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The ability to drop utility was one of the biggest changes to Counter Strike: Global Offensive that came with Operation Riptide. With so little time between the update’s release and the start of the IEM Fall Regional Major Ranking tournament — the last chance for teams to qualify for the PGL Stockholm Major — pro teams didn’t have much time to revise their playbooks around the change.

That said, a number of different strategies have emerged over the course of IEM Fall, from gimmicky to giga-brain, that might work their way into the CS:GO competitive meta. We at Upcomer have broken down six of the best.

6. Mirage A – fake execute

When grenade dropping was first announced in CS:GO, a lot of Reddit brains first leaped to the potential for fake site executes as one of the more gimmicky uses for the mechanic. The efficacy of that particular play was put to the test by BIG in their match against mousesports on Mirage. Nicklas “gade” Gade was left a pile of smokes at his feet so he could commit the entire smoke execute on A Site while his teammates made their way to B.

At this point, most pro teams worth their salt don’t bite on a fake execute, even without the added tell of an extra second between each smoke landing. Mousesports didn’t budge, though BIG still ended up taking the round. That said, there’s still potential for this strategy to see occasional use, particularly in high-stress LAN situations where even the best players can make mistakes.

5. Inferno A – six flashes

This is a strat seemingly designed to tilt opponents into thrashing their monitor and uninstalling their game, but there’s enough competitive merit to snag the fifth spot on this list. In game two of their match against Movistar Riders, the Ninjas in Pyjamas’s IGL, Hampus “hampus” Poser, called for an Apartments push on their force buy. But first, the team deposited six flashes and their teammate, Nicolai “device” Reedtz, on a boosted, overhang position in Second Middle. After throwing a basic Moto smoke, device began to lob flash after flash over the Apartments in an effort to blind the CTs as his team waterfalled onto site.

Although NiP lost the round when the play was thwarted by a defender playing a close position, the idea has a lot of potential. If the Ts can establish Halls and Boiler control, this cheesy barrage of screen-flaring flash bangs can leave the CTs blind as mole rats and susceptible to a light buy loss.

4. Mirage A – leaving utility in the bank

This next strat is niche and probably won’t see a lot of use, but there’s some potential to the maneuver. Natus Vincere superstar, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, went for an A Ramp push on Mirage against Team Spirit. Because s1mple was playing alone on this highly risky contact peek, he made the clever decision to leave his smoke and two flashes in the spawn.

If he was to die on A, the $700 in utility wouldn’t necessarily go to waste. If the rest of his team rotated back to A through the T Spawn, they could use the smoke and flashes on a late execute. The problem with this play is that, should s1mple die, the CTs could go sniffing in T Spawn and find themselves their own lovely cache of unused utility. It’s a weird situation, but not impossible to replicate successfully.

3. Overpass – two B smokes

This grenade drop comes from Gambit’s CT on Overpass against forZe. It’s a small tactic but it could easily become commonplace. Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov dropped his smoke grenade before the round started so Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov could pick it up after he threw his own smoke to block off Monster.

This worked because nafany played the B Site, where the smokes offer more potential value to stifle Monster and Short aggression from the Ts. Sh1ro played topside around Bathrooms with the AWP, which tends to be a more contact-heavy position less reliant on utility.

Despite the simplicity of this quick handoff, it could become one of the more widely adopted meta strategies as teams move towards the major.

2. Dust 2 – HE barrage short

Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen was already known for his utility usage prior to the utility dropping changes. This game on Dust 2 against Sprout may have just crowned him as the king.

Averaging 42.1 in grenade damage per round, Aleksib was able to achieve this feat through strategic drops of HE grenades on the CT side. In this clip, Aleksib threw his first HE into Lower Tunnels before rotating back through CT Spawn to pick up another. His next throw netted him a frag on a Catwalk player.

OG were doing this all throughout their CT side, picking apart Sprout with a barrage of grenades. Although we haven’t seen much Dust 2 since the update, we can expect that this strat of leaving extra utility in CT Spawn, will become widespread.

1. Inferno B – grenade dropping… or juggling?

It will come as little surprise to anyone with a knack for strategic CS:GO that one of the most utilized areas for grenade dropping is supplying the B Inferno CTs with extra firepower to pepper the Ts with in Banana.

In this clip, we can see Dan “apEX” Madesclaire doing his best juggler impression, as he brings a stack of grenades with him over to B Site. The HE and incendiary grenades, in particular, were used by the B anchor players to jostle for control over Banana — a crucial section of the map.

Silly as it may look, variations of this strat are already the most common and most effective of the CS:GO grenade dropping tactics that have been implemented so far, which is why it tops this list. All that said, it’s uninspired and we eagerly look forward to seeing what other ideas teams cook up as they workshop for the 2021 PGL Stockholm Major.