This article is part of our Changes to the Meta series.
DreamHack has announced changes to the way coaches interacts with players during live matches ahead of its Masters event in Malmo, Sweden this week.
Just over a year ago, Valve made a drastic change to forbid coaches from interacting with players during live matches at Valve-sponsored events. The developer explained that coaches have swayed too far towards being a "sixth player," with the coach taking care of activities such as calling plays, tracking the economy, and awareness. When the news surfaced, Valve allowed the tournament organizers to choose to follow the rules or do whatever they please, while above all else limiting a coach's availability to warmups, halftime, or thirty-second timeouts.
These new rules started a fire with the players and experts who did not take the new rules too kindly, with heavy criticism coming from across all social media. The new rule even put some coaches out of work, such as former Natus Vincere coach, Sergey "starix" Ischuk, making true in-game leaders a must have to find success. This ultimately expressed Valve's idea that a team should be able to win an given event based off of the five-man team alone, which was a cornerstone of high-level Counter-Strike gameplay.
Now, DreamHack has announced the changes to come for coaches at the Masters event in Malmo. DreamHack will now allow coaches to communicate with its players during freeze times (20 seconds), halftime (60 seconds), and halftime in overtime (30 seconds). The new rules also changes the structure of timeouts, with DreamHack providing 4 timeouts per match for 30 seconds each. They can be used as teams see fit. No restrictions per half. Combined with freeze time, teams then have 50 seconds." The changes were based on "feedback and dialogues with coaches from a variety of teams." The recent changes will also go into effect at all remaining DreamHack Open events for the year, taking place in Montreal, Denver and Jonkoping.
With coaches now having more freedom to work with players, the new update could spark an interest for Valve to change its own rules, but that's just wishful thinking given their track record. Valve has a reputation for sticking to its rules and regulations when it comes to integrity and fair play. Don't expect any Valve changes for quite some time.
DreamHack Masters Malmo will start August 30 and run through September 3, featuring 16 teams and a prize pool of $250,000 up for grabs.