CS2 tips – a beginners guide for competitive Counter Strike 2

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Here’s our guide on CS2 tips and tricks to gear you up for competitive plays in Counter Strike 2.

If you’re looking for tips on playing Counter Strike 2 competitively, we should have you sorted. Competitive shooters are really fun, but only when you’re winning. Anyone familiar with games such as Valorant and Rainbow Six Siege knows exactly how frustrating the learning curve is. We’re going to be going over a few of the tips and tricks we’ve gathered in our years of playing the game.

Having a guide break down the basic fundamentals of Counter Strike would have been a game-changer when I first picked up the game back in 2012, and it would have meant that I probably wouldn’t have given it up shortly after realising I was no good. Regardless, without further ado, here’s a beginners guide for competitive Counter Strike 2 composed of the best tips and tricks.

Counter Strike 2 tips and tricks for competitive

There’s quite a few different things you’re going to want to learn before jumping into competitive, which is good because Counter Strike 2 has a lengthy selection of tutorials you should play through. However, they’re pretty bog-standard, boilerplate and un-inspiring, so we’re going to give you a run down of what you should be doing instead.

Before you begin, make sure that you’re rigged up on the best graphics settings for Counter Strike 2 to reduce any input lag or FPS drops. You’re also going to want to check out what the best refresh rate is, alongside what the best resolution is for Counter Strike 2. We’re not really going to be going deep into how to optimise your gaming set up, instead this is going to be a practical and technical breakdown of the game’s tactics and more.

  • Practice crosshair placement
  • Practice strafe shooting
  • Crouch while shooting
  • Learn weapon recoil and spray patterns
  • Watch pro gameplay
  • Learn smoke spots and grenade spots
  • Don’t forcebuy at the start of each round
  • Learn map callouts
  • Use audio effectively

Counter Strike 2 shooting tips

As a first person shooter, shooting is understandably one of the most important features in the game. As such, you’re going to want to learn how to control your gun as best as possible. Unlike Call of Duty or other shooters, you have to be incredibly economical with your gun. This means each bullet you fire needs to hit its target, and you need to make sure you’re the most accurate and efficient player in each gunfight.

Crosshair placement

The first thing you should be thinking about at all time in CS2 is your crosshair placement. If you’ve ever watched a professional competitive shooter while playing, you’ll notice that they’re always keeping their crosshair aimed at a specific level at all times. Rather than running around gawping at the floor or ceiling, their crosshair is kept at head-level at all times, depending on their terrain and possible enemy locations. For example, if you’re walking towards a set of doors, you’re going to keep your crosshair aimed at the opening in the door, with the vertical placement at the exact spot an enemies head might land.

Strafing and counter-strafing

When you’re moving, your gun is incredibly inaccurate. This is a standard feature of Counter Strike’s DNA, so bare this in mind when you’re playing. It means you’re going to want to shoot your weapon only when you’re perfectly still, however the catch is that if you’re moving, it still takes time to slow down. You can control this by counter-strafing.

You can counter-strafe in CS:GO by quickly tapping in the opposite direction to your movement axis. If you’re moving left (A Direction) quickly tap right (D Direction) to counter-strafe. This will stop you from moving and you can fire accurately.

This also means that you’re going to want to avoid moving diagonally in hot areas on the map. If you’re just leaving spawn, there’s no need to worry about it. However, if you’re approaching the plant site, you should only move back and forth, or left and right.

Crouch shooting

In competitive shooters, crouching often gives you a huge advantage while shooting. It’s so effective, in fact, that I’ve begun deploying similar tactics in games such as Payday 3 and Starfield, neither of which demand an accurate shooting style at all.

Not only does crouching enhance your aim, but it will also give you an advantage in a gunfight as your head level is going to change. If, like most others, you’re using correct crosshair placement, then your crosshair is going to be searching for the head at all times. To counter this, crouching will take you out of the way slightly, and you’re going to be able to sneak a shot back.

Learn recoil patterns

Each gun is going to react differently to consecutive fire. We’d recommend getting in-front of a wall and firing will crouching. Fire your entire clip, then reload, then do the same against another spot on the wall. You’re going to see a pattern emerge. This is called your spray pattern or recoil pattern.

You can control your spray or recoil by dragging your mouse in the reverse direction of it. It won’t be as clear-cut for each weapon, and you’re going to need to experiment with each weapon to learn how to keep each shot on target – this will only come with experience.

There’s a whole iceberg of tactical shooter aiming techniques out there, and you can eventually work your way up to using ‘Counter Strike trainers’ which will hone your aim further. There’s also a slew of tools out there that will help your aim – one of the notable ones being Aim Lab.

Counter Strike 2 competitive tactics

While aiming and movement is pretty simple to get the hang of, CS’s tactics are where you’re going to have a little bit of a harder time.

It seems like the fairly obvious place to start – but you’re not going to learn from anyone better than the pros. Watching live gameplay will give you a good idea of why the pros are making the decisions they are. By doing this, you’re going to learn the best spoke spots and areas to throw grenades in CS2.

Another thing to remember is not to force buy at the start of rounds. You can instead save up by using your pistol and this means you’re going to be able to afford end-game weapons earlier on.

Communicating is also key – make sure to learn map callouts so that you’re able to key your team in effectively on where you’re headed, or where your enemies are after they kill you.

Now that you’ve had a flip through our tips and tricks for competitive play in Counter Strike 2, you’re going to be able to play the game fairly competently, right? Wrong. The absolute best way to ‘git gud’ at Counter Strike is to play. Over and over again. There’s a reason that top tier CS players have thousands of in-game hours. It’s an easy game to play casually, and a near impossible game to get the hang of competitively. Don’t give up, it’s achievable, but make sure to practice your aim in Deathmatch and other modes before you commit to competitive.

We’re going to be keeping an eye out for the latest updates on Counter Strike 2, so make sure to check back in with us periodically for the latest. In the meantime, you might be interested in learning about the best monitor for CS2 or the best mouse for CS2. Both of which will give you a better chance at securing headshots thanks to the added control over your hardware.

About the Author

Amaar Chowdhury

Amaar loves retro hardware and boring games with more words than action. So, he writes about them daily.