pl_upward is a single-stage Payload map created by Valve. It was the third Payload map added to the game. Along with pl_badwater, it is considered one of the staple Payload maps played in Highlander. It also tops the most amount of inclusions for any highlander map with 28 inclusions across competitions.
Usage in competitive
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|Total inclusions||out of 19||out of 32||out of 35||out of 30||out of 28||out of 11||17 out of 31||11 out of 21|
Bold italics denotes the current or latest season
|Upward, first point, defenders' perspective|
|Upward, first point, attackers' perspective|
As always on Payload, the attack starts by preparing the ÜberCharge in spawn and leaving the Medic there for a short period of time while the rest of the team attempt to create an advantage by suiciding. Once an advantage has been created, the team can prepare for a push.
All viable push routes are located in open areas, which leaves the combo vulnerable to Snipers. Because of that a Sniper pick is particularly useful on this point, as it allows to avoid a potential death of the Medic.
Generally, teams decide to push the first point through the cliff area, as most teams' combos will either hold the ground area or the under area. The only difference is the defense's sentry placement:
- If the sentry is located in under, it forces the combo to use the ÜberCharge earlier, somewhere around the point area, to take it down. The main objective is to take the sentry down, as it allows for a point capture.
- If the sentry is located on the slope, a team can attempt to flank the enemy by going directly through the entrance on the cliff and using the ÜberCharge closer to the Sentry Gun. If the enemy combo is unaware of the push, it cuts off their only viable escape route. The downside of this push is that if the Pyro is guarding the entrance, the ÜberCharged players can be easily knocked off the cliff. Going up to the sentry also takes longer, which means there's an elevated risk of a force or even a drop.
Due to the openness of the point, the defenders need to be particularly wary of jumping classes and sightlines. This means it's hard to establish a permanent hold on this point, so the defenders should seek only to delay the attackers.
The sentry's positioning is particularly important, as it shapes up the defense's game plan:
- Placing the sentry under means that its purpose is to deny the flank by making it impossible to capture the point before it's taken down. That means the sentry will be the first to go down after an enemy ÜberCharge, and once it's down, the defending team leaves the point, unless the attackers overcommit and lose too many players.
- Placing the sentry on slope means that it is a buffer zone. Once the enemy combo uses the ÜberCharge, the defenders can just back up to the sentry and then decide to either back out completely or go back in if possible. It allows to save the ÜberCharge for later, but the defenders need to be wary of the wrap-around push described above.
It's important to remember that the slope is the only viable escape route for the combo, as the tunnel area is easy to spam. The defenders need to keep that in mind and move early enough to be able to back out in time.
|Upward, second point|
After capturing the first point, the attackers should prepare for a push on the second point, while the flank classes should attempt to get the cart as close to the tunnel exit as possible. The attacking team usually holds somewhere between the cliff entrance and the side tunnel, but in doing that they need to be wary of the enemy Sniper, call his positions out accordingly and try to spam him out.
Choosing a push depends on how close the defenders choose to hold.
- If the opposing Heavy and Medic are holding inside the house, the primary objective is to take it back, as it provides obvious height advantage and is close to both the sentry and the RED spawn. This hold is very hard to break however, as it is pretty much impossible to force the enemy combo while it's holding inside the house, therefore it's very important that the other attackers try to create a player advantage that would force the enemy to back out.
- If the defenders are holding the platform area, taking the point is much easier; a push through the house is almost impossible to defend and will pretty much always mean that the Sentry will go down and the enemy Medic will either die or use the ÜberCharge to get out.
As this is one of the major holds on the map, some teams will often overcommit and lose many players when defending. If that happens, it's vital to capitalise on this and spawncamp as much as possible, and push up quickly after the point is captured, to try and get the next point unopposed.
After the enemy team takes control of the first point, the combo should immediately take position on platform and holding there. Holding near rocks is too dangerous due to being so wide open to snipers and jumping classes. Generally the heavy sits on platform while the Demoman takes position closer to the tracks so he can spam the window, behind the rocks or into tunnel.
Once the enemy team pops uber onto the sentry the combo can back up into the house behind platform, and either back up to third, or counter-pop and attempt to take control back of the area. Depending on what the team decides, you may want your spy to watch the entrance to house and call out when the enemy combo move through there. Then your combo can attempt to kill the enemy combo preemptively.
|Upward, third point|
|Upward, fourth point, defenders' perspective|
|Upward, fourth point, attackers' perspective|