The Ultimate Offensive Guide for CSGO: Everything You Need To Know On T-Side
Tue 8th Sep 2020 - 7:00pm
There are seemingly endless ways to structure your T-side and make sense of the chaos that can unfold when a round of CS:GO comes to its climax where you have to fight for the win, however, there are certain things that are universal for seemingly every good T-Side that can be broken down into a few categories, which isn't limited to executes or protocols.
T-sides in CS:GO are highly varied from team to team and player to player and there is no one perfect way to play the T-Side and it's not quite as easy compared to the CT-side to find easy universal truths. However, you can still break down what a great T-side normally consists of and try to reverse-engineer it into a theoretical construct that will allow you to fully build your concept for the T-Side of your team. Keep this in mind when reading this article.
The Foundation: Defaults
Before you can practice executes and try to counteract what the enemy is doing, you need a foundation where the players know what they need to do in order to set up the round. This is what we call a default, which is a set-up that players go into at the beginning of the round. Every player should know in general what your team is trying to do in the defaults; Are you trying to bait out utility from the get-go? Try to find out how many players are where? Gain as much free ground as possible? All of that at once? This should be fully talked about with the players at the beginning of building your default.
Here is a more in-depth guide about the buddy system, however, to put it shortly, the default is intended to open up the round for the rest of your plan, not close the door shut on you. This is the reason why the defaults should allow your teammates to trade and support each other via the buddy system most of the time, where at least two teammates who are in the same area should work together to make it impossible to die without a reasonable attempt at a refrag in the same moment. Giving away a free kill without even the chance for a rebuttal will just make your life miserable on the T-Side.
One of the simplest defaults - a 2-1-2 set-up that is probably most versatile for most teams
Purpose Dictates the Default
Every round is different and a good leader knows as much. To not be predictable and to be able to play against the enemy properly, you'll need to use different timings and tempos, different set-ups and different end goals (A, B, A-Short-Split etc.), meaning that the start of the round should also be different. However, you should sit down with your teammates and build your very first, easy, all-purpose default that is your go-to if you don't have anything specific in mind.
As you can see in the image above this paragraph, it makes sense to build the default in a way allows your teammates to probe for information, to gain ground and to get a kill if the occasion arises without doing much more than just stand in the general vicinity of where they're supposed to be. This gives every player a purpose that is defined by what you have defined before - should they actively bait out utility? Should they put up the pressure and take map control? Where should they do that? - and the situation in the round.
After you've established your first default, it is now time to fit it to different purposes. If you need map control at A for the plan you want to execute later on, tell one of the B players to bunch up with the players on A. Alternatively, you can talk about these set-ups extensively up front and just make it a set call like "A map control" so that everyone knows what you want from them. Now, as three, they are allowed to a bit more aggressive and either push back or kill CT(s) who are in Mid or at Long. They can help each other with grenades and trades, making sure you'll always be even in numbers, while the player in Conn and in front of B may sit back a bit further so that they won't give away the kill.
Adding variety to the start of a round where you want to see what exactly opens up will grant you the element of unpredictability and also allow you to deepen your intuitive knowledge as a player and leader the more you play such rounds. When you have played fifteen different kinds of defaults at the beginning of rounds, it is unlikely that you will run out of ideas any time soon.
Counteract the Enemy
There isn't one way to play a default or an execute that will always work. People are different, teams are different and your job is it to deal with these almost unpredictable situations. Keeping a 2-1-2 default every round when your Conn player gets picked off every round and you have to start off 4v5 every time won't be great for your chances of winning. While it makes sense to rely on what you know you can do, it doesn't make sense to keep doing the thing that has failed you three times in this match already.
If you have trouble keeping the advantage, slow down the round and actively look for the CT who is flanking you to deepen the advantage with a buddy system and feel their hope crumble beneath the pressure you are mounting with a move specifically designed to destroy their playstyle. If you have trouble finding an opening, playing with four players in a 1-4 default to take more map control actively and aggressively may grant you what you are looking for. Don't stay put in your current style.
How to Stay Unreadable
Often times you'll play against a T-Side and wonder: "Are they really thinking that we'll fall for that?" Now, barring the few times where you got outplayed hard, it really isn't too hard to predict what will happen next by just listening to the map and gathering the information your teammates are giving you. The biggest problem of most T-Sides is their readability and fighting four CTs on the bombsite that you're trying to execute on will decrease your chances of winning the round significantly.
This is exactly the reason why you should build and maintain certain patterns. If every default on Mirage you are flashing above A-Main to bait out utility, why should they stay on A if you didn't throw it this time? Obviously, you aren't caring for A in the early round, why should the CTs? Now, suddenly you'll meet three CTs on B during your B-Rush. How unlucky, you proclaim. But a single flash above A-Main has the potential to stop this from happening in this scenario.
A different example is how most T-Sides tend to smoke off Sandwich and flash above A-Main on Train and by not doing this you're giving the CTs a huge amount of information. To play with this, you can either sporadically initiate certain parts of your default later in order to keep the CTs guessing early round or you can try to use the information you're giving them to your advantage by faking ignorance of your patterns. If you don't smoke and flash on A this round after you've done so six rounds before and one player of yours throws a smoke on B, you just executed a full-blown fake without much utility, granting you a solid 5-second window to get out A and to surprise the CTs when they're at least partly out of position. More on this here.
Setting Up the Round
Perhaps one of the harder things to get right on the T-Side is to set up the round properly. It is way too easy to get in over your head and try to execute on B when they CTs both have an incendiary grenade ready to block you out while you have to watch the timer go down and your smokes fade away. Although a general article about baiting out utility can be found in this article here, let me put it this way: No one will throw away utility when your aggression doesn't look genuine. Try to maintain an early game that allows you to keep the CTs guessing on if it's just a fake or not, meaning that, in the very beginning, you shouldn't use full executes and use every piece of utility every time you enter a site, as that leaves no room to expand into later.
This will allow you to fake out a bombsite take with ~$900, meaning that you will be able to reliably bait out a lot of utility without too much of an investment in the first half of your T-Side. On top of this, throw in the occasional early-round aggression with maybe a buddy system looking for an aggressive pick on one side of the map parted with two flashes above them, opening up the possibility to draw utility with just a few flashes every round afterwards. On top of this, regularly fighting for map control will mean that the CTs won't be able to pinpoint the exact moment you took map control to execute later in the round, meaning that you'll be able to execute your plan easier.
To summarize: Start slowly and leave room for more utility usage later in the half, add aggression to make the CTs use early aggression and make the CTs believe that every small piece of utility you use may be a sign of imminent aggression. This is similar to the part above, where we talked about setting up patterns and breaking them to stay unpredictable, as the same mechanic can be used to set up your round.
Executes are either improvised or greatly planned out set pieces used by teams to increase their chances of taking a bombsite. Although there isn't a perfect execute that I can just teach you and you can use that until CS:GO dies, I can still point out how you can plan out executes and what qualities a non-enemy-specific execute should have to be labelled a generally good execute. First, try to start out slow with your team. There is no point in starting executes that use all five players fully and use every bit of utility you start out with, start easy to get a feel for the map and bombsite. One of the easiest, yet viable executes to get a favourable plant down on is this one on Train.
As you can see, you're only blocking off the line-of-sight from behind Graytrain towards Lower as well as the cross from Lower Exit to the bombsite timed with a flash through the opening in front of B, meaning that all it does is limit the angles you have to worry about, allowing you to focus your firepower on the few that are still viable.
This increases the chances of an early bomb plant in the execute while also allowing your teammates to aggress and take map control on the right side of the bombsite. There are better executes, like adding a smoke at Conn or using a smoke at the upper exit to allow a one-way down to the bombsite from above, however, trying out simple executes will teach you what your next move to spice up said execute are and always uses a good effectiveness-cost ratio in terms of utility.
After a while, add things to every of your executes or reform an execute and add new ones to your playbook to have one for every playstyle and kind of opponent. Look out for these qualities:
- Effectively limits viable positions
- Allows you to effectively focus firepower on fewer areas on the map
- Allows for a lot of map control or really strong afterplant positions
- Allows you to execute fully even after losing one or two teammates during the preparation phase
- Can have varied timings in the round (if an execute takes almost a minute to set-up properly, it may not be worth it)
Use molotovs and flashes wisely and try to time your enemies having to move from one spot to another to add a great way to get easy frags early in the execute, too. If you ever hit a wall with an execute, try another one of those you already planned or call a split and micromanage your players going into the execute.
Playing CS:GO means making incredibly important decisions under pressure in a split second. To fight the natural occurrence of human errors, talk about as many general aspects of the potential flow of a round as possible. Your teammates need to know when they should keep up the aggression after they've gotten a pick and when not to. They need to know who turns around to stay un-flashed if a CT flashes into you setting up in front of a bombsite and when they should go for a mid-pick and when not to.
This relaxes your players, as they'll be able to focus on getting their job done instead of constantly making potentially harmful decisions. Of course, this should be done in a dialogue with your team and not as a dictator telling everyone what to do in every single situation. If they make a decision and it didn't work out, they made a human error. Handle it that way and try to show them why doing X instead of Y may be better. Keep an open mind for self-improvement, too, as you aren't any more infallible than me or your teammates.
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