Intelligence can play a bigger role than aim - Learn to play smart



Sat 10th Mar 2018 - 10:00am

When someone plays a first-person shooter for the first time, their aim will probably be the weirdest thing to get used to in the beginning. It will look clumsy and slow and it will be very inaccurate. Eventually, the more hours get spent in the game, the better it will get. It will start to look sharp, decisive, and accurate, with very few corrections being made before shooting. Although raw talent can play a big part in how good someone can get, aim is something that can be semi-perfected with enough practice.

The same can not be said about intelligence and how playing smart can become the biggest factor in the games you win. Having an amazing aim will only get you so far in your Counter-Strike career. In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to write on how intelligence and playing smart can play a bigger role in your CS:GO matches than raw aim.

Outsmart your opponents

This may seem obvious, but you should always try to outsmart your opponents and make plays that they won’t expect. There is a simple rule. Always try and find a way to have a gunfight where you have an advantage over your opponent, even if almost non-existent. This advantage can go from obvious things like catching them unaware from behind to less obvious things like baiting out a shot from them before committing to a fast peek. One piece of advice I can give you is to reflect on the following before acting - try to picture yourself in your opponents’ positions and understand what the most obvious thing would be for the enemy to do, giving you a hint on how they could be positioned. Then just do differently than what you thought was the obvious.

Don’t be way too obvious. Switch up your positions and timings every round and you may be surprised on how often you can take out enemies unprepared – maybe you like to defend middle on Mirage as a CT. The default position is on the Window, watching top Mid, most of the time with an AWP. One way to change it up is to watch the same spot, but from Connector. They might not be expecting it.

The higher the ability and skill of your opponents, the harder it is to outsmart them. At the same time, the more you play and try new things, the better you will get and the more plays you will have under your belt ready to surprise the enemy team.

Aim comes and goes; Intelligence only comes

There will be days where you will be just gifting headshots to your opponents left and right, others not so much. Aim is something that comes with a lot of practice, but there will always be better days than others. Aim can be refined with practice, the more you play, the better it should be getting. Intelligence and knowing how to outsmart your opponent is something that will come with experience, not directly with practice. The more you play, the better you understand how people usually play and what is the best way to counter them. That is why I consider it something that cannot be directly trained like aim can but, at the same time, it is something that you will always carry with you, no matter how bad your aim gets. Eventually there will be a time where you’re outsmarting opponents without really thinking too much about it – experience can do that for you.

A good sense of game awareness will help you play smarter

Game awareness is another very important skill to have in CS:GO. The more awareness you are able to have during a round or match, the smarter the plays you may be able to do. If you have advanced knowledge on how a round is progressing without putting yourself at too much risk, you are able to take certain actions that may have a positive impact on your team. Those actions are not unnecessary pushes or duels in the hopes your aim is on a good day. I’m referring to well-thought plays that may mislead your adversary into early rotations or even exposing himself to your position.

You can make a fake with the help of your team. You can jump to fake a drop from somewhere high (a good example of this is on Cobblestone – you can jump in the corner of Long to make your opponents think you’re in Drop, which could make the player defending site leaving Long uncovered, allowing for an easy push). You can do countless things where the only limit is your imagination and creativity. Some will be effective while others not so much. It is up to you to find out which ones are better to use against what types of opponents.

Map knowledge can help you greatly

This may seem like an obvious tip, but I’m not referring about general map knowledge – the fastest ways to the bombsites, best bomb plant spots, etc. I’m referring to very specific characteristics of the map and how you can use them to their maximum potential.

Invest some time in learning and discovering new things in maps, like unavoidable flashbangs, one-way smokes or even smokes to sell fakes that are thrown from the other side of the map. (Keep in mind that not all the maps allow you to do this, as some have skyboxes that will make your utility bounce of them. One good map for these type of Smokes is Mirage).

Remember that sometimes a single well-placed flashbang can allow you to win a round. Learn how to use them to their full potential.

Don’t get the wrong idea: good aim is one of the most important aspects to succeed in CS:GO

After reading the previous points, it may seem that I’m implying that aim is not that important. Don’t get that idea. Good aim is one of the most important skills to have in Counter-Strike. You could be the smartest player in the world, but if you can’t hit those crucial shots, it will not matter. It will not matter if you catch an opponent off-guard but fail to deliver those first few shots, giving him time to adjust and hide or even kill you.

Always practice your aim, not only in match scenarios but outside of them as well.

There are not direct tips or shortcuts on how to improve your game-related intelligence. Experience is the key. But experience does not only come from playing. Watching can be a very strong tool as well. Watch some high-level gameplay from professional teams and learn those small tricks that always seems to be the difference in winning and losing rounds. Understand what tactics a team uses to adapt themselves to an opponent that’s giving them a hard time.

Have fun while doing it. When you’re doing something you enjoy, learning gets easier and more natural. Although it is a game, Counter-Strike can be a very taxing process to learn. Take it as a challenge.

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