Just as the leaks had claimed, the latest CS2 limited beta test update has introduced the MR12 format
As news of a leak about the potential integration of a maximum of 12 rounds (MR12) setting in competitive play for Counter-Strike 2 circulated, this format has now been implemented as the automatic choice upon entering the practice competitive mode. MR12 makes a return to the game for the first time since the CS 1.6 days.
Competitive Scoreboard shows win at Round 13, Half at Round 12. MR12 is happening however no economy change is spotted yet. pic.twitter.com/QKJPJRBp98
— ThourCS (@ThourCS) August 18, 2023
CS2 Moves To MR12: What Does It Mean?
In the CS2 limited beta, Valve has switched things up from having 15 rounds in each half (MR15) to having 12 rounds in each half (MR12). Instead of the usual 15 rounds, therefore, now there are only 12 rounds in each half of the game.
To win, a team has to reach 13 rounds, instead of the old 16-round requirement. This shift in the number of rounds per half is quite a change, something that hasn't occurred in Counter-Strike since the pre-Global Offensive era.
The game's maximum rounds have been adjusted, but Valve hasn't made any changes to the in-game economy. Keep in mind that this is just a small-scale trial period. It's entirely possible that the MR12 format is being tested only for the beta version of CS2. When the game's full version drops, Valve might switch back to the regular MR15 rule set.
Should the main game transition to MR12, there’s a possibility that the competitive landscape might choose a different path. It's common knowledge that the established rules for tournaments already deviate substantially from the in-game matchmaking rules. Some examples include server tick rates, the inclusion of overtime rounds, and the number and length of timeouts. Regardless, everything remains speculative until the official release of Counter-Strike 2, which appears to be quite close.
Why The Competitive Scene Might Not Switch To MR12
The main reason why the MR12 format might not be a popular choice in competitions is because of the added importance of pistol rounds. Winning a pistol round often guarantees you three more rounds, thanks to how the game's economy functions.
This combines with a successful win in the first full buy round for the team that lost the pistol round. This could result in a 5-0 lead in each half, and such an advantage is quite challenging to reverse, particularly when using the MR12 format.
The MR12 format was playtested in the Gamers Without Borders charity tournament back in 2020. After the competition, participants had mixed reactions about the competitive viability of MR12.
Natus Vincere coach Andrij “B1ad3” Ghorodensjkyj was not a fan at all.
“I don't like it. Actually I played competitively MR12 a long time ago, it was in the early 2000s, I even tried tournaments with a timelimit 30 minutes and it was fun – but the best format is MR15. It gives you more chances to outplay your opponent. Also, you can always come back into the game if you had a bad start and eventually the better team wins.”
Allan “Rejin” Petersen, B1ad3’s mouz counterpart at that time, had a more positive feedback to share.
“MR12 was in general pretty good, I was afraid that pistol rounds would have a bigger impact, but in fact, against NAVI we won both pistols on Inferno and lost the map. We also went 0/8 in pistols in the first four maps and it still ended 2-2. The BO5 (even with overtime) did not feel so long and I actually enjoyed it. That being said, I think the economy is the biggest troublemaker when we are talking about the time it takes to play out a map.”
Janko “YNk” Paunović, who was in charge of FaZe Clan, echoed B1ad3’s reaction.
“I disliked MR12, pistol rounds are way too important since if you win both and convert the anti-ecos, you are halfway through victory pretty much.”
Bl1ad3, however, did not completely dismiss the potential competitiveness of MR12. He thought that by implementing specific adjustments, it could become more fitting for competitive situations.
“Of course, MR12 has competitive viability but we haven't played it enough to find out all pros and cons. Obviously, fewer rounds mean fewer tactics so you must make them very sharp. It probably creates poor variability for viewers. Higher importance of pistol and anti-force rounds, overall each round will have more value. So you need to have a very elaborate gameplan and to think twice about your in-game decisions. It means a lot of teams will play slower on T, more carefully. Also, the snowball effect will need less effort. To prevent that, I would add two more timeouts per map, so three per side. Honestly, I think MR15 is the best anyway. It's very balanced.”