Counter-Strike fans were treated to the perfect end to 2017 when the two best teams in the world, SK Gaming and FaZe Clan, met up in the finals of ESL Pro League Season 6.
Let's take a look at round 26 from the final map of the series, Train; a round where Karrigan calls for a deceptively simple, yet effective A Site fake.
To set the stage, FaZe has their backs against the wall with SK up 14-11. With match point on the line, Karrigan calls for a tactical timeout. The Ts decide to go with an A site fake, a smart call considering this strat only requires 4 smoke grenades, which is about all FaZe can afford.
Karrigan thinks it’s a safe move, seeing as FaZe hit A the last two rounds, and saw 4 CTs holding down the site. They’re hoping that SK will run this again, leaving only one player on B.
Little does Karrigan know that SK actually adjusts their setup, sending Fer to back up Taco in B site. FaZe is running into a blind counter, but the super team still manages to play it near perfectly.
Guardian and Rain start off the round by taking B Halls control. Notice how when they peek, they're always peeking in a way where they can trade out. Also notice how when they cross the ramp to lower, they coordinate with NiKo to flash for them, ensuring they can safely cross.
While Guardian and Rain are holding down halls, Olof and NiKo set up for the smokes outside A Main. Karrigan does the same just above popdog. Watch how they line up their smokes. All three players throw their smokes, creating the wall that typically accompanies an A Site take. These smokes prompt Boltz to burn a Molly and a HE, important utility that would make retaking B Site just a little bit easier.
After the smokes are thrown, Olof runs back into T Halls to cover any potential pushes out of Popdog. Karrigan creeps down the ramp into lower B while Rain and Guardian push out upper B.
As Rain creeps out, he finds a entry on Taco using the fire from a Molotov to cover his peek. On the other side of the map, NiKo goes for an entry coming out of A main to help sell the fake. FalleN takes him out, but his presence at A was enough to delay the rotation just a few seconds. It's these precious seconds that allow Guardian to toss a crucial smoke into connector, where all 3 of SK’s A players are rotating through a choke point.
Now it’s time for FaZe to flood the B site. Notice how Karrigan takes the engagement with Fer. After the initial exchange of gunfire, Karrigan falls back and only repeeks once Rain is there to support. FaZe gets the bomb down, with Rain taking out FalleN in the process. Immediately Boltz gets the refrag on Rain, as well as catching Karrigan as he tries to retreat back into B Halls. Guardian takes out Boltz, leaving Cold in a 2v1.
FaZe plays the situation perfectly. Olof is staying back in B Halls, making sure not to give up a frag to Coldzera. Guardian aggressively peeks from the train ladder, constantly juking around, just looking for any info so he can stall out for the bomb timer. Cold eventually finds the frag on Guardian, but time is ticking down.
As Cold moves to the bomb, he makes a massive mistake by missing the Molly on the high ground. If he landed that, he would have been able to focus his attention on the ramp to lower, just where Olofmeisiter is waiting. But since Cold flubbed the molly, he's left in a rough spot, forced to watch two different angles. Olof plays the bomb timer perfectly, taking the round and swinging the momentum back in FaZe's favor.
Ultimately SK win the map and the Championship in Overtime, but FaZe managed to make an amazing rally to force OT. It was because of this well-calculated fake, Rain’s amazing entries, and Olof and Guardian’s teamwork that FaZe were able to keep fighting. Hopefully these two titans can rematch at the Boston Major and we can see more of this top level CS:GO.