Fire Base: What to Expect from the New Veto System?

A couple of hours ago, PGL and Valve have announced a change in the map veto system for the group stage of the upcoming Krakow Major. Instead of teams leaving the final map to a randomizer, one of the teams will actually get the chance to choose the map on which they will play.

This marks a big change in the way the Swiss brackets are conducted and for good reason: Undesirable randomness is now removed entirely from the process, thus allowing both teams in the matchup to dictate the map that they want to play in a best-of-one series. This is most especially important for matches between teams who got 2-2 (i.e. the last group stage matches), for it is essentially the map that will decide whether they are able to qualify for the Major playoffs or not.

To break it down, here is how the old and new systems work:

In the new system, a conservative team who gets the first set of bans get a solid chance to remove maps that they are uncomfortable playing with, thus removing unnecessary risk. A team who wants to take a risk or who has more than five maps in their collection can remove maps where both teams can actually play; this will allow a general opening of the map pool as the other side may be required to make sub-optimal choices in their veto phase. Both of these instances make the matchup more competitive as captains would actually have to think how they should approach the match.

As for the second set of bans, the team who gets them (Team B) can steer Team A towards two choices that are only “good” and which they themselves have prepared strats beforehand. This can result in an upset based on preparation as in contrast to upsets based on luck of the draw or in the case of teams who have similar/large map pools, proper matches that can be generally relied to be competitive, which in turn attracts new viewers and retains existing spectators to the game.

A more conservative Team B can just outright ban two of their bad maps and still force Team A to a sub-optimal choice through the removal of their best map, resulting in the same thing.

In the final phase where Team A chooses the map, it is up to the preference of the captain to choose the map that will carry slightly less risks for them or a map where they can use their practiced tactics. As Team B steered the maps towards these final choices, it can be safely said that they also prepared for these maps and as a result, more balanced and competitive matches that favour fundamental Counter-Strike as well as strong map pools should be expected out of these change.

Based on the observed trends in Major matches and third-party tournaments that apply the Swiss bracket, players have been concerned about the probability of leaving the map to a randomizer, thus forcing them to play non-competitive maps (a good number of Gambit’s losses happened in this way, where the maps ended in Cobblestone/X map and the computer picked the X map). Through this new veto system, PGL and Valve are actually putting up a viable solution to the predicament of upsets caused by "bad timing" and "bad RNG". CS, as a game, should reward the better team - and badly-made upsets make people lose interest in the game.

Finally, I would like to believe that every team worth their salt in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive should benefit from this change, as it adds human factor and control over the way the group stages are done. The changes clearly suit many of the typical archetypes of CS in-game leaders (tactical, risk-taking, counter-strat based, etc.) and it rewards most especially the teams who take their time to practice, improve their map pool and deepen their mastery of their maps, as well as those who play team-based and basics-based CS:GO.

To sum up, the new change in picks and bans should benefit teams fighting in the international scene, because it reduces non-player factors, allows for more strategic options and gives precedence to consistency of skill level, which is what should separate the truly great squads of CS:GO from the rest of their peers.

Earl Carlo "dreamslayer28" Guevarra is the head editor for Play on WASD. His work is forthcoming in CSGO2ASIA, Crossfire Stars and GAMURS.

Formerly the lead FPS writer for eSports by INQUIRER.

People say he loves fruit juice :)