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CS:GO - Attacking and Defending guide

A complete breakdown of attacking and defending in CS:GO.

This page will help you get to grips with the basics of attacking and defending in CS:GO and cover everything from communication, to team roles and bombsite strategies.

Before jumping into a match in CS:GO, it's worth taking upon yourself to get to grips with the roles you’ll play on the T and CT sides. CTs will take on the role of defending the bombsites, ideally shutting down the opposing team before they even have a chance to plant the bomb. Meanwhile, Ts will take an aggressive stance, finding the weak points in the CT’s line of defence, before taking a site and protecting a planted bomb. This guide will cover the basics for each team, offering guidance on tuning your playstyle and mindset to make you a more disciplined player with deeper game sense.

Organised teams will find it beneficial to split their players into various roles. Entry Fraggers are integral to the opening of a round, gaining information while trying to secure the first eliminations. AWPers are players that will use the AWP and may also double-up as Entry Fraggers too. Other roles include Support, which will enter bombsites later to secure trades or finish off damaged enemies. These players are also responsible for smoking off areas and flashing teammates onto the bombsites. This leaves the Lurkers, who hang around to catch enemy’s off-guard during rotations. Statistically, these players find themselves in ‘clutch’ (last one alive) situations. Finally, it’s a good idea to nominate an In-Game Leader to call the shots and decide how the team reacts to the events that unfold in each round. At lower ranks, it’s common for a team to just work together without an IGL, but at high and pro-level play, these roles are essential.

This article contains additional reporting by Emma Matthews

Attacking (T)

Communication is important no matter which side you are on, but on T side in particular you will need to be coordinated to succeed. Without the use of microphones or any team chat, CTs have it easy as it’s fairly obvious to know when players will need to rotate over to the active bombsite. All it takes for the CTs to unite at a single bombsite is the giveaway of a few carefully placed smoke grenades to block off entry points. As a T, it’s your job to work with your team and decide how and when to take over a bombsite.

On CS:GO’s bomb defusal maps (the only maps available in the active duty map pool), T side dictates the play as they are forced to plant the bomb within two minutes. As the CT side is likely to be split up into groups in an attempt to defend each bombsite, moving together as a compact unit is essential when attempting to take over each site. Though it may seem tempting to move as a group of five at all times, it is a good idea to split into the roles that we discussed earlier in this guide. As a result, a common formation you will see when taking over bombsites is 3-1-1: three people attacking the bombsite, one person at Mid and the final teammate as a lurker.

When attacking, your economy ultimately decides what your team is able to do. Keep this in mind on both T and CT side as it will give you a rough idea of what to expect during each round of the game. For example, say you are on T side and your team has managed to win the pistol round without losing a single teammate. This means your team overall should have roughly $3800 each, allowing you to buy an assault rifle and some armour. CTs on the other hand will have considerably less money to play with, forcing them to purchase SMGs or potentially even save the money for a future round. Utilising this information effectively makes attacking and defending much easier as you can position yourself differently depending on which weapons the opponent can afford to buy.

It is important to discuss your team strategy before starting a round, this way you can launch a coordinated attack effectively. Given that you are only able to purchase one smoke grenade per person, Ts don’t have much choice when it comes to deciding whether or not to rotate to another bombsite. Once the majority of the T’s smoke grenades have landed onto the chosen bombsite, rotating over to the other bombsite is not an option as you will be picked off easily by the defending CTs.

Playing with people that have a good understanding of their role on the team and where they need to be throwing grenades is key to winning games. Try not to be that guy who doesn’t know the smokes on a map before jumping into competitive mode. Familiarise yourself with the map you are about to play, this way, you give yourself a better chance of winning.

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Defending (CT)

The Basics of Bombsite Defence

In order to maintain a strong CT side, your team will need to be diligent and patient. As a CT you’ll find that you spend a lot of your time waiting for the Ts to attack so that you can react. For this reason, it’s important to split your team across the entire map, holding angles that cover the Ts main entry points onto each bombsite. On most maps, teams usually split up in a 2-1-2 formation with two teammates heading to each bombsite, leaving the remaining teammate to cover Mid. On maps where a ‘clean cut’ Mid section doesn’t exist, the fifth member of the team may hover around the corridor between bombsites A and B, often referred to as ‘Connector’, or may choose to stack either bombsite, creating a 3-2 formation.

Every map has a selection of common spots that CTs will stand in to guard the bombsite entrances. Confident players may prefer to position themselves opposite a doorway, giving them the upper hand when a T moves into view. Holding these angles while stationary and crouched will give you a good chance of eliminating an enemy quickly, but these spots are also dangerous to remain in for too long as Ts will be anticipating an enemy to hold this angle and may prefire as they peek. Experienced AWPers tend to do well in these spots as they are used to remaining alert while holding an angle and will have sufficient reaction times to land deadly shots quickly. These players will be aware of the optimal times to peek but will also understand when to move out of view, falling back to find cover elsewhere on the bombsite.

While being the first line of defence on a bombsite is exciting and can be very rewarding, the player sitting further back on a site or lurking in an unusual spot can often catch the enemy by surprise and clutch the round. Using obstacles on the bombsite as cover will maximise your chances of survival, while also making it very difficult for the enemy team to spot you upon their first sweep of a bombsite. Crouching behind boxes and peeking may secure you multiple picks, particularly if you’re using a silenced weapon, and if the enemy team’s communication is poor. Utilising smoke and incendiary grenades may also delay approaching Ts from rushing onto a bombsite, giving them less time to plant and making your job a bit easier.

Determining the Active Bombsite

As a CT, your job to stop the Ts from planting the bomb on Bombsite A or B. However, there are a number of strategies that the Ts may employ to mask which site they’re planning on attacking. Grenades are a common giveaway of where a team may be heading as they’re such a limited resource. For example, if you’re guarding Bombsite A and the Ts smoke off three portions on and around the site, there’s a very high chance that they’re about to push forward. Communication throughout each round is key so be sure to alert your teammates of these sorts of developments as it will prepare them for a potential rotation to your site.

While grenades are usually a good indicator of an enemy’s intentions, they may not always mean that the entire enemy team is waiting outside your bombsite. Ts may choose to ‘fake’ a site, meaning that one player may go to one site alone and use their utility to convince the CTs that they’re attacking one place, while the rest of the team goes to the opposite bombsite. Remember to call out how many enemies you see at your site to avoid your teammates rotating too early. When waiting near a wall or vent, listen out for enemy footsteps and try to work out how many people are actually there.

Rotating and Retaking

Starting with a 2-1-2 formation each round is a solid game plan but bear in mind that you may have to rotate to different positions as each round plays out. The golden rule as a CT is to ensure that both sites are covered at all times. The only time this changes is if your team manages to secure the bomb, in which case all remaining team members should rotate to hold angles around the bomb.

Trusting your team will play a huge part in successful rotations and retakes. If a teammate in a different area on the map calls which bombsite they think the Ts are taking, but the bomb has not yet been spotted, don’t all rotate at once. Changing a 2-1-2 formation to a 3-1-1 formation will give your team more defensive power on the suspected active bombsite, while keeping the other areas of the map covered, just in case the Ts change their mind.

If you’ve had an unfortunate round and have relinquished control of a bombsite, you may still have a chance at retaking a site, providing that you have sufficient resources and support to do so. Utilising the information given by your teammates and working with the remaining members of your team, approach the active bombsite from different angles, at exactly the same time. This will improve your chances of locating and eliminating the Ts quickly, giving you enough time to defuse the bomb. If a T is not located by the time you absolutely have to defuse, consider performing a ‘ninja defuse’ (throwing a smoke on the bomb and defusing while standing in the smoke).

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