illegal (Sitting or standing on invisible map edges).
  • General: Using bugs which change the game principle (e.g. spawn bugs) is illegal.
  • The usage of the crouching bug is forbidden
  • "bug defusing" i.e. defusing a bomb that is not visible to the player or through another object is legal.

Map specific bugs


Only one player at a time is allowed to stand on the following position:

The following positions are illegal:

Looking through these gaps is not allowed:


The following positions are illegal:


To plant the bomb at/in the fountain so that it cannot be defused is illegal.


The following positions are illegal:


Looking over this wall is not allowed:

Leaving server

Leaving the match before the match has been decided will be punished with 1 major penalty point and all remaining rounds being given to the opposing team.

Crash procedures

If the server crashes before three rounds have been completed, the server must be restarted and the game's score will be reset to 0-0. If the server crashes after the third round has been completed, the game must be restarted with startmoney 5000 and the score will be counted from the last completed round. The maxrounds of the half should be changed to equal the remaining rounds left at the point of the server crash.

If a player's computer crashes before the first kill has been made in the first round, the match will be restarted. If a player's computer crashes after the first kill has been made, the server will be paused at the end of the current round. Once the player has rejoined the server and the teams are notified of his or her return, the game will be resumed. It is the each player's responsibility to make sure their hardware/software/internet connection is fully functional before participating in a match. If they are in doubt, they should notify their team captain and appropriate actions should be taken.


If a player or a team violates one or more of the league rules, they will be punished according to the degree of the infringement. This penalty catalogue contains a list of offences with which penalties may be awarded to players and teams.

The administration will decide whether an offence has affected the outcome of the match to an extent that it can not be counted and must be repeated.

The administration reserves the right to give penalties not covered by this catalogue or give different penalties than the ones listed here.


As in daily life, a certain degree of courtesy should be maintained between players and teams of the ESL Major Series. Violations of this rule will be punished depending on the severity and frequency.


All insults occurring in connection with the ESL Major Series will be punished. This primarily applies to insults during a match but also on the ESL website (forums, match comments, player guestbooks, support and protest tickets, etc.). Insults on IRC, IM programs, E-mail or other means of communication will be punished if they can be linked to the ESL Major Series and the evidence is clear.

Particularly severe abuse cases with extreme statements or the threat of physical violence can result in significantly heavier penalties including the exclusion of the player.

Depending on the nature and severity of the insult the penalty will be assigned to the player or to the team in team leagues. In team leagues players may also be barred from playing for one or more match weeks.


The excessive posting of senseless, harassing or offensive messages is regarded as spamming.

Spamming on the website (forums, match comments, player guestbooks, support and protest tickets, etc.) will be punished depending on the nature and severity.

Unsportsmanlike Behaviour

For an orderly and pleasant game it is essential that all players have a sportive and fair attitude. Breaches of this rule will be punished with (1) to (3) minor penalties. The most important and most common offences are listed below. However, the administration may assign penalties for not explicitly listed types of unsportsmanlike behaviour (e.g. harassment).

In-game Spam

Up to three (3) minor penalties may be awarded for the abuse of the game's chat functions if it's used for excessive spamming, in order to distract the opponents or to disrupt the game. These functions are solely meant for communication with the opponent and the match admin.

Kicking Players from the game server

Six (6) minor penalties will be awarded for kicking players from the game server. It is prohibited to kick players of the opposing team from the server during a match. The match admin present on the game server decides whether the kick affected the outcome of the match. A rematch may be set in grave cases.


The attempt to deceive the administration or other players using false or fictitious information, statements or data is punishable as follows:

Fake Results

Four (4) minor penalties are awarded for entering a fake result, for example: if the opponent leaves the server prematurely or refuses to play the match. If anything is unclear, e.g. the players cannot agree on a solution, a protest always has to be filed.

Fake Match media

Match media includes all records, such as e.g. Demos, screenshots, or logs, that are produced in the context of a match. The counterfeiting of Match Media is prohibited and will be punished depending on the seriousness with one (1) to four (4) minor penalties.

Serious Circumstances

If counterfeit match media is submitted and there is a suspicion of cheating the punishment is increased to six (6) minor penalties.

Miscellaneous Deceptions

Other attempts to deceive an admin or another player, depending on the severity, will be punished at the discretion of the administrators with one (1) to four (4) minor penalties.

Use of ineligible players

The use of an ineligible player is punished with one (1) major penalty.


One (1) major penalty point will be given if a player is found to be playing under the name of another player.


Cheating in an ESL Major Series match will result in the participant being kicked. The player(s) will be punished with 12 regular penalty points and a 2 year barrage from the ESL.


The tournament administration can remove any participants that he sees fit, for any reason.