How to get better at CS:GO, improve competitive play and rankings

This is a submission by the user /r/gatrcs on reddit, here is the original link to the guide by him:

A little background of who I am and why I feel worthy of offering my advice: I’ve been playing since 2013, I reached Global early 2015. Got into ESEA league late 2015 and have spent the entirety of my time progressing as an IGL. I have progressed every season as a player and as an IGL. I’m not the star that was gifted to go straight to the top. I struggled to learn and understand but as I continue to get better and learn from my mistakes, I become more motivated to play this game. I believe learning from your mistakes is what defines the possibility of you achieving what you want to achieve in CS:GO.

I’m going to go through many different ways on improving your own game. I’m not the best at any of it, I’m far from it but I feel like showing what I’ve done to succeed can help others succeed and others can help me succeed at the same time. This isn’t a battle of you against the world unless you want it to be. You should be able to help one another get better at a game that you both share a passion for.


I honestly believe that DM is just like going to the gym. You’re not going to go from fat/skinny to Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight, Just like you’re not going to go from where you are currently to Coldzera or Niko overnight. It’s all about consistency, dedication and motivation. This is the other part people don’t realize. If you only bot DM or player DM, you’re not getting the most bang for your buck. If you only workout your biceps, you’ll never get big shoulders or a big chest. It doesn’t work that way. So you need to do a variation of what you do to get the most of out deathmatching.


Bot Deathmatch Maps:

Other ideas to help your overall aim:

Snapping – Pick random points OFF a bots body then snap to the head and fire 1-3 shots then snap back to the original point. Switch to another bot and do the same thing but DO NOT choose the same point as the first bot.

Flicking AK/M4 – Using Aim botz, snap from bot to anothers head by tapping and attempt to be able to go from the bots head to the next without missing. While hard at first, gets a lot easier as you continue to do so.

Flicking AWP – Don’t. I can’t awp. But if you want to, Do the same as snapping but with an awp.

Burst training: Work in bursts of 2, 3, 5, 10 or whatever you prefer. Just standard Bot DM but only kill the bots by using a burst rather than tapping or full blown spraying. Works especially good at medium-long range in MM.

Prefire maps:


This is something that a lot of players do not even consider. Some players don’t watch their own or others demos, some players watch demos because everyone says to watch demos but do not understand what to look for when they’re watching, some players watch demos of players above their skill level and immediately try to imitate what they saw but do not understand the context in which a professional player does it so it doesn’t work out well.

All in all, I’ll give you a good list of questions to ask yourself while watching your own demos:

  • Is this gun engagement taken on my terms or their terms?
  • Was I in position and ready to take this engagement?
  • What impact did this engagement do for the teams ability to win the round?
  • Did I need to take this engagement?
  • How or why did I lose this engagement?
  • Was this engagement needed for my team to win the round?
  • How do I put myself in a better position to win this engagement more often? (Over 60% of the time)
  • Did my calls put my team in the best position to win the round?
  • Do I see any consistencies that the enemy team can see also and counter? (Always peeking at this time or holding this same position/angle)
  • Do I use my nades correctly? (I’ll answer this: No.)
  • How do I position myself to use my nades correctly that both benefits myself and my team?
  • What did you expect was happening at any time vs. what was actually happening. Could you(r team) have somehow gotten that intel in advance? (Thanks to user shibireei)

The point of watching a demo is to learn your mistakes and to fix them. If you are unable to admit that you make mistakes, you will not progress as a player. Even the best players in the world makes mistakes. One of the reasons they are where they are is trial and error, ability to determine the mistake or error and the ability to fix them. (Anyone seriously interested in this, I will be more than welcoming to offer more questions that I ask myself when I watch my own demos, my teams demos, demos of team I’ve about to playing against (Counter strating) and demos of professional teams.

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Pre-aiming and pre-firing:

Pre-aiming: This is very tricky subject for me since I’m personally spending my own time improving on this. I obviously am not the best to ask this question to but I hope I can help. Pre-aiming is more than having your crosshair at headlevel at all times. It’s turning corners by placing your crosshair in the correct position to be able to engage and to do so effectively. It’s knowing what angle to check first then second then third when entering a site. It’s knowing the position that your crosshair needs to be in case someone pushes/peeks you. This single handily can improve your game more than anything. If you peek an enemy who isn’t pre-aiming the angle you’re peeking him at, that means he needs to readjust his crosshair before he fires and all you have to do is fire. So that means you’re at a HUGE advantage. But if you switch the scenario, you would be at a huge disadvantage if you are not prepared.

Pre-firing: This is something that once you get down, it’s easy to become more skillful at over time. It’s harder to get used to it than it does to become great at it. That’s why when you see a professional pre-fire an angle in a big match and gets the kill, it’s nothing to crazy to them but to the blind eye, it’s insane. How did he know? Is did he determine he should do that? The answer is that he knows what angles certain players like to play and when they’re most likely to be playing there. So pre-firing is the most beneficial to winning that gun engagement against the opponent.

So lets talk about the best time to pre-fire. You should pre-fire:

  • When an enemy has been consistently playing an angle.
  • When committing to a site where you’re first in and know that an enemy is either
  • More than likely there.
  • Has played there before.
  • 100% certain is playing there.

When shouldn’t you pre-fire?

  • When you’re in a position that is 100% certain the enemy does not know where you’re currently at.
  • When you are about to hit a site where the enemy has no information on which site you are hitting. (Example: Your team puts pressure on B site mirage Apps but the team has fallen back to A site to smoke execute and left a player to make a distraction at B. You are walking into A palace. You should not pre-fire the angles in palace but pre-aim and be prepared mentally to shoot if the case arises.)

Must know Smoke Grenades for all levels of CS:GO:

Dust 2:

  • T Side: T Spawn to long A, T Spawn to Cat box, Cat to ct spawn (Called commonly as CT Drop smoke), Long A cross smoke,Mid-B CT Smoke
  • CT Side: B Retake tunnel smoke,Mid door cross smoke


  • T Side: Arch side smoke, Boiler side smoke, In Archway Smoke, Library Smoke, Pit Smoke, Banana to CT Smoke, Banana to coffin Smoke
  • Ct Side: Close Banana/Broke Wall smoke from ct side, Deep banana smoke from top of banana/car.


  • T Side: CT Ticketbooth smoke, Top stairs smoke, Jungle smoke, Top mid from t spawn, Top mid to window smoke (Without being in the open), B Apps to bench
  • CT Side: CT Spawn to A Ramp, B van to apps that doesn’t give the T’s a free one-way smoke


  • T Side: T Spawn to Z connector, T Spawn to White box, Cross/truck smoke on A Site, Sun room to CT tree smoke on B Site
  • CT Side: Good B main smoke, Good A main smoke


  • T Side: Long A – Doors Smoke, Broken wall smoke B platform, Left and Right side dropdown smokes, Connect smoke from B halls that allows for A splits.


  • T Side: B Heaven smoke, Jumpdown/Dumpster A Smoke, Bank Smoke

Molotovs, Flashbangs and grenade:

This is something that can take your skill to another level. Proper use of grenades is seriously a very strong addition to every player. A rule that you can use to better your grenade usage is that flashbangs or molotovs needs to have a reason. Are you using that flashbang to flash the enemy team in an attempt to buy time for your teammates to rotate and defend the incoming execute? Are you using that molotov late in the round to either force the enemy to run though it and take damage or possible also buy time for your teammates to rotate and defend the incoming execute? If you’re using your grenades for the sake of using them, you’re not using them to the fullest of their potential. You need to use those grenades to either gather information or stop/delay the opposing execute. Using your grenades on T side is very much the same. You can use your flashbangs and molotovs to either get information, get position and to buy time or delay the incoming retake from the CT Side.

Understanding roles in MM and league:


Your role shouldn’t be a solid. You shouldn’t only play as the strat caller, the awp, the entry. You should be extremely flexible to the role. It’s more of understanding the role you’re positioned in during the round. Best example I have for this is a team on T side rushing B site to either get a bomb plant for the extra cash or to catch the opposing team off guard. The first player and usually second player should be jumping out the nearest window or off balcony and pushing towards the site and beyond to create room for the other 3 players to trade frags, plant the bomb and potentially kill the rotating player flanking, coming up cat or passing through market window. On the flip side, You need to understand the position you’re in on CT side to be the most effective. If you are getting first contact with the enemy, if you are supporting the first contact player, if you are the player rotating or the player playing the dedicated bombsite player.

Structured League play:

Your role here should be solid. If you’re the entry, you should be the one going in first on T side while being the first player taking contact on CT. The problems teams face at a lower level is that the role isn’t structured enough. You have your support going in first while your entry is out lurking the other site. It’s on the IGL ultimately to put the players in the position they need to be in then on the players to play their position. If you’re running a default T side layout, you shouldn’t have your entry be in a lurk position covering off one side of the map by himself. You need to have your entry and 2nd/Support in position to go when the execute time arises. If one or the other is across the map, you give time for the CT side to rotate and take better position. You shouldn’t have to delay because the default has players out of position. On the other side of the map, you need to have your players in the best setup possible for their roles. While I personally don’t believe that being an IGL means that your stats should lack. I do believe that the IGL should be playing the position that sees and takes the least amount of contact and play in a theoretical stance. By allowing your IGL to spend more time focusing on his calling, that allows him to spend more time opening up the map, looking at his teams position and realizing what is and what is not vulnerable to being attacked. Being able to rotate or move his players to best position for them to win the round. Obviously this isn’t set in stone. If your IGL feels comfortable playing a position that takes a lot of focus, I’m completely all for it. It all comes from personal play and experience as an IGL. Obviously every player has their favorite position or the position that they most feel comfortable playing. In a theoretical stance, it’s best for a new team or team with little experience to have their star/best player play the most action packed, DM oriented position. To have the entry and 2nd in/Support players playing a site together. This is how I personally position my teammates nowadays to have the most success possible. Obviously this isn’t a set in stone rule but it’s something that can help newer teams create chemistry between one another.

Surf, Bhop, KZ training:

I personally enjoy all three and have a crazy amount of hours personally surfing because I enjoy surfing the most. All three are extremely beneficial for newer players to help gain better movement and understanding of how movement works in CS:GO. While it isn’t the most beneficial way of improving, it’s absolutely something that can be relaxing and enjoyable that still has some value to it. I personally recommend anyone who hasn’t played all three, to at least give all three a chance. It can be challenging but ultimately something that you spend a lot of time learning on become good at it.

Communication: (Thanks to user xT1MMY for realizing I forgot a huge point!)

Communication is a vital point to every team and to every game. Something that comes along communication is attitude towards the team in the way you communicate. While it’s obvious that no team wants a player that only communicates toxicity to the team, it’s more of understanding the impact that the toxicity brings towards the team. The keys of communication is to provide players with valuable information or details that help better the team towards success. Something some players don’t realize they do is clotter comms with useless comments during important round moments. In this important moments, it’s best to focus on the key elements that need to be voiced. Don’t start off by “fuck man, that dude destroyed me. He’s behind triple”, Instead “Triple box hit 50” then after the round unless the IGL or strat caller is talking, then “joke” around how you whiffed an entire clip on the player triple who shoulder peeked you with a five seven and double dinked you.

Final words and thoughts:

Becoming talented and successful in this game takes time. Not everyone will master the game at the rate some players have, examples would be Stewie2k and Ropz are two individuals who became talented at a high level in a little amount of time compared to the rest. The vast majority of players will spend years and thousands of hours practicing, playing and learning before they ever see themselves on any type of stage in front of thousands of fans. Obviously everyone won’t reach that level for large amounts of reasons. I don’t believe unless proven otherwise that in this game you need genetics or a special ability to become great. Just like anyone who has excelled at a variety of things in this world, you need dedication to your art. In this case, CS:GO.

I’m 100% open to all types of questions related in anyway to CS:GO. I will answer all questions presented and help to the best of my abilities. I’m open to sharing my ways of calling and being an IGL to help improve others. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments, in a private message on reddit or ESEA or on steam. ESEA – Gatr, Faceit – Gatr, Steam – Thegatrrr