Update 10/21/2021: The ALGS announced that coaches will no longer be able to speak to their teams mid-match, and they extended the stream delay times to 10-minutes, in response to the backlash and arguments covered in this article.
Original article: The Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) Pro League is under fire from some pro players this week over their rules regarding mid-match coaching and stream sniping. According to the current Pro League rules, coaches are able to communicate with players mid-match while at the same time being allowed to watch the streams of all the competitors, albeit on a 5-minute stream delay.
As a result, coaches were reportedly able to garner information from competitor streams and feed that information to their teams during matches. While a 5-minute delay limits the damage of such a practice, there is still some information, like beacon info, that can be useful 5-minutes later.
Now some players are speaking out against the allowance of coach stream sniping.
Pro Apex players respond to coaches sharing stream sniped information
A number of pro players expressed their frustration regarding the ALGS Pro League rules.
Monsoon said in a now-deleted Tweet, "since when are coaches allowed to talk MID GAME and influence their team's decisions, rotates, and information? [Cloud 9 coach] PVP is literally sitting there calling out edge teams and when rotates are bad mid-pro league. Who thought this was a good idea lmao?"
In that Tweet Monsoon linked to a clip that showed PVP sharing information with C9 that could possibly be from another person's stream, though there is no firm evidence that he was stream sniping. Nonetheless, players were upset that he could possibly stream snipe and get away with it.
TSMTFX ImperialHal agreed with Monsoon's sentiment, saying "the Apex Comp scene has been a complete joke compared to beginning tbh from zones - coaches mid game - etc shit needs to be tightened up and figured out."
FURIA player TeQ announced that he will no longer be streaming his tournament matches at all, as a result of the coach's ability to stream snipe. In a reply later in that threat, TeQ specifically claimed that G2 was garnering beacon information from other streams, a fact that was later confirmed by G2 Sezingful.
"Listen, Before u all freak out or whatever. The coaching rules aren't going anywhere or are going to change," C9 player Zach stated, in defense of mid-game coaching. "One of the main reasons they exist now is cuz if you didn't stream, you could already do this and no one could prove it. Also they aren't worried about 5 min delay stream sniping so watching main broadcast or or players streams is completely allowed, Yes this is very scummy tho."
TSMFTX ImperialHal took issue with C9 Zach's logic, saying, "You know how many things I can do if people don't stream considering how shit their anti-cheat is?" ImperialHal implied that encouraging people not to stream could allow for more abuse and less transparency, which would presumably be bad for Apex Legends on the whole.
C9 coach PVPX denied using streamed information during the event and criticized the tournament decision to allow mid-game coaching, even though they took advantage of the opportunity.
According to PVP, the allowance of mid-round coaching contracts comments from ALGS officials in the past. Based on his description of events to Ethan Davison Dot Esports, the guidance received from Pro League officials this weekend was vague but seemingly allowed mid-round coaching, and given that there is no actual mention of coaching in the ALGS rulebook, the situation was confusing for many teams.
Even without checking out publicly available streams, PVP argued that mid-game coaching gives an advantage to teams who have a coach.
"I think that they should lock all the players in a voice channel on the official Discord, and then in between games, your coach should be able to go in and talk to your team," he told Dot Esports. "Because there’s things that a coach can do that players are incapable of tracking, like watching the kill feed, paying attention to exact compositions—not every player can do that perfectly. And like having a fourth person is just a strict hard advantage.”
The ALGS has not yet commented on this situation publicly, we will update this article if more information becomes available.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.