Being a good lurker is much more than just being able to flank your opponents and get some kills while catching unaware and unprepared. It is also a role that can make a huge difference when trying to surprise your opponent and, eventually, win the match.
To make sure you’re reading an article with input from someone who knows what they’re talking about, I’ve partnered up with Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli, a professional CS:GO player from DignitasVIE to help me compile all the information.
First of all, to understand how to get better at a role, we need to make sure we know what makes a good lurker. And this is what hallzerk said:
A good lurker is someone that knows how to use timings well! [It] is someone who gets a lot of information for his team without dying. It's also a player with a lot of impact that might go unnoticed, gives a lot of information, and that's something you can't really see on the scoreboard.
Being a lurker is a matter of finding the right opportunities to chime in and get either information or a free kill. Sure, it may seem very little compared to the entire round, but if you think of the implications the information you’re able to collect or the kill you’re able to get has on the entire round, you understand how important it is.
Good information can be enough to understand where the players are playing, allowing for more precise utility to be thrown and a free kill can trigger a rotation from the opposing team, which can make entering a bombsite easier.
But it’s not easy to be a good lurker… how should you play it? Aggressively or passively?
It depends on what's going on in the round. It's usually up to the lurker, sometimes it's just a feeling you have and you get a perfect round due to that. Of course, if the lurker dies every time, he's not very good, so you really need to get a good balance when choosing whether to play defensively or aggressively.
Being a lurker is a game of hunches and guesses. You want to make sure you don’t die, because if the lurker dies, not only you miss on possible valuable information, but your opponents are also able to read what you were trying to do, making it harder to pull off the strategy you were planning on.
There’s a lot of information that a lurker can be on the lookout for, but are the most important pieces?
“Since the lurker is usually alone, he should listen to rotations and can even sometimes get a couple of free kills on people who are rotating sites. Using that advantage, he can sometimes get behind people and play in a way that gives the most advantage to his team.”
Sound! Sound is everything in CS:GO. Let’s say you’re lurking at Apartments on Inferno and your teammates make their presence known on B. If the A players decide to rotate, and make noise doing it, you can learn their positions on that side, whether that is Pit, Short or even Middle if they decide to try the flank.
You have to be extra careful when playing as an aggressive lurker - remember that your main job is not to get kills, but actually staying alive! When questioned about tips to improve the survivability rate of an aggressive lurker, this is what hallzerk what to say:
“Look at a lot of demos, understand how people rotate, and get a lot of experience playing! Know the maps, experiment with different lurking styles, see what works and what doesn't, understand what people do on PUGs and official matches, find some angles where you like to stay to get as much information as possible without dying or even showing yourself... It's all experience and studying the game!”
I can’t emphasize the last tip enough - you learn a lot by watching and studying demos of professional players, but you need to find your place in the game. Find angles where you're comfortable and that allow you to make a quick play if needed. A good angle is not necessarily one that gives you a good viewing point for a possible kill, but rather one where you can listen to several parts of a Bomb Site and even just watch a single pixel moving if a player decides to switch positions. It’s up to you to find those spots and make them a good one for you.
Let’s now talk about utility. As a lurker, you’re generally unable to use your utility to execute a site, unless your team decides to get you out of your position so you can execute together (which is also a valid strategy). Instead, what can you do with your utility? And what utility should you prioritize when buying?
The lurker should have at least a Smoke and a Flashbang, so that you can "execute" a site on your own - the more utility thrown, the better it serves as a fake. A Molotov is also beneficial, to take a player out of position, even if you end up not facing him. Getting at least one player to start rotating is sometimes enough for the rest of the team to take control of the opposing site and to be considered a successful fake. Also, people are afraid of Smokes, use that!
hallzerk said everything in detail - the utility you have will mostly serve to frighten your opponents when not used to execute along with your team. You can even just use them to make your opponents flush out utility, making an eventual execution even easier since there will be less stuff to worry about.
Before finishing the conversation with hallzerk, I’ve went ahead and asked the DignitasVIE player for some tips for any player that would like to improve at the lurking role, to which he said:
The best tips I can give is to watch demos of other lurkers and try to understand their decision-making, where they stand during the round, and how they behave with the information they have.
Make sure to watch some demos of Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson, the latest player to join DignitasVIE and who’s shining as the newest lurker for the team! You want to make sure to understand why they play the way they do and how they react to different events occurring on the map - naturally, you don’t know what the team is communicating, but you know everyone’s position and all the utility thrown in, which can help you understand the minds of the players.
Make sure to follow hallzerk on social media so you can be up to date with him and the team!
Thank you for reading the article! Hopefully it will help you reach the next level in your CS:GO career! You can reach out to me for feedback or suggestions on Twitter
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