ESL faced significant backlash after announcing the IEM Sydney format, but the organization will not make any changes to the structure of the competition
ESL has disclosed the groupings and initial match-ups for IEM Sydney, revealing that the tournament's first round will feature a best-of-one format.
The revelation that the first round of IEM Sydney will consist of best-of-one MR12 matches has generated mostly negative responses within the Counter-Strike community. FaZe Clan rifler Robin “ropz” Kool voiced his dissatisfaction on Twitter regarding the matter, reflecting the sentiments shared by many in the community.
BO1 MR12 😭😭😭 https://t.co/xIYXbieVYn
— ropz (@ropz) October 3, 2023
IEM Sydney Format: Why Is It Controversial?
Why did this decision by the tournament organizers stir a wave of criticism? Many believe that the shorter format may not truly reflect the teams' skill and capabilities, potentially leading to more unpredictable outcomes.
As CS2 approaches, there is also a growing chorus of voices calling for the elimination of best-of-one matches. This sentiment is fueled by the transition to MR12 format, which inherently shortens the duration of games. Proponents argue that with the introduction of MR12, there is a natural reduction in match length, making best-of-ones less necessary and, in some cases, even counterproductive.
What is ESL Saying?
ESL's Head of Game Ecosystems, Marc Winther, has addressed the issue, sharing the tournament organizer's stance on the matter. According to Winther, his organization no immediate plans to make alterations to the tournament format. However, they are committed to a diligent monitoring and evaluation process as they move forward, particularly with an eye on developments and feedback within the esports community.
With the transition to CS2 and MR12, duration of matches will be impacted, whether BO1 or BO3. But how much?
We're monitoring and will explore schedule adjustments once we have data on hand.
Short term we're not looking to do format changes, will evaluate heading into 2024.
— Marc Winther (@marcwinther) October 4, 2023
How will the Rest Of the Tournament Work?
For the rest of the group stage at this prestigious $250,000 tournament, teams will engage in best-of-three matches. Group champions will earn a place in the semi-finals, while the second and third-placed teams in their groups will claim spots in the quarter-finals. As the tournament advances to the playoffs, a single-elimination format will be in effect, comprising best-of-three matches.
Photo Credit: ESL Australia
One of the most intriguing opening matchups promises to be the clash between Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov's freshly-formed BetBoom squad and the world's top-ranked team, Vitality. This showdown carries added significance due to the recent shockwave that hit Vitality with the announcement of coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen's impending departure from the team in November.