PGL Major Stockholm 2021 is taking place two years after the Berlin Major. A lot has changed over this period — so much so that it’s hard to compare this event with Valve’s other tournaments. There are three reasons for this — read more about them in this post by the CS.MONEY Blog.
Reason one: mechanical differences
Today’s CS:GO game is a lot different from the one it was during the previous Major. First, Valve replaced Train with Ancient. It’s a brand-new map, and it’s only been in the tournament map pool for six months. The Stockholm Major is the first one to feature this map. For some teams, it can be a trump card up their sleeve; for others, it may constitute a bottleneck.
Second, Dust 2, Vertigo, and Mirage have changed so much that they can no longer be compared to the same maps from the previous Major. Examples include the bench under the window on Mirage and a total overhaul of the entire Vertigo. As for Dust2. At first, they removed “ceiling” in B halls. And the recent update changed a single texture which made it very difficult for the Ts to control mid.
Besides, the game now features new mechanics. Naturally, we’re referring to the newly-introduced grenade drops — probably the most important change this year, and maybe in the entire history of Counter-Strike.
Already at IEM Fall 2021 Europe, OG’s captain, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, dealt insane amounts of damage thanks to nade drops from his teammates while holding passages to A Site on Dust 2. At PGL Major Stockholm 2021, many clubs already plan tactics and entire rounds based on this very innovation.
Another mechanical change is the balance of guns. The double buff of the M4A1-S, a small buff followed by nerf for the Desert Eagle, cheaper Galil AR and FAMAS. While these tweaks were implemented at different times, they affect matches most seriously when combined.
A simple example: at the Berlin Major, players made approximately the same amount of frags with the SG 553 and the AWP, while the Galil AR and the FAMAS didn’t even make it into the top 10 most-popular guns. At the recent IEM Fall 2021 Europe, there was no SG 553 in the top 10 — but there were cheap rifles.
Reason two: new meta
The physical changes in CS:GO have also affected the approach to the game and the meta. Forced to constantly adapt, teams came up with new ways to use familiar tools.
Seemingly minor changes to map structures (new or altered textures) have an impact on the pace of the game. Nerfs of scope guns affect the choice of positions the CTs take.
On Dust2, for instance, teams that are used to playing slowly as Ts now have to make haste at the beginning of the round. The same goes for the CT side: aggressive actions have become safer, therefore, more beneficial.
Or remember, say, the smoke thrown at the window on Mirage. At first, it wasn’t used at all; later, it came to be executed from the steps at T spawn. Now, some players practice instant throws at the start of the round. As a consequence, the speed of play on Mirage has sizeably increased over these few years.
With all that said, it’s a small wonder that teams play Inferno or Nuke very differently than they did two years ago. The frequent rotation of teams in the HLTV.org rankings clearly reflects teams’ constant adaptations.
You can follow the development of CS:GO and the teams’ ups and downs right now, live, at PGL Major Stockholm 2021. Check out the CS.MONEY Major Hub for news, broadcasts, event schedules, challenges, and great prizes. By the way, be sure to grab the promo code: MUGLODNA. It’ll get you 2000 coins, which you can exchange for valuable gifts. Watch the Major in Stockholm with CS.MONEY!
Reason three: online players
The list of changes wouldn’t be complete without this crucial item. The fact of the matter is, teams qualified for PGL Major Stockholm 2021 via online tournaments, with only the last events in the season held in the LAN format. Consequently, there are a lot of players at the Major with very little offline experience — or none at all.
Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný was considered an online player until he started collecting MVPs at LAN tournaments
There’s a concern that teams who show confident performance online when they’re playing in a familiar and comfortable setting may not be ready for the pressure of playing in front of a huge audience. The morale can wither and the results plummet.
In fact, after nearly two years of endless online play, almost all attendees of PGL Major Stockholm 2021 fall into the category of “online players.” That’s why Stockholm Major will reveal just how much of their LAN experience has been lost during that time and, more importantly, how much it influences the outcomes of matches.
PGL Major Stockholm 2021 is the sixteenth Major. However, you can call it the first one in a number of ways.
- A huge break between tournaments from Valve,
- multiple changes in the game and the rules (this includes the restriction of coaches’ jurisdiction during the match implemented recently),
- the long era of online play,
- balance changes —
All this lends a different angle to the Major. However, it all makes it even more interesting to spectate. We’ll continue to watch the developments of the tournament. Join us in the CS.MONEY Major Hub.
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