No-one expects revolutionary tournament production quality when they tune into an ESL One Counter-Strike major, but Cologne really pushed the boundaries of what a loyal fan can tolerate.
As always, the Cologne Major threw up the rare diamond-quality match and for the occasional hour or so, viewers temporarily forgave ESL One for dragging their eSport of choice through the mud. But where the odd game might have been awesome, the tournament as a whole was infected with its seemingly incurable disease of laughable flaws. This Major was by no means the first to be diagnosed with the chronic, embarrassing illness, but it was certainly the first in which the symptoms were exposed so prominently:
Whoever was responsible for organising the team seedings for ESL One Cologne had obviously been staring into a strobe light for a few hours beforehand. To describe some the group draws as being ‘unfair’ would be an understatement. Almost unfeasibly, Group A was composed of four teams that should have possessed a slim chance of advancing to the playoffs. The ever-underwhelming Team Dignitas, a handicapped Astralis, a heavily downgraded CLG and a fairly average Tier 3 team in Gambit all in the same group… something is clearly amiss here.
Contrastively, there was Group D, which only included teams that in any other group would be considered favourites. G2, Fnatic and SK were even favoured to win the whole tournament, but because of that absurd seeding system one of those top teams went out in last place. This is why we can’t have nice things ESL.
Don’t know a single expert in CS:GO who would ever have the best team down at number 4, yet that’s what major seeding allows for
— Thorin (@Thooorin) 13 June 2016
Imagine a world where teams can still proceed to the playoffs by winning only two maps – only then to be eliminated after losing two maps. Does that seem like a well-balanced format?
Incredibly, Gambit secured a top eight placement by only winning one map against CLG and Astralis, which left Dignitas wondering why they had to be eliminated without even facing the considerably worse CIS team. Laughable.
EnVyUs went out of the major in last place once again, leaving fans to only speculate about what might have been had they played “real” matches.
Ah the Randomiser – the single cause for the majority of ESL criticism. The seemingly unnecessary random element during the map veto process of every single match continues to baffle audiences, seasoned professionals and CS:GO experts alike. All best-of-1 series had the randomiser choose between two maps, while the third map of every Bo3 series was randomly chosen out of the three remaining maps.
Addressed by many pros and eSports personalities whenever a major comes around, the randomiser fabricates discussion time and time again, yet still remains part of the tournament process.
@nV_NBK I think it would be a great 3rd map fight but.. FUCK THIS RANDOM SYSTEM, it doesn’t have any place in CS. So disappointing ???????
— Nathan Schmitt (@nV_NBK) 10 July 2016
Yet again, a CS Major might be decided on a map not ready for pro play. Bravo! 🙁
— Scott Smith (@SirScoots) 10 July 2016
Valve can’t continue to expect Counter-Strike fans to tolerate the annual debacles witnessed at ESL events. It’s not like Valve does not know how to run eSports tournaments; all of their Dota2 Majors, as well as ‘The International’ have some of the best formats eSports fans could hope for. The formats in the Dota2 events are filled with error correcting features, allowing the main seeding to essentially be done at the tournament itself. Simplistic, yet effective and entertaining.
Meanwhile, a CS:GO major is decide on Nuke…