Valve has hinted that they may release Counter-Strike 2 as soon as this Wednesday. This offers a dilemma for the competitive scene: whether to make the jump to the new game as soon as possible, or to focus on the competitions that are scheduled to be contested in Global Offensive.
The vast majority of teams are still waiting to make the changeover. The ESL Pro League is a top priority for fnatic, Complexity, and Liquid, and Apeks as they are currently playing CS: GO since they believe IEM Sydney will be too soon for CS2.
The data is not as reliable as we would like because it depends on teams being forthright with us in a context where secrecy could be advantageous. When asked which game they valued more, some teams sought to downplay playing CS2 while others claimed to have already begun.
Just because they aren’t playing together doesn’t mean they aren’t learning the ropes of the new game on an individual basis. Robert “ropz” Kool informed us that while he has been broadcasting CS2 for hours on end, often alongside teammates, the squad has not yet commenced formal practice of the new game.
DjL the Ninjas in Pyjamas‘ trainer, a few weeks after being eliminated from ESL Pro League, on September 18th, formed a CS2 practice group. Although both games are regularly practiced, GamerLegion and Monte have put more focus on CS2 than the majority of the top 30 teams. After being tight-lipped for a while, Vitality finally admitted that on September 22nd, they “played two games” of CS2 during practice.
Even if the top 30 teams chose to take a chance on the release of CS2, they would be wise to keep a close eye on CS: GO instead. In addition to big prize pools and consistently crucial ranking points, tournaments like EPL and IEM Sydney also award Intel Grand Slam points.
However, clubs that aren’t in the top 30 might take a bigger risk with this strategy. It’s no surprise that the Major-cycle experts Bad News Eagles have started training in CS2, as early adoption can still fuel expectations of sticker money.
Betera is just one of many clubs that made the full transition with the release of Premier on September 4th. These underdog teams are hoping to make an immediate impact in the upcoming season, however how big (and how long) their edge will be is an open question.
Even if they discover an anomaly, top teams will quickly use their vast resources to steal the tactics and best practices of those in lower tiers. Teams have the option of keeping their discoveries under wraps, but doing so exposes them to possible discovery by rival teams or a Valve patch. Rapid uptake does not necessarily precede the peak.
This is why there aren’t many early lineup changes. We still have some time with Global Offensive, and if CS2 comes out, it shouldn’t delay the conclusion of events in our present game. By making the transition to CS:GO early, NIP was able to acquire a significant advantage over their competitors who remained on 1.6 and Source.
Attempts by teams to keep their activities under wraps likely had an impact on our count of four top-30 squads, but there’s only so much you can do without word getting out. If you want to get better at the new game, you need to find a decent practice group to work with, because scrimming your academy in CS2 might help you keep secrets but won’t teach you much.
While an early switch may seem advantageous at first glance, the top teams in CS:GO should be able to soon catch up. Many in the 1.6 and Source communities doubted Ninjas in Pyjamas would ever transition to the new version, despite the fact that it aided their 87-0 streak in 2012-13.
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