An unpleasant situation occurred during the major: chopper, Patsi, and degster began to remember and express all their discontent with the first half of the year. Fortunately, the conflict wasn't as huge as Spirit's success at IEM Rio. The team advanced much further than Abdul Gasanov's new team, taking an honorable 5th-8th place. However, it divided the community into two camps: Team Spirit and degster haters. Some believe the "Dragons" are spiteful, while others discuss their former AWPer's character. By the way, Abdul has promised to tell more about the situation after the end of the major. The worst is yet to come.
We will try to analyze how the change of the coach affected degster, why the w0nderful option still looks better, and how different the two AWPers are and what they bring to the team.
We need to narrow down the studied matches to be more accurate, just like we did in the Outsiders analysis. Nuke has been the most selected map before and after degster's transfer to OG, and the AWPer plays a huge role there. According to the HLTV summer research, AWPer's position on Nuke is one of the most productive on the pro scene by his average rating 2.0.
We based our analysis on the three most illustrative periods of Team Spirit: with Certus as a coach at the end of 2021 (PGL Stockholm Major), with hally before (PGL Antwerp Major) and after degster quit. The subject of analysis was the AWPers' stats, tactics, and playing style.
#1: Certus needed a "pure" AWPer more than hally
First, let's look at the percentage of kills with different weapons.
The HLTV 2021 diagrams look even more contrasting:
They show us that Abdul and Ihor have different career paths. Since ESPADA, Degster has been a "pure" AWPer who had over 50% of AWP kills, while Team Spirit's new AWPer spent 2020 and 2021 in Trasko Esports and partly in HellRaisers. Ihor didn't look like a player who used only an AWP. What's more, in his first year, reflected on HLTV (2019), he played with an AK-47/M4 much more often.
W0nderful is a "retrained" AWPer like broky who still demonstrates some elements of a usual rifler's playing style: close planting, rounds with the rifles mentioned above, and active moves on the map.
An analysis of the last fall's matches provides a map of degster's locations in the AWP rounds:
When Certus was a coach, degster usually had 5 or 6 locations at the beginning of the round. The team's scheme changed accordingly: for instance, Patsi could become another A anchor if degster took the street or the hangar. This variability shows how much attention the former Team Spirit coach paid to AWP in Abdul's hands.
If we look at the team's matches in Antwerp, we will see that he loves the highest position. Of course, there are other options, but the start control is limited to the bombsite A above and a long sight on the part of the street. This is how hally sees the game: the analyst replaced the main coach in February and demonstrated that he would develop the team differently. We cannot say it has influenced degster's stats dramatically: his rating 2.0, K/D, and other rates are as high as before. What is interesting, however, is that the opening duel success rate has decreased by almost 10%. It is understandable, as the rating is stable even when there are fewer moments, as the implementation remains the same. As the players say, "Team Spirit stopped focusing on degster too much in the first half of 2022." There were strategic reasons for this, which also brought results during the major playoff.
#2: w0nderful is a perfect solution for hally, which shows w0nderful's value and hally's view of the game
The comparison between w0nderful and broky was useful. Right now, Ihor is not something between AWPer and non-AWPer, increases his stats with an AWP, but sometimes keeps playing as a rifler by force of habit. Nuke, the map where an AWP makes the difference, is another story. Not using an AWP in defense is like ignoring the meta and building a new team style from scratch.
How does it work in Team Spirit? Let's look at the schemes. Given that w0nderful uses an AWP as much as degster loves the highest position, the default looks like this:
Now let's look at other options:
Let's return to the kill percentage at the beginning of our material. Note that in 2022 degster still used AK-47/M4 more often than w0nderful, despite their playing style. One of the explanations: at first, hally only examined the meta changes on Nuke and then he found a player who could replace degster and become a more stable rifler.
W0nderful's stats in Team Spirit are currently as good as degster's at the time of his transfer to OG.
We'll see what will be next at the IEM Rio Major playoff and the upcoming tournaments. Either he will become a "pure" AWPer or hally will keep developing the current model.
#3: Does degster truly have "more freedom" in OG?
It is perhaps the most discussed and controversial question. We will highlight the main points.
Degster's stats are at the same level. Even though his style has yet to improve, he impacts the game as much as before. That's why we should appreciate him a little more than usual. Although degster complains about uncomfortable positions, he adapts and works at his best.
He still partly plays as a rifler. The main paradox is that OG has a Nuke analog in their active map pool where AWP is valued just as highly — it's Mirage. The AK-47/M4 kill rate is the same — about 28%, as in Team Spirit in spring. If this factor reflects degster's versatility rather than another adjustment to the coach's idea, there is no point in analyzing the use of different weapons.
The only positive change was the participation in the opening duels: the same rate we were worried about when we studied the spring games. 23% of defense with an AWP is not the Team Spirit's 2021 level but is a significant improvement. Remember that OG has a forward, flameZ, who takes some of these stats by default.
As we see from the interviews and latest comments, Abdul is comfortable in OG. This is the main thing because his current playing form (close to his Rio de Janeiro peak) results from comfortable conditions. These conditions make career growth easier, especially since there are no rumors about replacements in OG, even after their relegation from the major.
Team Spirit has been among the most interesting teams for the last six months. It is the dark horse that changes from major to major and surprises top teams. We can compare it to Bad News Eagles, though Team Spirit is a richer and more experienced organization.
The Dragons' and w0nderful's growth gives food for thought and encourages us to support the team despite their outsider status, even among the CIS teams. In the IEM Rio Major quarterfinals on November 11, Team Spirit lost to Heroic 2-0. The elimination from the same stage as NAVI can hardly be considered a failure. Besides, it was the first time the community saw that w0nderful could also be an x-factor. The next matches featuring Team Spirit will be at ESL Challenger League 43. The "Dragons" are to go to the playoff bracket and fight for the only slot in ESL Pro League Conference. Let's raise our shields for them.