I made a short list of things you should focus on to get better:
Start the round going for safe picks/contesting choke points in a way where the peak is to your advantage (do not over-peak/overcommit to the peak, just ensuring we maintain map control early).
Fall back and hold for pushes trying to understand where their site anchors are and how they are rotating.
Every map has two main choke points where you need someone to contest random pushes
After establishing a feel for rotations, start to challenge map control and work toward taking a site (We want to do our best to limit the opponent’s information. Shy away from forcing the issue into a crossfire. We want to catch their rotators off guard. The goal of the round should be to isolate a player, get a pick, reset and pinch a site).
After you’ve gained your information, you decide what you want to do. There are strategies for developing and forcing predictable behaviour in the opposing team. You want them adapting to us.
If you make the start of every round look the same, it forces the other team to spread out and respect your map control. It means that when you finally decide to take a site, each player will be relatively isolated. They won’t know where you’re going until the last minute, and it’ll prevent a quick flank or a quick rotation giving you time to plant and set up strong post-plants/crossfires positions.
Try your best to take fights when you know your teammate are in a position to trade. It is as much your teammate’s responsibility to rotate over to support as it is for you to delay until your teammate can’t get into a position to support you. Remember, the other team is trying to isolate the two of you, and create an opening. Do your best to delay/prevent that from happening).
During scrims, whenever you are frustrated about a given scenario or feel like we as a team are doing something wrong I want you to write it down. We will discuss it as a team.
Of course there are exceptions to each of these rules, especially when it comes down to x vs. x situations, but the same principles apply. Every fight you take, whether you win or die, should be to help put your team in a position to secure the round. Don’t expect people to be able to read your mind. Communicate every decision you make until it becomes ingrained/second nature for your team.
The sooner you buy into a system and start to read situations the same way as your team, the less need you will have to communicate the details. If all of these principles become second nature, you can focus on fragging.
Patience, communication, and consistency are important.
Everyone has strengths and preferences on each map so express them and we can develop strategies with those things in mind. That being said, everyone should strive to become well-rounded players, because depending on how a round unfolds, you might have to pick up any role.
Think about how the decisions you are making will impact the outcome of the round and act accordingly.
Don’t become indecisive during matches. Practice how you will play. Be decisive and trust your teammates.
Scrims and matches rarely go perfect, but trust the process. Aim and the RNG of the game is something we as a team cannot control. You can focus on those types of play on your own time. During scrims focus on understanding how to be decisive in different situations in a way that helps put your teammates in a position to make a play or win the round.
It’s important to understand how every round you win and every round you lost unfolded as a result of positioning. For now, focus less on the frag and instead on how a pick effected rotations and how it helped open up areas of the map.
At a high level, everyone can aim, it’s more about picking the right fights, map control, and putting your teammates in a position to win the round.
Every team, whether a legit team, or a pug develops predictable patterns of behaviour, whether it be go to strats, defaults, or ways of going about creating opening round picks. Do your best to keep tabs of these things so that you can gain the advantage in one-on-one exchanges.
Adapt and adjust accordingly. Do your best to be unpredictable. Give them different looks and setups.
Perfect throwing pop flashes for the people around you on the map. It’s easy to turn from flashes that you throw for yourself. If a pop flash is thrown for your teammates however, its far more effect. Understand the nature of a pop flash. A perfect pop flash doesn’t bounce, doesn’t make a sound, it pops as soon as it turns a corner and the people it is intended to blind do not have a time to react. Too many people throw half ass pop flashes, don’t be that guy, it really makes the difference between a mediocre and high level player.
One way smokes, learn them all, use them for safe picks sparingly, and learn to pre-fire all of them.
Use mollys on eco rounds and do your best to have a teammate nearby with a rifle out when you’re throwing nades for an execute or impromptu play.
Learn to always anticipate peaks/counter nades, especially in matches. A lot of mediocre teams waste utility early on in rounds, keep track of what’s been used and where. It can make the difference between a successful execute and poor one.
Assume your teammates don’t have all the info. If you get caught off guard by a random push its your responsibility. Don’t relax during matches.
Do your best to isolate players, executing into a crossfire with players who have all their utility is asking to be aced.
Try to take fights in post plant positions where your teammates are in a position to take that fight as well. Try to peak opponents as they push forward, not as they hold angles. And try to take fights when you know your teammates can engage them too.
Seamless transitions in between strats mid round is something every team should work toward and this goes hand in hand with efficient round time management.
Take advantage of spot peaks, you don’t always peak for frags, peak for info, it may even be more important than anything. If you can find out what teams are setting up for, you understand how to counter them.
Understand how teams will react to you collecting info, because some may be baiting you into identifying what appears to be a weakness but is in reality quite deliberate. Some may jet for the other site anticipating you identifying a weakness, so understand who you are playing against. Understand that and act accordingly.
Master the 2-3 bullet burst and fall back. Do your best to stay mobile, getting caught static is a recipe for disaster.
When you find out where you’re playing on a map, find out how exactly your teammates around you like being supported. What kinds of flashes they like being thrown. What kinds of flashes they like to throw. Expectations of how they anticipate your rotation.
Understand when a position you’re playing has been compromised and don’t be afraid to fall, just do not forget to communicate that you are doing so.
Don’t feel obliged to hold an angle. Falling back into another crossfire as opposed to forcing a fight in an area where you know your position has been compromised may be the more viable option and more valuable to your team in the goal of securing the round.
Commit to the frag when you’re in a crossfire. Play with decisiveness. Don’t second guess yourself.
Using flashes to force a teammate or multiple teammates into chokepoints either for information or use later on in a round is extremely important.
The more map control you have, the less information the other team has, and the better able you will be to take advantage of the round when the time comes to execute.
Getting an opening pick by isolating someone and peaking from multiple angles is one of my favourite ways to open the round.
A 1 for 1 trade on t side > 1 for one on CT (Never forget!)
3 man peak, kill, reset, wait out time, execute.
If you get a bomb site, it’s your round to lose. The trades should go in your favour if you play it correctly and take fights in areas where your teammate can trade.
Decide in X vs. X situations who takes first contact on certain areas
Ping pong crossfires, one makes contact, other guy takes advantage, you take turns peaking a choke point pop flashing for each other. They shouldn’t know where you’ll be peaking from, constantly having to readjust their aim giving you and your teammates an advantage.
We want to play every round as if it’s our last, there is no margin for error. We’re focusing on what we do, not what other teams do (to a certain extent). The aim should be to 16-0 every team, play to survive and take fights where the odds of you winning the fight are greater than 50/50. Don’t commit to a kill unless your teammate is there to commit with you. Go for those 2-3 bullet bursts and be able to fall back to a safe position.
Make team’s waste utility and earn map control, force them to always be on the defensive, and punish them for aggression. We want them playing scared so we can execute and push them into a corner fighting for their lives.
If we’re not isolating players on takes, you’re leaving too much to RNG.
Figure out every ratty way to win the 1 on 1 aim battles, master the jiggle peak, master jiggle peaking silently, master the spot peak, and learn how to master peaking awpers.
Disrupt their executions. Don’t let them execute cleanly, do everything u can to disrupt with their timing, tossing smokes into their executes, using utility to create openings where you can exploit a one way smoke, navigate into unpredictable angles, or close off anchor points so that your teammates can isolate opponents.
As a CT, you want to preserve your utility until they commit
As a T, you want them to waste their utility so they can’t counter your executes.
On a fake, think about if it were you seeing the fake, you want to create/cast doubt in your opponents mind, think about how you can cut off information and disrupt an opponent from making descriptive and accurate calls to their teammates.
When you get all of these ideas out of the way, and it becomes second nature, you can play off each other effortlessly and focus more on hitting shots and less on all the many intangibles/variables. You want to simplify the game enough so that you can move and aim forcefully and assertively anywhere you decide to go.
The more prepared you are, and more you are able to understand how your teammates are playing and reading a situation, the more able you will be to compliment your teammates and secure rounds.
Always understand who is taking the lead and whose needs the support. I feel the two guys closest to a choke point take lead, and the 2 guys behind support with precisely placed flashes.
Creating a culture within your team where people can share ideas and feel comfortable doing so is important, but knowing the time and place to do so is equally as important.
This is a pretty easy game to overcomplicate, so the key is to simplify it all, and best way to do it is to get everyone on your team thinking the same way. I’m not a fan of just doing a strat for the sake of doing it. You need to read all the variables, and u got to rely on each other.
If you see your strat caller making a misread, have the confidence to speak up. Everyone gets different information throughout a round, if you’re confident that u see an opening that can be exploited, just express what you need everyone to do. Write all of these ideas down and share them in practice. Discuss hypotheticals in practice.
Pay attention to what your teammates are doing, adapt to them, and learn to support them, especially the ones who are taking the lead in rounds.
Have an intimate understanding of who holds, and who pushes on an execute. Understand your role at the beginning of the round, how it changes throughout the round, and how you might end up turning into a lurk/support/entry as the round unfolds.
The first 5-7 rounds of a map is really feeling out what the other team is doing, by that point in a match, the pace of the game is established and u generally have a good idea of how the other team plays, or at least you should.
Thinking about each round as an evolution that happens in stages.
Mediocre teams will have one stage
Decent teams will have 3
Great teams will have the ability to fake stages and have an endless amount of strategies to employ. The strategies will be as varied as the teammates on your team because of their different playing styles and tendencies. Everyone on your team should at the very least master 2-3 strats for every map indicative of your teams play style doing your best to put everyone in positions they feel comfortable and in roles they can act with decisiveness in. Every great leader will have a system, but every teammate has a different approach and understanding of how to look at and read each round and the game as a whole. That can be a good thing, because you want to have different paces and styles at your disposal, but do not let it get in the way of being decisiveness. Someone on the team needs to have final say, and that should be clear from the start.
Understanding how to aggress into a choke point, but delaying and holding rotators and getting information is important. Patience and holding an angle that’s to your advantage is just as important.
Understanding how to play with timings.
Everyone should be working toward a strat throughout the course of the round, but having the freedom to adjust and adapt on the fly, play with timings, mess with players, master your part of the map, and become unpredictable is also important. You don’t want to be predictable.
Anticipate peaks at any time, if you get caught off guard, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
If you have an issue with a decision someone has made, write it down, and well express it after practice.
Don’t attack the person, attack the decision/behaviour, and don’t be disrespectful about it.
Use flashes and smokes to move through chokepoints into positions where you feel comfortable taking fights.
Understand how you moving into a certain position opens up angles for your teammates who are at neighbouring choke points, you want to make fights as easy as possible for one another. Double and triple peaks into angles. *but don’t overextend or commit too far, unless you have good reason to do so. If it’s early in the round, fall back, reset, let one guy fake and commit, and the others fall back. Don’t be greedy, think about the round not the frag.
Forcing people into uncomfortable gun fights (They should be backpedalling, turned, spamming, having to reset aim, pinched. Don’t take a 1v1 unless you’re doing it to put your teammates in a better position, and make sure they know u are taking that 1v1 so they know how to adapt to it.
2 man, and 3 man units, moving in squads.
Being able to fake every strategy, making it look like what you’ve done in the past, and using it to make the other team move into predictable behaviour.
All the creative ways guys open rounds and picks, you should be learning them on your own time. When spectating pro players, some things you should look for is where top teams take fights, where there teammates are in relation to them when they decide to do so, how teams react to it, and what top teams do to use that information to commit to fights and takes at various junctures of the round.
Opening picks when teams are spread out, understanding rotations and knowing when to lurk, understanding how to survive and delay, putting pressure on areas of the map without giving up a kill, 3 things every good player should understand and try to master.
I’m a fan of lulling teams into a false sense of security with defaults, establishing a few basic takes and then playing with the timings and their understanding of what your established takes are.
The higher level plays come after a strong understanding of your takes.
You master the basic takes, and you can create a million different executes by changing how you decide to use those takes.
I’m a fan of executing, waiting, and pinching slowly. Let them over peak, make them peak uncomfortable angles and do your best to peak from angles where you can take 2-3 bullets bursts and fall to safety.
Smokes and flashes should be used to not only get into sites, but get into positions where you can anchor during chokepoints, making it easier for your teammates to push forward without fear of being shot in the side or back of the head.
Start the round holding for pushes, anticipating flash pushes and holding so that u can counter or push them back, next decide where you want to go isolating a player for the opening pick and try. Reset after initial trades, think about rotations, fall back and setup for your final execute.
Every team can develop one of the following takes for every map:
All mid to A
All mid to B
A fake with B take
B fake with A Take
A Fake, B fake, A Take
B fake, A fake, B take.
Partial A and B take holding at chokepoints, with a decision to commit the bomb after you’ve engaged your opponent and understand which site you have an advantage.
Slow take where you make it look like a split to one site, but set it up for a split to the other
Quick A fake with the Mid to B
Quick B fake with a Mid to A
Using a combination of any of the above mentioned strategies to launch multiple takes in stages finally committing with a single strategy.
Moving seamlessly between each of these strats 2 to even 3 times within a round from the initial default is where you want to be able to get with your team.
You can start the round looking for information, decide what you want to do based on how the other team rotates and really exploit it.
Run your default, get people pushed up into positions close to choke points.
Throw a fake or an execute, get a guy to rotate and you’ve created a weakness. You can use a mid to b to open a pick up at A, as soon as you get information, players need to get a feel for the open areas on the map and transition into a take that improves your probability of winning the round.
Setting up a default and holding till a designated time in the round, can vary round to round.
Doing your first execute/take looking for a pick, resetting, taking note of rotations and developing an idea of what you will exploit not only in the current round but future round.
At this point, you should be deciding where you want to fake or split for the remainder of the round
A valuable play you can employ is helping gain map control at a choke point, and selling a convincing fake at one part of the map so that your teammates can take the opposite site with little to no resistance.
Think of it as a sacrifice bunt play, and you see it all the time at pro events in the late rounds situations late in matches.
The aim of the round is to mess with rotations and positioning, isolate players, get picks, reset, and execute.
When teams start to respect you, you can do the straight up rushes, but you really have to get a feel for the team you’re playing to do that. Some players don’t understand the mechanics of the game so you can out frag them, but that won’t be the case at the higher level of the game. Think of it like a chess game.
The slow map control awp pick with rifle support is a really strong play. Opening up the map, and putting your awper in a position where he can anchor can win you the round easily.
Map control, double exec, wait it out, two players commit, two players take the other site, and one lurks.
Once your team understands these principles and they occur instinctively, you can all just focus on fragging.
Work towards Executing in stages, don’t just expect the other team not to counter, expect them to contest your aggression and counters and adjust accordingly.
It is the players that can apply these principles when strats and rounds go haywire that are the most valuable to their teams.
CS is an art and a science, but getting people on the same page, buying into one system puts you into a greater position to win rounds and matches.
Money and utility management and knowing what to expect is key. Keep opponents guessing, and make them adapt to you. If the other team is adapting to you as opposed to you adapting to them, you will always be a round ahead.
I personally am a fan of the default, map control, hold, one player fakes at a site , two players execute and commit to the other site (but in a way where there presence is known and they can work a safe pick, don’t force an issue), and three execute and commit to either site based on info and as soon as they feel they can isolate a player or exploit a rotation.
Ct – exploit long range advantage, do not get overrun. You can start the round with a quick peak and fall back into a long range crossfire. Do not get isolated, and if u do, play for the 2 taps, and play to survive.
T pistol – play with timing, burst your way through a chokepoint and overwhelm an opponent who is out of position, avoid pushing into a long range crossfire. Bunny hopping and jumping glock spams are pretty good way to distract cts that are set up in good positions and create openings for your teammates to pick up frags. ECOS –
Spreading out and working picks with 2 deags and 3 tecs. The deags work the long range, and the tecs play close angles ready to push site at a moment’s notice. Try to get at least 2 smokes, and don’t forget to manage your money.
If someone can afford a scout, let them lead and tag up players so that the pistols can clean-up and take map control.
Ct side, use info from other team to stack sites, or move around in units collecting information, going for picks, but understand how when the other team sees your stack, how they will use that information to rotate and adjust accordingly.
Baiting teams into stacks, establishing map control like a default but then setting up a stack or a crossfire.
Understanding who on your team will be the first guy to engage, and understanding how to help him with a flash in case he is going to be overwhelmed by a rush.
Don’t forget to make sure the other team wastes there utility, pay attention to what they’ve used so that when it comes to time to commit/execute you have the advantage and won’t have to deal with a lot of counters. . Using utility to launch a guy into a choke point, so he is in a good position to quick flank if u are going to execute and commit on another site.
Faking a site with utility, and letting one guy commit who does his best to hold rotators and get information.
Understanding that on an execute a minimum of two guys need to push, while the others anchor. Understanding how when your teammates clear specific angles it gives you the luxury to move up into map control that’ll give you a better advantage to secure the round, pinch a site, or pinch a player.
Understanding that if your executes have been going well, running a default, throwing some simple utility and holding can win you the round. Teams will try to disrupt your default and set ups for executes, so anticipate counters, and set up counter crossfires and holds accordingly.
Doing a few things every round that establish map control, teaching the other team a routine, and making them waste utility to earn every little bit of map control is huge.
Master shoulder peaking on awpers, using flashes and smokes to temporarily push them out of the angle they like to hold to close the gap and distance so that you can increase the probability of winning a fight.
When challenging an awper anchoring an angle, the first guy can do his best to bunny hop and bait the shot, and next two should strafe wide, anticipating a peak from a support rifle who is nearby attempting to stop an ambush and prevent the awper from being overrun. Trade out either of these frags and you put your team in a position to secure the site and win a round. Here’s a basic system you can use for any map, once you have established your economy:
Gun Round 1: Default, hold pushes, work map control, get into a position for a basic split, execute and commit
Gun Round 2: Default, hold pushes, work into a split with a lurker, lurker should be trying to provide info so that you can commit without a lot of casualties.
Gun Round 3: Default, hold, then group together, allow one to lead, 2 rifles to support, and 2 rifles with flashes to work slow into choke points, once u get the initial pick, execute, but decide whether you want to commit, whether u want 2 players to commit, and 3 players to fall. If you’ve got a lurker on the other side of the map, falling back and taking the other site is a safe option, if you don’t, it may be best to commit, especially if you know the other team pushes through, or you know they are respecting your default and spreading out. Gun Round 3: Awp/Rifle combo move as a unit around the map working picks, while 3 others spread out and anchor, get pick fall, reset, work towards a pinch.
Gun Round 4: Fake the quick mid/b split, leave a lurker and go mid a.
Gun Round 5: Fake the quick mid/b, hold, fake mid a, go back to mid/b with a lurker a
Understand how they are rotating and how you need to split up the rotators to create an opening. You do not want to force your way through a crossfire, Split them up, and commit when you know a guy is by himself.
When you get more established, if you feel you’re in a 1 on 1, and you’re confident you can win the exchange, take the fight, but be ready to justify your actions, based on what has happened in the round, and what has happened at that area of the map before.
Have individual executes and ways of working each choke point and each part of the map ready, because in the x vs. x situations, those creative plays are the kinds of plays that can win you a round or a map.
Take note from professional players who are the crafty/creative professional entry fragger types. Having those types of plays in your bag of tricks can always get you out of a tricky situation. Gun Round 6: Run default, establish map control everywhere, and make sure the other team is spread out and respecting you. Find out where a guy tends to take the long range angle. Let an awp or two slow pick and clear every part of that choke point, have two guys on standby with flashes ready to pop flash so they can peak and clear things clearly. Pay attention to how the other player responds to your flashes, does he spam a shot right away, does he hold for a second then spam, whatever he does, exploit it, that is your opening, get that pick and decide what u want to do with the map control based on how they are setup. Slow lurk up and anticipation of pop flash peaks is really smart. Doing it effectively requires a lot of communication. But it’s one of the toughest things to stop.
Gun Round 7: Do same as last round but push a guy into a choke point, to lurk/work toward a split, or fake on the other side of the map as you’re doing it
Gun Round 8:
1-3-1, Work mid control, with people putting pressure on both sides of the map, based on how the map control unfolds will dictate where you will commit. Gun Round 9: 1-3-1, faking a split, then falling back into a split at the other site.
** Develop multiple ways of taking mid control on every map. It’ll put u into a really good position to win.
Gun Round 10:
Take mid control (1-3-1), make sure your opponents are cognizant of your presence mid, leave one to lurk and flank late, and go back and either commit to A or B.
All of the aforementioned strats can be changed slightly by adjusting timing, and/or breaking up these strats into stages. The Default, the map control, the executes, fakes, straight commits can all be played with. You can skip stages, switch the order of stages. For example, start the round with a fast execute, and reverting into a default, starting round with a fake and execute on one side of the map and turning it into a rush and commit on to the other, and/or committing with 2 players at one site, and lurking/map control at the other. The possibilities are countless.