A Hybrid AWPing Guide with DIG f0rest
Mon 9th Mar 2020 - 7:19pm
Hybrid AWPers have taken a significant role in CS nowadays - they are what can either save the team from a hyper-aggressive T-Side or help you roll over the enemy team even more, making the current map yours with their surprising stopping-power as well as entry potential that now lies in more than one hand. Hybrid AWPers have added pretty significant depth to CS, challenging teams to expect the unexpected by either taking surprising peeks and positions or allowing the main AWPer to take a different approach while the hybrid holds the original AWP positions.
In this article, we'll briefly talk about hybrid AWPing in general, followed by how f0rest views the hybrid and what we can learn from the pioneer of the hybrid AWP playstyle, pretty much starting that trend in the early years of CS:GO.
Firstly, I'd like to thank f0rest for taking his time to answer my questions, especially since he really took his time to give in-depth and non-typical answers that allow for us to grasp what goes on in the mind of a CS legend. Secondly, let's first define what a hybrid AWPer is so we're all on the same page.
The Hybrid AWPer
Everyone knows what the AWPer does: Whenever he can, he'll pick up the AWP and either take important peeks, hold important positions, or completely shut down one side of the map. There are a few differences in how radical the AWPer saves his money to get to the AWP, but the general idea of picking up the AWP whenever he can is applicable 90% of the time. However, the hybrid is a bit different. He is a bit more versatile: His rifling should be strong, but he also needs to be able to hang with the main AWPers of the enemy team, not losing every single duel against said AWPers when he picks up the AWP to help his team.
Depending on the call of the IGL, as well as the general financial situation of the team and his current mood, he can make a more sophisticated decision on if he buys the AWP or not, since he is also viable as a rifler. He has a chance to evaluate both the pros and cons of picking up the AWP at this point in the game, and he should make use of that opportunity to help his team heighten the chances of winning. So, the hybrid AWP is the secondary AWPer of a team, a guy switching between rifling and AWPing mid-match, sometimes mid-round. However, there were teams not playing with a main AWPer and only relying on a hybrid to take the AWP when they really needed it.
f0rest: "For me, as a hybrid AWPer, I think you need to get a feeling for buying the AWP [compared to] a main AWPer, who feels very comfortable playing the AWP at every round at every single point of the game. I think the hybrid AWPer needs to get into the mood of playing the AWP. When I play the main AWP, I feel there's huge pressure to deliver on a level that I might not achieve during that round but as a hybrid AWP, you can pick it up whenever you feel like, and that usually yields a better result as a player [for me]."
The AWP is very expensive, so it's not always an easy decision
f0rest has experienced that, when you don't have someone able to fully commit to the AWP due to his skillset, letting the player decide when and how to pull out the AWP is probably for the better, since being comfortable is important in such a competitive environment. However, he also needs to get a feeling for when the team needs him to step up to deliver in those rounds and needs to see the AWP as a tool for specific problems, not as a burden to carry every round. A main AWPer, therefore, is able and willing to play the AWP every round, while the hybrid is more about the situation of the round and what the team needs right now. When asked about what is more of a deciding factor about picking up the AWP, the team or the player, he answered with the following:
f0rest: "I think usually, a hybrid AWPer is put in positions on maps [where] it allows you to play the AWP, not necessarily every round, but it allows you to do so on certain positions [but] it’s more so the player saying, 'hey I’m gonna pick up the AWP here' [...] like a feeling you have that you should pick up the AWP because often that results in a good thing. It's more the position and the player who chooses when to bring it out, unless the teams have different structures. [However, I] think if the team is in a spot where they can decide on such things instantaneously, that's very good, I think that's something you should strive for I guess, but, usually, it ends up being the player. Like on Inferno B, for example, there are a lot of players who bring out the AWP playing CT, when they might feel that they’re too pressured on Banana. For example, they might say, 'hey ok we need to play defensive' and that's usually when the AWP comes into play. [It can also] be the team that comes up with, 'OK. They’re playing very aggressive on B, we can't really hold on Banana, maybe we should try playing the AWP instead on B'."
Although the player can decide to bring out the AWP as a hybrid, especially in the context of positioning and how the match goes, it is also up to the team to notice viable plays and to tell the hybrid to pick up the AWP should the situation call for that. It isn't just A or B. It is both, like how it always is in CS. There is no one solution to everything. You need to be on top of the game and ahead mentally. You need to be willing to change it up and to trust in your own structure.
B on Inferno is a very typical hybrid AWP position
How and/or When Do You Get Aggressive as a Hybrid?
We've already established that the main AWPer is automatically more experienced with the AWP and that the hybrid needs to be good with both the rifles and the AWP. However, what does that mean for the hybrid in regard to getting aggressive with the AWP?
f0rest: "I think for me the way I see things mostly is that the hybrid is usually the one who is a bit more static in a way, since the main AWPer is so comfortable playing with the AWP and knows all the different angles on both sides usually [as well as] aggressive angles. So the main AWPer is the one who is so comfortable playing the AWP that it doesn’t matter where he ends up, while the hybrid AWPer might be more static in the way he moves around."
According to him, getting aggressive isn't really an option most of the time: As a hybrid, it's not one of your strengths to out-peek a main AWPer that only plays the AWP and knows all the angles, while you still need to know and be able to play angles with the rifles. In general, f0rest seems to think that the hybrid should stick to similar positions you'd play as a rifler, not completely changing it up unless it is specifically necessary. Especially when you have a main AWP, as it is kind of his job to do that, while you should focus on balancing the team's chances of winning and not to single-handedly win the round. It seems like you should focus on what is necessary, not what you may or may not be possible. Two very different things.
CT and T-side: Is it worth it?
Obviously, after reading all that f0rest had to say already, it doesn't seem like the hybrid should have to focus on being too proactive, limiting himself to the more defensive tasks in most cases. However, is there even room for a hybrid on the T-side, especially if there is a main AWP already? Here is what f0rest had to say:
f0rest: "That is a hard question. I mean, usually you don’t pick it up. Even if you’re offered a second AWP lying on the ground, you usually, like 99% of the time you don’t pick it up. I’d never want the AWP on T because we might be too static, certain teams I’ve seen play double AWP but I think it kinda limits them on what they can do. They’ll only have three rifles who can push on a site, which will be two AWPs then kinda sitting back and not helping out. So in some scenarios, where teams might have an idea what they want to do with double AWPs, sure, but 99% of the time, I don’t think you’ll see a lot of double AWPs on T-side"
Since it is the hybrid's job to do the thing necessary to win the round, he'd have to take the AWP only if it doesn't work out differently. However, as a second AWP, it seems unlikely that you'll be making a contribution to the round on the T-side, meaning that you should use such set-ups sparingly.
Is the Hybrid AWP a Surprise Tool?
f0rest: "Yeah as a hybrid AWPer, once you pick it up, you kind of have the element of surprise. [...] I think that round when you finally do get double AWPs is a round where you should be able to win because of the knowledge [they're missing], you could surprise them with different positions, as I said some positions that you might’ve played very aggressive earlier because you had an M4 but this time you have an AWP and you catch them off-guard moving around the map, [which] is definitely important. [...] You could force the enemy team to a point where they can’t just dry peek you, where they can’t take that position freely anymore because now they are aware of an AWP playing there so they need to use more utility to take over certain positions. [With] an AWP you force the opponents as well to use more utility to reach certain points of the map, I think that’s one of the strengths of having two AWPs, being a hybrid AWPer can force enemy teams to play different as well."
f0rest's enemies sure seemed surprised!
The hybrid AWP, a factor hard to predict, is a tool that can catch even the most prepared enemies off-guard. No matter if it is as the first or secondary AWP in your team, suddenly completely changing the way you play and changing the way the enemy has to play without giving it away will give you a huge advantage in the round, catching every mistake and punishing the enemies for their inability to detect or adjust to the change of pace. Not just will they be limited in their utility-free movement, they'll also take more time to reach certain positions, too, making a hybrid AWP the perfect tool to draw out and slow-down the round.
Can the Hybrid Look for an Opening or Is That Only the Main AWPer?
f0rest: "I think it’s up to both (AWPers) if they see potential where they can exploit the enemy team I think, for example, B Dust 2 CT-side if the guy on B calls the guy is holding very defensively [...] you can probably look for a kill there with an AWP by searching in and taking the map control Upper Dark with the AWP. That is something the hybrid player could do. The hybrid players will look for opening kills around their position. [...] There are scenarios where people have set aggressive plays but more so it's also how confident the AWPer is feeling during that round and how the enemy team is playing, can you punish them by going aggressive and looking for picks? So it is all dependent on how the game is going and how you feel you can punish them."
As always, everything is possible in CS, so you shouldn't be stuck thinking one way or the other. Especially as a hybrid, you'll need to be ready to adjust to the round at every possible moment in the game and should be willing to do what needs to be done: Either take an easy kill at your position or stay put in a strong and maybe unpredictable AWPing position, holding off any potential aggression by the Ts.
The hybrid shouldn't play like a main AWP most of the time, for that simply misses the energy to put as much work into the AWP as main AWPers are able to. He needs to fill the gap when necessary and relieve the pressure that is breaking apart your team, like going defensively or actually holding Mid on some maps when you can't play without an AWP. He is best used as a complement to a dedicated main AWP, holding the same position as a rifler but with stronger weaponry or fitting the team's playstyle to the enemies'.
Want to see what pros have to say about playing the SG like a pro? Head here.