Valve has changed the official rules for its CS:GO Majors to prohibit in-game coaching, and ESL are following suit with their own events.
On Wednesday, ESL emailed out a new ruleset created by Valve to members of the CS:GO community. In a copy of the email obtained by theScore esports, Valve states that coaches will no longer be able to communicate with their players outside of warmup, half-time and timeouts. Effectively, this means that all in-game coaching is banned.
According to the email, these rules will be enforced at all Valve-sponsored events. ESL also says in the email it will be enforcing the new ruleset at all offline events.
Vice president of FACEIT Media James Bradolph took to Twitter to announce that ECS have no plans to enforce Valve's coaching ban at their tournaments.
"With unrestricted communication with their players, coaches can currently function as a sixth player, and not solely as a source of guidance or training," Valve states in the email. "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."
Selfless coach and owner Steve "Ryu" Rattacasa told theScore esports that he feels this decision will make competitive CS:GO worse, and that the time Valve has allotted for coaching just isn't enough to do it effectively.
"As the impact a coach can have will be reduced, so will the pay and opportunity for those who were interested in pursuing that as a career path," Ryu said. "It’s also going to extend the careers of sub-par players who are intelligent and have leadership skills, which will ultimately bring down the level of CS:GO we watch.
"Thirty-second timeouts aren’t long enough for the kind of adjustments and discussions that normally go on, so no. The overall effectiveness of a coach will be determined by what he does in practice to get the team ready, and little thereafter."
Additionally, Ryu said that coaches who functioned as strong in-game leaders should go back to playing actively, as they're more valuable now as players than they are as coaches. Since changes to strategy will no longer be able to be coached on the fly, coaching instead will move to preparation beforehand.
"I think teams will slowly come to realize the value of a good practice regimen and expect that coaches will be structuring the practices, reviewing notes on upcoming opponents, etc. at a level far greater than they had been previously," he said.
"They’ve had this system in place for so long that teams have signed long term contracts with coaches to be the team’s in game leader—I don’t know of any way you can apply these kind of changes or changes in this spirit that wouldn’t completely disrupt what money is being spent for.
"I’m in favor of it going back to the way it was, but as is the case with Valve, I doubt they care or are even listening."
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.