‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
With Liquid reportedly trading TACO for Stewie2K, I thought now would be a good time to look back and figure out what the exact roles were for TACO. I’ll break down what he does on the CT-side map-by-map. I’ll also ignore Train as while Liquid did play it once again Astralis at ESL Proleague Season 8, for the vast majority of time it was their permaban.
If we look at the positions he holds on the CT-side, they’re all classic TACO positions. On Mirage, Cache, Dust2, and Overpass he is the small-site anchor. That makes complete sense given that he was also the secondary caller on the CT-side. As for Inferno he was the support player for the site and generally tried to enable TwistZz and Naf/EliGE (they recently swapped positions) on that side of the map. On Nuke he was the ramp player.
Beyond those typical positions, these are the other things I’ve noticed. On Mirage he was often used as the secondary AWP in conjunction with nitr0 when they ran the double AWP setup. In terms of aggressive potential, he teamed up with EliGE when EliGE pushed underpass or up mid.
On Cache, he’s the supportive player for NAF on the B-site. For instance, if NAF is in vents, then TACO will be playing in the checkers area. If NAF is AWPing from checkers and peeking towards the B-side, TACO can push up aggressively and bait for him. If he is able to get to the sunroom unimpeded, they can then setup a bait and switch setup. This is also one of the maps where Liquid like to have TACO sometimes hold the B-site alone while they stack the A-side.
On Dust2, the most notable thing I saw was that he had a weird uncanny ability to know when to push up into B halls. This is something that seems correlated with his T-side where he can also do this. The strange thing about this particular push is that it isn’t necessarily correlated with any other movement on the map. For whatever reason, he seems to understand the timing of the players on the B-site on both sides and knows when to push and when not to.
On Inferno, he’s recently become the primary AWPer for the team. However he is the opposite of dev1ce and s1mple. The game isn’t built around him so much as his job is to fill in the gaps and hold an angle. For instance, TACO, EliGE, and TwistZz have used three different setups around the top mid area.
In one they have EliGE and TwistZz push down mid while TACO holds the angle for them towards mid ramp while EliGE and TwistZz can focus on alt-mid before pushing further down. In another, all three play around the short area. TACO plays the passive AWP that takes a shot and falls back. This then baits in EliGE and TwistZz who are playing on top of and below the patio. The third has EliGE in that boosted off position with the AUG which is one of those angles that the Ts don’t expect. After EliGE makes first contact, then TACO and TwistZz come out to trade whoever comes up challenging top mid. One last thing to note is that TACO is the scout guy for alt mid. That’s essentially the guy who runs up boiler, peaks down alt mid for info and then runs back.
For Overpass, TACO is the secondary AWPer, though no the primary one. Outside of nitr0 on the A-side, Liquid don’t have a go to double AWP duo and it can swap to NAF as the secondary depending on how he is feeling. As for TACO, he plays this site in the typical way you’d imagine him to.
Now that I’ve broken down what TACO does, here is a quick overview of Stewie2K’s current positions in MIBR. He plays A on Cache, B on Dust2, B on inferno, B on Overpass, and A on Mirage. Stewie2K and the Liquid players are fairly versatile riflers in general though, so even though Stewie2K doesn’t play B on cache or mirage right now, he can do both. I think the current biggest problem will be nuke as ramp requires a passive level of play. In that scenario, my assumption is that Stewie2K becomes the primary AWPer and nitr0 plays ramp position, but even then it doesn’t feel like a great solution. Well this is all just theorycrafting and no one can ever figure out all of the interdependencies. Next time, I’ll look at TACO’s T-side roles and think about how Stewie2K would fit into those roles.