How to Make the Most Out of Your Utility
Tue 3rd May 2016 - 12:47pm
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, your utility can make or break a game. Your opponents could have godly aim, but if your utility is used in a smart and effective way, their odds of winning the round are greatly diminished. It doesn't take much to learn proper utility usage; you simply have to be able to identify and execute the smartest possible play in a given situation within the heat of the moment. Most of the time, your window of opportunity is very small, so I will show you the different optimal ways of using your utility to improve your play making during a match.
Let's start with what I would argue to be the most commonly used grenade in the game. Smokes are generally and commonly known as a way of blocking off an area for approximately 18 seconds. However, there is so much more to mastering the placement and timings of your smokes.
Timings: The most important part of smoke placements are the timings. A smoke grenade costs 300$ and you do not want to waste it. A round lasts one minute and fifty-five seconds. Therefore, even with 5 back to back smokes concentrated into one area, you will not have enough smokes to hold them off for the whole round. This is where timings come in. A very common mistake I see amongst players is that they will throw their smoke the moment they get into site. You need to factor in the time it would take for the T's to even get to that spot, and generally you would be wasting about 5-6 seconds on your smoke if you throw it right away. Generally, a good tip for throwing your first smoke is to wait for an indication that a terrorist might be close (Footsteps, flashes, prefires).
One might say "What if they rush me!!". If the opposing team is rushing into your site, a smoke will not stop them. It is smart to keep your weapon out for the first few seconds in the site. Following this anticipation for a rush, you can scout for information in a couple of different ways. A good way is to have your teammate holding a very tight angle for information and you can hold your smoke behind him. The moment he sees a terrorist, he backs off and you throw your smoke. This way, your smoke is used the latest possible time in the round. When it comes to re-smoking, it really depends on the situation. Based on the information gathered during the round, you can anticipate if they are planning to hit your site. If you are worried that they are setting up to hit your site, you can throw your smoke right after the first one fades. However, be mindful that Terrorists will be making intentional noises and fakes to try and bait out your utility.
Changing the battlefield: If your teammate dies on site or you are simply feeling like you are about to get overwhelmed and cannot get out of your position, you can use your smoke to change up the layout of the site to put the advantage back into your hands. This type of play is very gimmicky but can get you out of some very sticky situations. For example, if you are stuck in B Site Cache and you are out of luck, you can throw a simple smoke in the middle of the site. Doing this allows for new angles and safe passage to different positions on the site that will allow you to stay alive for a longer period of time. A better example would be if you are stuck at triple box on mirage surrounded by a bombardment of nades raining down onto your site. You can throw a smoke in the middle of site to allow yourself to either get out of your position and play the retake or make a play around or in the smoke. Do not forget your utility. If you are gonna die anyway, might as well use what you have to attempt an escape.
Fakes: A fake can easily be very obvious or very elaborate. The key to performing a good fake is to limit the amount of information the players in the site are getting. If you are going to throw a smoke over a site, you need to choose a position that will most likely block off a CT. For example, if your team is planning on hitting B Site on Mirage and you want to perform a fake on A, you should throw your smoke depending on the information gathered in the round. So if it was determined that there was an AWP in CT spawn, you should smoke CT spawn and throw a few flashes over. If you were to not smoke CT and smoke jungle instead, it would take 5 seconds for the AWPer to just repeek CT and see that no one is pushing into site and call that it could be a possible fake. However, if his position is smoked out, he will have a harder time determining if the T's are taking the site.
Versatility: Smokes, like any other grenade, can be used in a gimmicky way to give yourself advantages. This category is simply to group all the other small little ways of using a smoke grenade to increase your odds of survival in a round. First off, if you suddenly find yourself burning in the flames of a molotov, it may be smarter to throw a smoke at your feet to extinguish it instead of running out of your position. Generally, T's are going to be throwing molotovs to clear out certain positions. If you simply wide peek out of the fire, you will die to the terrorist watching for you to come out. If you can manage to pull out your smoke and extinguish the fire, it gives you more room and more options to perform a play that may save your life and the round.
Secondly, you can use your smoke to cancel out certain positions. For example, if you are New Box on Inferno B Site and you are getting pushed, you can throw a smoke into the BBQ pit to completely cancel out that annoying headshot angle. If the T tries to go into this position, he ruins his visibility. The T's only options are to either run into site or try and wrap into CT, both of which give you easy kills. If they decide to wait out the smoke, the chances are that their utility that they used to get into the site will have run out and your rotators will have already arrived.
Thirdly, you can use them to create intentional gaps. I am not talking about 1-way smokes as I prefer to stray away from those because they are too predictable at a higher level of play. By intentional gaps, I mean smokes that are placed purposefully in a "bad" position that allows for Terrorists to peek around it. Doing this is essentially setting up a bait. For example, if you throw a "bad" smoke on Ramp A Site Mirage with a gap, you know that a T will try to look under or to the side of the smoke. You can simply post up on that gap and wait for him to peek to get a free kill.
Incendiary grenades are a very important but underused grenade in Counter-Strike. In professional matches, you will see them used often because their utility is very valuable. Understanding their uses and correctly handling them is an important step to mastering the game.
Clearing positions: As Terrorists, Molotovs are very important to clear out key positions that may be otherwise very difficult to deal with. Generally, you should throw the Molotov at the position with or without a predetermined alignment. Then, you should have at least 1 player watching for 2-3 seconds to see if a player tries to run out. When throwing Molotovs for this purpose, you should choose positions that are the biggest threat for your team. For example, when hitting A Site Mirage, you should throw one under balcony instead of throwing it sandwich or triple box. Under balcony usually causes much more problems than the other 2 positions. Use your better judgement to decide which position is the most dangerous.
Delaying a push: This follows the same rules as a smoke. You don't want to waste your utility, especially this one, as it is very expensive. You generally want to wait for some kind of indication that the Terrorists may want to push your position. You want to time your Molotov so it goes off right before they are about to cross into the targeted position. If you throw it too late they will have time to just run past it without taking much damage and if you throw it too early they will simply wait for the fire to fade. Throwing it early may also be a good thing if your goal is to delay the push. You can purposely throw a molotov to allow for you or your teammate to move to a position that is more suited for the coming push. A Molotov does not have to be used to damage the enemy. Generally, you want to use it to control when and where your enemy is going to push.
Molotoving the bomb: If you are on T side, you have the bomb planted, it is about 10-15 seconds away from blowing up and you have a spare Molotov, it is smart to just throw in the bomb to prevent a retaking CT from being able to defuse the bomb if he/she manages to kill all the Terrorists. For example, if you are in a tight 1v1 situation, the bomb is ticking away and you know your chances of winning the duel are low, you should throw your Molotov at the bomb and try and take the fight against the CT to lower his health as much as possible. If you die, he has to either wait for the Molotov to fade or run and die into it. Most of the time, it will lead to you winning the round.
Blocking an entry: This method is very underused in lower levels of play in Counter-Strike. If you are on a site, you don't have to necessarily throw your Molotov at the entrance to the site. You can throw it at a strategically viable position on the site that will prevent the T's from getting closer to you. For example, if you are at Elevator on A Site Dust2 and the cross has been smoked off, you can throw a Molotov at ramp which prevents the T's from getting into site without taking some damage which can actually be very beneficial to your team. Another example would be on B Site Cache, if you are playing on Site and the T's are aggressively pushing you, you can either throw a Molotov into Generator or at the ramp leading into Site. This allows for you to focus on just one of 2 angles which greatly increases your odds in a gun-fight and prevents you from getting quickly sandwiched.
The Flashbang, in my opinion, is the most important and most useful piece of utility in the entirety of Counter-Strike. However, it must be used in specific ways depending on the situation to truly harvest it's effectiveness. Simply throwing a Flashbang will generally have next to no impact. Flashes must be calculated.
Popflash: As most of you know, the main purpose of a Flashbang is to blind your enemy. However, a Flash is easily avoidable if you turn away from it. This is where the Popflash comes in. A Popflash is a special way of throwing a Flashbang which normally includes a set alignment which causes the Flashbang to follow a trajectory that is unavoidable by the CT. It would take an inhuman reaction time to avoid a properly executed Popflash. You can learn how to throw these by simply looking up Popflashes on a search engine. There are hundreds if not thousands of different variations of these kinds of Flashes.
Double Flashing: If you are executing into a site as a T, you will normally follow up a set of Smokes with some Flashbangs thrown over the site. Generally, you will have bought 2 Flashbangs and you must learn how to use them with as much effectiveness as possible. Most people will just randomly throw the 2 Flashes in the same vicinity of each other over the site. However, it is much more effective to throw both Flashes in completely different directions from each other. Your goal is to blind or make the CT's turn away for a moment. If you throw 2 Flashes in the same area and the CT dodges the first Flash, he/she will usually avoid the second Flash by default because it was thrown in the same general area in quick succession. If you throw one Flash deep into the site and one more to the side, it will cause the Flashes to cover a much broader area and force the CT's to have to react faster or get blind.
Utility: A Flashbang does not have to be used in the sole purpose of blinding the enemy. If you know an enemy is posted up in a certain position, you can throw a very obvious Flashbang to shift his attention, aim and position for a fraction of a second to allow a teammate to peek and have the advantage in the gun-fight. For example, if you are A Main Cache on T side and you know a player is quad holding A Main, you can throw an obvious Flash out of A Main and have your teammate peek before it pops. The CT will have most likely hesitated or moved for a moment which gives your teammate the advantage.
High Explosive Grenade
The High Explosive Grenade is a very underrated and misused grenade in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. For most players, it is used as a way to throw away 300$ every buy round. With proper usage, the HE Grenade can be a very devastating grenade. It's very important to understand that this grenade gives you free damage on your opponents if used correctly.
Timings: Understanding map timings is very important. Knowing when the Terrorists get to a certain area can be very beneficial to your grenade usage. For example, we know that with the best possible spawns, both T's and CT's will arrive to the long door/corner fight at about the same time. The T will arrive about 1 second later. Knowing this, your HE Grenade can be used to deal free damage to an unsuspecting enemy trying to get to a position quickly. A good example of this is on Inferno. If you are a CT going to B Site, you can quickly go Banana and throw the HE Grenade off the white fence which will cause it to land at the bottom of Banana. The timings of this map leads to guaranteed damage to anyone who tries to get an early position on bottom Banana.
Don't Waste: I have seen so many times people who just randomly throw their High Explosive Grenade into a smoke because they simply do not know what to do with it. If you are going to do that, you might as well not buy it because you are wasting that 300$. The rule of thumb is that you should throw your nade when you are absolutely certain that someone is there. You can determine this by information that is being fed to you by your teammates. If you teammate tells you that he/she hears some T's behind a smoke, this is the perfect time to throw an HE Grenade and potentially get free damage. Otherwise, don't throw your nade. Avoid throwing it just because you feel like you should be doing something instead of staring at a smoke.
Armor in Counter-Strike is one of the most important pieces of utility. Having armor prevents you from getting aim-punched which leads to you moving slower and your aim being distorted when hit with a bullet. Most people will just buy the 1000$ version which includes a helmet. However, as a CT you should give this buy a second thought. If you are aware that the T's probably have a full buy with AKs, you should buy single armor for 650$ and use the extra money to buy a grenade. Since AKs 1 hit headshot no matter what, a helmet is rendered useless. The amount of damage kevlar negates is always the same no matter the armor point value, so you should not rebuy your armor unless you absolutely have to. It's been determined that in the absolute worst case scenario 48 points of armor will save your life. Therefore, a general rule of thumb is to only rebuy your armor if it goes below 48.
Utility items are a very important part of mastering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. However, they are extremely misused and wasted at several levels of play. Understanding the limits and the effectiveness of each grenade can greatly increase your odds of success in CS. Players tend to rely too much on their aim which can be heavily be negated by the mastery of grenades. I hope to spread the knowledge that grenades are one of the key aspects to wining a game of Counter-Strike.
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