In what was supposed to be one of the most hailed North American non-Major tournaments in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive history, the iBUYPOWER Masters, starring four of the top-10 teams in the world quickly turned sour. After many technical delays, equipment malfunctions, competitive integrity issues, and a serious security threat, some teams were very close in quitting mid-tournament—all before playing a match.
When VP Esports CS:GO insider Jarek “dekay” Lewis tweeted out that fans attending the iBP Masters had messaged him on Twitter stating there was virtually zero security presence at the entrance to the event he let his followers on twitter know stating, “Fans walking in at iBP without having bags searched or a metal detector.”
It was then, deKay received a reply from Twitter user @cstrww who claimed to be inside the event with a firearm described as a Glock. As word of this spread, tournament organizers were approached by management staff from at least two of the participating teams and demanded that the issue be rectified, or they would no longer take part.
With the shooting at the Madden event in Florida last year and the recent shootings at an Agoura Hills night club and a Torrance bowling alley in mind, the venue was cleared and all attendees then had their bags searched and pat downs conducted in order to re-enter. No gun was found and the event continued.
When the venue was cleared, fans had already been waiting to watch the tournament opener between Astralis and complexity that was listed with a 10am start time. However, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong and it took just under four hours to get that match started. And when the match did get started, everything changed, including how attendees would be able to view the matches.
From the beginning just about everything related to sound. The headsets the players were using did not come with the active noise-cancelling feature and found out they would be able to hear the crowd and the casters as the audio was being player for the crowd. Additionally, some of the microphones on the headsets were malfunctioning and needed to be replaced.
This particular issue led to admin staff making a “headset” run at a local electronics store in order to get the proper equipment. However, as Cloud9’s Will “RUSH” Wierzba noted, even the new headsets did not have noise-cancelling, tweeting, “Have to admit having no noise cancelling headsets with the crowd so close is terrible. When they’re reacting to every nade, flash, peek, etc it makes the game completely different.”
Along with the headset issues, the players found out that with the Day 1 setup configuration of the team booths, the two players on the end could actually look up and see the game in progress in real-time. The main viewing screen the audience was originally supposed to watch the game, a large LED scree similar to that at sporting venues, was turned into what looked to be two 40-inch televisions placed on the stage.
Attendees that were sitting in the back of the venue and in the balcony could no longer watch the teams play with any sort of focused view or see any of the player statistics. iBUYPWER gave all Day 1 attendees full refunds because of the change.
With all the delays, some of the 10 best-of-one matches scheduled would not be streamed or watched by attendees. Due to a hard 9pm deadline that would see the venue transition from CS:GO tournament host to night club, the decision was made to play some of the matches in the player warm-up area and postpone a couple of matches to the next day.
The domino effect could continue to be felt the next day. The postponement of the previous days matches lead the first semifinal to be pushed back from 10am to 11:30am and the other semifinal from 1pm to 2:30pm.
Some players have expressed their displeasure in the event, going so far as to say it was truly a lack or knowledge and preparation on the part of iBP.
“I honestly feel it’s mostly because of bad preparations,” Peter “dupreeh” Rassmussen of Astralis tweeted. “To add to this tweet, @iBUYPOWER did what they could to resolve as much as possible. It’s very important to say to you TOs, please, reach out to players if you’re in doubt about something. We know how things should be and we’re more than willing to cooperate for best events”
And as one of the tournament organizer’s staff said on condition of anonymity, “Everything that could go wrong, did.”