What are CS:GO's easiest and hardest T-sided positions?
After our initial look at how CT positions affect rating, it's time to take the same analysis to the offensive half.
In our first, CT-focussed article on this topic, we tried to evaluate just how much a player's position affects their rating. In doing so, it allowed for fairer comparisons between players; CT positions correlate with how many resources a team gives to a player, rather than treating an AWPer and support player equally.
This showed up in the stats, as expected. To take an extreme example, the average rating for a B anchor on Mirage was 0.96, while the short player averaged 1.17 and the connector player 1.22. AWPer spots and rotator spots both out-performed anchor positions on the whole, confirming the eye test.
What about T-sides? Can we really achieve the same level of confidence in those assertions? 'Positions' are not as clear-cut on attack. In-game leaders are free to go away from the default at any point, taking players away from their 'position' to a completely different place on the map. Players' 'positions' (their literal spot on the map, such as being the team's primary mid-brawler on Mirage) may correlate with their 'role' (entry-fragger, lurker, etc.), but causation is harder to prove.
Team composition is fairly consistent for much of the top 20: A star (passive) AWPer, an entry pack consisting of an aggressive star and the IGL, a halfway-house aggressive lurker, and a fully-fledged passive lurker to round it out. Take prime Astralis as an example: Nicolai "device" Reedtz on the AWP, Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen hunting for map control, Emil "Magisk" Reif switching between the pack and his 'half-lurk,' with Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth on the extremities.
Yet once a team has their AWPer also calling the shots, like in Heroic, Outsiders, or Imperial, that structure is immediately void. The same is true for a team that diverts from the meta in placing their IGL away from the entry pack, or a team like BIG, where in-game leader Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz is in the entry pack but taking far more resources than someone like Finn "karrigan" Andersen would.
Stepping away from IGLs, the division of resources can be different even within the 'Astralis' team composition. Lurkers like Robin "ropz" Kool or Keith "NAF" Markovic are set up to succeed far more than the more supportive Xyp9x was for Astralis, despite them all occupying the same 'spot' in most defaults.
This is all to say: Take the following with a heavy pinch of salt. Yet, there is still value to be found. Most modern Counter-Strike teams start nearly every round with a default. Players go to their nominated 'spot' in more than half the rounds of an average T-side. The standard deviation for CT positions was 0.154, while on T-side it is actually lower at 0.139. This means that players are, on average, closer to the mean for their spot on T-side than CT-side.
The first thing to note when we look at the highest and lowest-rated positions is just how much lower the ratings are. A 0.96 rating on B site Mirage, on the CT-side, is par for the course, which is the same figure as the median ratings for lurking T-side in lobby on Nuke or B site on Overpass (the 14th and 15th highest positions out of 35). The CT-sided meta means we need to adjust our expectations when it comes to rating. Average is no longer 1.00 on T-side, it is 0.95.
The AWPer on Dust2 is the ultimate outlier with a median rating of 1.13, just 0.02 below its CT-side average of 1.15. Dust2 appears again among the highest-rated with a pack rifler, the player that defaults around lower-B tunnels. This establishes a trend for most maps, where the two different 'pack' positions in a default have a wide disparity in rating.
Dust2 is a good example. One player throws flashes from the top of mid while their pack partner is more active in hunting for picks from the lower tunnels. This same trend is visible in the box plot below (which includes all seven maps), where pack riflers have high peaks but the lowest troughs.
Dust2 illustrates another point well with long appearing as the second worst-rated position on T-side. Generally a passive lurk spot where long players hold for pushes from car, they often have to turn into entry-fraggers when the call to take long control is made in the mid-round.
This leaves players like Audric "JACKZ" Jug having to transition from being in a boring, low-action position, into a very low-percentage fight out of the long doors where the main hope is just to be traded. Of course, Dust2's early round is dictated by spawns more than any other map, which takes positions and roles out of the equation somewhat, but the point remains.
This is a case in which opening kill attempts (a player's first kills + their first deaths) do not perfectly reflect entry-fragging, but that particular stat remains far better at showing aggression within the default than any other metric. Take this scatterplot, which plots a position's rating against its opening kill attempts.
Positions like outside on Nuke, A-ramp on Vertigo, and banana on Inferno occupy the top-right zone of the chart, scoring highly in average rating and average opening kill attempts. Players who occupy these roles dictate the pace of the round, an extreme example being how Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov engages Cloud9 in a passive default while he prowls the smokes on the A-ramp of Vertigo.
The only non-pack position to crop up here is the mid-brawler on Ancient, which is borderline by definition. Because of how Ancient works, the player here often ends up aggressively lurking around red, so it would be wrong to call it a 'pack' position even with these players taking 25% of their team's opening duels. Think of how players like Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke, Lotan "Spinx" Giladi, Andrei "arT" Piovezan, or Robert "Patsi" Isyanov operate in that particular area, and it's easy to see why this spot occupies the top-right of the chart.
Other spots with murky definitions include connector on Overpass and boiler on Inferno. The 'pack' generally operates around A toilets and banana at the start of the round, respectively, but these positions — a bit like a premium version of long on Dust2 —, are primed to become entry-fragging spots if needed. This is why you see 'pack' players like Håvard "rain" Nygaard and dupreeh here in defaults, generally still being the first point of contact fairly often. A prime example is how quickly rain can turn his boiler lurk into an entry route up short on Inferno.
Like in the CT-side edition of this article, we'll now delve into some all-star teams for each map. As before, the only requirement is the highest-rated player in each spot against top 30 opposition on LAN among our 18 chosen teams so far this year. This means that we might not have an IGL in every team, but this is the only fair way to do it — just choosing the highest-rated IGL misses the point of how an IGL delivers value to their team. These sides are more like PUG teams, except everyone is comfortable in their default position.
Where better to start than the ultimate PUG map of Mirage. Our extremity players are NAF on A and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken on B/underpass, while our AWPer is of course Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev. Taking map control are Hampus "hampus" Poser and Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin, the Ninjas in Pyjamas duo both far exceeding the average rating for their difficult spots.
s1mple reprises his role on Inferno, but the lineup still includes several surprises. Evgenii "FL1T" Lebedev and Alexey "Qikert" Golubev stand out here for their fairly low ratings, which shows just how difficult this map can be in some roles.
When we adjust to measure ratings against top 10 opposition, FL1T keeps his slot in apartments, jumping to a 1.11 rating. Qikert, meanwhile, drops to third behind Dan "apEX" Madesclaire (0.92) and Rasmus "sjuush" Beck (0.89).
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Martin "stavn" Lund are bigger names in boiler and banana, though it is still a surprise to not see one of Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač (1.07) or Nikola "NiKo" Kovač (1.22).
ropz takes the B-lurk role on Overpass over the likes of Magisk (tied at 1.11 rating but with fewer maps) and Benjamin "blameF" Bremer (1.08), while EliGE occupies connector as our aggressive lurker. stavn takes the roamer position, which is often taken by IGLs, and Brollan is our primary space-taker. s1mple needs no explanation.
s1mple makes it four out of four on Nuke, joined by his Natus Vincere teammate and right-hand man Denis "electroNic" Sharipov as the space-taking outside defaulter. It is René "TeSeS" Madsen, rather than stavn, who takes the traditional IGL float position, with Nuke specialist Josef "faveN" Baumann in squeaky and silo.
Aurimas "Bymas" Pipiras makes a shock appearance over the likes of Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy, ropz, Spinx, and blameF in lobby with a 1.21 rating against top 30 opposition and an even higher 1.32 rating with the top 10 filter. That 1.21 rating makes him the third-highest Nuke player on T-side regardless of role, only behind s1mple and Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut.
s1mple finally drops out of the team on NAVI's permaban, Vertigo, only to be replaced by ZywOo. The Frenchman breaks from the norm with 29% opening kill attempts on the map and is Vitality's primary opener on Vertigo, normally doing so from the bottom of the A ramp.
Joining him around A are Yuri "yuurih" Santos, who puts up a 1.25 rating on the map supporting arT on ramp, and Fredrik "REZ" Sterner, who swaps ramp duties with hampus. Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov is an expert around B on both T and CT, while Spinx puts up a 1.44 rating as our mid defaulter and late-round closer.
Spinx appears once more on Ancient, showcasing his versatility in the nominally far more aggressive lurk role of mid-brawler. While his 26% opening kill attempts are lower than k0nfig (33%), electroNic (32%), and Patsi (32%), it is still above average and he is unafraid of the odd spawn-based charge into middle.
blameF, another lurker, occupies an aggressive role on Ancient around B cave. Compared to rain (29%), nafany (30%), and Alejandro "mopoz" Fernández-Quejo Cano (28%), blameF (19%) is far more measured, although he makes up for that in rating.
Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov makes his debut on Ancient, which is the lowest-performing map for AWPers with a 0.86 median. He joins Ax1Le, who denies b1t (1.11) once more, while the squad is rounded out by Boris "magixx" Vorobiev. The Spirit rifler, like Bymas and FL1T, makes a surprise appearance, backed up by performances averaging a 1.12 rating against top 10 opposition.
Finally, Dust2 is made up of a fitting, fully Russian-speaking lineup of all-stars. sh1ro, who beats out s1mple by 0.01 rating, and Ax1Le reprise their roles from Ancient as A-lurk and AWPer. electroNic and Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis join them as the two space-takers around middle and catwalk.
The final spot goes to Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy as the B tunnels lurker, adding a more conservative supportive player (with just 9.4% opening kill attempts) to temper the aggression of the other three rifles.
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