To the relief of the CS:GO community, the new system for the group stages of the ELeague Major has proven to provide a far better structure than the previous systems employed, though there are still some aspects of the major events that leave a lot to be desired.
The majors for CS:GO are the biggest tournaments of the year. They are organised under the ever-watchful eye of Valve, attract massive amounts of exposure and viewership, bringing together some of the best teams in the world to try and claim the biggest title out there, Major Champion.
This results in a smorgasbord of fantastic games, and thus brings out the very best of CS:GO as an eSport. But with Valve being Valve, there are certain rules and stipulations that apply to these majors which often lead to some head scratching.
One of these aspects, that conveniently only exists in Valve sponsored tournaments (the majors and minors), is the dreaded map randomiser. In the group stage, after both teams have banned out five of the seven Active Duty maps, a randomiser picks between the remaining two. This was introduced by Valve after the very first major; Dreamhack Winter in what seems to be an attempt to diversify the maps that people play – mainly due to how frequently Inferno was played in that tournament – though there were only five maps in the pool at the time and Inferno was a very popular map amongst pros.
However, Inferno has been left out of the map pool since April of last year and replaced by Nuke… and yet the randomiser lives on. With Cobblestone and Overpass since added to the map pool (and balanced accordingly over time), it makes you wonder what the point of the randomiser is at this stage? It feels like an overtly unnecessary feature in the majors.
The addition of the Swiss system is a positive step. It is considerably fairer for those in the group stage compared to the previous structure, where just two losses could see you knocked out, though it is by no means perfect – some seeding would be desirable.
The major drawback it brings is that after all the games in a round are played, the draws for the next are selected randomly. Random aspects to one of the biggest tournaments in CS:GO simply shouldn’t be accepted.
If the Swiss system obtains some seeding in its draws and the map randomiser is removed, then the majors as a set of tournaments will be improved dramatically. They are already the best tournaments for CS:GO, but they are a few tweaks shy of perfection.