The situation between Anonymo, Flashpoint and Ninjas in Pajamas is exceedingly complex. According to many people, the administrators were largely at fault here. We decided to talk about the administrative situation with Michał Słowiński, who has been an ESL administrator at the most important CS: GO tournaments in the world and analyzed hundreds of meetings during the coach bug scandal. Before our interview, our guest received from us the Flashpoint rulebook, which IzakTV has reached recently.
Michał Maćkowski – When should the administrators announce the decision to postpone or cancel the meeting? Let me remind you that the teams have waited over an hour for the map to resume.
Michał Słowiński – In such a complex situation, there’s no precise time limit to which the administration has to follow. In theory, ANONYMO should get a walkover on the first map after 30 minutes of waiting. However, the regulations – like all regulations – allow the administration to make decisions inconsistent with the rules in force, in cases that affect the fairness of the game. Was that the case? Yes – NiP was in a losing position from the start, so it seems to me that the administration had every right to allow extra time to identify problems.
In your opinion, are the claims of Ninjas in Pajamas correct, according to the rulebook?
Yes, of course – in accordance with the applicable regulations, NiP has the full right to lodge a protest. Moreover, the regulations clearly state that in situations that are beyond the control of the teams – matches will be repeated. In fact, NiP did everything in accordance with the applicable rules (which only shows their defect), if there are problems, the teams are obliged to continue the meeting and any protests should be reported after the fact. And that’s exactly what NiP did.
Ninjas in Pajamas referred in the regulations to point 5.5a, which says that a team that is a victim of a violation of the rules or breaking the rules has to inform the administrators who will then start the investigation after the meeting. We know Ninjas in Pajamas applied the day after the match, isn’t it too late?
The regulations don’t set any hard time limits on when you can lodge a match protest, so in theory it isn’t too late. The game ended quite late, so in my opinion there is nothing wrong with protesting the next day. We must also remember that the regulations provide for possible penalties for unjustified protests, also the NiP team had to collect all the necessary information to justify their protest, otherwise they could be penalized. My guess is that they had to contact their ISP and analyze their replays to point out the exact moments where their problems are clearly visible – such things aren’t done in an hour.
What do you think about the whole situation and the rules themselves, which don’t contain much information about the technical problems of the team.
There are some shortcomings in the regulations, probably because the tournament organizer preferred to leave a free hand to certain situations and that’s it. It’s definitely far from perfection, I even found information about playing overtime in the 16k start money format – and yet Valve’s rules clearly say that it should be 10k.
From what I’ve read, the administration simply sticks to its own regulations, so in theory they don’t do anything wrong. But this only shows that changes are needed in the regulations. I believe that the biggest mistake of the administration was forcing the meeting to continue (according to the rules). It shouldn’t like that. Identifying whose side the problem lies on shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, and yet the administration had over an hour to do so.
The regulations don’t seem too comprehensive, do you think there is missing something?
As I mentioned before, tournament organizers like to leave a free hand in some matters and therefore the FLASHPOINT rulebook lacks specific issues regarding technical problems. There are pros and cons to this approach. On the one hand, you don’t have to stick to the rules mentioned strictly, which is very helpful in some cases, but on the other hand, the community will interpret situations as they want (usually incorrectly) and you have to be ready for it.
Remember that in some matters – especially those related to technical problems – there is no defined pattern to stick to, and this is because each technical problem is different. You have to deal with those problems individually. Personally, I think that the regulations should clearly define as many potential conflict situations as possible, and if the situation requires a change of decision or going in a different direction, it is always possible – it is enough to justify it well.
Should Anonymo win the first map by walkover, looking at how long they were waiting for their rival?
Yes – according to point 4.5, which clearly states granting of a walkover on the first map after 30 minutes of delay – Anonymo should win the first map by a walkover. However, we must remember that in theory, the NiP wasn’t late, after all, they were on the server, but they had technical problems and there was an attempt to solve them by both sides. I think in such situations the administration has the right to increase the time limit to consider every possible option to solve the problem, and that is what happened here.
Do you have any objections to the Flashpoint case? How would you behave in this situation?
The main objections I have are how the matter was handled when the problem was reported, during the match. NiP was forced to continue the meeting and here I see the biggest problem with the whole thing. It shouldn’t be like that. If NiP didn’t make an official protest – today we would be talking about how NiP was badly treated by the FLASHPOINT. Determining whose fault it is(whether on NiP’s side or the organizer’s side) is really a matter of 10 minutes. After establishing that it is the organizer’s fault, the match should be postponed. And then all this drama wouldn’t exist.
Of course, how the matter was resolved the next day is a PR disaster. Has NiP been mistreated? Yes. Is it ANONYMO’s fault? No, so they shouldn’t be punished. FLASHPOINT should have admitted a mistake, apologized, promised to improve the existing rules for the future, and continue the tournament.
Moreover, I would never let any team choose whether to repeat the entire BO3 or just one map. This shouldn’t be happening. This is a decision that belongs to the administration.
Is it too late to cancel the result two days after the end of the match?
Of course, such cases should be resolved immediately. If not before the match, then no later than 24 hours after the end of the match. Such a time limit should be specified in the regulations.
Why did Flashpoint not agree to play on an external server?
I understand that the most – I think that in the case of any other tournament, none of the organizers would agree to this possibility, for various reasons. FACEIT servers are part of a much larger infrastructure, which also includes the integration of the server with the anti-cheat client, the entire GOTV system, etc. This is all you need to play the tournament and you can’t just transfer it to an external server.
Do you see any shortcomings that could affect the rest of the tournament?
Well, I’m definitely looking forward to the first overtime, which according to the rules, should be played in the 16k system, which is unthinkable at the Valve tournament. And of course I wonder how this ANONYMO / NiP precedent will affect the rest of the tournament – I think it can really complicate the life of the administration. In theory, we might see a large amount of repeated meetings if FLASHPOINT decides not to change the rulebook.
Could making a complaint about a dev1ce for insulting judges help Anonymo?
No – these kinds of things have no influence on the final decision. Of course – the dev1ce shouldn’t avoid being punished, despite understandable frustration. However, it won’t have any impact on the decision to repeat the meeting.
How do you think this whole situation will end?
It seems to me that the whole situation is really over. I don’t see the possibility that FLASHPOINT reverses its decision, not after the statements they made. By announcing that technical problems were their fault, they had affected the final result of the meeting, they put themselves in a situation from which there is no return. The match will be repeated.