Here is some advice I wish I knew when I first started playing competitive shooters

Posted by Steve

Sunday, April 12, 2020 2:59 PM

Here is some advice I wish I knew when I first started playing competitive shooters

Firstly, I don't claim to be a god CS player. At my peak, I was rank A on ESEA. That being said, all I'm outlining here are a few misconceptions I often see new players have and a few fundamental rules of thumb for situations that you are often going to find yourself in. I can promise you that if you can be disciplined enough to follow these fundamentals you will already be a better player than your peers who are also new to the genre. But remember, these are just general rules of thumb. Obviously every situation is different. But anyways, lets get into it.

Aim is not as important as you think it is. Back when I played CS I used to hear new players all the time saying "yeah I DM 3 hours a day but I'm not getting better". And that's because in CS a player with superior game sense is almost always going to beat the player with superior aim. There's probably some Sun Tzu quote about using the battlefield to lessen the severity of a perceived power differential. The concept is the same. Now when you're completely new to the game you will benefit a ton from deathmatching for awhile. But aim practice has diminishing returns. So the first 100 hours you put into aim practice are going to net you a ton more improvement than hours 400 to 500. So by all means, feel free to practice your aim up to a point and continue to DM occasionally to keep it sharp. But don't fall into the trap that many players do where they focus more on aim than on developing a good game sense. If you're really going to try to get good at this game, you'll need a large mousepad. Steelseries QcK (size Large) are pretty standard mousepads that a ton of FPS players use.

What is game sense anyways? Simply put, game sense is just the "feel" you get regarding where enemies are and what they are trying to do. There's no hack for this, you really do just need to play a ton to develop it. Which is why I think it's so important to actually play the game and not just waste a ton of time in DM servers.

LOWER YOUR SENSITIVITY. We aren't going for MW2 trick shots in this game. There's no benefit to being able to do a 1080 with a brief flick of the wrist. This is one of the easiest ways to improve your aim. It will feel awful and sluggish at first, I know, but once you get used to it it will be worth it. The lower your sens is, the larger margin for error there is in your mouse movements. I usually just tell people to go as low as they can stand. But a more hard and fast rule is just to put your mouse in the center of your mousepad and lower your sensitivity until you do a 180 when swiping to either side of your mousepad. And then raise it a bit just to give yourself a little more mousepad to work with if you ever actually need to do a 180 in game.

Speaking of aim, a closely related skill is something called counterstrafing. Counterstrafing is super easy, it just takes some time to build the muscle memory. Since you're only accurate when standing still in these games, the fastest way to stand still when moving left or right is not just letting go of the movement key. It's actually to hold down both A and D at the same time. So if you're moving left you are holding A. When you see an enemy, you hold D to stop moving and then you can start firing. Super simple but extremely effective. (edit: apparently the time to stop is the same in Valorant regardless of how you do it, so you can disregard this unless you're thinking about playing csgo)

If you're on Offense look behind you. This one might seem obvious but it is shockingly rare to find teammates who remember to do this. Especially if your team is stacking a site. If you're stacking to hit one site, always be cognizant of the fact that people love pushing through the opposite site, into your spawn, to pinch you from behind. For good reason too, because it hard punishes people who forget that this is a possibility. There is an entire role in CS called a "lurker" who banks on this idea. A common play for a lurker to make is simply letting your team hit a site and then lurking near the exits to the opposite site to catch out players who think they can just rotate for free. You don't have to fully lurk though. You can just be the person constantly watching your teams backs and you'll get a surprising amount of kills from aggressive CTs.

A 1vX with the bomb planted is NOT a 1vX. I mean, okay sure if you want to get semantic then it is. But what I mean by this is that the CTs are not only up against you but, more importantly, they're up against the clock. Use this to your advantage. And by that I mean, and I cannot emphasize this enough, DO NOT be the aggressor in these situations. Play like the biggest bitch possible because every precious second they spend looking for you is one less second they have to defuse. It frustrates me to no end when I see a teammate just gift the enemy a round because he elects to take an aim battle instead of just sweating it out and putting the enemy up against the clock. Keep in mind, this also applies to when you're playing CT and the round is nearing end though it is a little different because they can take away your teammate (the clock) and use it against you if they manage to get the bomb down. So for that reason, you should probably be the aggressor if it prevents a bomb plant.

Think very carefully before using utility in a 1vX. This might apply a lot more in CS than in Valorant since the utility is so vastly different. But the idea is this. If you are in a 1vX and the enemy doesn't know where you are, mindlessly using a piece of utility flushes that advantage down the drain. Especially if you manage to get a flank. All using utility on a flank does is say "hey guys, don't forget I can come from this direction!" As with all of these tips, this isn't a hard and fast rule. There are certainly situations where you can benefit more from using utility than from staying missing but this usually not going to be true.

Your money is not your money, it's your teams money. (shoutout to warowl). I don't often see this problem a lot. Most players understand this but if you really are brand new to the genre then you might not have heard this before. It's pretty self explanatory. If you have the money for a drop and it makes sense to buy economically, then you always should. Players who win a lot in CS are never greedy.

Learn what an off angle is and how to use it. In general, an off angle is just holding an unorthadox position. But to go more in depth, the reason off angles are good is not just because they are unorthadox. A good off angle should be an angle that will catch an opponent by surprise while they are clearing other areas. So think about this. When you turn a corner, how do you check it? Well generally you immediately look down the wall to see if someone is holding the angle like this blue dot is. Holding an angle like this is bad for two reasons. The first what I just said. That's where they will all look as soon as they come around that corner. And two, because it is super easy for them all to swing out on you at the same time. So even if you win that first gunfight you'll likely just get a one for one. It's much better to hold an angle like this, especially if you're holding some sort of cross like the one from A main to A ramp on Split. The dream is for an engagement to ultimately look like this. The first guy is just a free kill. And after that you can either back up and use utility to fend off the other enemies or you can continue holding that angle if you're confident they'll keep crossing. Off angles are just another tool in your toolbox that can render any any aim advantage the enemy might have over you completely useless. Brain beats aim every time.

Be patient, and let the enemies make the mistakes. This ones self explanatory. Generally, the less patient player will lose a 1v1. That being said, you always have to be watching the clock. You can't be patient forever if you don't have the clock on your side. But if you have the time to spare then it's usually good to let your enemy make the first move.

That's all the tips I can think of for now, though I may edit if I think of some more.



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