Redditor /u/Nydusurmainus crafted a response to what he saw as excessive community criticism of competitive Counter Strike: Global Offensive player Taco’s performance in a series played between the high-tier teams SK Gaming and Ninjas In Pyjamas. In his view, the community outrage that has targeted Taco due to his play statistics from the matches (e.g. kill/death ratio) is misplaced and fails to account for how Taco and his team actually performed round to round. We’ve posted in this vein previously with an article titled “Statistics only go so far.”
There are some arguable flaws in /u/Nydusurmainus’ analytical methodology, such as opening himself up to confirmation bias, but his overall point stands strong: you cannot just take the numbers to assess a player’s efficacy. The stats need context to determine whether they show above- or below-par performance. In looking at the actual matches, /u/Nydusurmainus finds important factors influencing Taco’s stats. For example, Taco usually functions in a support/flank/rearguard role. He often sacrifices his own cash pool to equip a teammate, increasing their power at cost to his own. When nobody from the enemy team tries to flank around back, his rearguard potential goes unharnessed. Taco repeatedly was pushed into unlikely-to-win scenarios where his teammates fell elsewhere on the map, leaving him to hide or attempt a retake while outnumbered.
The analysis is not exhaustive and cannot be taken to mean that Taco played superbly. But it does provide an important caution about jumping on a group-think bandwagon and looking at (un)impressive numbers without understanding the context against which those statistics must be evaluated to have useful meaning. This is the type of skeptical, critical, and analytical approach that gamers should try to take when reflecting on matches, whether as a player or as a spectator.