Using Dota 2 notation to understand CS:GO roles

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

There has never been a set guideline to define how we designate players in a CS:GO lineup. I’ve seen riflers and the AWP. The leader, the star riflers, star AWP, supportive AWP, supportive rifler. Star players and support roles. Role players and star players.

When thinking about how to designate roles, I’ve mostly been using the Dota 2 system as it is the one I’m most familiar with. Dota 2 is a 5-v-5 game where the team is comprised of a carry, a mid, an off-laner and two supports.

In general notation they are called 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, labeled as such in general importance to the game and by farm distribution. The carry and the mid are the heroes that do the most DPS (damage per second). The off-laner is usually the team fighter of the team. The supports generally help the other three players. (This is very general, and there are multiple exceptions to these rules). Farm distribution is the allocation of resources in the game. In general, it’s done by killing creeps or jungle farming. This means that there is a set amount of gold in every game, so the team must decide how to split up the gold before the game starts in order to maximize their efficiency.

So if we take SK of 2016 as an example then. Then 1 and 2 are coldzera and Fallen. They do the most damage and require the most resources. Both need an AWP (CT side) and both require their teammates to set them up (everyone feeds Coldzera information to play like the terminator and players try to setup FalleN to get aggressive kills). The 3 is fer as he adds an element of playmaking that can sometimes win games. The two supportive players are fnx and TACO.

When we look at a team like North, their farm distribution might be closer to a 1, 2, 3, 3, 6. The hard 6 was a role created in Dota2 by PLD, whose job it was to sacrifice himself to ruin the other team’s economy while helping his own team. It can also mean a player who just sacrifices his own farm to give it to someone else on the team (ppd was known for doing this). Even in this example, PLD was considered a carry player for his team when he made the 6 role whereas ppd is closer to what people expect from the role now. Essentially a 6 support MSL is the hard support where you can’t expect him to have strong impact compared to players of similar supportive roles. In exchange, however, he can help in other critical ways through leadership, shot-calling and structuring the game. Because he has no hard roles he must play, he can always give up any current roles he plays to help his team.

The general scheme of using this notation is that in Dota 2, the roles — and who is the carry — are only generally set. A player from the 3 and 4 can be the hard carry (iceiceice and fy come to mind). This parallels the flexibility and variance in form we see from CS:GO players from map to map where sometimes a completely different player ends up being the player of the match.

This scheme is also useful in thinking about compositions for a team. For instance, the old NRG team with gob b and legija could never work because both of them are hard 6 support players. You can’t have a successful Tier 1 team with two of those players– at least from the few years I’ve seen.

In the end, this is just one model of looking at the various ways to analyze a CS:GO squad. Useful, but just one among many.

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers.

Facebook Comments