In what is arguably one of the most controversial decisions Valve has made in recent years regarding competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the corporation has officially put a stop to the in-game coaching that occurs during Valve-sponsored tournaments.

The news was emailed to several notable members of the community, stating that coaches will only be given time to communicate and offer strategic advice to their players during specially allotted times. These timeslots include warmup, half-time and four thirty-second tactical pauses. The leaked email composed by Ido Magal is as follows:

“With unrestricted communication with their players, coaches can currently function as a sixth player, and not solely as a source of guidance or training. Activities such as keeping track of the economy, calling plays, and general situational awareness are important components of CS gameplay. If a person is performing these actions, we consider them a player.

Since the goal of our events is to identify the best five-player CS teams that exhibit the best combination of all CS skills, the current participation of coaches in the game is not compatible with that goal. To address this problem, future Valve sponsored events will enforce the following coaching rules:

• During a match, the coach may only communicate with the players during warmup, half-time, or during one of four 30 second timeouts that the coach or player can call.

Madal went on to say that, while this rule does not extend to third party events, tournament organizers that wish to align their events with Valve will be expected to adopt the change.

Previously, coaches regularly acted as the in-game leader for their teams. By making well-calculated calls and guiding their players through difficult spots in maps, some could say that coaches are the Oracle to the team’s Bat family. Relying on a coach to provide shotcalling took pressure off of players that would otherwise be expected to take the reins, as in-game leading puts an enormous amount of stress on individual players that must keep an eye on everything happening in the game while simultaneously focusing and performing as a tournament participant.

According to Steve “Ryu” Rattacasa, Selfless Gaming team coach, the changes will be adopted by ESL for future events.

To say that the effect this decision has made on the community is large would be a nearly insulting understatement. Players, coaches and casters have spoken out against the changes that have rocked the Counter-Strike scene, with some personalities such as Scott “SirScoots” Smith calling for player strikes while others voice their fears of subpar players having extended careers for the sole reason that they excel at in-game leading.

Outside of those that have been swept up in the rage-fueled public outcry, many members of the CSGO community wonder what prompted Valve to make such a drastic change with no warning. With every team having the option to rely on their coach for in-game leadership it isn’t as if there is any part of the playing field that needs to be leveled out, and several netizens have accused Valve of having little to no understanding of their own competitive scene, especially after years of players complaining that the corporation has no involvement in professional CSGO.

Regardless of why Valve made this decision, the impact this will have on future competitive Counter-Strike will be difficult for the scene to overcome.

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About The Author

Connor
Sr. Esports Writer

Connor is a self-proclaimed Star Wars historian, Fatal Frame enthusiast and crazy cat lady that's fascinated by the Kpop mashups on YouTube. Professional gaming is something that's fascinated him ever since he was a wee lad, especially when it came to fighting games, so now he rambles on about it in the form of articles that use way too many commas.