ESL Major Series

Counter-Strike: Source

Season VI Rules - Last updated: 1/5/2010




Participant - A participant is any team, or player that is on ESL Major Series team account that is taking part in the ESL Major Series.

License Holder - A license holder is the legal entity (registered association, Ltd company, etc.) or the person to whom an ESL Major Series License is in control of.

Time - All times are given in Central European Time (CET), or Central European Summer Time (CEST) during summer time in Europe.

Season - The season lasts from the beginning of the first playweek of the Main Round until the end of the playoffs.

Playweek - A playweek is from 00:00 Monday to Midnight Sunday.

Tournament Administration

Tournament Directors

For the head admins of this ESL Major Series see #Head_Admins

Validity of the Rules

Should any of the rules in this rule book be void for any legal reasons in any specific country, the remainder of the rule book remains valid for that country.

Rule modifications

The ESL Major Series administration reserves the right to change or modify these rules, and in special cases make decisions not covered by these rules to preserve the spirit of fair competition and sportsmanship.

Non-disclosure of internal information

All texts written in either protest or support tickets or written by the ESL Major Series administration to members of the ESL Major Series cannot be published without the written permission of the ESL Major Series administration.

Code of conduct

All participants are asked to behave in an appropriate manner towards other competitors and to any member of the ESL Major Series administration. Exceptional cases of violation of this rule will be punished with all possible severity.

Additional agreements

The ESL Major Series administration is not responsible for additional agreements between players or teams and these agreements are only allowed if they do not violate any of the existing rules. The ESL Major Series administration advises against such agreements. The ESL Major Series administration will not enforce any additional agreements.

Contract conditions

The ESL Major Series administration will not interfere with and is not responsible for any legal issues between a player and his or her team.


It is not permitted to bet on matches of leagues, in which you are a participant. Violations of this rule are punished by one (1) Major Penalty for the team/the player. If a deliberate attempt to manipulate a match can be proven, the ESL can also bar the player(s) in question for a number of matches or have matches replayed. In extreme cases, the league administration reserves the right to remove a team/player from an ongoing season.


A protest can only be made using the protest form on the ESL page. Protests filed by email or IRC are not valid. At most, they can help explain the circumstances. Please see the protest procedure: http://www.esl.eu/eu/ems/faq/protest_rules/

If a participant wants to submit a protest concerning a specific match, the protest needs to be filed within 72 hours after the starting time of the match. Any protest made after the deadline will be discarded.

Continuously filing protests for the sole purpose of getting an advantage out of filing protests will be treated as violation of fair play.

Barrage for dropping out from the ESL Major Series

Any participant who drops out of the current ESL Major Series cannot return later. This applies to any kind of drop out, no matter whether it is by his or her own decision or due to a disqualification e.g. because of too many penalties. The ESL Major Series administration reserves the right to bar a participant for more than one season in extreme cases.


Penalties are given for violations of the rules and fair play.

Any rule violation that does not directly interfere with the competition of the ESL Major Series and does not violate fair play will be punished with a minor penalty.

Any rule violation that directly affects the competition of the ESL Major Series or which is not in line with fair play will be punished with a major penalty, and a forfeit loss in relegation and playoffs.

A major penalty is worth 10 points, a minor penalty is worth 3 points. If a participant's major and minor penalties combined total 30 or more points, they will be removed from the ESL Major Series.

Penalties given within the ESL Major Series only apply for the ESL Major Series and not for the normal ESL leagues and ladders. The only exception to this are penalties given for cheating and severe violations of the code of conduct or fraud which will also be penalised in accordance with the normal ESL system.

Penalty points and barrages of the ESL do not apply to the ESL Major Series, except barrages for cheating.


Players forum

In team competitions, each team can appoint up to three (3) people who can represent their team in the players forum. In 1on1 competitions, only the players themselves and one orga from his or her team can have access to the players forum. If several players from an organization are in the same 1on1 competition then they must appoint a single orga for all.

The players forum is the only official communication platform between the players and the admin team.

All information within this forum is to be kept between the admin team and the participants of the players. Information or statements placed inside this forum by the admin team are not to be made public (news, public forums, etc.) and teams will be punished depending upon the kind of information and content they make available in the form of penalties or a direct disqualification from the competition.


One of the official means of communication on ESL is e-mail. ESL uses the e-mail addresses entered in the users’ profile to communicate with the users. All users are therefore asked to use a working e-mail address in their profile and to check the content of their mailbox daily if possible. ESL can not be held responsible for problems arising if e-mail does not arrive because the recipient did not keep his account up to date.


In addition to the players forum, to enable quick and easy communication there is usually a private IRC channel that we ask for all participants to join. If there is a channel, the details can be found in the players forum.

Game broadcasts

All broadcasting rights of ESL Major Series matches are owned by the Turtle Entertainment GmbH. This includes all forms of broadcasts, i.e. IRC Bots, shoutcast streams, video streams, HLTV, WaaaghTV, Replays, Demos or TV broadcasts. Turtle Entertainment GmbH can pass on the broadcasting rights for one or multiple matches to a third party or to the participants themselves. In this case the broadcast must be arranged with a head admin before the match. A participant cannot refuse to have their matches broadcast, nor can they choose in what way it will be broadcast.

ESL TV is a German television station that will be broadcasting, amongst other things, matches from the ESL Major Series.

Tournament direction

The ESL Major Series is organised by the Electronic Sports League (ESL). The Electronic Sports League is part of Turtle Entertainment GmbH.

Turtle Entertainment GmbH
Siegburger Str. 189
50679 Köln

Team accounts

Ownership of Team accounts

The ESL Major Series administration assigns ESL Major Series licenses to each contestant at the beginning of each season.

The license is assigned to a legal entity (registered association, Ltd company, etc.). If a team is not represented by a legal entity, then the ESL Major Series administration will assign the license to a person on the team. This is always the team manager or a person appointed by the team manager.

The license holder is responsible for all actions that concern the team. The ESL Major Series license holder is the entity which will receive the prize money after the season has ended. The license holder can name another person to receive the prize money at the end of the season.


All ESL Major Series teams must comply to the following:

  • Have a suitable team name
  • Have a suitable team logo
  • Have a team account that is not active in any other ESL leagues, ladders or cups.
  • Have no inactive/honorary members listed

Teams that do not comply to the above will be punished with 1 minor penalty each playweek. The team account may not be used for anything other than the EMS. Also the team "Name" is that of the team without "EMS", sponsors or the game, additions to the team name go in to "Name extension".

Team nationality

The first match a team plays in the ESL Major Series (either in a Qualifying Round or the Groupstage) determines the country a team based on a simple majority.

51% of the lineup in any match, must be Passport holder of, or resident in the country that the team in question qualified itself from. If in any future matches the team's country is no longer 51% or more from that country, then the team's country must be set to Europe for the rest of the season.


All players added to a team after 23:59 CET of the Sunday before the first playweek of the Groupstage begins are considered new players.

Up to three new players can be added to a team during the season.

A player is only allowed to change their team once per competition stage (groupstage, playoffs). Should a player change their team in a competition stage, they are not allowed to play against their old team or against teams that they played against with their former team for the remainder of that competition stage.

For each new player in a team a support ticket must be made for the player to be approved by the head admins for that ESL Major Series. Before being approved new players must meet all the requirements for playing.

A new player must requested at least 24 hours before playing in a match, and approved before the match.

Player accounts

Player country & nationality

A player's country (of residence) must be set to the country that they live in, and their nationality must be set to the citizenship they possess, provable with a current passport.


All ESL Major Series players must comply to the following:

  • Have their full name entered and made public
  • Have a suitable photo uploaded
  • Country
  • Nationality
  • Birthdate
  • Have their necessary gameaccounts entered (see #Gameaccounts)

Players that do not comply to the above will be punished with 1 minor penalty each playweek. An individual player may only hold one ESL account, breach of this rule is punishable according to the standard ESL multi-account rule-set. Also no participant can play for more than one organization at the same time in any ESL Major Series, Intel Extreme Masters, ESL Pro Series, or ESL Amateur Series. Every participant in the EMS must be at least 12 years of age, unless a higher age is required as specifically stated in the rules for that game.

Premium Accounts

For the games

  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • FIFA Clanwar
  • Trackmania Nations Forever
  • Pro Evolution Soccer
  • Starcraft Broodwar

Every member participating in one of the above games must have premium for the duration of the season starting from the Mainround/Groupstage. In team games, every member that is on the team sheet must have Premium. For more info about premium click here

An individual player can be punished with 2 minor penalty points per week for missing premium. If there is a member in a team missing premium the penalty can be 1 minor penalty point per player missing premium, although the maximum penalty for the team is 2 minor penalty points per week, even though more than 2 members may be missing premium.


Any agreement to reschedule a match must be made by both participants on the ESL website, either in a protest ticket or match comments, otherwise the official match time is that stated on the match page.


The deadline for rescheduling a match is midnight Sunday of the preceding play week. Rescheduling after this deadline will incur 1 minor penalty.

If a participant wishes to reschedule a match they should do so by opening a match protest. Upon requesting the reschedule the participant must suggest at least 3 new times on at least 3 separate dates up to the end of the next playday to play the match. Failure will incur 1 minor penalty.


In 16 contestant groupstages (and FIFA Clanwar), participants have 1 wildcard.

In 24 contestant groupstage, participants have 2 wildcards.

A wildcard is used when a participant requests to reschedule a match within 24 hours of the scheduled match time. Usage of the wildcard will also incur 1 minor penalty.

When a participant has already used up their wildcard then they will receive a total of 3 minor penalties.


Playoffs matches cannot be wildcarded or rescheduled past the deadline date without a serious reason and the permission of the admin team. One player being unavailable is not a valid reason.

No show

If a participant is not ready, in full, for the match 15 minutes after the scheduled start time they are a no show.


If the participant still has a wildcard, one major penalty will be given and a wildcard will be removed. If they do not have any wildcards remaining they will receive 1 major penalty and 1 major penalty.

During the groupstage a no show does not result in a forfeit loss, all matches must be played.


A no show in a Playoff match will result in a forfeit loss.

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:

  • higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the contestants in question;
  • superior round difference from the group matches played among the contestants in question;
  • superior round difference difference from all group matches 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.


It is our aim to follow this schedule as best as possible.


  • Week 1: Monday April 26 - Sunday May 2
  • Week 2: Monday May 3 - Sunday 9 May
  • Week 3: Monday May 10 - Sunday May 16
  • Week 4: Monday May 17 - Sunday May 23
  • Week 5: Monday May 24 - Sunday May 30
  • Catch up: Monday May 31 - Sunday June 6


  • Relegation: Monday June 7 - Sunday June 13
  • Round One: Monday June 14 - Sunday June 20
  • Quarter Finals: Monday June 21 - Sunday June 27
  • Semi Finals: Monday June 28 - Sunday July 4
  • Third Place Decider & Grand Final: Monday July 5 - Sunday July 11

Counter-Strike: Source Specific Rules

Head Admins

Match 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 of the preceding play week. 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.

Rescheduling and Wildcard

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.

Time of rescheduling for play day XWildcardNo Wildcard Left
Before friday 23:59 playday X-1--
Before sunday 23:59 playday X-11 minor PP1 minor PP
Begin of the playday to 24 hours before match2 minor PP1 major & 2 minor PP
24 hours – 2 hours before match3 minor PP1 major & 3 minor PP
2 hours before match – 30 minutes after scheduled match start1 major PP2 major PP
No-show wildcard removed & 1 major PP2 major PP

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.

Server agreement

At least 1 hour before the match, you got to be on #esl.ems.css to find an agreement for the server with your oponnent. In case of absence or disagree, the head admin will force the choice to the most fair solution.

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.


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.


Every player must use Aequitas for the entire duration of the match.

Each player must upload the Aequitas file (the ZIP created by Aequitas) without reminder, within 24 hours of the end of the match. The player and their team are responsible for the upload, meaning he or she has to check if the files are complete and working.

Missing, not working, incomplete or modified Aequitas files must be reported by the other team in a protest and will be punished with 1 major penalty for the team. A period of 48 hours will then be given to replace the files in question. Should the Aequitas files be replaced with the correct ones the penalty will then be reduced to 1 minor penalty. If the files of the winning team are still not complete after the period of 48 hours the match will be replayed.

Procedure for non-working Aequitas

If the website is offline then Aequitas will not work. This is the only situation where it is possible to play without Aequitas. It is responsibility of the player to ensure that Aequitas works for them and report it to the admin team as soon as possible.

Should Aequitas not work for a player, the player must take a screenshot of the error message and upload it after the match.

Once in game, each player not using Aequitas will have to take smoke and model screenshots. If a player reconnects during the duration of the match, he needs to make new screenshots and upload all of them. All media needs to be uploaded to the ESL Major Series website within 24 hours of the end of the match.

The model screenshot needs to include the following things: 1 Terrorist model, 1 CT model, netgraph, primary or secondary weapon.

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)

All players must record point of view demos of the entire match. The demos can only be requested by an admin. Missing point of view demos may be punished with 1 minor penalty, or 1 major penalty with a sufficient tiemtable.

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

Both teams are responsible for taking a score screenshot of the end of each half and uploading them to the match page.

Status screenshot

Both teams are 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.

Client settings


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

Illegal script and binds

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

  • Turn scripts [180° or similar]
  • Stop-Shotscripts [Use- or Awp-scripts]
  • Centerviewscripts
  • No-Recoil-scripts
  • Burstfire-scripts
  • Bunnyhop-scripts
  • Ratechangers (Lagscripts)
  • FPS-scripts
  • Stopsound-scripts
  • Anti flash scripts or binding

Regardless of being actively used, if these scripts are found in parts or in full in your configfile, you will be penalized.

Penalties will be given regardless of whether the script/binding is executed via external Hardware or Software.

The usage of "vprof" and any related functions is forbidden. Also any "snd_commands" as bindings are forbidden.

Having or using No-Flash and No-Recoil bindings/scipts in any and all forms will be punished as in Rule with 3 Minor penalties for the team after the first violation without active usage and 6 Minor penalties for the team after repeated violation or with active use. The player may be punished according to rule 6.5 Cheating.

Graphics card drivers or other tools

Changes made to the in-game graphics or textures by the use of graphics card drivers or other tools or programs are forbidden.


Only the default Counter-Strike Source models are allowed.

Server settings

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 http://www.esl.eu/de/css/download/19084553/

EMS config http://gfx.esl-europe.net/media/de/css/cfg/cssconfig.zip


SourceTV (tv_enable 1) must be enabled.


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 (playoffs)

To decide which map is played in a relegation or playoff match a veto system is used. Both teams alternatingly remove one map from the pool :

  • the lower ranked team begins to eliminate the first map
  • the higher ranked team eliminates second map
  • the lower ranked team picks first map to be played
  • the higher ranked team says second and third

Match format


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.

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.
  • "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

Four (4) 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.

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