How the economy plays out in CSGO

Here are some thoughts about the general way the economy game plays out in a Counterstrike and the typical thought processes I use to decide what to purchase.

  • You want full buys – all the nades you plan to use, AK/AWP/SG/M4/AUG/Autos so you have the best chance of winning
  • If you cannot afford the best guns you’re at a disadvantage. It’s generally considered best to forfeit a round by ecoing (go 0-1) and then having a full buy you can actually win with. Then you go on to win (16-1). It’s better to eco -> full buy over continuously buying garbage and losing rounds for no gain.
  • On CT side, you may have to eco twice to afford a full buy (because kits, mollys and guns cost more). This is not uncommon or unnatural. Patience can be the right strategy.
  • If you have $3500 you cannot full buy (armour + ak). However you don’t need to fully save to have a full buy next round (depending on your loss bonus, shown on the menu). You could, for instance buy a smoke + flash + tec -9 for ($1000), keep $2500 and have $4500 and enough to fully buy next round. My simple rule is – if I eco, I keep at least $2.5k (likely on 2nd round loss bonus at least)
  • A bomb plant = extra $800 for all your teammates. On an eco round, trying to get the bomb down is a worthy goal and a flash or tiny investment may make itself useful. It’s a reason why T’s dont need to double-eco sometimes but CT’s sometimes do. Sometimes you can get into a cycle of getting the bomb down and losing 1v1 clutches to a CT. In this case, you can sometimes keep forcing as a T side through those losses because you know with 4 dead every round, the CT’s themselves a haemorrhaging money and are on weaker buys themselves despite winning.
  • You can roughly keep track of the CT economy – If they lose 2 in a row then they will have to eco – unless they ever went 5-0 up or something silly. They will potentially eco every other round. You will need to use your brain in game to perfect this general strategy. Sometimes they won’t buy as a team. Sometimes teams will eco – full buy – eco – full buy if they’re Ts and the loss bonus is large enough to support it.
  • After each round, the scoreboard shows how many players survived on the other team. 1 player = team struggling, 2 players = possible full buy (they players drop their weapons for team mates), 3 = full buy.
  • If you go win – lose -win – lose.. keep investing until you break your opponent. Remember CTs have to buy kits and guns cost more. They’re easier to break so sometimes you can correctly predict that 5 Galil’s will outgun your opponents.
  • You want your CT team to have 1 defuse kit on the pistol round
  • Your CT side does not need 5 defuse kits unless you have > $4000. It’s a waste of money as you can pick up defuse kits from your dead teammates. If 2 or 3 teammates have a defuse kit – I’ll save myself $400 typically.
  • Always spend as much money as possible during the first round – it pays for itself in terms of momentum because you can enter the second round with more cash than your opponent. Either defuse kit / flash / smoke + gun or armour.
  • On the second round saving or force buying are both perfectly acceptable decisions
  • Always buy with your team. Two full buy players + Two eco players = weak team = might as well have saved, in theory.
  • The 3rd round is typically the first gun round – when both teams both have a full buy. It’s important. The losing team typically saves and buys in the 5th then 7th before giving up and just forcing until the score is balanced or the half ends (in my experience). The concept of a “full gun round” (where both teams have a full buy) is something that comes up a lot in pro games. The idea that those are the rounds that matter and that build momentum through the rounds. The rounds that are 50/50. The force buys and the ecos are considered the “throw away rounds” or the times when casters can talk go off-topic as they heavily favour a single team.
  • If you win the pistol and buy SMGs for the second round and win again.. you can choose what to do for the third round. Either replace them with full buy weapons for this 3rd round “first gun round” or keep the cheap you shit you have, buy nothing and risk the loss. This is called the “bonus round”. You may lose the round but you can full buy in the 4th and it costs you nothing to try your luck so it’s a good strategy. or you could win and keep smgs in a continual “bonus round” set until your opponents rage quit.
  • If you can full buy, you normally should, unless you are very confident the team is on an eco, or you have a specific strategy in mind. I wouldn’t throw an AK away but if you died and your team won, and now you think they’re ecoing… I’ll often choose an SMG and treat it like the 2nd round. I also get to play more aggressive too because dying doesn’t give them an effective weapon against your teammates.
  • Sometimes your economy drifts away from your team. For example, you’re an A defender and they hit A 5 times in a row, each time killing you, but losing the retake. Your team should drop over their retained weapons if possible to help balance everyone’s economy as a team.
  • Buy for your team if you can. You want the team to have the best chance of winning, not yourself personally.
  • Never buy a gun without armour. The only exceptions are AWPs and pistols.
  • By saving instead of retaking you can give yourselves a better chance of winning the following round.
  • By just getting exit kills you can steal a good weapon for the following round or make your opponents economy harder.
  • If every player on your team have $5k in the bank.. there’s no reason to believe saving is necessary (..somewhat theoretically..). A 1v4 might still be worth it.
  • Don’t eco, or save on the last round of the half.
  • Don’t eco when the opponent is on 15 rounds.
  • Don’t eco if you have no armour or weapon to save.
  • Don’t buy utility you aren’t going to use. If the team call a rush B and you’re going in first, are you really expecting to survive?
  • Sometimes it’s a good idea to throw weapons out of the map to prevent the opponents rescuing them.
  • Buying your team’s AWPer a pistol can help keep all your balances aligned, especially as it takes them longer to get to their full buy.
  • Personally, I’d advise Silvers against over-ecoing for AWPs and Scars and instead just encourage them to learn how to use the AK and M4 effectively.
  • At the end of the round, you should normally rescue the most expensive weapon from the floor to save your teammates some money.
  • After a successful retake it can be worth delaying the defuse until your teammates have a chance to rescue the best weapons from the floor.

You need to think about the scenarios that make these rules useful and apply them using your brain. There will be exceptions, and you will win, with and against, ecos – Those throw the money balance into chaos. As you play more you’ll get a natural feel for the opponents economy and you’ll see some of these rules are just general guides. Confidence plays a factor in your buys too (e.g if you’ve previously beaten them on an eco). Learn by playing. There are no hard and fast rules to memorise, merely choices to make. Play and enjoy!