The Chicago Huntsmen have put the fans of the CDL on notice that they are a powerhouse. As part of their early success, the Huntsmen have found lots of success in the respawn game modes. Chicago have found particular success around Domination on St. Petrograd where the Huntsmen have earned a 3-1 record. On St. Petrograd the Huntsmen have an average margin of victory of 77 points and are making a habit of crushing opponents on this map.
Punishing First Halfs
Coming into CDL Los Angeles, Chicago had the second-highest winning percentage amongst teams in the CDL winning just below 78% of their Domination maps. Chicago has found particular success on St. Petrograd with a handful of very impressive victories under their belts thus far. Two of Chicago’s three victories have come on the back of Chicago punishing their opponents in the first half of the map. The Huntsmen led the Toronto Ultra by 49 and the Paris Legion by 48 points at the half.
Chicago have been able to smother their opponents early and amass a significant lead going into the second half of maps. The giant leads Chicago manage to achieve create mental and mathematical advantages. For a team to look up to the scoreboard and see they are down by 40-50, this immediately pains a bleak image for the players. Understanding the road ahead which involves near perfection for five minutes is a feat most teams are incapable of achieving. This leads feeds into the mathematical challenge faced by a team that is down by this many points at the half. In Domination, each team is awarded points based on how many flags they have captured every five seconds or so. In a five minute half in order to make up a ~50 point deficit, a team would have to have all three flags captured for a considerable amount of time. These two obstacles combined make it nearly impossible for the losing team to overcome the 50-point hole. Yet, how exactly do Chicago build these crushing leads?
Opening the Floodgates
As part of the success the Huntsmen have found on this map, much of this spawns from the Huntsmen win the opening gunfights. By winning the opening gunfight, Chicago gives themself the opportunity to slowly move up on the map and provide pressure to their opponents’ spawn flag. By moving up the map, the Huntsmen push the spawn of their opponents farther and farther back give themselves greater map control. Once the Huntsmen have this map control, they have a large Rolodex of strategies they have successfully deployed. By obtaining this map control, the Huntsmen have a man-advantage that enables them to capture the B flag and giving them an immediate point advantage.
Winning the opening gunfight also makes it easier for the Huntsmen to hold the B flag on St. Petrograd. Once a few enemies have been killed, Chicago players are able to get into many of the power positions that surround the B flag and keep opponents guessing making it harder for them to retake this flag. By winning the opening gunfight, the Huntsmen successfully push up towards the spawn flag of their opponents and obtain favorable positioning to defend the B flag.
Becoming a Rock in the Shoe
Compounding on the Huntsmen’s success of finding the opening kill, Chicago have a great understanding of when to overextend into the opponents’ spawn. Chicago tend to send only one person into the enemy’s spawn. Typically, the person who overextends will jump onto the spawn flag of the opponent and attempt to neutralize (giving the enemy no points) or capturing the flag and completing a “triple cap”. The pressure that Chicago apply draws at least one if not two enemies to the spawn flag. This diverts attention from the other flags on the map and gives the Huntsmen a great advantage. If the Huntsmen do not hold the B flag, it makes it much easier for them to take advantage of the positioning it has created and enables them to capture B. This gives two flags to Chicago and tilts the score in Chicago’s favor for the time being. Just being a nuisance even for a second creates an advantage for the Huntsmen and lets them push up on the map and either capture B or neutralize or capture the spawn flag of the enemy. It is the culmination of Chicago’s different strategies that creates opportunities for the team and has led to their success early in the season.
Featured image courtesy of NRG