What will the unification of regions lead to on the CS GO stage?
January 25 portal HLTV.org published insider information according to which Valve will change the system of Regional Major Rankings qualifiers for CS:GO majors. The developers will halve the number of regions by uniting neighbors, and redistribute slots between them, as well as transfer qualifying championships from online to LAN.
What will change?
First of all, we note that there has not been an official confirmation of the RMR system update yet, so our entire discussion will be hypothetical. As the representatives told HLTV.org they received the information from a reliable source, so there is practically no need to doubt the data, but let’s observe the formalities.
So, what can happen on the professional CS scene:GO in 2022? According to the information HLTV.org Valve will radically change the system of qualifying competitions for the majors. The main novelty is the reduction in the number of rating regions. So, Europe will unite with the CIS, North America with the South, and teams from Oceania will compete for slots in the majors with teams from Asia. The number of quotas will depend on the results of the previous World Cup.
Based on the results of PGL Major Stockholm 2021, the richest region, as before, will remain Europe, which will now be joined by the CIS. The total number of slots for Europe and the CIS will remain the same — 16, but their distribution by tournament stages will be significantly different. Now there will be seven teams from Europe or the CIS in Legends, six in Challengers, and three in Contenders. Asia and Oceania will keep two slots in the Challengers stage, no changes. But the American teams will feel the change of course from Valve more strongly than the rest. There will still be six quotas for this region, but only one team will perform in the Legends stage instead of three, in Challengers – two instead of one, and in Contenders — three instead of two.
An important caveat: all this will happen if the epidemiological situation in the world allows for qualifications with a similar division of regions offline. If the organizers fail to gather teams for RMR tournaments in LAN format, the current system with online qualifiers in six regions will continue to operate. The allocation of slots probably won’t change either.
Why is this necessary?
Now let’s try to figure out why all these changes are needed. I propose to divide the innovations into two blocks – linking the results of the previous major to invitations to different stages of the World Cup and the unification of the regions itself – and separately consider each of them.
So, now the distribution of slots between the different stages of the major will directly depend on the results of the last tournament of this level. This means that if there are eight teams from Oceania in the playoffs at the next major, then this region will secure all eight slots in the Legends stage at the future World Championship. Yes, there will be questions about this system too. So, why should the conditional Fnatic have more chances to get into the decisive stage of the major than the American Complexity Gaming, although both clubs missed the event in Stockholm? Just because Fnatic’s neighbors in the region tore up everyone in Sweden?
At the same time, it becomes obvious that Valve is trying to make a competitive CS scene:GO more competitive. Remember what happened just a couple of years ago. At the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 – the last major before PGL Major Stockholm 2021 – eight invites to the Legends stage went to the participants of the playoffs of the previous World Championship (IEM Katowice Major 2019). Quotas were assigned to clubs, which strongly beat on the principle of healthy competition. Of the eight teams that received slots in the Legends stage at the major in Berlin following the results of IEM Katowice 2019, exactly half made at least one substitution between tournaments, and three out of five at the start of the German championship were outside the top 10 of the world ranking. In general, from major to major, teams live merrily and often manage to get beyond recognition, which calls into question the legitimacy of their presence in the Legends stage.
From this point of view, the innovation seems to be a step in the right direction. Provided that the slots definitely need to be distributed somehow, it is, of course, better to do this, relying on the current form of the teams (which they will show on RMR), and not on past achievements. This is exactly how it works in any other sport — even the current champions start new seasons with zero in the “Points” column, let alone the quarterfinalists, some of whom were frankly lucky to get into the playoffs.
The decision to unite the regions is much easier to explain. Firstly, the regional qualifiers for the World Championships, which previously bore the proud name of Minors, were previously held offline. It is logical: the participants, after all, played the opportunity to join the fight for the title of the best in the world. Provided that the whole world is still forced to play by the rules of the coronavirus, the decision to hold three LAN tournaments instead of six looks reasonable and safer for all teams.
Secondly, this approach also leads to healthier competition. Remember those very minors that were held separately for all six corners of the planet. It was the most boring sight, wasn’t it? The real fight was only in Europe, while in Oceania the slot was not given to Renegades only in cases when this team missed the minor. Tournaments in Asia, North and South America were also often of a formal nature, because the difference between the teams was too strong. In this matter, I propose to put the CIS out of brackets — in 2021, a miracle happened and the region became the strongest of all, but before the maynors for Eastern Europe were also not spectacular. Now, having pushed neighboring regions against each other, Valve has the right to count on an increase in the level of the game in all regions of the planet. The logic is simple: the more diverse your opponents are, the faster you progress. After all, it’s not for nothing that young teams declare after each tournament that now, having got acquainted with real tops, they will be able to grow faster!
What will come of it?
If Valve does introduce the changes listed above on the CS scene:THEN there will be quite logical changes, which, it seems to me, are necessary for the healthy development of this scene. Everything is quite simple, we will not build conspiracy theories.
Slots will be allocated structurally and clearly, which will allow professional teams to know in advance what is required of them to qualify for one or another stage of the next major. As it is customary to say in traditional sports: “Preparation for the next match begins when the final whistle sounds in the previous one.” The same is true here: now the teams will know the situation immediately after the end of the major and will no longer have to wait for Valve to wake up and finally announce a new cycle of qualifiers a few days before their start (more applicable to the Dota 2 scene, but also CS:GO knows not the best examples).
Over the almost ten-year history of Counter-Strike: Global-Offensive, the rules for qualifying for the majors have changed countless times, and at times Valve’s decisions looked, I’m not afraid of this word, inadequate. Otherwise, I cannot describe the presence of three teams from North America in the Legends stage at PGL Major Stockholm 2021, for example. Now the developers will take a big step towards building a new, healthier and self-regulating system.
Due to the unification of the regions, Europe and the CIS will become even stronger, and their RMR tournament (according to rumors, by the first major of 2022 they will hold only one qualifying tournament for each of the three regions) seems to be more competitive and spectacular than the major itself. Just think, Europe and the CIS will get 16 slots. Do you know how many teams from these regions are in the top 20 of the world ranking? 18. The best will play against the best, the level of performances will continue to grow, and we will be able to see all the hottest derbies even before the start of the major itself. In short, everything in the CIS and Europe will be fine.
As for the remaining four regions… Their CS scenes:GO is going through far from the best of times right now. In Asia and Oceania, there are still no new worthy teams capable of competing on an equal footing with Europeans, and in America, Counter-Strike seems to have simply lost its relevance. The unification of the regions will definitely not harm them, but whether the artificial build-up of competition will help to disperse professional CS to a decent level is a big question that only time can answer.