Playing Counter Strike on a professional level involves more than personal skill or sheer fragging ability. These things are important – it’s crucial to be able to down opponents, or to have reflexes and combat skills that outmatch those of your opponent. But it is also crucial to move as a team. Counter Strike is a five versus five game. If even one player doesn’t move in conjunction with his squad, his team is immeasurably weakened. In previous articles in this series, we already covered combat skills with some elements of gameplay. Here we’ll be discussing more advanced elements of gameplay.
Cross fires and other tactics
Think of your team as a sort of grinder. You have to catch enemy team members in unfavourable positions and decimate them. One example of an unfavourable position is a cross fire. A cross fire is difficult to handle, because bullets are coming in from two different angles, and this can lead to a moment or two of confusion while enemy team members decide who to focus on and react to. The goal of your team when initiating a cross fire is to kill off as many members of the enemy squad before the enemy team can take cover and initiate a counter attack.
You need to be very careful about the counter attack, because a professional Counter Strike squad will not bother to count its initial losses. They will either hit back hard to make sure that as many of your squad fall in the fire fight as of theirs, or, if they are a more professional team, will move back into cover quickly, consult among themselves, and decide which member of the team using the cross fire is most vulnerable, and then move as a unit to take him out.
This is exactly what you have to avoid
You have to hit the enemy team hard with your cross fire in the first moment of surprise, when they are most vulnerable. Target your automatic weapons at neck height and fire short, brutal bursts that will cause multiple head-shots, and thus multiple quick kills. The cross fire is only effective in the first moment of surprise. The moment the enemy team begins to react, your team must move back into cover.
Any ambush must have avenues of retreat
This is crucial in Counter Strike. Never set up any ambush to ‘fight to a finish’. Even if you catch the enemy team at a disadvantage, it is quite possible for top pro players to down three of your team single handedly. To avoid this, you need to be sure that you can safely retreat from your own ambush, not merely into cover, but to another part of the map where you can safely regroup.
This is your basic Counter Strike strategy – you catch the enemy team by surprise, you cause as much damage as you can, and then, the moment the enemy team begins to hit back, you move into cover, and retreat to regroup at an agreed spot. Then you set up your next ambush. As I said, it’s sort of like using your team as a grinder. You catch your opponents at a disadvantage, again and again, grinding them down until there are none of the opposing team standing.
The enemy will be looking to do the same to you too
Beware of possible ambush sites on a Counter Strike map. Avoid them at all costs if you possibly can. The best way to do this is to move your team quickly and get into position at an ambush site you have chosen first. A choice of strategies must be pre-planned before a map begins. In game, you should, ideally, simply choose between a pre-planned menu of strategies, rather than just coming up with strategies ‘on the move’. That’s not to say that innovation is out of the question. But putting in some Counter Strike strategy sessions with your team well before a match means that you can move into ambush sites faster and react faster when caught out at a disadvantage.
Fight in squads when playing pro Counter Strike
No matter where you go, there should always be someone backing you up. Even if the point man dies, you should make sure that the opposing team loses the killer. This principle of counter-killing the opposing team means that the balance always remains equal, and that your team still has a chance to win right down to the last man.
For terrorists, it is very important to have at least a three man team for the squad carrying the bomb. If the front man is shot, the squad can quickly regroup and ensure that the bomb is placed. Remember that a man for a man exchange is acceptable. What is not acceptable is losing a member of your squad, and only wounding one of the attackers before he retreats to cover. The same rules apply to so many situations.
I’ve seen all too often how the whole team becomes disoriented because their point man was put down. That’s quite simply wrong. It’s the job of most lightning-fast point men to engage the enemy and deal heavy damage even if they are put down. The job of the remaining team members is to capitalize on the point man’s abilities, and use the time he gives them to locate the enemy, engage them, and kill them in greater numbers while they’re putting down your point man.
Counter Strike actually gets easier as team members on both sides fall
The fewer game pieces on the field, the clearer the game is. A counter-kill should always be possible, unless you were playing badly. Methods of ‘playing badly’ include standing directly behind a team mate and not being one hundred percent attentive or just not targeting or aiming carefully, but instead using continuous fire. I can promise you that there are limits to how much damage you can do if you do not start to aim and fire in two-three round salvos.
There are massive advantages here in terms of information
Moving as a team gives you several other advantages, but to benefit from them you have to spend many long sessions practicing team work. For example, if two team members are moving forward together, they should not both be basically looking in the same direction, as this deprives both their mini-squad and the main team of information.
Whenever a squad, or even the main team moves out, all the members should be covering different points of the compass, and telling each other what they see, so that the whole team knows where potential threats lie, where each member of the friendly team is, and what the combined strategy of the whole team may be.
Trust in your team mates
The principle I’ve described above goes hand in hand with the trust that you have to place in your mates. As soon as one of them is covering a location, you should be confident that you do not have to also cover it. It is only when someone dies from your team that you should lose control of the area that they covered. In a two versus two face off, it’s even more important that you do not let yourself be distracted by some shooting that you hear, in an area that your partner is giving the team information about, or covering, especially if he feels that it is a distraction manoeuvre. Covering each other, and trusting in each other, turns your team into a many-headed and many-handed monster that can then devour the enemy team.
Use strategy while placing bombs
If you’re playing as a terrorist, always place the bomb in such a way that you can cover it from as many directions as possible and also drop a crouching, defusing CT. Nothing is more annoying than a bomb that cannot be covered by someone who is not directly on the spot.
Increase the number of fronts on which the enemy fight
Don’t just run down the centre of the enemy’s cross fire as a team, killing and being killed. If you know the opponents are sited in ambush around a single bomb site, try to move in on two different fronts that converge simultaneously.
This forces the opposition to divert their ambush, and while most teams are good at an ambush directed at a single enemy front, most teams will be less effective when directing an ambush between two enemy fronts. However, it only works if the two fronts move as one, and converge their attack at just the same time. If not, you’ll simple be decimated in two separate groups.
If an attack fails, do not attempt to regroup in weapon range of the enemy
Move back to regroup. Use smokes and flashes to effectively blind, disorient or divide the enemy team, and you’ll have a reasonable chance of taking out even an enemy team that is laying in ambush. These are some of the techniques you would use when fighting as a team. This doesn’t at all mean that basic buying strategies should be ignored, or that should shouldn’t practice strategies and tactics that allow you to aim almost intuitively. However, moving and fighting as a group is the difference between success and failure in CS:GO.