Goodbye Coaches, Welcome back IGLs: A NEW PLAYERS UNION?!


Goodbye Coaches

Yesterday, Wednesday 17, ESL sent an e-mail from Valve to select professional CS:GO teams, communicating that from now on, future Valve sponsored events will enforce the following rule: During a match, the coach may only communicate with the players during warmup, half time, or during one of four 30 second timeouts that the coach or player can call.

You can see the original e-mail shared by owner of Selfless Gaming, Steve “Ryu” Rattacasa, on one of his tweets:

“With unrestricted communication with their players, coaches can currently function as a sixth player, and not solely as a source of guidance or training. Activities such as keeping track of the economy, calling plays, and general situational awareness are important components of CS gameplay. If a person is performing these actions, we consider them a player.

Since the goal of our events is to identify the best five-player CS teams that exhibit the best combination of all CS skills, the current participation of coaches in the game is not compatible with that goal. To address this problem, future Valve sponsored events will enforce the following coaching rules:

  • During a match, the coach may only communicate with the players during warmup, half time, or during one of four 30 second timeouts that the coach or player can call.

Obviously, third party events can use whatever rules they want but if you want to align your events with ours then we recommend using this coaching rule.

Ido Magal”

Immediately, pros started to react to this change. Most, if not all of them, are completely against this rule, not only because of what it represents, but also the moment they decided to deliver this information, right after many of the teams in the competitive scene made some changes in their roster, moving the In-Game Leader role (in charge of strategic decisions) to the coach position and including players who contribute with significant firepower.

Pros Tweets

Teams that will be most affected


Team Liquid

Introduced in the team on May 17, Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu has brought the strategical knowledge and guidance that was missing on Team Liquid. Since he has been leading the team from the coach position, we have seen a stronger team, becoming a huge factor in their recent success, achieving second place in the last major, ESL ONE: Cologne 2016. Now we are worried on how their performance will be affected because of the new rule.



Yesterday, Alec “Slemmy” White has stepped down from the Cloud9 CS:GO starting roster. Three weeks ago we heard about it when ESPN reported it. The CS:GO community thought he was presumably moving to the coach position, since he was the former In-Game Leader, nonetheless, according to the official Cloud9 announcement, Alec has echoed the sentiment that he currently has no intention of stepping into a coaching role, and fully intends to continue his career as a player. With Timothy “autimatic” Ta joining the team to increase their fragging power, both players and the team are in a huge problem, since they have no experienced IGL currently. We might see one of their players become an IGL, but previous experiences with Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert haven proven to be unsuccessful.


Natus Vincere

After serving for the team for almost six years, on March 2015 we saw Sergey “starix” Ischuk leave the team line-up to perform the role of the team’s manager and coach. As one of the most cold-blooded and leaders in the professional scene since CS 1.6, we are confident that he has been one of the key elements for the team and the decisions they take during the game. Besides, Na’Vi recently replaced Zeus, their previous In-Game Leader, to include Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, former Team Liquid player, known for his excellent AWPer abilities. Once again: would that roster change ever have happened if they knew this rule was on its way? This proves better than anything else that this news hit everyone like a truck, even when Valve had previously stated that they weren’t pleased with the current coach’s situation.

Valve’s stance

Valve has clearly been thinking about this change recently. Since ESL ONE: Cologne 2016, coaches were already not allowed to have computers to spectate in-game, because, according to James O’Connor, Team Liquid’s former coach:

“Valve Dev’s explained the coach spec option in-game took off more than they originally intended. They want to protect the integrity of the 5v5 team experience for the lower levels who do not have coaches. Essentially they want viewers at home who play the game to be watching the same game that they play at home. To keep the competitive pressure spread across 5 people and supported by a 6th not a full 6v6 game where the brains of the game is outsourced fully to an out of game leader.”

The matter was discussed with pro players and coaches before establishing the new rule, but despite the teams being reluctant to this change, Valve seems to have single-handedly made a game breaking decision that has generated really hard opposition from the CS:GO professional guild.

A Professional CS:GO Players Union?

During the last year, we have seen some changes in the CS:GO professional scene, which have caused major reactions and critics towards Valve administration. We often see consensus between players, expressing their disapproval on their tweets and begging Valve to hear pros opinion on the matter, but so far, nothing has changed and players keep being ignored.

Well, it seems time has come for a players union to be created. Today Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert said on stream that there is an attempt to get pro players into a group to discuss the coach changes, which was later confirmed by Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski on reddit. We don’t know if players will finally create a union to represent them, but many questions arise from these statements: Who would be the president of such union? Would a player union be able to get IBP unbanned? Right now, fans are rooting for Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas as presidents for the players union, but we all know that this election would be made by players and only based on their own judgment.

Teamwork Holo

For now, all we can do is sit and watch. Don’t let this news affect the way you enjoy the ESL-Pro League and keep an eye on our website for other news and analysis.

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Aristóteles Marín

Aristoteles is a 3rd year medical student from Venezuela. He grew up playing different genres of games with friends, like RTS, FPS and MMORPG. Today, he enjoys playing CS:GO and League of Legends whenever he has some time, but he always follows the competitive scene on eSports, as an old man reads his newspaper while eating his breakfast.

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