Groove to Move: Optimal Positioning and Movement in CS:GO
Sat 14th Nov 2020 - 5:02pm
The beacons have been lit and the alarms have been rung. The enemy has trampled over your companions on the other site and now it's your job to claw your way back and defuse the bomb. You want to catch the terrorists by surprise and decide to rush them head-on. As soon as you get close, however, two of them drypeek you. You can't decide fast enough who to kill and, in an instant, your usefulness to the team goes from brave soldier to dead cannonfodder. You think to yourself, if only you had practiced your aim a bit more then you would have managed to kill at least one of them. However, I'm here to tell you that it's all about the legwork, baby.
Movement, and as an extension, positioning, is a notoriously difficult aspect of CS:GO. Unlike aim training and utility practice, there is no instantaneous feedback for movement that tells you whether you did a good job or not. In fact, just like the story in the introduction, a lot of failures that should be attributed to bad movement or positions is very often put on a lack of aim training or utility usage knowledge. However, many kills could have been avoided by a player if only they were more aware of their surroundings, combined that information with map knowledge, and then acted with these things in mind. I would advise you to do a demo review and specifically pay attention to some of the things mentioned in this guide. You will surely spot several mistakes in positioning or movement that might have cost you a round.
Run for Cover
One of the most common mistakes players make is to stand in the open while being exposed for multiple angles without anyone to cover them. Most frequently this happens when a teammates has died and the surviving person has failed to notice this, leaving him open to an angle he still believes is being covered. Naturally, communication is the key to solve this issue. Worst case scenario, you have to use the minimap and the avatars at the top of the screen to check periodically whether a certain position has been compromised or not. Use this information and reposition if needed to make sure you cannot be flanked. For example, if you play behind Triple Box on Mirage and your teammate in Window has been killed, fall back to CT-Spawn or, in some situations, you can rotate to Jungle so you can hold off the push into Window or Connector as pressure on this position might compromise the defense on both sites.
In any situation you will want to follow this basic rule: you want to get knowledge on as many positions as possible while being exposed to as few angles as possible. This sounds rather simple, but in practice it is quite difficult to find that perfect balance between gaining information and limiting exposure. What it comes down to is using anything to your advantage: walls, boxes, hiding spots and even smokes for temporary cover. Remember as well that certain positions provide for more possibilities than others. For example, while CT-Spawn on Mirage only allows you to watch Palace or Ramp depending on your position, playing behind Triple Box allows you to peek Palace, Ramp and Connector one at a time. At the same time, this position is a lot riskier as you can easily get backstabbed or flanked by multiple enemies. Another example is Ninja on the A-site of Mirage. While you cannot aggressively hold back your enemies from pushing the site, you can get information on how many crossed and even take a few of them by surprise should you remain hidden.
This goes as much for the Terrorist-side as it does for the Counter-Terrorists. Admittedly, it is a bit harder for Terrorists to use cover to its full advantage, considering they actively have to move forward onto the site and consequently must expose themselves at some point. However, as a Terrorist you can use the provided cover to slowly make your way onto the site, holding angles and clearing every corner as you push further. Moreover, cover will prove essential in getting the bomb down, as you will find yourself in the most vulnerable position the moment you start planting it, with no way to defend yourself without switching to a gun first. Consequently, when you plant the bomb it is generally a good idea to cover all angles. Often you will resort to smoke grenades to make sure you cannot be spotted by peering eyes.
Finally, you must also make sure to use cover as you enter a site after rotation. For example, if your enemies have taken control of the A-site of Mirage and you start your counter-attack from Jungle, don't just blindly run into them. Rather, use the walls of Jungle or Stairs for cover while you identify the positions of the hostiles. Be mindful of the possibility that someone might be Connector and might try to backstab you. So, once you have made your presence known on Stairs, make sure to check behind you and possibly get an easy pick on an overeager attacker. Maybe you can then even single out an enemy on the site and then push the remaining one by pushing towards Triple Box for even more protection. Granted, there will always be a short window of time where you are open for your enemies no matter what, but taking it slowly like this is better than simply running at them like a lunatic.
Silence! I Kill You!
A lot of players, even at the higher levels of CS:GO, tend to forget how far the noise made by their footsteps travels. Particularly during rotations or when falling back players want to get to their new destination as quickly as possible and fail to travel silently so that their enemies remain oblivious to this new direction. While it takes some time, try to learn exactly up to what point you can run on every map without someone on the enemy team hearing you. Usually, these spots are marked by visual clues. For example, on Mirage you can usually run to the Apartments up until the middle stone slab on the floor of the first hallway. If you run in Underpass or the Apartments themselves, any player close to Short will hear you and vice versa.
Be particularly mindful when deciding to fall back to another position after you have pushed and made sound on one. If you start running too soon during your retreat you might give the enemy the auditive cue that they should distribute their forces elsewhere. But even after you have moved outside of hearing distance, unless one of your teammates has cleared the area you're passing through, you should tiptoe your way back to make sure that if one of your enemies pushed up to catch you off-guard, at least he won't be given the warning that you're approaching. For example, if you're in Apartments on Mirage and want to fall back to push the attack on A, it could be possible that one of your enemies has pushed up middle. Not only will your footsteps give him important information that blows your team's cover, he is also in the perfect position to launch a surprise attack and take you out alongside a couple of your friends.
Never mind K/D, it's all about KZ!
Have you ever had to face the embarrassment of being spectated by your friends only to miss a jump, bump into a wall or fail to boost yourself onto a box? Movement in itself is surprisingly difficult in CS:GO, especially so when it comes to certain tricky jumps such as the one from Window to Short on Mirage. However, when you do pull them off they can get you around the map much faster, taking your enemies by surprise. Luckily, there are a couple of great game modes that can help you improve your movement.
The most famous game mode that specifically focuses on practicing your legwork is called 'kz', which is an abbreviation referring to the game mode's original creator 'Kreedz'. Basically, player must reach the end of the map as quickly as possible. To make your way through the map, you will have to overcome parcour-like obstacles such as small ledges and ladders. As you will face frequent obstacles and gaps, you will be forced to use tricks such as strafing, bunnyhops and long jumps. While many masters of movement use this game mode as a competitive mode to see who can reach the end faster, it is also a great method to practice. Since these maps also usually start pretty simple and get progressively more difficult, it's a great way to push yourself further every time. However, make sure to save yourself some frustration and don't forget to save your checkpoints when you hit a difficult jump!
Secondly, you can also use surf maps for better movement. Many professional players, including our own 'f0rest', are quite good at surfing. The basics of surfing are very easy, but there are many incredibly difficult maps that are near impossible to master. Basically, if a player jumps down on a diagonal wall this will cause them to start sliding down. By pressing the movement key in the opposite direction of the wall, players are able to stay on the while moving forward with immense speed. With a couple of walls, you have a long track which players can go down on. Add in a couple of long gaps, short walls, and windows to jump through and things start getting really challenging, allowing players once again to compete for the fastest time. While being good at surfing will not in itself prove that useful on many maps, it is a great way to familiarize yourself further with your sensitivity and practice some crosshair movements needed to land several in-game jumps.
Ultimately, movement and positioning are two crucial skills that any aspiring CS:GO master cannot afford to overlook. While it is harder to spot errors in movement and positioning than in other aspects of the game due to their rather implicit nature, performing a demo review with this guide in the back of your head should allow you to spot some of the mistakes you make. Make sure you always use the walls around you for cover, pay attention to vulnerable and positions, and make sure to stay silent when needed so as not to give your enemies free information. In case you want to improve your movement, KZ and surf are very fun ways to challenge yourself.
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