1. General

 1.1. Agreements

Certain agreements between participants are allowed to slightly differ from the ESL rules. Agreements that differ greatly from rules are however not allowed. Please note that the rules were made to ensure a fair match for all participants. You are not allowed to file a protest after the match if you think that the agreements made before the match in the end resulted in a disadvantage for your team.

Rules that can be changed with agreements are explicitly stated. Rules that do not explicitly state they can be changed by agreement, cannot have agreements made.

All arrangements between participants made in addition to the rules have to be written down in the match comments. The other participant has to confirm the arrangements also in the comments. To avoid abuse of the edit function, a third comment must be written.

Please also keep screenshots and/or log files of your arrangements. If you do not fulfil these requirements, any protests or supports concerning arrangements will be rejected.

The following rules may never be changed by arrangement:

  • Entering results for matches that have not been played
  • Allowing players to play that are barred because of penalty points, or are barred in the league due to a ban
  • Allowing players to play in leagues with premium requirement that are barred for not having Premium
  • Allowing players to play without ESL Anticheat


1.2. Cheating

Players caught cheating will be penalized with 12 penalty points and a 2 year barrage (plus, if necessary, 6 additional penalty points for the team account).

Matches, where the player participated, will be deleted, if they are not older than 28 days. Please open a support ticket for this request.

Cheating in Counter-Strike includes, but is not limited to, all kinds of aimbots, wallhacks, sound hacks, no recoil, no smoke, no flash, colored models, ambient occlusion, etc.


1.2.1. Rehabilitation

Nevertheless first offenders willing to intensively deal with their situation can get a second chance. More information about the cheater rehabilitation can be found here: http://play.eslgaming.com/rehab


2. ESL/ESEA Anticheat & Demos


2.1. ESL Anticheat / Linesman / ESEA Client

ESL Anticheat is mandatory for all players participating in EU, CIS and East Asia qualifiers  to use for the full duration of all matches without exception. If a player cannot use Anticheat then they are not allowed to take part in a match.

For a missing or an incomplete Anticheat file the player/team will be punished. Apart from this rule are all players which have evidence (screenshot of a bug)) that ESL Anticheat stopped/crashed due to an error. The first time a player has no logout or no Linesman file, a warning will always be given, whether he can prove it was an error or not.

Warnings for a missing logout and linesman are valid for 14 days. We only handle and warn a missing logout if they are reported within a protest. A match won't be deleted if warnings have been given.

Another missing logout / missing Linesman file within that 14 days timespan will be treated like playing without Anticheat and will be penalized as such.

A match has to be postponed if the ESL website or AC-servers are down, making Anticheat unusable.

ESEA Client is mandatory for all players participating in North America qualifiers  to use for the full duration of all matches without exception. If a player cannot use Anticheat then they are not allowed to take part in a match.


2.2. Demos

It is mandatory for all players participating in EU, CIS and East Asia qualifiers to record one point-of-view (POV) demo per map for the full duration of all matches without exceptions. A possible knife round is part of demo and has to be recorded. Possible overtimes have to be recorded as well. In general not working demos will be treated as missing demos, although the final decision is up to the admin. If the demo is incomplete, the admin will decide whether or not it will be treated as a missing demo. If a protest has been opened for a match, all match media must be kept for at least 14 days until after the protest is closed. In case of a match abort the aborting team loses any right for a demo. If the server crashes no automatic replay will be available. In this case players have to upload demos on admin request.


2.2.1. Requesting demos

It's not possible to request player ineye demos. Only the Anti Cheat team is allowed to request the ineye demo of an accused player if they deem it's required. Failure to provide the demo will be punished with 6 pps (missing demo with cheat suspicion). The Anti Cheat team will nevertheless perform the analysis based on the Go TV demo.


2.2.2. Uploading demos

Demos have to be compressed into an archive (.zip, .rar, .7z). Apart from that all match media has to be uploaded to the ESL website (the match page). You are not allowed to upload your match media to your personal web space or any other kind of external hoster.


2.2.3. Editing demos

It is strictly forbidden to edit demos. If a replay has been manipulated, the admin team will decide what penalty is appropriate.


2.2.4. Accusation of cheating by timetable

If you want to accuse your opponent(s) of cheating, you need to hand in a timetable within 72 hours after the match has been finished. Timetables must be prepared based on the Go TV demo that is automatically uploaded to the match page. Instructions on how to do this can be found on this page.

A timetable should be handed in along with the opening of the protest, so please make sure you have your timetable(s) ready when you open the protest. Nevertheless the timetable can still be handed in later (as long as it is within the 72h deadline) in case you did not do that along with the opening of the protest.


3. Settings


3.1. Player settings


3.1.1. Illegal scripts

In general, all scripts are illegal except for buy, toggle and demo scripts. Here are some examples for 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)
  • Stop sound scripts

Violations of this rule will lead to a warning the first time. If in team matches more than 1 player played with wrong client settings and they have been warned before already, the match will be deleted.


3.1.2. In-Game overlays

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

  • cl_showpos 1
  • cl_showfps 1
  • net_graph 0/1 (nevertheless you are not allowed to abuse the net_graph to help you aiming, like in this screenshot)


3.1.3. Custom files

The HUD can be changed as long as no information is deleted or falsified which is available in the standard HUD. If you use a custom HUD, it has to be readable. If an admin is hindered in his work because of unreadable HUDs, penalty points could be assigned. Protests or support tickets because of unreadable HUDs will be rejected immediately.

Custom files are only allowed for your HUD and GUI.

Other custom files are forbidden, including custom models, changed textures or sounds (volume, soundscapes).


3.1.4. Illegal software and hardware tools

Changing the game graphics or textures with the help of video card 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. Tools that only display the FPS are legal.

You will be punished regardless of whether the changes have been made using external hardware or software and regardless of actively using them or not.


3.1.5. Color depth

The usage of a color depth of 16 bit is not allowed. Evidence of usage can only be given by ESL Anticheat. Trying to prove the use of 16 bit with screenshots is not allowed and protests about this will be rejected.


3.1.6. Content of the config folder

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 config files, penalty points (1-3) can be assigned. Protests and support tickets opened because of this rule are illegal and will be rejected.


3.1.7. Game account

It is mandatory to register a CS:GO SteamID in your player profile otherwise you will be auto kicked from the server. If you get kicked from the server with the message "You are not a match participant", please open a protest to the match.


4. Match rules


4.1. Nickname and clan tag

Each player has to use a nickname that is similar to the nickname entered in the ESL player sheet. You are not allowed to change your nickname in-game. Protests or support tickets because of a violation of this rule will be rejected.

If an admin's job is hindered because of wrong or difficult nicknames and/or clan tags, penalty points can be given to the players and teams.


4.2. Warmup

To start the match all contestants have to type .ready in the chat.


4.3. Number of players

A match can only start when the following minimum number of players are available:

  • 5on5: only 5on5 is allowed.

Only players who were in the team prior to match confirmation are allowed to play in the match.

This rules only relates to the number of players which have to be available at match start, in case a player should drop see rule Player drop.


4.4. During the match


4.4.1. Choice of side

A knife round will be played to determine the side. This is forced by the server. The winner of this knife round will choose the side by typing .stay or . switch in the chat.


4.4.2. Server crash

If the server crashes before three rounds have been completed (in a half), the server must be restarted and the half's score will be reset to 0-0.

If the server crashes after the third round has been completed, the half must be restarted with start money 2000 and the score will be counted from the last completed round. The start money is set to 2000 and the team that lost the last round kills itself using "kill" in the console. This round does not count. The half continues with the following round. The start money has to be set to 800 again.


4.4.3. Player drop

If a player drops the server will be paused at the end of the current round (see rule Game pausing).

The waiting time for a dropped player is 15 minutes. If the player or a substitute rejoins the server and both teams are ready, the game can be resumed. In case the dropped player does not reconnect within 15 minutes and there should be no substitute available, the team must continue playing with one less player.


4.4.4. Change of players

Players can be changed at any time but the opposing team has to be informed in advance. If necessary the game can be paused (see rule Game pausing). This change may not take more than 5 minutes. After the waiting time the match can also be continued without the full team and the player can join in the running game. Changed players must be registered in the team with their CS:GO SteamID prior to the match.

 Sub players need to be registered before the start of the tournament, otherwise they will not be able to join the server.

4.4.5. Game intermissions

If the match is interrupted, the match is valuated up until that point. The match will be continued according to the following procedure (does not apply to Handgun competitions since the money is 1000 there):

  • The start money is set to 2000 for the remaining game time.
  • The team that lost the last round kills itself using the command “kill” in the console. This round does not count.
  • The game begins with the next round.
  • Should further maps have to be played after this map, the start money must be set back to the normal value (800).

This rule serves the purpose of covering unexpected intermissions that are not willfully brought about by the teams. So if a game is interrupted but cannot be continued on the same day, the remaining game time can be played at a later date but within seven days. If the teams/players fail to agree on a date, an admin will determine the date. If a team/player fails to appear an admin will decide whether the match is rated as 'did not show up' or 'match abort'.

Only players who were in the team at the initial play-date are allowed to continue the game. New players have no permission to play the match, except the opponent teams grants it.


4.4.6. Game pausing

If you have a problem that prevents you from playing on, you are allowed to pause the game. You have to announce the reason before or immediately after you paused the game. Pausing the game without any reason will lead to penalty points (see Unsportsmanlike behaviour). If the problem can't be solved (max. 10 minutes pause time) see rule Game intermissions.


4.4.7. Overtime[a]

Playing overtime is mandatory and will be forced by the server. The overtime will be played MR3 (maximum of 6 played rounds) with $16.000 start money. For the start of the overtime, teams will stay on the side which they played the previous half on, during half-time sites will be swapped. Teams will continue to play overtimes until a winner has been found.


4.4.8. Bugs and forbidden actions Weapon choice AIM/AWP

Allowed are all weapons that can be found on the map including grenades. Handgun

Pistols, zeus, grenades and the knife can be used. Bomb

To plant the bomb in a way that it cannot be reached anymore is forbidden. Places that can be reached with the help of a team mate are allowed. Violating this rule will result in the deduction of 3 rounds. Climbing

Climbing with the help of team mates is in general allowed. Not allowed are positions where textures disappear in walls or grounds if a special movement (e.g. a jump) is required. Boosting, sky walking, sharking

Boosting through walls, ceilings or the ground, invisible pixels or surfaces, sky walking, map swimming, floating and sharking are all forbidden. Grenades

Throwing grenades inside walls is not allowed. Throwing them above walls and roofs is allowed. Self-Kills

Self-kills by console in order to shorten the round time is strictly forbidden. Other

The use of bugs is in general not allowed. Should a bug that is not listed be used, an admin will decide if a penalty is necessary.


4.5. After the match


4.5.1. Right to write a support ticket/file a protest

Only players/teams involved in a match are allowed to write a support ticket or to file a protest. Players can open a protest up to 72h after match start.


4.5.2. Game abort

If a team aborts a match before it is finished, a win may be granted to the remaining team if the match advanced to a point where the end result can be determined. If your opponent should deliberately leave the match, you must definitely file a protest. You are not allowed to enter a result yourself. This can be penalized as a fake result.


5. Cup rules

Unless specified otherwise, in all of our cups the ladder rules are valid as well. There are some special rules in place for cups:


5.1. Special rules


5.1.1. Deadlines

open a protest: within 10 minutes after the match

The deadlines are determined by Anticheat logout time.

ESEA related protest can be opened here: https://discord.gg/esea 

5.1.2. No show

If your opponent does not confirm that they are ready 10 minutes after their last match got closed and rated, you have to open a protest to request a default win. Map vote and connecting to the server need to be done in time. Players/teams showing no real effort to do it or even delaying the process on purpose may be disqualified.


5.1.3. Servers

The ESL provides 128 tick high quality servers to play on. It's allowed to play on another server if one party wishes to do so (e.g. due to ping problems). If you do not want to play on the ESL server, you need to have your own server.

If both players/teams should have a 128 tick server available, the match is going to be split over two servers. The server of the player/team which is on the left side in the match sheet will be used for the first half of the match. The other server for the second half of the match.

The qualification will be played with the use of the current server CFG on the given platform (ESL or ESEA)

Each qualifier will have its own pool of servers dedicated for the tournament. Servers will be located in the area of specific regions to provide the best possible experience for all teams.


5.1.4. Overtime

In case of a draw, an overtime must be played to determine the winner of the match, following this procedure: The overtime will be played MR3 (a maximum of 6 rounds) with $16.000 start[b] money. For the start of the overtime teams will stay on the side which they played the previous half on, during half-time sites will be swapped. Teams will continue to play overtimes until a winner has been found.


5.1.5. Adding new players

All players on a team at the official start time of the cup are eligible to play in all matches. After the official start time only two new players are eligible to play. Using more than two new players during the cup will result in a default loss. New players must be registered in the team with their CS:GO SteamID prior to the game integration match confirmation.


5.1.6. ESL Anticheat/Linesman/wrong clientsettings

Missing Anticheat logout: warning

Missing Linesman: warning

Missing Anticheat file: default win to the opponents

Wrong client settings: warning

By reaching the number of 2 warnings in different matches during a cup the team will be disqualified.

*not applying to North America qualifiers hosted on ESEA


5.1.7. Disqualification

To keep the delay during the cup as slightly as possible we reserve the right to disqualify teams from the tournament. This will only be done in cases were a team shows no real effort to get a match done or is even obviously blocking. In hard cases this can even effect both teams. If one team is unable to connect to the server due to game account problems this will result in a disqualification.


5.1.8. Administration

Each team should follow the administration instructions during the game.

The way qualifications are conducted may vary slightly from region to region, so every team must follow the instructions of the tournament administrators. Failure to comply with the rules imposed by the administration may result in disqualification.

If you have any questions, please contact the administrators immediately:

Bartłomiej Szczerba - Project Coordinator -  b.szczerba@eslgaming.com

Alexander Rymaszewski - ESEA Coordinator - alex@esportsea.com 

Wojciech Moreń - ESL Coordinator -  crosik@staff.eslgaming.com / wojciech.moren@esportsea.com 

Wojciech Wojtas - ESL Referee

Dominik Woźniak - ESL Referee

Emilio Ferreira Walewski - ESL Referee

Marcin Ciesielski - ESL Referee

Kamil Plichta - ESEA Referee

Patryk Ładocha - ESL Referee

5.1.9. Team restrictions

Each team must have at least three residents of the region (playing in every single game of the tournament, sub players do not count)  for which the qualification is being played. If this requirement is not met, the administration has the right to remove the team from the tournament. In case of discrepancies or ambiguities regarding the admission of a team to a given qualification, please contact the tournament administration immediately.

5.1.10. Structure

There will be three open qualification tournaments for each of the four regions. 8 teams from the open qualification (3 teams from two first tournament, and 2 teams from last chance qualifiers) will advance to the regional play-off phases. Playoff phase winners will reach the global finals at ESL One New York.

*Open Qualifications - 3 tournaments, Single Elimination bracket with BO1 matches and BO3 deciders/Semifinals

*Playoff - Single Elimination bracket with Bo3 games

Teams, which reach global finals, will be emailed with a rulebook regarding offline event, it’s structure, mapveto system and other necessary information.

5.1.11. Countries admitted to competitions in the various regions


Teams must have at least 3 members with residence in one of the following countries:

am, az, by, ee, ge, kg, kz, lt, lv, md, ru, tj, tm, ua, uz


Teams must have at least 3 members with residence in one of the following countries:

ad, al, at, ba, be, bg, by, ch, cy, cz, de, dk, ee, es, fi, fo, fr, ge, gi, gr, hr, hu, ie, is, it, li, lt, lu, lv, mc, md, me, mk, mt, nl, no, pl, pt, ro, rs, se, si, sk, sm, tr, uk, va, xk

North America:

Teams must have at least 3 members with residence in one of the following countries:


Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba        Aruba

The Bahamas





British Virgin Islands


Cayman Islands

France        Clipperton Island

Costa Rica




Dominican Republic

El Salvador

Federal Dependencies of Venezuela











United States


Nueva Esparta


Puerto Rico


Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina

Saint Barthélemy

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Collectivity of Saint Martin

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Sint Eustatius

Sint Maarten

Trinidad and Tobago

Turks and Caicos Islands

United States

United States Virgin Islands

East Asia (APAC excluding oceania):

Teams must have at least 3 members with residence in one of the following countries(Teams from other APAC countries may take part in the competition at their own risk and accept any differences in connection with the servers assigned to the competition.):

Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei

Cambodia, China

East Timor

India, Indonesia



Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar

Nepal, North Korea

Pakistan, Philippines

Russian Far East

Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka

Taiwan, Thailand


5.1.12. Age restriction

Every player participating in MSI Gaming Arena tournaments should be at least 16 years old by the start of the qualifier.

Teams with players below the age limit will be removed from the tournament.

5.1.13. Multi-Team Ownership

Multi-Team Ownership is not allowed. Single organizations must not have two different teams in one competition at any stage. The rule applies to academies, project teams etc.

If there is a suspicion that one organization has two teams, the organizer will try to clarify the situation and possibly remove one team.

5.1.14. Seeding

Seeding for each qualifying tournament will be done on the basis of the hltv ranking.

5.1.15. General structure

Three elimination tournaments will be held in each region.  From the first two stages, the three best teams will pass to the next stage. From the last tournament the two best teams go to the next stage.

The 8 best teams in each region selected via open qualifiers will take part in the closed phase of the single elimination bo3 play-off.

The winners of the regional playoffs guarantee their participation in the world's finals during the ESL New York event.

6. Penalty points

In general, a player and the team can receive up to 6 penalty points per match, unless a single violation has a higher punishment. A team is only punished once per violation, regardless of how many players. Where a player or team receives penalty points for multiple violations, the penalty points are added together.

Rule violation

Number of penalty points


No show

Team: 3; Player: 2

Reject compulsory challenge

Normal: 1

Intense (top 10): 2

Abort match

Player / Team: 2

Use of ineligible player

Inactive barrage

Player / Team: 3 and match deletion


Player / Team: 6 and match deletion

Unsportsmanlike behaviour

Multiple/Fake accounts

Warning / 1-3 penalty points

Faking country/nationality

Warning / 1-3 penalty points


Player / Team: 1 - 4

Fake match media

Player / Team: 6 and match deletion


Player: 12 / Team: 6 and match deletion


6.1. Illegal graphic settings

The use of illegal software and hardware tools in order to change the game graphics or textures will in general be punished with 6 penalty points.


6.2. Illegal scripts

Using illegal scripts will be penalized with 2, 4, 6 or 12 penalty points. The amount of penalty points given depends on the script and it is up to the responsible admin to decide this. It does not matter whether the script has been used or not. If the config files of a user contain illegal scripts or parts of illegal scripts, he will be penalized, regardless of active use. Players with a jumpthrow script in their config will get a warning as first time punishment.

The use of no flash and no recoil bindings/scripts in any and all forms will be punished with 6 penalty points after the first violation without active use and 12 penalty points after repeated violation or after active use of them.


6.3. Other penalties


Illegal config setting

Player / Team: warning / 2 per setting and match deletion

Illegal script

Player / Team: 2, 4 or 6 and match deletion

Custom files

Player / Team: 2 and match deletion

Wrong models

Player: 3 - 6 and match deletion  / Team: 3

Match media

Missing/incomplete demos

Player / Team: 3 and match deletion

Missing/incomplete ESL Anticheat

Player / Team: 3 and match deletion

Missing/incomplete Linesman Log file

Player / Team: warning / 2

Missing match media with cheat suspicion

Player / Team: 6 and match deletion

Unsportsmanlike behaviour

Bug use

Player / Team: 2 per use


Player / Team: 2 per match


Player / Team: Up to 4

[a]16k startmoney

ask devs if they can fix esl 5on5 cfg

[b]16k - ask devs if possible