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While Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a thrilling esports title, it can be daunting for newcomers. But don’t stress, because we’re here to help with our guide to the CS:GO competitive scene!

We’ll explain how a competitive match works in CS:GO, and share the in-game matchmaking ranks so you won’t get called a “silver scrub.” But that’s not all. We’ll also discuss the Active Duty map pool and the unique format of Majors. This kind of knowledge will also help you if you want to start having a go at betting on CS:GO.

CS:GO Competitive Scene: Matches Explained

Valve’s team-based first-person shooter (FPS)—available on Steam—features several gameplay modes for casual players, but only one competitive game mode, Bomb Defusal, is built for esports. Beginners must understand the Bomb Defusal game mode to fully grasp the intricacies of a CS:GO esports match.

The Two Sides

A competitive CS:GO match has two sides: Terrorists (Ts) and Counter-Terrorists (CTs). There are 30 Rounds in regulation time, and teams swap sides halfway through (at 15 Rounds), giving each team a chance to play both Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists. The match goes into overtime if the score is tied 15-15. Double, triple, or even quadruple overtime can occur to break a tie.

The Terrorist side is tasked with planting and defending the bomb, while the Counter-Terrorists must stop the enemy team from planting the bomb by defending the two bomb sites. If the Terrorists manage to plant the bomb, the Counter-Terrorists must defuse it before it explodes. A round is also won if all players on a side are eliminated, and the bomb is either defused or not planted.

In-Game Economy

The in-game economy plays a significant role. Players earn cash to purchase equipment such as Flashbangs, Smokes, and HE grenades. Upon death, a player loses their purchases. You earn cash via kills, completing objectives such as planting or defusing the bomb, and winning a round. Each half starts with a pistol round, and the winning team has an economic advantage in the second and third rounds.

A competitive CS:GO match isn’t just about hitting headshots. Effectively managing the in-game economy can make or break a team’s chances of winning a game.

Unlock CS:GO Ranked Matchmaking

The best way for gamers to learn precisely how a competitive CS:GO match plays out is to compete yourself. While it’s unlikely you’ll join a professional team and play in a significant event, you can always jump into Ranked Matchmaking. This in-game mode offers the same rules as esports tournaments, and you’ll find highly-competitive players aplenty.

To unlock CS:GO’s Ranked Matchmaking, new players must first compete in Casual, Arms Race, Danger Zone, Wingman, Deathmatch, and others to reach level two (2) on your account. From here, you’ll play ten matches (limited to two per day) to unlock your rank, climb the ladder, and increase your skill level!

CS:GO Competitive Scene – All Ranks

  1. Silver I (S1)
  2. Silver 2 CSGO (S2)
  3. Silver III (S3)
  4. Silver IV (S4)
  5. Silver Elite (SE)
  6. Silver Elite Master (SEM)
  7. Gold Nova I (GN1)
  8. Gold Nova II (GN2)
  9. Gold Nova III (GN3)
  10. Gold Nova Master (GNM)
  11. Master Guardian I (MG1)
  12. Master Guardian II (MG2)
  13. Master Guardian Elite (MGE)
  14. Distinguished Master Guardian CSGO (DMG)
  15. Legendary Eagle (LE)
  16. Legendary Eagle Master (LEM CSGO)
  17. Supreme Master First Class (SMFC)
  18. Global Elite CSGO (GE)

No, you don’t have to get to Global Elite to understand competitive CS:GO. Only 0.765% of all Ranked players make it to the highest rank!

CS:GO Esports Active Duty Map Pool

At any given time, CS:GO has seven Active Duty maps. These maps are used in professional tournaments, and beginners should consider learning about each map. The Active Duty map pool does change periodically, with one map replacing another. The latest map in the Active Duty pool is Anubis, which replaced Dust II on Nov. 18, 2022.

Some maps are CT-favored, while others are T-favored. This information is essential to remember when enjoying live CS:GO betting. Check out the list of CS:GO Active Duty maps below:

  • Anubis
  • Ancient
  • Vertigo
  • Nuke
  • Overpass
  • Mirage
  • Inferno

In a pre-match map veto phase, teams can ban the maps they prefer not to play, and pick the maps they feel most comfortable on. Competitive matchmaking also features the Reserve Pool with Dust II, Train, and Cache. These maps will likely rotate back into the Active Duty pool.

How CS:GO Majors Work

CS:GO Majors are the most significant events of the year, and they’re played on LAN in front of a roaring crowd. Valve invites 24 teams to each Major. These teams hail from six regions based on their Regional Major Ranking (RMR) for the period ahead of a Major.

The CS:GO Major tournament format can be a bit confusing for beginners. That’s because there are three stages, and teams have either Contender, Challenger, or Legend status. We’ll explain the CS:GO Major structure below.

Challengers Stage:

  • Teams with the Contender and Challenger status compete.
  • Play follows a 16-team Swiss System format.
  • Advancement and Elimination matches are best-of-three (BO3). All other matches are BO1.
  • The top eight teams proceed to the Legends stage, and the rest are eliminated.

Legends Stage:

  • The eight Legends status teams join the eight teams who made it through the Challengers stage.
  • Play follows a 16-team Swiss System format.
  • Advancement and Elimination matches are BO3. All other matches are BO1.
  • The top eight teams proceed to the Champions stage. The rest of the teams are eliminated.

Champions Stage:

  • The final eight teams compete in a single-elimination bracket.
  • All matches are BO3, including the final.

The exact details for how Counter-Strike 2 Majors will work are currently unknown. We do suspect a similar format to CS:GO, with three stages of competition.

CS:GO Crypto Betting For Beginners

Thunderpick is the best crypto-only esports brand, and we offer fans many options to place bets on CS:GO matches. You’ll find info on events, promotions, and insurance options via our blog. We urge beginners to research, employ an effective betting strategy, and learn how odds work. Our CS: GO esports betting page is overflowing with matches from various events, so don’t miss out! You can also find tips and explanations of all the CS:GO betting intricacies that beginners need to learn in our Top 7 Esports Betting Tips for Beginners.

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