Changes are slowly but surely coming to competitive Counter-Strike, and BLAST’s latest decision to feature best-of-five matches in the Premier series’ grand finals was a long overdue change in the CS2 era. With MR12 introduced, it offers the best of both worlds: more opportunities for back-and-forth rollercoaster rides and a test of map pool and perseverance without the giga-grueling broadcast length that has plagued their presence across the years.

Now, the Major needs to follow suit.

Majors need to stand out

We’ve recently discussed how best-of-ones must go from competitive CS2, and it’s not much of a stretch to argue that best-of-three grand finals should be next on the list. Now, the merry men from Bellevue might finally deign to rejig the in-game economy after their long Hawaii vacation – though I think I speak for most of the community here when I say that it perhaps shouldn’t be their number one priority –but as things currently stand, the snowbally snappiness of MR12s can leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Copenhagen was a great experience, but I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the close-fought playoff series would have played out with the extra room to maneuver in an MR15 best-of-three or an MR12 best-of-five. It’s no secret that some of the most memorable grand finals in Counter-Strike history went to five maps – think FaZe versus Fnatic at IEM Katowice 2018, or FaZe versus NAVI at IEM Cologne 2022, or if you want to go further back, how about G2 versus Luminosity at ESL Pro League Season 3?

Elsewhere in similar competitive games, VALORANT and Rainbow Six Siege both offer best-of-five finals for the ultimate match in their showpiece event – much like Valve’s other gargantuan esport, Dota 2 – and it produces the same sort of memorable and exciting storylines they do in Counter-Strike.

If anything, I would have already loved to see this back in the Global Offensive days. As I wrote two years ago elsewhere, “Five maps give all players a chance to shine, to rise and fall, to make an impact, and to buckle under pressure. There’s room to hide in a 2–0 win—not so much in a longer series.” With shorter maps in CS2 matches and less room for comebacks after a slow start due to the in-game economy, many of the wrinkles involved would be instantly cleared up by a swap to best-of-fives. Now the circumstances are just perfect to make the change.

Time to adjust and experiment

Luckily, we will have many chances to figure out the pros and cons of such a change in the upcoming months. From ESL’s side, it’s Pro League time, with Cologne soon to follow – and BLAST will now also feature best-of-five finals in their showpiece events. I expect many memorable and exciting battles that are set to surpass what we’ve seen in CS2 so far – and I hold out hope that we’re still in time for making a similar adjustment for the Shanghai Major.

This is especially the case because Majors will struggle to stand out in the future. Many of the third-party organizers’ tournaments are more smoothly run, offer larger prize pools, better formats, and slowly but surely established individual prestige of their own. Back in the early Global Offensive days, nothing could match the scope of the Majors – by now, the situation has basically become the exact opposite.

As discussed before, the broadcast scheduling argument is mostly bullshit, as this uncertainty is part and parcel of any live sport. Besides, apart from some minor tinkering around the edges, we’re still basically running the same format with the same issues as we did back in the 2018 ELEAGUE Boston days, when the number of teams was extended to 24 but the format was otherwise left unchanged.

The prestige of the Major still deserves better. Here is the perfect opportunity to play catch-up.