Now that you have gone through all the important aspects of the game such as Aiming, Movement and Utilities, here are the last two often ignored factors that could potentially make you become an overall better CS:GO player:

  1. Map Knowledge:

There are only a handful of maps in CS:GO. These maps are frequently updated to make sure there is balance as well as visually up-to-date. There are three main map pools:

  • Active Duty Maps: These maps are the most up-to-date maps and are being used in the official match making as well as tournaments. The map pool right now includes: Inferno, Train, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Dust II, Vertigo.
  • Reserve Maps: These maps are usually former Active Duty maps that are due for a rework/rebalance or new maps that needed to be tested. Once the rework/testing is done and the maps are deemed balanced, the maps will make their way into the Active Duty map pool and replace other active duty maps that are due for a rework next. Right now, the Reserve Map pool includes: Cache, Cobblestone, Canals, Zoo, Abbey, Biome.
  • Hostage Rescue Maps: These maps are for the hostage game mode which is more casual than defusal game mode. These maps are generally not being worked on that much and are only played in casual or event game mode. However, there are still new maps added for this mode but not as frequently as defusal mode. The hostage map pool includes: Militia, Agency, Office, Italy, Assault.

Due to this guide focusing on improving your CS:GO gameplay in a competitive manner, it will generally be about Defusal Maps since Hostage Maps are more of a casual gameplay. Your priority would be to focus on the current Active Duty map pool. These maps are the map that you will play on your competitive matches to rank up. There are couple steps that you can take to improve your map knowledge:

  1. Choose one map and stick with it for a while: A lot of new players tend to leave the map choice settings at default (random within the map pool) when playing competitive. This will often make the player feel overwhelmed since different maps have vastly different play styles. My number one recommendation is always to choose a map, stick with it until you feel like you have learned the map thoroughly. Some of my recommendations for the first map to learn are: Inferno, Mirage, and Dust II as these are straightforward maps with not too hard tactics.
  2. Learn the basic routes of the map: This is very important as it will enable you to understand and execute your team strategy. It will also make you feel more comfortable when knowing exactly which way to go. With a lot of gameplay, you can eventually understand the common route that the opponent might take and outplay them.
  3. Learn the call outs for the map: Information is critical in CS:GO. To quickly give your teammate the information, you should know the call out of common spots of the map. These call outs can be learned through the in-game mini-map or a quick search on Google.
Call outs for common spots on DE_DUST I

4. Learn the utilities set-up spots: In the previous guide, you have learnt how valuable utilities such as smokes, flashes and fire grenades are. You can quickly search for a utility’s tutorial for a specific map to learn. This will show you exactly how to throw these grenades from a safe place to get the most out of your utilities.

A safe CT spawn smoke spot for B-Site inferno when attacking.

The best way to learn a map is through re-playing it many times and learning from experience. Following this advice you should be able to get more comfortable and learn the map easily. Having a good understanding of the map allows you to get more aggressive in your playstyle and outplay the opponent with your knowledge advantage.

2. Communication:

This is one the most underrated aspects especially in lower ranks. Communication and teamwork is the key to victory in CS:GO. Without communication, there would be no teamwork. Unlike other games, one person carry is almost impossible especially when the opponent is also in the same skill group. Therefore, by just communicating and sharing information with the team, you are contributing to the team already without even needing to get kills. Here are couple of advice to better communicate with your teammates in CS:GO:

Always adjust and test your mic settings. You don’t want to be that guy with an annoyingly loud and noisy microphone!
  1. Make sure your mic works: Use the CS:GO settings and configure your mic volume to a reasonable level while making sure there is not anything distracting in the background that might annoy your teammates.
  2. Always focus on the information: In CS:GO, there are often very frustrated moments when you got killed from behind. Do not start flaming, instead informing your teammates where you think the opponent could be, so they are aware of that. When you are forced to go first and get killed, do not start flaming. You should instead call out different positions that you saw the enemies at. Remember, if you die but your teammates get two kills from your information, it is still a 2 for 1 trade.
  3. Always remember to communicate: Sometimes, you just cannot hit any shot and cannot seem to be in the game at all. You could be very tilted and do not bother to talk to anyone. But remember this, there might be a guy on your team that is having a great day and is hitting insane shots. Giving that guy enough information and you bet he would be able to carry your team to victory. The truth is most people do not really mind if you are not so good at the game if you keep giving good information to them and complete your roles. So yeah, always remember to communicate even when you feel like it’s already a lost game.
  4. Do not put blame on teammates: This is the opposite of the previous one where you are the one who is having a good game and you feel like your teammate is holding you down. Blaming him will make him feel worse and potentially tilt him in to not communicating for the whole game. Be confident in your ability to carry and ask your teammates to support you with utilities or information when they cannot seem to hit shoots instead of blaming them for being bad. This will encourage teamwork and could potentially get your teammates into the groove and start hitting shoots. I have personally seen comebacks from devastated score lines, so just keep things positive and you will be amazed how well it works.
  5. Keep things short and precise: Don’t talk too much during the gameplay as it will distract them from hearing important sound in-game such as footsteps. If you know the exact information, deliver it clear and precise to your teammate. If you don’t really know and just make a guess, make it clear that you are just guessing so your teammate won’t put as much weight to it versus their own observation.
  6. Do not be the teacher: No one likes to be taught on how to play the game correctly during gameplay. If you see your teammates making mistakes, just give them advice in a considerate manner instead of trying to give a lecture on how to play CS:GO your way.
Don’t be this guy! Always keep it cool and communicate with your teammates!

Good communication leads to good teamwork which increases the chance of winning. There is a reason why better players at higher ranks tend to communicate a lot more compared to lower ranked players. So, remember to always communicate as it will not only help your teammates, but it could also help yourself to vent out those frustration moments you might encounter while playing. Good luck and have fun fragging!