After a long LAN drought, the diehard fans that keep competitive Team Fortress 2 alive will descend on Fullerton, California this weekend for some colorful 6v6 action. For the first time since 2018 in North America, 11 teams will come together to compete in-person at the Localhost gaming center.
“People are traveling from all over to attend,” Team Fortress 2 player Grant “b4nny” Vincent, who plays for Froyotech, said. “My teammates alone are coming from St Louis, Toronto, D.C., Phoenix and Nashville. A good number of top players are coming from the New Jersey area.”
Team Fortress 2, which still has nearly 70,000 average players on Steam, has kept an active competitive community for years. Organizers like the Recharged Gaming League have continued to host circuits and leagues for a community that’s still at least 3,000 strong. Multiple LANs, including an event hosted by Beyond the Summit, have been cancelled due to the pandemic and other reasons over the last three years in North America.
Competitive Team Fortress 2 may be small, but players are coming to California from all over North America to compete from Feb. 12-13.
Team Fortress 2 is back? It never left
The two-day tournament will be streamed on b4nny’s Twitch Channel with additional streams for every match. Tournament organizers are currently working with Valve to have the studio publish a news post on the Team Fortress 2 site, as well as push an in-game alert ahead while the tournament is happening this weekend.
Eight teams will start out in a Swiss format group stage while the top three teams from North America (Froyotech, Witness Gaming and Like A G6) will jump the group stage. Those three teams, and the top five teams from the group stage, will fight it out in a double-elimination bracket.
This event is another example of how a small community of players have tried to encourage the growth of competitive Team Fortress 2. Members of the community have played tournaments on fan-developed maps and worked together to unban overpowered weapons in order to encourage teams to try out different strategies.
“I firmly believe we can have bigger and better events, build good relationships with esports organizers and grow the scene,” b4nny said. “It just will take some focused effort and leadership.”
Correction: This article originally stated that the Localhost 2022 TF2 tournament will be the first NA LAN in four years. It will actually be the first NA LAN in nearly three years after RGB LAN 4 in 2019.