ESL, ESEA, and WINNERS League ban Shattered Web player models

Nick J. November 24, 2019

ESL, ESEA, and WINNERS League have all banned Operation Shattered Web custom models from comptitive play.

ESL Pro League, ESEA, and WINNERS League are the next tournament organizers to ban custom Operation Shattered Web agents from competitive play. The organizers join FaceIT as the latest CSGO tournement hosts to change their league rules to ensure competitive integrity following the release of new player models in CSGO.

In an article after Shattered Web’s release, WIN.gg reported that certain agent models were almost invisible on parts of Cache and Dust 2. Since then, players have found other maps where the custom agents blend seamlessly into the background, giving the players using them an unfair advantage. 

ESL, ESEA and WINNERS League ban CSGO models in competitive

ESL Pro League officially banned the new models from the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals due to the visibility issue. ESL made the announcement in a tweet from their official Twitter account.

#ESLProLeague Rule Update: In alignment with the @CSPPAgg, it has been decided to play the Season 10 Finals on the new CS:GO update. Use of custom player model skins will also be prohibited,” ESL said in an official statement on Twitter.

The tournament organizer went on to say that the rules would take effect in their competitions worldwide over the next week.

Earlier on November 24, third-party server provider ESEA also banned the models in their league and event matches. ESEA is a subsidiary of ESL and Turtle Entertainment.

“...ESEA League and event matches played on Sunday November 24th and moving forward should be played using the default player model CS:GO skins. Custom weapon skins may still be used. Matches where players use custom skins from this date onward should be reported via a support ticket and will be subject to being overturned,” ESEA said in a blog post.

WINNERS League's North American and European divisions joined ESL, ESEA and FACE It in deciding to ban the use of custom models in their league games, according to an official statement from the league.

"Since the release of Operation Shattered Web, it has come to our attention that new agent models are difficult to see on some maps. In the interest of competitive integrity, WINNERS League will not allow participants the use of custom models during their WINNERS League matches," WINNERS League project lead Nick Gorbunov said.

As previously reported, FaceIT banned the models from its upcoming ECS Season 8 Finals on November 21.

Valve doesn't comment, EPICENTER hasn't made decision on custom models

While many of the major tournament organizers have banned the custom models, some have remained quiet on the issue. EPICENTER has yet to comment on the model's legality at EPICENTER Moscow, even though the tournament is set to begin on December 17. The qualifiers for the tournament are currently ongoing and end November 24.

After almost a week of outcry regarding new models that are difficult to see in-game, Valve has not issued a statement or adjusted any of the more problematic character skins. Meanwhile, map makers like Shawn "FMPONE" Snelling have taken matters into their own hands. FMPONE has told CSGO fans and players that he would update his popular map Cache to work better with the Shattered Web models.

The bans come just in time for several large tournaments, including FaceIT's ECS Season 8 Finals and the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals. The tournaments feature top-tier teams competing for large prize pools, and the model ban is a smart step for organizers looking to steer clear of the related drama.

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