CS:GO: Everything You Need to Know
In a nutshell, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, otherwise known as CS:GO, is a first-person shooter that pits two teams with guns against each other.
Arguably one of the most accessible esport titles around, CS:GO has become one of the pillars of the esports industry, along with Dota 2 and League of Legends. However, while CS:GO is easy to understand at first glance, it actually has a lot of nuances. This is especially true if you’re interested in getting to know more about the competitive scene.
How Do You Play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
In casual play, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has multiple game modes. Although all of them can easily be summed up as a typical deathmatch, albeit with a different twist or two depending on the game mode.
In both ranked and competitive play though, the default game mode of CS:GO is “Bomb Defusal”.
In this game mode, players split into two teams, terrorists and counter-terrorists, who spawn on opposite ends of the same map. The goal of each team depends on which side they are on.
For the “terrorists”, the goal is to plan a bomb in one of two designated areas on the map and defend it until it explodes. Meanwhile, the goal for the “counter-terrorist” is to eliminate all players on the opposing side before they can plant the map. If the bomb has already been planted, the objective of those playing as a “counter-terrorist” shifts to defusing the bomb.
Each match goes for 30 rounds per map. The teams then switch sides after 15 rounds. The first team to win 16 rounds wins the match. However, if the teams are tied 15-15, the match will be scored as a draw (for ranked and non-competitive matches) or go into overtime (for professional games).
Outside of the unique win conditions set for each team, the economy is a crucial part of CS:GO.
Teams simply do not just buy any gun and armor they want. Instead, they strategize and plan on which players buy what items. Teams take into account ways of earning extra cash. Like, for example, prioritizing planting a bomb over wiping the other team when playing on then “terrorist” side. Bonuses for consecutive round losses are also factored in, as well as protecting more expensive weapons so they don’t fall into enemy hands.
These nuances help add an extra layer of strategy that makes watching CS:GO matches all the more suspenseful.
Who are the Best CS:GO Teams of All Time?
Success is fleeting in esports. CS:GO is no exception.
Even though teams come and go though, there are a handful that have built an enduring legacy.
Ninjas in Pyjamas, for example, are considered the first dynasty in CS:GO.
For a period of nearly two years from late 2012 to 2014, Ninjas in Pyjamas, led by Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, dominated the CS:GO scene. However, they were not uncontested, as during this period, teams such as Fnatic and Virtus.Pro, all gave Ninjas in Pyjamas a good run for their money.
Fnatic, in particular, can also be considered a dynasty, having won three CS:GO Major championships in six tries, with a runner-up finish nestled in between that run.
From 2016 onwards, however, the CS:GO scene was pretty volatile. Although Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Virtus.Pro remained contenders, they had to fend off newcomers as well. Around this time, teams such as Luminosity Gaming, which later become SK Gaming, started to emerge, along with Natus Vincere, and Team Liquid.
For a while, it seemed that the CS:GO scene would not see a team dominate it like in its early years.
Then, Astralis came.
First winning a CS:GO Major in 2017, it wasn’t until 2018 that Astralis established themselves as arguably the best CS:GO team of all time.
From April 2018 until February 2019, Astralis would go on to play in 20 LAN tournaments, going home with the trophy in all but 5 of them. More importantly, they would go on to add two CS:GO Major championships to their trophy case during that span, as well as the first-ever Intel Grand Slam award.
While Astralis have mellowed down since, most likely due to a combination of prioritizing rest and hiding strategies unless they’re playing in a Major, they remain the team to beat.
In total, Astralis have won a record 4 CS:GO Major championships, a tally that may very well grow if they keep their performance up.
Who Are The Best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Players of all Time?
There are two ways to categorize being the “best” in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s either by mechanical skill or via success.
Sometimes these two overlap, but that’s not always the case.
In terms of success, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson rank up there among the best. They both have numerous first-place finishes at LAN tournaments, including three CS:GO Majors for olofmeister.
Someone who combines both mechanical skill and success is Astralis’ Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz. He has the most HLTV MVP medals of all time with 14. But surprisingly enough, he’s never been awarded as the No. 1 CS:GO player by HLTV, although he has ranked no lower than 5th since 2015.
When it comes to pure mechanical skill, Natus Vincere’s Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is widely considered as the best in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. S1mple has single-handedly carried teams over the years and is currently the reigning No. 1 CS:GO player in the world according to HLTV.
Close behind s1mple is Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, who is doing his own heavy lifting for Team Vitality.
What are the Biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tournaments?
Unlike Dota 2 and League of Legends, where Valve and Riot Games, respectively, host an annual tournament for each game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive actually sees multiple big events every year, albeit not as big as Dota 2’s “The International” and League of Legends’ “World Championships.”
When it comes to prestige, there’s no topping the CS:GO Major Championships. However, there is a wide slew of events that come close to the production of a CS:GO Major.
Events such as the ESL Pro League (ESL), Intel Extreme Masters (ESL), Esports Championship Series (FACEIT), EPICENTER (Epic Events), and ELEAGUE (ELEAGUE) are all staples of the competitive CS:GO scene that you can expect to provide the same entertainment value as that of a CS:GO Major.