Counter Strike: Global Offensive is a complicated game, and it’s especially complicated if you don’t have a high-level FPS(first person shooter) background. Unlike most other FPS games, CS:GO is very wide, but also very deep. It takes hundreds of hours to perfect a single gun, and it takes thousands to become comfortable with all of them. With so much variation in the game, it can sometimes be hard to figure out if you, your team, or one of the 100’s of external factors are to blame for a round loss.
In this article, I hope to provide you with some real advice, not only in-game, but also real life things to take into consideration. I talk about some in-game settings I recommend, some general life advice and most importantly when it’s time to take a break. I hope you enjoy the article and let me know on Twitter if you have any comments or recommendations.
- Top 10 CS:GO Tips To Help You Go Pro
- Have Fun And Make Friends
- Setup The ‘r_cleardecals’ Bind
- Learn How To Use Grenades
- Stay Active And Be Social
- What You Put In, Is What You Get Out
- Quality Over Quantity When It Comes To Training
- Enable The 10 Second Round End Music
- Don’t Change Your Settings
- Push Through Your CS:GO Slumps
- Remember To Enjoy Life
Top 10 CS:GO Tips To Help You Go Pro
Have Fun And Make Friends
One of the biggest mistakes I had made when I started taking CS:GO seriously was going in with the mentality of “I’m not here to make friends”. My high-level Battlefield ego told me that I’d just get to a point where I’m so good that teams would just pick me up even if they didn’t know me. Unfortunately, this isn’t how the world works and I definitely shot myself in the foot, I was ignorant and naive. My advice is to have fun, no I don’t mean run around trying to only get knife kills, but make jokes and try to get closer to the people you are playing with.
This can be harder in larger communities like North America, Asia or Europe, but in smaller communities like South Africa, most of the top players know each other and sometimes organize scrims and ‘10 mans’. Becoming part of FPL, Rank-S, or any kind of ‘elite’ group of players is very much the same as being part of a small community, and that means you need to make connections as fast as possible in order to stay there. If you know some players are from the same region as yourself, get to know them and after a few games together ask if they are keen to go out for a beer.
I’m not saying you should be fake, but make sure you pick the right group of people. I recommend that you go narrow and deep, but the last thing you want is to do is go deep with the wrong group of players. I’m not saying you should hang out with people you genuinely don’t get along with simply for the sake of making connections but make your pick while you can. Especially when you’re starting to get some traction, find at least one player in a similar position as yourself, with who you can test things and progress with, but don’t become too reliant on them.
Setup The ‘r_cleardecals’ Bind
I believe this has somehow gone past most high-level players, but having a keybind for r_cleardecals can mean the difference between winning or losing a round. As the name suggests, what r_cleardecals does is remove all decals from the map. By decals I mean blood, bullet holes and the black spots grenades leave behind after they explode.
After a quick look through the ESL CSGO Rulebook, there is nothing that explicitly states that it is not allowed. What I would look out for is binding it on top of another key. When I first started using it I bound it to R with reload, so every time I reloaded it would clear all the blood etc. That is until my friend and fellow CS:GO competitor, maniaq, reminded me that it is illegal (in most leagues) to have more than one function bound to one key, same as with the jump bind situation.
After he started using the bind, he recommended that we change it to the Push-To-Talk keys that we used for Teamspeak. Although this is a much better solution, it is questionable, so if possible I would recommend that you bind it to a completely separate key as I have it now.
Below is the string used to bind r_cleardecals:
My actual bind at the moment is:
Once you go r_cleardecals, you don’t go back. I often find myself trying to clear blood off of walls while watching streams and VODs.
Learn How To Use Grenades
Smokes, Molotovs, Grenades, Flashbangs, all of it. Want to not be considered for a team? Then just say the words “I don’t know how” when someone asks you to do a basic smoke. This is literally one of the last things you want to happen, make sure you spend at least an hour every few days working on your grenade usage until you feel really comfortable with them.
You don’t need to go watch every cheesy grenade video ever made, but you need to know the basics. As important as smokes grenades are in CSGO esports, proper use of flashbangs are what decide the outcome of a game. Know how and when to flash for your team, where you can get flashed from and when you need a player on your team to play in an anti-flash position.
I won’t be listing every basic grenade in the game here, but there are hundreds of videos covering the basics and that’s an excellent place to start learning. As the game is now, pretty much every essential spot has a smoke, HE Grenade or Molotov line-up available somewhere, so it’s not really necessary for you to spend time trying to find new line-ups for common spots, unless you are trying to do something very specific.
Learn only what you need, don’t waste time learning grenades that you won’t be using in the near future. If you are still playing without a team there is no point in learning some advanced smoke that goes together with only one very specific strategy, because I can guarantee you that it will be forgotten very quickly if you don’t use it often enough.
Stay Active And Be Social
One big mistake I made while pursuing a career in esports was neglecting my physical fitness, and now I have back issues because of it. You don’t need to become the next Zyzz, but play sports, hit the gym or at least go for a jog every few days. Not only will it keep you in physical shape, it will clear your mind, help you to stay happier and improve your in-game performance.
Another aspect of my life that I neglected was my social life. For the two years I spent only pursuing esports, I probably saw my real life friends maybe 20 times. This is also due to them living some distance away from me, but not seeing them more meant I never got a mental break from Counter Strike and it didn’t allow me to share my experience with anyone, which is an essential human need.
As general life advice, I recommend saying yes to ‘everything’. I recently watched the movie “Yes Man” for the first time and it really drove this point home, because even if you don’t feel like doing something or going to an event, you’ll probably end up enjoying it. Don’t be concerned about being the best CSGO player 24/7, take breaks and completely forget about Counter Strike for a while, it helps to keep you fresh mentally. Saying yes to life’s activities also helps to keep you interesting in aspects other than just gaming, which helps with networking and making connections.
What You Put In, Is What You Get Out
This is probably something most people don’t think will make a difference when it comes to gaming, but you are what you eat and if you eat like trash, you will play like trash.
There is a Youtube channel I love to watch, called What I’ve Learned that covers a lot of bad habits when it comes to food and eating, and what foods you should avoid to ensure optimal performance.
Now this is a very broad and complicated topic, but essentially keep sugar and bread to a minimum, and eat a healthy balanced diet. If you don’t have someone else preparing food for you, start getting into the habit of preparing food beforehand to ensure you don’t end up just getting McDonald’s when you start feeling hungry. Check out the MealPrepSunday subreddit for some advice.
Quality Over Quantity When It Comes To Training
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Don’t spend your whole day in front of the computer watching CSGO Tips and Tricks videos. Set specific times that you would like to play and practise in. It can be hard to find games in smaller regions at off-peak times, so I recommend practising in the morning and being ready to play later in the afternoon when people get home from work or school. In South Africa scrims would usually start around 2-3PM, but some days it would be hard to find a game until later. At will take longer to find higher skill games, so don’t be surprised when you only manage to play one or two games in a 3 hour period.
Whatever you do, do not spend the whole day in front of the computer, you will end up playing a handful of low-quality games and will be burnt out mentally before the good games start in the afternoon. Even professional football players only train 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. With the ‘accessibility’ of playing games and with a desire to get better at CSGO, it is easy to spend double that trying to improve 6-7 days a week. You WILL burn out if you try to do this.
If you’re not pursuing studies then your next option is to get a job, or even just a job where you work half-day, as it will allow you to still hit the gym and mentally refresh before the gaming starts in the late afternoon. Another great option is to join a local volunteer organisation, it will probably allow you to work somewhat flexible hours and will ensure you still gain some valuable life experience.
Enable The 10 Second Round End Music
This is another one of the well-kept secrets that separate the pros from the amateurs. If you go into your audio settings, there is a 10 second round end music setting which most players probably would have turned off by now. If you turn this slider all the way up, then you can use the master music slider to control the actual in-game volume of the music.
The music will start playing once the bomb timer reaches 10 seconds. Note that it takes 10 seconds to defuse the bomb without a defuse kit, so once you hear the music it is already too late. The music can sometimes be deceiving, as it seems to actually start playing just after the 10-second mark, so sticking a 5 second defuse at what seems to be the last second/halfway might actually end up being too late.
This is something minor, but it might be the deciding factor between making the defuse in time and knowing when it is too late, or knowing if it is safe to challenge the bomb defuser knowing that there is not enough time left for the enemy player to defuse.
Don’t Change Your Settings
You will eventually reach a point where your settings are already optimised enough and comparable to that of a top level player. Even some pro’s still make the mistake of changing settings in the pursuit of ‘more performance’. Everyone has good and bad days, don’t just change your sensitivity and resolution because you’re having an off week. Sure sometimes change is good and necessary, but be aware that it might not work and you’ll end up with a temporary (or perhaps permanent) dip in performance
Now if you’re still new to the game and don’t have much experience playing other FPS titles at a high level, I would recommend just copying a pro’s settings, it will save you a lot of time. Just head over to HLTV, choose a Top 20 player and just try out their config and settings. At the end of the day the best settings are ‘your settings’, so if you are already very comfortable with what you have, or feel like a certain pro’s settings work really well for you, just stick with it.
On that note, if you want to see which gaming mouse I recommend for CSGO or just high-level esports in general, check out my article here: Top 10 Best Gaming Mouse for CS:GO 2018
Push Through Your CS:GO Slumps
With over 4000 hours in CSGO alone, I’ve probably been through more slumps as I have peaks. Slumps are normal, and you NEED to push through them in order to become a better player. I’ll be honest, through many of these slumps I’ve thought about just giving up, but if I look at where I am now compared to where I was 4000 hours ago I can clearly see that I’ve improved tremendously, although it might not have felt like I was going anywhere at the time.
During a slump, you will need to control your emotions and stop yourself from changing your settings. Hitting a deep slump probably means that you need to take a bit of a rest, if you can afford it, take a few days off. Prevent yourself from getting too emotional and doing something stupid or burning bridges unnecessarily.
Remember To Enjoy Life
At the end of the day, Counter Strike: Global Offensive is just a game. You shouldn’t sacrifice family, friends or important life events just to play the game. Having a balanced life is one of the key ingredients necessary to be successful and happy. You might be skipping major life events just to end up not actually making it to pro level.
Esports is not a given, it could die within the next five years and you don’t want to be in a position where you have nothing else going for you other than a lot of skill in a now dead game or industry. Take time to enjoy life events and build skills in other areas.
Being the best is never easy, and in the end, the people who end up on top have the most discipline when it comes to their training schedules and living a balanced life. But it is also important to know that you can quit, but more on that later. For now, keep on training and you’ll be signing your first contract before you know it.
Hi, I’m Migael – A lifelong gamer and competitor in esports for almost 10 years. I competed in team-based games such as Battlefield and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at the highest level as well as individual esports like Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds and Rocket League.
I’m here to help out new players by giving tips and honest reviews on esports gear.