So there’s this rumor-slash-discussion that ESL picked the participants’ brains about potentially swapping the rest of Pro League to CS2 once it officially launches. Please no. There will be a ton of competitive CS2 to enjoy – and this would be an awful way to introduce it.
Nothing’s been set in stone, but a trial balloon has clearly been sent towards the skies. There’s no direct quote in the HLTV article that revealed the idea to the general public, but their offshoot publication, dust2.us, got a generic statement for us to ponder:
“Generally, we survey teams and players participating in our competitions to get an understanding of their opinions on a variety of topics. Now, we are indeed in discussions with the EPL Playoffs teams to understand their preferences in the event that Valve's tease for tomorrow holds true and CS2 releases to replace CS:GO. Once any final decisions come out of this we'll update you as soon as possible.”
I checked: nothing further was to be found on ESL’s meme-filled CS Twitter (I’m not calling it X) account, and neither CARMAC nor Ulrich Schulze said a peep about this. I’d imagine the teams who made it this far wouldn’t be keen on sullying their accomplishment in this manner. Yes, it would make for a one-of-a-kind spectacle, but can you imagine a larger asterisk than this on your resumé? You wouldn’t be the winner of the last CS:GO event, nor the winner of the first one that was run on CS2.
You’d be the winner of “the weird one,” the MMA equivalent of Counter-Strike. Especially with an underdog like 9z in the mix, let’s allow things to play out as-is. Even in the current situation, every performance can be partially explained away by the notion of a team or a player spending time with the sequel instead of the original.
As cool as it would be to see CS2 matches in a competitive setting immediately, we all know it will take time to iron out the kinks. Neither the committed players nor the pros (nor likely Valve) believe that the game is 100% esports-ready on day one, and we should all remember how long it took for CS:GO to get to the great place it is now, ready for its well-deserved retirement.
A stunt like this would be perfect for something like cs_summit, may they rest in peace. Though, incidentally, with FRAGADELPHIA making a triumphant return, who knows what the future holds? Maybe someone will pick up the torch. That being said, the new-look Pro League broadcast adapted a lot of the trappings from the fan-favorite event, with players co-casting and wacky stuff happening on the couch between the games. This laid-back stuff is not for me, but it’s definitely got a place in the scene, and it’s great to see lingering around, at least in spirit.
But in terms of competitive play? Noooo. There’s a lot of awkwardness here, with the biggest development in the last decade of the franchise happening in the middle of an otherwise prestigious tournament, rendering it sort of irrelevant by design with a snap of a finger. It’s kind of funny, almost like yet another reminder from Valve about who’s calling the shot in Counter-Strike land.
Incidentally, here’s a trip down memory lane for you. Remember when the folks at Valve had the NiP players push out the infamous Arms Deal update to the live servers? Yes, the one that changed everything, the one that brought along the skins and the money and the scams and the eyeballs and all the other quantum leaps.
Here’s the moment, from a decade ago (yes, we’re all very old):
This time, I’d love to see Freya press a big red button in the studio this time, or some other fun way to incorporate the moment. It’d be much better than turning the rest of the Pro League bracket into a showmatch. There’s magic to CS:GO, even if we’re about to leave it behind.