10 Counter Strike Beginner Tips To Give You An Edge

Counter Strike has a steep learning curve, so today we're giving you some beginner tips that will give you an edge as you climb the ladder to Global Elite. Read on for some general advice that may help even more experienced players gain an advantage.

Here are a few Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO) beginner tips that may give you an advantage if you’re just starting out. Some of them may seem obvious. Some of these things may surprise you. Either way, here are a handful of tips that may help you, even if you have been playing for a while.

CS:GO is enjoyed by roughly 20 million around the world. There is a good reason for it’s enduring popularity. In fact, there are many reasons, but that’s not what this article is about. I am here to give you some of the things that I wish I knew when I started playing Counter Strike.

1. Everyone Is The Same

Unlike some other FPS games, CS:GO puts everyone on the same page. There are no unlockables. All the guns, utilities and the like are available from the word GO. Excuse the pun.

This means that beginners are not technically at a disadvantage against someone who has been playing the game for a while. Experienced players don’t have advantages like scopes and other trinkets that improve their performance, the only advantage for them is their experience and superior knowledge of the game and it’s mechanics.

2. Play Competitive Matchmaking

A Landslide Victory

A Landslide Victory

For a true Counter Strike experience, competitive matchmaking is the way to go. It’s fine to hop onto the casual servers to warm up, or play a deathmatch, but if you want to enjoy the game as it was intended to be played the 5v5  defusal maps are your friend. It’s the most enjoyable, by far. Playing only casual or deathmatch will hurt you later on if you decide to play competitively, since people don’t really play seriously in casual and it can be a chaotic mess with up to 10 players on a side. This is twice as many as intended.

It can be fun if you just want to chat to people and mess around, but you don’t really learn to strategize or work as a team this way because people on these servers tend to muck about and do their own thing. It’s also pretty likely that you will encounter hackers who can see through walls or have aim assist, as Valve does not monitor the casual servers for cheaters. 

Deathmatch randomly spawns you on the map and after selecting a gun you simply run around trying to get as many kills as possible. This is a good way to warm up your aim and situational awareness, but teaches you absolutely nothing about the nuance of Counter Strike. 

3. Don’t Worry About Skill Groups

RIP MatchMaking - I was placed amongst significantly more skilled players here

RIP MatchMaking – I was placed amongst significantly more skilled players here

After your first 10 competitive matches, the game will give you a Skill Group. There are a lot of them, and they are intended to match you with players who are more or less the same level as you in terms of your in-game abilities.

People tend to become intimidated by higher skill groups, but after playing this game for 1000+ hours, I can attest to the fact that if you take the time to learn the game’s mechanics and the way it is played, you can best just about anyone regardless of how high their rank is. Take these beginner tips to heart, and you will be a valuable member of anyone’s team regardless of their rank.

I don’t have a high skill group, and I often play with people of much higher skill than mine. It’s still possible for me to outsmart or out-aim a Global Elite, and this is a good segue into my next point – 

4. Confidence Is Key

The player I just deleted implies that I may be cheating - so satisfying

The player I just deleted implies that I may be cheating – so satisfying

Much like in life, your confidence plays a huge role in how successful you will be. Losing a few rounds often tilts players, and then it is a downward spiral as they have already given up in their hearts. Don’t do that!

It’s important to approach each round with a fresh mindset. Your mental resilience can turn the game around, and it’s preferable to be overconfident rather than not confident enough. If you’re getting out-aimed, then try change up your position or personal strategy but don’t let the enemy trample over you or give up control of an area. Any half decent player will notice that you’re becoming sheepish and exploit that. It’s better to play with confidence rather than let yourself get dunked on round-in and round-out.

5. Learn Your Callouts

This area on Overpass is known as

This area on Overpass is known as “Construction”, but where I live we just call it “Water”

Communication is very important in Counter Strike. If you spot an enemy, you have to tell your team where they are so they can provide support if needed. How are you going to do that? Quite simply by learning the maps and the lingo that goes along with them.

Each area will have a name, and these may differ depending on which part of the world you’re in and which language is being spoken. Learning these callouts is imperative as your team will not be able to react effectively if you’re giving a vague description. Things can happen very quickly. It’s important that you are able to concisely and effectively provide your team with information so they can react as quickly as possible.

Go learn some callouts. Keep in mind that they vary by region and language. 

6. Get A Good Mouse And Headset

Aim Botz is a popular community map used to  practice one's aim - used by pros and beginners alike

Aim Botz is a popular community map used to practice one’s aim – used by pros and beginners alike

Probably the biggest advantage one can have in such a twitchy shooter is an accurate mouse. It will likely take some experimentation to find the right mouse for your comfort and grip style, but it is worth your time and money to acquire quality hardware to give yourself an edge.

There are many brands available, and the main considerations are as follows: Your comfort firstly, and the sensor is of great importance as well. Personally, I swear by Razer’s 5G sensor – but you also get excellent products from the likes of  Logitech, Zowie, Steel Series and many more. A gaming mouse can be pricey, but it really is a huge advantage. 

Similarly, a good headset will provide you with 2 important things: The ability to hear your enemies, and the ability to communicate with your team. A single step can give away an enemies position, and you may not hear it if you are using an inferior headset, so again this is money well spent. CS:GO supports 5.1 surround sound, and this is a boon since it can tell you exactly where the enemy is relative to your position.

7. Queue With Your Friends

Me and the boys executing a classic Rush B strategy

Me and the boys executing a classic Rush B strategy

Counter Strike is a team-based game. It’s advisable to queue for games with players that you know are reliable. You can meet them in casual games, or while you are solo queuing. Don’t be afraid to add people to your friends list, as this will greatly improve your experience. When you play with the same people regularly, you will learn each other’s play styles and become better at supporting each other. 

This is where the fun comes in. For me, anyway. Playing with people regularly and climbing the ranks with them is one of the best things about CS:GO.

8. Don’t Neglect Utilities

One thing is very apparent when playing with or against beginners – they rarely, if ever, use their utilities. A well-placed smoke grenade can set you up for a ninja defuse, an incendiary can cut off rushing enemies and completely upset their strategy. Utilities are powerful, when used correctly.

That said, utilities can also screw up your own team’s strategy. A bad flash can blind your entire team, and can be devastating. Perhaps this is why beginners are reluctant to use them. Worry not, there are channels like NadeKing where you can learn a bunch of effective utilities.

Another thing you can do, is create a custom server, and use NadeKing’s practice configuration. This way, you can get creative and make up your own lineups. Super General.

9. Be Nice

This one might seem obvious, but it’s an invaluable tip for beginners who are new to Counter Strike. Sometimes you end up in a team with people that get upset about various things, from their teammate’s performance to losing a few rounds. They will rage and curse, but don’t stoop to that level and try to maintain a positive attitude. Mute them, if necessary.

It might not shock you, but when a player makes a mistake or misses a few shots, getting salty about it doesn’t help the situation and can make their performance even worse. Try focus on what they did right, and encourage them with words of positivity. I can almost guarantee you that they will perform better this way.

It’s also possible that being nice to someone who is being toxic can sometimes change their attitude towards the game – drop them a gun if you have spare cash, and remain positive in the face of their toxicity. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worked more often than not for me. On the subject of money, that brings me to my next point.

10. Learn The Economy

Economy is an often overlooked component of Counter Strike

Economy is an often overlooked component of Counter Strike

Taking time to learn and understand the in-game economy, when and when not to buy, can give any team a decisive edge. It’s no good, for instance, for one player to save up for an AWP while the rest of the team can only afford pistols. If you’re flush, and your team is not, either drop someone a weapon rather than purchasing an expensive sniper rifle or save until the rest of your team can buy.

Part of playing as a team is buying as a team, and in the case when someone does what is known as a “force buy” – that is, buying up when cash reserves are low on the rest of the team – rather than stubbornly saving buy what you can so you can play around the superior weapon. Managing the economy is an essential.

11. Bonus Tip – Have Fun!

This should go without saying, but one of the best beginner tips for CS:GO I have is simply that. It’s easy to get so involved in all the intricacies of the game that one forgets to have fun sometimes.

Counter Strike has a steep learning curve and this can be intimidating. As intimidating as it can be, it can also be very rewarding when you execute a strategy as a team. Even if you are losing, you can still have fun. Embrace the challenge, and try different things than you usually do. This may yield surprising results. 

This concludes my list of 10 Counter Strike beginner tips. There are many things to learn in this game, and that is why I love it so much. These are just some of the more important points, so I hope you’ll dive in with confidence. Remember, even the pros sometimes make mistakes, as evidenced by the video below.

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