Defaults in CSGO: An Explanation



Mon 4th Dec 2017 - 7:28pm


One of the most important things to know about in CSGO is a T-side default. CT-side also has defaults but they are generally less dynamic, requiring you to maintain your site control. In general, a 2-1-2 setup with 2 on A site, 1 in middle, and 2 on B site is the most common CT default on maps and will be until you get into relatively more advanced team atmospheres. On the T-side, when your IGL calls a default, you must know your role in the default and how to run it.

Most rounds are not a full out execute with utility or a blatant rush to a site, so knowing how to execute a default successfully to later lead to later round success/executes is crucial. Defaults are advanced; you’re going to need to put in a lot of practice and work as a team to know your defaults on your maps. This article is going to in general explain a default and not rules you should abide by. Grab some food and a drink. This will be a long one.

Explanation of a Default:

A default is a round setup where your IGL has nothing specific that he wants to run at the very start of the round. However, it is not just 5 guys sitting around on certain parts of the map. Defaults vary from map to map, but the general concept is the same. Defaults at their core are about gathering relevant info, holding for CT aggression (this does not mean you sit passively in a default, you can still be aggressive), and maintaining a presence around the map.

Eventually, with the info that you gather, the various picks or losses you have, and the utility that you hold onto, your IGL will call a later round strategy to take more map control or finally execute onto a site. In general, when you don’t have any info or are not comfortable with what the enemy side is doing (their buy, utility usage, CT setups, AWP location, etc.), a default is a good strategy to call in order to reduce the risk. In a way, you are setting up the foundation for later success. If you want to know a specific team's default, look at this article by fellow Team Dignitas writer MnR.

An Example Default by EnNyUs Detailed in MnR's article

Knowing your roles:

Your teammates' roles and abilities are extremely important in a default. Depending on which of your players are highly aggressive and the main playmakers, then your team should set these players up in roles that will help them achieve this in the default. If you have support players who prefers to hold for pushes and wait, then set these players up for that. In general, there will be 2 players holding the flanks and 3 people taking the core of the aggressive part of the default. The 3 players should include the IGL, as he acts as the hub of your default taking in various info, and the 2 more aggressive players, as they will be taking the map control and trying to actively get picks. Your 2 flank players should possibly be very good clutch players and late round players as they are less likely to die holding flanks.

Executing Default:

After the round starts, you should be going to the spots that your team has directed you to go. Make sure to use some utility not to be used later to make your presence known or to hold off early CT aggression. Spamming through smokes, prefiring common angles, and making noise ensures that you are putting pressure on the CTs in that position. This way, they won’t push and potentially flank you early in the round, getting easy and untradeable kills. If you can pick off CT aggression while in the beginning stages of a default, that’s extremely good! Make sure to try not to die as if you die, a spot on the map becomes vulnerable.

This does not mean you can’t take aggression in your default. You just have to do it with measured doses and with the right support (flashbangs, teammates in position to trade). Remember to shoulder peek angles and remember which angles are held by AWPers or riflers so that you do not peek dangerously. Usually, a Cache default consists of 1 person watching B, 2 Mid, 1 A Main, and 1 Squeaky. However, the default can vary from map to map and even round to round. Another viable default is 2 Mid Garage, 1 Boost, 1 watching for A Main aggression from Truck, and 1 in B.

Now, as the first part has wound down, the second part consists of trying to take a site via an execute or additional map control. Executing A or B while taking the map control necessary to establish this execute is crucial to success. Based on the knowledge that you have fed your IGL, he will end up making a decision to either gain more map control for the execute or just execute. The execute is something your team has practiced out of match in your practice time and should be second nature. When your IGL does call an execute, just line up for the appropriate strategy as quickly as you can and perform the strategy. Executes are best done when you have cornered the CTs on the bomb site and know where they are playing. With a proper execute, you can flush out CTs, flash them off, and hopefully pick them off without taking too heavy of losses and transition to the last part of a default and by extension, the last part of any round. If you instead have decided to take more map control, then you either go for an execute based on the utility you have left or try to break down the round in a freeform kind of manner.

The last part of the default is either the post plant or the freeform round break down that will hopefully lead to a post plant. If you are letting the round just naturally break down, your IGL will make a reactive late round call based on the rotations, info, and picks that he has. Make sure to respond to him quickly, follow his calls, and feed him necessary info (hearing CT footsteps, getting additional picks, etc.) in order for this late round breakdown to go well. In the post plant (a scenario that should be and will be covered in another article), communicate what you’re watching, what utility you have and when you’re going to use it, and the plays you are making. Barring anything disastrous happening, your team has hopefully won this round and can move on to the next.

Match Win!


If you watch pro games, you will begin to notice the natural flow of a default; how they handle any CT aggression, watch their flanks, maintain presence, and then late round execute. Every pro team uses a default on their T-side and it is crucial to know how it generally works. You can play a fairly aggressive and loose style (G2, Faze, C9) or a very rigid style (Flipside, Astralis). Their respective defaults will mimic this, but keep in mind that they still run a default. Of course, in casual settings, with ESEA, matchmaking, CEVO, and other sites like this, it might be a little harder to actually carry out a default. However, when you begin your competitive CSGO journey, you (and your team) will start to figure out the nuances and detail of this key concept. Go forth and practice!