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I've been playing a lot of pubs for a long time. What steps should I take if I want to give competitive TF2 a shot?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

You can freely join leagues (like the UGC) to get yourself noticed. You may also be able to network with other players and build your own team.

Another option is to pug for competitive teams. Idle on IRC (like gamesurge) and offer your services.

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How many players do you need to form a competitive team? –  jacen.garriss Dec 2 '13 at 13:59
    
@jacen.garriss For Highlander, it was 9, one for each class –  Joe the Person Jan 31 at 4:53
    
What does it mean to 'pug' for a team? –  Zibbobz Jun 27 at 14:24
    
@Zibboz: pugging refers to playing in a competitive match on behalf of a team that would otherwise be down a player. –  John Gietzen Jun 27 at 14:43
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One source I found was TF2lobby. This will automatically set you up into a pick-up-group, so you don't have to manually organize one over IRC.

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