ESL announced Monday that they have adjusted their map pool, replacing Cobblestone with Dust2 for the remainder of the year, starting with IEM Sydney and the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, in Dallas.
The announcement comes after Valve released the “Smoke Mid Every Day” update on April 20, where Dust2 was added back to the Active Duty map pool and Cobblestone was kicked to the curb. ESL quickly jumped on the update and implemented the new map pool across all of their events, kicking off with IEM Sydney on May 1
The decision also adjusted the Pro League Finals in Dallas where both North American and European regions where the teams will get their hands on Dust2. Cobblestone will still be in play for the remainder of the regular season, however, with Dust2 not kicking in until the Finals.
High-profile figures in the community such as Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo have already hit social media to express their concerns and frustrations about the timing of the announcement. Jonas “bsl” Alsaker Vikan, ESL’s Tournament Director, spoke with HLTV following the Dust2 announcement to get a better explanation about the process of the map being added to the map pool for their soon and upcoming events.
Alsaker Vikan expressed that it wasn’t the greatest timing nor the best decision made but since Valve introduced Dust2 to the Active Duty pool, it “sent a strong signal to all, the early stages of the Major will start soon and on our end there are two huge tournaments coming up in little over three weeks.” He also pointed out that it would be “pointless” for teams to play Cobblestone after it’s back-to-back competitions until the player break and mentioned that teams who did not “feel comfortable can always use to the veto.”
Alsaker Vikan told HLTV that the process started by contacting the player representative Scott “sirscoots” Smith, while also having internal discussions at ESL. Then, both parties contacted the teams attending IEM Sydney to get their feedback where “most rendered opinions and weighed against the facts.” In the end, Alsaker Vikan ultimately made the decision and believes “the process here was fair, given the time restraints everything was working under.”
With ESL breaking ground on the forced adjustment to their map pool, it is expected that more tournament organizers will do the same. It is unclear, however, whether or not DreamHack or Starladder will adjust their map pool as both have events scheduled in May.