Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Photo credit: ESL/Helena Kristiansson

By Henry Stenhouse

On March 15th 2015 over one million people tuned in to watch the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Grand Finals at ESL One Katowice. At the previous year s event, viewer numbers peaked at 250,000. In just one year, the number of people watching had quadrupled.

But what caused this explosion in viewership? I've collected some of the most entertaining matches and moments from throughout the year. If you're looking for a reason to get into competitive CS, this is it.

New blood shines bright: Luminosity Gaming vs Team SoloMid

The world map of Counterstrike is dominated by European nations: Denmark, Sweden, Poland and France all field teams of considerable renown. After the only North American team fell in the group stages of DreamHack Winter, it was left to a surprise performance by the Brazilian team Luminosity Gaming to keep American hopes alive.

Defeating both EnVyUs and Ninjas in Pyjamas, LG secured a place in the semifinal. Facing the formidable Team SoloMid, they received a crushing 16-5 defeat on Mirage. With the second game taking place on TSM's map of choice, Overpass, the Brazilian dream looked to be over…

Despite a shaky start, LG finally found their form. A combination of patient approaches with blistering flashes of aggression concocted the perfect formula to overcome the Danish defence. Breaking through to map 3, both teams brought their best in a gut wrenching finale. Luminosity may not have left the tournament as champions, but with victories against three of the greatest teams in CS, Brazil has certainly earned its place on the map.

Old dogs die hard: Virtus Pro vs Team SoloMid

Counter-Strike teams are rarely stable. Replacements and restructures come fast and often. In this regard Virtus Pro are an anomaly, maintaining the same lineup since January 2014. VP's roster also holds a high average age, with three out of five players aged over 27. Without any recent major successes to speak of, questions had begun to rise over how long the beloved Polish side would continue to compete.

Enter the Dubai Invitational. Fielding eight of the best teams from across the globe, the event looked to be a tight competition between the two favourites, Fnatic and TSM. VP surpassed all expectations by breezing out of the group stages before scoring a confident 2-1 win over Fnatic. The five map grand final vs TSM proved nothing short of spectacular, with momentum swinging wildly between each side.

Virtus Pro excel in flexibility, seemingly any member of their team cable of both rifling and AWPing. The player to watch throughout the event was VP's Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski who exhibited exemplary rifling along with inventive use of smoke grenades to secure rounds.

Fantastic four: EnVyUs vs Mousesports

From the astounding to the amusing, the end of the ESEA Pro League looked to be a disappointing affair after EnVyUs's in-game leader, Vincent 'Happy' Cervoni, received a Denial of Service attack just five rounds in. Incredibly, EnVy decided to persevere with just four players, overwhelming a flustered mousesports to take the match.

A bold French performance and some unconventional casting by Lauren 'pansy' Scott and Alex 'machine' Richardson resulted in one of the most entertaining matches of the year. The duo livened the game with everything from speed and minimalist casting to a spectator fly-through race of the map.

Individual highlights

CS:GO may be a team game, but individual moments of exceptional skill (or luck) often provide the best memories. Here are some of the best from this year:

Nikola 'NiKo' Kova of team mousesports pulls off a series of phenomenal long range deagle kills to claim an ace and economy win against Titan:

H vard 'Rain' Nygaard recovers from 1 vs 4 to save match point. Surviving on just one point of health, he single handedly keeps Kinguin in the game:

NiP's Patrik 'Forest' Lindberg locks down Dust2's double doors, earning a knife kill and dispatching four of TSM's roster:

Of course no highlight reel for 2015 would be complete without THAT deagle ace by Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer:

Honourable mentions


To discuss the greats of CS:GO without mentioning Fnatic is to do a great disservice to the game. The Swedish team have proven themselves the kings of CS time after time. Securing no less than five $100,000 first place victories this year, Fnatic's reign looks far from over. The highlight? Katowice grand finals, map three:


The North American heroes may have run into trouble in the latter stages of the year but during the summer months they were in the form of their lives. Reaching three back to back finals at ESEA Season 1, ESWC 2015 and DreamHack Valencia, the team fell just short of tournament victories in each case. Despite this, C9 garnered key victories over EnVyUs and VP to show they could compete at the top of CS. Here they are at DreamHack Open Valencia:

Human error

After such a deluge of superhuman feats, I feel it's important to remind yourself that these professionals are, at the end of the day, still human. This year's Cluj-Napoca supplied an abnormal number of team kills, collected neatly in this montage by Kevin Tweedale:

Averaging 500,000 players daily, CS:GO sits happily at second place on Steam s player chart. With increasing prize pools and MLG Colombus hosting the first North American major in 2016, Counter-Strike s popularity growth shows no signs of slowing. If 2014 was the year CS:GO blossomed, then 2015 has proven to be its tour de force.

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!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Janko YNk Paunovic

M4A4 or M4A1-s?

"Depends on map/position. If I have to choose, then it's the M4A4."

The Return of the King or Return of the Jedi?

"Both, only a Sith deals in absolutes."

Coffee or tea?

"Tea. Coffee will make your tail grow out, or so my grandma used to tell me."

Clutch plays or solid teamwork?

"Solid teamwork above all."

What's your new year's resolution?

"I don t really make those to be honest, but let's say I need to lose some weight and improve on a bunch of things related to my work as an analyst."

There s something special about this time of year. Maybe it s something we ve created for ourselves. Maybe it s part of human nature. Not only do we get to celebrate the holidays, but it s also a time for reflection. We think about the past year. All the goals we had set for ourselves, everything that happened in our lives and of course all the events in the game we all love: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

One thing I love about esports is how much can happen in a short period of time. The amount of tournaments, frequent roster changes and other things surrounding the game all add to the excitement of being a fan of the sport. It s mind boggling that it s not even a year ago that four players from iBUYPOWER got banned after a match fixing scandal that had taken place the previous summer. Nor has a year passed since the insanely close all-Swedish finals between Fnatic and NiP in Katowice during the ESL One Major, where Fnatic eventually managed to win the third map to seal the deal. That deciding map on Inferno is in my mind one of the most memorable moments from 2015. Fnatic were up 14-4 when NiP almost managed a heroic comeback. 16-13 was the final score. One dream crushed, another fulfilled. That's the beauty of our game. But let s not dwell on the past. We have yet another exciting year of CS:GO ahead of us.

MLG Columbus, ELeague, and the NA scene

The next CS:GO Major will take place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, home of the glorious and heroic Blue Jackets (fanboy: a fan that lets his passion override social graces). To uncover what this means for the North American scene I asked the up and coming CS:GO analyst Janko 'YNk' Paunovic, famous for his in-depth play-by-play breakdowns.

"I don't think it will have that big of an influence. Maybe the ELeague if it offers more spots for NA teams. That would give some less-known teams like Splyce, Enemy or the former 3-sUP team, who all have the potential to break through in my opinion, a chance to play against top teams and gain that much needed experience."

What is ELeague, then? It's the result of a collaboration between the two media companies Turner and WME | IMG. During 2016 there will be two seasons with a prize pool of $1.2 million per season, making it the biggest league in CS:GO history money-wise.

"I hope that this will motivate NA teams even more, so that we can see other teams besides Luminosity being a threat to the EU teams."

From what we've seen so far in the first hype video none of the top tier European teams are featured. ELeague could be a great initiative if they go about it the right way. Each season stretches over a ten week period of time. That's a lot of time in esports and consequently a huge commitment. Because of that it's likely that a lot of top teams opt out until ELeague has proven itself.

Given that both the MLG Major and ELeague will take place in North America, I asked Janko whether thinks this will affect the level of interest among European fans.

"I don't feel that the level of interest will change. The majors are highlights of the year in CS:GO. EU fans might however not be able to watch as many games because of timezone differences."

He adds, "from what I've seen at IEM San Jose, I expect a big crowd and a great atmosphere."

Changes to the game and map pool

We talked about the weapon changes that have been a hot topic ever since the infamous Winter Update.

"Well, they reverted those changes, but I feel that the pistol changes were okay. The Glock nerf was unnecessary and the tec-9 could've been nerfed even more in my opinion."

Valve also decided to make changes to the most popular assault rifles in an attempt to make sprays less effective.

"As for the rifle nerfs I agree with the idea, but I feel that they went about it the wrong way. In my opinion, randomness is not good for a game like CS, it's just counter intuitive."

A lot of people have requested a remade version of the map Nuke in the official map pool. I asked Janko how he felt about this topic.

"Personally, I don't think Nuke was that bad of a map, I think teams weren't creative enough on their T sides, which resulted in big results for the CT's. I also disagree that if a map is to be good for competitive play it has to be 'side balanced'. For me Nuke was fun to watch because of how good some teams were as CT, hence making it look easy."

Side balance is often discussed within the community and the popular opinion is that maps should be as balanced as possible. Good arguments can be made on both sides of the fence and it will be interesting to see what Valve decides to do next.

"I would like to see Tuscan back in the map pool, that map was really fun to both play and watch."

No matter what we think about changes to the game and upcoming tournaments, it's impossible to deny that the scene is only getting bigger. The number of viewers is steadily increasing. The prize pools are growing, albeit slowly. There's no reason not to think that we're in for a treat in 2016. What a time to be a fan of CS:GO!

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!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

In CS:GO there are a few things that separate the good players from the bad: aim, economic knowledge, movement and last but not least, gamesense. Counter-Strike—like many other competitive games—requires equal parts technical skill and intelligence. Gamesense is a direct extension of the latter. Before you can start popping heads on the regular you need to know where those heads are and what they re carrying.

What is gamesense?

Gamesense is really just a another word for instinct. It s the knowledge of how your game is progressing and how your teammates and your opponents are playing. Gamesense allows you to make a judgement about where your opponents are on the map and what kind of gear they re carrying. If your gamesense is good enough, you ll have a much easier time getting into bombsites, clutching rounds and countering flanking maneuvers. Gamesense is a combination of economic knowledge and map knowledge, so in order to improve your gamesense you ll need to learn more about both those things.

Don t worry about losing a couple games while you learn

Economic knowledge

Economic knowledge is easy to develop. Try to remember what your opponents were carrying after every round and keep an eye on the win/loss chart on the scoreboard. If your opponents just lost two rounds where they were carrying full loadouts, it s safe to assume they ll buy pistols this round. Did you just drop a few rounds? Then look out for AWPs because your opponents are flush with cash and ready to roll. The best way to get a feel for how the CS:GO economy works is by looking through your own demos and seeing how your opponents tend to spend their money. When you reach a higher rank you ll notice that your opponents and your teammates follow the unwritten economy rules a lot more closely, increasing the accuracy with which you can estimate your opponent s gear.

Map knowledge

Map knowledge is a little harder to develop due to the sheer number of maps you have to study. Another reason why map knowledge isn t learned as quickly as economic knowledge is the fact that you have to learn two different sides of a map equally well. Take the time to go through the learning process map for map and don t worry about losing a couple games while you learn. Take it from StarCraft veteran WhiteRa: more GG, more skill.

What's Pre-aiming?

Pre-aiming is the art of aiming at locations where you expect opponents to be playing from before you ve actually seen them, allowing you to shoot them immediately instead of having to snap your crosshair onto them.

Watch and learn

I ve mentioned watching demos a few times as a way to improve your gamesense. There s a good reason why I believe demos are such an invaluable part of refining this part of your skillset. It s impossible to give you one way to improve your gamesense that will work for every player at every rank. Playstyles simply differ too much to write one guide that covers all the bases. If you ve ever seen a high-ranked player fail horribly at smurfing on the lower ranks, you ll know what I m talking about. High-ranked players expect their opponents to adopt a playstyle they know how to counter because nearly everyone on their rank is playing that style. When those players then play against people of a lower rank, it takes them time to get used to their opponents not defending bombsites from the optimal positions, making it hard to pre-aim when attempting an entry.

This knowledge, combined with your newfound economic understanding, grants you special clairvoyant powers

The only truly reliable way to get a real understanding of how people at your rank are playing is by watching your own demos. Who better to show you how your opponents play than your opponents?

If this is your first time attempting to improve by watching your demos, here s some advice. You ll want to start by finding a demo of a close game. You re not going to learn anything from watching a game where you were on fire the entire time, dropping 50 frags and getting knife kills every other round. You ll also have a hard time finding flaws in your game when your opponents were much better than you and you lost without winning a single round. A game where you barely lost is great for learning purposes. You were matched against a team of nearly equal skill and were just unable to pull out the victory. Watching the replay will let you understand why.

As terrorists

Let s start off by looking at your terrorist side. Compare your buying choices on the pistol round with our pistol guide and then look at the angles your opponents were holding. If you spot a position you ve never seen before, make a note of it and move on. You re going to want to do this for a few demos in order to find out which spots are common and thus should be checked when attempting to storm a bombsite.

Those one-off spots your opponents sometimes choose to play are a lot less important than whichever locations are more popular at your rank. Repeat this process for every standard round and you ll end up with a pretty good idea of how counter-terrorists defend their bombsites at the level that you re playing. You ll also notice that playstyles heavily depend on loadouts, so keep track of what players are carrying too. This knowledge, combined with your newfound economic understanding, grants you special clairvoyant powers (or, at the very least, a better chance of winning.)

As counter-terrorists

We want to focus on getting a good feel for where the terrorists are moving on the map and what that means for your defence. Once again we turn to our demos. While watching your CT-side, two things are important: how your opponents attempt to take bombsites and how they defend bombsites afterwards. Note-keeping is the solution to figuring out which types of attacks are most common and require special attention. Keep an eye out for how your opponents are moving before they start an attack so you can call it out to your team before the assault even happens. Being able to do this will make you invaluable to any team you come across in matchmaking. When your team does lose a bombsite, you are forced into the most difficult position in the game: retaking. Look at your demos for common spots the terrorists like to use in order to defend their explosives and check those first when attempting to retake a bombsite.

A single demo doesn t tell you much, so take the time to watch a few of your own demos and make it a habit as you rank up. When you notice your ability to predict your opponents playstyle slipping, look at your demos and note the differences. Keep doing this and you ll start adjusting your playstyle without even thinking about it, making you a much better player in the process.

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!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

It has not been a strong few weeks for the CS:GO dev team. I reported on Friday that the Winter Update's maligned R8 revolver had been nerfed after only three days—obscene stopping power and pinpoint accuracy for its price had effectively killed eco rounds. Now, Valve has rolled back the accompanying tweaks to pistols and rifles, stating "we likely changed too much too quickly".

For rifles, the changes boiled down to decreasing accuracy, and the latest CS:GO blog post details the rationale behind them: Valve was hoping to make spraying less appealing compared with burst fire. Instead, the patch made all forms of fire less accurate and people kept on spraying anyway, penalising the minority who do tap fire.

A full roll-back is a spectacular step down for a company running a competitive game, and the saga has left many wondering (not for the first time) why Valve doesn't run larger trials before foisting changes on the whole population. This time, the magnitude of the misstep has clearly sunk in.

"We failed to anticipate the reaction of the community to changes in such heavy-use weapons," the blog reads, "and we clearly need to re-evaluate our process for making and communicating about changes in that space."

It's becoming a common refrain from Valve, but perhaps the latest uproar will prevent drastic changes from appearing out of the blue in future.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Map Callouts

Here's an overview of the map including callouts that are helpful to know.

Last time we had a look at how to defend on Cache. Now it's time to figure out how to level the brick walls that the counter-terrorists have built.

When you play Cache it's beyond important to understand that the map consists of three major choke points where you will battle it out with the defenders: A-main, mid and B-halls. Even if the occasional rush could work, I prefer to have presence at all of these chokepoints during the early stages of the round. The reason for this is that your opponents can shut your rush down quite easily with smokes, flashes and molotovs. If you find yourselves waiting behind a smoke, the defenders on the other side of the map can push and call out that you're not there. Next thing you know you're trapped like rats—and hungry cats are approaching from all directions.

Cache is a map where information wins you games. When you spread out you should gather as much information as you can. After a while you should have a rough idea of where the CTs are. Even more importantly, you know how much information they have and you've made sure they can't sneak up on you.

Freedom through mid control

If you get a kill in mid you slow down the counter-terrorists' potential quick rotation to either site. Even if you don't get a kill, but take control over mid, they need to assign at least one player to make sure you can't push anywhere without them knowing. This will also slow them down significantly.

At this point, a kill on either B or A is huge. If your B-guy wins his duel, you can support him through vent and take over the site before the counter-terrorists get a chance to react. If the A-guy gets a kill on A, you can support him from highway. You get the point: mid control means freedom and flexibility.

How do you take control over mid then? If the CTs smoke mid, you can boost a guy up to clear the area below vent or simply wait for the smoke to fade.

FlatColorfulGull (gfyCat video)

Either way it could be a good idea to boost a player, as long as you don't do it every round and make it predictable. That player can peek over this smoke wall while two terrorists push out from garage:

CandidCompassionateAlligatorgar (gfyCat video)

Even though mid control is a huge advantage, you don't want to go for that every round. If you notice that your enemies start to put up a greater defense in mid, you want to put more pressure on one of the sites instead.

On the next page: trying your luck at bombsites A and B.

Cool flash from squeaky

For one reason or another you decide that you want to try your luck at A. Card counting might be illegal and can get you a lot of trouble—if you get caught that is. This flash from squeaky can shift the odds in your favor:

HospitableEminentLamb (gfyCat video)

This flash is especially effective if combined with a smoke towards highway. It's a lot harder to turn away from a flash that you can't see. You can potentially flash enemies behind forklift, on catwalk, on site or behind quad, with one flashbang. Use the flash to push out from door and clear the site. Trust your teammates to take care of any counter-terrorists lurking in the area around forklift. This gives you a fast and effective access to A-site.

Molotovs are great if you want to clear areas without having to push too far. If you assign two players to throw these molotovs you can clear both quad and NBK:

WhimsicalUnderstatedAngora (gfyCat video)

This leaves you with two fewer spots to worry about when you take the site. You'll only have to clear site, catwalk and forklift which shouldn't be a problem if you still have five players alive (assuming you smoked off the area between forklift and the red container).

Smokes on B

B-site can be tricky to take if you don't know whether there's someone lurking in vent or not. If you get taken by surprise by a timed backstab from vent, your attack might get slowed down enough to allow the rotation to arrive before you get the bomb down. Again, mid control is very helpful. You should have at least one guy going checkers to clear vent and all the corners in there. His job is also to make sure his teammates don't get flanked while throwing their smokes.

These two smokes can be really effective, especially if you're facing an AWP on either upper or lower.

UnsightlyElasticGoldfish (gfyCat video)

Plant and post-plant positions

Once you have taken control over a site you have to assess the situation. Do we have enough time to plant the bomb out in the open before the rotation moves in? If yes you should try to get the bomb down in one of these spots:

If you on the other hand think that there is a risk the CTs will get there in time, you should plant in a safer spot. Better safe than sorry. This will however leave you with fewer options for post-plant positions. For instance, you don't want to find yourself in a one on one situation where you are in checkers with sweaty palms, feeling the pressure from your team while the bomb is planted behind one of the boxes on B-site. You can hear the defuse, you hesitate for a second, decide to go for it but you don't make it in time. Not only did you fail to stop the defuse, you also lost your precious weapon and armor.

If you plant in one of the spots shown above, an otherwise bad post-plant position can turn into a really strong one. This is especially true for A-main on A and checkers on B.

As you can see there are many factors that decide the outcome of a round. Hopefully you can use your new knowledge to your advantage. Good luck out there!

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!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Yesterday the ESL ESEA Pro League drew to a close: the strongest eight teams of the season, four from each regional division, had faced off in the LAN finals across three days, culminating in a five-match clash between Fnatic and NaVi. Ekeing out a 3-2 victory, Fnatic retained the title and claimed $100,000 prize money. 

Narrowly securing a win on de_inferno, Fnatic increased its lead in an exhausting 16-14 slog through dust2 before ceding two games in a row on mirage and train. The final match was decisive: NaVi made a valiant effort to halt Fnatic's seven-round streak with a three-round run of its own, but sudden aggression from Fnatic left the Ukranian team floundering—16-6.

It was close-fought up until the final match, and with a $60,000 second-place prize, I reckon NaVi can take some pride in their performance against what is arguably the world's best CS:GO team.

Dota 2

It s almost the middle of December you might think. Surely there s no more digital sport to be had in 2015. It s too late! The players are too sleepy, cold, and vastly wealthy.

You d be wrong! You d also be a rhetorical device! Dota 2, CS:GO, Hearthstone and League of Legends are all in full swing this weekend, at varying degrees of seriousness. Want a big prize pool and glossy production values? CS:GO. Want to watch the best teams in the world play in somebody s house? Dota 2. Want to watch amateurs go up against the pros for $30,000? Hearthstone. How about viewer-voted teams drawn together from across the globe? League. Merry Christmas! Except you don t get Christmas, because YOU RE NOT REAL. I INVENTED YOU FOR THIS INTRO, AND I CAN DESTROY Y-

Dota 2: The Summit 4

The Summit is top-tier competitive Dota 2 in a more relaxed setting. After a year of competing in arenas for millions, a cross-section of the world's best teams play in a house in LA for a share of over $100,000. The tournament has been going on all week, but you can catch the remainder of the lower bracket games on Saturday and the grand final on Sunday. Play starts at 10:00 PST/18:00 GMT on Saturday and at 14:00 PST/22:00 GMT on Sunday. You can find the games on the official BeyondTheSummit Twitch stream.

CS:GO: ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals

More west coast CS:GO this weekend. The four teams left at the top of the ESL ESEA Pro League's European and North American divisions (all of which happen to be European) will enter a playoff bracket for their share of $250,000. You'll get to see Fnatic, EnVyUs, Natus Vincere and ? (formerly TSM) in action over the course of two days. Play begins at 16:30 PST/00:30 GMT on Saturday/Sunday for the semifinals, with the finals beginning at a more-palatable-in-Europe 10:00 PST/18:00 GMT on Sunday. Find the official stream here.

Hearthstone: Insomnia56 Truesilver Championship

$30,000 on the line as eight top-tier Hearthstone professionals descend on glamorous Birmingham, UK to mingle with the locals. Today, a Swiss tournament at the Insomnia56 LAN will determine which eight lucky (or skilled) players will get to compete with the pros for a serious prize. There's not much available by way of a schedule at the moment, but expect games on UK time across Saturday and Sunday. You can watch the main stream here.

League of Legends: All-Star Los Angeles 2015

After the seriousness of Worlds, the All-Star is a for-fun tournament with fresh teams assembled in each region by a fan vote. In addition to the All-Star tournament itself, games will be played in a variety of other game modes: role restrictions, viewer-voted drafts, and so on. On top of that, there's a 1 vs 1 tournament too. This is an opportunity for the scene to let its hair down. Play runs all weekend on Pacific time. Find schedule info and the official stream on LoLesports.

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!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

We brought in a specialist to tell us in no uncertain terms how utterly daft Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's new R8 revolver was. Just three days after the R8 was patched in for the Winter Update, Valve appears to agree with the conclusion that a one-shotting pistol with pinpoint accuracy is silly.

"While it typically takes more time to generate enough data to drive an update (and gameplay updates are always a bit disruptive), in this case it s clear that we got the damage wrong and can respond immediately," the CS:GO blog reads.

Accordingly, the R8's damage has been reduced to 86 from 115 and it takes a touch longer to fire at 0.4 seconds. The spread has been widened too.

Popular opinion is that the R8 remains imbalanced but to a less funny degree than before. In line with previous weapon updates, however, Valve predicts further tweaks to come before it finds the sweet spot.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Valve just released the Winter Update for CS:GO. You can find the full patch notes here. Before we dive into any sort of analysis I want to say that I think it's a good thing that they frequently update the game and try out new ideas. That way we avoid a static meta-game. However, Valve tends to change the game too much with each update and this one is no exception.

R8 Revolver

The newest addition to the arsenal is a high caliber revolver that's almost as powerful as the AWP and with longer accurate range than the AK47. With this gun, Valve effectively removed the value of eco rounds. Even if you don't win the round, chances are you will damage your opponent s economy severely. At the moment the price tag is set to $850, which means you can't buy it on pistol rounds. Other than this, the only downside of the R8 Revolver is the low rate of fire and the length of the trigger-pulls. At close and medium range the R8 is a one-shot kill to the chest against a fully armored enemy. Combined with a grenade, you can one-shot players even if you hit the arm:

UnluckyFrightenedIguanodon (gfyCat video)

In that sequence I used $1150 to kill an enemy who spent $4750 plus utility, without any problem. That is, in my mind, ridiculous.

And it gets worse. The gun has a secondary fire that's less accurate, a lot faster and allows you to shoot while defusing the bomb. I suspect that this wasn t intended, but either way, it needs to be fixed:

DistortedShallowDutchshepherddog (gfyCat video)

Clearly, the R8 Revolver needs to change. I say change because Valve can't remove it from the game due to the Steam market. The Winter Update included the Revolver Case as well, which means players already have invested a lot of money on skins for the new gun. The skins in the case can be found here. If they were to remove the weapon entirely they would have to refund any money spent on skins for the R8: not only to the steam wallet, but to player's bank accounts.

So, how could they change the R8 Revolver? For starters they could increase the price tag. Then they could make it even slower, but I'm not sure that would help. The other way they can go is to make it less powerful than the Desert Eagle but keep the secondary fire, otherwise they'd just have a copy of the same gun.

At the same time they decided to reduce accuracy when you run and shoot with Dual Elites, Fiveseven, Glock, P2000, P250, Tec9, USP and CZ75a. What this means is that Glock and Tec9 pushes will be less efficient than they used to be and we will probably see changes to the metagame for T-side pistol rounds as a consequence.

Every cloud has a silver lining

The Winter Update includes some changes to the game that I really like. One is the changed round and bomb times. The bomb time is now 0:40 in both Competitive Matchmaking (previously 0:45) and in Major Championships (previously 0:35). For the casual gamer this means you have to decide if you want to go for the defuse or save your gun earlier than before. I welcome this change because in my opinion the counter-terrorists had way too much time on their hands to retake a bomb site after the plant.

How will this affect pro play? First of all, smoke grenades and molotovs won't be as powerful, which will add more excitement for spectators. I think it's safe to say that these five extra seconds will result in more insane clutch plays for us to enjoy.

Another update is that Valve added the option to vote for a 60 second timeout in Competitive Matchmaking. This is great if you have lost a couple of rounds in a row. You get some time to analyse your and your opponents' play and figure out what you have to adjust in order to bring the game back. As an in-game leader of an amateur team I love this. Even if I don't play Matchmaking that much anymore, I could absolutely have used this in order to improve faster. This is good for the scene and all budding in-game leaders out there.

First person footsteps are quieter while third person footstep volume remains unchanged. The adjustment is ever so slight but it's still helpful. Listening for footsteps is a huge part of the game, contributing to its tactical dimension.

In addition, the recovery times for AK47, M4A4 and M4A1-s have been increased, making it more important to be on point with your initial bullets. I look forward to more highlight clips from sick aimers such as Titan's star player Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom.

The Winter Update brought some really good and welcome changes to the game. Unfortunately, the biggest change turned out to be not just awful but downright bad for the health of CS:GO. I hope that Valve will revamp the R8 Revolver within the next few days. What do you guys think?

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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