PC Gamer

Every Monday in Triggernometry*, Evan writes about FPSes.

Aiming is one of Counter-Strike s central skills. Good aim can get you out of a bad situation, like a mistimed rush or a weapon disadvantage. Even if you ve been playing CS for a decade, I m willing to bet that, like me, you ve got some bad aiming habits.

I ll go first: I m awful with the AK at long range, and I struggle to get kills with the P250 on eco rounds. I ll probably get better with those guns as I keep putting hours into CS:GO s competitive matchmaking, but bad habits are easy to lose sight of in the middle of a match, when you re caught up in the emotion of the situation. CS:GO also hides a ton of its nuances—especially the bullet spray patterns of its weapons.

Aim maps have a way of immediately illuminating what you ve been doing wrong. Through repetition and drilling, they can teach you a lot about your own bad (and good) aiming behaviors. These are my three favorites.

How to play custom CS:GO maps locally:


  • Subscribe to maps on Steam Workshop

  • Launch CS:GO

  • Click Play > Offline with bots

  • Click Workshop, search for the map you subscribed to

  • Select the map, select No bots

training aim csgo 2

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This is CS:GO s best drill map, and it has a ton of customizability. You can tweak it to test almost anything you need to work on, from long-range AWPing to short-range spraying against targets that take multiple hits to break. I particularly like the sliding test, which lets you set up static or pop-up targets along different axes, letting you practice the rhythm of strafing, stopping, and shooting outside of a live environment. I also get a lot out of the Burst Training, which tracks how many of your shots connect on a full spray.

Training: Bot Aim V4b

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You can work on any weapon on this map, but I ve found it to be best for building pistol skills. It loads a number of bots into a narrow corridor and has a few toggleable obstacles—crates and a pair of doors—that you can bring into the setting to make it feel more practical. Bots can be set to return fire or not. The god mode setting is really helpful if you want to focus on training one weapon for a sustained period.

aim botz

download

This rifles-and-pistols map is the best one I ve found for working on killing enemies who are moving laterally. The bot movements are a little unnatural (you can also set them to move faster than players can in-game, as in the GIF above), but you can set them to mirror different ADAD patterns (alternating left and right strafing), which can be a particularly tough maneuver to counter. There s a good amount of setting customization, too, including boxes and uneven ground. You can also toggle on impact visualization, which will produce a wireframe of the bot hit that lingers in the environment.

*[Hats off to Reiniat, who suggested that we call this column "Triggernometry" instead of its original, inferior label "Shooterology." If you're listening, get in touch with me in the comments below to collect a prize that I have not yet determined. —Evan]

PC Gamer

Some people complain there are too many zombies in video games. Well, you know what? There are. That's why you need to kill them. The newest undead invasion is hitting the Counter-Strike universe, with Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies releasing on Steam today. It's free-to-play too, so getting involved in the extermination won't cost you a cent.

For anyone who took part in the open beta, Nexon has released a list of new bug fixes and improvements to coincide with the official release. These include important design changes including the ability to craft and disassemble certain items without using Points, through to cosmetic changes like the length of chat messages, prettier colour coding and more. 

The game currently boasts 50 maps, over 20 game modes including both PvP and PvE, and more guns than Nexon's previous effort Counter-Strike Online. Most interesting is the crafting system, which allows players to change the appearance and statistics of weapons. Nexon is also promising to continue adding new content for the game, so if you hate zombies, or love them, you should be set for a while. 

PC Gamer





Evan writes about FPSes every Monday in Shooterology.

There was a round of CS:GO during last Friday s Dreamhack Invitational matches that I found really inspiring. I ve recorded some commentary over it at 25% playback speed in the video above.

The round, from a match between two of the best teams in the world, showcases Swedish sniper jw s absurd spider sense. It s a terrific individual effort, and while it delivers as a Sick MLG Pro 420 Noscope Frag Video™, it also showcases two of CS:GO s best aspects: the importance of physical awareness and the way the game s decade-old, refined map layouts prompt tough decisions.

CS:GO isn t without flaws—aside from the presence of hackers in competitive matches, the CS:GO competitive scene itself continues to suffer from DDOS attacks on players and servers during matches. The Dreamhack Invitational, despite being a LAN event, wasn't even safe from this. And those ancient maps, terrific as they generally are, aren't perfect. Nuke continues to heavily favor the CT side in CS:GO, arguably giving advantage to the team who starts on that side.

You really should watch the rest of the tournament, though, especially the final between French rivals Titan and Team LDLC.

PC Gamer





Evan writes about FPSes every Monday in Shooterology.

There was a round of CS:GO during last Friday s Dreamhack Invitational matches that I found really inspiring. I ve recorded some commentary over it at 25% playback speed in the video above.

The round, from a match between two of the best teams in the world, showcases Swedish sniper jw s absurd spider sense. It s a terrific individual effort, and while it delivers as a Sick MLG Pro 420 Noscope Frag Video™, it also showcases two of CS:GO s best aspects: the importance of physical awareness and the way the game s decade-old, refined map layouts prompt tough decisions.

CS:GO isn t without flaws—aside from the presence of hackers in competitive matches, the CS:GO competitive scene itself continues to suffer from DDOS attacks on players and servers during matches. The Dreamhack Invitational, despite being a LAN event, wasn't even safe from this. And those ancient maps, terrific as they generally are, aren't perfect. Nuke continues to heavily favor the CT side in CS:GO, arguably giving advantage to the team who starts on that side.

You really should watch the rest of the tournament, though, especially the final between French rivals Titan and Team LDLC.

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Every Monday, Evan writes about first-person shooters.

Playing a competitive online game means being subjected to a certain amount of unsolicited criticism. I think you receive a bit more of it in CS:GO, though, because your dead teammates form a kind of peanut gallery who can talk to you from beyond the grave. Being the last one alive as four other players hover over your digital shoulder is a quintessential CS experience.

I ve been that digital shoulder hundreds of times, struggling to clutch while a person I ve never met tells me which gun I should grab to retake Nuke s A bombsite, or chastises me for using a grenade in a one-on-one situation. It s annoying, but I m actually grateful for a lot of the harsh feedback that s been handed to me in these moments because it s shaken me out of some bad habits.

Below, a selection of some of the criticism that s been condescendingly muttered at me in CS that turned out to be great advice:


Don t reload.
Shooters, single-player shooters especially, condition us to reload as a Pavlovian response to getting a kill. Resisting that urge is one of the first things most new CS players have to unlearn. Most weapons in CS:GO take between two and four seconds to reload: plenty of time for someone to peek around a corner or move through the space you should be defending. But maybe more importantly, in close-quarters, reloading betrays your position with sound. Consider the trade-off: would you rather have a full mag and an enemy who knows where you are, or a shallow mag and an enemy who s out of position?

Don t underestimate how much you can do with four or five bullets. With a rifle, it takes three or four non-headshots to take an enemy from full health to none and in late-game situations, it s even less likely that the enemy around the corner has 100 HP.


Don t pretend.
A few months ago one of my teammates in a match I d solo queued into called me out on this. What are you doing? I bet you saw that on Twitch or some shit, right? He was right. I was ADAD spamming (quickly tapping A and D in alternation) to hold a corner on de_inferno. There was no purpose or tactical value to what I was doing, I was just miming something I d seen in a tournament. It was the equivalent of doing a bunch of fancy dribbling in soccer with no one playing defense against me.

It s great to experiment with stuff you see in competitive play, but understanding the situational benefits of each maneuver is a huge step toward pulling it off successfully. After the ESL, I started backing away from my own flashbang grenades on entries, something I loved seeing in that tournament. But then I realized that my grenade placement wasn t nearly good enough to guarantee that I was flashing enemies at all I was just imitating for the sake of imitating.


Please, please don't throw that grenade.
Put the pin back in. I see so much misplaced faith in the frag grenade in CS:GO, partly because I used to be that guy who d start a bombsite retake with a frag toss, often coming around corners while still in the follow-through animation for the throw. Here s what I learned, after someone finally scolded me: your frag isn t going to kill anyone. Even if you re the Joe Montana of grenades and toss directly into the enemy player s mouth, it ll do 57 damage. If you played a lot of CS:Source, where grenades did a max of 72 against armored opponents, take a moment to realize that a perfect toss will only inflict as much as about two bullets.

In almost all situations, but especially in one-on-ones, your rifle is going to be able to kill someone faster and more safely than any sort of offensive grenade. Flashes are handy in a lot of situations in CS, but they re also unreliable: you can t be sure how well you ve blinded someone. If I had just kept my gun out instead of reaching for that 4 key, I would ve won many more rounds for my team.


Don't turn a three-on-one into a series of one-on-ones.
This is the one I ve started to preach most to players that I solo queue in Competitive mode with. It s easy to take a round win for granted when you re in a 3-on-1 or a 4-on-2. The easiest way to give away an easy win, though, is arranging your team in a way that the enemy can encounter you one at a time, on their own terms. When you re defending a bombsite against a shorthanded enemy, your goal should be to guarantee a trade: put the enemy in a position where they must cross the firing line of Player B if they want to kill Player A.


Are you afraid of your own pistol, or something?
Pistols have an amazing amount of utility in CS:GO. In the current build, the CZ75 the only automatic pistol has a ludicrous amount of value as a short-range, spray-and-hope-for-the-best gun when your AWP isn t cutting it or your M4A1-S runs dry. Even with the recent change to price it at $500, the cost of two grenades, it s a strong backup for serial AWPers who fear being rushed.


Dude, why would you ever crouch-walk?
This is ancient, ancient advice, but it s something that I still occasionally see players doing on casual servers. Crouch-walking around a corner will always grant advantage to someone who s watching that corner they ll always be able to see your gun poke out, then your knees, and blast you before you see them. If you need to check around an object, shoulder peek: dart out of cover while revealing as little of yourself as possible, then back in as quickly as possible, purely to see where an enemy is.
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CS:GO s competitive mode is where serious, hardcore Counter-Strike players congregate to test their aim and strategic smarts in a best-of-30, five-on-five format. There s a lot on the line: your pride, your matchmaking rank, your kill-death ratio. One does not simply agree to put down their guns and agree to 45 minutes of playful knife-fighting: it s hard enough to wrangle the tactics of your own team, let alone negotiate a no-guns treaty with five other online strangers who want to kill you.

Unless you re cyborgcommando0, who was a lucky participant in a CS:GO competitive knife match. For almost the entire bout (it was inevitably broken near the end as the losing team tried to regain the lead), 10 players slashed their way through de_dust2, commemorated above in cyborgcommando0 s entertaining highlight reel.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to de_dust2 duel: Watch a competitive CS:GO match fought entirely with knives">csgo-knife-fight



CS:GO s competitive mode is where serious, hardcore Counter-Strike players congregate to test their aim and strategic smarts in a best-of-30, five-on-five format. There s a lot on the line: your pride, your matchmaking rank, your kill-death ratio. One does not simply agree to put down their guns and agree to 45 minutes of playful knife-fighting: it s hard enough to wrangle the tactics of your own team, let alone negotiate a no-guns treaty with five other online strangers who want to kill you.

Unless you re cyborgcommando0, who was a lucky participant in a CS:GO competitive knife match. For almost the entire bout (it was inevitably broken near the end as the losing team tried to regain the lead), 10 players slashed their way through de_dust2, commemorated above in cyborgcommando0 s entertaining highlight reel.
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The ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO championship went down as the most-watched Counter-Strike event in history, with over 400,000 combined viewers watching live in-game or through the ESL stream over the weekend. There were plenty of memorable frags, clutches, and comebacks during the 16-team, four-day event, the best of which I ve collected here.

Every ace (one player notching five kills) from the tournament


The final moments of the last in the three-match series between Cloud9 and NiP


LDLC s apEX notches a 3K on a terrific eco round


Dignitas dupreeh walks through smoke and is rewarded for a moment


A disgusting jump-USP headshot at the end of this clip


Semphis with an amazing stealth retake on de_dust2 s bombsite B


One of our favorite matches of the tournament, an incredible double-OT comeback


The moment of victory for Swedish team Ninjas In Pajamas

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Competitive Counter-Strike continues to draw a healthy amount of spectators as Valve s FPS has grown significantly since the end of 2013. Following Katowice earlier this year, the ESL Championship begins 3 AM Eastern on Thursday, the first matches of ESL One Cologne 2014 will kick off in Germany, culminating in a final match on Sunday.

Here s the full ESL One Cologne tournament schedule. 16 teams are competing for a $250,000 prize pool, with favorites like NiP, Dignitas, and Virtus.pro matched against challengers, as the ESL teams page puts it, like Copenhagen Wolves, NaVi, and iBuypower. Thursday s matches will determine the seeding of these teams within their four-team groups, with Saturday quarterfinals preceding the semi and grand finals on Sunday.

Earlier this week, Valve patched CS:GO to improve the in-client spectating experience a little, allowing you to natively view the game from the perspective of the match s caster. There s also a new camera transition animation that makes swapping between different players perspectives less disorienting. On Twitch, matches should appear on the ESLTV_CS channel.

As has been the case for other events, watching tournament matches in-game or with a Steam-linked Twitch account gives you a chance of collecting special in-game items.
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