‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
In order for a team to be consistent in CS:GO, they have to continue to evolve. I believe that this was the secret to Virtus.Pro’s success as a force that could continue to grind themselves back to the top year after year. One of the reasons that system was so successful was because of the inherent support network of players like TaZ or NEO who could enable their other teammates when they wanted to switch roles or positions.
For Liquid, their decision to build the team around five rifles has given them the ability to make such a volatile change work. Nitr0, EliGE, TwistZz, and NAF are all versatile rifler players that have shown the ability to play as entry, 2nd entry, third man in, or lurker. TACO has spent his career facilitating other star players and can switch up his role on demand. While nitr0 has been the primary AWP most of the time, three of the other four players can also pick up the AWP and use it when needed.
Within the last few tournaments, we’ve seen Liquid use this versatility and play more loose. Some of the examples I can think of include Twistzz picking up the AWP on the CT-side of Mirage, TACO being the main AWPer for Liquid on Inferno at Supernova Malta, or NAF picking up the AWP on the T-side of Inferno. They’ve also swapped positions on the CT-side with EliGE now holding A while NAF has gone to B.
What I like about this loose style is that any single change to the system won’t wreck havoc in the other parts of the system as they are all fairly versatile players. When NAF picked up the AWP, that allowed nitr0 to play as a rifler and freed up NAF to try to play aggressively with his AWP and look for picks. In the same vein if TACO AWPs at the A-site, Liquid can surprise and throw teams off guard as their standard holds have generally had nitr0 hold at the B-site with the AWP.
So going into ESL Proleague, this is what I’d be looking out for when it comes to Liquid. They don’t have the time to sit down and really crank out demos and think up new ideas. But they can continue to play loose and see if they can come up with a different flavor to their Counter-Strike.