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CSGO Esports

The Evolution of CS:GO’s Metagame

As the years have gone on, the way we play CS:GO has changed drastically. Different changes to guns, along with an ever-changing map pool, has caused teams to adapt. Here are the major turning points within the fluid metagame.

The Hard Lurk


The style first brought to fame by the Ninjas in Pyjamas includes having a lurker on one side of the map as the rest of the team pushes the opposite bombsite. Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, with his famous backstabs, won the Ninjas many a Terrorist round. Another key detail is that in the early part of his CS:GO career, GeT_RiGhT had a 50% win rate in 1v2 scenarios, an absolutely bonkers figure that helped the Ninjas soar to 87-0 on LAN.

The success of the Ninjas early on led other teams to adapt this style. Vincent “Happy” Cervoni Schopenhauer’s EnVyUs was one such team. However, Happy was not able to achieve the level of perfection GeT_RiGhT had at playing the lurker role. This caused a lot of scenarios in which his timing was off, leading to lost rounds. No top level teams in the current era of Counter-Strike play with this style, but for the first few years, it was highly effective.



It took a long time before people adapted to the new grenade after CS:GO’s release, but as teams started to realize all the different uses on both sides, the Molotov quickly caught fire. The Molotov is now widely considered to be an extremely important grenade.

In terms of its early adopters, surprisingly the NA scene saw some of the first; Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen was one specific praiser of the Molotov very early on. North American Counter-Strike is most famous for loading up with aimers and ignoring tactics, but made a big breakthrough with the Molotov. However, the top European teams were the first to get the most out of it. The Molotov has forever changed the metagame on the offensive side, and will most likely be used throughout all of CS:GO unless Valve should decide to weaken its effect.



The second round force-buy happens in almost every single professional match you watch in the current state of the game. The Frenchmen, more specifically Titan and LDLC, were the early adopters of this idea. With such little risk, and a high potential reward, the CZ-75 buys effectively broke the CS:GO metagame. Team LDLC and Fnatic, who were most known for these CZ and armor buys in 2014, dominated all other teams. No round was safe when facing against these two star-studded teams. The rise of guns such as the Tec-9, Five Seven, and P250 have filled the void left by the nerfed CZ; in the current era with all of these insanely talented teams, it has become almost uncommon to see a second round won by the team who won the pistol.

Submachine Guns


On the 31st of March 2015, CS:GO received an update that changed the anti-eco metagame forever. The submachine guns became relevant, and teams such as EnVyUs started abusing the guns right away.

Submachine guns are perfect for anti-eco scenarios, with good damage output, fire rate, movement speed, and accuracy. The SMGs used early on were mostly the Mac-10 and MP9, although, the recent discovery of the UMP-45’s power has led to the metagame breaking yet again. The gun was shown to be so good, teams like SK, would use the UMP on gun rounds. Teams such as Ninjas in Pyjamas pushed for an MP7 revolution in 2015, but this never came to life, due to the high cost of the weapon.

Tactics trump Skill


In SK Gaming’s era, we finally saw a team with a tactical system dominate for an extended period of time. SK won two majors, in a weakened era albeit, but back to back majors is no joke. Following the SK Gaming era, and flying past the uncertainty era to what is now referred to as the parity era, the Danish powerhouse who have found a way to dominate, Astralis, also has a proper tactical system. Skill based teams like Fnatic dominated for two years, the tactical teams now have their chance to dominate.


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