How Liquid went 7-1 on pistol rounds on Inferno at ESL Pro League

At ESL ProLeague Finals in Dallas, Team Liquid
made an impressive showing, plowing through teams like Na’vi and Mousesports, only to
fall vs Astralis in the finals. One impressive stat that may have gone unnoticed
is that Liquid won 17 of the 26 pistols rounds they played. What’s even more impressive is that on Inferno,
they went 7-1 on pistol rounds. While these games may be a little old, Liquid had such an impressive winrate on Inferno that we had to dig deep and see what exactly is going on. and hopefully give you some ideas on how to run your own pistol rounds. On the T side Liquid works off a default setup
that can branch out into several options based on how the CTs respond. As seen in their games vs Na’vi and Astralis
in the group stage, the default execution starts off with everyone buying armor except
for two players. Typically Nitro gets a smoke and a molly and
Elige buys 2 flashes and a smoke. The idea is to take apartments control, while
Nitro and Elige smoke off Moto and Apts from Alt Mid. Under the cover of flashbangs, the three players
explode out of apts while the other two push up through mid. While this seems pretty basic, it does allow
some really cool variations. For example, in the game versus Space Soldiers,
Liquid only sends 1 player to take apts control, while the other two hold Banana. Liquid throws the same smokes, but this time
the 3 players towards A will wrap Arch side, through CT spawn and pinch B with the players
holding Banana. Unfortunately, Space Soldiers were perfectly
setup to counter this, with 3 players all in a cross fire at arch side. Even though Liquid loses the round, they still
were able to get the bomb down and convert the money into a win on round 2. If you need to deal with a stack like
SS setup, save the molly clearing out the cubby. It’s one less angle to cover, making those
trades a little easier to secure, allowing the wrap to go through. The other variation Liquid showed up at Dallas
was a mindgame versus Astralis in the Finals. Since Astralis already faced the standard
execute, Liquid needed to switch things up. They do a similar setup to the Space Soldiers
game, with 2 players locking down Banana while everyone else goes Alt Mid to take control
of Apts and makes noise. The idea is, Astralis is expecting an A take
like last time, so chances are they’ll have somebody get aggressive at Banana to confirm
this assumption. Once the players at B get this pick, in this
case Nitr0 gets traded out for Gla1ve, everyone can rush up Banana, smoke off
CT spawn and hold the retake. On the CT side, Liquid tends to switch up
strats, but leans heavily on aggression. One play liquid made versus Astralis in the
finals, is an alt mid push covered by flashes from top mid. Everyone buys armor except for NAF who gets
a smoke, flash and a nade and Nitr0 who gets a nade and the two flashes which he’ll use
to cover the push. NAF is going to solo B with the intent of
playing safe and buying time. If the T’s rush banana, he should be able
to stall them for a little bit with the smoke and flash. Back over at mid, TACO and Elige get fast
control of apartments, with TACO peeking out of the balcony into 2nd mid. Twistzz rushes through mid and peeks into
alt mid. While all this is going on, Nitr0 lines up
and tosses two flashes that perfectly cover TACO and Twistzz peeks. This allows Liquid to find an easy pick on
dupreeh. To make matters worse for Astralis, once Nitr0
throws the smokes, he peeks top mid finding another pick onto device. Up 5 on 3 Liquid easily wins the round. While Liquid did not end up winning the ESL
ProLeague Finals, they did show that their new lineup is working well together, and that
they’ve obviously been putting in the practice to shape these clever tactics. With a well coordinated team, you can put
these strats into practice in your own games. Just remember, on the T side Liquid has a
clear default setup, uses two smokes, and has several branching options based on what
you feel out in the round. On the CT side, Liquid uses aggressive peeks
supported by some basic, yet effective flashbangs to gain an early advantage. With a little practice, you can easily work
these strats into your playbook and start off your Inferno games on the right foot.

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