Counter-Strike: Source Guide


First things first, you are going to have to make some modifications to your game to have it run very smoothly and give you the best chance for registering your shots. Before you even open up the game, go to your Steam>SteamApps>yoursteamname>counter-strike source>cstrike>cfg folder. Right click on the config.cfg file in this folder and make sure that it is NOT read only. This will enable you to save all changes you input into your console. While you are in the cfg folder, I suggest putting my file in your folder (I attached it to this thread. You will need to extract it into the folder I have mentioned). There are a lot of changes this file will make to your gameplay including:

•Smoother gameplay/less lag
•Optimal rates
•Making blood more visible when you shoot someone
•Making bodies disappear after they are dead (helps you not give away position/wasting ammo by shooting dead bodies)
•Having all counter-terrorists/terrorists have default player models instead of one of 4 models. This helps you very quickly identify who is on your team and who isn’t.

Still before you open up Counter-Strike: Source, open Steam.exe. Click the ‘My games’ tab on the menu. You should see Counter-Strike: Source on your Installed list. Right click the game, and hit properties. Select ‘Set Launch Options’. Type in “-console“. This will enable your console to be active every time you launch your game. You can access console any time be hitting the ~ key. This is where you can change your rates/crosshair size/connect to servers/basically anything you need to adjust in the game can be altered via console. If your console still isn’t coming up, please hit options–>keyboard–>advanced–> select enable developer console.

Also be sure that Fast Weapon Switch is enabled. Quick switch is absolutely vital to switch to the next weapon mid gun-fight. This is especially true with AWPing as you should always quick switch to get get out of your zoom rather than take the time to zoom/re-zoom etc. You will always see top players utilize this method for quick switching.

This is very important to playing well in servers. If you didn’t choose to use my autoexec.cfg, you will want to make sure you have the right rates entered into your console so that you can have better shot registry/less lag.  The most important rates to make sure you have in console are:
•rate 30000
•cl_updaterate 67*
•cl_cmdrate 67*

*Updated for newest CSS updates
Mouse Optimization:
I strongly suggest downloading CPL Mousefix that disables your mouse acceleration. It has been confirmed working for all versions of XP, Vista, Windows 7. I have also attached it to this guide. This will have your aim be much more precise and help your aim be smooth and not ‘jumpy’. I also suggest keeping your sensitivity as low as possible. In my case, I use a Logitech G5 which has 2000 DPI. I use a sensitivity of .8. If you do not know your DPI or have a different DPI setting, I suggest having a maximum sensitivity that enables you to do a 180 degree turn by dragging your mouse completely across your mouse pad while aiming.

Video Options:
This section all comes down to preference. I like getting the most out of my GPU so I play CS:S at all of the highest settings possible. If you don’t have the best of GPU’s, I would suggest making sure that you are getting at least 50 FPS while playing. To set a limit of your fps, simply type in the following command into console: fps_max #. For example, I use fps_max 250. I have no problem rendering at 250 fps and rarely dip below it. To see all of your rates, simply type in net_graph 3 into console. This will bring up a lot of statistics including FPS, Choke/Loss, Incoming/Outgoing data rates. Also, open your Options>Video>Adjust Brightness Levels. I suggest keeping this all the way on “Light” as it helps find players that hide in darker shadows more easily than having a “Dark” setting.

It is very important to learn about what guns are available while playing the game. Each weapon has a varying cost and you are able to customize what you want to buy with the money you have available.  I would suggest playing in a death match server as it allows you to get your aiming down without having to pick up on the actual game play of Counter-Strike Source. Be sure to practice all guns but my suggestion would be to focus on the M4/AK47 for primary and the Desert Eagle for secondary. I also suggest using the M4 with the silencer as it keeps your recoil lower. These are the most common guns in the game people use as they are deadly and accurate in 2-3 shot bursts. Don’t pick up an AWP until you are good enough with these rifles first.

Desert Eagle
Short range: You can strafe around the enemy. If your first shot misses, you should lower your aim to their shoulders. Take your time to aim instead of just clicking all 7 shots off at once as it is an easy way to leave yourself out of bullets, and ultimately dead.

Medium range: Either strafe side-to-side and fire shots on the pauses, or duck for maximum accuracy. Shots should be paced at about a second each. Take the time to aim before shooting.

Long range: Body shots will take 4 or more to kill at this range. Try to get closer, or if you must shoot from such a distance, make sure to utilize the Strafe-Stop-Shoot-Strafe technique (discussed in shooting tips). Also you can get a one shot kill at range with it, although it is difficult to do, it can be done.

Short range: You can run and shoot the first 5-10 bullets of your spray, then you should duck and finish the spray. When doing an extended spray, pull your cross hair to their upper chest and pull your mouse down while spraying.

Medium range: You can usually run with the first 3 bullets, but no more than that. I recommend that you do not move at all while shooting. Burst about 3-5 bullets, strafe to your left or right, then duck spray the rest of your bullets if you need to. Once again, when doing an extended spray, pull your cross hair to their chest and pull your mouse down while spraying.

Long range: Strafe back and forth while shooting 3 shot bursts. It is possible to spray at this range, but only if you have very good control, and even then it is not that accurate.

Short range: Same as M4, but you have to pull down farther, and shouldn’t move while shooting except the first 3 bullets.

Medium range: Don’t move while shooting. Start with a standing spray for your first 5, then begin the strafe-stop-shoot-strafe technique (discussed in shooting tips). If you must spray, pull your cross hair around their kneecaps and pray.

Long range: Same as M4, but no spraying!!

Shooting Tips:
Controlling your shot: The first step in controlling your shot is having your cross hair at the correct position. When moving around the map, your cross hair should remain at head level, and be positioned exactly where your enemies heads will appear. This lessens the time you will have to spend aiming.

Strafe-Stop-Shoot-Strafe technique: It is never good to stand still or run towards someone while in a gunfight. Learn to strafe out of a corner you are at, locate the enemy, burst your guns in 2-3 shots, and strafe back behind the wall. It is very important that you keep your reticule where the person was so that when you strafe again you will have almost instant aim when you repeak them. It is also vital that you do not get into a noticeable “strafe-peaking pattern” so that the enemy can time when to head shot you popping in and out. When you strafe to the left, push back to the right at the end of it to stop yourself dead on, and the same when you strafe to the right. If you’ll notice when you strafe to the left and right, you will usually come to a stop, not just stop abruptly. This really helps when shooting as you have to be completely still to get off an accurate shot.

•You will want to have a smaller crosshair that is as small as you can have it while still being able to effectively see it. This helps you get one/two shot burst headshots a lot easier than having a bigger crosshair size. Of course, this will depend on your resolution that you play at. My resolution is 1920 x 1080 and my crosshair is at 1700. To change your crosshair size, type in console: cl_crosshairscale 1700 or whatever size you want.

Buy Presets:
At the beginning of every round, you will have the opportunity to purchase weapons. You will need to bring up your buy menu (default key: b) and continue to purchase your weapons. To be more efficient with pregame time, CS:S enables you to set buy presets that will purchase guns/extras without having to choose each item individually. This saves a lot of time pre-round. I suggest using the following buy presets as they are what I use and are very efficient. Choose the items I have listed, then re-enable your buy menu, and hit save next to the corresponding key. This will always be here for you to use and won’t change unless you save over it.

Terrorist Buy Presets:
– S: Kevlar + Helmet (Make sure you don’t have any weapons/grenades purchased when you set this)
– D: HE Grenade, Flashbang (x2), Smoke Grenade (Make sure you don’t have Kevlar/Helmet on when you set this)
– F: AK47 (Make sure you don’t have Grenades/Armor on when you set this)
– G: AWP (Make sure you don’t have Grenades/Armor on when you set this)

Counter-Terrorist Buy Presets:
– S: Kevlar + Helmet, Defusal Kit (Make sure you don’t have any weapons/grenades purchased when you set this)
– D: HE Grenade, Flashbang (x2), Smoke Grenade, Defusal Kit (Make sure you don’t have Kevlar/Helmet on when you set this)
– F: M4, Defusal Kit (Make sure you don’t have Grenades/Armor on when you set this)
– G: AWP, Defusal Kit (Make sure you don’t have Grenades/Armor on when you set this)

The only thing you will have to manually select is a Desert Eagle if you have enough money to upgrade your pistol. Did you notice that every CT buy preset carries a defusal kit? That is because this might be one of the most important items a CT can carry. It greatly reduces the time it takes to disable the bomb. Which leads us into the basic game play objectives and tactics part of this guide.

Game play Objectives & Tactics:
So you now have your aim down from practicing in death match servers and want to now play the game the way it was meant to be played. Basic concepts of any DE_name map (Ex: De_Dust2) are that it is a bomb plant/defusal map and a CS_name map (Ex: CS_Italy) is a Hostage Rescue map. All competitive ladders use DE_maps for competitive play and you will not find a CS_ map as a part of this. Therefore, I will be mainly focusing on the bomb plant/defusal side of CS:S.

The main objectives for Terrorists are to either:
1. Kill off all CT’s before the time runs out OR
2. Plant the bomb before the time runs out and guard it until it either blows up or all CT’s are dead

The main objectives for Counter-Terrorists are to either:
1. Kill off all T’s before they plant the bomb OR
2. Defuse the bomb after it is planted (T’s can still be alive for this to happen) OR
3. Stay alive long enough for the time to run out without the bomb being planted. If the Terrorists do plant before the time runs out, you will have to defuse the bomb before it explodes to win the round.

Advanced Terrorist Strategies:

Good Strategy: Going into a match or scrim you need to have a good game plan. I would suggest having a solid pistol round strategy, 4-6 gun round strategies, 1-2 Save/Eco round strategies, and 1 anti eco round strategy. By having all of these strategies well practiced, your team will be ready for every single round of the Terrorist side of the match. Also, try not to make your strategies too specific and make sure you leave some room for the unexpected to happen. Adaptation is a big part to winning rounds on the terrorist side of Counter-Strike. You must be ready to change plans in an instant’s notice but doing so requires great coordination by the team or it will fail miserably in disarray.

Solid Leader: Your in game leader plays a huge role in your success on the T side. It is important that when you get to match time, your team isn’t calling strategies by committee. Your team needs 1 player to be calling strats and directing the team. This will help your team to be on the same page. One big mistake I have seen is that teams will be indecisive and have 2 or 3 players trying to call a strat at the beginning of the round. This will lead to confusion and will result in the players on your team either being confused or running different strats. The in-game leader needs to be someone who can be in control, both when winning and when losing. He needs to know when it is time to get on someone’s back and when it is time to be relaxed.

Using he grenades, flashes bangs, and smoke grenades: Using the grenades in Counter-Strike on the Terrorist side should be a little bit different than how you use these on the Counter-Terrorist side. The HE, to start, can be used to kill or to clear good CT camping spots on the map. For example, if there is a spot on the map that is real tough to clear with guns, you may want to try a grenade stack on that camping spot to help clear the spot. Flash grenades can be used to either help you take a choke point or help you protect the planted bomb in the bomb site. When you are moving to take a bomb site or to get past a choke point, your team should use multiple flashes in different spots to help clear the bomb site/choke point before your team moves in. One tip when using flashes to help protect a planted bomb is to spread out the flashes you have left. Most of your teams flashes will be gone before the bomb has been planted. You should try to spread your remaining flashes out to delay the counter terrorist as long as possible. Smoke grenades play a huge role on the Terrorist side of the map. I would suggest that your team buys at least one smoke grenade per round. There are a few keys to using a smoke grenade. First, use them to help block a counter terrorist awp from being able to see your team at certain places around the map. Second, don’t place the smokes in places that your team may get lost in the smoke. You want to throw your smoke towards the counter terrorist, not right in front of your team.

Good Timing and Team Work: Timing and team work are a key to the game of Counter-Strike in general, but there are a few ways this specifically relates to the Terrorist side of the map. If you are running a split strategy on a bombsite, your goal should be to try to get the CTs looking in multiple directions at your team. Try to time your strats to get this to happen. Also, when your team decides to move on a choke point or bombsite, move together. One big mistake I have seen is that a team goes one by one into a choke point and then dies one by one. Move together as a force.

Setup Crossfires after the bomb is planted: When the bomb is planted, the goal is to delay the CTs as long as possible. This means that you are trying to hide from the counter terrorist and trying to make the counter terrorist chase and search for you if possible. If your team has more than 1 player left, you should try to set up a crossfire so you can cover each other without having to expose yourself too much. The counter terrorist are going to try to clear camping spots, such as areas behind boxes/crates and other objects. You should try to get yourself into a position in which you will see the CT a split second before he can see your teammate. Your teammate should try to do the same for you. If you can get this setup, it will make it a lot of tougher on the counter terrorist to clear those common camping spots in the bomb site.

Don’t become too AWP heavy and know your roles: At most your team should have 1-2 AWPs on the Terrorist side of the map. This should be done for a few reasons. The first reason is that having more than 2 AWPs can really hurt your teams economy since AWPs are very expensive. The second reason is that the Terrorist have to take choke points or bomb sites, whereas the counter terrorist just sit back and wait for the Terrorist to attack. The AWP is not that great of a weapon when you get to the point where you need to take a choke point or bomb site. I would recommend, that for most maps, that your team has only 1 AWPer, and that this AWPer is the same player all the time. By having the same player be the AWP, it will help prevent confusion and it will also allow for AWPer to get good at being the AWPer. Also, most good teams can run some T side strategies with no AWPs. This is good because the AK is much cheaper than the AWP and can allow for your team to buy when your team may not be loaded with money.

Know the money system and try to predict the CT save/economy rounds: If you win the pistol round, there is a very good chance the counter terrorist will be saving for the next 2 rounds. You should have a special setup for these 2 rounds since the counter terrorist may try to rush your team or they may try to stack a bomb site. Also, try to have a general idea of the money system and if you think the other team may be saving, you may want to sit back for a few seconds just to make sure the counter terrorist aren’t rushing you. Another important thing is that if the counter terrorist are saving, the first member on your team who spots this should let the whole team know. Knowing that the other team only has pistols can help your team avoid grenade stacks, rushes, and getting killed by a CT camping in a spot they wouldn’t usually camp in .

Advanced Counter-Terrorist Strategies:
There are a few aspects to a team that makes the team strong on the Counter-Terrorist side of a match or scrim. One of these keys is good, efficient communication. One important part of this is making efficient and specific calls over Ventrilo. You want to try to call the number of enemies, guns used by the enemies (pistols or rifles), and specific locations of the enemies with as little words as possible. One huge mistake I have seen is a team member calling “ALL B! ALL B!” when only 4 are in B. This can be a big mistake because one of your teammates may try to flank and not be looking out for a Terrorists who was waiting in a great spot for your teammate to flank. Also your team should decide on specific names to call certain places and hiding spots around the map. This will help the whole team to know exactly where the enemies are when one of your teammates makes a call. Another thing that can be helpful is to call out flashes, smokes and the HE nades thrown by the enemy. This is another way to let your teammates know what is going on in your side of the map. One more thing is to cut the unnecessary talking on the mic. Try to refrain from talking about non-cs things in a serious scrim/match, and try to refrain from letting your whole team know how pissed you are every time you die. Lastly, let your teammates know when you are falling back, when you need backup, and when certain choke points have been compromised.

Solid Teamwork and rotations: The other major key to having a good CT side is great teamwork and good rotations. This teamwork is based a lot on good communication, however. Good calls will allow your teammates to make good decisions on when to rotate and how fast. You want to rotate fast when you know the enemy is coming to a certain bombsite or choke point. You want to try to meet them before they can even get into the site and plant. This is not always possible though. In cases where you can’t help your teammates in time, you want to wait for the rest of your teammates to get into position to re-take the bombsite instead of trying to take the bombsite back one by one. The in game leader can help out with this by trying to get everyone coordinated and grouped up. After you are all ready to go, you should flash the bombsite and all try to retake the bombsite at the same time.

Using HEs, flashes, and smoke grenades: All of these nades can have big advantages if used correctly. Using a flash is pretty easy, you want to use it to prevent rushes and to delay the other team while you wait for help from your teammates to help. Be careful, however, not to use your flashes wastefully. Good teams will try to delay their strats and get you to use up your flashes. This will leave them with a bunch of flashes and you with none. The HE, as a CT is often misused. A lot of players try to use it to get kills. You should use the HE to suppress the Terrorists. This will give you another chance to hold off the Terrorists when they make their move and also buy you a few seconds for your teammates to rotate and help. An exception to this is that I have seen many top teams use the HE to secure a vital choke point. An example of this is a two player nade stack on the long A doors on dust2 right at the start of the round. Lastly, the most under-appreciated nade on the CT side is the smoke grenade. The smoke grenade can be very useful when you are trying to guard a small choke point for several reasons. The first reason is because the smoke may force the Terrorists to waste flashes because they are afraid of what is on the other side of the smoke. The second, and most important reason to use a smoke is because you can see the Terrorist in the smoke before they can see you. A good example of this is the back alley or Ivy part of de_train. If you use a smoke in the little alley, you will see a part of them when they are still lost in smoke.

Know when to push: For the most part, you are going to want to stay back and guard the bombsites and choke points as a Counter-Terrorist. However, there are good times to push as well. A good flank can win you a round. Knowing when to push relies on two things: 1) How the other team is playing, and 2) communication. A few good times to push would be when the Terrorists are consistently avoiding your choke point/bombsite or when you know where most of the enemies are. For example, if 4 of the enemies are rushing the other bombsite, it may be a good idea to try to push behind them and catch them off guard. When pushing, be very careful to check all the corners and good camping spots. You will most likely want to use a flash to help clear the choke point you are pushing through as well.

Setup Crossfires when possible: This something that can be really helpful if you are able to do it. It is only possible to use on certain maps and certain choke points. However, when used, it forces the Terrorists to check two complete different directions in order to clear a choke point. One good example of this is having two CTs going to long A with one in the pit and one between the pit and the car.

Knowing when to Save guns and getting exit kills: Your team is not going to win every round, but there are a few things you can do that will help you win the following round. One of these things is knowing when to save your guns and when the round is unwinnable. There are certain situations like a 2v5 with the bomb planted in which you have very little chance of winning. In this situation, it is statistically better to save the guns then to try to take the site back and lose both of your guns. By saving, you will have 2 guns and will be much more likely not to have to save. This is something that needs to be judged by your in game leader on a situational basis, but it is important that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want 1 guy trying to take back a site and 1 guy saving. Also, when saving, it is a good idea to try to stay at a really safe distance and to try to get some easy shots on Terrorists leaving the bombsite. Be careful not to lose your guns when doing this though. I will use another example from Dust2. A good idea, if you had an AWP and the bomb was planted at B, would be to sit in T spawn and wait for the Terrorist to try to exit from B tunnels. You will have an easy shot from their and also have an easy way to retreat if the Terrorists get to close.

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