Earlier in September, Valve released a CS:GO update introducing significant gameplay changes. Two of the teams that will be affected by this new patch most are Complexity and OG.
On September 21, Valve rolled out the ‘Operation Riptide’ update, with a new weapon (the Riot Shield), balancing changes to the M4A1-S and the Desert Eagle, new skins, and other gameplay adjustments.
The biggest talking point about the patch is the ability for players to drop grenades like any other weapon. Community response has been mixed, with some welcoming the change and others pointing to how the feature goes against a core mechanic of the game.
NAVI star Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev, the best player in the world at the moment, was seen downplaying the importance of these changes on his stream, only to change his mind just moments later after realizing just how impactful this feature can be in certain scenarios.
Regardless of which side of the argument one rests on, it’s clear that the grenade-dropping option has the potential to have a significant impact on how the game is played. One of the first opportunities to see this new feature will be at IEM Fall Europe, the final Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event of the year in the region.
For some teams, this will be a season-defining moment. There are still 23 spots up for grabs at PGL Major Stockholm, the first Major in over two years because of the global health situation.
The main point of contention surrounding the grenade-dropping feature is how close to IEM Fall and the Major it was introduced. CS:GO commentator Jason ‘moses’ O’Toole said that this is a “crazy random factor” to add to the game one week before an event like this, while community figure and Dexerto’s Editor-at-Large Richard Lewis lamented that some teams have had the “rug pulled out from under them” because of a “radical meta shift.”
Got to feel sorry for all the teams that got their shit together ahead of the CS:GO Major only to have the rug pulled out from under them ahead of the final qualifier with a radical meta shift. Hopefully pro MOBA players can offer some words of comfort.
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) September 23, 2021
But not all teams have been affected by this change equally.
For most teams, the process of incorporating the grenade-dropping feature in their stratbook started right after the update was released.
But for Complexity, FaZe, OG, and NAVI, their preparations for the final RMR have been thrown into disarray because of their commitments in the BLAST Premier Fall Groups (which was played on the previous patch) as they were placed in Group C, which ran between September 24-26.
This will leave the quartet with only a few days to really sink their teeth into the new meta. NAVI have the luxury of approaching the CIS portion of IEM Fall with a carefree attitude, as they are already qualified for the Major. But for the other three teams, a poor run in the qualifier could mean missing out on what is perhaps the most anticipated event in the history of the franchise.
“This puts us in an unfair position because other teams are already practicing on the new patch, which we won’t be able to do for three or four days because of BLAST,” Complexity coach Luis ‘peacemaker’ Tadeu explained to Dexerto.
“This is just terrible, but since no one is talking about it, nothing will get done. This will only change when players and influential people start fighting for each other’s causes.
“Some teams have a competitive advantage over others because of this update. Terrible timing and decision to implement this for IEM Fall already.”
Casper ‘ruggah’ Due, who coaches OG, also believes that these three teams are going to be at a disadvantage at the Major qualifier.
“Obviously, our situation isn’t ideal,” he told Dexerto. “We’ve already theory-crafted and talked some things through, but we definitely would like to have a couple of more days on the new update before our first competition.”
Peacemaker says that, without the option to practice on the previous update, his team had to ask scrim opponents not to utilize the newest mechanics. “It’s a nuisance, but every team that we scrimmed was helpful.”
Valve’s disconnect with CSGO esports
Both coaches made it clear that they are in favor of significant meta changes that keep the game fresh.
Peacemaker said he approves of most of the update’s gameplay changes and expressed his belief that the community will get used to the concept of players dropping grenades. Ruggah also thinks that this new feature is “good” for the game, but he noted that Valve’s execution was “a bit too naive”.
“In the long run I think it will be balanced and there will be limitations,” the Danish coach said.
“These are, for example, ‘locking’ an item for like 15 seconds before it can be used, sticky grenades that cannot be dropped, and limitations to one’s throwing ability of a certain type of grenade.”
But despite their forward-thinking attitude, the two coaches can’t help but feel frustrated with the disconnect between Valve and the esports side of CS:GO.
In their opinion, Valve’s disregard for the competitive circuit continues to affect those who work year-round to compete in the game.
“There’s not much that can be done, because of the way Valve acts and because of the lack of dialogue and communication with the people who are actively promoting their game on a daily basis by streaming it, playing in tournaments, etc.,” peacemaker said.
“It seems like decisions are made internally and we are told about them the same way the general public is.”
“I think it’s a fair point from Valve, who want to showcase their game in its newest and freshest state, with skins, agents, maps, gameplay, etc.,” ruggah added.
“For me, they just have to own up to their responsibility and make sure to at least give participants enough time to adjust and adapt.”