Just five days prior the PGL Major at the TOURON Arena in Krakow, Poland in July, Valve made a bold move to change the traditional Swiss format map veto process through the best-of-one group stage, excluding the playoffs.
So what changed exactly?
Traditionally, the veto process will give Team A the first map pick ban then following with the Team B ban until the final map is randomized from the two remaining maps. This gives a non-bias map pick for each team entering the match with their own strategy when narrowing down the two maps.
Now, with the recent changes Valve has now implemented the higher seeded team, Team A, to ban two maps in a row, while Team B will ban the next three maps. Finally, Team A will choose the map to be played from the two remaining maps while Team B will have the choice to pick sides. In theory, the change will give the higher-seeded teams a slight advantage over its opponents as the higher-seeded team can pick their stronger map or their opponents least favored in this case.
Fans and players alike took to social media to criticize the moves, especially since they came just days prior to the biggest event left on the 2017 calendar. This created chaos as teams had very limited time in which to make the necessary adjustment to be ready for the new format. Although it seemed the more prepared teams going through the group stages would have the upper advantage, however, the lower seeded teams could prove an upset, and that’s exactly what happened.
Major results may have been effected by the changes?
Since the changes emerged just five days before the event kicked off, some could argue that the results of the grand final matchup could have had a large part in the new map veto process. Can that really be true?
Not quite. The groups stage heavily favored the higher-seeded teams who could pick their best map or their opponent's weakest link, but it all came down to who was prepared at the end of the day. Gambit Esports proved that preparation is the key to success when dealing with new changes, as the team soared through the group stages is the first team to reach 3-0. As for Immortals, the Brazilians had a hard fought playoff series taking down the “Legends” of Virtus.pro advancing into the grand final unscathed.
However, the results could have been made differently if the release of the map veto change came sooner rather than five days out. It is interesting enough to see teams adjust to the map pool as the higher-seeded teams have full control over which map to be played or banned. The results could have been based on the preparation of the next Major, which is scheduled to be at the start of the 2018 year according to HLTV, as teams will now adjust their map pool in the remaining 2017 campaign. Although the changes came suddenly, it is not certain if Valve will continue the changes through 2018. As for the rest of the 2017 slate? Valve has left it up to organizers such as DreamHack, ESL, PGL, ELEAGUE and StarLadder Series. Valve will no doubt look at what each of these organizations do in relation to the change and use that, plus the data they no doubt gathered from the PGL Major to determine the longevity of the new change.