Improve Your Rotations - A CSGO Guide With f0rest



Tue 28th Jul 2020 - 7:36pm

It’s not fun when you’re playing CS:GO and end up being deceived by your opponents, rotating just to find out you were supposed to be on the other side of the map. There are a lot of cues you should pick up and analyze to understand when it’s better to rotate to help your team and avoid being faked out by your opponents.

To help me write this article, I had the pleasure of talking with Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg and asked him a few questions to understand how he analyzes the game to decide whether or not to rotate as well as a few tips for all types of players.

CS:GO is all about information, even the info you can’t see. You can make judgments based on sound cues and the calls your teammates make. Let’s say one player calls a Smoke and a Flash at the same time on B - there are at least 2 players there. If at the same time you get a call on the other side of the map, you know that’s impossible for all 5 enemies to be at B. And even then, you can’t be sure that the remaining two players aren't there.

What information should you be looking for before deciding to rotate as CT? 

“Before rotating, think. One should have in consideration what has happened in the map up until that point, there's always stuff happening around the map everywhere, people will be calling out stuff. If you're playing middle on Dust2, for example, the B guy might call a Smoke in the tunnel, you might have action Mid, the long guy calls "Long, Long, LONG".

You need to take in consideration that, at that point, there are a maximum of 3 people there. At that point, you need to use your knowledge to know if you can rotate safely or if you might overrotate and the guy mid ends up spotting you and you leave the B guy alone and let the opponents capitalize on your mistake." - f0rest

When asked about what information players should be looking out as CT before deciding to rotate, f0rest referred exactly that - have in mind all the information you have gathered so far and their timing. For example, if your teammate called something on B 30 seconds ago, there’s a chance those players could already be on the other side of the map. What’s the key takeaway here?

"Listen to the calls you're receiving and also try to build your view of where the opponents are on the map.” - f0rest

Remember that it is easy being the victim of a fake if you have nervous teammates that scream as soon as they hear one step and one flashbang being thrown! A not-so-common tip is exactly this one - adapt to the people you’re playing with, especially if you’re solo-queueing.

And what if you’re playing as a Terrorist?

Playing on the other side gives you more freedom since you can “safely” move to other parts without compromising too much, at least compared to what a CT player can lose (like a bombsite). f0rest was quick to answer the following:

“As Terrorists, I think the rotations are freer. You can pretty much rotate everywhere on the map quite freely. The important part of that side is getting map control - once you have that control, you can start moving around and set up executes or fakes. The one thing people should look into is the lurkers - they can't overrotate. Lurkers can join the squad a bit closer, but they always need to control the flanks, they need to make sure the CTs aren't gaining new ground after you've taken it. A lurker is someone that needs to make sure you won't be flanked and attacked from behind.”

Don’t forget about one of the most important roles of CS:GO as a Terrorist: the Lurker. Although not mandatory in every round, it’s important to have someone watch for the flanks while trying at the same time catching opponents rotating unaware. The lurker is also crucial in a way that relay information to the players defending the bomb plant that otherwise they would not have any way of knowing. Don’t underestimate the importance of this role when playing as a Terrorist and giving up map control to execute a bombsite.

Let’s now focus on over-rotations and what to do when that happens. This is mainly a CT problem, as doing it will get you to lose control of a bombsite and if your opponents are aware of that, well, you’re in for trouble.

“If you happen to overrotate and the opposing team decides to attack that site, I think that at that point there isn't much to do, because as soon as you receive the call that it's a fake, most likely the Ts are already attacking and at that point, unless given an opportunity, you should wait for your teammates to try and play for the retake.” - f0rest

As f0rest points out, falling for a fake and over-rotating is almost guaranteed that you will lose that round, at least if you’re playing against semi-decent and organized players. If you’re still rotating, you might try to capitalize and get an initial kill to make the retake easier, but don’t overextend it - doing so can put you down and get your team in an even worse situation than it already was.

The first thing you should do is to make a decision: should you go for the retake and just give up and save the remaining weapons you have for the next round? There is no master answer to this as it is completely situational. Let’s say you’re winning 14-3 - there are not many risks of trying to go for the retake as you’ll probably just lose 1 or 2 more rounds if you get low on money. But be careful doing this against good opponents, as every comeback starts with the first round. On the other hand, if you’re winning 13-12, maybe it’s better to save, give them the 13th round and live to fight another da… ahem... round.

“When retaking a site, you should have a lot of factors into consideration - the money you have, what bombsite it is, and how easy it is to do it, the numbers advantage - there are a lot of variables that you need to have in mind. For example, B on Inferno is a super hard site to retake unless you have utility, so that might be a good choice to save, a lot of people do it.

You have to take the money in consideration, maybe it's worth to save 2 or 3 guns and buy the next round or is if it's worth to take the gamble and go for it and if you lose you might end up losing 2 or 3 more because your economy is now screwed. It's situation-based and for newer players watch a few pro teams and see what teams they prefer to retake and what sites they avoid doing it.” - f0rest

f0rest had a rather lengthy answer regarding this topic and that just reinforces what I said previously - this is an extremely situational decision you need to make. Pro tip: if you can’t get an untraded kill on the first few seconds of the retake, generally it’s better to just back out of it.

One last tip for the newer players: use your utility! It’s so common to see newer players, and even more experienced ones, dying with all their grenades unused. They’re there to be used, don’t worry about wasting them. It’s better to waste them than to not use them at all. Especially in retake situations, where every advantage counts. Maybe that Flashbang you threw didn’t do anything for you, but it might have helped your teammate gain some ground that otherwise would be harder.

Thank you for reading this article! You can reach out to me for feedback or suggestions via Twitter.