Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Guide for Beginners

Toby Marshall
31 December 2021
CSGO Beginners Guide

If you are new to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive then maybe it’s a good idea to start out by reading a basic beginners guide to get you started – and that’s what we want to bring you right now. You might be new to the game, but Counter-Strike is certainly not a new game, having been around since 1999. So, why not look through the guide, try out some different things and see what it is that works best for you as a player.

First, remember that no matter whether you want to play at a competitive level or just for some laughs with your mates, you still need to have fun and enjoy it.

So, here we will look at some of the basic principles of the game…

  • Shooting
  • Map Control
  • Crosshair Placement
  • Mouse Settings
  • What to buy and when to buy it

If you are just starting out with the game, then it can seem pretty intimidating at first. When you start a match, it seems as though practically everyone knows the names of all the hiding places that you never even noticed. Your teammates scamper around the bomb site at the speed of light and you find yourself lost in an air duct – and picked off quickly by an approaching enemy. Moreover, you realise you didn’t even know that you had the bomb!

Now, because of this, it has been changed so that complete novices can’t play competitive mode straight away – and you will need to play on the casual game mode until you reach rank 3. This means that you can learn the basics first – and prevents hackers from joining the fun.

CSGO Beginners Guide – The Start

Our very first tip would be this – don’t pay too much attention to the outcome of a casual map. A casual map is just that – casual, and it’s not where a player goes desperate to win. Here, no one will care if you do something silly while practising. You’re simply there to learn – and it’s the best place to make those mistakes.

Shooting

Your first skills needed in the CSGO game are the more straightforward skills, but that doesn’t mean they are easy if you have never played it before. One shooting tip is to keep your reticule at your head height. However, in order to be more accurate, you need to be still whilst shooting. It’s not the same as COD where you can run and gun to your heart’s content.

When you start improving, you will become more accustomed to strafing, stopping and shooting, then strafing again. With practice comes speed and accuracy. Eventually, you’ll be a master.

 It’s also worth being aware that your bullets won’t simply go wherever your crosshairs are pointing – as the gun recoils, your bullets will change course. As a new player, you will want to practise burst fire in order to minimise your recoil. Bullet ‘spraying’ … which is simply just holding the trigger down, is normally just for close-quarters combat or else sub-machine guns. When you spray, be sure to pull your aim down a bit to compensate for recoil. If you haven’t used that many bullets, don’t reload automatically – as you need to be ready should another enemy appear. You need to reload in a safe place – not just randomly out in the open as it leaves you vulnerable.

Also, be aware that each gun has its own unique spray patterns. It is important to know about spray patterns because, after the first few shots, your bullets will start going over the enemy’s head and start flying erratically. One of the toughest things to master in CSGO is controlling spray – which requires you to be able to reproduce that spray pattern in reverse using your mouse, to counteract the recoil. This isn’t easy and needs practice!

You also need to consider that you are completely accurate when you change your direction. This means that if you strafe right, the very moment you start strafing left you will be completely accurate to hit a shot.

Map Control Beginners Guide

If you are new to the game, it’s natural to be worried about giving your position away. You could hold shift and walk, which means no footstep sounds around the bomb site – and then be nervous to pre-shoot until you are completely sure where your enemy is… frightened to go too aggressive in case you give yourself and your team away. If this is you – stop. You need to know when to be sneaky and when to be aggressive and pre-shoot – and that comes with experience. Basically, tip-toeing around a bombsite doesn’t make you a great terrorist! 

Pre-shoot a lot and if you aggressively push a Counter-Terrorist when the round starts, they won’t be expecting it. Play lots of different strategies and get a feel of how they work for you. Practise analysing your opposition and start to play in a way that will be difficult for them to predict and anticipate. You need to be brave and be patient.

Ultimately, in Counter-Strike, map control is very important and by getting to know different play styles you will have different ways to keep or get control of an area. As soon as you become confident with how to play the maps in competitive mode, you will know how most people defend and attack sites. You should take time to learn how to throw grenades by watching videos and trying our practice community-made maps. Just take a few minutes to practise and you will find that using grenades properly will make your game easier.

As you start to develop your map sense, you will then come across wallbanging. There are certain materials that you can penetrate with bullets – with some being obvious and some being not so obvious. Try to spam a wall when you hear an enemy on the other side – or even if you don’t – you might just get lucky with a nice headshot!

Crosshair Placement

As soon as you have got the hang of shooting and map placement, another thing that can make a big difference in the gameplay is learning the art of crosshair placement and positioning. This does require some map knowledge, so you will need to play a few games first. There are several great videos out there that demonstrate excellent crosshair placement. You can look more closely at pre-shooting as well, which is also a great technique for a new player, especially ones that have found themselves in the situation where an opponent takes the same position every round and simply keeps on nailing your team!

Again, this does require map knowledge and sound movement control, but it isn’t too tricky. Simply stop at the coroner the opponent is behind, line up your aim so that when you strafe out, your crosshair will be right on his head, then pop out, click and then pop back in. Here, perfect accuracy when changing direction is very helpful.

Mouse Settings

There isn’t too much required of you here in this element of our CSGO beginners guide. Firstly, you need to lower the sensitivity of the mouse a lot… then lower it even more. We would also suggest changing your radar. You can then consider changing your crosshair settings. You could have a static crosshair in a colour that isn’t used in the different environments. For example, pink is a great colour as it will stand out against any background -and most definitely against those balaclavas. Finally, be sure to switch off the ‘switch weapon on pick up’.

Undoubtedly there are excellent players that would recommend making other changes, especially as you become more experienced, but these are some excellent changes for a new player to get started with. We would suggest looking around different sites to see what works best for you… try things out to see how they feel.

What to Buy and When to Buy

It isn’t the most obvious thing straight away to anyone new to playing the game just how important the economy is in Counter-Strike. This can be a simple thing to manage if you and your team have good communication. So here is a beginners guide to some important things you will need to know…

When you play in competitive mode, you will need to buy a kevlar. It will cost around $1000 for both helmet and armour. Then, the AK-47 and M4 are the two main weapons of choice for both the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist sides. Both of these weapons are both versatile, powerful and cost-effective. You will need to get the hang of the two guns to start and when you have plenty of cash you can purchase them on ‘buy rounds’.

The AK-47 has the capacity to kill your opponent, wearing a helmet, with just one headshot. This isn’t possible with the M4 – as they will require two headshots if your enemy is wearing a helmet.

You should also become more familiar with the idea of ‘eco rounds’/ Although there are all sorts of nuances to this, the rule of thumb is to avoid purchasing anything if your team members have under $4000. If they have more, then you will be expected to do a ‘full buy’ – which will include grenades, guns and defuse kits.

The most important thing to take from this CSGO beginners guide is the communication with your team members. Look out for other team members calling ‘eco’ or call it yourself if you haven’t got much money. If you are going through an eco round then your main objective will be simply to plant your bomb and try and get a few sneaky kills – and get ready for the next few rounds.

If you do have enough cash for a full buy and a rifle on top – and a teammate is short, then give them an extra gun. Remember, your money is also your team’s money.

Pistol rounds are also incredibly important – so you need to decide what to buy. Well, first of all, it generally depends on the current patch. However, Tec 9s are always great guns  – and it’s always worth checking out a good Five-Seven. Then there’s the P250 which is also a great gun that is pretty cheap. If you still aren’t 100% sure about your aim then you could also invest in full body armour for $650 ish to tank some body shots. The pistol round is very important because, if you do happen to win, you are likely to win the following two or three rounds as well. 

Should you manage a successful pistol round, then your enemy will likely play safe, probably doing a full eco. This would make SMGs the preferred weapon for second-round buys. Most SMGs will give a very decent $600 or thereabouts for every kill (apart from the P90). They are also excellent against any opponent that doesn’t have armour. As such, buying an SMG might not only get you more money, but it can also guarantee easy kills. However, there are lots of players that buy SMGs on full buy rounds. So, you might get lucky at times, these aren’t the best against armoured players – which makes the choice of rifles more appealing. Rifles can be more expensive – and they will generally give less kill reward money – but if you buy rifles, you probably won’t end up regretting it.

If you are rolling in the cash and are capable of handling an AWP in a casual match, then you should consider getting one for your team in a competitive match. An AWP is an excellent way to lock down an area on Counter-Terrorist or get a quick pick if you’re on the Terrorist team. Ultimately, just having one AWP on the team is great – but two in certain situations can also work.

CSGO Beginners Guide Conclusion

As soon as you have nailed the basics, then one of the things that will help you the most is simply by trying out and playing aim maps – and simply getting into the habit of clicking heads. You can head over to community servers, search for ‘headshot’ or ‘aim’ and find a list of all the maps that allow you to practice it. Alternatively, you can download the two aim training levels from the Steam Workshop and practice without anyone else watching.

Author Toby Marshall