[CS:GO] Play to your outs: roca heroic 1v4

(1:01:00-1:01:16) In this post we look at a very intense and short 1 vs. 4 fight won by CS:GO player roca in a recent ESL Pro League match. The moment lets us get at the cross-game rule “play to your outs,” a theme that has come up explicitly in two previous posts on this site. There’s no point for roca in trying to play around correct lines from his opponents, since he cannot beat proper play and cannot escape. Instead, he his forced to assume his opponents will err and be ready to jump on the opportunities. The fight happens in a very short timespan, so instead of breaking it into pieces each only a couple of seconds long, let us look at it in one go and refer to the timestamps mentioned in the discussion to scrub to and revisit as necessary:

To the extent CLG allows, roca’s specific job here is to find a series of 1v1s, each time seeking to have cover against the directions of the other likely approachers. He wants as much as possible to avoid being visible to two or more opponents at once (always true in CS:GO, but especially so here). CLG’s job, which they fail at utterly, is to communicate and coordinate, to deduce roca’s exact position as precisely as possible and jointly peek him from two or more angles at once. The goal behind this ideal approach for CLG is to force a scenario where even if roca gets a kill on one of the people peeking him, he dies from the other peeker’s angle without being able to point a weapon in that direction.

At 1:01:01 roca fires unsuccessfully at CLG Rickeh, and the sound gives away his position. The four living counter-terrorists close in on the spot from different directions. The 1v4 is on.

At 1:01:06, roca gets his first kill of the 1v4 on the far side of the trainbed in the center of the bomb site, though we cannot see detail with this camera angle. By staying on that side of the obstacle, he holds cover against the correctly-assumed approaches of 2 of the remaining opponents, coming through the short path from the other bombsite. Without more onscreen detail in the cast, we can only say that unsuccessful peek by CLG FNS was hasty, as his other teammates are not yet close enough to simultaneously peek.

Then we see a really stupid maneuver by CLG nahtE that culminates with his death at 1:01:09. He runs up to the trainbed and jumps atop it to peek the far side where they know roca must somewhere be waiting. Sound is an extremely important scouting tool in Counter Strike, and roca is able to both hear nahtE’s non-walking approach and his jump landing on the metal trainbed. nahtE is alone, his exact position known to roca while only roca’s general position is known in turn. Thus, the 1v1 that nahtE forces is disadvantaged due to the information asymmetry, and he is predictably killed for his efforts. He should have worked to help prepare a 2v1, using his close position near the train to hear if roca repositions with a noise-making run or jump.

After this startlingly ill-considered asyemmetrically informed solo push, roca cleans up the remaining two opponents with two more unnecessarily gifted 1v1 scenarios, though at least these last two CTs almost peeked together.

(1:01:28-1:01:40) The commentator, JRTTV on Twitch, takes a brief moment in the timeout period after the fight to broadly confirm the foolishness of CLG’s gifting roca with a series of sequential 1v1s instead of peeking together:

Roca gave himself the chances he needed to get lucky, preparing for a series of 1v1s and fortunately being gifted them by overly hasty opponents. He played to his outs, making guesses about the likely approaches and timings of his opponents, keeping covered from the angles of enemy reinforcements, listening for ill-advised solo rushes on his position, and finding the headshots he needed before his opponents could do the same in each of the four duels that they allowed.

[Civ V] Luck favors the prepared

Civilization V streamer BabaYetu uses a time-honored technique to try and milk the most out of an ancient ruin that his warrior (his southeastern unit) finds. Each ancient ruin contains a one time random bonus, which can be an instant extra citizen in the nearest city. Mechanically, this bonus gives the city exactly as much food as it needs to grow to the next size. Thus the free pop is less valuable if your city has stored food for growing the next pop, and more valuable if you’ve just grown and are at 0% towards yet another pop.

On turn 5 at the start of the clip Amsterdam is only one turn away from growing naturally, so getting a pop ruin would not save very much food. By waiting one turn for the city to reach size 2 on its own, Baba gives himself chances for a pop ruin to boost him all the way from from 2 to 3, saving 8 turns.

In this case, the ruin contained “evidence of recent barbarian activity” (the worst of the possible bonuses). Still, Baba played accurately by setting himself to get the most value in case it were a pop ruin. The idea behind the play is related to the concept of “playing to your outs” used in Magic: The Gathering strategy. Luck favors the prepared.

[FTL] Eke out marginal advantage, create opportunities for luck

At the start of this post's source video, FTL player DarkTwinge (DT) was in a very bad spot. Without fuel for his warp drive, he drifted until the pursuing rebel fleet overtook him, leading to hard combats and low rewards. With only difficult choices available, DT does his best to survive. In these clips we'll see ideas of marginal value, cooldown rotation management, threshold of effect, and luck favoring the prepared.

In the first fight (not shown here), DT won 4 fuel but took more hull damage. In these two clips from the second fight (vs another elite fighter), he's still in rebel space. Since DT now has a small buffer of extra fuel, and since elite rebels drop poor loot, his goal is to escape taking minimal damage rather than to destroy the enemy ship.

DT activates cloaking to dodge just a moment before the first salvo reaches him, eking out every bit of marginal value. An earlier cloak would have been wasted while the shots were still harmlessly mid-flight, and would also expose his ship to danger earlier by moving up the decloak time. By activating at the last second, he forces the enemy to sit wastefully on recharged weapons for longer on the far end of the cloak's duration:
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