CS:GO Guide For Beginners: Tips & Strategies

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CSGO or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one the most popular e-sports and fps team games on the market with a player count in the millions. Counter strike has been around for over 22 years, initially starting out as a mod for half-life.

The game has gone through many iterations from Counter-Strike: 1.6 to Counter-Strike: Source, finally we arrived at Global Offensive in 2012 and it has been a staple in FPS and e-sports lovers’ lives for 10 years. 

The game is now free to play and if you are new we highly recommend checking out our guide. Counter-Strike is a deep and technical game, we will never be able to cover everything in this guide but we will give you a good footing to get your CS (counter-strike) career underway. If you are looking for some exciting game enhancements, then go have a look at our top-rated CSGO Hacks with Aimbot, ESP and Wallhacks.

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What is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Counter-Strike is a team-based 5v5 competitive FPS taking place on various arenas called maps. The game consists of two teams; terrorists and counter-terrorists. The terrorists (known as T’s)  will need to plant a bomb on one of two sites (A or B), and the counter-terrorists (also known as CT) will need to either prevent the terrorists from planting the bomb or defuse it after it has been planted.

The game spans over 30 rounds, with each team getting 15 rounds on terrorists and counters terrorists. The first to 16 rounds is the winner or in the case of a 15-15, it will be a draw. Each round is only 2 minutes long. 

Teams will get money to spend on a variety of guns, grenades and gear, with your money fluctuating depending on how many rounds you win or the kills you get during the round. Making sure you and your team have a healthy economy is essential to being in control of the game and finally winning.

CSGO has a variety of different game modes but in this guide, we will be exclusively focusing on the competitive ranked mode of the game.

Best CSGO Competitive Settings

As with everything in life, everyone has their own preferences and this includes CSGO. Take a look at this list of settings from the pros: prosettings.net/cs-go-pro-settings-gear-list. As you can see even amongst the professionals there is no consensus on what is the very best. In this section, we will advise you on how to make the best decisions for yourself.

Mouse & DPI Settings

Your mouse is arguably the most important part of your CSGO gameplay, it dictates where you are looking and where you will be shooting. Unlike most games, CSGO players generally play with lower mouse sensitivity settings to be as accurate as possible without affecting their movement too much. Your mouse’s DPI can often be changed in the software that accompanies your mouse. 

Quick tip: Mouse manufacturers often advertise extremely high DPI as a selling point when in reality most professionals and casual gamers do not need such high DPI. Don’t get fooled by the marketing tactic.

There are a few things you need to know when choosing the best settings for your mouse:

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eDPI

DPI stands for dots per inch, which is the measure of how quickly your mouse moves across your screen depending on your resolution. eDPI is effective dots per inch which is often called the correct sensitivity.

There are tons of different mice out there, some with different lasers and settings so you will need to see what works for you. Your DPI is hardware related whereas sensitivity is your in-game or windows settings. To calculate your eDPI and compare it with the pros, you can use the following formula:

Formula: Sensitivity * DPI = eDPI

Overall you need to play around with your in-game sensitivity as well as your DPI. It is good to have a look at the pros and possibly try out some of their setups. 

Quick tip: You will probably need a larger than usual mousepad as a lower DPI means you will need more space to move your mouse around.

Mouse Acceleration & Raw Input

You should be turning off your mouse acceleration and turning on your raw input. 99% of the pros and experienced players use our recommended settings:

Mouse acceleration: Mouse acceleration will cause your mouse to move faster depending on how quickly you move it across your pad. This makes your aiming inconsistent and prevents you from developing muscle memory and keeping your shooting consistent.

Raw input: Raw input makes it so your CSGO ignores any settings that are outside of the game such as windows sensitivity. You generally just want to keep your mouse DPI and your CSGO sensitivity settings as your primary way of determining your eDPI.

Best Resolution and Video Settings for CSGO

As with all the mouse settings your video preferences are going to be determined by you. In the CSGO competitive scene, there is a lot of debate about resolutions, aspect ratios and black bars. Most pros prefer a 4:3 aspect ratio and 1280×960 resolution. The average gamer will play on 16:9 and 1920×1080 resolution and aspect ratio.

You also need to be aware of the limitations of your computer. The standard for all competitive players is 240 FPS, however, we recommend reaching the minimum of 144 fps. If you can’t reach this it is time to change or lower your settings.

The reason a large number of pros are playing with 1280×960 stretched is that some believe that you will be more focused on the middle of the screen and enemies may appear slightly bigger making them easier to hit. This is all down to your personal choices, we however recommend sticking to 1920×1080 if your pc can handle it as the game looks so much better for the casual player.

Below you will find a comparison of all screens.

1280×960, 4:3, Black Bars

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1280×960, 4:3, Stretched

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1920×1080, 16:9, Normal Resolution

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Quick tip: Many pros play with the lower stretched resolution as many played counter strike 1.6 when resolutions weren’t so high. So this is also a familiarity thing but the models do appear bigger on lower resolutions. It is up to you to find what works.

Video Settings For CSGO

Video settings are again personal preference but below we will give you a summary and suggestions on every setting.

  • Brightness

Brightness can be dependent on your Nvidia and AMD settings, go into your individual apps and tweak from there as needed. If you are struggling to see enemies in dark places it is a good idea to increase the brightness.

  • Color Mode

Use the Computer Monitor setting. It makes the game look better and brighten dark spots.

  • Laptop Power Saving

If you are playing on a gaming laptop it is better to disable this setting as your FPS will drop significantly.

  • Global Shadow Quality

This setting is dependent on the power of your computer, if you have the extra FPS and won’t take a hit you can turn it up otherwise we recommend having it on low.

  • Model/Texture Detail

Again, depending on if you have the FPS to spare you can turn this setting up. If not set it at low.

  • Texture Streaming

If you’re FPS is stammering you can try turning it on to see if it helps. If not we recommend keeping it disabled.

  • Effect Detail

Effect detail does not have the biggest impact on settings and can hurt your FPS so we recommend you to keep it on low.

  • Shader Detail

Shader detail will have no noticeable impact so keep it on low to boost your FPS.

  • Boost Player Contrast

This setting allows you to see player models against the contrast of the backdrop. We recommend enabling this setting.

  • Multicore Rendering

If you have a good CPU and can take advantage of multiple cores we recommend keeping this enabled.

  • Multisampling Anti-Aliasing Mode

Anti-Aliasing will help make edges and models a lot smoother making your game look better but it will come at an FPS hit. Give it a test to see how it will affect your game.

  • FXAA Anti-Aliasing

This setting may cause input delay when enabled so we recommend disabling the setting. Will also improve your FPS.

  • Texture Filtering Mode

This setting helps you see textures that are further away. If you can get away with it you can use a higher filtering mode, however, if you will take a hit to your FPS we recommend keeping it at bilinear.

  • Wait for Vertical Sync

V-Sync helps your monitor to prevent screen tearing and locks your FPS to the refresh rate of your monitor to prevent this. Disable this setting unless you are getting bad screen tearing.

  • Motion Blur

Need we explain more? Disable motion blur!

  • Triple Monitor Mode

Disable unless you have triple monitors set up.

  • Use Uber Shaders

We recommend leaving this as auto unless your GPU is very old or your integrated graphics can’t handle it.

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Monitor Settings in CSGO

When it comes to Counter-Strike your monitor is very important, especially if you wish to be competitive. In essence, CSGO is a very simple game, you point and shoot, however, what if you could point and shoot faster than the other player? This is where your monitor and refresh rates come into play. There is not a single professional player playing below 144hz. CSGO is a game of split-second decisions so being able to make those decisions faster will put you at an advantage.

A higher refresh rate monitor allows the game to flow smoothly, allowing you to track your enemies much more easily. Refresh rate affects your input latency, the higher the refresh rate the less input latency there is. This is why we stress getting the best settings to maximize your FPS in order to reduce your input latency and increase your advantage.

Quick tip: We recommend a 144hz refresh monitor at a minimum and if you have the extra cash to spare and a system that can handle it we definitely say go for a 240hz monitor.

Lastly, let’s quickly discuss monitor sizing. The optimal screen size for CSGO is 24 inches, this is because the game’s frame fits perfectly and you will only need to use your eyes minimally to see most of the screen. You can go a bit bigger if you wish but know you will have to look around more delaying your reaction time.

Quick tip: To double-check and make sure you are running your monitor at the h highest refresh rate possible do the following:

Nvidia – Go to Nvidia control panel -> Change Resolution -> Refresh Rate

AMD – Go to AMD Radeon Graphics -> Digital Flatpanels -> Change Resolution

Best CSGO Keyboard Settings

First of all, there is not much customization to be done with the keyboard and it comes down to personal preference. We do however recommend you play with a mechanical keyboard for more reliable and precise button presses.

The standard default grenade bindings are also not the greatest, especially when it comes to competitive play. We recommend rebinding these keys to something more practical and effective. You do not have to take our suggestions and can use your key bindings, however, below is a simple snippet you can copy into your console. Just edit the buttons as necessary.

If you have not enabled your console you can do that under the game, enable the developer console and use the tilde (~) key to access it.

“””

bind “f” “buy flashbang; use weapon_knife; use weapon_flashbang”<br />

bind “t” “buy smokegrenade; use weapon_knife; use weapon_smokegrenade”<br />

bind “q” “buy hegrenade; use weapon_knife; use weapon_hegrenade”<br />

bind “r” “buy incgrenade; buy molotov; use weapon_knife; use weapon_molotov; use weapon_incgrenade”<br />

bind “c” “buy decoy; use weapon_knife; use weapon_decoy”

“””

Best Radar Settings for CSGO

The radar is arguably one of the most important aspects of your CSGO screen, your eyes should always be constantly poking at the minimap, especially when there is action happening around the map.

The default settings are not optimal as it does not zoom out enough on the map. You want to be able to see everything. Everyone has their own preference but the majority of professionals play zoomed-out.

You can use the following snippet in your console to change to our recommended settings:

“””

cl_hud_radar_scale “0.9”<br />

cl_radar_scale “0.4”<br />

cl_radar_always_centered “0”

“””

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Best CSGO Crosshair Settings

This is where personal preference really comes into play. Your crosshair is the most important part of your screen, it determines whether you are tapping heads or whiffing shots.

More important than your crosshair design is getting comfortable using the crosshair.

When looking at the pros they all use a wide variety of shapes and sizes for their crosshairs. You can have a look here: csgocrosshairs.com. We do not recommend using the default crosshair.

In the following section, I will show you how you can use a workshop map to customize your crosshair to fit your needs or even copy the pros.

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Workshop Map to Customize Settings

Valve being the smart company they are; has allowed independent creators to make maps. These can be found in the workshop. To navigate to the workshop do the following:

Launch game -> Click play button -> On dropdown select Workshop Maps -> Click Visit Workshop.

We like to use Crashz and Misterio’s config builder.

With their config builder, you can change your crosshair, radar settings, gun positioning, and a variety of other things. We recommend you check out this map instead of messing around with complicated console settings.

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CSGO Weapons Guide

Your guns and gear in CSGO are your bread and butter, they are all different with different advantages and disadvantages. Each side (CTs and Ts) has different guns in their arsenal, for example on the terrorist side your rifle is the AK47 which CTs do not have access to and on the counter-terrorist side, you have your M4A1-S and the M4A4.

All guns have spray patterns, there are no aiming-down sights in CSGO and some guns have insane recoil. It is extremely important for you to learn these patterns, we will show you some of the more popular guns later on.

In the below guide, we will go through the different weapon types and which weapons are available in those types and which side they belong to.

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Pistols

Name Side Price Ammo Description
Glock 18 T $200 20/120 T-side starting weapon
UPS-S CT $200 12/12 CT side starting weapon – Silenced
P2000 CT $200 13/52 CT side starting weapon (can choose between this and UPS)
p250 Both $300 13/26 Armor-piercing pistol
CZ75-Auto Both $500 12/12 Quickfire pistol with low ammo
Five-Seven CT $500 20/100 High ammo and accurate pistol
Tec-9 T $500 24/120 High fire rate pistol with low accuracy
Dual Berettas Both $500 30/120 2 pistols, one in each hand. High rate of fire, low damage and range
Desert Eagle Both $700 7/35 Powerful long-range pistol with one-shot headshot potential
R8 Both $850 8/8 Low fire rate high damage pistol. Almost like a shotgun

When starting a game of Counter-Strike both teams have starting weapons that are given to you. On the T side, you start with the Glock, which is a low-range and high-fire-rate pistol. On the CT side you have two options; the UPS or the P2000. The UPS has high recoil but great accuracy, especially over long distances and can 1-tap terrorists without head armor. The P200 has a higher rate of fire and less recoil, most pros nowadays play with the UPS as their potential for headshots is higher but we recommend trying both out and seeing which suits your playstyle.

Many pros like to use the Deagle (Desert Eagle) on their save rounds as their high accuracy and headshot potential will help them win rounds against better equipment and weaponry.

Overall, there are many options and pistols to choose from. As with every game, there is a meta, usually set by the pros but the meta is always changing. We recommend you test and try everything out for yourself. 

Rifles

Name Side Price Ammo Description
Galil AR T $1800 35/90 Cheapest assault rife, high rate of fire
FAMAS CT $2050 25/90 Cheapest CT rifle. Has burst fire option
M4A4 CT $3100 30/90 Most expensive CT rife. Has more ammo and a quick fire rate
M4A1-S CT $2900 20/40 Silenced rifle with low ammo but very accurate
AK-47 T $2700 30/90 1-tap potential on headshots. High rate of fire but big spray patterns. The first shot is always accurate.
SG553 T $3000 30/90 Zoomed-in rifle that is accurate with a medium rate of fire
AUG CT $3300 30/90 Zoomed-in rifle that is accurate with a medium rate of fire
SSG08 Both $1700 10/90 Cheapest sniper rifle with 1-tap potential. Accurate while moving
AWP Both $4750 10/30 Most powerful sniper and weapon in the game. Low rate of fire but kills in one shot
SCAR-20 CT $5000 20/90 Semi-Automatic sniper. High rate of fire and high damage. Often called the noob cannon
G3SG1 T $5000 20/90 Semi-Automatic sniper. High rate of fire and high damage. Often called the noob cannon

Rifles are your bread and butter in this game, whenever your team has a strong economy you should be buying rifles. When you are on the T side you will be purchasing the AK-47 most of the time. It can one-shot armored targets with 1 bullet to the head. It is essential you learn to control the spray patterns and keep your crosshair head high. The only time you would not buy an AK is if you are awping or can’t afford it then you will most likely buy the Galil.

On the opposite side, the CTs have two rifle options; the M4A1-S and the M4A4. Unlike the AK-47 they do not have 1 tap potential, however, the spray and gun are easier to use. You also need to play around with the guns and see which one suits your playstyle as they are different guns.

Quick tip: You are only able to take the M4A1-S or the M4A4 into a game. You cannot have both in the same game.

The M4A1-S has a tighter spray pattern and is easier to control at distance. The only downside is the smaller amount of ammo. The M4A1-S is the cheaper gun as well. The M4A4 on the other hand has a larger magazine which will allow you to wall bang, and spray through smoke and spam, in general, to keep the opponents at bay. Overall, when it comes to your main rifle it is your preference and we cannot tell you what is wrong or right. We use both guns on our load-outs depending on how we are feeling and what is the pro meta at the time.

Next up are what we call the “tier 2” of rifles, the FAMAS and Galil-AR. These rifles are often used when your team has enough money to buy but you are a bit short of your main rifles, you would pick one of these up to ensure you can have an impact and keep your team’s economy level.

When it comes to sniper files, the most common are the SSG (otherwise known as the scout) and the AWP. The SSG is an inexpensive sniper rifle which has the potential to one shot if it is on the head. Another benefit of the SSG and something which makes it unique compared to other guys is that it has improved accuracy when moving or jumping.

The AWP is a one-shot on kill to anywhere besides the legs, an AWP shot to the legs will take about 90% of the enemy’s health. You generally only have one AWP per team, however, sometimes depending on the enemy you may have two although it is uncommon. One disadvantage of the AWP is that the kill award money is only $100 but there has to be a tradeoff with the potential to one-shot an enemy.

Those are the main rifles that see the most in competitive play, we recommend learning the spray patterns and how to best control these rifles. The rifles we have not mentioned do not see much in competitive play, we still recommend you take those guns and play around with them.

Heavy Weapons

Name Side Price Ammo Description
Nova Both $1050 8/35 Normal pump action shotgun with high damage at close range.
XM1014 Both $2000 7/32 An automatic shotgun that is effective at medium to close range
Sawed-Off T $1100 7/32 Sawed-off shotgun with high damage but only effective at very close range
MAG-7 CT $1300 5/32 Light shotgun that is great on the move, slow rate of fire.
M249 Both $5200 100/200 Machine gun with a high rate of fire and damage. Slow reload speed.
Negev Both $1700 150/200 Machine gun with low initial accuracy but high fire rate. Used to hold down a corner or position

A lot of the heavy weapons usually only see play on save rounds, when your team’s economy is not that great but you can afford a cheaper weapon that is not a rifle but will be able to afford one in the next round.

The shotguns are excellent at running and gunning at short ranges but lose a lot of effectiveness the further the opponent is. 

The M249 does not see much play as it is extremely costly when you can get better and more effective guns for cheaper. The Negev however does sometimes see some play if a team is looking to spam and hold down a position.

SMG’s

Name Side Price Ammo Description
MAC-10 $1050 30/100 Cheapest SMG with a high rate of fire and recoil.
MP9 CT $1250 30/120 Cheap SMG on CT side. Effective at medium to short range.
PP-Bizon Both $1400 64/120 Big magazine with lots of bullets but very low damage.
MP7 Both $1500 30/120 Good standard SMG with good fire rate and damage.
MP5-SD Both $1500 30/120 Alternative to MP7. Has a silencer.
UMP-45 Both $1200 25/100 Small magazine size but high damage and armor piercing.
p90 Both $2350 50/100 Low recoil, high magazine SMG. Best SMG available, high damage and good rate of fire.

SMGs are often used in the second and third rounds when you are still building your team’s economy. SMGs are great for running and gunning, with fewer penalties when moving. The guns still have their own spray patterns and need to be learned. Many people use the p90 to “spray and pray” with its high fire rate and big magazine. SMGs can also be used to break AWPers’ positions if you don’t have the utility to do it properly with rifles.

Grenades

Name Side Price Description
Decoy Grenade Both $50 A grenade that emulates the sound of your gun and makes a marker on the map.
Flashbang Both $200 Blinds the opponent when it goes off in their line of site.
Smoke Grenade Both $300 Creates a cloud of smoke blocking vision.
HE Grenade Both $300 Frag grenade that does damage when exploding.
Molotov Cocktail T $400 The grenade explodes where it lands.
Incendiary Grenade CT $600 Fire grenade that will explode into flame when detonating. 

Grenades in CSGO, otherwise called utility are essential to rounding out your loadout. They are always bought when you can afford them alongside your guns and armor. Grenades are a great way for taking sites by flashing those that are on, using smokes to block vision and using fire grenades to move players out of favorable positions.

The inverse applies to defending sites, you can smoke off entrances, use incendiaries to stop aggressive pushes and just delay the enemy in general. 

There are so many different smokes and grenades for different maps, it is impossible to figure these out by yourself so we recommend going onto youtube and searching smokes and grenades for your specific map. Learning these gives you a big advantage against opponents who have not.

If you are looking for more detailed guides on the weapons we recommend going through the counter strike wiki. Remember you can never learn too much!

Economy

Counter strike is a game of many faucets, the economy is just one of these faucets but it is an essential one and is important to learn when getting into the competitive side of the game. It is imperative to be a successful CSGO player. The concepts are not difficult to learn but you need to know them.

The Basics

Every single game of competitive CSGO begins with every player receiving $800 in the first round. Actions such as winning rounds, killing players, and planting or defusing the bomb all reward money. After every round even if you lose you will get money, however, not as much as if you have won a round. The more actions your team completes from round to round the more money your team will generate to purchase more effective equipment.

Quick tip: You can have a maximum of $16000.

Every gun has a cash reward for kills, pistols generally generate the highest rewards and guns such as the AWP very little.

Buy Wheel

We highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the prices of the guns and the buy wheel. You will spend time at the start of every round in this menu so it is essential to learn where things are located and shortcuts to buy specific gear.

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Win & Loss Bonuses

When a team loses multiple rounds in a row they will get a loss bonus to help them get back into the game. In order to effectively manage your money and know what is coming in you need to know how much you will be getting for wins and losses

Counter-Terrorist

Round after reset Win Bomb Detonate Total Loss Bomb Plant Total
First Round $3250 $250 $3500 $1400 N/A $1400
Second Round $3250 $250 $3500 $1900 N/A $1900
Third Round $3250 $250 $3500 $2400 N/A $2400
Fourth Round $3250 $250 $3500 $2900 N/A $2900
Fifth Round $3250 $250 $3500 $3400 N/A $3400

 

Terrorists

Round after reset Win Bomb Detonate Total Loss Bomb Plant Total
First Round $3250 $250 $3500 $1400 $800 $2200
Second Round $3250 $250 $3500 $1900 $800 $2700
Third Round $3250 $250 $3500 $2400 $800 $3200
Fourth Round $3250 $250 $3500 $2900 $800 $3700
Fifth Round $3250 $250 $3500 $3400 $800 $4200

 

Kill Rewards

Kill rewards fluctuate depending on what weapon you kill your opponent with. Have a look at our table below and familiarise yourself with it.

Galil AR $300 MP9 $600
FAMAS $300 PP-Bizon $600
AK-47 $300 MP7 $600
M4A4 $300 UMP-45 $600
M4A1-S $300 P90 $300
SG553 $300 Sawed-Off $900
AUG $300 MAG-7 $900
G3SG 1 $300 Nova $900
SCAR-20 $300 XM 1014 $900
SSG 08 $300 M249 $300
AWP $100 Negev $300
Glock-18 $300 Decoy $300
USP-S $300 Flashbang $300
P2000 $300 Smoke  $300
P250 $300 HE $300
CZ75-Auto $100 Molotov $300
Five-Seven $300 Incendiary $300
Tec-9 $300 Dual Berettas $300
Desert Eagle $300 R8 Revolve $300
MAC-10 $600 Knife $1500

 

Economy Terminology

Counter-Strike is a game of communication and there is often terminology tied into certain aspects in the game. You don’t want to load into a game and people are saying things you don’t understand. Check below for our economy terminology explanations.

  • Full buy – This is when your team has enough money to buy armor, rifles and grenades ensuring that you have a full loadout. 
  • Half Buy – When your team has some money but not enough to buy full rifles, armor and grenades, half buys are often done when you need to win a round.
  • Force Buy – When your team is having trouble saving together and putting together full buy rounds or when you need to win your team will force buy meaning that each member gets the best gear they can afford.
  • Eco – Eco rounds are essentially saved rounds but as a team, you will probably buy some armor and pistols to try to get something out of the round.
  • Full Save – Pretty self-explanatory, the team is not going to buy anything and going eco is not an option.

Quick tip: Keeping yourself alive during rounds is a good way to build an economy, you may even have enough to buy your teammates who weren’t fortunate enough to survive.

CSGO-MONEY Pro Guide

Conclusion: CSGO Guide

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a fantastic game and easy to understand on the surface but it is also a game of great depth and strategy. It is also a game of preference with many different settings and ways to play, we highly recommend you try it all out and decide for yourself what is the best for you. 

There is so much to learn so take your time and enjoy your journey because before you know it you will be playing with the best of them and long for the days of fragging noobies.

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