By: Trevor Schmidt
While many Americans have recently taken a dislike to the French, all that is put aside when it comes to CS, as our fellow CS players who happen to be from France play an awfully mean game. They have one of the most interesting and enjoyable styles of play to watch in all of the professional scene, as their flair for teamwork and aggressive play make it enjoyable to watch or call any of their games.
They tend to be very sound at saving out rounds but they do so only when needed and play very composed and sure terrorist sides even when they are behind. Another thing that is very obvious is that they truly enjoy playing with each other; they work together flawlessly. However, they are lacking some of the star power that dominates other top-tier teams, and the lack of a top 10 player combined with their aggressive style of play can cause inconsistent results and disappointment.
There was no disappointment on their home turf a few weeks ago, though, when GG played at ESWC and finished a surprising 4th, at least to those who don’t know them well.
‘After the disappointing showing at CPL Cannes we kept our team the same and decided that we would work more for the upcoming summer events’, said GG53|Sniper. ‘That’s what we did; we never practiced as much as we did before ESWC. That was the key, I believe.’
Early on in the tournament their strong teamwork and well-balanced attacks proved perfect, and they totally dominated group play. But once they faced some of the top teams, their effectiveness at closing out rounds started to hurt them in clutch 1v1 and 1v2 type battles, where strats start to matter a lot less than skill and experience under pressure. Good teamplay can get you a long, long way, especially when it’s as good as GG’s, but a star player can be the difference between first and eighth at CPL. GG is feeling good, though:
‘We feel kinda confident (going into CPL) except for the maps that weren’t played at ESWC. oRgy got real sick at the end of ESWC so we could only start practice again yesterday. That’s kinda short to work on cbble and especially mill and fire, which we’re not used to at all. Other than that our mental toughness will be a decider in games versus the main favourites like SK, team9 or top US teams,’ said Sniper.
They faced a very tough opponent in Team9 but still managed to show off some very interesting strats; unfortunately their execution wasn’t there, or else they got just plain unlucky. Pistol round saw an interesting rush of four men inner, pushing to the ladder while one lone man held outer. This gamble didn’t pay off as Team9 planted in outer after overpowering the helpless guy. Team9 ended up not losing a man that pistol round, really showing how GG’s aggressiveness can either pay off big time ‘and inner rush would have been crushed’ or cost them.
Later rounds saw GG flip this as they really abandoned GG40|orgy in the inner bombsite, as you can see in the screenshot. Often, they left him there right from the beginning of the round. Team9 almost always attacked the primary site anyway, but even with everyone but orgy guarding it they were still able to break in and plant. And because of GG’s spots, not only would they gain entry but often they would destroy GG as they did so, picking up massive frags while entering choke points. Team9 just seemed stronger, and they were certainly aiming better; but GG’s aggressive play, not just in terms of their overall map strategy but especially in terms of their individual spots, didn’t help them out one bit.
Every round GG seem to have every player right next to the choke points with guys near the ladder room and pushed up into the middle. These spots create a do-or-die situation and put tons of pressure on every man on the team. If one person dies he leaves the flanks open for the other team to clean up his teammates. This is why GG can often see very inconsistent results. Their CT sides are often totally unpredictable, as their top CT performance all weekend against the top six teams was against #1 SK.swe where they put up 7 rounds on de_nuke.
While CT was a problem for them, GG was much more impressive as T. Even in losing efforts their diversion and save rounds were impressive. On de_train against Team9 they opened with a solid one man rush of middle that faked up the ladder. The fake wasn’t sold well enough though, causing the 4 remaining men rushing alley to run into trouble as Team9 was still waiting. The tactics were strong but the execution was lacking. Their save round was a boost in spawn that did show some interesting ideas’ see the screenshot’ but Team9 did them a favor waiting out the round and leaving GG with the money advantage third round. Team9’s solid first half, 13-2, left them in no hurry to attack. GG bought out and executed perfectly on an inner bombsite rush, sweeping Team9 without a single loss.
This was very typical of GG, who often lost pistol rounds. Their pistol round play against teams with equal or greater skill was very lacking. Often, they seemed to not be able to out-frag the other team in the 1v1 battles even though the actual strats were pretty sound. This was also the case against GX on de_inferno.
GG seemed to have a very well-put-together pistol strat as they sent four men hallway making noise and rejoined their teammate to attack the banana hall into secondary bombsite. The strat worked perfectly, drawing the CTs way out of position, but the skill of GX proved too much as they reentered the site with So leading the charge. One thing GG could improve on is coming up with plans to defend bombsites once they have planted. Again GG came up with a great save round, boosting a guy in spawn but also having one man rush middle and get up in the small sniper nest. Once GX pushed up they forgot to check the sniper nest and that member was able to sneak into the secondary bombsite and hide. Rest of the half was a very simple yet aggressive push to every choke point. GG seem to control both the hallway and middle very well on GX but often couldn’t get the clutch entry kill it needed or the 1v1 situation at the end of a round as GX held on for dear life. GG finally was able to get its 3rd and decisive round to win, but they really won it on a very good CT half where they went 13-2.
Inferno has always played well to an aggressive CT team but not in the way most people would think. GG did no aggressive pushes into middle like many teams have done but still their play was much more up-tempo. In the primary site they seemed to pinch off the middle, putting two guys right next to the entrance on many occasions. Aggressive positioning like this didn’t work on train against Team9, but here it worked very well. They were often able to close on GX members carrying AWPs before they could get off accurate shots. This is one thing about GG that has been very noticeable. They are very good against teams with AWPs and seem to known how to neutralize any advantage that gun provides.
de_dust2 is notoriously harsh on CTs, mainly because the map is fairly large and the bombsites are quite far apart. Here again GG chose to play the role of aggressor even on CT, where they often stacked a bombsite or dropped men off of choke points they didn’t want to cover. In the screenshots, you can see Oligan leaving Long A to help cover middle, leaving that side rather exposed. Most of the time such positioning changes are nothing more than players’ instincts, but in GG’s case there seems to be a conscientious effort to mix things up and stay on the offensive. These gambles against 4K paid off in a monster 9-6 score as CT, which is very impressive against a team of 4K’s caliber.
The only problem was that the T side, which they should have been so impressive on after taking 9 as CT, failed them. The match ended in a 15-15 tie and yet another example of why dust2 is considered the top match map by many people. Risk takers can often be punished on the sides they were expecting to do better on. GG often suffers from missing entry frags or inability to win when there are 2 players left and strats go out the window, but that doesn’t take away from their organization and composure. It’s this characteristic ‘their total composure, as a team, under pressure’ that makes me sure they can do well. Issues like covering sites once the bomb is planted and figuring out ways to get entry kills can be worked on by a team that knows the true meaning of timing in CS.
One map really stood out and showed GG’s ability to adapt to the team they faced. Surprisingly they often played very aggressive on other maps as CT but on de_nuke against top ranked SK.swe they turned much less aggressive and played much more like a standard strat team.
‘I believe we all have very good personal skills and it helps as terrorists I believe but sometimes we get too impatient as CT’s, and too confident too,’ said Sniper.
There were flashes of that impatience when they were aggressive in the middle, similar to shaGuar for zEx on de_nuke, but they stayed back for the most part. This was probably a smart move on de_nuke as this map really doesn’t reward teams who push on the CT side. GG was rewarded to a certain extent with a 7-8 score against SK.swe on one of SK’s best maps. They probably would have liked more but they did a solid job holding ramp room and kept SK.swe at bay in the middle but just couldn’t win enough of the important gun rounds to win the match.
Their positioning consisted of two men in ramp room (Oligan and Orgy; as you can see in the overhead, they played unusually conservatively for GG), one in rafters (Sniper) and two in upper bombsite (Mayers and Subaru). Many teams leave a guy outside but GG responded to that threat by having Sniper, one of their better AWP players, watch outside from above ladder. This is normally a tough position to handle but Sniper carried himself well and really did an excellent job. Inside Mayers and Subaru balanced watching three choke points (hut, metal door and main entrance from outside) very well.
Problems plagued GG again on T side as yet again they seemed to have well-prepared strats but the strong play of ElemenT, Potti and HeatoN proved too much. They also continued to have pistol round problems but against a team as good as SK.swe that isn’t that surprising. GG attacked outside almost 80% of the time, which didn’t work out against the aforementioned players for SK.swe.
Overall GG’s play is quite unique with very aggressive CT strats on the whole and strong map control combined with very composed T strats. Against some teams they do a very good job on CT, but against others their spots get them into trouble and they get picked off, leaving them in a tough situation where their individual skill against top teams isn’t enough to come back and win. If they are getting entry frags they can be one of the toughest teams in the world to play. Come CPL, they may have a tough time traveling to CPL instead of playing from their homeland. They should still be a big name team there at the end but they could have trouble making the final day if they don’t have a seriously good run in the winners’ bracket of the double elimination.