‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
I thought I’d take the time to state the different positions and roles that Stewie2K and TACO played in MIBR and Liquid respectively. That way we have a kind of basis to see what will have changed in the Liquid team going forward (I considered doing it the other way as well, but MIBR is changing two pieces which makes it harder to do the comparison).
TACO CT-side roles:
In this section I’ll list his basic positions on each map and playstyle. On Mirage, Cache, Dust2, Train, and Overpass he is the small site anchor. On Nuke he plays ramp. On Inferno, he is the A-site support player.
In addition to that he sometimes also uses the AWP. On Mirage he can be used as the secondary AWPer behind nitr0 and on Inferno, he was the primary AWPer on the CT-side towards the end of that lineups run. When he used the AWP, he played on the A-site.
When I measure the level of aggression-passive play, I’d say he’s somewhere around 10/90, 10% aggressive, 90% passive. In the cases where he is aggressive, he teams up with a player and generally creates first contact with his teammate. On Mirage for instance, he and EliGE can play aggressively either at top mid or in underpass. On Cache, he’ll be the one to push out towards the sunroom with NAF following behind him to trade him. Most of the time though, TACO plays a more passive role as he plays based on time, reads, and information. Finally, in terms of intangibles, we know that he was the caller for whatever site he was playing on.
Now let’s take a look at Stewie2K’s general positions. He played the B-site on Dust2, Inferno, Train, and Overpass. This is the same as TACO for three out of the four maps (barring Inferno). Outside of that he was the A-site player on Mirage and Cache. Like TACO, Stewie2K was also the secondary AWPer at points, most notably Dust2 and Train. Finally Stewie2k doesn’t play Nuke.
When we look at playstyles though, the players differ. I’d say that Stewie2k was closer to a 25/75 split in terms of aggression to passive play split. In terms of communication on the CT-side, we don’t know much about Stewie2k, though he was the in-game leader for Cloud9 for awhile and so I think it’s safe to say that he does communicate well. In terms of playstyle, while he’s shown versatility during his time in MIBR, I’d assume that his Cloud9 days were closer to his idealized way of playing. If that’s the case, he is someone who likes to play around smoke, to take risks, and likes to fight for the sites rather than fallback.
Comparing TACO and Stewie2k:
So what exactly is going to change with TACO leaving and Stewie2K coming in? I’d say the obvious maps to look at are Mirage, Inferno, Cache, and Nuke. Among the maps, I think the least problematic would be Mirage and Cache as those are more individually based maps and allow for a bit more looseness in terms of how the sites could be played. The bigger differential here is Inferno and Nuke. TACO and other Liquid players have already come out and said that TACO was the primary caller for whatever site he was holding. Stewie2K as far as I know, was a primary B-site anchor for MIBR and Cloud9. As that’s the case, I don’t think he can slot in so easily on that particular map and so my assumption is that they’ll move nitr0 over to the A-site to fill out TACO’s role and let Stewie2k take the B-site position.
As for Nuke, I think Liquid kind of lose out there. I don’t see Stewie2k as a ramp player and the problem is I don’t see any of the Liquid players as good ramp players outside of TACO. The map is also a heavy communication map, so even if they mess around and find the right configuration, their comms will take a hit in the short term. On the other hand, I think Stewie2K has generally been one of the better B-site anchors on Train, so the flipside of the equation is that he can help bolster Train in their map pool.
This is all speculation for now, so we’ll have to see what Liquid actually shows us when they hit the servers at IBP Masters. As for the T-side, I haven’t a clue as there are multiple ways they can setup the roles between the players, both in terms of roles and playstyles.