Adapting Your CSGO Play Style to Your Opponents

Toby Marshall
10 March 2022
Adapting Your Playstyle to Your CSGO Opponents

Not every opponent you face will play in the same way. All will have their own gameplay and their own tactics. That means that what it takes to beat one, won’t necessarily work against others. As such, adapting your play in CSGO accordingly is a wise and effective thing to do. Here, we are going to look at how you can adapt your game style to better counter all of the different types of players you might meet when playing CSGO for fun or at the competition level.

How Adapting CSGO Play to Your Competition Works

When you play a competitive game such as CSGO, you will come across all different types of opponents as you work your way through the levels. There will be some that are better than others. Some opponents will have an aggressive gameplay, other opponents will be more passive in their approach – and many flit between these two extremes. That is exactly what you have to expect when you start playing competitive shooter games like CSGO.

To be successful, you need to know how adapting your own CSGO game play to the different playstyle works. Knowing how to counter your Counter-Strike opponent is one of the most important skills as a player and is the only way to rise through the levels in this game. The quicker you adapt your game to their playstyle, the more chance you have of being competitive, making it harder for them. That’s exactly what you want to do.

Starting at the Beginning

If you start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start. Whether you are playing as a Terrorists or a Counter-Terrorist, you have to learn the tendencies of your opponents. That should be your first priority in the first few rounds – and this is something you can do whether you win or lose these rounds. No matter what the outcome, work out whether they are aggressive – and if so, when are they most aggressive – at the beginning? After one minute? 

If you are playing as a Terrorist, another important aspect to look out for is where the players defend. Normally, players will have their own positions – and you can learn plenty from that. For example, imagine player A and player B are defending the bombsite for four consecutive rounds. If you then notice that player C suddenly joins them, then you know there is something amiss – it could be a stack.

Some players even make notes on these findings and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. Even the best Counter-Strike players in the world take pen and paper to their matches. If you see something important, make a note of it. Get used to doing it and it will start becoming second nature

Adapting your play in CSGO

As soon as you learn what your opponents do, then that’s when you need to start adapting your gameplay accordingly. There are several ways to do this.

To demonstrate, let’s look at how some of the more professional teams work. Take Fnatic, for example. This was a team that never really relied too much on anti-strating opponents. Instead of this, they used to force their style of play onto their opponents. This was a very aggressive team that knew how to exploit their opponent’s weak links and force their way onto the bombsites. As Counter-Terrorists, they would seek out entries asap and were sometimes even more aggressive than their Terrorist opponents. This is no easy way and requires some serious skill.

Then, we can look at Gambit. This is more of a passive and strategic team. This team tries to avoid duels if they don’t feel that they have an advantage such as well-placed grenades like Flashbacks and Smokes or trade setups. Gambit studies its opposition hard and learns as they go –  adapting to what is happening and countering the opposition with some seriously prepared anti-strat.

In most of their matches, they simply avoid looking for their opponents. Instead, they let them come to them (only when playing as CTs of course). They also attempt to delay takes as much as they can with timed utility which forces the opponents to play when the clock is running low on time, which can cause teams to make mistakes. If necessary, they try to surprise with a push – and these are just a few of the reasons why they eventually became one of the most audacious and feared teams in the world.

You can take a leaf out of their book. If you have an opponent that is playing very aggressively then you can attempt to delay them with well-placed utility, making them use what they have. On the flip side, if they play slower as a team on the Terrorist side, then you can push and get some map control, possibly even gaining an advantage. However, remember that if you do this too often, then they will know what’s coming, wait for you and probably get those kills in, especially if you start pushing in the same spot every other round.

Don’t Become Predictable!

If you are playing against good opponents then adapting to their game can backfire. If they catch on to what you are doing, then they will likely anti-strat you – and give you a very tough time if you keep repeating the same patterns.

Make sure you pay attention at all times to how your opponents react to everything you do. Of course, it’s not easy, but it is this that separates a decent player from a brilliant player. If you can do all these things, then you are on the way to becoming brilliant.

You need to make note of all different things at the same time whilst adapting to their maneuvers… and this isn’t something you can do overnight. Bringing it all together requires persistence. You will need to literally spend thousands of hours playing Counter-Strike: GO if you want to truly get good. If you don’t then it really doesn’t matter either. You don’t need to play CSGO to be competitive  – you might just want to play for the fun of the game.

It simply isn’t possible to play CSGO matches making no mistakes at all, which is also what makes CSGO gambling so fun. There will be some issues that are sure to occur. Really, CSGO is a match always littered with mistakes – and it is the team that makes the fewest mistakes that will end up winning.

Watch Demos from Top Anti-Strat Teams

Reading guides is all well and good, but one of the best ways to learn how to adapt to opposition is by watching players that do it actively and naturally. There are a number of excellent teams out there, known for their anti-strat skills. Watching their professional matches is often an excellent way of gaining knowledge.

It’s not just Gambit that is a great team to learn from – there are plenty more. Danish player Benjamin ‘blameF’ Bremer has built a reputation as an excellent in-game leader that prepares his matches to the tiniest of details. His time in Complexity was filled with great ideas on how to effectively adapt to the opposition and make their own strategies work against them by exploiting their weaknesses.

Another good team to look out for is BIG, also known for its adaptation skills.

Ultimately, everyone has their own ways of doing things, but some of the best teams adopt the main strategy of adapting to their opponents rather than relying on brute force if things aren’t going their way. CSGO is all about adapting your play and being flexible. Conquering this can turn a good player into a great player.

Author Toby Marshall