What Every New CS2 Player Needs to Know About the Unwritten Competitive Matchmaking Rules

Seriously, this is bound to be helpful to every newcomer.

Counter-Strike is a game that basically every gamer knows of, and it has gone through so much in the past (almost) quarter of a century; there’s an entire culture around the game that keeps developing. Many devs have tried to clone or emulate Counter-Strike, but none have succeeded, and you could say that Counter-Strike has a cult following.

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However, the competitive matchmaking that was introduced in the CS2 era has definitely set some written and unwritten rules. Written rules are the ones you see in-game and unwritten (or rather, unspoken) ones… well, we’re about to make them written here, which kind of makes the title of this article redundant, right? Anyway, all jokes aside, here’s what you as a new player in competitive matchmaking should know before diving in, and let’s face it, you’ll be expected to know about this anyway since the community of CS2 is tough and unforgiving – it’s their ranking at stake, after all.

What Should You Know Before Starting Out in Competitive Matchmaking in CS2

This article has a lot to read, but I still feel it’s more efficient if you possess this handbook rather than going the old-fashioned trial-and-error way like some sort of Wile E. Coyote.

Top 20 Unspoken and Unwritten Rules of CS2 Competitive Matchmaking

For this article, we’ve gathered the Top 20 most important unspoken and unwritten rules of CS2 competitive matchmaking.

1. Drop Weapons After Halftime / Match End (GL GH GG)

You have probably witnessed players tossing away their weapons as they are frozen at halftime and the end of the match. This is related to the Default key bind for weapon drop, which is “G,” thus forming a “GG” when you tap the button twice (and have your rifle and pistol dropped while doing so).

In short:

  1. GL = Good Luck (pre-match)
  2. GH = Good Half (half-time)
  3. GG = Good Game (after the match)

2. Alms for the Poor?

When a teammate is crouching during Freeze Time, looking at you, and even nodding, you are expected to drop a weapon for them. Usually, you are chosen because you have the most money AND are geared already.

3. Mind the C4

I mean, it’s not going to explode in your hands or on your back. It needs to be planted, and the timer will run out. Tossing a C4 randomly at the spawn or mindlessly rushing head-first with the C4, alone in an uncontrolled area filled with CTs with C4, are equally detrimental to your chances of winning the round. If you toss a C4 to someone during freeze time and they toss it back to you, don’t “hot potato” it back to them. They’ll toss it somewhere random out of spite and waste more time for the team. If someone doesn’t want the responsibility you are asking them to take, they don’t want it; they have other plans. Here’s a radar guide that will help you see C4 better so that you never forget it:

Related: CS2 Radar Settings Guide: Best Radar Settings in CS2

4. Don’t Steal Aces

So it’s 3v1, and one of your teammates has already killed four enemies. Let them have the fifth kill (ACE). This goes for MOBA games as well.

5. Defuse Priority

If someone has made a lot of effort during a site retake, let them defuse the bomb and gain a few hundred dollars more; they deserve it. Alternatively, let the person with the defuser do it. After all, they invested money into a defuse kit, and you haven’t.

Also, be mindful of the time. If the time is short, just have the defuse kit player do the task, especially with live Ts around.

6. “Shut Up, I’m Clutching”

If a teammate is in a 1v2, 1v3, or a worse situation, you shouldn’t disturb them in the voice chat. You had your chance to pass all the info you were supposed to – now don’t bother them; let them hear things around them unless it’s *extremely* important.

Related: How to Get Out of Silver Ranks in CS2

7. Utilize Your Spawn Position

Here are some examples:

  • If you’re on the T side and the team is spawned close to A, you probably won’t go B.
  • If you’re first in line, you are expected to be the first to try to get an early peek at a CT.
  • You are expected to toss flashbangs if you’re second in line and it’s a rush.
  • If you’re the last in line, watch other people’s backs, and deploy utilities, such as smoke grenades.

8. “Don’t Stop” Doesn’t Mean “Stop By All Means Necessary and Become an Immovable Object”

If it’s a “rush, don’t stop” strategy, you really don’t stop. If your eyes are flashed, your nose is full of smoke, your boots are melting from the molly, and your body has a few bullets in it, you don’t stop.

If you’re first in the line and you die, you at least provided some space for your teammates to try and execute this strategy.

9. Peaceful Coexistence Over (Autonoob)

“You Break the Auto Ice, You Pay the Auto Price” is a saying that has a long tradition in the CS2 community.

You just… Don’t buy the auto sniper. Don’t even think about it. Whenever someone does this, literally everybody follows up on the next round, and the match becomes cancerous, to say the least.

10. Check Rifle/AWP Count Before Buying Your Stuff

Two AWPs per team are enough. Don’t break the balance and buy a third or even a fourth. It ruins the flexibility of the team, and the opponents will punish this.

11. As CT, Grab the AK at the End of the Round

No questions asked. AK is better than M4 and is the best Assault Rifle in the game.

Also, bonus, as CT, there’s no need to buy a Helmet when it’s a bit later in the half. Why? Because a headshot from AK kills you whether you have a helmet or not.

12. Microphone Rules

It’s rather simple:

  • Have push-to-talk on.
  • Do not play with your speakers (use headphones) or have music in your room because that sound WILL loop right back into the microphone; people will get upset and mute or kick you.
  • No need to rant about a lucky kill as it happens against you, report information about the position and the number of enemies, and leave the rants for the period between the end of the current round and the beginning of the next.
  • Do not play without a microphone.
  • If someone is playing without a microphone and you die, try to spectate them and make callouts for them (in a meme sense, it’s really an unspoken rule).
  • No need to argue with people; it only ruins the situation further.
  • “NT” or Nice Try, after someone tried their best to clutch the round, goes a long way.

13. Don’t BM Your Low Performer

The person at the bottom of the scoreboard? Next time, it could be you. Do you think they don’t know that they are performing badly in this match? Do you think they won’t just start to intentionally throw the game just to end it as fast as possible if you’re throwing heat (or something that vaguely rhymes with heat) their way? The same goes for MOBA games. You may not see some people you match with ever again, but it’s still important to maintain some constructive positivity level.

14. 1v1 Knife Fights

This dates back to the first Counter-Strike, where there was an audible sound when you hit the wall with a knife. It’s also audible right now, but you could hear the wall slashing from miles away in the good ol’ days.

In a 1v1 situation, one of the two last players in the round slashes a knife a couple of times to “ask” for a knife duel. If the other player in this round agrees, they will also slash the wall a couple of times.

An extension of this unwritten rule is that both players should publicly drop their weapons.

At any rate, some people take the fun out of everything, so expect to get shot a few times while trying to enact a knife combat for the round.

15. Don’t Re-peek Against an AWP Player Who Just Missed You

The odds are they won’t make the same mistake again.

16. Don’t Run Behind Somebody Who is Sneaking

You don’t want that one Lord of the Rings scene re-enacted. You know which one I’m talking about. Stealth is a factor in this game, so be mindful of what people are doing.

17. Never AFK

People depend on you. It’s a competitive setting, after all. I do not feel I need to explain this further. It’s your duty to be fully available during the duration of the Competitive Match. Play a short match mode or something else if you don’t have the time or just don’t play at all.

Sub-rule: Knife the AFK-er for $1500

18. As a T, Do Not Die After The Round Ends.

You either save or you want to be a hero. Saving and then becoming a fallen hero brings nothing good. If you “save” as a T, you get $0, so it’s not good to die in the last five or so seconds before the new round starts.

19. 11-4 Is the Most Dangerous Score

Similar to a soccer score of 2:0, 11-4 is considered a dangerous half-time score in CS2 competitive matchmaking. You relax too much, lose the pistol round, then you’ll be like, “We can afford to eco two rounds,” so the scoreline moves to 11-7, and then you lose again with full gear, and here you are, at 11-8, having to save once again, losing another one, and what’s that? You’re nearly tied? It’s 11-9 already? Noooo pressure at all. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy?

Related: How to Most Efficiently Rank-up in CS2 Competitive Matchmaking

20. Bogdan’s Law

If a team member has very little health (in the red zone), the team member should be given an AWP on-the-fly. The explanation is pretty simple:

If you are holding an angle with an AWP, it will either be a kill on sight or a miss. This reduces the time the opponent has to react to seeing you. If you are holding an angle with an M4 or AK, you will start shooting, and if you don’t hit an immediate headshot, you will be susceptible to that one stray bullet in your knee which will sideline you from being a journeyman. Glass Cannon much?

Bonus: Don’t Cheat

It just ruins games for people, and you accomplish nothing other than temporary satisfaction via a victory that’s not yours; a machine played it out for you.

That’s all for this lengthy guide. I hope you enjoyed it and that it will improve your game. If you got a Game or VAC ban you may want to learn how to remove a VAC or Game ban from your Steam account.

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Nikola L
Nikola has been a Staff Writer at Prima Games since May 2022. He has been gaming since being able to hold an Amiga 500 joystick on his own, back in the early 90s (when gaming was really good!). Nikola has helped organize dozens of gaming events and tournaments and has been professionally attached to gaming since 2009.