The Upstarts have been referred to as a "billionaire boy's club", a hunting association with mutants as the targets, each affording an Upstart "points" for a successful "kill" going towards the ultimate prize. The actual prize was never fully clarified, although references were made to the winner claiming all the resources and potentially the powers of the other players.

Initially began by Selene as a means of eliminating her rivals in the Hellfire Club, the Upstarts competition evolved into its own entity under the control of the referee, Gamesmaster. An omnipath consumed daily with the thoughts of every sentient being on the planet, Gamesmaster used the competition as a focus and distraction to keep himself sane. The Upstarts eventually ceased playing after Gamesmaster moved on to bigger and better games.