Valve announced big news around competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Wednesday. Valve announced that coaches would no longer have the ability to communication with their teams during rounds of competitve play. Traditionally, competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a 5-on-5 game, with a sixth roster slot for a non-player coach. Coaches served to help dictate positions and strategies to their players. With this rule change, coaches will only be allowed to communicate with their team during warm-up, halftime and during one of four 30-second timeouts.
Valve believes coaches effectively defeat the purpose of the game. The company wants the five best Counter-Strike players to win the game via their own skill, not that of a sixth member coach contributing to their game strategy, states Counter-Strike level designer and Valve developer Ido Magal. However, fans and teams argue the benefit of having a coach focus on strategy is that it frees up all of the players to focus on their skills and in-game play.
This is a great benefit to teams like Godsent, SK and Immortals that have great in-game leaders while hurting teams like Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic that have built a strong coaching structure. In fact many teams like Na’Vi, Team Liquid and NiP have had their successes in large part due to the in-game leadership of their coaches.
ESL notified multiple top Counter-Strike teams via email on Wednesday about the imminent rule change. ESL will reportedly adopt this rule indefinitely for its offline events. While ESL has reportedly already removed coaches from their official Valve sponsored tournaments, third-party organizers will still be able to choose if they want to restrict coaches from in-game communication. However, if those organizers want to host one of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s majors they will need to enact the rule themselves. There is no word yet what other major organizers like DreamHack, ELeague, FACEIT, Major League Gaming and CEVO plan to do.