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Player Roles in CS:GO
Date 04.02.2016
Author ReaLL
Links n/a

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In the professional and competitive Counter-Strike scene there are a number of names or terms that have been coined for the different roles that a player may fulfil within a five man team. The meaning of these names is not necessarily obvious for newer players, yet it is likely that they will have been heard on streams or at least encountered at some point. It is important to note that in a typical matchmaking game you are unlikely to need or see people actively fulfilling some of these roles; however a few of them will definitely play a part, the entry fragger and lurker as prime examples.

Many of these roles will overlap or be inherently linked, but we will go over each one individually regardless. This article will provide a brief overview on all of these roles and explain the impact and importance that each of them has within a professional and matchmaking team.

The In-game Leader and Strat Caller


The in-game leader is the boss; he is in charge of keeping the team focused and confident, making the important calls and adapting to every situation. It is often up to him to decide what the strategy for each round is going to be and occasionally professional teams will even have a separate strat caller to assist the team leader with this too. A good in-game leader should be able to keep his teammates in the right mind set throughout the whole game whilst keeping his own cool and ultimately fighting for the win.

If you are playing with friends or in a matchmaking solo queue you may have noticed that one of your teammates will naturally be making calls and decisions each round, they are effectively taking up this role. The calls may not always be the best and sometimes they will not provide anything beyond shouting for a rush to a different site each round. However, it is still useful to have somebody at the helm to provide a bit of guidance and leadership, even in a random group of players. If nobody on your team is really communicating and nobody is calling things to do, don’t be afraid to step up and make some decisions.

It is important to remember that being polite and keeping your cool will help your teammate’s confidence if something happens to go wrong. The role also differs slightly for the counter-terrorist and terrorist side. It is more likely that somebody is willing to take charge on the terrorist side as typically this is the half to make plays, execute strats and be more aggressive. On the counter-terrorist side a lot of players will stick to a roughly default position on each map. However, remember to keep the communication up and if you suspect the other team of employing a set play call it and guide the rotations. With a little bit of confidence and charm it should be simple enough to get people responding positively to your efforts and it may even help you win a round or two.

The Entry Fragger

The first man in and if all goes to plan the first player on the scoreboard too. The entry fragger will usually rely on excellent raw aim and fantastic recoil control, doing exactly what it says on the tin and getting the opening kill in a round. For a terrorist side this is crucial as it will stretch the counter-terrorist defences, force rotates and weaken their hold on each bombsite. Getting the first kill in a round is also a huge mental boost for the team that receives it, simply knowing that you have the numbers advantage right off the bat helps psychologically.

In matchmaking situations there may not be a standout player in your team that is best at getting these first kills on a site or during a set play, it can often simply be anyone who gets the first pick anywhere on the map. In these situations you do not need to worry about who is getting the entry kills, work with what you have and take each round as it comes. One thing you can try and exploit though is if you notice your opponents have an overly aggressive player, make a note of where they like to play or push and try catching them off guard. There is also the opposite of this; by identifying your opponent’s worst player and actively trying to work the places you believe they may be playing each round you can take full advantage of their weakest link and get the opening kill for your team.

The Main AWPer and Secondary AWPer


With its pinpoint accuracy and incredible stopping power the AWP sniper rifle can definitely be a scary weapon to face. Putting an AWP into the hands of somebody who has practiced with it extensively on each map can be a huge benefit to a team. The main AWPer is the player in the team who will usually seek to pick up or purchase the AWP rifle ahead of everyone else when either money or the situation allows it. The secondary AWPer will not actively use the AWP every round but can take up the rifle should the main AWPer die or use one at the same time to change things up every so often. A good AWPer will not simply hold the same angle or spot 24/7, but will remain mobile within each round and throughout the entire game, seeking to catch people unaware. Getting an opening pick with an AWP can be massively demoralising for the opposite team and will make anyone near that location wary of the AWP’s presence.

In matchmaking it is likely that there will be somebody on your team who prefers using the AWP. It may turn out that they are not the best with the rifle or are getting outplayed by an opponent with one; this could lead to other teammates using the AWP too and as such you have to be careful in these situations. It is rarely a good idea to purchase more than two AWP’s each round, with even two sometimes being a sub optimal choice. If you are using the AWP and know that somebody else fancies it too it can prove beneficial to let them use it and go with something else yourself. Remember that losing just a single AWP is not only a large economic disadvantage, but if the enemy team picks it up too then it can hurt your team even more, so use them responsibly.

The Lurker

A lurker will do exactly as the name suggests, they like to take things into their own hands, moving about the map and keeping the enemy on their toes. With perfect game sense and positioning they are able to flank opponents and get surprise kills. A good lurker can be a nightmare to play against, as you can never been one hundred percent certain on where or when they are going to pop up. At the professional level a skilled lurker can single handily win rounds for his team, picking up important frags at important times.

It is definitely possible to encounter somebody who appears to fit this play style in any level of matchmaking. There are a lot of professional players that people look up to and try to imitate, with the sneaky play style of a lurker appealing to a lot of people. If you notice that one of your opponents is often off by themselves and you find them flanking your teammates round after round make sure to let everyone know and be extra wary, double check for flanks and peek any tight off-angles they may be hiding round carefully. A successful lurker is not only able to pick up the kills on unsuspecting opponents but the information itself that comes from the positions they find themselves in can help the team a lot. It is important to recognise when it is best to stop trying to outflank and outplay the other team and instead simply help out your teammates in a conventional way, when playing in a group of people you don’t know this can really make a difference.

The Support Player

In a team the support player holds everything together and keeps things rolling, by using fantastic game sense and positioning they stay alive as long as possible and provide vital information for their team. They are also likely to be the ones seen rotating first on the counter-terrorist side and providing back up where it is needed. It is not a glamorous position by any means and even the professional support players find themselves getting a lot of slack for taking bottom place on the scoreboard each game. It is important to remember that it is not their role to be carrying the team to victory by dropping thirty and forty kills each game, what they do is much more subtle and as a result often goes unpraised.

The support role is possibly the hardest of all to find, define and replicate in matchmaking games as nobody wants to be at the bottom of the scoreboard. The level of communication and trust that a professional support player has and provides for their team is simply not attainable with people you don’t know. You will from time to time however find people playing more slowly and passively than most and not just because they are less confident in their movement and ability. Sometimes a player will be calling all the information they are getting and be charging as fast as they can to support you in trading out a kill, you could define these as the support players of matchmaking.

The Rifler


The AK-47 and two M4 rifles are arguably the core of the whole game and they play a part of every single match. A rifler is therefore more of a general term for anybody who is confident in their ability to pick up one of these automatic rifles (M4, AK-47, FAMAS, Galil AR) and comfortably get kills with it. There are however notable professional players who have become notorious for the control they have with either specific rifles or all of them. They are the frag machines, able to win duels, spray across maps, get single taps one after another and generally dominate the gun play in a game.

Because the two primary automatic rifles are the most popular weapons in the game it is generally a good idea to get as confident using them as possible. Being a solid rifler is never a bad thing, nobody on your team is going to moan at you for only using a rifle every round as they might if you only used an AWP for example. There are multiple ways to train with rifles and plenty of guides to help you do so effectively. If your team has somebody who is obviously skilled with the primary weapons it can be a good idea to try and let them trade out kills for you rather than the other way round. Admitting that a player is better than you and keeping them alive is worth the dent in pride if it means it helps you to secure victory. Likewise you may notice that the other team has somebody whose raw aim and skill with a rifle is causing your own team problems, keep a note of the positions they hold and avoid if possible, or direct your best player to these locations.

There are a few different names and variations of these roles but the principles remain fairly similar. Understanding what they all mean can result in a better understanding of the finer tactics within the game and even make watching professional matches more enjoyable. Remember that you do not have to confine yourself to one role nor should you feel like you aren’t good enough to try what you want. Matchmaking is about learning and developing your skill, you should not shy away from trying a bit of everything. Filling out each of these roles in every game is certainly not a necessity and often not even remotely possible, but simply knowing about each one is unquestionably good general knowledge to have under your belt.

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