Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Anticipating the Unexpected when playing counter strike source and 1.6

Let’s say that you have created some really cool new strats for your team to use in your upcoming match this week. At the beginning of practice, you show your team your new strategies. Everybody understands their positions, where to flash, and when to take the site. You guys dry run the strategy a little bit and everything looks good. In your mind, you can’t help but think “man…how could anybody stop this strategy?” Well done young strategy caller. Now it’s time to put it into play.

So your team gets a scrim. First round, you call it. “Okay everybody. Let’s run Mega flash B Take Explode this round.” Everybody gets into their position, they set up, toss their rehearsed nades, then explode towards the bomb site! Unexpectedly, one teammate quickly dies from a random push, three of them are flashed and are unable to go anywhere, and you are forced to sit there watching as your beautifully crafted strategy quickly falls apart.

This is a very common problem among many teams when trying to create strategies. The problem with strategy design like this is that you are assuming that the other team is going to play exactly how you want them to - usually meaning very static and very passive. You aren't taking into consideration what the other team might do to disrupt your strategy. The other team might push unexpectedly. One of your teammates might get picked early in the round. Timings will get thrown off from opponent flashes and smokes that may dramatically alter the dynamics of the strategy. All of these things are very common from round to round, but rarely do callers actually account for these factors when putting together strategies. This article series will focus on explaining how to create strategies that minimize possible points of failure.

Most basic strats involve getting players into position, throwing a barrage of flashes and smokes, and immediately taking the site following your nadework. While it’s possible that you could fully disable your opponent with some good flashes for a few short seconds, any half decent player would recognize you are trying to blind him to take the site and he would immediately counter flash in your direction to blind you back, effectively making your strat useless. I’m sure this is a situation that many of you are very familiar with, and it often leads to frustration because all your hard work finding great nade angles has gone to waste. In the first part of the series, I am going to show two methods that can nearly eliminate any possibility of getting flashed when taking a site.

Walk-Pick Technique
The goal of the walk-pick technique is to surprise your opponents by walking (preferably an awper) all the way in to the site until being spotted, without the use of any smokes or flashes. The technique is aimed to catch your opponent off guard meanwhile not giving him enough time and separation to flash you as you take the site. Additionally, doing a walk-pick gives you more time to take the site before rotators come because you have shown no sign of taking the site until you’re actually in it.

An example of this is in B on dust2. Send three or four guys immediately to upper B tunnels while one or two guys just hold control on the rest of the map. Once there wait ten or twenty seconds for nades, then proceed to the walk-pick. The awper goes out in front and starts walking through the tunnel entrance into the site, scoping in on all common spots played throughout the site meanwhile two or three riflers wait close behind him ready to explode into the site upon contact (meaning when either the awper gets a kill, gets killed, or spots an enemy all the riflers rush forward).

The walk-pick technique works well…
  • against passive teams
  • against players using rifles to hold the site
  • against over-rotating teams
  • on inferno at banana and spawn-side middle
  • on dust2 at B and catwalk
  • on train at upper inside
  • on nuke at ramp

Nade Draw Technique
The goal of the nade draw technique is to draw the nades and flashes of your opponents early in the round at a particular area so that later in the round they don’t have any left to use to defend.

An example of this is in middle on inferno. What I usually like to do here is always send one or two players directly up the middle to simulate a rush by using most of their nades within the first fifteen seconds of the round. Note that this is not a fake to draw rotators over to this area, but instead, the goal of this is to “show” a rush, but instead just use the nades for a rush so that they waste their nades in return. Then we can wait twenty or thirty seconds and then actually hit it except now they don’t have any flashes left in middle so it will be much easier to take it. Then later in the match, when your opponent realizes you are not rushing early on, but rather just drawing flashes, they are going to stop flashing it. At that point, you want to punish them for doing that by full out rushing middle. Since they no longer flash it, it would be an easy take!

The nade draw technique works well…
  • against anxious teams (a.k.a. counter flashing teams; who use most of their nades at the fight sight of opposition)
  • even if you can’t afford awps
  • if you have had several successful prior rounds at the particular bombsite
  • on inferno at banana and middle
  • on dust2 at B and catwalk
  • on train at alley
  • on nuke at inside and ramp
When playing, always try to identify your opponent's play style. Use these two techniques to counter their play style and you'll see an immediate improvement in your results. The next article in the series will focus on the concept of map control and how to utilize it to minimize strat breakdown caused by aggressiveness from your opponent.

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