The AWP is probably the most iconic weapon in CS. Players specialise in it, teams don’t really feel they’ve got a proper buy unless they’ve got one, and players will eschew basic protection just to get their hands on one.
In this article I’m looking at where and how AWP buys vary across sides, maps and teams, using data from the top level Lan tournaments in 2017. We’ll start with the very basics.
T vs CT buys
First let’s take a look at the T side in terms of AWP buys, this includes all types of rounds, eco, pistol, etc, so it’s not an expression of choice in all cases.
It’s important for the T side to have access to the AWP, but at the same time they will run a lot of rounds without it, and the double AWP is so rare it’s probably the result of scavenging AWPs left lying around by dead CTs as much as deliberate strategy. This makes obvious sense as mobility is a core part of the T side strategy, the ability to switch from one point of attack to another and the AWP restricts that.
The CT side has a clear difference. Not only do AWP buys make up over half of all CT buys, but the double AWP buy is also a significant strategy. Obviously for the team taking up the defensive positions mobility isn’t as important unless the map features make defensive re-positioning very hard, particularly if the map has good long sight lines in key areas like Train.
So far so obvious. What do we find from looking at things map by map? Starting with the T side
We have 3 classes of map here, the largest group with slightly above 40% AWP buy rates in Cache, Overpass, Train and Mirage. The 2 slightly below 40% AWP buy rates in Inferno and Cobble, and as always Nuke out on it’s own.
Nuke’s unique complex of tight corridors and indoor spaces don’t play to the strength of the sniper so AWP cat and mouse games are less common. Even so the effectively meaningless levels of double AWP buy makes the T side map stats fairly uninteresting.
Because there are 3 types there’s a bit more to discuss on the CT side of things, and we can see how the variations interact. Unsurprisingly Train, with 2 AWP friendly bomb sites, is the most common place for double AWP buys. This is also because CTs do well on Train so they more often have the money to make the buy.
Cobble, Cache and Mirage all have similar levels of double AWP usage. Inferno and Overpass are on the next step down, but whereas Inferno’s single AWP buy rates still lag behind non-AWP buy rates Overpass’s single AWP buy rates surpass the non-AWP buy. So while the single AWP on Overpass is top priority the double is much less popular.
I would lean my interpretation of that towards the AWP coverage of A being considered sufficient on Overpass. The diagram below show’s Fallen’s AWP kills on Overpass in 2017. The green spots are his position, the red his victim’s and the lines are the path of the shot. It’s clear that A constitutes the lions share of the kills and that B receives reduced coverage, although his tendency to attack A short rather than long might be considered a little unusual. Perhaps attackers against SK try to avoid him on long.
GuardiaN’s AWP kill map is even more pronounced. Although he obviously does get into B sometimes, there’s a very strong concentration of kills coming from A long from within the CT spawn on A, which is as you’d expect given the enormous sight line there.
Obviously the geometry of the map makes a big difference in this case. B is a much more compact point that doesn’t have such exploitable sight lines so teams aren’t defending it with the AWP in the same way they can defend A, and as these diagrams show you can defend B from directly underneath A although it’s a little difficult to get there.
But that’s not the end of the story for Overpass. It we look at double AWP CT setups and their win rates, there are some interesting results.
Obviously double AWP is a big investment and this represents the CTs having a lot of money so naturally win rates are high. The margins here are very fine, but there are some differences. Nuke has the highest win rate, but the Nuke data is noisier as it has a smaller sample size. However Overpass is played a lot and that has the 2nd highest win rate for a double AWP setup despite having a relatively low instance of buying on it.
Buying a double AWP setup is a big commitment so team don’t always do it unless they’re sure it’s worth it. As we’ve seen above success rate varies, so how often do teams turn their eco into double AWP buys when they have the chance?
Above in the success rate chart Inferno has the lowest double AWP round wins on the CT side, so it makes sense that teams would be tentative about using it. But Overpass has a very good double AWP success rate and there’s still only a 50% investment rate into double AWPs when CTs have the option.
On Cache, Cobble, Train and Mirage it seems almost everybody picks up the double AWP when the eco situation allows it.
Looking at which teams commit to the setup on Overpass when they have the resources to do so, we can see a big split in attitudes towards this approach. Of the big name teams, G2 are currently the highest rated that like the setup going for it every time it’s available.
If we look at a map of G2’s CT sided AWP kills on Overpass we can see that although we don’t have as much data for them as they have had a few long breaks last year, it’s much more evenly spread between the 2 bomb sites than the individual activity for Fallen or GuardiaN that we examined before.
There is plenty of activity in Jungle and around B in general instead of just moving to defend from under A.
Amongst the really big names though, Astralis are very reluctant to try this and SK err on the side of caution. Faze are 50/50, and with olofmeister as their secondary AWPer it seems there is an element of individual skill involved. Astralis are known as a strat and execution focused team, not short on skill but willing to use it within the framework of a set tactical approach. It appears double AWP is only a footnote in the Astralis playbook.
FaZe on the other hand have a lot of players that have high individual skill and they use it, so it makes sense that sometimes olof picks up the AWP as well to defend B while GuardiaN holds down the A site.
This also tells us however that the success rate of the double AWP on Overpass is not down to the better teams using it, it’s a mixed picture but the numbers imply there is no obvious reason to stay away from it.
One interpretation may be that in it’s current state it is an inherently random choice so hard to predict, and therefore hard to exploit. You would have to be a better CS strategist than I to make that determination, but maybe teams are just underestimating the value of the CT AWP in defending Overpass B.