The Ultimate Guide to Getting Good in CSGO - Part 3: Economy



Sat 30th Dec 2017 - 12:59pm

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is not just a game of mechanics like aim and movement, but in many ways also a game of wits. There is map knowledge, game sense and, of course, the economy inside CS:GO games. Before we start with the guide, I will quickly list the ways you will make money in CS:GO, just to be sure:

  • End of rounds (win or lose)
  • Killing enemies (standard is $300)
  • Interacting with the bomb (defuse or plant)

The first loss bonus is $1400 and you will gain an extra $500 per consecutively lost round, with the maximum losing bonus being $3400. Planting the bomb will give the Terrorists (Ts) an extra $800 per player and defusing or planting the bomb will give that specific player a $300 bonus.

Now, I could go on and on about how you can play the economy and list almost every possibility of how the economy goes and how you could play it, but that would take ages, the article would be horribly long, and no one would be bothered to read the full thing. So, instead, will I talk about the current meta in the most common situations, list a viable alternative take on some of it and show you why exactly the meta and the alternative are viable methods of playing the economy. I will teach you how you know how to play your economy instead of just showing you how everyone else does it.

The general idea

The general idea of playing the economy correctly is going for a style that suits your team, by evaluating the risk involved and weighing it against the potential reward while keeping an eye on the chance of winning the next round(s). The IGL has to keep a few things in mind, like which round you are in and which are upcoming.

It makes obviously no sense to eco on the last round of a half or when your enemy is on match point, for example. On the other hand, it does make sense to eco the second last round of a half if you have been reset and you would be up against a fully equipped opposition in that round, since your chance of winning with no utility and most likely no head armour with only a pistol are too slim, so you need to hope for the best in the last round with a bit more money at your disposal. This does, however, depend on the score and the kind of team you are, too, since some people think that it is worth it to go for every slim chance of winning a round if you are way behind.

The Pistol Round

Every half of competitive starts with the pistol round, which makes it one of the most crucial rounds in the whole of CS:GO, as winning it will instantly give you an economic advantage that spans around $1800 per player. There is no question that you should buy up fully if you win the pistol round, however, there is a bit of room for debate about what to do when you lose the pistol round. To discuss the viable possibilities you have after a lost pistol round, we need to divide the pistol round losses into two kinds: One where you are on the CT-side, one where you are on the T-side.

The Meta

In the current version of CS:GO, most teams like to go full out with their forcebuy after a lost pistol round, no matter which side they are on. The reasoning behind this is the non-existence of a buffer on the opposite side, giving you a big chance to reset the opposing team instantly to stop them from gaining any long-time money advantage, the weak weaponry that the enemy most likely has to use, compared to full buy weapons like the AWP and M4/AK as well as the possibility to "full-buy" on the fourth round anyway (we'll talk more on that later).

This changes on the T-side. When you have planted in the lost first round, it enables you to full-buy in the third round if you eco in the 2nd, as the first round loss bonus effectively changes from $1400 to $2200 due to the $800 bomb plant bonus per person, which leaves the players with $4100 in the fourth round in the worst-case scenario (no extra money from kills or personally planting and no money left from the first round). This can be enough to win against a bad-weaponry/low-utility CT-side

The Alternative

There is an alternative to this full-out second round forcebuy strategy, which focuses on the long-term well-being of your own economy compared to the emphasis on the enemy's economy. In this variant of economic play, you will not forcebuy on the second round as CT. The reasoning behind this is that, if you lose the second round and have $0 left, you will only have $4300 by the fourth round against a more-than-likely fully equipped T-side who will have all the utility and the meta weapons they need, meanwhile you are quite limited on your buy, either on the weapon or the utility side of things. Let's do the math: To full buy with Kevlar and Helmet ($1000), M4A4 ($3100) and a full set of nades (flash, smoke, incendiary and HE at $1400) you will need $5500. If you kept the $1400 first round loss bonus, you will accumulate $5700 if you can't get a kill or you had no money left from the pistol round. Depending on getting a kill (or even a few) on the pistolround, you can upgrade to a P250 or Five-SeveN/CZ-75 without losing your (absolutely complete) full-buy in the fourth round.

After a Hard Reset

A hard reset occurs when you have finally won a round after a full investment and you lose the next round, leaving you with basically nothing at around $1400. In these cases, I would advise to look at the scoreboard to see how many rounds you have lost and in what fashion (how many enemies were able to keep their guns/armour etc.).

This lets you take a good guess at how the money might be looking on the other side. This is where you have to make a decision, again influenced by which side you are on.


On T-Side, you can mostly dictate the pace and which angles you like to peek at what time. This gives you the ability to go to the bombsite with closer angles and more chances for you to isolate players, well suited for your limited weaponry if you force. This alone, however, is not necessarily enough to decide for a forcebuy. You should think of the plants and kills you can get, which boost your economy.

If you are an AWP heavy team, chances are that you want an AWP as soon as possible. In this case, it is reasonable to think twice before you forcebuy, since the AWPer most likely can't afford the AWP even when you win the forcebuy. In these kinds of situations, you can make a case for two ecos in a row, leaving you with $5600 at the start of the third round after the reset. Keep in mind that your chances to win a forcebuy aren't that great in most cases mid half since the opponent will likely have built a decent money cushion. Alternatively, you can have everyone force and the AWPer eco, in order to ensure him his AWP. You should also factor in the score. Are you behind and is the enemy about to reach matchpoint? Should you really risk him getting there early without a real chance for you to prevent it? Are you in the lead but can't afford to let the enemies' money build up? Again, Risk-Reward evaluation.


Forcebuys without the pressure of a matchpoint or similar, like the end of a half, aren't too common when the enemy is not struggling with his money, too. Since the CT-Side takes a lot more money to be played to its fullest potential, people like to take one on the chin, especially when they're up a round or two, as maps tend to be CT sided. However, one should not underestimate the potential a CZ has in the right corner. An alternative to a full forcebuy could be to only get the upgraded pistols. If you only had $1400 after the reset, you will have accumulated $5100 if you bought a $500 pistol, not factoring in potential kill rewards (only $100 with the CZ!)

Keeping an Eye on the Last Round

Sometimes, people miss the fact that the half is about to end or the enemy is about to reach match point. This is easily avoided by just taking a second out of your freezetime to look at the score, which will keep you from making big mistakes like forcebuying on the second last round of a half or similar. You should always try to maximise the number of rounds you can get, and having two weak rounds instead of one very weak and one strong round is not a favourable position to be in.

Try to get the best possible guns out for the last round!

Weakening and Limiting the Enemy Economy

A round is almost never worthless and even though a lot of 1v5 situations are almost unwinnable, you should try your best to kill as many enemies as possible. This counts for Ts as well, but is especially important on the CT-side. I see way too many people hide on the opposite side of the map in the afterplant instead of taking low-risk, headshot-angle duels against the exiting T-side, especially when we are doing ok with our own economy. Since the Ts don't know where to expect you, and you most likely had time to choose a strong position, you should try to score as many low-risk kills as possible. Sometimes it is also okay to keep the Ts fighting on the bombsite so that they blow up with the bomb, too.

During the round, you can try to deny plants of eco rushes by staying alive longer instead of farming three eco frags (I know you like to do that) and trying to keep the Ts on their toes instead of giving them the site without anyone keeping them from planting until help arrives. Having an eye on that timer is important as well, as you can sometimes wait for the time to run out before you finish off a boxed-in terrorist, who will get no money for surviving the round. He will lose whatever utility and weaponry he had when you kill him after time, too.

A Few Extra Factors

There still are a lot of factors that should influence your economic decisions, and I will throw in a few to let you get an even better grip on how to handle your economy correctly.

One of those aforementioned factors is the economic situation of the enemy, by which you can decide which weapons to buy. It can happen that you reset the enemy, or he is double eco-ing, and you got killed the round before. This enables you to pick up a high Round-Per-Minute (RPM) and/or high reward gun, like most of the SMGs and the shotguns.

A big factor in this is also the ability of your team to win forcebuys. If your team is well versed with a Deagle or a CZ, it might be worth to force on riskier rounds. An example of these kinds of players are Rain and NiKo. Both of these names strike fear in the bones of the enemy once they have a Deagle in their hand. On the other side, however, some teams may not be able to win forcebuys a sufficient amount of times, which will often leave in a worse-off position than before. The IGL should keep an eye on such tendencies and try to handle the economy accordingly.

To be sure that you will truly git gud, check out Part 1 and Part 2 as well!