In my last article, we looked at the best Counter-Strike teams in North America and what I expect from them in 2015. A lot of you have showed your interest in eSports, but are having a hard time following the speed of  the game. In this article, I will do my best to explain what to watch for before, during and after a match so it could be more enjoyable for you as a spectator.

I feel that CS:GO is the most entertaining eSport to watch, even if you are new to the game. Reason being that it is easier to appreciate the talent that the players have as a newcomer, unlike games like Dota 2 or League of Legends. We’ve all used a mouse before and know the skill required in ‘aiming’ it to open and close applications.  Imagine that the trigger space is about ¼ the size that you experience in your computer’s UI, that it is moving very quickly from left to right AND that it is trying to kill you before you kill it. Yes. I just used this awesome metaphor to explain every single competitive first person shooter out there. Now imagine having to do this five times, for at least 16 rounds and for thousands and thousands of dollars. Now we’ve got your attention!

Understanding the format

All competitive Counter-Strike games have more or less the same format. You have two teams, each consisting of five players and both having a different objective. The round ends either when one of the teams is completely eliminated by the other or if/when the objective is achieved by one them. The Terrorists have one minute and 30 seconds to go plant a bomb at one of the two bomb-sites available on the map. The Counter-Terrorists job is too defend and control those sites. If the T’s manage to plant it, all is not lost for the CT’s yet! If they manage to eliminate all the remaining T’s before the bomb explodes, they can defuse it which will make the CT’s win the round. The first half of the match consists of 15 rounds, played on one side, and then the teams switch positions. This means that the Counter-Terrorists are now playing as Terrorists and vice-versa. Most tournaments offer a Best of One format, where a team has to win one map (ie:  achieve 16 round wins) to advance, while other tournaments will do a Best of Three format, where a team must win 2 maps out of 3 to advance. Some tournaments even mix both formats, often making the finals and semi-finals Best of Three to make it more exciting!

During the game

Unlike most shooters out there, CS:GO is an economy based game. Yes, you read that correctly. When playing a match, at the end of each round, you get rewarded with a certain amount of money depending on how well you and your team did. With that money, you can buy the equipment you need at the beginning of the next round. I won’t go into too many details because this is meant to be a beginner’s guide, but controlling the economy is the most important part of winning in CS:GO. Each player starts off with $800 at the first round.  The in-game leader (we will cover this in the next part of the article) is the one who decides whether or not the players can spend their money on equipment or not at the beginning of the round.

Know your role

Each player in a competitive team has a distinct role and will occupy this role… most of the time. Although there are five  different roles, it does not mean that there is only one of each for a team of five players. Some players will rotate roles while some teams will simply not have a particular role. Every and any combinations are possible.

In-Game Leader: In-Game leaders are the backbone and are more often then not considered the Captain of the team. They make the decisions during the game and call out the strategies that the team will use during a particular round. They need to make a lot of decisions on the spot and must also be very skilled players. It is a difficult role to play and players in that position will rarely finish among the top fraggers (player with the most kills) of their team. Notables: Happy from EnvyUs and Xizt from NiP are among the best in the world.

Entry Fragger: The entry fragger is a role mainly used for Terrorist teams as they try to enter a bomb-site controlled by Counter-Terrorists. They will be the first to look into a site and try to find as many spots as they can to spot out hidden CT’s to take down. This is a particularly difficult role to play because you are often quickly called out by the other team and exposed. Fast reaction times and an inherent knowledge of the maps are required to be an effective entry fragger. Notables: f0rest from NiP and Flusha from Fnatic are some of the best.

Lurker: Lurker is the role everyone wants to play. If your team is trying to take over bomb-site A, your role is actually to head over to bomb-site B and catch anyone that might be rotating or that is simply not paying attention by assuming that the action is not coming their way. This is a high-risk/high reward role that some find the most fun to play. Notables: Get_Right from NiP is undoubtedly the worlds best lurker.

Sniper: The sniper is THE most difficult role to play in a team. The sniper rifle (AWP) is a very expensive weapon to buy, therefore nearly impossible to rebuy if you keep losing rounds. Unlike other weapons, the AWP is a one shot kill; unless shooting someone in the leg. All other weapons, except the AK-47, require at least two bullets to kill an enemy. The AK requires a headshot for it to be a ONE shot kill. The sniper is often the first player to be targeted during attacks, because he can be the most devastating if in the right hands. Notables: KennyS from Titan is undoubtedly the best AWPer in the world, followed closely by JW from Fnatic and Skadoodle, currently without a team.

Support: The support player is often the do-it-all person. They can pick up a sniper, throw the proper grenade, make the entry frag and call the tactics if needed. Their the jack-of-all-trade type of player in a team. Notables: Friberg from NiP and NBK from EnvyUs are some of  my favorite support players.

There you have it folks! These were the easy basics into understanding CS:GO as an eSport spectator. Hopefully you will feel compelled to watch some matches with us! Please note that the first major tournament is happening in only a few months in Katowice, Poland! For more information on the event, go to the official website here: :

If you have any questions, comments or insults, feel free to contact me on twitter or in the comments section here!