This is a new series I will be starting where I dissect a T-side half that struck me in some particular way. The first in this series will be from the quarterfinals of ESL Summer ONE 2013. In that series VeryGames played against Copenhagen Wolves. As for why I chose this one from so early on in CS:GO’s history when there are an infinite amount of games to choose from in the recent era is because the origin of a game’s beginning cast a shadow. In the beginning of CS:GO the battle of what the top players conceived to be the META in terms of team construction, roles, skills, teamplay, and tactics are defined within this time. In essence, to go forward, we must go back, to understand the present, understand the past. And in the beginning of CS:GO, no leader’s name rang out more than Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans. This is how he led the T-side against Copenhagen Wolves.
To set up the game, we have to set up the pieces on each side. The VeryGames roster included: Ex6TenZ, Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux, Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, and Richard “shoxie” Papillon. Copenhagen Wolves had Danni “smF” Dyg, Soren “socN” Falke, Henrik “FeTish” Christensen, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, and Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz.
In terms of context this was one month after Kenny “kennyS” Schrub was taken off of the VeryGames roster. He wasn’t able to bring out his full potential and was relegated for shox. Shox would become the eventual answer to VeryGames woes against NiP. But as of that moment they were playing against Copenhagen Wolves, one of the two best Danish teams at the time (along with Western Wolves). The two big stars of that team were dupreeh and dev1ce.
The game itself ends in a 16-12 victory for the Danes, but I was most impressed by the T-side called by Ex6TenZ. For context, nuke is famously known as a Danish map. On top of that it was a heavily CT-sided map, and finally the Danish teams led by FeTish in CS:GO had famously strong CT-sides (it was the T-sides that had real struggles). The VeryGames team won the pistol, but lost the subsequent round by rushing the A site and dying to an eco. This allowed the Danes to get their economy up and front-run the map.
The first two rifle rounds in round 5 and 6 go the Danes way. The default is to have shox lurk out in yard and take control of that space. Once he has infiltrated deep enough, the team calls for a ramp room take using nades and then they finally split the A-site, creating 3 prongs of pressure in the setup. But the crux of the default is shox as he has the most important role in getting all of this going. It is also a difficult role as there are a multitude of angles/places to play/hide in yard which dev1ce uses to his advantage to win the early duels against shox.
Round 7, VeryGames run a similar call, but instead of wrapping around towards heaven, he goes down to the B-site. This forces a rotate from dupreeh down vents, which Ex6TenZ reacts to by calling his forces to take the upper site immediately. It’s the right call, but it doesn’t work.
At this point in the game, Copenhagen Wolves realize the VeryGames default is launching their attacks from the sides of the map so they change their setup in round 9 to adapt to that. But Ex6TenZ seems ready for the change up in the CT-setup. He calls for a passive default and then goes for an upper execute part way through the round as he realizes that a focus on the outer wings of the map has made the center vulnerable. VeryGames get their second round on the board.
The victory that resets the situation as both teams go for their default. This time shox kills dev1ce in a smoke battle. Shox is quickly traded, but this is all he needed to do as the rest of the team is able to figure out the rotations of the Danish players as they either isolate or pick off the remaining players in power play scenarios. Smf is forced down to the lower site and has to smoke himself off to stay alive. FeTish was the one who got the kill on shox, but now his position is known and he is taken out. This opens an easy way into heaven and into A. socN is the last man on site as Dupreeh had pushed into squeaky to counter-aggress on the Ts. Dupreeh rotates back, but is flanked by ScreaM who is coming from main and this leaves soCn in an unwinnable 2v1 as he is taken out. This all happens in the span of 30 seconds.
At this point the message is clear. If shox can win that duel against dev1ce in the yard, then VeryGames can avalanche that space and map control into a victory. In response to this dev1ce gets an AWP to control yard.
Round 11 is where Ex6TenZ calls for a different style entirely. Up to this point it had been defaults, this time he calls for a set play and with consecutive flashes is able to keep forcing dev1ce back, effectively neutralizing his AWP as they take the upper site.
In Round 12, Ex6TenZ calls for a shift back as they go back to the default with shox taking yard. But this time they come from a different angle. Instead of following up on his aggerssion by taking ramp, they directly take the A site from sequaky/hut. It was a good call, but a great play from dupreeh saves this round for Copenhagen WOlves.
The last two rounds are impressive when looked at in conjunction with each other. In round 14, NBK is taken out early from nades leaving VeryGames at a disadvantage. What Ex6TenZ does is slow down the map control, drain the clock, and eventually try a last ditch attempt to split the A site. They lose this round, but in the process of losing this round, they setup a chance to get the final round as they call for a change of pace as they rush the A-site and take the final round of the half.
The half ends in 6-9 in Copenhagen Wolves favor. Despite that, the overall look of the T-side was impressive and could have gone heavily in VeryGames’ favor if one or two small things had changed. Ex6Tenz had a developed default that allowed him and his team to adjust on the fly depending on information they had or the situation. He used that default and read the counter-reactions of the Ct-side to counter that default. He was able to shift styles to a set piece when the right moment came, and was able to set up changes of pace in the final 2 rounds of that half. An impressive T-side from Ex6TenZ and one example among many as to why he is hailed as one of the all-time great tacticians of CS:GO.