MR12 system in CS2 will put tournament organisers between the hammer and the anvil, but will elevate the pro-scene all the same
As of the publication of this material, a limited test of a new version of the legendary shooter from Valve, named Counter-Strike 2, is underway. The game receives regular updates, and data miners have discovered mentions of an MR12 match system in the game files. In this article, we'll help you understand how this new system might impact casual players in CS2, esports athletes, and tournaments.
What is MR12?
MR12 is a match system where a team needs to win a total of 13 rounds to secure victory. Teams alternate sides every 12 rounds. The MR12 system differs from the more common MR15 system, which involves playing up to 15 rounds for each side. As such, an MR15 match can conclude when one of the teams secures 16 rounds.
How will the new system affect casual players?
In September 2021, Valve made changes to CS:GO, introducing short matches (MR8), which immediately caught the attention of the community. This version was popular among those looking for a faster and more dynamic game. Short matches allowed players to get an adrenaline rush in a shorter amount of time and quickly move on to the next match.
As of today, about 40% of players participating in CS:GO matchmaking prefer the short MR8 matches. This indicates that players enjoy a more compact game format that allows them to focus on active play and tactics in a more limited timeframe.
The MR12 match system, which sits between the shorter MR8 and the longer MR15, might be the optimal solution. It could cater to the entire CS2 audience, satisfying both those looking for quick and intense games and those who prefer more in-depth battles. This system can strike a balance between match length and dynamics, which could positively impact the overall perception of the shooter by both newcomers and experienced players.
How will MR12 change the professional scene?
The introduction of the MR12 match system will impact the professional CS2 scene in several key aspects. First and foremost, it will significantly reduce the time spent on matches. In the world of professional esports, where tournament and training schedules are very intense, this change can be seen as very positive. The shortened match duration gives players more time to rest, as well as increases their concentration and performance efficiency.
MR12 will also affect the tactics and strategies of teams. Esports athletes will have to monitor their economy more closely, as even one or two mistakes can drastically change the course of a match. This will require a higher tactical elaboration of every move and decision.
Professional players will also need to maintain maximum concentration throughout the entire match. With fewer rounds, there won't be time for a "warm-up" or recovery after unsuccessful rounds. This presents a new challenge for pro players – to be maximally focused at every moment of the confrontation.
The changes will also affect aspiring esports players, making it easier for them to integrate into the competitive process. The vast number of daily online qualifiers and championships can be quite exhausting for seasoned esports professionals, let alone for newcomers. Hypothetically, Monte played 167 maps online in the first half of 2023. Such a volume of games virtually deprives you of the training process. Reducing match duration will allow younger players to balance their training more efficiently, reach their performance peak faster, and progress more rapidly.
In general, the MR12 match system will shift the focus in professional CS2 games. The reduced time, greater responsibility for economy management, and increased demands on concentration, as well as reaction time, will push esports professionals to refine their skills and approaches to remain at a high competitive level.
Switching to MR12 will have significant consequences. The choice between a full eco-round or a force buy will become even more strategic. Meanwhile, a loss after a force buy, especially in the second round, will be too costly. Mistakes in economy management will be less forgiving, as each round becomes more crucial, intensifying the match's tension. If you lose the pistol round and can't secure a win during the second round's force buy, you'll have to commit to a full eco-round. As a result, you'll be down 0:3. That's a quarter of the rounds in just half the game!
These changes would add intensity to the game. However, improper economy management could lead to dire consequences. It might become disadvantageous for teams to play eco-rounds. I am in favor of MR12, although initially adjusting to scores like 7:5 at halftime will be a challenge. Without a doubt, there will be a need for some time to fully adapt to these changes.
How will the new system affect tournaments?
The introduction of the MR12 match system will have a significant impact on CS2 tournaments, bringing a number of interesting changes. First and foremost, the new system will make matches more dynamic and saturated. Fewer rounds and increased competition for every moment ramp up the adrenaline, which inevitably resonates with viewers. From this format, more vivid and exciting moments can be expected, adding additional engagement for the audience.
The MR12 system may also entail changes in the competition structure. The outcomes of BO1 format matches, often decided by randomness or surprises, are hard to call objective. In the context of MR12, organizers might lean towards avoiding BO1 and focus more on the BO3 format to increase the objectivity of results.
The brevity of MR12 matches might also have effects on the overall duration of tournaments. The reduction in playtime ensures the possibility of conducting more matches per day. At the same time, this might lead to a conflict of interests between sponsors, organizers, and clubs. As a result, tournament operators and organizations could lose money. This could lead to an increase in the number of matches in the group stage, as well as changing the playoff format from Single-Elimination to Double-Elimination to maintain the necessary airtime and fulfill sponsor contracts. The transition to MR12 will also push organizers to develop various fan events and new formats of analysis studios between matches to attract additional attention from viewers and sponsors. Teams, in turn, will have to spend more time on the media component — something a vast number of clubs don't do.
The introduction of the MR12 match system will draw a clear line between CS2 and CS:GO and will significantly impact all participants in the Counter-Strike ecosystem. One shouldn't think that Valve is trying to mimic Valorant; MR12 is merely a return to the shooter's roots. For regular players frequently engaging in matchmaking, MR12 will be an interesting change. It will reduce match durations, allowing for more focused gameplay and quicker skill improvement.
For esports professionals, the MR12 system also introduces something new. Fewer rounds will compel teams to focus immediately on key moments of the match. This raises the bar for communication and coordination since one or two mistakes can determine the outcome of a meeting. The faster pace of duels also means that players must be ready for high intensity and consistently be at the peak of their performance.
From a tournament perspective, the new system will also bring adjustments. Organizers will be forced to experiment with their tournament formats and entertainment content to maintain a high profit margin. Such changes might boost viewer activity, leading to greater attention from sponsors and investors.
If the MR12 match system is indeed introduced into CS2, it will represent the most significant change in the shooter's history, affecting various aspects of the community. It will push players towards more active and dynamic gameplay and make tournaments more thrilling.