PC Gamer

University provides a fantastic opportunity for students with shared interests to connect through societies. Perhaps most enviable of all, it offers the time and flexibility to truly invest in a wealth of temptations: sports, media and, of course, video games. With its ever increasing popularity, It should come as no surprise then that esports would find it s place too. As both player and spectator audiences grow, communities across the UK have developed to accommodate this new demand, with lecture theatres providing the perfect venues for League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS:GO viewing parties.

As a postgraduate researcher, I may not have the same freedom as I did during my undergrad years, but when I heard that an esports society had been created at Southampton University, I leapt at the chance to engage with players beyond my online team. I ve been playing CS for over ten years now, making it a not-insignificant part of my life. Despite my long relationship with the series, I d never really considered dabbling into the realm of competition beyond a few IRC-organised pick up games in the days of Source. Following a brief internal league however, I found myself on the shortlist to compete in the National University Esports League (NUEL) for Southampton s top team. Captained by Wildsam, and combining the might of Stubacca, Zack, Rennui and Ferno (myself), the 'Deadliners' were formed.

Started back in 2010, NUEL was designed to support students with a passion for competitive gaming. Though initially focused on League of Legends, the game roster has recently been expanded to include Hearthstone and Counter-Strike. With the CS league relatively unknown, It wasn t clear what level of competition we d be facing. At the time of entering I held the rank of Legendary Eagle which, according to current estimations, put me in the top 10% of players. Now while that s certainly something I m proud of, it s still a significant jump from the top 0.6% that comprise the Global Elite. If any universities were fielding players of that calibre, we d certainly have our work cut out for us.

Collected below are my experiences of each week of the league. I ll take you through our successes and setbacks, both in game and out. As a newly-formed outfit, Deadliners experience should provide a reference for what players new to the amateur competitive scene can expect. I can t guarantee your experience will match ours exactly, but hopefully you ll find the inspiration to take the plunge yourself.

The NUEL tournament consists of two stages. Teams play two best-of-one (BO1) games per week. The first two weeks are reserved for qualification. The top 16 teams enter a double elimination bracket in the subsequent weeks. The remaining teams are entered into the S-League and continue the BO1 format to compete for the highest possible position of 4th. Each week, the team dropped from the elimination bracket enters the top position in the S-League.

 Week 1: UoM GO (Manchester) and BathA 

Anxiety and anticipation. Excitement tempered by trepidation. In the hour running up to our first match my mind was racing. Why hadn t we scheduled the time to practice beforehand? Who would our opponents be? What ranks should we expect? The degree to which a minor alteration to circumstance can change the entire weight of a match caught me by surprise. Though playing the same game as I would do any other evening, the added element of ceremony to a scheduled match brought a sense of unease I was wholly unused to. When it was revealed that we would be facing the previous winners of NUEL s winter season, University of Manchester, it s safe to say my aspirations for the match were stunted at best.

Like most maps in CS:GO s roster, Cache is generally considered to be CT-sided, that is to say the CT side is expected to win more rounds in each half. We were therefore grateful to open in the stronger position. However, while the map may favour CTs, we quickly discovered that our team did not. Unable to maintain control of the centre, adaptation proved difficult and the lack of experience together quickly became evident, costing round after round. I had offered to play as our team s primary sniper, but with our economy in tatters I found myself barely capable of affording an AWP, let alone performing with it. Scraping together only a handful of rounds toward the end of the first half, prospects looked bleak.

Fortunately, the half-time changeover provided a much-needed ease of tensions,finally allowing our team to relax into a pace that suited us. With a strong start, I was finally able to find my personal comfort zone, shifting location round-by-round to catch people off guard. Unexpectedly, we found the momentum shifting in our favour, finally allowing us to dictate the flow of play. When it finally came, victory was near euphoric. Had we really just managed that? If we could compete with the previous winners, how far could we expect to go?

With our next opponents ready to play we had little time to celebrate, instead rolling straight into our second game and imminent demise. Where UoM had been precise, carefully timing peaks and flashes, Bath A were relentless. Piling onto sites in five-man pushes, the change in tempo blindsided us, overwhelming our shaken defence. Reeling from the high of a win, we suddenly found ourselves in the aftermath of a bloody loss. It looked like things wouldn t be so simple after all, but if we could just claim one match in the following week, our chances of qualifying for the elimination bracket were still good.

Weeks 2/3: Loughborough and Ulster, OXG (Hull) and Swansea Green 

Sadly I was unable to compete during the second week, leaving my team to find a substitute. Even so, the knowledge that we needed just one victory to qualify for the knockout stage kept me pinned to my phone during the evening of the match. The news that finally filtered through was far from positive. Confusion and disagreements betrayed the result: we had lost both matches and were likely relegated to the S-League.

Despite dropping to the lower league, I wasn t yet ready to give up, and together with my team resolved to give the remaining matches our all. The opportunity to play in a more formal setting and develop as part of a new team had given a whole new drive to my time spent in CS. I had already begun to see clear improvements to both aim and positioning, earning me a regular top spot in my matchmaking team.

The first week in S-League served as a polar introduction to NUEL s broad range of skill. First lined up against OX Gaming from Hull, we found ourselves comfortably surpassing our opponents and eased into an almost-casual 16-5 victory. The relaxed attitude this fostered left us utterly unprepared for the 16-3 bruising we then received from Swansea Green. Competitors in the winter tournament, they showed such confidence and ease together that we were taken aback to see them outside the elimination bracket so early. It s safe to say that we were thoroughly outclassed, but as tough as a heavy loss can be, there s a level of benefit to competing against a higher class of player and no shortage of insight to be gleaned. Expecting to suffer some humiliating defeats, I had made a mental effort to take positive factors away from each match. At the very least, our execution had been swift.

During the matches, we made a concerted effort to provide support toward each other beyond in-game actions. Our captain, Wildsam, was a constant voice of reassurance, never allowing the situation to shake him. Even while winning, it s easy for a player to set themselves off-kilter after losing a number of duels in a row. Usually found topping the frag count, Stubacca lost a series of contests early in the first match and was vocally shaken. However, support from the rest of the team meant it wasn t long before he was back on his feet. When playing as part of a team, it s important to make sure you re aware of your teammate s mental state and give them encouragement when necessary. After all, everyone has bad days.

Week 4: SHUES (Sheffield Hallam) and 5 Noobs Who Don’t Play CS (Portsmouth)

Week four shall henceforth be known as the week of the food coma. There are some interesting lessons to be learned in competing around a fixed schedule, and one of those is to plan your dinner well. Much like physical sports, it s a bad idea to consume a vast quantity of food, no matter how delicious, before playing CS:GO. While not suffering the same stomach issues as a game of basketball would provide, my body had instead decided that reaction times and logical reasoning were unimportant when compared to digestion. As a result my time spent in the first match against Sheffield Hallam was spent staggering blearily around the halls of Cache. Fortunately, where I proved lacklustre my team was more than ready to pick up the slack, each member earning over 20 kills to secure a second S-League win.

In a fitting twist of fate, the second game lined us up against Portsmouth s 5 Noobs Who Don t Play CS. Southampton and Portsmouth hold a significant University rivalry, sparring off against one another in each year s Varsity sporting competition. The prospect of a grudge match helped shake me out of my stupor, keen to uphold Southampton s winning record against our rival. Contrary to their name, we knew that Portsmouth was fielding at least one player of Global rank, an intimidating prospect for a team of Eagles. Playing on Overpass, far from our comfort zone, the match was a tightly-fought contest. If not for a herculean 30-kill effort by Zack, the match would have gone Portsmouth s way.

Impressive individual performances can do a lot to boost morale in a tough match, providing a source of inspiration while easing some of the load for those struggling. However, repeated success can be a double-edged sword. If one member is seen to be consistently playing better than the others, it can lead weaker players to question their value to the team in general. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to find that our top scorer would shift every week, and often led the pack by only a small margin. That we had such similar skill levels was a surprising positive, allowing independent highs to shine without anyone feeling that they were falling behind.

Unfortunately, this week also supplied its fair share of frustration, highlighting imperfections in the backend system for the league. Each week, match and server information was granted only within an hour of the scheduled time, causing some serious problems when the servers stop responding. After an exasperating 30 minutes of waiting and refreshing the NUEL site, we were all but ready to give up on playing when the information finally came through. Small failings like this are far from terminal, but marr the overall experience of an event, replacing anticipation with annoyance.

Week 5: Hullmans Mayonnaise (Hull) and UoL:A (Liverpool)

They found us. I thought the land of structured competition would be free of trolls, but still they come. HAHAHAHA they cry THE NEXT GeT_RiGhT? Within minutes of joining the server, chat was flooded and before long nothing intelligible was left. Then I remembered that CS:GO has a mute function.

It seems a sad truth that any competitive game will be marred by a sizable, unpleasant portion of the community. For every friend I ve made through online matchmaking, I ve had to wade through at least five vitriol-spewing antagonists. Combining a volatile mix of anonymity, young audiences and adrenaline-fueled competition, it s all too easy for players to approach both allies and foes with a hostile attitude. The most depressing aspect is that derogatory remarks can even prove rewarding. The right comment at the wrong time can do a serious number on a player s mental resolve. Placed in a tense environment requiring a great degree of finesse, it doesn t take much to push most people over the edge, and the further you fall down the slippery slope of frustration, the more difficult it becomes to recover.

That this kind of behaviour can be rewarding is infuriating to say the least, but to see it in a more serious competitive environment caught me off guard. You would hope that any team willing to commit to a weekly schedule would show some degree of maturity. Confrontational behaviour may sometimes provide immediate benefits, but it provides an unwelcome front for new players, and does little to progress the still developing realm of esports. Most competitive games have begun taking steps to punish abusive behaviour, offering temporary bans or time in purgatory but CS:GO still has a long strides to make in this regard. I should count myself lucky then that not a single member of my team took this approach. Even on the receiving end of our worst beatings, we stayed respectful. This resulted in a far more amiable environment.

To be fair to our opposition, UoL:A were far from directly offensive, simply filling the chat with endless, key-bound memes and lines. A brief check of the NUEL site informed that their team had in fact qualified for the elimination stage but fell out in the first round. Their team had even beaten Swansea Green, at whose hands we received a resolute 16-3 drubbing. It was in all probability that they had little interest in competing further, and after ending the first half 10-5 they all but collapsed. Likely hoping to be dropped from the remaining games, UoL:A even submitted an opposing match report following the game, contradicting our victory. The poor behaviour did little to sour our mood however, as four straight victories in S-League had put us within touching distance of a top ten finish.

Week 6: Surrey Lions and Warwick CS

I d love to say our NUEL experience ended on a high, conquering all odds to close our tournament run with a hard-earned win. I wouldn t be far wrong, but it wasn t quite to be. Following a loss to the capable but disrespectful Surrey Lions, we found ourselves pitted against Warwick CS in one of the closest games of the entire tournament. Our two sides went blow for blow against each other, trading rounds throughout the first half to end at 8-7.

With a strong pistol round, Warwick forged ahead, carving a five-round lead to reach 9-14. In what was probably my personal best performance of the tournament, both AWPing and rifling, we held the line. Clawing back round after round we finally brought the scoreline level. Then, just as it felt we had gained the upper hand, we were broken. A sloppy attempt to push onto Overpass B bombsite left our team in disarray. Warwick took the final round without competition. We had lost 14-16.

A win would likely have placed us around 10th out of a 60 team roster, and I found myself thinking back for days on how we could have changed the result. Due to conflicting schedules, our team had been forced to find a sub for Stubacca in the last hour before the match. While performing admirably, it was clear that our sub was a little out of their depth. If only we had the full team. If only we had pulled back on that last B approach. While I was devastated at the time, the better team deserved the win and I couldn t have asked for a closer match to round out the league.

Across the course of these twelve matches, each member of the team had gently gravitated into the roles that suited them best, and we found that we complemented each other well. Stubacca proved a competent solo player, more than capable of holding the B bombsite alone on maps that required it, while Rennui and Zack formed a stable rifling team to lock down control in a region. If I had to pick a weak point, it would regrettably have to be myself. Lacking in a dedicated AWPer, I had offered to play the role. Though I was more than capable of playing the aggressive T-side, I regularly struggled to hold the middle lane when defending. However, this trial by fire has since seen my sniping proficiency extensively honed, to the point where I can now comfortably say that the AWP is by far my best weapon.

On reflection

For a team of strangers, thrown together a matter of weeks before the league, I m extremely proud of our performance. Over the course of a few weeks, we developed together on all fronts of our game, from coordination to moral support. It s clear that the NUEL system is designed from the ground up for inclusion. While the elimination bracket is the main draw, the existence of the S-League gives new or inexperienced teams like our own the chance maintain a presence and vie with those of a similar capability. Competing in a league, even just at the bottom rung, gives a drive and energy to the game that can t quite ever be replicated in standard online play.

Since the start of the league I ve been playing more CS:GO than ever before, even pushing myself into a higher skill group. Given the chance and time to practice, I would run it all again to aim for that elimination stage, and happily with the same team. The majority of Deadliners had entered the league unacquainted, but I wouldn t hesitate to invite any of them for a game in the future.

This championship marks only the second NUEL foray into CS, and the back-end side is still showing some clear teething issues. With match information given only briefly before the start time, it s no surprise that server problems could lead to frustration. Re-use of a limited server pool once led to players for the following match joining the server for our still-ongoing game. There s also no clear way of checking the standings of either the elimination bracket of S-League on the NUEL site. Weekly fixtures list matchups and winners, but only within a group of five teams. To this day I still haven t been informed what place we finished.

In truth, NUEL is a far cry from the bigger online leagues like FACEIT, but it doesn t really have to be. A large part of appealing to the student demographic is to encourage new communities and talent countrywide. With the backup of an S-league for drop-outs, NUEL gives newcomers a place to test the waters of competition before they dive into its murky depths. Would I recommend NUEL? If you re a university student and interested in CS, certainly. If nothing else, I can think of no better excuse to find a team and get practicing.

If any the above sounded like your cup of tea, the current NUEL season has just ended, leaving plenty of time to practice for the next. If you re not a student (or not based in the UK) there s no need to worry as plenty of alternatives are out there: the Electronic Sports League (ESL) run an open league at no cost of entry, while FACEIT takes online matchmaking to the next level, scheduling games against other teams and running regular competitions for prizes.

PC Gamer

We ve got a relatively quiet weekend coming up as League of Legends takes a break ahead of the forthcoming mid-season invitational. Even so, there s some top-tier European Counter-Strike to watch and a lot of great Dota 2 happening at WePlay s Season 3 LAN finals (rubbish greenscreen staging notwithstanding.) Some of the world s best Hearthstone players will be putting Whispers of the Old Gods to the test in Korea, too.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: CEVO Gfinity Pro-League Season 9

There's some top-tier CS:GO happening at Gfinity's arena in London this weekend. Play has been ongoing since Thursday, but continues with semifinals on Saturday and the grand finals on Sunday. Play begins at 12:00 BST/04:00 PDT on Saturday and at 15:30 BST/07:30 PDT on Sunday and you can find the livestream here.

Dota 2: WePlay League S3 LAN Finals

There s two more days of play left in the WePlay League Season 3 LAN finals in Kiev. There s been some really exciting, fun Dota played so far although the tone of the event has been set by a run of Shanghai Major-style production snafus. From a comedically terrible greenscreen set for the analysis panel (see above) to arbitrarily cutting away from games during crucial teamfights, it s been a bit of a shambles. That s part of the fun, though, and reason enough to tune in. Play begins at 08:00 BST/00:00 PDT on Saturday and at 10:00 BST/02:00 PDT on Sunday and you can find the English language livestream here.

Hearthstone: Seoul Cup World Invitational

An array of top Hearthstone talent including Thijs, Ostkaka, Reynad and more will compete for a share of $22,000 in Seoul this weekend. It'll be a relatively quick, single elimination contest with play spread across both days. Hearthstone s latest expansion has done a number on the metagame, so it ll be fascinating to see what decks succeed at one of the first serious competitions since Whispers of the Old Gods launched (you can find some pro predictions here, incidentally.) Watch the English language livestream here, but bear the timezone in mind: play begins at 14:00 KST both days, which is 06:00 BST or 22:00 PDT on the day before.

PC Gamer

There is an ongoing debate whether players should be assigned roles in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Some argue that there are no roles and that each player has his or her own way of playing the game—that a team s success comes down to chemistry and individual skill.

Others, myself included, believe that roles help you to systematise the way you approach the game. Anyone can throw a flashbang around a corner, that s true. But think about it: there are seven maps in the pool. Let s say your team practices five of those, and that each map has at least a hundred useful flashbangs, smokes and molotovs. Learning all of those grenades takes a lot of work.

Sure, every player should practice grenades, but doesn t it make sense to have that one guy on your team who specialises in just that? Someone who can flash you in from any angle on the map?

What does a support do?

Here s what a defines a support player the way I see it: a support player should spend a lot of time learning all sorts of grenades and when to throw them. If your in-game leader says that your opponents tend to play from a specific spot, the support player should know a grenade that will make life harder for them in that specific circumstance.

Just like with all roles in CS:GO, communication is super important. The support should be good at adapting their play according to the information that their teammates provide. In my mind the support player should focus more on the tactical aspect of the game than most players. A lot of the time the support will carry the bomb, and it s their job to know whether it s best to help with clearing the site or go for the plant. Every situation is unique, but if you play and study the game enough, you will have a pretty good idea of what the best play is.

Because of the nature of the role, the support player will often be the last man alive, so it s important that he or she has good game sense and is creative enough to win 1-on-X situations.

Outside of matches, it s important that the support player spends time talking to the in-game leader so that they know what grenades they should spend the most time practicing. It s also common for the in-game leader to play a support role themselves, as they know exactly where and when they want key grenades to be thrown.

An example of pro support play

This example is taken from the Brazilian team Luminosity s game against the Poles from Virtus.Pro at MLG Columbus. Luminosity went on to win the game and, eventually, the Major. A much deserved victory after insane comebacks achieved with a smart, disciplined style.

The player making the support plays in this example is Lincoln fnx Lau. Note: he s not considered a pure support player, but this round in particular illustrates a lot of different things that I d like to see from a support.

There s a lot happening in this clip. First we see fnx stand ready with a flashbang towards upper park from playground. Gabriel FalleN Toledo peeks with the AWP. Should he spot someone pushing long, fnx would throw their flash and Marcelo coldzera David, FalleN and even fnx himself are ready to clean up.

This time no one s pushing, so they decide to take control over long. Coldzera throws a molotov over to the tree area. Then they wait for a second before fnx flashes. Following the flash, coldzera immediately jumps out to bait a shot from any snipers on long and then FalleN steps out with their AWP in order to either catch a player backing off from the tree out of position or—as in this case—to kill the sniper further back.

In the next sequence fnx briefly plays the entry role by jumping across the restroom entrance so that coldzera can pick up a kill if a CT stands there—which isn t the case this time. After that fnx tries to gather information as safely as possible towards the A-site by jumping, before he smokes off the chokepoint. As he moves closer to the site, he s lucky enough to find an extra flashbang. Before the smoke fades, he throws a molotov over to the corner to the left of the smoked-off chokepoint in order to clear another angle for their team.

As the smoke starts to fade, he pops a flash through it. At that point, he s in a great position to trade kills for their teammates. As soon as coldzera goes down outside restroom, fnx pushes forward, aware that he might need to make a play. After the site is cleared and the bomb is planted, he moves inside the bank for a great post-plant position and manages to kill a rotating Virtus.pro player.

This round shows a lot of good plays that we can learn from. As you could see, fnx did a lot of different things and even if you call yourself a support player it s important that you can adapt to the situation and do what s needed to help your team win the game.

Who can play support?

The lazy answer is anyone . Anyone can throw grenades, carry bombs and pick up a kill every now and then. But let s return to my previous definition of what a support player is: a player is someone who is good at throwing grenades, is interested in the tactical aspect of the game, and can come out on top in clutch situations.

If you want a good support player on your team you should look for a highly intelligent individual who s good at reading the game and can adapt to different situations as the play develops. It s also important that he or she is patient and dedicated enough to learn all the necessary grenades. A support is a player who always puts their team first. These players are rare gems, in my book. Not everyone has what it takes to spend hours upon hours on empty servers trying to perfect grenade throws.

There s also a creative aspect to the support role. As you spend all those hours trying out grenades you ll find that you come up with new strategies and plays that can be useful to your team. I d say that support players are like bass players in bands. They re a key part of the system, but often they get a lot less praise than they deserve. If you think you can do all these things and have all these qualities you might be destined for a support role.

How to practice

CS:GO offers an almost infinite number of ways you can practice and I won t be able to cover them all. First up, you will never be a good CS:GO player unless you re good at shooting and nothing can replace hours spent on deathmatch servers.

For the support stuff, however, I d recommend that you head to an empty server to practice grenades. YouTube is a great resource when it comes to tutorials, and I covered many map-specific grenade throws in my CS:GO map guide series: you can find links to allow of them at the bottom of this article. You can also try to come up with your own grenades. Find a spot you want to flash or smoke and try doing it from different angles. Get a friend to join and hold from different positions so that he can let you know if he got flashed or not.

One thing you need to ensure is that you re on a 128 tick server. If you play on 64 tickrate servers (matchmaking servers are 64 tick) the grenades trajectories will be slightly different. Normally that s not a problem, but for the more advanced throws it can make a huge difference.

Next I d recommend that you try to find so-called retake servers. On those servers the terrorists spawn on a bombsite with the bomb and the CTs spawn in different retake positions. You ll also be able to choose what weapon you ll spawn with. This is a great non-competitive environment to try out your grenades. It will also help you improve your decision making in clutch situations. Just like with everything else in life, you get better at what you spend a lot of time doing. If you ve been in a 1-on-1 situation on dust2 s B-site a thousand times and your opponent s been in the same situation a couple of hundred times you re at a massive advantage.

I went on a retake server to show you guys how it works. This one is a pistols only server on Mirage:

I came up through connector and decided to peek towards CT-spawn. When I saw that my teammate in spawn was battling it out with a terrorist on the minimap I decided to peek another angle. As soon as the CT in spawn died I knew there was a possibility that the T would peek from that angle so I checked it again.

The bomb was ticking away so I had no choice but to go for a play. I got lucky and timed the peek from the terrorist inside palace and I spotted another one on T-ramp. When my last teammate died I knew the positions of both terrorists so I decided to take the fight with the one in CT-spawn in order to bait the other guy to push up, which he did, and I managed to pick up another kill. Unfortunately I fell short on the last duel because of bad crosshair placement—and that I took too long before I went for a play earlier in the round.

That breakdown of my round brings me to my next piece of advice: record your matches and watch the demos afterwards. Try to look for the things you did well and determine the reason why those things worked. But more importantly, look at what didn t work and try to come up with things you could ve done differently. You can also let a more experienced player take a look at your demos and give you advice.

Watch the pros

Another thing you can (and should) do is to watch demos of pro teams. Watching streams and VODs is great fun, but you won t be able to rewatch rounds from different perspectives like you can if you watch demos in-game.

A good resource for demos is HLTV.org. Find a match you want to watch and download the GOTV demo. Once you ve done that you launch the game and press ALT + F2 to bring up the demo UI—or you can type demoui in the console. Then press load , find the demo you want to watch and press play.

There s not a single pro player who plays support roles in every single round and on all maps, but there are some players that I d recommend you to watch. Freddy KRIMZ Johansson from fnatic is one. He s one of the smartest players in all of CS:GO. Andreas Xyp9x H jsleth from Astralis is another. He s great at throwing grenades and can find what looks like impossible clutch kills. Watch how they play, try to get a sense of their decision-making, and do your best to apply it to your own game.

Find all of our Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map guides here:

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

I wasn’t around to cover the previous week’s Steam Top 10 as per usual, so you’ll have to wildly imagine the shape of it yourself. I can take an educated guess if you like: I’m pretty sure Soldner was a shock number one, with Limbo of the Lost and Aliens: Colonial Marines hot on its heels. Strange that they’re completely gone from the latest chart, below, but that’s the fickle nature of the millennial digital consumer for you, innit?

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Happy Lies Day, everybody! Hope you ve enjoyed a wonderful day of lies. It s time to bring the festivities to an end, however, and settle in for a weekend of extremely serious and definitely happening digital sports. CS:GO is hosting the week s highest-profile clash, but there s plenty of LoL, Dota 2, Smite and fighting to go around. If any of the below tournaments turn out to be April Fools jokes, I will not be accountable for my actions. Haha! A cheeky Lies Day lie. It ll be fine! Nobody need get hurt.

League of Legends: NA and EU LCS quarterfinals

There's an awful lot of League of Legends this weekend. The EU and North American scenes are both getting stuck into their quarter finals, with EU playing at 16:00 BST/08:00 PDT on both days with NA following at at 20:00 BST/12:00 PDT. You can find the stream at LoLesports. China's LPL and Korea's LCK are also playing this weekend: once again, check out LoLesports for stream details and a schedule.

Dota 2: Epicenter Qualifiers

There's top and mid-tier Dota 2 going on all weekend in the Epicenter Qualifiers running around the world. In particular, check out Invictus Gaming vs. Vici Gaming at 18:00 BST/10:00 PDT on Saturday. The easiest place to find a schedule and English-language stream is on Gosugamers' hub page for the tournament.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: MLG Columbus 2016

CS:GO has evolved a MOBA-style prize pool for this $1m Major tournament. It's been running for a while already, but this weekend is your opportunity to catch the dramatic final rounds (or just sit in chat and complain that you haven't had any loot drops.) Play starts at 08:00 EDT (13:00 BST/05:00 PDT) on Saturday and 10:00 EDT (15:00 BST/07:00 PDT) on Sunday, running throughout. Find the livestream on MLG.

Capcom Pro Tour: Hypespotting

As our FGC man Andi Hamilton reported earlier this week, the Capcom Pro Tour is coming to the UK this weekend at Hypespotting in Glasgow. There's competition across the fighting game scene, from Street Fighter V to Mortal Kombat X to Smash. The Hypespotting website is down, at the time of writing, but this tweet has more information about the schedule.

Smite: Spring Split

Smite's new season has begun and the round robin continues this weekend in both Europe and North America. Play begins at 15:00 EDT (20:00 BST/12:00 PDT) and runs for a couple of hours. The best place to find information on the teams and format is on Smite Esports and you can find the livestream on Twitch.

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

PC Gamer

Chloe Desmoineaux isn t your usual Counter-Strike player. I ll cut to the chase: because she uses lipstick to play the game. As in make-up.

She calls it Lipstrike, and it uses a clever mix of basic electronics, key remapping and gun-based violence. I like it a lot.

Using a kit from Makey Makey, Desmoineaux hooked up the control board and some alligator clips to her lipstick. The mouse is used, of course: left click to move forward, right for aim-down-sights, scroll wheel to switch weapons.

But when she applies the lipstick, the connection in the Makey Makey circuit board is completed, which is linked via USB to input as a button being pressed... and the bullets start flying.

Desmoineaux explained her thinking in an email to Motherboard, pointing out it s not exactly a serious thing it s just interesting and funny:

Counter-Strike is one of those games that's mainly attributed to a male audience. Lipstick for girls, war games for boys. Fuck that! I can mix it up... If it visually works and the resulting effect is comical, maybe it s because we all use shortcuts and stereotypes embedded in our heads. It's in this spirit that I got the idea for Lipstrike.

You can catch up on Desmoineaux s performances over on her Twitch channel, and she ll be broadcasting new sessions over there until June.

PC Gamer

Call outs

Here's an overview of the map, including call-outs that are good to know.

Last week we looked at how to defend on Dust2. This time we'll talk about why Dust2 is an excellent map for split pushes, how to take control over the map and how to deal with different financial situations.

Dust2 is a map that can be played in so many different ways. Mid doors, tunnels, long and catwalk are all choke points that separate you from the counter-terrorists. That means you have time to set up your pushes and execute pre-planned strategies if you want. It also means that you can split up and try to pick off your opponents one by one if you have good aimers on your team.

First of all, full out rushes without a plan aren't going to win you games. They might work from time to time, but for the most part it's better to go for map control to make it harder for the CTs to get in position for a retake attempt.

The B-split

One of the most effective ways to cut off defending players from the rest of their team is to smoke CT-spawn and then push B from both mid and tunnels with flashbangs.

CornyOptimisticGodwit  (gfyCat video)

I like to try to "force" certain rotations so that my team and I can be ready for whatever comes our way. What I've found particularly effective is to take control over the pit area on long before the B-split. Make the CTs back off a bit so that they won't have enough time to push through T-spawn or top of mid. Now you can be fairly certain that any rotating players will go through either CT-spawn or short.

Leave one player on long until the rest of your team is ready to execute the split. At that point your long player can back off to top of mid and either kill players rotating or call out how many have crossed mid doors or entered lower tunnels.

For the split itself I prefer to have one player in tunnels and three players going mid. As soon as the spawn smoke has bloomed and the three musketeers have control over mid, the player in tunnels can start to throw flashbangs and make life miserable (and short) for the player on B-site.

Taking control over long and catwalk

You don't want to peek long without a flashbang. Ever. A teammate can throw a flashbang over long doors so that you can go for the duel right after it pops. If you get the best spawn towards long I'd recommend that you go for it. Just make sure you have a friend ready to trade kills if you miss your shot.

BlindEmotionalAstarte  (gfyCat video)

Should you decide to go A after you've taken control over long it's crucial that you smoke off CT spawn to make it safer for you and your team to enter the site.

DistantFluidHen  (gfyCat video)

The most obvious problem when you want to take control over catwalk is the player in mid. You need to do something to deny them their much needed target practice. I like to put up a smoke screen on top of xbox. Even if you don't go catwalk after the smoke, the other team will still have to keep an eye open. The mid player will tell their team that there could be terrorists there.

CircularPinkGopher  (gfyCat video)

If you decide to attack catwalk you should always ask a teammate to throw a flashbang for you. From lower tunnels is one way to do it.

When you attack from short A you want to give the defending players as many angles as possible to worry about. The best way in my mind is to have one player drop down to CT spawn. In order to do that you have to use another smoke. Note that the guys on long don't need to waste a smoke to cross over to site if you use this smoke instead:

ShockedGrippingGnu  (gfyCat video)

Keep it simple


A round where your opponents haven't bought weapons and you try to secure the round with as few casualties as possible.

As you gradually get better at CS:GO it's common to overcomplicate things. When it comes to anti-eco rounds on Dust2 I've tried all sorts of things over the years with various level of success. Then I heard analyst Janko 'yNK' Paunovic talk about the subject and he suggested (I'm paraphrasing) that you should all just go long and deny the CTs those close-range duels where their CZ75s can turn into a real problem. I totally agree. There's no reason to make it more difficult than it has to be.

Eco rounds

Eco rounds

'Eco round' is short for 'economic round'. That's a round where you buy little to no items. The purpose is to save money so that you can afford the big toys later.

Same thing here: don't overcomplicate things. When you go for an eco round, you want to plant the bomb and get that mad cash. I like to invest in a smoke grenade and a couple of flashes and go for the B-split I mentioned earlier, except I wouldn't have a player over on long. You need all your firepower to take the site. Getting pushed by tec-9s from three angles at the same time is a scary thing. Don't hesitate, just go for it.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Keep playing the game, try new ideas and have as much fun as possible and you'll improve.

Find all of our Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map guides here:

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Fans Of Things Not Staying Exactly The Same All The Time will be glad to hear that the latest weekly Steam top ten is quite a changed one from the previous week. A new number one, surprise re-entries and a loosening of Ubisoft’s chokehold on the charts. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Yup, I’m trying to make this a regular thing again. I know you’re very excited about that. Bit late this week as I wasn’t around for the first two days of it, but there is still MUCH TO LEARN from the top-ten best-sellers on Steam last week.

It’s a strong mix of independent and mega-gazillion blockbuster; though the overall shape of the chart isn’t hugely surprising, the number one winnah perhaps is. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Call outs

Here's an overview of the map, including helpful call-outs.

Dust2 has been immensely popular ever since it was introduced in the Counter-Strike 1.1 patch. To this day it's by far the most played map. Even though Dust2 slightly favors the terrorist side, it must be considered one of the most balanced competitive maps in the current map pool. Because of the map's popularity people have found lots of different ways to defend the two iconic bombsites.

What I, along with many others, have found over the years is that it's usually easier to go for retakes rather than to stay on the sites and fight to the death. This is especially true for the A-site as there's basically nowhere to hide if you get pushed from both long and short at the same time. Over at B you have more options and a sole player can, with assistance from the mid player, work wonders.

The set up

Pop flash

A flash that you throw that 'pops' just as it enters your opponents field of view.

I like to take control over long early in the round by sending two players over there. The second player can throw a pop flash just around the corner to allow the first player to get over to pit. If the terrorists haven't shown any sort of aggression towards long after a few seconds the second player can rotate back to either A-site or mid, depending on what information you have.

The third player will hold short from above the stairs, ready to drop down to CT-spawn if he spots terrorists. If not and the player in mid has a clear view of catwalk, the short player can push a little bit and go for a quick peek towards lower tunnels for information.

The fourth player will hold mid. Their job is to give the A-players information about anything happening at catwalk, as well as delaying that infamous B-split through mid and tunnels. If the terrorists have an AWP, this can be a bit tricky as you can't peek catwalk without putting your life and the round at risk. Just remember to call out that you don't have control over catwalk anymore.

The fifth player is obviously the B-player. I like to place them either on platform or on the site so that he can fall back after the initial duel. If the stars align and the mid player is ready with a flash, the B-player can pick up two kills, making the retake a lot easier.

Some neat tricks

Dust2 differs from other maps in that you will have to put yourself at risk just to reach one of the sites. I'm of course talking about the doors in mid. A skilled (or lucky) AWPer can take you out just seconds into the round. One option is to put up a smoke screen, but a lot of the time you want to save your smokes for later. Another way to do it is to use a grenade. The black smoke from the explosion works just as good as a smoke grenade, but you'll have to time it right.

CommonSafeEkaltadeta (gfyCat video)

Sometimes you want to get a player up on short faster. Those times you can simply boost them from the boxes just outside CT-spawn. The downside is that you'll only have one player over at long for a couple of seconds. Fortunately you can use this smoke to assist them.

PrestigiousHilariousHydra (gfyCat video)


Unless the terrorists decide to go for a rush, the retake starts long before the bomb goes down. The more information you gather early on, the better decisions you'll be able to make later. Let's say your player on B has spotted some terrorists in tunnels and your friend in mid saw someone peeking from the top of mid. You're on long and it's been all quiet so far. Now you have three options. You can push towards T-spawn which, given the information you have, is a risky play but with great potential reward. You might be able to backstab the terrorist in mid or you can run through T-spawn and be in a great position for a B-retake.

Your second option is to fall back towards the A-site, so that you're closer to B when the attack happens. The risk with that play is that your opponents might decide to go long after all and you won't know until they're around pit. Lastly, you can decide to stay put and wait for more information. However in this case it'll take you ages to get to B when the terrorists execute their strategy in that direction.

That's the general idea. Assess the information you have and make an educated guess as to what your opponents will do next.

This flash can be really effective when you try to retake bombsite B:

VelvetyGoodEastsiberianlaika (gfyCat video)

If you time it properly with a teammate flashing through tunnels it can work wonders. Remember to communicate: who's going to clear what angles?

This next retake flash is another one that allows you to push right after it pops:

PhysicalCraftyDegus (gfyCat video)

Aim at the sloped area next to the stairs, run and throw. Simple, yet effective. That flash will make it a whole lot easier for your friends in CT-spawn to get closer. And if you're lucky you might pick up a kill if you catch a flashed enemy off guard.

Find all of our Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map guides here:

Pcgp Logo Red Small PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!


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