How to get better at CSGO – 9 simple steps to double your skill and rank
Counter Strike Global Offensive can be one the most fun and most rewarding games to play. Situations that take skill to succeed in like getting a nice entry kill, killing the bomb-planter and holding your site can be extremely addictive. After you experience something like this you crave more. This leads to wanting to get better. One of the best things about CSGO is the skill cap. The skill you can have in this game is infinite. With that comes constant improvement. People can play this game for 20 years and continue to improve their game. The depth to this game is unparalleled. Though that is a great thing, it can make for a very intimidating experience for someone who is just starting out.
For those who want to get a better handle on the game, here are a few tips to help steer you into the right direction. We list these items in order of priority.
1. Practice your aim daily
The most important thing in this game comes down to one word: Aim. Everything else in this game is secondary. You could have the best gamesense in the world but if you can’t aim none of it matters. There are multiple resources to help you with your aim. If you go to the steam workshop and search for Aim Maps, you will be met with several options to choose from. One classic workshop map is Aim_botz. It spawns enemies in a 360 degree radius around you so you can practice as much as you want without retaliation. It is good to warm-up with this map before you play.
Another way to practice aim is through Deathmatch servers. This serves two purposes: It allows you to practice aim against opponents who will be unpredictable. It allows you to focus solely on the quickness with which you can aim. Secondly, it allows you to practice taking fights on a map you will be playing in competitive game modes. If you are constantly in gun fights on Dust 2 in Deathmatch servers, it will become routine for when you are playing 5v5 competitively.
Finally, download a non-distraction reflex developing tool like Aim Lab. Free on Steam, Aim Lab will exponentially increase your response time the more your practice. 20 minutes a day through various challenges will improve your flick accuracy, rotational wrist control and vertical cross-hair placement by huge orders of magnitude.
The most important thing for your aim is to play every day you have time to play. Aim is very much just muscle memory. The more you do it the better it will get. Playing everyday is the best way to improve your aim.
2. Learn the maps
Learning the maps is a great way to improve. If you know where you are most likely to see your opponents at certain times, you will have an incredible advantage. This comes with playing the maps frequently. Knowing where it is possible for your opponent to be at any given time will mean you are not caught off-guard as frequently. With this knowledge you will better understand what you need to practice as well. Learning CSGO maps is not only about knowing the call outs and how the map looks like. Take the time to learn how long it takes to rotate from one position to another using walk or run.
The next step would be learning the psychology as an attacker or defender.
Let’s say you are defending B site on Dust2. Your highest focus and awareness is during the first 20 seconds of a round, as you anticipate a potential B Rush. As time progresses you naturally lose the edge and focus on potential callouts from teammates or other positional cues. As an attacker, if you have the sense of when a defender loses that little edge of focus you can peek and tap them before in the second where he loses focus.
Learning the maps is also learning how people behave on them.
3. Utility is king
One aspect of Counter Strike that makes the game so deep is the utility. With the different grenade types it opens up the game for you to manipulate situations. Flashbangs can blind opponents. This allows you to push opponents off of angles for you to gain map control, or even blind them to get an easy kill. Smokes allow you to block vision and take map control as well. If you combine these two utility items there are limitless strategic possibilities. Now add in grenades and molotov/incendiary and the game gains even more depth.
Proper utility usage can win games. Take support players on pro teams for example. In the Major winning runs, Luminosity/SK had their star players who were supported by Taco. He would use utility in order to help his start players shine to the detriment of his own stats. The implication here is that utility can be just as -if not more- useful than shooting your enemy. If nothing else it improves your efficiency. Utility must be learned on offense and defense as they are used in different situations depending on which side you are on.
Sites like CSGO Nades can help with learning utility on maps. Additionally, watching streams from esports matches can teach you a whole lot in how utility is utilized to the extremes.
4. Master the Angles
Angles are similar to utility in the sense that an understanding of them will facilitate getting kills and taking map control. Learning which angles to hold, which angles to push and where to fall back to if you are pushed is a massive part of the game. One way you can practise this is by watching pros play and writing down where they are holding and watching. You can also take note of where opponents are playing when they are beating you in fights. It can be good to learn from what you have been beaten by. That is how most tips and tricks can be figured out.
The higher the quality of games and sophisticated your opponents, the more obvious angles become more successful. This comes from your opponents mind gaming themselves into thinking more sophisticated camping spots and tough angles will be our method of play. Instead going for the most obvious silver spot can catch a Global Elite off-guard.
Master your angles, but remember that your opponents are only human.
5. Know your sound cues
Being able to hear footsteps and pins on flashbangs can play a huge role in the game. Knowing where your opponents are is great information to pass along to your teammates. Knowing this can allow you to set traps and use utility efficiently. Definitely learn what sound cues you can hear through your headset.
CS:GO can be a quiet game for a long duration of each round. Being able to identify directional sound, the amount of footstep sets, utility thrown count and bullets fired can go a long way to understanding how to play a certain situation.
Read next: Best CSGO Crosshair and how to set it up
6. Keep an eye on your radar and clock
Knowing what is going on around the map is crucial. If you are aware of where the opponents are, it allows you to push in certain areas or know when to expect the opponents. Oftentimes your teammates will not communicate efficiently. This can be countered by keeping track of the radar. Your radar can be altered to your preferred specifications in the settings menu.
Additionally, always know how much time you and your enemies have left. While attacking or defending it is important to know how much time there is on the clock. The amount of time can determine what your opponents and your teammates can do.
7. Manage your economy
Understanding the economy will give you and your team an advantage. If you and your team can coordinate so you all have the best weapons and utility it will make it much harder for your opponents to stop you. If your buys are uncoordinated, your attacks will always be mediocre.
Granted, when playing PUBs this is increasingly difficult as there is always that one guy saving for “AWP” and end up getting 1-tap’d. Yet, overall having a good sense on how the game economy works, how much you are set to gain each round and how the enemy team economy is going is crucial to identifying advantages on the fly.
8. Keep it fun
One of the biggest things about progressing in something is keeping it fun. At the end of the day this is a video game that we play for fun. For some, that fun comes from playing with friends and learning together. For others, progression is most fun when solo queueing and playing alone. Find out what you have the most fun doing and do that.
We all have a tendency to tryhard and be toxic. Learn to set your mind before each match. If the goal is advancing in rank, bring your A game to the table, and if the game goes sideways use the time to practice certain aspects of your gameplay and get better at CSGO while taking an L.
9. Take breaks
Lastly, breaks must be taken. Some people play for hours on end without standing up or taking some time to breathe. It has been shown that breaks play an important role in information retention. Simply stretch or do some wrist mobility exercises can reset your body and mind for the next match. Exercise and being fit is also a key factor in ensuring you keep a mental focus longer.
In the end, using these tips as stepping stones for learning will help you improve over time. The great thing is that this game is fun at all levels and is very rewarding when you climb the ranks. Now get out there and start fragging.