October 6, 2020

5 tips to improve your solo queue experience in CS:GO

It’s a Friday night, 9 PM. After a long week of work you decided to stay in for the night and kick back with some good old CS:GO. Excited at the prospect of popping some heads, you open the friend list to find the perfect members to complete your squad. None of them are online, as they all had plans for the evening. Suddenly, a name lights up. It’s Timmy, your Silver Elite Master friend who you met while doing some surfing. You hesitate. PTSD kicks in and you’re reminded of every missed shot, badly thrown grenade and flunked defuse. No, it’s better to just go it by yourself. 

This is just one of many possible scenarios as to why one would decide to jump into a crazy game of CS:GO by himself. However, frequently the decision to be a lone wolf is swiftly followed by regret as you encounter uncooperative teammates, smurfing enemies or toxic behaviour. Before you give in to despair, here are a few things you can do to turn the tide of battle.

Learn your utility

In many cases, players in matchmaking will at least know the basic ways to smoke a site. For example, on the A-site of Mirage, players will usually know how to smoke stairs as it is the easiest of all three, and, if you’re lucky, someone might even know how to smoke off CT. It is usually the jungle smoke which people fail to throw properly as it is the trickiest line-up of the three. But missing this one smoke will put you at a massive disadvantage when entering the site and even this single angle could mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Consequently, if you take it upon yourself to learn the most useful usages of utility on your most frequently played maps, you can fill in the gaps left by your teammates and possibly carry your team to victory by this alone. Moreover, even if you’re the only one throwing utility, doing so will at least increase the odds of successfully taking over or defending a site and turn a close loss into a win.

Stay positive

Without any friends to distract you from last round’s disastrous ending with some banter, it is very easy to spiral into a negative mindset that will only lead to even more mistakes. However, it is important to stay positive! One of the features that sets CS:GO apart from most other competitive games is the fact that the game is divided in rounds. Once the round ends, everything is reset and the game of death starts again. Even if you are down a lot of rounds, keep believing in yourself. If you managed to get a round once, you can do it again.

So, instead of thinking of a match as one long game like most traditional esports titles, think of every round as a new chance to prove yourself and approach the match round by round rather than a continuous battle. For example, once I was down 15 – 6 and we were being dominated towards the end. I just told my team that, even though we would lose, let’s at least try to get as many rounds as we could. Eventually we tied and even won the game in overtime. Simply the fact that we accepted our loss and just decided to tackle the game round by round instead of looking at the overall score was liberating and got us the win. 

Another thing that might help you stay more positive is to disable the scoreboard. It can be very demotivating to be reminded of your own performance every time you open the scoreboard. This wouldn’t be so bad if opening the scoreboard wasn’t so addictive and is often a nervous tic of losing players. You cannot underestimate the psychological effect seeing the scoreboard can have on your performance and turning it off can even make a terrible performance seem a lot less bad.

Callouts 

Whether your teammates refuse to use their mics or are simply premade and talking on an external service, it can be enormously frustrating to get shot in the back because you were missing some crucial information that your teammates failed to give. In this scenario, it is very easy to just accept the disadvantage and stay silent yourself. However, not only will you put your teammates at the same disadvantage they inflicted on you, playing in complete silence will also make it too easy to succumb to frustration. 

Consequently, it is better to stay engaged and keep giving callouts to your teammates. Not only will this increase your teammates’ chances of getting kills, it will also make you stay focused on the game, which in turn keeps you from falling into a dark pit of despair.

Don’t engage in toxicity

Even worse than silent teammates are those that show toxic behavior. Especially when you’re on your own, it will be tempting to respond to toxicity and to try and get the upper hand. However, it is literally never worth it. These arguments cannot be won and will only serve to distract you and your other teammates from the game. Remember, a silent teammate will always be better than a toxic teammate, so the moment anyone shows toxic behavior, just mute them and focus on the game.

This also applies to yourself. Sometimes, when someone is underperforming in a game people will proceed to offer him advice on how he could have played a certain situation once the round is over, or, even worse, engage in backseat gaming and tell that player what to do during the round. Even though your intentions may be pure, they will never achieve the desired results and will often just lead to more frustration and an even worse performance. 

By sticking to these five rules your matchmaking experience should improve drastically. While they might not guarantee a win, these tips maximize your chances of being victorious and, at the very least, they will keep you from losing a game because of your own emotional state or behaviour. In every game, try to be the very best version of yourself you can be. If you have a bad day, don’t worry about it. Cut your losses and come back another day.