Photo: By Macjiej Kolek for BLAST
‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
An interesting situation has arisen in the IEM Katowice Major 2019 in regards to Cloud9 and the Major rules set. Cloud9’s submitted roster at IEM Katowice is:
For the community at large, this is a surprising move as everyone knows that Zellsis was brought onto the team to stand-in for Golden as Golden currently has health problems. Some have pointed out that this is potentially gaming the system. The Valve rules for Majors is that three out of the five players have to be the same as the lineup that played last time. In Cloud9’s case, those three players are: Autimatic, RUSH, and Golden. However everyone knows that Golden likely will not play because of his health issues, so in reality Cloud9 are only playing with 2 / 5 of the players from their last lineup.
In order to avoid having to go through the process again though, Cloud9 have submitted Golden as their active player and Zelssis as their coach. The biggest tangible difference for the players involved is that Zelssis will not get stickers, but even then he should be happy given the fact that he gets to participate in a Major as a player.
This was a smart move by Cloud9 as this means they don’t have to requalify. As for whether or not this is against the spirit of the system, I’m unclear about. After all this is Valve we’re talking about. They’ve always tried to use a hands-off policy, particularly when it comes to CS:GO to the point that outside of match fixing and cheating, I don’t know where they stand on any of the major CS:GO issues or rules. The best motto I’ve ever found concerning Valve’s policy on abusing the rulesets is from an anecdote that PPD wrote in his twitlonger when discussing the SA Major Slots problem, “If you feel like you’re cheating the system, you probably are, and that is unacceptable.”
So does this Cloud9 situation feel like cheating the system? Not really, it’s twisting the rules to a certain extent, but if Golden was healthy, I’ve no doubt that Cloud9 would field Golden instead. In such a case then, Valve are likely sympathetic to Cloud9’s situation and don’t see this as a blatant abuse of the rules, which is all that really matters. The entire Major scene is essentially an absent dictatorship by Valve. Everyone is allowed to do what they want until they step over a line, at which point Valve gets involved. The fact that Valve hasn’t come in to regulate this situation means they either tacitly approve or don’t think it’s enough of a problem to warrant intervention.
Now if there was a situation where Golden wasn’t sick and Cloud9 tried to have s1mple be the “coach”, but actually stand-in for the team, at that point, I’d imagine that would be when they’d step in. As it is though, Cloud9’s move with the submitted Major roster seems to be fine, at least if we take Valve’s inaction as acceptance. While I can understand why people consider it a twisting of the rules, the circumstances and context makes it a borderline case where the major actors involved: the teams, the TOs, and Valve, don’t see it as enough of an infraction to step in and intervene.