DeKay: How the Minor Qualifier Rule Change Nobody Noticed Could Impact CS:GO in 2020

Before the Berlin Major cycle, StarLadder made a change to the Minor qualification rules that went mostly overlooked. Teams who had lived outside of their home region for at least two months could have chosen between playing in their home region or playing in the region in which they resided. Choosing between regions had never been possible before. Before the change, teams had no other choice but to play in the home region of the majority of their roster.

No team had a chance to take advantage of that change during the last Major cycle, but the rule has the potential to make a large impact if kept for the first Major of 2020. North American organization Complexity recently acquired three European players. Under the old ruleset, Complexity would have had to attempt to qualify for a Major through Europe. Now, the organization potentially has the chance to choose between Europe or North American Minor qualifiers. With the European Minor consistently serving as the most difficult Major qualifier, it is almost a certainty Complexity would choose North America.

A permanent adoption of this rule could heavily impact the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive landscape if the level of competition remains as high as it is in Europe. It might incentivize European majority teams to live outside of Europe, especially if they have Major qualification bonuses in their contracts. The rumored league formulating inside North America would add to that incentive if it involves teams with core nationalities from outside the region. Multiple sources have explained that Valve has met with league stakeholders and given the league approval. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before it surfaces and resulting moves are made.

When contacted about the rule change, representatives from StarLadder explained it was their idea to change the rule but could be retained by Valve themselves. They also shared that it is equally as possible the next Major organizer attempts to revert back to the original system. The intention of the rule, according to StarLadder, was to prevent disruption for teams living outside of their home country while playing other events and qualifiers. When asked if they would attempt to use the rule again in a future Major, StarLadder said they would likely use it again if Valve allowed.

The next Major Tournament organizer and location for the tournament have not yet been announced publicly. Valve made an announcement Tuesday in regards to 2020 Majors, explaining all teams and players must announce their business relationships before the event. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from the tournament, should any party act in bad faith.

Photo by Adela Sznajder/ESL