Banana is a key area of contention on Inferno for both T and CT sides, and the strats to get Banana control have stacked on top of each other for a decade now. It’s undoubtedly one of the most important areas in any of the CS maps.
So here’s a detailed guide as to how you can fight for Banana control early in the round to establish key map control, and possibly even win the round off it.
There are more variations of taking Banana control than you can think of, so it really depends on how your opponents tend to play certain situations. You can decide between playing passive or aggressive, and then there are a bunch of variations you can choose from to accomplish that aim.
A more passive, the old Gambit-styled play for Banana control relies lesser on utility. You might wanna save your utility for deeper in the round rather than use it all up early on. This is especially important when you only have 2 players on B and the rotator hasn’t dropped his utility nearby.
Your player with the best B spawn can throw a deep smoke near bottom of Banana and molly in front of it to thwart any aggressive ideas from the Ts. That player can play Sandbags for the rest of the early and mid round. As the Car molly from the Ts end, this player can throw a flash and peek Car. Alternatively, the two B players can just nade stack Logs. You still have one smoke on your B player, and maybe one molly as well. You can expend a little more if the rotator has dropped his utility for you near B or in CT Spawn.
One player can then play CT with a smoke or a molly in his hand and jiggle peek to get info, while the other player can play Second Oranges or maybe even Fountain if he has an AUG.
You should mix your passive approach with an occasional aggressive one as well. Let’s say that the Ts aren’t double-mollying Car (something we’ll talk about in the next section). In this case, you can play 3B early and expend a little key utility. You can smoke off Bottom Mid, throw a molly and a flash and get your AWPer in the Car position. If there’s silence for the next few seconds, and if the smoke clears and there’s no one, you can stack 4 on A and leave the AWPer there with almost a full set of utility.
This is a system I referred to in my s1mple CT-side AWPing article and is my personal favorite Banana play on the CT side.
The evolution of strats go hand in hand with the fact that the enemies are always trying to one-up each other, especially in a particular, concentrated area like Banana. As I mentioned earlier, one of the most effective CT side strat is to smoke Bottom Banana, and then molly/nade Logs and surrounding areas, as you see fit. As Ts, you cannot completely counter it, but you can do some things to limit the CTs Banana control.
Double mollying Car is the right answer. As a CT, getting visuals on Banana when the Bottom Banana smoke is up is equal to winning the area. As Ts, you should strive to not let that happen. Molly Car twice in a row, and you can counter the Bottom Banana smoke. 12 seconds of fire cancels out the 12 seconds of smoke, and then we’re back to square one. Alternatively, you can throw a Half-Wall smoke of your own to counter their Bottom Banana smoke.
Remollying Car is an extremely important nuance of T-side Banana control in general. The implications of it resonate for the rest of the round, and you can really force the CTs to give up Banana control and play more passively. If you have a solid presence on Banana and you don’t remolly Car, you can get peeked and nade stacked. If you have no presence, then the peeking CT can call Banana clear and play 4A 1B.
The importance of remollying Car cannot be stressed enough.
If the CTs go for the classic deep Banana smoke and molly in front of it, you can throw in your own smoke to get some, perhaps virtual, Banana control that’ll keep the CTs guessing. Don’t rush into Banana too early, though, or else you’ll get nade stacked by the CTs. Keep an eye on the nades the CTs are throwing. You can read their thought process off the nades they throw.
After you’re done with the early Banana control plays, and you’ve hopefully gotten control, it’s time to clear out Sandbags and that general area. A well-placed molly can do the trick, and an equal trade is a worst-case scenario for you. If the CTs are coordinated, the defending CTs will throw a flash or two to help the Sandbags CT’s escape. Be ready for those kinda plays.
Ideally, you should molly Sandbags, and immediately nade the angle where an AWPer could be holding or the Sandbag player might be falling back to. Overrunning the retreating CT with a flash of your own is a decent move as well. Nade stacking Sandbags is also a great and safe move.
A key nuance of playing Top Banana is to always have a T playing antiflash. Being pop flashed in Top Banana is easy as pie and hence, one flash could mean losing at least one player to the CT that’ll peek and also giving out a lot of information. Hence, it’s important to have a player stare at the blank wall.
One of the most interesting Banana control strats is one that Vitality likes to pull off in recent times. They basically throw a smoke from T Spawn that lands in the middle of Banana in a very specific manner. It’s a smoke that doesn’t extinguish the half-wall molly, which means that the Ts can be guaranteed that no CTs will be aggressing into the middle part of Banana. The bloom also gives cover for the Ts to cross into Logs, and gives another player an opportunity to find a safe spot behind the half-wall without being caught up by aggression.
It’s a great, fresh strat that I have come to love.
Notice that there’s a little gap at the Half-Wall end of the smoke. It allows easy access to the other side, so the Ts can sneak up behind Half Wall without the CTs knowing, since the smoke will long outlast the molly. It’s a huge annoyance for the CTs to not be sure of the control they have even after expending an incendiary.
Taking Banana control slowly and systematically is better than rushing in and doing it all in one go. Once you establish Banana control, it gives your A players a lot of leeway to mess around and explore the site and their chances, since you’re always on the precipice of hitting B.
A Standard B Exec + A Bonus Heroic Exec
Talking about hitting the bombsite, let’s take a short detour and quickly talk about a standard B exec and the food for thought around it.
The most standard execute you should have in your arsenal is the following. If your team has enough utility, you should smoke off Coffins and CT, while mollying New Box and Oranges. There will be flashes thrown so you can enter B, while maintaining at least one smoke on your waist so you can smoke off the molly that the CTs will most probably throw. Depending on the number of players alive, you should also have one player watching Mid to take care of the CT lurk.
There are a variety of possible execs, depending on a lot of factors. The number of players alive for both teams is an obvious one, but keeping track of how much utility was expended on either bombsites and key areas, B and Banana in our case, also determines what kinda play you’ll go for. If the CTs on the B site have been passive and hoarding their utility, a pop hit will be more effective than a full exec.
This is because during a full exec, the smokes will go first, followed by mollies and flashes. But since the CTs have utility themselves, they can see the smokes flying in the air and appropriately use counter-utlity to delay the hit and render your utility useless. So in cases like these, it’s wiser to go for a pop hit where your players throw the flashes first, go in and the other players throw their utility later.
So for example, you can throw and flashes and rush in, so the molly the Quad guy will throw will be redundant since you’ve already crossed those lines.
Another strat I have heard of, but not had the pleasure of catching it live, is Heroic’s double execs back in the early days of newborn LAN. I talked about a passive approach for Banana on the CT side, saving utility for later in the round, remember? Well, a standard B exec requires 2 smokes. But there are 5 Ts. In comes the concept of Double Exec. Heroic place one of their players in Mid or in Apartments to create necessary distraction, while they bait out the utility of the defending CTs. After that, they just wait out the whole thing, and redo it. Having Top Mid control is an important nuance for this to happen. You want to keep the CTs guessing, so they don’t stack B. Smoking Long A, mollying Patio and flashing Short A usually does the trick.
Anyway, these are just afterthoughts. The main focus of the article was controlling Banana, and we’ve covered that in depth.
You may not play CS:GO to that tactical level, but just knowing about the strategic depth about the plays really enhances the watching experience of the professional games, at least for me. Either way, I hope you enjoyed the read and learned some stuff!
Here’s me burning a tree beyond the horizons of the playable area of what is honestly the antonym of Dante’s Inferno:
Until next time; cheers.