North is officially the first team to lose qualification points under Valve’s new rules surrounding its Regional Major Ranking tournaments for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. RMT’s are a new addition to the CSGO calendar this year, introduced when Counter-Strike’s 16th Major, ESL One Rio, was postponed until November.
North is the first team to officially be on the hook for the announced point penalty introduced by Valve in a recent blog post. The post detailed updated rules for the new tournaments, specifically regarding substitutions, roster changes, and how Valve would penalize teams for switching players out both in the middle of a tournament and between RMTs.
A specific section of the new rules applied to North’s recent substitution of Marcus “kjaerbye” Kjaerbye with head coach Jimmy “Jumpy” Berndtsson. The rules state that North should now face a point penalty for having to use a substitution at the ESL Road to Rio regional Major tournament.
Valve’s rules, updated on April 17, state that a team will be penalized 20% of any points earned from the event where the substitution took place. If kjaerbye returns to the lineup before the end of the European instance of Road to Rio, North will be refunded 64% of the substitution penalty.
ESL’s Road to Rio is currently being held online for all of the regions preparing to compete in the postponed ESL One Rio Major that was rescheduled into the timeslot reserved for Counter-Strike’s second yearly Major. Due to the switch, fans will only see one Major in 2020 instead of the usual two.
Jumpy stood in during North’s best-of-three matchup against Movistar Riders and pulling double duty as both coach and player in an effort to keep North within a game of Road to Rio’s fourth place team in Group B, GODSENT.
After the announcement that Jumpy would stand in, North’s head of esports operations Graham Putt seemed unfamiliar with the rules surrounding substitutions in a tweet.
Unfortunate position to find ourselves but the health of our players is our foremost priority.
— Graham Pitt (@messioso) May 7, 2020
Pitt later tweeted that it was “unlikely” that kjaerbye would recover in time for North’s renaming matches and communicated the 64% point figure found in Valve’s blog update. But Pitt isn’t the only member of a professional esports team that was either confused by or unaware of Valve’s new rules.
During an interview with WIN.gg regarding a recent player acquisition, the management of a top-five Counter-Strike esports team seemed wholly unfamiliar with Valve’s updated rules regarding substitutions. When the the changes were pointed out during the interview, the team was asked if they had any prior knowledge of the rule change. They stated that they did not.
Why Valve quietly added the changes to a blog post almost three weeks old is still a mystery. The addition to the post’s title page is shown above, highlighted by WIN.gg.
Whatever Valve’s reasoning behind the rule change is, it’s already in effect. And with kjaerbye’s return to the server in serious doubt, North might not have any Regional Ranking points to give up in return for Jumpy’s participation.