A little background on me before we begin. I’ve been playing Counter-strike since ver. 1.6 came around in early 2003, and I’ve been “scrimming” and “10-manning” since early 2005. I’ve seen it all. I’ve played with great players, and I’ve played with noobs as well. The one thing that all of them have in common is this, they all have room for improvement.
I have been in my fair share of competitive matches. I want to stress that I am not anywhere near the greatest player, but time after time I see plenty of newer players to competitive make mistakes that can be easily avoided. I also see skilled players who forget, and need a reminder as well. I decided to write this as a sort of beginner and intermediate competitive player guideline/refresher.
As a competitive FPS player, if you think you know everything, and have nothing to learn, think again. There are always new moves, new tricks, new strategies to learn. This guide should at least help give some people a refresher and hopefully it will be news to some of the newer players to competitive. Let’s get started.
1. Thou shalt get a microphone, and use it. If you don’t have a microphone, you shouldn’t play competitive mode, period. Communication is absolutely key. If you have macros pinned to do call outs, and are extremely quick with the in-game preset communication, it’s not optimal at all, but I guess it might work. You really need a microphone to be effective and to help your team. Your whole team is at a disadvantage if someone does not have a mic.
Don’t speak in the mic unless you are calling out when you see an enemy (especially the one with the bomb), when you’re moving to another position, when you are throwing nades, or asking someone else to do something, unless you’re the primary signal caller. Sound in this game is absolutely key, speaking into the mic to do anything other than communicate for purposes to help your team is unnecessary, and can lead to others getting killed because of being distracted.
When you see an enemy, call out how many, if you see the bomb, and where. That’s all. When you die, call out how many are left, what direction they are heading, if one has low health, and then, you guessed it, shut-up. Your first reaction shouldn’t be to use an expletive, or ramble on the mic. Speak to your team and provide them with the necessary information they need, and then STOP TALKING.
When you are dead, and there is a single person on your team alive, as much as you want to help them, the best thing you can do is keep quiet. Coaching them when they’re the only person left will just distract them, and prevent them from using their most important weapon in this game, the sound. If you want to coach someone, wait until the round is over, and be precise and encouraging. Tell the person what they did wrong, and what they can do next time to correct this mistake.
2. Thou shalt not be “That Guy”. Noone wants to play with someone who is constantly complaining, mic spamming, blaming others for why they died, going rogue, or yelling out why the team didn’t win the round. If you’re this person, you probably play in a lot of scrims by yourself. Even if you’re the top fragger and have the most team points, it does nothing to help your team by telling them how terrible they are. If you don’t like playing with people who are inferior to your playing skills, put together a pre-assembled team. That is, if you have enough friends to play with. As I’ve said before, no one likes playing with this person. It’s ok to be the best player on your team, help the others to get better. Provide them with feedback on how to improve at the end of every round. If you’re frustrated, just remember, there was a time you didn’t know what to do or how to do it either. Someone helped you, so return the favor.
As the best player on the team, or one of the better players, you must keep your cool the whole match. You can’t allow the play of others to affect you. The worst thing that can happen to a team is when one of the people who is carrying the team stops playing as well because now they’re frustrated that they are losing. Keep your composure, and play the game.
3. Thou shalt manage money wisely. Managing your money is a HUGE aspect of competitive play. There are plenty of articles out there that go into detail about money management, and I’m not going to get into the specifics, but I want to point out the most important aspects of this part of the game.
Buy when your team buys, save when your team saves. It’s a pretty simple concept, but one that people deviate from the most. If you prefer a deagle, five-seven, tec-9, and it’s part of the team/your strategy during an eco round to buy those guns, then go for it. But if it’s because you’re not very good with the p2000, USP-s, or Glock, you probably just need to practice with those guns more. If you’re used to playing with m4/ak and aren’t saving for an AWP, maybe it’s part of your strategy to buy those pistols too.
A teammate with a rifle is far more effective than one with a pistol. If you’ve got the money to spare, or NEED to spare, buy an extra gun for your teammate rather than saving it, or stocking up on unneeded weapons/gear. If the awper doesn’t have enough money for armor, and asks you to buy him an awp in exchange for an m4 so he can buy armor, you should oblige as well. Remember, it’s a team that wins the match, not an individual.
4. Thou shalt not underestimate the importance of armor and nades. Grenades and Armor are extremely important. If you don’t know how to use them, or when to buy them, you need to. All it takes is one well timed flashbang to give your team the advantage, and armor/helm will save you from nades and less powerful guns during eco’s, early rounds, or when the other team is forcing a buy with inferior weapons. Getting dinked with a bizon when you just spent a bunch of money on an AWP can turn the whole round in favor of the other team just because you didn’t want to full-buy armor. If you couldn’t afford an AWP and armor on a full buy round, you shouldn’t have purchased an AWP in the first place.
You must learn how each nade works, how to throw them, the different ways to throw them, and you must communicate to your team when you are using them. You must learn to coordinate using nades together. Coordinating at the buy round with the team on who is buying what nades is extremely important as well. Learning to use nades can greatly improve your skill, and your frags will continue to rise the better and better you get at using them. A team that properly uses nades, flashes, and smokes can defeat a team of superior skilled players if they are not equally as good at using nades. Do not let this facet of the game pass you by. Nades separate the good teams from the great teams.
5. Thou shalt rotate with the team. Once the bomb has been sighted and called by a teammate, any player who is not in the bomb site should immediately rotate to that bomb site. Taking the bomb sight back can be very tricky, but as long as everyone goes together, and uses flashes and smokes properly, it can be done. You can’t expect to send one person into a bomb site at a time and take it back when they have 3-4 people holding the site. It must be coordinated. Hanging out and not trying to help the team take a site back spells disaster for your team. You must do it together! Learning the different positions to be on each map, where flashes and smokes go, and where players are generally hiding in the site will help you become better at rotating and being a better teammate.
6. Thou shalt follow the play call. If someone is calling the strategy for the round, even if you think it’s a bad call, you must do as they say. If you don’t like their calls, speak up and tell them you would like to call instead. Whatever they want the team to do, you need to do. Going across to the other side of the map, if it’s not part of the strategy will hurt the team. The rest of the team doesn’t know what you’re doing, or where you’re going, and it could spell disaster. Part of being a good teammate is listening and following orders. The rest of the team thinks you are all following orders and will follow suit. Going rogue can disrupt the team synergy, and then the calls and strategy could fall apart completely. If you don’t want to follow orders, you shouldn’t join a competitive match. Plain and simple.
7. Thou shalt guard the bomb (Terrorist). Once you take a bomb site, and clear it to ensure there are no opponents lurking in corners, it is time to plant and defend the bomb. The only thing that matters from this point on is that you ensure the bomb blows up. You must learn where each person should post up to hold the bomb site, what places should be smoked off to deter the CT’s from taking the bomb site back easily, and what to do when the CT’s make their move to take it back. DO NOT LEAVE THE BOMB SITE! You are in control of the site. Running off leaves your team a man down, and could put you into a 2-on-1 or worse situation that likely gives the other team a free frag, and also makes taking the site back that much easier. Guard that site with your life, and at all costs to win the round.
8. Thou shalt guard the bomb (Counter-Terrorist). As soon as someone kills the person carrying the bomb, your whole team should rotate to prevent the terrorists from getting it back. If they can’t plant the bomb, they can’t win the round unless they kill your entire team. You are now in hyper-defensive mode because the Terrorists have to get the bomb back in order to get back control of the round. Guard the bomb with your life and at all costs. You now know exactly where the terrorists have to go on the map, and just like taking a site back, the terrorists shouldn’t be sending a rogue to get the bomb by himself. Post up to cover all angles, and stay hidden to prevent the Terrorists from knowing exactly where you’re hiding while covering the bomb. Learning to defend the downed bomb is huge.
9. Thou shalt not ever give up during the match. I have seen teams come back from 14-0 to win the game 16-14. I am not saying it happens all the time, but it happens. Even if you think your team is going to lose, part of playing in a competitive match is agreeing to play your very best the whole match and to attempt everything you can to win. The comeback is real, but only if you believe in your team, and only if you’re not willing to give up. You aren’t just competing to beat the other team, you’re playing to show your team that you are a serious competitor. Leave it all out there during the match, don’t leave knowing the game could have ended differently had you just tried a little harder.
10. Thou shalt not ever stop trying to improve. Though I feel all of these “commandments” are important, I believe this one to be the most important. You joined the competitive match for one reason, to win the game. If you want to be competitive, you must continue trying to get better every day you play. Read guides, watch pro player matches, practice and run through strats with your friends. Keep playing competitive and you will continue to get better and better. Your team wants to win the match, it’s up to you to make the effort to get better and better to help your team do just that.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this article. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all in-game.
Jared Misner aka “<iSuck> or Wang| ][V][isne|2 “ Seattle, WA