We discuss the CS:GO roles to improve your game. If you don’t know your entry fragger from your AWPer then prepare to be enlightened.
CS:GO is the modern incarnation of a game that pioneered the 5v5 tactical shooter genre. With over 20 years of history in the Counter-Strike franchise, the tactical strategies in the game are now well established.
One of the most important elements of strategy in CS:GO are in-game roles. Read on for a breakdown of this cornerstone of CS:GO’s tactical depth.
The In-Game Leader
The in-game leader, commonly referred to as the IGL, is the lynchpin of the team. Since coaches can’t interact with their players during live games in CSGO esports, the IGL becomes the tactical mastermind that will guide their teammates to victory.
The IGL requires the most smarts of any of the CS:GO roles. Before games, they will work with their coaches to research their opponents’ tendencies and game plan to anti-strat them. During the game, they decide which strategies to run each round, react to the opposing team with quick mid-round decisions, and generally call the shots when they need to make decisions.
They must have good game sense and keep an eye on their team's weapons, utility and positions. They also need to keep on top of the team’s economy and their opponents’ economy to choose when to buy and save.
IGL’s typically get fewer kills than the others on their team since they specialize in tactical skill rather than raw mechanical aim. But these days, the best IGL’s can lead in-game as well as frag.
On the Terrorist side, the entry fragger is the player who leads the charge. They are the first person onto each bomb site, and their mission is to push onto the site and make a play. While entry fragging, the player clears angles and spots so that their team knows where is safe and quickly calls out information when they die to communicate where defenders are.
A good entry will get at least one kill before they die - or at least put their team in a position to trade favorably. While this may only be one kill, it is one of the most high-impact kills you can get. It is worth more than other kills because it quickly helps decide the fate of the round.
An entry fragger must be willing and prepared to die and to take the initiative. Their individual kill-death ratio (KDR) might be towards the bottom of the scoreboard because they have a tough job, but the entry fragger must look past this for the benefit of their team.
Entry Fraggers are aggressive by nature. They often try to be unpredictable, for example, pushing through smokes to catch their opponents off guard. They can use themselves as bait, drawing attention to themselves when coming out of a choke point to create opportunities for teammates to explode out or trade them.
The AWPer is the player who specializes in using the sniper rifle, the AWP (as opposed to riflers who specialize in rifles like the AK47 and M4A4). The AWP is an extremely powerful weapon, but also one that takes lots of skill to use. At a price tag of $4750, buying the AWP is a hefty investment.
The AWP is a high-risk, high-reward weapon. It has a very slow fire speed, reload speed, draw speed and slow movement speed when you have it equipped. But that’s worth the risk because the AWP is a one-hit kill. Utilizing the AWP effectively takes so much skill that it has become a designated role, as players specialize in the intricate aiming, flicking, reaction speed, movement and positioning needed to use the gun well.
As a one-hit kill, the AWP can shut down pushes with great effectiveness or open up bombsites by quickly picking off defenders or creating space across the map. It excels in long-range fights, too, because of its scope. An AWPer can change the outcome of a round - or even a game in the right hands. But it can just as easily be a big money sink, which is why it’s such an important CS:GO role.
The support role is ill-defined and can vary greatly from team to team, but there are similarities between most support players. Support players, to put it simply, support their teammates.
They have very good map knowledge and understand their utility. They use their knowledge of the map and utility & grenade lineups to let their team take map space (including bombsites). All players need to know the maps and utility lineups, but the support is the first to prioritize utility and knows all the angles in exceeding depth.
They will typically be the ones to throw flashbangs to let their entry-fragger clear angles, and they will know where to throw smoke grenades and other utility perfectly. Often, they are the ones who will trade their entry-fragger or other teammates when they die.
Support players specialize in teamwork and game awareness. Quickly identifying the need to throw a flashbang or smoke to take advantage of an opportunity, or save your teammates, can make all the difference.
The Star Player
The star player is the standout player on a team. Not all teams are lucky enough to have one, but the ones that do have massive potential.
A star player is someone who is incredibly individually talented. Typically, this takes the form of a highly mechanical player with stunning aim and reaction speeds, which they use to create solo plays. These players are naturally gifted.
Their role is to create opportunities out of unfavorable situations. They can take an aim duel they are expected to lose and win it, or they can take down a player with a full-buy using only a pistol.
Sometimes the star player will be a Lurker. A lurker usually sits away from the rest of their team, waiting patiently to catch opponents off guard or open up opportunities by, for example, coming up behind the CTs as they rotate to retake a bombsite.
But the beauty of a star player is that they can do it all - they are not just sufficient but excellent at using pistols, rifles, AWPs, as well as other roles.
Obviously, a star player can't always pop off, and it is not a CS:GO role that all teams have. But having one of these players in your back pocket is a trump card that can bring you right back into a game.