The Progression of Utility in Professional CS:GO

With the Astralis era fully coming in after their victory in London at the FACEIT Major, a lot of their success in recent months has been attributed to their work ethic & capability of preparing correctly for each upcoming fixture.

One of the things that people have been highlighting in recent months, is their ability to fully utilise their utility in-game. While it’s very easy to look at the numbers and think — “Wow! 36.1 utility ADR by the team at the Major, that seems high!” — Those who are not fully involved in the game may see that number and think it’s quite low when thinking each player puts out around 6 damage per round with grenades. It’s a safe assumption to state that Astralis are the best team when it comes to using their grenades best in order to increase their chances of winning, however, I have decided to look into the past and see just how far ahead of others they are.

To start things off, I’ll show an example of the “modern day” CS:GO utility usage. Below is a list of the teams who have been in the HLTV Top 10 rankings this year and it shows their utility ADR. The lowest team, Cloud9, average around 16.5 damage per round with utility alone. In modern CS:GO, this is low. As mentioned earlier, the team with the highest utility damage per round is Astralis at 28.6. This is very high.

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HLTV.org — Teams that have been in the Top 10 rankings in 2018

The average utility ADR for a team that has been in the HLTV top 10 rankings is 19.9. This figure will be the most used when comparing with previous years. Due to HLTV not logging the Utility ADR until late 2015, there was no data available through the site for that year. The next best is 2016:

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HLTV.org — Teams that have been in the Top 10 rankings in 2016

When comparing 2016 to 2018, there’s a clear difference in the Utility ADR. In 2018, the lowest team was Cloud9 with 16.5 ADR, in 2016 it was G2 with 9.8(!). A massive difference of -6.8 ADR. The highest in the 2018 table was Astralis with 28.6 ADR, in 2016 it was fnatic with 23.0. Another big difference, this time -5.6 ADR. The average utility ADR in 2018 was 19.9, whereas it was 16.2 in 2018. Again, a huge difference — this time -3.7. As a pure comparison, it’s already clear that teams have been increasing their USE of utility — this can be assumed in various ways.

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HLTV.org — Teams that have been in the Top 10 rankings in 2017

To completely see if there’s been a slow increase in grenade ability, I decided to compare with 2017 as well. The highest team this time, is Gambit who won the PGL Major in Krakow that year. They had 26.1 ADR through utility use. The difference between the top team in 2017 & 2018 is only -2.5 ADR now. The gap is decreasing. The lowest team was G2 once more, this time with 14.8 ADR which is an increase on the previous year. However, they have managed to close the gap when compared to the lowest utility ADR in 2018 — a difference of -1.7 ADR. The average utility ADR in 2017, however, was 18.3.

It’s clear that there has been a growing trend in recent years that teams have been increasing their use and ability to use grenades properly and these tables have shown that to be true.

To summarise:

Average Utility ADR of a top 10 team in 2016: 16.2

Average Utility ADR of a top 10 team in 2017: 18.3

Average Utility ADR of a top 10 team in 2018: 19.9

These separate stats, in my opinion, show that the teams have been improving each year. With Astralis’ huge jump in recent months, a lot more notice has been coming towards this section of the game and therefore, other teams have been looking into it themselves. The preparation & work ethic that Astralis are known for has allowed them to put themselves in the best position possible to succeed. One of the things not mentioned earlier on in this post, is that the ability to throw in an additional 30 damage per round through utility, allows the CT side to get kills a lot easier — in theory, if a player gets hit by a grenade or double grenade and loses 15 health, they are then susceptible to death through one shot from an M4. This is one of the advantages of being on the T side, completely negated thanks to utility. The average player may not think there’s much to these numbers, but to those who are involved in the game at a high level, they will know that increases like this indicate a shift in the meta and, arguably, the skill of the scene. It’s clear that Astralis are playing the best CS we have ever seen in every way possible.

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