By: Trevor Schmidt
Talking and chatting away, arguably the most flamboyant team in American Counter-Strike looks to keep a hot run going as they head into CPL. Only a month ago they rocked the American scene claiming the first ever LAN victory for a USA team against the previously untouchable 3D.
”Not much has changed since KillerLAN; some things might be changing during bootcamp to try to even out our results on every map. If we do make changes it’ll be before the tournament starts and not during,’ said TEC|J.Gilbert, Elude.
One thing that has changed is this team’s confidence, and it should be their greatest weapon heading into the biggest event of the summer. They have often suffered from inconsistency in past CPLs and CAL-I seasons but confidence could help them counteract that. One of the biggest and most obvious members for TEC you can label as inconsistent is the very popular Da_bears, Stromberg.
On de_dust2 against 3D during the KillerLAN event Stromberg had a bad CT half that really didn’t effect TEC much as they won the half 7-5. Early in a previous CAL-I season Stromberg tore up c[h]ikara on de_dust2 from his same middle spot watching double doors. He’s often played very well in one half and then played poorly the second half. His use of the AWP as his primary weapon can cause that because if he doesn’t have enough money to buy one he can struggle if his AK/M4 isn’t on. The same can be said for much of the team that seems to have very good games and then mediocre games but the anchor on the team is J.Gilbert who often leads the team in frags and plays some of the more challenging spots on maps.
The CT side against 3D saw J.Gilbert hold bombsite B while, again, Stromberg played middle. J.Gilbert played very well but without a strong performance from Stromberg in the middle this site was very weak. 3D attacked this bombsite pistol round, picking off J.Gilbert and holding off TEC’s attempt to retake the site. 3D seemed to be successful about 90% of the time in bombsite B with its only losses coming when TEC played outside the site, allowing 3D to take it and then retaking it from them with very good flashbang work along with solid flanking movement normally done by Moore, Jaden.
The key for TEC was their ability to lock down bombsite A, which rather surprised me against such a good team as 3D. Mudaly, Icesalmon, not seen as an AWP player, played Long A and didn’t even use an AWP to guard it. He did a great job of allowing 3D to move up and then hit them as they looked to attack. M.Gilbert and Moore played catwalk well and responded to being pinched by attacks both from Long that Mudaly allowed to advance and hard rushes on catwalk. Common wisdom on dust2 is that allowing Ts to come all the way up the stretch without contesting it is a bad mistake, as it exposes the catwalk defenders to fire from two totally different angles in the case of a split attack. But TEC manages to play a very tight, coordinated game at A, controlling it without sending any one of its three defenders away from the site.
Again on T side Stromberg watched middle on every single round, spotting for his teammates. TEC never seemed to rush anywhere, prefering to take their time and study what 3D was doing on defense. Tactically their timing seemed off and it cost them on a few gun rounds, leaving them with a 5-7 half. Pistol round they camped middle almost expecting a 3D rush as CT, which surprisingly came. 3D decided not to wait, pushing guys from middle and catwalk into the middle and hoping to catch TEC preparing to enter Long A. The move was foolish though as TEC was able to take out 3D on the rush. TEC has always been good against 3D and many TEC members like to refer to Mudaly as the ‘3D killer.’ We’ll see if that holds true at CPL but this team does feel like it can beat 3D, which is much more than many teams can say.
Another map on which TEC defeated 3D at KillerLAN is de_inferno. TEC really sees this as one of the better maps, which could be good for them as it comes during key rounds at the coming CPL.
‘Inferno is a map that we consistently play well on, usually no ups or downs. Our dust2 has been a little shaky in the past but we are slowly working out all our kinks. As for train that map can go either way; it’s a CT dominated map that can get ugly if you get down on it,’ said J.Gilbert.
One tendency I saw on de_inferno was for TEC to break up a little. They would often have one or two guys push up banana halls while also having guys pushed up in halls and middle. This really spread them thin, and an aggressive team might have made them pay for it. But on inferno, any flank is always very risky for the CTs because the map is basically a circle; TEC knew this and capitalized on their opponent’s fairly passive defense by taking their time, as on dust2. And when they were aggressive, with banana hall rushes and very good timed middle/halls rushes, it seemed to work very well, catching 3D off balance. Strats wise they are very solid, as Mudaly’s communications and very good teamwork seem to pay off for them.
For CT side, TEC likes to take risks, often leaving Moore alone in the secondary site right from the beginning of the round. They get away with this largely because of the placement of two of their better players with Mudaly, who had 18 frags in the half, and J.Gilbert playing right side of middle and being the closest to that secondary site. They can respond very quickly to attacks, giving Moore all the help he needs, as he’s a very good player in his own right. Stromberg seems pretty comfortable guarding left middle as his AWP from there or deep in the sandpit works well. Their weak spot was the halls but with their top two players play right middle they often quickly rotated one of them there if the halls was under pressure. This combination left them with a good setup and made it pretty easy to repel attacks to either site demonstrated by a 10-2 half score against 3D.
Train is a slightly unusual map for TEC strats, as they seem to like to play very aggressively on it. The theme I discussed in the GG Playbook comes back here, where TEC, playing with a very aggressive mindset, doesn’t do well on CT because they like to play more aggressively then they should.
‘When you have a good offense it’ll make up for any mistakes that did/can happen as CT during the match. We are a very aggressive clan and being T suits us, it also helps when every member of our clan is capable of going off at any given moment,’ said J.Gilbert.
Elude may be right in that their T side is strong, but their aggressive play nonetheless hurt them on CT for de_train as their outer bombsite players seemed to push up too much and get picked off, as was the case with Good Game. I think they would be better suited to play their better players in the upper bombsite, Mudaly and J.Gilbert, and leave Stromberg and M.Gilbert in the lower bombsite allowing Stromberg to AWP the high ramp.
CT seemed shaky but T side actually showed some very sound strats. Their initial pistol round was a complete save out with a stack in spawn almost exactly like GG’s save round. The point of the save out of the first round is to gain an advantage in the second round. Many people don’t understand this strat but it’s very simple. A team like TEC who thinks their deagles are better then the opposing team’s MP5s can save out the first round then buy out second getting a deagle and full armor, while the money system leaves the CTs unable to buy colts. The deagle’s armor-piercing capabilities are far greater than the MP5’s, and it is much more accurate at long range, so in some situations it can provide a big advantage over the submachine gun. zEx really likes to do this and did it a few times at ESWC; we’ll get into that later with the zEx playbook. While TEC was successful in the second round, later gun rounds proved challenging, as TEC, despite good tactical ideas, often got bunched up in choke points trying to pick off instead of just attacking and getting to the bombsite before looking to frag the guys guarding the site. This is a difficult balance but TEC really didn’t do a very good job of deciding which one to do, and often got naded very badly. In de_train as T it’s better to attack a site and get into it whether that be middle rush of outer bombsite or just getting into the inner bombsite.
The opposite was true on de_nuke as TEC didn’t have trouble entering the bombsites, but rather covering the bomb once it was planted. They had a very interesting pistol round against GSX at KillerLAN. They rushed outside and quickly down into the vents and planted lower. GSX gave up lower and outside allowing the strats to develop, which won’t happen against a top tier team. Even still GSX was able to get down lower after the fake and defuse against TEC. Their coverage of the bomb seemed disorganized and for such an aggressive and good T team I thought they would do better throughout the match covering the bomb. They may need to work on that before CPL. As for many of the gun rounds TEC seemed to attack and hit hard either ramp or upper. They didn’t fake much and seemed more than willing to hit whatever choke they were aiming for hard and quickly. These strats will serve them well especially if they get good spawns on de_nuke, allowing them to attack fast on a map where Ts can often get stuck in middle choke and naded to very low health.
On CT side they put a ton of pressure on J.Gilbert again as he covered the upper bombsite with his brother, M.Gilbert. They didn’t have a rafter guy much of the half, giving away the upper bombsite to initial rushes but it seemed to work against GSX who wasn’t able to get in. I do think they’ll have trouble against a top team with those strats especially against a 3D or SK.swe, who both are very skilled at de_nuke. Outside Moore played a very interesting spot near the spawn on the boxes. I have seen people play here before but he seem to consistently play there and while it worked it may not be enough protection for the upper bombsite defenders. They may need to mix things up if they want to pull it off a win against a top 4 teams at CPL.
TEC’s fortunes could hinge on the play of Mudaly, who really is the spirit behind this very outspoken and skilled team. Personally I’m rooting for them as they all are great people to play with and talk to but they’ll need to be more consistent if they want to survive the five-day CPL event. I expect them to be the loudest and most fun team to watch at the event; let’s just hope they are there on the final day to give us a show.