Welcome! With Tier 1 CS:GO set to resume in a few short days, I figured it was a good time to share my research into what wins CS:GO tournaments on Draftkings.

Before I jump in, let me outline my criteria. I counted all slates from the end of the summer player break (August 26th) until the last Tier One tournament ended in December. The data includes any tournaments in Europe (including CIS) and North America, and does not include tournaments that were Asia/Oceanic or South America only, as there are often huge favorites and/or weird pricing in those and I didn’t want to skew the data (when SA teams are part of a bigger slate they were included). When I say SA I mean teams that currently play there, Furia and MiBR and classified as NA teams since that’s where they are now based out of.

I used tournaments that had total prize pools of $10,000+ and a buy-in of under $20 (the only tournaments over $10k on a given day were the big $10/12 and then sometimes the $222 or $180, the high dollar value tournaments are not included since they have so few participants).

What I looked at was what lineup constructions won slates/finished in the top 1% of slates compared to how often they were used overall. That latter piece is important because without it you may be led to believe that a certain lineup construction was better than another when in reality it wasn’t. To illustrate what I mean, if I told you (these are not actual numbers) that on 2 game slates a 3/3 lineup construction and a 3/2/1 lineup construction each won 50% of tournaments, which one would you say is better or are they equal? It’s a trick question, because you need to know how many total lineups there are of each. If 90% of the field is running 3/3 and 10% is running 3/2/1 (again, not actual numbers, just to be clear) but they each win half the time, the 3/2/1 construction would clearly be superior. Hopefully that makes sense.

The constructions I looked at are 3/3, 3/2/1, and 2/2. What 3/3 means is 3 players from 2 different teams. By default this means they are from different games and therefore cannot be a gamestack. 3/2/1 means 3 players from Team A, 2 from Team B, and 1 from Team C. There can be game stacking here, Team A and B can be from the same game, Team A and C can be from the same game, or Team B and C can be from the same game. 2/2 means 2 players from Team A, 2 from Team B (Team A and B could theoretically be opponents), and then either 2 from team C or 1 from Team C and 1 from Team D. Of course there are other lineup constructions possible, particularly on larger slates, but they’re not as common so I’ve grouped them all together as “Other”. Note that on 2 game slates, 2/2 lineups are also considered other because they require either a gamestack or a 2/1 from each game.

This article is fairly lengthy, so if you want a TLDR, scroll to the bottom for the very brief summary, but I do think all the data is worth looking at yourself. Maybe there’s an angle I’ve missed or a conclusion I failed to draw. Let me know in Discord or on Twitter if you think there’s something else I should look at or if you want to look at the raw data yourself.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

2 Game Slate Lineup Construction

We have a sample size of 30 2 game slates, 2nd largest only behind 4 game slates (37). Across those 30 slates, the breakdown of lineups looks like this:

Lineup Style 3/3 3/2/1 Other
Percent Used 37.40% 42.68% 19.92%

As you can see, 3/2/1 is the most popular lineup construction, followed closely by 3/3. A whopping ~20% of lineups went away from those constructions, opting for either 2-1/2-1, 2-2-2, or 3-1-1-1 constructions. It is worth noting that a decent amount of these 2 game slates featured Zywoo and/or S1mple, both of whom are incredibly popular one-offs, which may push the data a tiny bit towards 3/2/1 and Other.

Now, let’s look at what won on 2 game slates:

Lineup Style 3/3 3/2/1 Other
Percent Used 37.40% 42.68% 19.92%
1st Place Finishes 23.33% 56.67% 20.00%

As we can see, 3/2/1 was also the most frequent winner, this time by a pretty substantial margin. Of the 30 slates,  17 were won by 3/2/1 lineups. Adding in a row to clearly show the Differences and we see:

Lineup Style 3/3 3/2/1 Other
Percent Used 37.40% 42.68% 19.92%
1st Place Finishes 23.33% 56.67% 20.00%
Wins Minus Used -14.06% 13.98% 0.08%

As was fairly obvious on the last chart, 3/2/1 lineup constructions are winning more often than they are used, while 3/3 lineups are winning far less frequently than they are played. It’s also worth noting that 5/7 times a 3/3 lineup won, it was duped, while only 6/17 times the 3/2/1 lineup won was it duped.

Now, before I post the top 1% data, I don’t actually think it’s very useful on these 2 games slates. Particularly when 3/3 lineups are best (aka both matchups are blowouts), the entire top 1%, and remember the contests are small to the point where the top 1% is only 15-20 lineups a lot of the time, is 2-4 unique lineups that are duped a bunch of times. However, in case you want to draw your own conclusions I’ll show the data here.

Lineup Style 3/3 3/2/1 Other
Percent Used 37.40% 42.68% 19.92%
Top 1% of Lineups 44.79% 43.52% 11.69%
Wins Minus Used 7.39% 0.84% -8.23%

This chart shows that 3/3 lineups actually make up the top 1% of lineups more often than they are used. However, as I mentioned, that’s mostly due to the top 1% being overwhelmingly 3/3 on the days that 3/3 lineups win. On average, 89.7% of the top 1% of lineups are 3/3’s on the 7 slates where 3/3 was the winning construction. On days when 3/3 didn’t win, 3/3 lineups only made up 27.6% of the top 1%.

I do think that the “Other” lineups lagging so far behind in the top 1% is slightly more useful data. Even on the slates that they were winners, “Other” lineup constructions only averaged just over 32% of the top 1%. On days they didn’t win they made up just 7.6% of the top 1%.

3/2/1 Lineups averaged 51% of the top 1% on days they were winners, and 30.5% on days they didn’t win.

 

Lineup Building Takeaways

*Just to be crystal clear, this is only advice for large field GPP’s, I haven’t done any analysis on small field stuff like the daily $222s or Single entry tournaments*

Personally, I think this data is painting a pretty clear picture: 3/2/1 lineups are winning tournaments far more frequently than 3/3 lineup constructions, and chopping less when they do win, yet the rates that people run them at are pretty close to each other.

I will definitely be shifting a larger portion of my lineups on 2 game slates to 3/2/1 style lineups. Of course, moving to 3/2/1 opens up a ton more possibilities in lineup construction, which is likely one of the reasons 3/3 is so popular despite not actually winning tournaments all that often. It takes a lot less lineups to cover the “best” lineup configurations.

Since 3/2/1 opens a lot more possibilities, let’s take a look and see if there’s anything we can do to narrow them down a little bit more.

 

Narrowing Down 3/2/1 Possibilities

The first place a thought to look is captain. The captain can of course come from either the 3, 2, or 1 stack in the lineup. However, the captain was only the one-off 2/17 times the 3/2/1 was the winning lineup. Once it was a S1mple captain with 2 opponents, and once a Zywoo captain with 2 opponents. They are the two most unique players in CS:GO, in that they can put up huge DFS scores while the rest of their team flounders (this is now compounded for Zywoo by the frequent subbing Vitality does, especially considering that the would be 2nd and 3rd best DFS targets are mixed up in the subbing shenanigans). If Navi or Vitality aren’t on the 2 game slate, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your captain always has at least 1 teammate in the lineup.

The next thing to look at are gamestacks. I consider anything over 3 players from 1 game to be a game stack on a 2 game slate. This means either the 3 and the 2 stack could be from the same game, or the 3 and the 1 stack could be from the same game. If the 3 stack is from one game and the 2 and 1 stacks are from the other game, I do not consider it a game stack. I was easily able to tabulate how many lineups used a 3/2 gamestack, however tracking when 3/1 gamestacks were used proved much more challenging, so I only have data on how often it won, not how often it was used.

Full disclosure I have previously been very openly anti-gamestack. I was a bit surprised at how well they did. Here are the numbers for 3/2 gamestacks:

Lineup Style 3/2 Gamestack
Percent Used 3.51%
1st Place Finishes 3.33%
Top 1% of Lineups 3.66%

Note that these numbers are for all lineups, meaning that 3.5% of all lineups entered were 3/2 gamestacks, not that 3.5% of 3/2/1 lineups were 3/2 gamestacks. Now the 3.33% win rate represents 1 out of the 30 slates, so this is definitely a place where sample size could be an issue. That said, the Top 1% rate does pretty much match up, so maybe the win rate is actually about right. All that said, these are still being used at about the same rate they are winning, and the rates themselves are low. I don’t see any reason to start full on 5 man gamestacking 1 game, even on 2 game slates.

What I was more surprised by, was how often 3-1 gamestacks won. It was only 3 out of of the 17 times a 3/2/1 lineup won, but that 10% overall (17.6% of the time when a 3/2/1 lineup was the winner) winrate was much higher than I expected. Unfortunately, I don’t know of an easy way to get the data on exactly how many entries were 3/1 gamestacks other than painstakingly looking thru every single lineup, so I don’t know how often this style was being run. However, it’s winning enough that I’m going to allow at least a small portion of my lineups to be 3/1 gamestacks (I have always forced 3 from each game in the past).

The 3/1 gamestack seems particularly useful in situations where there is a big favorites and their opponent has an underpriced star player or two. For example, let’s say Team A is a heavy favorite over Team B, while Team C is a small favorite over Team D. The best players on Team A are all $9k+ while Team B’s stud(s) is around $6k. The best players on both Teams B and C are $7-8k. I think playing a 3 stack from team A with the best player from Team B makes a lot of sense, as it opens up construction options you didn’t otherwise have.

 

Summary

To summarize this quite long article: Play more 3/2/1’s on 2 game slates. Don’t be afraid to gamestack with a 3/1 from the same game, particularly when pricing dictates it makes sense.

 

Hopefully this will be useful data for you, I’ll be back soon with breakdowns of the larger slate sizes.

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