What are CS:GO's easiest and hardest CT positions?
We've all fought over spots in matchmaking, but how much do they really matter when it comes to performance?
Rating, while still the best metric we have for evaluating performance, still has its blind points. One of those is the economy, but this time round we will be looking at its (and nearly every other CS:GO metric, advanced or otherwise) other key limitation: Roles. A player anchoring B on Mirage is treated the same by the system as the AWPer marauding around middle and connector.
So here's an attempt to fix that; instead of comparing players to every other player, we narrow the comparison down to those that play the same position on CT side.
This still isn't perfect, given that players can still have different 'roles' while playing the same position. Take AWPers: The passive Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov and aggressive Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut play the same spot on every map but with widely different styles.
Those different styles then have a knock-on effect on the players around them, whether that comes in the form of who is throwing the supportive flashes or who takes contact first. Broadly speaking, though, this is still a fairer way to compare players' performance.
To start, here are the median ratings of each position in the game. Surprisingly, three rifler spots show up in the top five: Toilets on Overpass, outside on Nuke, and Donut on Ancient. Again, this isn't flawless; the more CT-sided the map, the more likely a spot is going to crop up here.
Yet, there are still points of interest. B Mirage is the go-to example of a tricky position on analyst desks when talking about a more supportive player, and that is borne out here with the lowest median of all, a 0.96 rating (which is actually fairly low in the CT-side meta). Joining it in this list is long on Dust2, another infamous role, and B monster on Overpass. All three are hard-anchor positions, with safe aggression and a barrage of utility likely.
When we group spots by role, this trend is even more clear. Anchor positions — defined as the two 'extremity' positions on each map, with some exceptions such as the very active role that is toilets on Overpass — have by far the lowest median ratings. Even spots like B on Inferno or Ancient, which have a few star players among their inhabitants, fail to go above the median rating for rotator positions.
AWPers, despite losing out in terms of the top position to toilets on Overpass, wipes the floor with the riflers when you take more spots into position. Its 25th percentile is higher than the median rating for a rotating rifle.
The hardest map to AWP on, Vertigo, has a 1.11 median rating which is just above A anchor on Mirage or just below ramp on Nuke. That, though, is the exception; five of the seven maps have a median rating above 1.20.
One thing to consider here is that roles still have an element of chicken-and-egg to them. Do players average higher ratings because their role is easier, or because the most talented players get the easiest roles to have impact in? There's definitely a bit of both at play, but this is still worth bearing in mind. If Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev was a B Anchor on Mirage, even as a rifle, there's little question he would post higher ratings than our cohort has.
On some maps, too, the 'star' roles have less disparity to the anchor positions. On Vertigo, players like Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov anchor B with such aplomb it's barely comparable to the same bombsite on Mirage. This is a key reason the Vertigo box plot is so tight, as well as that fairly low average AWP rating we just mentioned.
The highest minimum value on any of the maps, however, is Ancient. Middle and donut lead the way, but cave is still a position players like Håvard "rain" Nygaard, Benjamin "blameF" Bremer and Martin "stavn" Lund make their own. Nikola "NiKo" Kovač anchors B, while Robin "ropz" Kool anchors A.
On the other maps, however, there is a fairly big difference. This means that when you look at a list of the highest-rated Mirage players, say, it will nearly entirely be connector, mid, and short players. To solve that, we will create an all-star CT defence, based on the highest rated player in each position so far in 2022 on LAN.
On map one, Ancient, our 'all-star' CT set-up is fairly star-heavy, even with Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy outgunning NiKo to take the B anchor position after averaging a monstrous 1.45 rating in 2022 on LAN.
Over on Vertigo, Cloud9 dominate again with sh1ro and Ax1Le reprising their positions. We see how 'star' players can occupy any of the five positions on this map, however, by having blameF and Yuri "yuurih" Santos paired on A and Lotan "Spinx" Giladi joining Ax1Le on B as the highest rated players in those spots so far this year.
Inferno, too, has a medley of roles within the same spots. The name that stands out is actually the AWPer, Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia; the Spaniard had the second highest rating on CT-side at IEM Cologne against top opposition, and his Inferno and Nuke performances were a key reason for that...
... which explains how SunPayus appears again on Nuke, outperforming s1mple, who defined AWPing play on the map, ZywOo, and Helvijs "broky" Saukants. Anchoring outside is rain, whose 1.50 rating on the CT-side of Nuke has included tournament-winning performances against Natus Vincere in Antwerp and Cologne.
s1mple returns to his rightful spot as the world's best AWPer on Mirage, joining Heroic's A-axis of stavn and the ever-reliable Rasmus "sjuush" Beck. In the hardest — so far in 2022, at least — spot in the game Jon "JDC" de Castro is the player who stands out, managing a 1.23 rating whilst anchoring the B apartments.
s1mple remains on Overpass, joined by Fredrik "REZ" Sterner on B after Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin became Ninjas in Pyjamas's toilets player. Speaking of toilets, the highest-rated spot on average was tightly contested between Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy (1.49), blameF (1.48), Brollan (1.46) and rain (1.45). Yet, it was Adam "NEOFRAG" Zouhar, with a 1.65 rating (albeit over just five maps), who takes the spot.
Keith "NAF" Markovic, one of those 'star' players who doesn't mind the odd anchor spot, makes his second appearance on Dust2, as does Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač. On A, we have the terrifying combination of NiKo and s1mple as well as the first IGL-proper on this list: Nick "nitr0" Cannella. Beating out Ax1Le (1.22) and Boris "magixx" Vorobiev (1.20), nitr0's 1.24 rating from the second hardest spot in the game is nothing to sniff at.
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