Valve’s Ill-Advised Coaching Rule Is Already Plaguing CS:GO Competition

Valve made their agenda clear when they essentially ousted the role of coaches last year.  Having four timeouts to work with in a competitive CS:GO match does provide teams a wealth of options to fix their gameplans, yet the cons quickly outweigh the pros when teams are able to potentially scupper the come-back-momentum of the opposition team, up to four times in a match. 

Traditional sports like American Football and Basketball can be painful to watch at times, as coaches and teams use their timeouts for purposes outside of the defined usage of regrouping and strategizing.  Thanks to Valve, this very situation is now leaking into eSports, as became evident within the first day of matches at the ELeague Major.

With Natus Vincere up by a whopping score of 9-0, mousesports finally found their first round win. In immediate fashion, Na’Vi used their first timeout of the half, essentially stomping out the low lit flames of hope that mousesports had mustered up in the tenth round.

This isn’t an attack on Na’Vi for using their timeout in that situation – heck, you may as well use them if you have them right? They aren’t to blame for using the resources that Valve’s format has allotted them, as such it is the format itself that needs re-examination.

I was up in arms when Valve initially made its coaching rule for several reasons, and this latest issue is yet another case to be added to the citation list.  The idea that teams can essentially freeze up an opponent coming off of an important, momentum-generating round win, just because the rules of the game allow them to do so, is hardly competitive.  Even for someone like Team North’s Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen who directly benefits from the minimized coaching role thinks it could use some tweaking:

”I of course think it’s a good rule. I would still tweak it a bit and say one timeout per half for one minute, so you can’t just take momentum away from the team every time.

“I think having so many pauses ruins the game – in general – I think it’s nice to have a coach that can help prepare for opponents, have a second look on things, finding new stuff, fixing mistakes and to just have a helping hand.

“But I think it’s wrong to play the game with a guy standing behind, doing all the calling and I think the game would transform into a very random and awful game having a coach calling behind.

“I don’t think we need more randomness added to this game.”

Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, Team North

Coaches must remain silent during the match, unless the team takes a timeout.
Source: Valve

Perhaps the main reason for my disdain at this coaching rule is that it objectively lowers the skill ceiling within the professional field of play.  When coaches were becoming a regular part of every competitive CS team, no longer was it only a battle of skill between the players: In-game leaders were able to share the burden of strategy with dedicated, well learned coaches.

What many of these coaches offered was a collective wealth of experience and knowledge that was at the team’s disposal.  Regardless of how you look at it, more brains is more thinking – and more thinking directly translates to a higher level of competitive play.

It’s clear that Valve has their own agenda, regardless of what players and analysts have contributed on the matter. All one can hope for is that Valve see’s their own error and are able to correct or tweak their coaching/timeout formats for the next major.  Counter-Strike is a beautiful game of passion and competition, and it is being marred by momentum killing rules implemented to push the agenda of its creator.