Contained in a blog post delving into the specifics of the new Regional Major Rankings system, Valve detailed several rule changes that could have a major impact on Astralis.
When the Danish team announced it would switch to a six-man roster in March by adding Patrick “es3tag” Hansen, it whipped up controversy over the impact this had on a business deal between Heroic and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive newcomer FunPlus Phoenix. That move is now set to backfire, however. According to new rules released by CSGO developer Valve, Astralis will face penalties if they choose to sub es3tag in at any point during RMR tournaments.
Don’t know what Counter-Strike’s Regional Major Ratings are? No sweat, dive into our in-depth recap ESL One Rio’s new qualifying process right here.
The rules seem to be primarily focused on preventing teams from flippantly changing rosters during the condensed major season and serve as a roster lock, preventing organizations from buying out a qualified team and its major spot.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the rules disproportionately affect Astralis. As of now, the Danish superpower is the only team who has chosen to move to a six-man roster and is the only team to be immediately impacted by Valve’s new guidelines.
Astralis could lose up to 40% of its RMR points for one substitution
The penalties are stiff for changing a player between RMR events. According to the official blog post, a team will lose 20% of its total RMR points each time it switches out a player.
Valve is crystal clear that teams must register with “five players and an optional coach” in the ruleset. While it’s unclear whether Valve has provided the option to list a substitute during registration, it doesn’t look like it matters. Valve’s wording is clear; use a substitute, and lose RMR points.
It isn’t only during an event that these penalties apply, either. With the way the post is worded, teams are docked another 20% of their total RMR points when they register for the next RMR event. Unless this was done in error, it will see teams lose 20% of their total points for subbing in a player, and another 20% for registering with a different roster at any point between now and the ESL One Rio’s Major date.
Coach substitutions are penalized heavily ahead of ESL One Rio Major
These rules also apply to coaches, whose penalties are even harsher. If a coach steps in for a player during an event and the team places well enough to gain RMR points, the team automatically forfeits 80% of the earned RMR. If the player returns and relieves the coach, the team gets 20% of the 80% forfeited points back. This evens out to a 64% total loss of RMR points for each event a coach steps in.
Valve has announced three RMR competitions leading up to the ESL One Rio Major. RMRs replaced the typical CSGO Minor system this year after ESL was forced to postpone the event. What is unknown is whether these rules apply the the ESL One Rio Major itself, and how Valve could enforce these restrictions.
It’s still too early to say what effect this will have on Astralis’ plans to play with a six-man roster. Though this will certainly have an impact, it is also possible for es3tag to simply play in events that aren’t attached to the ESL One Rio Major.