Counter-Strike Global Offensive is constantly evolving in terms of strategy and the meta. Despite being a game that is extremely easy to understand, there are several tiers of depth to a professional Counter-Strike game. Over the years we have seen several In Game Leaders emerge and make a name for themselves in the CS: GO scene.
The FaceIT London Major is currently underway with the remaining top eight teams competing in the playoffs. The playoffs are single elimination and they will all be Best of three matches. In the current age of International teams based on raw firepower, these in-game Leaders have carved a name for themselves.
Players like Ex6tenz, Gob B, Karrigan, Glaive and Zeus are just a few names who have reached the top due to their tactical mindset. One of the few rare matchups at the FaceIT London Major which will broadcast the In-Game Leaders’ aptitude is the match between BIG Gaming and Natus Vincere.
We are into the business end of the FaceIT London Major. The tournament is down to the top eight teams now with a mixture of NA and European teams. One of the matches is between Na’Vi and BIG Gaming. However, it is the potential for a tactical clash between the In-Game Leaders that has me excited about this match.
The two players are not the best in terms of firepower and yet their teams depend on them. They have the influence and the respect from their respective team players. Their focus on the team’s strategy and creating a unique style of play reflects on the entire team.
Gob B has put together a roster made up of strong individual players. He has carved them into rectifying their mistakes and adopting a ‘safe’ playstyle. The team has a solid foundation of its basics, which is essential for a team of their calibre. Gob B’s insistence on running a tight leash might just be what the players need on this roster.
The two teams are not similar, neither in their playstyle nor in the skillset of players. While BIG is a more tactical team compared to Na’Vi, the CIS Squad has the world’s best player on their roster. What is important to note is the way the In-Game Leaders utilise the players at their disposal. We have seen Zeus utilise Electronic and S1mple very well on this team. BIG has a commanding focus on ensuring they get their basics right.
Let’s take a look at some of the players on both the teams.
Gob B has been a part of the BIG organisation since January 2017. In early 2018, Legija moved onto the role of a coach for the team. BIG brought on Smooya and Tizian on board as they started preparing the CS:GO Major. The team has not really shown itself in attendance at several premier CS: GO tournaments. Their decision not to attend all tournaments is a conscious one, it allows them to focus on improving their game. And we can all see the results.
Gob B has qualified for the CS: GO Major playoffs and with this he becomes the oldest player to qualify for the playoffs at a Major. He has experience from his 1.6 days and has been consistently one of the best In Game Leaders in Counter-Strike. He never backs down and is always looking to innovate his gameplay based on VOD reviews, playtesting as well as communication with the team.
Gob B has a unique brand of leadership which lays the focus on improving the basics of the game. His urge to minimise risks utilising the angles on the map is what makes his team extremely strong on certain maps. However, there is a fine line between ensuring great strategy and allowing players freedom to play their own game. Gob B maintains this fine line just enough to allow his players to grow on an individual level. After all, some of the best players in the world [ read S1mple, Device ] are known because they can pull off victories from impossible situations. And yet, they have a very knowledge of their surroundings and various other elements which can affect the outcome of the round.
BIG is known for their grenade usage on various maps. Even during previous tournaments and Majors, BIG always gained an advantage with their exceptional grenade usage and great timings. Not throwing away grenades allows BIG to do the maximum damage using these grenades, softening up opponents in order to finish them up later.
These are slight changes which can yield into massive benefits for the players and the team. Gob B’s focus on these small improvements is quite evident in BIG Gaming’s gameplay and movement across the map. However, his distance from the players when they are playing on an individual level is also evident. This is why we witness amazing plays from players like Smooya.
Gob B might not be the most flamboyant player when it comes to his individual rifling. However, so far in 2018, he has proven to be a strong In Game leader. Unlike several moments in his past, Gob B actually has a crucial part to play in this roster. Very often, he is responsible for eliminating the opponents and holding down particular bomb sites. He loves his SMG’s and we see him playing the SMG quite often during the FaceIT London Major.
If BIG manage to win the anti-eco with several players alive, Gob B is not afraid to take the SMG into the next round. This acts as a bonus round for the team, where they would not really lose much if they lost Gob B early. Regardless of the inferior weaponry, Gob B positions himself on sections of the map where he can be very useful with the SMG.
Gob B has a huge focus on controlling the pace of the game and even micro-managing players to an extent. His mid-round calling might not be the best, especially when compared to the likes of Niko, Glaive at the Major. But the team comes prepared especially via their boot camp prior to the Major. This allows the player’s ample space to learn new things during the Major itself.
It is important for the players to be able to trust their IGL. Gob B’s experience in Counterstrike, having coached some of the best teams in the world in the past does come in handy. As we witness the performance of the team., we have to take into account the experience that Gob B brings onto the team. His chemistry with the other two ‘core’ members of BIG Gaming is also a big reason for their success. Tabsen and Nex have been with Gob B for a few years now. Their trust in the player and his tactics is the principal reason why BIG Gaming is as successful as it is today.
Na’Vi is a team which has a lot of potential with their current lineup. With two of the best players in the world, they are a scary roster. squad. In addition to this, they have the synergy and coordination of the veterans on the roster. Flamie, Zeus and Edward have been together for quite some time [ despite some hiccups in between]. This is the type of synergy and team play that they have helped S1mple to achieve.
But behind the two best players in the world is Zeus. Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko has helped develop the team into the fearsome roster that they are today. With the help of Force buys and some really aggressive gameplay, this Na’Vi is quite different from the one several years ago. They have a focus on the establishing their dominance. They believe [ and rightfully so] that they are the stronger team with better aim and skill. Leveraging this advantage, Zeus often calls for a Force buys even in dire situations.
But a call for a forcebuy is never without reason. If Na’Vi would lose a round, but the enemy had only one surviving player, a force by makes a lot of sense. It keeps the economic pressure on the opponents. With their personal track record of having a very strong outcome whenever they force-buy, it has only reinstated their faith in their ability to win rounds off force buys. The Na’Vi roster has shown us what great coordination and synergy on a team can achieve.
Despite having players like S1mple and Electronic, the Na’Vi Squad does not really treat them like superstars. The S1mple of old would go for frags even in unrealistic situations. But we see him exert a lot of restraint and play keeping the big picture in mind.
S1mple and Electronic have been really consistent with their performances. They do have off-days at times, but they have maintained a very high standard for themselves. However, for Na’Vi to succeed at the Major, it is essential for Flamie and Edward to step up their game. They need to dig deeper to find the motivation required to play at this level. In the age of Star-studded International rosters, Na’Vi’s veterans need to at least keep up their end of the game. It is only then that S1mple and Electronic can have space and freedom to do their thing.
If there is one match that we would recommend to watch during the quarterfinals, it has to be BIG vs Na’Vi. A close contender would be the Astralis and Faze matchup. BIG and Na’Vi are very tactical teams and it will be interesting for their opponents to see and understand their gameplay. We can be sure that the top remaining teams will definitely analyze the BIG vs Na’Vi matchup to scout for strategies and potential tactics.
The two teams will play at the SSE Arena, Wembley with a seating capacity of 12,500. You can watch the match live on Twitch here.