How one smoke sets up North's Inferno default

By Harman Grewal
Oct 04, 2017
North have been making quite a name for themselves on Inferno thanks to a strong default setup. We breakdown how it works and the key smoke grenade that sets it all up.

The Danish squad North has been making quite the name from themselves, especially on the map Inferno. One of the reasons for their new found success, specifically on this map, is a return to a more structured T Side, which allows them to make adjustments to their set executes round after round. They are able to let the plan flow according to what they read from their opponents as well as sell fakes based on what they have shown in the previous rounds. At DreamHack Malmo we saw this very system play out four times, only failing against the eventual champions G2.

The basic idea behind North's setup on Inferno is to send two players to take Banana control. While that's going on, 2 other players establish a presence at mid under cover of flashes and smokes. Finally, the last player clears out apartments. From here, the mid players smoke off Arch side and call for the execute. The hit can either be a wrap through CT spawn to B, or a split on A with the Banana players regrouping back at mid.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how North runs this default setup.

At the group stage of Malmo, North met up with Cloud9 on Inferno. On round 9 both teams are on a full buy. North runs their default, first establishing map control at Banana, then clearing Apartment and setting up for the mid take. In order to cross mid, North smokes off the left side of middle, and throws some flashes. As the flashes pop, two players push up while the player who cleared the apartments pushes out of boiler. With mid control established, North then carefully positions each player to prepare for the execute. Once the mid smoke dissipates, MSL throws a smoke between arch and library. This smoke allows the three players in mid to safely clear Arch without fear of being picked off from Library. From here, the strat can turn into several different executes, but on this occasion North goes for a split B through CT spawn.

North throws a flash and overwhelms Skadoodle near Arches. With the trade kill secured, North have free passage through CT spawn. Their teammates at B had previously taken full banana control but had gone silent a few seconds before the arch hit came in. This means the CTs have almost no information on where the hit is taking place. North easily wins the round, but more importantly this sets a precedent for the arch-side smoke that will weigh on the minds of C9 players for the rest of the half.

Five rounds later, on round 14, North use the same arch-side smoke, but change up their positioning. The two players that were previously in Banana are now in the A apartments. The idea here is to overwhelm Skadoodle again and then split push the A bombsite, rather than take CT Spawn control. Because Cloud9 has seen this play before, North is banking on the CT players at B site to delay their rotation, bracing for the attack they saw in round 9.

With mid control established, it's important that North try and take the fight with Skadoodle. They could play it safe and just smoke him off, but leaving him alive would reveal the fact that the attack is coming to A rather than B. Knowing they need to win this fight, North opts for a triple peek on the Arch side. Unfortunately North bunches too close together giving Ska an easy double kill, allowing him to get away. This fumble on North’s part means the attack disintegrates.

But this doesn’t stop North. The next round North tries for the same setup. This time they leave aizy at B a little longer so he can use his utility to pressure the B players, slowing down any rotations towards A. This fake works as autimatic stays towards B while North works A. MSL picks off Skadoodle who tries to get aggressive, opening up A for a basic split. Because of aizy's pressure at B and the strat seen in the previous round, Cloud9 is slow to rotate, giving North an easy A take. Unfortunately for North, Rush pulls off an absolutely amazing hold from Pit giving C9 the round.

While North ended up losing both rounds 14 and 15, it’s safe to say that this wasn’t a result of the execute, but rather Ska and Rush hitting insane shots. We can see instances of this execute working late in the half versus SK

In round 14 North takes map control like they did in the game vs. Cloud9. Once North is up mid, they triple peek the CT who is playing by Arch. You can see the adjustment North made in their spacing, making sure they don’t give up another multi-kill like before. They show a new variation with two players pushing through the arch towards CT spawn and clearing out library. Meanwhile, aizy walks through the arch-side smoke facing towards pit helping clear the A site. This variation makes it even harder for the CT side to know which site the hit is coming to as even with North pushing into CT spawn they still double back to A.

To finish the half North throw the same opening arch-side smoke, but this time to split B through CT spawn. Just as against C9, the two players at B take banana control and then fall silent before the arch-side hit. This time felps is playing the arch-side, and he rotates from arch to library just as the smoke comes in, making it difficult for him to get any information or kills. He is fortunate to spam one player through the smoke, but he doesn’t catch the players pushing through CT spawn to B. Because of the previous round, Felps remains in library expecting North to push him. Instead they simply go to B and swarm the site. Usually the arch player would fight tooth and nail to prevent the Ts from getting into CT spawn, but because of what he saw in the previous round, felps never takes that fight. North takes the round and closes out the match 2-1.

North is quickly rocketing up the world rankings, taking out top teams at events like DreamHack Malmo. This is largely due to their outstanding T side on Inferno.Over the last 3 Months they have a 71.4% win rate on Inferno on LAN thanks to this structured T side and the versatility of MSL’s strat.. By having a safe standardized default, with set options to fake out their opponents, North is quickly establishing themselves as a team to ban Inferno against.

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