Minimizing a Skill Gap
Thu 2nd Nov 2017 - 5:00pm
In CSGO, you are bound to play against people who are far more skilled than you. These are the players that not only one tap you in mid in warmup, but also your two other teammates behind you. Their aim, their utility usage, their general gamesense seems to be leagues ahead of yours. This begs the question: What do you do? CSGO is all about maximizing your chance of winning gunfights to try to gain a numerical advantage over the opponents and it seems that if they are more skilled, they would just automatically win these gunfights and the game. However, raw mechanical skill is only one aspect of winning that gunfight, albeit an important one. This article covers how to be able to overcome that gap in skill level and perhaps pull an upset.
Communication is key, but especially when the other team is more skilled than your team. Calling which angles you’re watching/not watching, which areas of the map the enemies are at, how many of them are there, where you’re positioning yourself are all important callouts that help your team position and rotate if need be. By communicating, your team is essentially giving each other the info needed to make a judgement call on the various positions, crosshair placement, utility usage, that all serve to maximize your chances of walking away from an encounter with an enemy with your head safely attached to your body. Communication essentially makes everything else that I mentioned down below on the list easier to do. Knowledge is extremely important in CSGO and communication helps you ascertain more knowledge than your opponents, lending you a crucial advantage when it comes to taking that inevitable gunfight.
This could be a whole article all by itself. The importance of crosshair placement in relation to taking a duel cannot be stressed enough. Crosshair placement is all about visualizing where the enemy will peek and putting your crosshair where you think his head will be. This allows you to do as little “aiming” as possible and only move your mouse a tiny bit to compensate for the peek by either you or the enemy. Don’t aim too close as that will make the distance you have to adjust farther and conversely, don’t aim too far. Give yourself enough time to react while moving your mouse as little as possible. If their aim is better than yours, their flicks and microadjustments are probably far better than yours. However, with crosshair placement, you can mitigate this advantage in a way as it allows you to “aim” less. This, combined with knowing where the enemy is, allows you to take aim duels that you are more likely to have a fair chance in. If he sits in the backside of quad on Cache on the CT side, you can put your crosshair on the right side of the quad box and shoot him in the head as he peeks. Conversely, if you sit on the quad box on CT side, you can put your crosshair where you will think the enemy peeks in A-main. There is far more complexity to crosshair placement and I have embedded both an insightful video by launders detailing swag’s crosshair placement and an article going over crosshair placement.
Positioning is also crucial to minimizing the skill gap. The key to positioning is holding defensive angles/off-angles on the CT side and minimizing your peeks/not peeking too wide on the T side. On the CT side, you want to play angles that they don’t expect or they won’t check. This allows you more time to react and shoot them due to your off angle. In addition to this, in order to check an off-angle or your defensive angle, they would have to peek you first and if your crosshair placement is right, the fight should be more in your favor. On the T side, if you jiggle peek correctly, you will minimize the chance for the enemy to shoot at you and gain info about where they are playing. This will allow you to potentially take a fight later on or peek wider in order to take the duel.
Example Off Angle on Cache
Use an AWP:
An AWP is an excellent tool for holding and clearing angles. By using an AWP and hitting your shots, you are essentially taking one shot to kill them while they may take 4 or 5 in a rifle spray to kill you. If they one tap you, your location has probably already been called or you are holding an extremely predictable angle, leading to you getting prefired. By combining the AWP with an unexpected angle, you allow yourself an easier way of winning an aim duel that you would normally lose with a rifle. Because it delivers a one shot kill midsection and above, if you both fire at the same time and both of you hit your shots, you will kill him and barring a headshot, he will only do about 27 or so damage, depending on the weapon, to you. Thus, the AWP is great for taking aim duels and combatting people with higher skill levels.
Utility is always important, but by using your molotovs, flashbangs, and smokes, you gain advantages crucial to mitigating their advantage. Your molotovs may stop a rush or clear out a position that you no longer have to check, crossing off an extra place you have to aim. They also may burn out an opponent, forcing them to peek you with less than desired health. If you are holding your molotov and your crosshair placement is set, you should be able to win this duel. Your flashbangs will temporarily blind an enemy or persuade them to turn around. This is the most optimal way to take an aim duel, as they are presumably blind or showing their back, and thus, you should always win that aim duel hands down as they are not even remotely aiming near you. Smokes allow you to block off angles you could potentially get shot from or force them to run through to take the duel with you. Both of these features allow you to have a better time taking the duel, as they can’t shoot you if they can’t see you and if they run through, then they have the visibility disadvantage. The key is using your utility optimally and in all the right places to try to help you to take these duels. If you use your utility randomly and just throw it out there without any coordination, you are not helping you or your team in any way. By using it properly, it becomes a powerful tool to combat the raw mechanical skill that your opponents may possess.
What better way is there to take aim duels than to throw multiple bodies at an aimer? With double peeks, you a) might confuse him on who he has to shoot b) mess his aim up and c) allow yourself more time to shoot at him. By taking your buddy and yourself and facing him in an aim duel, it is essentially two versus one. At the very least, you should be able to get the trade and at the most, you guys both survive as he more than likely has to try to spray to kill both of you. Double peeking is a highly effective way to minimize the skill gap, even if it seems silly.
There are multiple ways to help overcome the skill gap. Winning is obviously the ideal case. However, even if you lose, there are positives to be gained from losing to highly skilled players. You can learn which angles don't work, what utility to throw, and what strategies to use in the future. Hopefully, in the future, you will be the one with the superior skills facing those that are in the position you were once in. Good Luck!
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