StarLadder announces Counter-Strike return cover image

StarLadder announces Counter-Strike return

Four events across 2025-26

StarLadder has announced a return to the Counter-Strike esports scene starting in 2025. This announcement comes shortly after PGL revealed a series of events following a successful Copenhagen Major. 

StarLadder returns to Counter-Strike

One of the names synonymous with Counter-Strike esports for a large part of the previous decade, StarLadder will see a comeback in 2025. 

Citing new CS2 licensing rules as the motivation for their comeback, StarLadder will host a series of events in 2025-26. The tournament organizer’s trademark StarSeries should make a comeback, however, they have not specified the branding of the upcoming events.

We consider a significant increase in the number of professional teams as the criterion for entering a new era. A large number of tournaments, with new CS2 licensing rules, should contribute to this.

StarLadder

StarLadder has produced and hosted dozens of esports tournaments across various games. In Counter-Strike Global Offensive, the tournament organizer had 18 seasons of i-League and StarSeries starting in 2012 and ending in 2019.

When is the next StarLadder event?

StarLadder has announced four events for the two years - two taking place in 2025 and two the following year. They have also unveiled the dates for these events as follows:

  • Season 19: May 26 – June 1, 2025
  • Season 20: September 12 – September 21, 2025
  • Season 21: May 25 – May 31, 2026
  • Season 22: September 11 – September 20, 2026

StarLadder’s return to Counter-Strike comes close on the heels of Valve imposing restrictions and limitations on the closed-circuit esports ecosystem. With BLAST and ESL cornering the majority of events and partner teams in the system, Valve had to step in late last year.

PGL also announced several new events last month. They will host eleven Counter-Strike 2 tournaments across 2025 and 2026, bringing new opportunities and competitions for CS2 teams. With new entrants into the esports scene, it will be interesting to see the Tournament organizers competing with unique formats, broadcast changes, and more.