By: Trevor Schmidt
If there’s one team coming into this CPL that really wants to reclaim the glory of old, it’s 4Kings. They were once a staple part of the final day of CPL, consistently a part of the top 8 as both 4K and then I-eS. In order to make their way there again they have bulked up on the Scandinavian talent, moving away from some of their former UK based players.
While they’re still over 50% UK, they now have two Scandanavians on the team. First to be added was former SK member Xenon. His experience and skill added a lot to a team looking to rebuild. The second addition came with the recruitment of the very skilled former eoL member Dark. These two players should bolster a lineup of the best players in the entire country of the UK.
‘Every member out of the five competing in Dallas is an integral part of the team,’ said 4K^Xenon, Migotti. ‘What we are most content about now is that if there are one or two players playing badly in one game we see two or three stepping up and doing more than their part. We didn’t have this a few months ago.’
They saw a lot of their players step it up when they faced GX at ESWC on de_nuke. 4K’s CT side was very solid as they really held GX from getting anything started. Mangiacapra and Harriman both had very good games. Mangiacapra, one of 4Kï’s true star players, held the rafters and basically shutdown any early rushes by Ts. This could prove huge at CPL because no matter who 4K plays, if Mangiacapra can have a similar performance I don’t see anyone attacking upper bombsite on a hard rush. Harriman complemented Mangiacapra’s play well by shutting down the ramp room rushes. Shaq played with Harriman and did so pretty well, working together as a solid team, but Shaq won’t be playing at CPL, replaced by Dark.
‘Shaq is unable to come due to his injured back. We were originally meant to have a 6-man rotation style team,’ said Migotti.
It will be interesting to see if Dark will take Shaq’s ramp room spot or if they will shake up spots. Migotti had the tough assignment of playing outside but often would join the guys in the upper bombsite with Wright. I think he should probably play that more and allow Mangicapra and the second guy from ramp to support outside. It really is pretty tough to guard the outside effectively and very few players seem to pull it off.
T side seemed to be pretty effective too but 4K showed one weakness that could hurt them at CPL which is pistol rounds. In almost all of their matches they didn’t seem to be very effective on pistol rounds, and this was especially true on nuke. You simply can’t afford that at CPL, with MR12. They’ll need to improve pistol strats and aim if they want to make the final day of play. As for the gun rounds they seem to do a very good job of attacking outside. I’m not sure why more teams don’t send guys outside more often.
It seems like teams are more willing to push ramp but wouldn’t it be more effective to push three guys ramp and send two outside? Many teams like to play a guy at windows or have a guy rotate from ramp to outside to cover it. Well why not abuse that weak spot by attacking on both sides of it. 4K seemed to do this perfectly, hitting GX outside then hitting them hard at ramp. It really confused GX a few times and opened the way for 4K to hit upper bombsite hard from outside undetected.
Things didn’t work out as well on de_inferno, where 4K seemed to have a much more difficult time getting things going against zEx at ESWC. The early rounds seemed a lot more like a pub game then a real match as zEx attacked the middle, forcibly pushing 4K into the hallways and house area. 4K then got broken up with some of the players rushing halls while the others stayed back. 4K is going to need to do a better job of working together when other teams start to confuse them on T side. 4K did play smart third round though, buying AK’s and waiting for zEx to push. Once they did they picked off a few and were able to get into the secondary bombsite through the banana hallway. Overall though they were often plagued by aggressive CT play by zEx; just when they seemed to be getting organized for a rush, zEx would attack. 4K may need to speed up their attacks if they want to be successful, as they seem to tip their hand just a bit to early to the defending team.
Things got worse in the CT half as zEx really ran over 4K in many of their defensive setups. In 4K’s defense, they couldn’t buy a gun round win as they seem to get headshotted every time on entrance rushes by zEx who couldn’t miss on initial rushes into the site. I think this was a combination of poor setup by 4K and luck by zEx. Either way 4K will need to work on this map if they expect to beat a top team at CPL on it.
‘I would say dust2 and nuke were our stronger maps. We were completely rotten on train and inferno didn’t go as well as it should have either. I would guess lack of practice is the reason,’ said Migotti, ‘We think it is more important to actually get to inferno, which is played when there are only three or four teams left in the tournament.’
4K’s other poor map according to Migotti was de_train, where they exhibited some of the weaknesses I’ve talked about in earlier playbooks. Just like GG and TEC, 4K’s players often moved up too far in the outer bombsite. While playing fzer0, 4K players in middle, especially Shaq, got picked off almost every round, forcing a lot of pressure on the rest of the team. Both teams in this match seemed to favor their T strats but 4K will need to come up with more sound play on CT if they want to win on this map. They probably would be better served to take some risks in the inner bombsite, rotating guys out of there to help outer if they need to protect that site. It’s much easier to defend a bomb plant in outer as there are a lot more angles to shoot at a plant at the end of the train then there are in the inner bombsite. Because of that teams will need to protect and stop rushes in that outer site.
4K on their T side proved this as they won almost 90% of their rounds in the outer bombsite, round after round scoring a plant and a successful defense of the bomb. It seem like 4K’s basic T strat was a 2-1-2 with Mangiacapra playing the middle spot while the rest of the team went two guys alley and two guys ladder. Migotti often watched flank from inner bombsite, allowing the team to go whenever they were ready. It worked most of the time, although when fzer0 started to get desperate they rushed from the inner bombsite and would overpower the guys at ladder. Against a top team 4K might have to mix it up a few times and hit inner hard just to keep the other team honest and off of their flank but for the most part they were very sound on T.
The same could be said on de_dust2 where 4K looked very sound tactically against GG at ESWC. They fell in love with attacking catwalk a little too much and became pretty predictable but they attacked bombsite A a lot more than I see from most professional clans, and it worked. Most top teams such as SK.swe and 3D often attack bombsite B a lot more then bombsite A, probably a 70/30 ratio even. 4K switched that around, going after bombsite A more. It worked thanks to some very deliberate coordination and timing; really solid teamwork. I have said before in a previous Playbook that attacking bombsite A on de_dust2 is one of the hardest timing attacks in all of professional play’well, 4K has to be one of the best teams at it.
Without a demo for the second half of the GG match at ESWC, I used the 4K EC7 championship match against xP.se. While I have a feeling 4K may mix up a few things, it’s still interesting to see their CT strats from that match. They seem to be using a 2-1-2 defensive strat, which I haven’t seen from a top team in a long time on de_dust2. They had Mangiacapra playing middle while two guys were in bombsite B and two guys watched catwalk in bombsite A. This put a lot of pressure on Mangiacapra and the guys on catwalk because it left Long A pretty wide open. Mangiacapra had to quickly rotate if guys pushed Long A while the guys at catwalk had to watch a possible flank. It didn’t work out well against xP.se and I think they might change it but if they use their players right I think they and other top teams could get away with such a strat. Against teams that are very bombsite B happy, meaning they like to attack it a lot, such a strat could throw them off guard and buy the defending team a few rounds won.
The big story for 4Kings heading into the CPL will be the addition of Dark. I have always been a huge critic of adding a player so late in the season and heading into a CPL, but a player of Dark’s caliber is hard to pass up. His play with USP and rifles should be a welcome addition to 4K, not to mention his clutch play and experience in the past with eoL.
‘I see dark joining as a positive thing. He is a clutch player like the rest of us and can make the difference between winning and losing,’ said Migotti.
We’ll see what happens with this addition and what possible changes it may cause in their strats, but UK-based fans have to be happy with their team’s chances. If 4K can get a good seed and find its way deep into the Winner’s Bracket and avoid playing a good USA team on de_clan1_mill, which is the second map in the Winner’s Bracket, then they could find themselves playing on the final day of the event.