CS:GO Round Based Thinking Strategy Guide

CS:GO Round Based Thinking Strategy Guide by tigtips


  • UT = Up team, or the team leading in score and economy
  • DT = Down team, or the team losing in score and economy
  • r# = Round number

To win in cs you must reach 16 rounds out of 30. It doesn’t matter how you get there, your goal is that total sum of 16. This sounds very basic because it is. Ultimately it doesn’t matter HOW you get there say you lost the first 14 rounds and win 16-14, or you go 16-0, or lose 4-16 where those four were you first four rounds. Clearly there are many combinations to get you to 16 and that’s my point.

Players attach themselves to that “16-0” dream. I find games even in cal 05, esea, cevo,, and LEM+ MM players who still go on tilt being ahead say, 7-3 as an example. 7-3 is a GREAT result for the first 9 rounds, yet players let those 3 rounds hinder their focus and ultimately I find that 7-3 becomes 7-5, or 10-9, and ultimately could become 15-16. Again, all I’m saying is the order at which you get 16 rounds should not be your focus. Each individual round should be your focus. Now this is assume you are losing your matches. If you are 7-3 and win 16-8, well, you won. This post is about players who experience loses on a regular basis.

break down the rounds Is every round the same? What type of rounds are there? How do I approach a certain round? These are questions I sadly NEVER hear, and the answers are so valuable to a new, and experienced player. Below I’m going to illustrate my perspective of rounds in cs.

  • (Round 1 and 16) These are commonly called “pistol rounds”, which makes sense, given the economy only allows for pistols, armor, kits, and grenades. The focus of these rounds to keep in mind is each team is at an equal level. We will call these A rounds to keep it simple. Out of the 30 rounds, A rounds are played roughly 5% of the match (2 rounds). As valuable these rounds are, my focus will be the remaining rounds below.
  • (Rounds 2, 3 and 17, 18) These rounds we’ll call B rounds. These rounds one team is more ahead than the other economy wise. The DT (down team) now has less odds of winning these rounds, but there are options. Pistol vs armor is risky, especially if its pistol vs r2 (round 2) guns i.e. smgs, shotguns, scout. DT must heavily focus more on safe but secure strategies. Flanking, and split push opportunities, rather pure aim. These rounds are crucial in positioning, trading, teamwork and cross firing. Your % for a likely kill in these rounds on a DT is very low, but it’s still possible.
  • (Rounds 4, 5, and 16, 17) These are “C rounds” and these are the opening rounds DT has a chance to either close the gap, or come close to equilibrium with the UT if they win even one of these rounds. These are extremely important rounds for both teams! Each team should now have a armor+helmet, rifle, and grenades. They are 100% equal, even if the UT is 3-0 there’s still a cap said team reaches. That 0-3 DT is now at least at equal odds of winning the round. It’s also important for UT because securing these rounds at 3-0, making it 5-0 almost guarintees another two rounds. Even 4-1 you still have one more round to work with being “ahead”. I will go more in-depth after explaining D rounds below.
  • (5-15 and 21-30) D rounds is where most of cs is played. These rounds show the beauty of the cs meta. EACH of these rounds will open up opportunities for come backs and equilibrium for both teams. Rounds within this D round group consist of B and C rounds. You’ll see two teams rollercoaster through these rounds until the end, or you’ll see a UT just destroy these rounds based on their lead. DT’s always have opportunities to advance even on a lost round. Again, I will show examples below.
  • (round 15) Round 15 is tricky because its a full buyout for both teams. One would assume this would become a C round in nature, but that requires round 14 being a save for the DT. Regardless, this round is VERY random. A lot of times the DT didn’t save and is now forcing this easy Cround into a B round. Ultimately, during a match you can’t really gauge what round this will be usually, making it random and spontaneous.

What does this all mean? Ultimately, I conclude if the DT and UT are equal or not based on the ingame economy. I recommend checking out this If you do not know how the cs economy works. Regardless, the DT will ultimately get a bonus (pushing them from a B round to a C round).

If you think just because you are down 0-4 and you can’t win, you have to correct your mindset. These rounds ARE winnable, and it usually comes down to the players mentality on the DT that really hurt or help them to become the UT. Below I will now show a bit more indepth how these rounds play out in a full match.

B rounds You might be wondering what the difference is in B rounds and D rounds. These rounds have a spike in difficulty and odds compared to later rounds. As in, even if you are even at 9-9 during D rounds, if you lose, it’s not as drastic as being at 1-0 and ending up at 1-2. Clearly that fourth round is going to be tough, NOT allowing that round to become a C round. These first three rounds including pistol if successful allows for so much momentum for later rounds.

It’s still not the end of the world if you lose these, given the other opportunities the other round type’s provide. However, I can’t stress enough the importance of these rounds for the whole. With that being said, this is usually when the salty players go on tilt. The pressure is massive, and most nerds just can’t handle it. I won’t sugar coat it, if you are the DT at 0-3, compared to a 1-2, you will just have to work harder to win that match. Luckily the game assists the DT more than the UT, so keep an optimistic tone when reading about DT experiences and situations.

Another factor in B rounds is if you do manage to go 0-3 as the DT, you force round type C only one round (4, 16), pushing round type D at round 5 and 17 compared to 6 and 18. Sure that might not mean much, but once you get into D rounds, you really are on a rollercoaster. That’s why these first few rounds are so vital, and should require more strategy, teamwork, and own mechanical skill to win. I can’t stress enough how it isn’t the end of the world though with all that being said if you still push D rounds to r5.

C rounds Type C rounds is where the DT has a higher chance of winning the rounds and increasing their chance to pass UT for the lead in certain situations. This makes for UT’s success even more beneficial for the remaining rounds if they can survive.

I know hardly nothing about racing, but from what I’ve watched over the years, there’s key areas of a track for passing. C rounds are the equivalent of this in CS.

Remember, they aren’t simply rounds 4,5 and 16,17. C rounds will find their way in D rounds later on. Below are some examples teams will be in during these rounds early on.

UT 3-0 should 100% be able to full buy. Again this includes kit, armor, helmet, and a rifle. UT will experience a boost in probability of success. If they win the fourth round, they push round five into a B type round, making for UT’s success even easier to win said round.

DT at 0-3 need the income boost to get out of their hole. If they lose the fourth round, the UT is now in round type B, making for the next few rounds very hard to win. If you are the DT at 0-3 and lose to 0-4, chance are you are giving the UT another 2 rounds minimum.

Now say DT wins round four, this just bridges the gap for equilibrium amongst each team but doesn’t secure guarantees. say its 1-3 the UT at 3-1 now has one more round of equalibrium before they themselves become the DT, putting themselves in a B type round. (just a reminder, a B round is when the UT has an economic advantage over UT, probability of success lower and where UT’s want to be at during D rounds as a whole.)

There are many factors that come into play that determine how I conclude if a round is equal or not. You have to take into consideration bomb plants, defuses, frags, and other economy options (mostly like ecos or pistol buys). An example would be, if a DT at 0-3 purchases armor/pistol or roughly 1k$ in costs and still lose, they might push another C round (round 5) for the UT. Where if they just buy out on the fourth round and lose, obviously the UT is now way ahead and push the rounds to a B type, again, making their chances of winning higher and safer. DT on round five MUST save which is why I say UT secures a couple of rounds if they are 4-0.

D rounds Again, D rounds are just the later rounds in the match. Obviously they are still important, but the complexity of these rounds been hard for me to generalize or put specific characteristics to these rounds. They change round by round, or not at all. It’s all dependent on the situation of the match, the players skill, economy knowledge, map balance, etc.

Each round within D rounds will open opportunities for come backs and equilibrium for both teams. D rounds are the canvas for the other rounds to spark from.

Frag counts These rounds usually come down to frag count for the DT. Just because you lose the round does not mean you are losing. Below I listed situations getting 1-5 kills during a lost round and how it assists in winning future rounds. DT will always have opportunities to advance even on a lost round. If DT frags 3/5, forcing three UT players to re-buy, off-balancing UT’s economy. DT is now closer to equilibrium with UT and pushing towards a C type round (which is good for the DT!)

1/5 and 2/5 frags each round will more than likely push UT into more of an advantage.

3/5 frags for the DT is the minimum to possibly reach equilibrium with UT. As in, you can go 0-3 and still force the UT to purchase every round, making the economy gap smaller and smaller as each lose goes by. Sure players can drop and such, but there’s still a shift in momentum three kills gives to DT that UT’s really want to avoid.

4/5 and 5/5 frags on a lost round for DT will turn the next round into a CR situations no matter what. As in, even if UT is up 5 rounds, and have bank for cash, they are still at a decline now. They are still ahead, but DT’s are at least slowly working their way to equilibrium. So many times a team will be ahead by 5+ rounds, and it just takes 1-2 wins in a row to really shift the match upside down. Leads don’t matter, they are just security blankets for the UT’s mistakes. Just because you are ahead, does NOT guarantee the match win. You will find this more common in pro matches, as the skill gap is very close.

half time Now the reason I include say, the first round, but also round 16, is because cs is split into two halves. This is obvious but I don’t think players fully understand this. The game resets, literally. You have new opportunities. All this equilibrium talk I mention that requires your skills, teamwork, economy, etc. Automatically is given to you just by the round structures. So if you are the DT by half time (say an average score is 5-10) know none of those rounds matter. I’ve experienced countless comebacks from me carrying, or motivating my team to not worry about first half. CS meta gives you so many chances to win, and those players who tilt early on first round, clearly do not see the bigger picture.


Ultimately, I want players to understand the importance of each individual round and how the rounds before said round do affect said round, but there are still ways to winning. So many players in my thirteen years of cs just give up, or are focused on bullshit and don’t just play the game. Many players are guilty of this, focusing on other teams skills (good player, bad player, cheater, etc) or teammates skills (baiter, carry, etc) and don’t just play the game. I think a lot has to do with the uphill battle these players assume they are in. Yet, I hope my ramblings in this post can assist in showing that that uphill battle really isn’t that uphill and how there are many opportunities for a DT to become the UT, and most of the time players just ignore those opportunities.

It’s really hard to structure rounds, in such a dynamic and complex environment. There really are so many factors at hand, that I’m sure I haven’t mentioned, just because this post would be longer than it already is. I hope I’ve done well at just illustrating not to give up, staying positive, and knowing there’s a whole area of cs most players overlook. The players I’ve coached with this information all have improved dramatically. I hope this can help assist in your improvements and ultimately lead to more wins and less loses.

Happy fragging!

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