Default Strategies on T-side: Team EnVyUs on de_cache
Thu 17th Dec 2015 - 1:00pm
Welcome back aspiring terrorists and people eager to learn how to counter them! Last time in this series we featured what a default strategy on T-side constitutes and how to employ it. If you missed it, you can find the blog here. In this edition we will have a look at one of the world’s most renowned teams. The boys in blue from Team EnVyUs boast a whopping 83% win-rate on this week’s map de_cache, which is more than enough reason to examine their default as Terrorists.
Learning the Battlefield
However, before we get into what each player's role is let’s turn our attention to the map itself for a few moments. de_cache shows the common layout of two opposing bomb sites with a middle area in between, creating a three “lane” setup. The middle features connection paths to both bombsites with "Highway" or "Speedway" and the "Vents", making it an extremely important strategic choke point. Even more so because the Vents offer a second option for the terrorists to enter the B-Bomb site. In theory and as long as “Mid” is locked down by the CT side, B can be held by a single defender with an AWP or Auto-Sniper.
To ensure that no Terrorist is able to enter the Vents many teams send two players to the mid area, with one being able to rotate if need be. The remaining two CTs concern themselves with the entrance points to the A site: Door or “Squeaky” and “Main”.
Of course, there is a multitude of different variations how to cover the angles of the described choke points (like boosting one player from B into Vents or pushing up in middle) but the general problems for the attackers remain the same. On the A bomb site Ts will mostly face a stark resistance in terms of man and possibly fire power (95% of players have already been killed by an AWP from Quad, the other 5% are liars), while on B the layout of the map itself is favorable towards the defenders.
Problem Solving Strategies
If you are an experienced veteran on the outskirts of Chernobyl, all the above might be old news to you. Yet Cache remains one of the maps that do not show a clear advantage for one of the clashing sides, making a strong T half instrumental for a confident match.
So how does EnVyUs approach this conundrum? At first we have to acknowledge that with KennyS and HappyV, the French team has two extremely good AWP players in their ranks and that they like to employ a two AWP strategy on their T side. However, most positions on de_cache can be played with a multitude of weapons – with middle being the spot where we most often see sniper duels.
Disregarding the held weapons for a second, Team EnVyUs tends to play 1 B, 1 Mid, 2 Main, 1 Squeaky. In the sample default shown above, played at IEM Gamescom 2015 versus mousesports, the positions are secured 15 seconds into the round, ensuring that no CT push can happen.
Sadly, in this round Happy and apex lose their respective duels in Squeaky and Main thus forcing the remaining three Terrorists to group into middle. While they go on to lose this particular round, this shows the versatility of a well structured default setup: EnVyUs is able to take a bit of important map control, despite being down two players.
In a variation of the strategy, one of the A Main players (apex) is tasked with watching the Boost spot from Truck due to the Mid player being smoked off. Such small adaptations are as important in high level CS as they are hard to properly communicate in PUGs, where the perceived world of most players shrinks to the size of their crosshair. But fear not, in the next section we’ll take a look at each individual position in turn and discuss the angles, the pros show us.
In more detail
Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey aka. "The-B-Guy“:
Kio is the designated B player for EnVyUs on Cache. In the default, he mostly holds angles with the AK and makes sure that nobody is able to enter Garden or B Halls.
Note that the left side of the comparison shows a passive angle, while the right side depicts a more aggressive variation of playing B site. Of course, the difference between these two angles is the map control generated, as well as the utility necessary to safely get into the position. In the passive variation, the T player sacrifices control over the entrance to B as well as part of Vent Room or “Checkers” but is able to hold this angle without employing any grenades or being in any danger.
The aggressive angle grants control over said area but comes with the drawback that – depending on spawns or 1337 b-hops – the CT player is most likely already in the sniping position shown in the beginning of this article. To counter this the Terrorist player has to smoke off the entrance to B. In kioShiMa’s case he follows the smoke with a flashbang, making the transition into Garden even safer.
Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt, the Designated Mid-Player
NBK-, trusty AK in hand, likes to stare at a wall of smoke for a majority of his time. Jokes aside, middle on Cache is smoked off a lot and rightfully so, as no other smoke on the map provides so much map control.
Yet smokes are not made of concrete and are quite penetrable with rifle bullets. A good mid player knows where to pre-fire and spam the smoke to make the life of possibly approaching CTs a bit more dangerous. Pushing out mid is a big commitment as there are at least five angles you are vulnerable from once being out in the open and should thus not be undertaken alone or lightly. If the team’s path does not lead through middle, NBK is mostly the first to rotate to where he is needed.
Main and Boost Part 1: Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny and Apex tend to operate as duo on de_cache mainly due to one needing to stand on the head of the other to reach Boost, but also because Kenny’s AWP skills can be employed in main as well as in mid.
This screenshot shows them holding main.
The deep smoke from the CT side might telegraph a push into main or onto the boxes behind the smoke, so apex is holding the smoke close with an AK while Kenny pre-aims the spot on the boxes. Again, spamming popular positions of the Counter Terrorists is very effective in this scenario and shooting through the wall towards Forklift with an AWP might net you some hackusations in matchmaking.
Kenny tends to stay back in Main regardless of the weapon he is carrying and only leaves this position once the default starts to dissolve. With that said, this position also makes him the first over Boost when EnVyUs has their sights on Mid.
Main and Boost Part 2: Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
In the default of the French Team, Apex has two roles: Pushing up in A Main and securing Boost, while both of these tasks depend on the thrown smokes.
Pushing up in Main (shown on the left) is only a valid strategy when the entrance to the site is smoked off to prevent the CT players in the site to pick him. Watching Boost on the other hand is only necessary if Mid is smoked off and the Mid player (NBK) has no vision of the choke point.
However, these two smokes will be thrown virtually every round so Apex role in the default is set between those spots. The ultimate decision if it is necessary for him to secure Boost spot from truck though is a finicky one.
Depending on the present air pollution, Apex has a huge amount of freedom in default rounds and can help his team where needed.
Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer, Claustrophobic in Squeaky
There are huge, open, complex choke points in CS:GO. Every step exposes the player to new angles he can be shot from; excitement rises every step one takes further into the open, every muscle alert to the smallest movement. And then there is Squeaky.
The corridor ending with the noisy, blue door onto the A site is small and essentially only features one angle from each side. Nevertheless it is extremely important that Happy does his job properly here, as a CT push through Squeaky opens the possibility of flanks and backstabs.
In contrast to many other pros who play this spot, the stern Frenchmen chooses to hold it with an AWP if possible. The weapon which you hold the spot only changes your play-style slightly as the range in Squeaky is rather short.
It is important to note that when rushing for Squeaky door as Terrorist, the CT might arrive before you and try to outpeek you depending on your respective spawns. If you have to play Squeaky with a bad spawn, make sure to flash into the corridor before you enter.
Keep in mind that a strong default will help you tremendously in setting up successful T-rounds but it can only ever provide a framework to build your tactics around or react to. Information and effective peeking are still essential to winning as the Terrorists. Killed the B player? Better rotate your Main and Boost players into Middle for an execute through Vents! If you can take the bombsite with at least three survivors and plant the bomb in one of these great spots, the round is as good as won.
If you have liked this series so far, have any feedback or criticism, just leave me a comment or send me a PM.
In the next issue, we will take apart the default of Virtus.Pro on de_mirage.
Until then: Spray and pray!