This is going to be part of a massive series of strategy guides for a pro CS:GO team, and will cover both combat strategies, as well as strategies for the team to use in different maps, and much more. While this is a fairly advanced guide, it will not focus on the tactics of any one pro team, as each pro team’s tactics are distinctive. The tactics here are a guide that your team can use as a foundation while evolving your own unique team strategies.
These are known to most players – they are the Entry Fragger, the Refragger, the Support man, the Lurker and the AWPer. It seems quite clearly defined, doesn’t it? In reality, the roles are not so precise. Depending on the situation, everyone may find themselves having to enter the kill zone or play lurker.
A player is generally defined by roles that they excel at and play regularly. For example, a player may regularly lead in game like shox, or play AWPer like kennyS, or be an AWPer and strategy man like FalleN, or a refragger and lurker like olofmeister.
Defining the attack strategy in terms of ‘game phase’
Which player goes on the attack can be defined in terms of what phase the game is in – initial stages, mid-game or end-game.
- In the initial stages, the most aggressive rifle player on the team must generally take the lead.
- During the mid-game, the sniper tends to rule.
- In the late game it is usually the support man or lurker who tends to be the game changer.
Working on your Team game
The classic format for strategy sessions is for everyone to be on a server as a spectator and the team leader to then explain the strategy the team is going to practice. The team applies the strategy together in-game to memorize it and work out the kinks, and then tests it out in a match.
Often enough, most tactical contributions are made by the in-game leader. This is not because it’s his job to do so (his job is to lead in-game), but because in-game leaders are often players with a natural inclination for strategic thinking. However, an in-game leader cannot come up with effective strategies across the entire map pool without active and dedicated help from the rest of his team. Each member of the team must watch pro games, look for inspiration on various servers, and formulate new strategies; and then you must all work together to fit each new strategy to the talents of the members of your team.
Frequency of Training
A team should train together for several hours a day, for at least three days a week. Rest and recuperation are also important. But so is regular practice. Try to go in for regularly spaced sessions, rather than concentrated marathon sessions, as these tend to maintain the skills better. Three days a week, with rest days in between, is an excellent regime for the maintenance and development of skills and strategies. Each team member must know their own role in each team strategy, and be able to execute that role to perfection, both in training and competitive play.
Don’t forget that most finals matches are ‘endurance series’ these days – that is to say, five match series. You should have the endurance for those as well, and to develop that we recommend at least three five match series back-to-back, played once a month. Just once a month – but fifteen matches back-to-back, against the best teams you can find.
Some useful strategies
When you’re making a rush, that does not mean that you must necessarily commit all five of your team. Four are quite adequate, and a lurker can make a lot of difference in the course of the round. This sort of strategy is called a 4-1. A 4-1 is one of the most popular team combinations, and often one of the most effective. It’s not always used in a rush, obviously, and can be adapted to different strategies and setups.
Combat combinations for control
On an open map like Cache, controlling the map often calls for an attack down the middle. This leads to a combination in which three players with the best reactions and weapon skills move down the middle, while a team member provides support on each side. This combination is called a 1-3-1, and is considered the lowest-risk assault combination, as you can cover different contingencies that arise.
Taking the pistol round
If you’re playing terrorists, you need to use speed and concentrated, aggressive attacks with the entire team, with at least three members of your team in Kevlar. When you’re playing a pistol round as Counter Terrorists, keep your lines long and passive. Terrorists tend to wear themselves out attacking en masse, and CTs can win by causing attrition to the terrorist squad, and taking back crucial zones of the map in counter-attacks once the terrorists’ numbers have been whittled down.
Pistol rounds tend to swing either way quite easily, and your team can be massively benefited here by having at least one member who specializes in pistol combat as a secondary skill. Remember that we said as a secondary skill – while winning pistol rounds confers a definite advantage, choose your team members for all-round capability in their chosen role, not for pistol skill alone.
Handling eco rounds
I want to stress here that an eco round doesn’t mean that your team is doomed, and should commit suicide. Fight it out. You’d be surprised at how much can be done with Glocks and a smoke screen, and a rush at just the right time to place the bomb. Go pro-life. Make a stand against eco-suicides in Counter Strike. Generally, pistols are very (perhaps, too) powerful in CS, and you always have a small but definite chance of winning an eco-round, even with very little equipment.
Once strategy for an eco round is to go for passive attrition and control on the map. The opponent, knowing that you are going eco, will tend to attack – and therefore make mistakes. You can capitalize on those mistakes to set ambushes and profit from the round in one way or another. Remember that if you recover an enemy weapon, the eco round could still be considered a partial success, even if you lose the round itself.
You can also try the classic five rush, but it’s not really recommended these days. It’s been used so often that almost every team has a tried-and-tested strategy against an eco-rush – some way to put down poverty-stricken gunmen quickly and quietly. To avoid that, use other strategies than the rush in eco rounds.
Counter terrorist strategies for the force-buy
At short distance, a headshot with most pistols will kill in 1 shot. Bearing this in mind, create confrontations with the enemy that involve very short firing lines, and put yourself into just the right angles to surprise an enemy. Examine each map for areas that will allow for short-range ambushes and fire fights.
You must take advantage of your mobility to bait opponents into an ambush. A player acts as bait, showing themselves for a fraction of a second – or firing a weapon or running just out of sight of an enemy. Use these and other tactics to draw the enemy team into the web of your ambush. In force-buys, you must play as a composite, finely tuned machine – you must play as a team, mobile and aggressive. These are methods that will maximise the chances of your force-buy succeeding.
Terrorist strategies for the force-buy
Depending on your economy, terrorists always have the opportunity to buy the minimum equipment necessary to effectively enter combat. Stay grouped, and favor the 4-1. Never go for a solo move, as your opponents will effortlessly put it down.
Against a team going eco
If they are determined to fight back, a team going eco is not to be underestimated. If you have equipment and weapons, you must immediately dominate mid, or an open area of the map. Remember that pistols do not have range. CTs especially, are not to be engaged in close quarters, as their pistols give them easy entry kills. Do not hesitate to use the first minute of the round to take control of a mid or open area of the map that you can then turn into a killing ground.
Rotating efficiently as CT to cover the bombsites
Almost every pro player has seen a match where a CT in the middle of a map is killed early in the round, but his team does not react tactically to this loss at all. They allow just one player to handle one of the bombsites. The result? The opponents take that bombsite, and the CTs lose the round, and have to go eco in the next rounds.
Instead, if a CT in the middle of a map is killed, the team should immediately divide to cover both bombsites, with good communication, and the AWPer on the team providing long range firepower as needed.
The pro CS:GO team – an information machine
Always focus on your radar, and develop a subconscious ability to absorb all the information being put out both by the game itself, and by your team-mates. It goes without saying that you should be calling out information as well. The CS:GO pro team must be an information machine where information is both called out continuously, and absorbed by all team members efficiently. This can only be done by practicing for long hours together, against the best opposing teams that you can find.
Cohesion is victory
While practice really is the name of the game, that’s only the most obvious point. What may not be so obvious is that you have to practice working together as a team. Too many CS:GO teams tend to rely heavily on one or two hard hitters, tending to replace weaker players as new hard hitters come along. While that’s an effective strategy, the simple fact is that tactics and smooth team work can also be very effective, and should not be ignored. Team members should work together to come up with effective strategies that could catch their opponents by surprise, and then work together to make those strategies work.
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