Astralis is often not aiming at head height and nobody is talking about it
I noticed that Astralis is often not aiming at head height (especially xyp9x and gla1ve) and I wanted to tell you guys why it's so smart and how huge of a part that plays in their success. This is mostly not true for pistol rounds / force buys, but even here they often go for bodyshots (even with USP or glock).
I know many people will say "Of course they are aiming at head height, they are pro players, what is he talking about?". Well, every player that plays Counter-Strike has heard "keep your crosshair at head height" a ton of times. You never see anybody question it and you surely don't see anyone on a pro level aim at stomach height. But if you watch Astralis play you will notice that their crosshair is not at head height, it's actually around the chest if possible. Of course they are aiming at head height when the enemy is playing a headshot position.
There are a ton of reasons not to aim at head height (even on a pro level). Here are some of them:
- Getting slowed down after being shot is hugely influential in a fight. If you go for bodyshots your enemy will be slowed down resulting in them over/underflicking because adjusting to the speed change can be difficult.
- It's a lot more likely to hit the enemy when aiming at chest height. This one is obvious. This also allows them to always get the frags that you have to get.
- Spamming smokes is a lot easier because of the previous 2 points. Spamming a spot where enemies have to rush out and you just spam their body. They will slow down resulting in you hitting your next shots as well. How often have we seen other pro players just narrowly miss the head of an enemy. It's not only that you don't damage him - it's about you making your next shots more unlikely to hit as well. Gla1ve and xyp9x of course have an insane understanding of the game but thinking that they are somehow the only 2 people that know timings of pro teams is surely questionable. And how likely would it be that exactly the 5 people that are good at spamming smokes are in the same team?
- If gla1ve for example is fighting against another player he will most likely hit him for 50 before he gets shot back. Gla1ve hits the first 2 bullets in the chest while the enemy is still trying to hit the head. Most players dont hit an headshot with their first or second bullet.
- Trading is a lot easier. If gla1ve dies in that fight, his teammate only needs to hit him twice as well - really likely considering the enemy know has to the headshot to survive because gla1ve's teammate will shoot him in the chest also.
- Multikills are likely. How many times have we seen gla1ve or xyp9x get these insane multifrags? You never see "xyp9x 4k headshot hold" on the frontpage, but "xyp9x 4k spraydown". If you watch these clips, they are almost always aiming at chest height. You will get the first frag in 90% of the times. Probably even the second one, because the enemy is trying to headshot you. With a bit of luck you also get the third one. And this is often the case with Astralis.
Now think about this: Astralis might have noticed that this is actually a better way to fight. And how can you make this even better? By nading the enemies so that you don't even have to hit them 4 times. Even hitting the enemy for ~20 will make you only have to hit them 3 times now with an AK (-81 in 3 hits). Imagine how unfair that is: An Astralis player peeks around the corner and he will hit you with his first 3 bullets and you will die. If you want to survive you will have to hit a headshot with your first 3 bullets (and if you're unlucky you have an M4 and he has full hp).If a nade hits you for 50 you are already done. You will not survive going around a corner.Do this while staying at an off angle (which guarantees you a couple of free shots) and you are nearly invincible. Even if you get flashed you will have a really good chance to kill the enemy - just look at gla1ve and xyp9x holding an angle where they expect a peek. They get flashed and they still get the kill - because they are not going for the headshot.
We see these insane 3k/4k Spraydowns from Astralis that have little to do with strategy or teamplay. So how come that all of these Astralis players can do this? They surely are not the only mechanically skilled team out there. And this might be the reason.
Hitting the headshot is the most effective way to kill an enemy - but spraying their body is the most efficient.
The more you think about this the better it becomes.
Tell me your thoughts, I'm curious!
Edit: For people asking for examples here is an album that I quickly did while skipping through their game against NRG in the semifinals of the berlin major.