In an effort to streamline the qualification process for CSGO Majors, Valve has officially instituted a new regional ranking system for tracking results at various events, in order to better identify teams that should be invited to the “later qualifying stages” of future events.
Valve has officially released rankings for the Americas, Europe, and Asia, using a model that takes into account a team’s prize winnings, the strength of their opponents, and their head-to-head results against other teams. The opponent strength rankings will be heavily influenced by a team’s expected winning percentage versus the actual winning percentage.
In the official rankings as of now, Liquid leads the Americas, Heroic is at the top of Europe and Lynn Vision from China is the highest-ranked team in Asia. The latest Major winners, Outsiders, are third in Europe behind Heroic and G2.
The regional rankings will be used for the first time officially to determine which teams will be invited to the regional Major closed qualifiers, the tournaments that will determine which teams qualify for the Majors, and the stage at which they will start. The BLAST Paris Major, which is happening in May 2023, will be the first instance of this.
The top teams in each region’s regional rankings will be invited to the closed qualifiers, and the rankings will receive regular updates until the start of the open qualifiers. All teams that do not receive invitations to the closed qualifiers will play in the open qualifiers. In the last Majors, the RMR events were composed of the teams that reached the previous Major plus the teams from the open qualifiers.
Possible Flaws Within The New System
It might be a bit too early to tell, but there could be some problems with this new ranking. Valve says the new model will take advantage of results from “meaningful matches at third-party events throughout the year.” As part of a better model, this might be fine. However, Valve’s model will use prize money and opposing prize money as key components of the rankings, as well as head-to-head results.
This is problematic, as it creates an almost closed system from the beginning of the model. Major teams such as G2 and FaZe have inherited high rankings that will allow them to be automatically invited to the later stages of the 2023 BLAST, Paris Major.
The ultimate goal is to “reduce the burden on Major participants and streamline the Major qualification process.” This path removes the element of predictability that makes competitive CSGO great. Watching G2 sit out the Rio Major was disappointing, but it was a reminder of the ruthlessness of CSGO. If you’re not in shape, you go home. With the new qualification system, this would not have happened and G2 would have had an automatic invite to the Major.
Organizations like BLAST and ESL also have partner teams that they invite to all events, which means that these teams retain an inherent advantage when it comes to qualifying for Majors. Their wins and head-to-head records will always be in major competitions against higher-ranked teams. This creates a self-fulfilling cycle in which it is difficult for smaller teams to break through, ruining the open circuit of competitive CSGO.
A team can win a competition like the Champion of Champions Tour, though the wins mean very little if the team only beats teams like HAVU and BLUEJAYS to win. Meanwhile, NAVI and FaZe could face each other in the first round of any competition and make it affect the standings more, due to their previous successes on the server.
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