What makes the best CS:GO pros play? We have analysed a match of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and show you what makes him so special.
At the Counter-Strike Tournament Intel Extreme Masters Katowice Natus Vincere (NaVi) beat the favorite team Astralis in the semi-finals. The French G2 team also looked old against the Eastern Europeans in the final.
With an overall rating of 1.33, s1mple played a major role in this success. But what makes the young Ukrainian so valuable? In what way does he play differently from his competitors Kenny “kennyS” Schrub or Mathieu “ZywOo”? Built by Vitality? To get to the bottom of this question, we analyzed his playing style on the most exciting map from the final, Dust 2, using the tool Shadow.gg.
s1mple on the T-Side
What is immediately noticeable is that s1mple is practically never heading towards B. As main-AWP he concentrates on the middle and catwalk. He helps his team to draw entrykills by throwing flash grenades early in the rounds.
It makes sense that the area in the T-Spawn is completely red: Every turn s1mple has the AWP in his hand, the first 15 seconds are used to abaim the door. Interestingly, however, he pushes through Suicide in 8 out of 15 rounds.
This looks very different with his G2 counterpart: Even with AWP in his hand kennyS aims at the door for a shorter time on average and usually decides to take the detour through Outside Long.
This gives s1mple the advantage of having the CT center constantly in view. Since both players are mostly heading towards the catwalk, the Ukrainian knows better about the positions of the opponents.
But even if a round requires special circumstances, s1mple is adaptable. This is evident in round six, where his team plans an A-Rush and sends him into the tunnels to intercept rotating opponents.
Correct rush: Round six
It’s 4-1 for G2. This round will determine whether NaVi manages to build a stable economy on the T-side. Because of the bad weapon situation with only two rifles, they try to take A-Lang quickly. This round is an exceptional situation for s1mple:
Instead of rushing with his colleagues A-Lang, he takes the tunnels, making sure G2 can’t rule out early. After his mates are announced on eleLang, he holds the middle and kills the last B-player Amanek in the rotation.
Together with the CT-Smoke, the French now do not know whether NaVi is working in direction A or B. So they are forced to target both, while for the two terrorists all possibilities are open.
But also s1mple is not perfect. He pushes into the smoke, where he is intercepted by kennyS. So Denis “electronic” Sharipov is at a disadvantage and loses the 1v2.
Small details can make the difference
What is always noticeable at s1mple are unusual Peeks. One example is NaVis A-Take in round ten. KennyS stands with his AWP on A-Lang and targets the spot, which s1mple knows. Instead of going to A-Site to peek like most players do now, he jumps on the small baskets on A-Plateau. This gives him an ideal headshot angle. From kennyS’ reaction you can see that he didn’t expect this peek:
A strong performance
But the star player of NaVi has really turned up the heat especially in the second half. In the remaining 14 rounds s1mple gets 16 Frags. He usually plays the A-Spot here as well. He acts very flexible and rotates between A-Long, Spot and Short depending on the situation. This shows above all how excellent the communication between the players works. Even when outnumbered there are hardly any gaps in coverage. And of course there are some tricks that everyone should remember for their own matches:
A more precise example of how well the agreement works in the CS team is round 18, where NaVi starts the round with only 2 rifles and pistols, wins against a full buy from the French and can even take 3 better rifles into the next round.
How to play a half-buy: Round 18
Round 18 is a good example of NaVi’s strong team play, which they have constantly improved during the tournament. Four players of the team rushed A-Lang, as there was hardly any equipment available. Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy shows a lot of presence on B with Smokes and Prefire, which makes G2 rotate towards the middle.
The long players are already present in the middle due to the missing contact. Instead of going on kills after the first question, Navi remains passive. The positions of the opponents are exactly known by audio signals, so they are hardly surprised by the coming A-Go. All NaVi players gather around the spot and show their positions simultaneously.
This allows G2 to trade to the maximum. S1mple gets all remaining players by distracting his teammates and ends the round with a 4k.
All in all s1mples gameplay shows three essential messages:
1. the importance of good communication with your team.
2. unpredictable movement, with which the opponent can be caught on the wrong foot.
Flexibility in weapon choice and positioning.
3. s1mple, which actually acts as the main AWP, only did nine of his 26 kills with the sniper. So he can handle any weapon. Even if he picks up a weapon from his opponents, kills with it usually follow.
Of course this analysis is only a small part of what makes s1mple a player. Nevertheless the insight is enough to show his greatest strengths and tactical understanding. We as players can definitely learn a lot from him.