Counter-Strike 2 beginner's guide: Tips and tricks to win more games in CS2

Counter-Strike 2 beginner's guide: Tips and tricks to win more games in CS2
Images via Valve

Written by 

Harry Boulton


1st Aug 2023 15:14

Any new players will find the tips and tricks in this Counter-Strike 2 beginner's guide invaluable, as the game - while simple to pick up - is incredibly difficult to master.

The fundamentals of Counter-Strike boil down to aiming well and playing as a team, but knowing how to aim, and what makes a good team is still a huge hurdle to climb over if you want to win more games.

Furthermore, if CS2 is your first experience with Valve's long-running FPS then you will be inherently at a disadvantage, as your opponents could theoretically have 20 years of experience under their belt to get the one-up on you.

Thankfully we've got you covered below in this hefty Counter-Strike 2 beginner's guide, with seven tips and tricks to help you win more games and master the intricate systems.

7 tips & tricks to win more games in Counter-Strike 2

While the skill ceiling of Counter-Strike 2 is likely to be near-endless, there are a few things that will help you out a lot when trying to climb up that daunting first step.

Every single one of these tips can also apply to CS:GO, but there are a few entries that are specific to Counter-Strike 2 that will help you win even more games in the overhauled update.

So, carry on reading below to see all of the tips and tricks in our Counter-Strike 2 beginner's guide, and you'll be climbing the ranks and on the road to Global Elite soon enough:

Staying alive is (often) more important than getting a kill

Image of palace on Mirage in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

One of the more common mistakes that Counter-Strike rookies make is tied to overaggression, which is also very much under preparation. Your life is your most valuable tool in each round, as avoiding death can do so much even if you're not directly contributing.

Staying alive gives you the opportunity to gain intel, cover bombsites and your teammates, and generally has the opposition play slower.

While peeking at those five footsteps barrelling towards you might sound like the making of a hero play, at best you'll get one and die and then it'll be all even anyway. Conversely, backing off to a safe area and communicating that information to your teammates can help you create an even fight - and a much stronger chance of winning the round.

Although it is far more common in the higher ranks, you're also going to want to try and be in a position where a teammate can quickly avenge your death (otherwise known as trading) whenever you die if you can. You obviously can't always stay alive, but having a friend near to at least make things even is the bread and butter of winning each and every round.

Communication is critical

Image of the B site on Inferno in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

Leading on from this, you will struggle to get anywhere in Counter-Strike 2 if you aren't willing to communicate. There is so much information to be taken in at all times, to the point where the fact that nothing is happening can also be intel.

A team that communicates is a team that has each round in its own hands, and being able to accurately reposition based on shared intel can make or break both rounds and entire games.

Learning callouts is, of course, an important part of this, but most of Counter-Strike 2's spaces are largely transferable and self-explanatory like 'mid', 'A main', 'B long'. All it takes is a simple call out of 'two in mid' and that can allow a teammate to sneak up behind them and steal a double kill.

Always be listening

Image of banana on Inferno in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

What is also key to communication is recognising the various sounds that are produced within the game. From footsteps to scopes, pretty much everything has a distinct noise, and it can be the key to getting a kill or even winning a round.

It will take time to learn what each sound is - and with Counter-Strike 2, we also have distinct sounds when you're inside or in open air - but it is well worth studying each noise when it does occur.

Furthermore, you shouldn't stop at other players' sounds either, as managing the noises that you're producing yourself is also critical to success. Knowing when you should be shift-walking, being aware of your reload sounds, and even tapping the defuse can help you get the upper hand on your opponents.

Pros don't fake (but sometimes they do)

Image of B-Site on Dust II in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

Speaking of tapping the defuse, learning when to fake a defuse - and also when to recognise a fake - is so important in the post-plant phase of any round. We've got a whole guide on how to defuse in CS:GO here which goes over the basics, but there are so many ways you can get in your opponent's head when standing over the bomb as a CT.

This doesn't just stop at defusing either, as the whole plant process can be a big old mind game. You can use a plant or defuse to flush out a site defender, but their expectation of this can also be a great chance to stick the action and complete it while they're still waiting for you to peek them.

Learn your spray patterns

Image of B-Site on Overpass in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

One of the hardest aspects of Counter-Strike 2 for beginners - and maybe one of the reasons we won't ever see a Counter-Strike 2 console release - is weapon spray patterns. While fixed and consistent, they are very difficult to control and challenging to master.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this before was that your bullets would not follow the path of your crosshair, so it would be difficult for beginners to realise that their shots are off target. However, a new mechanic in Counter-Strike 2 has been introduced that allows you to match your crosshair to your spray, making it far easier for beginners to know where their shots are landing.

This still doesn't solve the issue of controlling the recoil, but there are plenty of Steam Workshop maps that you can download in order to practice. Popping into deathmatch servers - in particular, headshot-only ones - is also a great choice, as it can help you hone your skills in a much faster environment than standard matchmaking.

Finally, if you were unaware before, make sure to stand still when you're shooting as movement gives a massive accuracy debuff. Having an active crosshair can help you see when this is the case, but standing still whenever you fire a shot is almost a mandatory practice.

Manage your economy

Image of A-Site on Nuke in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

Outside of the actual gunplay, managing the in-game economy is also where a lot of beginner players struggle. Games can so easily be lost by simply mismanaging the team's money, as you can find yourself never having a 'full buy' and therefore always being at a disadvantage.

While you could go on for hours about the economy in Counter-Strike 2, two key things to always keep in mind are to think of your own balance as part of the team's larger funds, and that eco (minimal buy) rounds are important to get back on track.

The goal for every round is to have all your players with a rifle, armour, and utility (grenades), but losing consecutive rounds or even just dying a lot can mean that you can't always afford this. Doing an eco round to save up for the one after is almost always better than a half-buy that you lose.

Furthermore, you're going to want to keep your team at the same buy level whenever possible, so don't be afraid to drop your friend an AK if they can't afford it, as that is better than hoarding wealth yourself.

Utilise your utility

Image of A-Site on Ancient in Counter-Strike 2
Click to enlarge

You might not always be able to afford them, but making use of the various grenades in-game is key to winning your rounds. Using a smoke grenade to block an important sight-line, or flashing an angle to gain an advantage over your opponent are always things that you should be doing whenever possible.

If you ever die when peeking at an angle without utility, then the chances are that you would still be alive if you'd simply used a bit of utility. This is especially pertinent when going up against an AWPer, as blocking their line of sight is paramount if you wish to take a particular area of the map.

Striking that balance between not wasting your grenades and never using them is also important too, but that will only come with more experience in the long term. As a beginner, it is better to use a grenade and have it be a bit of a waste than not buy one at all and feel lost without it.

So, that wraps up this Counter-Strike 2 beginner's guide, giving you seven helpful tips and tricks to hopefully win more games and pick up more kills.

You'll definitely also want to check out our dedicated Counter-Strike homepage, as we've got so many more guides for you to look over and improve your game with.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
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