What makes a player the best in CS:GO? We analysed a match of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev to be able to show you just how amazing he is.
During the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Natus Vincere (Na`Vi) demolished Astralis in the Semifinals before also taking G2 to town in the Grand Finals.
— Sasha (@s1mpleO) March 1, 2020
s1mple played a key role in this success with his overall rating at 1.33. But how exactly did he perform so well? Where did his play differ from his rivals Kenny “kennyS” Schrub or Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut? To answer these questions we dove deep into the second map of the Grand Finals in Katowice – Dust 2. Via Shadow.gg we were able to make a full analysis on Na`Vi’s victory in Game 2.
The first thing that becomes clear is the fact that s1mple almost never ventures towards the B bombsite. As the primary AWPer for his team he focuses on middle and catwalk, helping his team to score entries by throwing early flashes for his teammates.
The concentration of red in T Spawn makes obvious sense on Dust 2. In every round with an AWP s1mple uses the first 15 seconds of the round to keep a close eye on the double doors. Interestingly enough he pushes through suicide in 8 out of 15 rounds.
In comparison to that G2’s kennyS has a very different approach to the map. On average he spens less time watching the doors and usually takes the long route via outside long.
With that s1mple is in an advantageous position. Keeping a more vigilant eye on middle the Ukrainian has access to more information about his opponents’ positions.
But even outside of his default, s1mple adjusts well to any situation. For example in the sixth round: His team is planning a rush towards A and sends the AWPer to the tunnels to intercept any rotations from G2.
Lurking 101: Round Six
The scoreline is 1-4 in favor of G2. This round is pivotal as success will enable Na`Vi to build up a solid economy for their T-Side. Since their buy is limited (only two rifles) Na`Vi attempt to take over A long quickly. For s1mple this meant an unusual round:
Instead of rushing alongside his teammates towards A long he takes control of tunnels to keep G2 in the dark. After his team is confirmed on long s1mple continues to hold middle and kills Amanek on the rotation.
Since CT is smoked G2 is now completely in the dark and Na`Vi can freely choose between A and B. This forces G2 to try and hold both angles, spreading themselves thin.
But even s1mple is not perfection incarnate. In this round he pushes through a smoke and gets caught out by kennyS, resulting in his remaining teammate Denis “electronic” Sharipov to be on the backfoot and losing the ensuing 1on2.
Small Details Can Make all the Difference
Another characteristic of s1mple is the amount of unusual peeks. One prominent example for that is Na`Vi taking over A in round ten. While kennyS is focused on the bombspot itself, keeping watch from A long, s1mple jumps on top of the little baskets on plateau and surprises his opponent. Judging from kennyS’ reaction to that headshot angle makes it clear that he did not expect a peek from there at all:
A Strong Performance
As impressive as those feats were, s1mple turned it up a gear in the second half of the map. Within 14 rounds the Ukrainian superstar takes 16 kills. His focus on the A site remains even as a CT, but he plays extremely flexible and rotates between holding long, short and from the spot. Truly showcasing how well Na`Vi communicate. Even with a man down they keep up their coverage without exposing a weakness. s1mple being the stand out player he obviously also shows off his patented magic:
For a more concrete example of Na`Vi’s communication we take a closer look at round 18. The CTs only have two rifles at their diposal and have to face a full buy from their French opposition. But against the odds Na`Vi take the round and also steal three rifles from G2 to carry over into the next round.
Why Half Buys Should Not be Underestimated: Round 18
Round 18 is a prime example for their teamplay that won them IEM Katowice. Four players rush towards A long, since they lack the equipment for a default defense. Ilya “Perfecto“ Zalutskiy uses smokes and prefires to establish presence towards B, resulting in G2 rotating towards middle.
Since G2 left long open the players rushing long from Na`Vi have already established access towards middle. Instead of hunting more frags after the taking down the first enemy Na`Vi hold their ground and stay passive. Knowing exactly where G2 are due to the various audio cues Na`Vi prepare for the A take and are in position early, before revealing their positions and facing G2 at the same time.
This enables Na`Vi to trade frags perfectly and s1mple abuses the chaos to take out the remaing players and secures the round with a 4k.
Lessons to Take Away
There are three core aspects of s1mple’s gameplay:
- The importance of great communication within a team.
- Unpredictable movement to surprise opponents.
- Flexibility in positions and weapons.
On Dust 2 s1mple got 26 kills but only nine of thoses were actually AWP-Kills. Although he is the designated primary AWPer s1mple can take any weapon to turn it into a deadly situation for his opponents.
Obviously this analysis is just a small part of the complete package that is CS:GO’s greatest of all time. Nevertheless even this little insight show us his strength and superior tactical knowledge of the game. As player everyone can and should learn a lot from s1mple.