Pros comment on MR12 viability
We spoke to representatives from teams that competed in the Gamers Without Borders charity tournament, in which the MR12 format (first team to 13 rounds wins) was playtested - and heard their impressions on its competitive viability.
The charity event that took place at the end of May, featuring teams such as Natus Vincere, mousesports, FaZe, and fnatic, was peculiar due to the usage of the "max rounds 12" format, instead of the "max rounds 15" that is currently featured in all competitions. To find out what the professionals thought about it and if there is a competitive future for it, we reached out to players and coaches from some of the competing sides.
Talking about initial impressions, Maikil "Golden" Selim admitted that he barely had time to test it adequately since fnatic were eliminated in the first game after a swift 2-0 by OG (13-7, 13-7). FaZe's Janko "YNk" Paunović wasn't impressed by the format, claiming that pistol rounds and anti-ecos had too big of an impact, while Allan "Rejin" Petersen disagreed with the notion, citing mousesports' experience from the grand final versus Natus Vincere. The two grand finalists got to experience MR12 the most, playing eight maps each, but Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy still feels like the sample size was too small to figure out all of the pros and cons.
"I don't like it. Actually I played competitively MR12 a long time ago, it was in the early 2000s, I even tried tournaments with a timelimit 30 minutes and it was fun - but the best format is MR15. It gives you more chances to outplay your opponent. Also, you can always come back into the game if you had a bad start and eventually the better team wins." - B1ad3
"[First impressions?] Damn, that went fast." - Golden
"MR12 was in general pretty good, I was afraid that pistol rounds would have a bigger impact, but in fact, against NAVI we won both pistols on Inferno and lost the map. We also went 0/8 in pistols in the first four maps and it still ended 2-2. The BO5 (even with overtime) did not feel so long and I actually enjoyed it. That being said, I think the economy is the biggest troublemaker when we are talking about the time it takes to play out a map." - Rejin
"I disliked MR12, pistol rounds are way too important since if you win both and convert the anti-ecos, you are halfway through victory pretty much." - YNk
Talking about MR12's competitive viability, three out of four pros think the format is viable but would require changes to either the pistol rounds or the economy. B1ad3 noted that fewer rounds would make every round more valuable, leading to more elaborate gameplans but also the need for more timeouts — to counter the stronger snowball effect.
Read what the pros think about MR12's competitive viability below:
"Of course MR12 has competitive viability but we we haven't played it enough to find out all pros and cons. Obviously fewer rounds mean fewer tactics so you must make them very sharp. It probably creates poor variability for viewers. Higher importance of pistol and anti-force rounds, overall each round will have more value. So you need to have a very elaborate gameplan and to think twice about your in-game decisions. It means a lot of teams will play slower on T, more carefully. Also, the snowball effect will need less effort. To prevent that, I would add two more timeouts per map, so three per side. Honestly, I think MR15 is the best anyway. It's very balanced." - B1ad3
"MR12 could have competitive viability, but the pistol rounds and economy would have to adapt" - Golden
"I think MR12 for sure has competitive viability. But again, I am not certain that it is the correct thing to do. We used to play MR12 and then changed it due to the money situation, and then the economy changed so MR12 is for sure viable. Again, I am not saying this is the perfect solution and I am sure someone with a big brain will figure something out!" - Rejin
"I don't think MR12 has competitive viability, MR15 is ideal in my opinion since it gives you enough opportunity to come back into a game even if you lose the pistols or have some unlucky rounds. I believe that if we just tweak the economy a bit it will be a much better change than switching to MR12." - YNk
Theorycrafting new formats, changing pistol rounds, and updating the economy were addressed in a recent HLTV Confirmed show, which also featured Rejin. For a deeper discussion about MR12, click play on the video below.