Credit: PGL

Expert on Valve’s decision: It’s surprising considering how vocal they’ve been about keeping an open circuit

There will be no open qualifiers for Europe, North- and South America for this year's Major in Shanghai, China.

Valve stunned the Counter-Strike world this Friday morning by announcing significant changes to the Major rulebook, most notably scrapping the open qualifiers for Europe and the Americas for the Shanghai Major.

This decision eliminates the traditional qualifying system, where Valve’s ranking will now decide the invitations for the RMR and closed qualifiers – a change that has sparked heavy debate in the community, drawing significant criticism.

Experts weighing in

We have asked the Counter-Strike experts Janko "YNk" Paunović and Sudhen “Bleh” Wahengbam about Valve’s disputed decision.

- It’s surprising considering how vocal Valve has been recently about keeping an open circuit with the dissolution of partner leagues and so on, YNk starts off.

- One of the consequences is that this will be a missed opportunity for some players, if you get removed from a team close to the cutoff point. Then there is no chance for you to make it with a mix of similar players. And we'll probably see more tier 3 teams grind the online scene leading up to the Major cycle.

- Also, in this scenario, a story like Bad News Eagles could never happen - a team just coming out of nowhere into the Major and then causing a couple of upsets, which was entertaining for people to watch.

The fairy tale around Bad News Eagles would never happened without the open qualifier format, according to YNk.

No more RMR in the future?  

When asked about Valve’s reasonings behind the change, YNk speculates that the game developer may wish to eliminate the RMRs in its entirety.

-Probably because they want to remove the RMRs completely in the future, and this is just the first step in doing that. They realize the Major with all the qualifiers etc. takes up too much space in the calendar and I don't think they really ever intended it being like that, YNk concludes.

“It’s wild”

Expert and analyst Sudhen “Bleh” Wahengbam chimes in on the discussion by pointing out the negatives around how partner teams are favoured above lower-ranked teams.

- I’m genuinely surprised that Valve has killed open qualifiers in this cycle. We were expecting this for 2025 when partner events wouldn't exist anymore and that would make sense. But doing this in 2024 where partnered teams still have a massive advantage is wild.

- The beauty of a truly open qualifier for the Major just got mud thrown in its face, Bleh states.

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