CSGO: The art of Clutching



Fri 2nd Sep 2016 - 8:54am


Counterstrike is a difficult game at the best of times, you have angles to play, nades to know and strategies to execute all while being able to react and aim to the highest standard set in FPS e-sports. Now add in the difficulty of being the last player alive against not only 3 enemy players but the clock ticking quickly down. It might seem impossible but with quick thinking and a few key ideas in mind clutching can become an achievable goal.

The overview

In general as a terrorist the goal will be to achieve equal trades, getting into situations where even if you die a teammate can get the refrag and hopefully plant the bomb with equitable team numbers. Similarly as a CT you want to get into similar situations, in particular cross fires where the T side can only clear one angle allowing the other player free reign in demolishing the Ts from behind. In clutch situations you don’t have this luxury so the key becomes looking for 1v1s because against good players 1v2s become basically unwinnable.

Looks like its down to me vs Eugene, Yuri and Clarence. Time to clutch!

Gathering information

The key to getting yourself into these 1v1s is to gather as much information as you can using both your sound and the calls of your downed teammates to your advantage. The key to using your teammates calls is to be as fast as possible. As a terrorist you want to be able to push before the CT players can fall back into different positions and as a CT you want to have as much time as possible to diffuse, potentially even stopping the plant. If you aren’t in a situation where you can quickly react to information given to you by your team and your position hasn’t been compromised then the best thing to do it play within your time. Typically players in an Xv1 situation will play quite aggressive, running around and sometimes even pushing for the kill giving you the advantage. Given that you have time to work with I recommend walking as much as possible so as to not give your position away and to give you the best chance of hearing the enemy as they scramble around. Knowing where your enemy is allows you to make plays and use positions that can get you into 1v1 scenarios.

Using Nades

One of the things I really can’t stand seeing is someone standing in the open with a nade in their hand only to get peeked and killed with no chance of defending themselves. The key to using nades is timing positioning, knowing where you can be peeked from and weighing up the benefits of the nades at your disposal. Typically in 1v1s, generally post plant, I don’t like to use nades at all unless I know exactly where my enemy is because any time I pull out a nade is a time I can’t defend myself. Against greater odds it's best to use nades from behind cover, for example smoking forklift from A main on Cache to limit the positions that could be played on A site would be an effective and safe nade. However know that when you use a nade your position is basically telegraphed to everyone in the area so you need to have a plan that you can execute asap.  

Do the unexpected

It may seem simple but doing the unexpected can sometimes mean the difference between clutching and not. Playing off angles, hiding in corners, waiting on site and rotating after a pick are all reasonable plans given you have the time to execute them. In these situations without teammates to back you up it becomes a lot harder to play typical positions. If you can get a pick on a rotating player or take one out from hiding as they enter site you are increasing your chances of winning the round without putting yourself in direct danger. By pretending you’re going to do one thing and then doing another you are getting in the heads of your enemies, forcing them to divert resources to an area that doesn’t necessarily need attention. In some cases an extensive knowledge of the map and smokes can be used to great effect, if you can fake a smoke on A from B site you might cause an overreaction that can give you the advantage in a firefight. An example of this unexpected play would be using a sound cue to distract your opponent for example popping a vent but pushing a different angle.

Pulling the trigger isn't always the best option, take your time and wait for the perfect moment to strike

Using map and player knowledge

Using your knowledge of the map you’re on can be invaluable in a clutch situation. Spend some time in the game actually thinking about what positions players like to play, what are some of the common points and what might be left unguarded given some of the enemies are dead. You can use this in conjunction with being unexpected, maybe it’s a 1v2 on cache and you have the bomb, why not push into mid and work up highway or through Z to B I’m pretty sure that you might be able to catch the CT players unawares. The same goes for post plants as a CT you want to focus your utility towards the areas of most traffic whilst maintaining cover to try and force the enemy out into your line of sight.


The most important resource in a clutch situation is time, use it. If you have the bomb and a minute left why not use every second to your advantage staying hidden till the last moment. The same goes on the other hand, if you’re on the other side of the map and the bomb is planted you probably shouldn’t go for it and instead save your AWP. Knowing when to clutch and if you have the resources to do it is a necessary part of the skill and if you use some of these tips you might find yourself more successful at the art.

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