Ultimate Guide To Solo queue
Wed 4th Apr 2018 - 11:14pm
Everyone knows the struggle of soloqueueing: A lot of people don't communicate properly, you are often baited and are alone when trying something that might actually work meanwhile everyone is scattered around the map, getting picked one by one. Even though you can't decide what others do and don't do, you can always decide this for yourself. This Guide will take a look at things that are, and will always be, in your hands.
This article will have the following structure:
- Before soloqueueing
- Before the game
- During the game
- After the game
Before you even start preparing for a specific match, be sure that you have a certain set of skills and a certain mentality. As I said already, most factors that decide about win or loss are not in your hands. However, we can still have a big impact on the game and play as well as act in a way that will give us the maximum chance at winning the next game, no matter the teammates and enemies.
We all know that mentality is a big part of CS. Once the ball gets rolling, a team can look impossible to stop. The same applies vice versa: No motivation due to a round lost in horrible fashion will negatively impact your chances of winning the next rounds. On top of these Team vs Team scenarios, when you soloqueue you can get frustrated by a lot. The enemy plays random or very skill heavy, meanwhile, you are stuck with a bunch of 4th graders looking into the wrong end of the AWP scope.
If we allow these facts to get to us, we may soon destroy our chances of winning even more. For example, if you are distracted by other stuff than the round and game at hand, like toxic teammates, you lose focus and may be easy prey for the enemy. The same applies for being toxic to teammates: Sure, they started it, but concentrating on winning the argument instead of the game will just sow distrust and toxicity, which in return, will make it even harder to concentrate and stop the argument.
This is why you should always be supportive of your teammates and concentrate on your chances instead of your handicaps. After all, emotions are contagious - meaning that being happy and supportive helps your teammates have fun and be less of a pain to work with. Setting the right tone, a happy, non-ironic and supportive one, shows everyone that they do not need to defend themselves from you. This will encourage them to drop their guard and open up, have fun, and play better.
This, of course, does not always work. However, it will always be up to you on how you interact with your teammates. In soloqueue, it's impossible to have a positive impact 100% of the time, simply because of all the factors that are out of your reach - yet you can always increase the chances of winning by concentrating on the things that can have an impact, like having a welcoming tone.
In team CS, it can be pretty easy to tell who does what: Who is the entryfragger, who the support and who anchors on CT-side? This is not as clear-cut and easy in a PUG/MM environment. This has to do with the random composition of teams. You do not know where the strength and weaknesses of your teammates will be, which means that you cannot be sure that you will be able to take a role that fits you 100%.
Instead of concentrating on being a good entryfragger, support or even IGL, you should concentrate on being able to play all of these roles - this includes AWPers. Only being able to play well with one of the many weapons, which by the way is the most popular for MM randoms to pick up anyway, will make you an obstacle to the team to play to its fullest potential. So be sure that you can play a variety of roles and positions - T and CT side, and be able to pick up basically any meta weapon (M4, AK and AWP).
Also, calling is important, however, depending on the mentality of the teammates, choosing a very commanding tone may decrease your teammate's willingness to work with you. So be sure to choose a more suggestion-heavy tone. Not a lot of people are going to say no anyway - a lot are glad that someone will take the lead.
This is going to hurt. Yep. Be ready:
Git gud. Yup. I know the others played bad. I get it. However, you can not do anything about the skill of your teammates. What you can do, however, is work on your own skill. Look at it this way: If you are above average for your rank, you will be able to compensate for bad players you get on your team. This will increase your chances of winning yet again, don't you agree?
If you want to work on special parts of your repertoire, like aim and peeking, be sure to have a look at my Ultimate Guides to Getting Good, for example, these ones here and here. You can find even more articles linked in those articles, like my movement guide. If you want a more general look at how to increase any specific skill, take a look at this guide right here.
Deathmatch is one of the most popular gamemodes to become a well-rounded player
Utility and the Economy
Utility, especially towards the higher ranks from LE onwards, can win you games. Flashing for your teammate or to delay a push, smoking off crucial spots and so on will grant you a distinct advantage in your game, a thing people can't really counter except with utility themselves. Learning to use your utility, let's say by looking at flashes or smoke guides, will automatically increase your team's chance to win this game if you deploy your utility correctly.
Learning the economy, when to buy, when to eco and when to half-buy will maximise the economic potential of your team, giving you the best possible utility and guns for any given situation (which can sometimes stretch 3-4 rounds, do not get fooled and buy the best gun you can get every round!). For a general economy guide, take a look here.
Important note: In soloqueue, people tend to be quite liberal with their money and like to force-buy more than in team-based matches. This would be objectively bad, however, de-synchronising the economy between teammates is more detrimental than playing off-meta economy. So, if someone calls a force in a round where you'd rather eco and buys instantly, be sure to buy with him. There is no use in a round where half of the team spends all of their money and the other doesn't spend anything at all!
Before the Game
Now, after you have prepared yourself for starting your soloqueue journey, let's take a look at things you can do to properly prepare for a single match.
Be Sure That You Have Time
I can't really believe that I have to write this, but please be sure that you have time to finish a full 30 round game. Too often have I come across randoms saying that they need to go after a half. Ensuring that you have time has, obviously, a high impact on your chance of winning. If you'd have to abandon, you give the remaining team a big handicap making it very likely that they will lose. This will count as a loss, so do not play unless you have time to finish the game! If you don't have enough time, be sure that you play a less time-consuming mode - like Wingman, a mode that takes less than half of the time an average MM game lasts.
Too often do people join with stress still in their system - maybe from just arriving home after work or from a bad MM just before this one. This is often easily noticeable - often through the tone of your voice. This will already impact the mood of the other players - so be sure that you shake off a bit of stress by listening to music, watching an episode of your favourite TV-series or doing yoga - listen, no one is watching you and no one that you should care about is judging. Just be sure that your brain isn't preoccupied with problems and stress.
Part of this is choosing warm-up methods that do not induce stress - a lot of people that I know can not play Deathmatch correctly for the life of them. That is fine, just be sure to choose a different way to warm-up.
Having a warm-up routine that fits you will have a big impact on your game. To warm-up correctly, be sure to listen to the signs that you will encounter when playing around with different methods and amount of time spend on warming up. For example, steer clear of stress-inducing methods, as well as methods that waste a lot of time with a lot of downtimes if you feel like you're making little progress in warming up. A lot of people can't play retake to warm-up, since it's too little practice with too much downtime, not allowing them to get into the right mood.
Be sure to actively avoid playing badly, even if it works. Do not just start crouchspraying whenever you encounter an enemy in Deathmatch - this will only make you prone to being a victim to good players you will meet in MM. Also, if you feel like you can't properly track enemies in Deathmatch and can therefore not warm up that part of your repertoire, be sure to jump into offline maps to help you track heads with your crosshair, like aim_botz.
Aim Botz gives you a variety of options to fulfill your needs
Expect Nothing, Be Prepared for Everything
This point has two parts: A part about your teammates, and a part about your enemies.
We all know the typical MM player: No brain, no aim, no movement. Yet he gets kills. To not to be disappointed in your teammates, be sure to not to expect anything. This will ensure that you will not feel any frustration. After all, they could get disappointed in you if they expect too much - so why risk it to be disappointed by them? Part of this is also to ask for specific set-ups and plays on CT and T-side instead of thinking that they will know what to do once you start a play - chances are, they will not and you will die alone and for nothing.
Also, especially in MM, people try to take advantage of the absolute chaos that ensues when a few smokes pop and flashes start flying - they will push you when you least expect it, start spraying through smokes and sneak through gaps they see in your defence or attack. Be sure to always have your gun ready - throw utility only from safe places and behind cover. Eliminating unnecessary deaths is the easiest way to keep an attack going or help the defence stay up.
During the Game
There are a few things you should keep in mind while playing with randoms. First off is the mentality again.
Once again, having a positive mindset will allow you to keep firing out of all cylinders. Crawling into a hole of hate and despair will not allow you to fully concentrate or try new stuff out, as we tend to do the same thing over and over if we're tilted. Be sure to remind you that your best chances of winning are with you staying in a positive, happy mood. This includes forgiving people for mistakes and not berating them, which will decrease their willingness to work with you and diminish their positive mentality as well.
In the end, working on your mentality will allow you to influence one of the most important factors of a game that you can influence.
Be Like Water
In MM there are no common opponents - everyone could be fundamentally different, and you have no demos and previous matches to find things out about your enemies. Instead of trying to play your game no matter what, be sure to change it up quickly once it doesn't work. You should be able to read the enemy and have a clear look at what they're doing - and then find a counter for it.
Part of this is not trying the same thing over and over again - if it didn't work the first two times, it will not work the next five. Be sure to not to get tilted and try to prove a point inside the game by killing just the one dude that keeps killing you again and again - the kills don't matter, the win does.
Stop Making Excuses
Everyone is guilty of this, and I know no exception, as there probably is none. We all have bad matches - matches that end 16-4, where no one really shined, and you didn't know what to do. Yet it's always the fault of the teammates - would they have pushed at X in Y, would they have kept the bomb in round 14 and so on and so forth - yet you need to realise that a game almost never comes down to one or two mistakes. It's often a multitude of mistakes that accumulate and lead to the final straw that breaks the camel's back - So be sure to eliminate your faults, which there will be plenty of.
You never carried hard enough if there still is room for improvement, and there always is room for improvement. Only with this mentality will you have a true chance to rank up consistently.
After the Game
Shake off the tilt and get right back to work. You want to win the next match, don't you?
Reviewing Your Demos
A lot of people like to mention the lowlights feature of Valves MM replay system - which I don't agree with. You get situations without context, not even from your perspective. Most of the time you just see the enemy one tap you when you peek out or he peeks you. So, instead of wasting your time by trying to watch a condensed version of your demo, be sure to view the full demo from your POV and note down what you can work on - like overpeeking, baiting your teammates, or wrong timings. After all, spending a bit of time and having good informative-outcome is better than investing less time but having almost no informative-outcome.
A Last Few Words
I do encourage a more self-centric approach to MM in a sense that you are responsible for your games. However, there is only so much you can do. You should not work day and night to finally rank up to global and lose too much time in CS:GO - that is detrimental to your quality of life, and moderation is key. Be strict with yourself but give yourself room to breathe. It's not the end of the world to only be 2nd on the scoreboard. Neither is it if you are bottomfragging a few games a month.