Escaping Silver Hell: How to Rank Up in CS:GO

Ranking up is difficult, but with this guide, you'll finally be able to dust off your boots and escape Silver Hell in CS:GO.

Ranking up in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is not easy. The sheer amount of ranked players makes climbing the skill ladder an arduous task that not everyone can do. At the bottom of the ranking tier lie the Silver ranks, primarily reserved for those who are new to the game or just want to play around. Because of this, many Counter-Strike players like to make fun of players in this tier. However, there is nothing wrong with being in the Silver ranks. It is much more important to enjoy the game than to be at any certain rank.

But for those who do want to rank up, you must keep in mind that it will take some time to escape the hell that is Silver ranks. Not only must your skills improve, but each game can be radically different, especially at the Silver level. Players can be unpredictable and surprise you by implementing unconventional strategies.

Luckily, this guide wil give you important tips on how to win matches and rank up faster. Here is how to escape Silver Hell.

Different ranks in CS:GO

Before You Play Silver Ranks in CS:GO

The biggest tip that will improve your performance is to play with friends. It is not only more fun, but it also makes teamwork and strategy much easier. If you don't have friends who play CS:GO, find nice players and queue with them. Solo queuing makes winning matches much harder, as you are dealing with random people. Always play with friends if you can.

Optimizing your settings will likely be the quickest way to improve your individual play. Make sure your sensitivity is low enough to make micro-adjustments, as headshots are essential for quick kills. You will also want to pick a custom crosshair because the standard crosshair is unhelpful at best. 

Key bindings can also be changed if you need easier access to certain commands, such as using the mic. All of these settings changes should be made to improve your playstyle, so do not change your settings unnecessarily. The WarOwl,CS:GO YouTube channel, has a more in-depth tutorial on mouse settings.

Play to Carry in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

When going into matches, you should be playing in a way that pushes your team to victory. This is known as carrying, and it is not about getting kills. To carry, you must play to win rounds. It doesn't matter how many kills you get as long as you are winning rounds. You must be a team player to carry.

To actually carry your team, you must customize your playstyle around the needs of the team. If your team cannot take bomb sites, for example, you must take those sites by yourself. Most people who claim they are carrying get unneeded kills and don't actually win the round. You may not get a lot of kills when taking a bomb site, but you are winning rounds for your teammates.

 a typical screenshot from a game of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The only time kills truly matter is when you are clutching, which is when you are going against multiple opponents, usually as the last player alive. This can be incredibly important in winning rounds that otherwise would be lost. These situations are really difficult and you may not always win them.

To properly clutch, you must divide the enemy and engage in 1v1's. Since you are in the Silver ranks, players will not be as coordinated, making it easier to divide them. Use smoke grenades, flash bangs, and other utilities to divide players and control the situation. You will need to control your engagements, as you are at the disadvantage, but never fight a fair fight. Take whatever advantage you have and use it to win. This is true for all combat engagements, but especially true for clutching.

a CS:GO map with an old Soviet hammer and sickle

Specialize in a Few Maps in CS:GO

For an easier time carrying and clutching, specialize in a few maps and learn them well. Dust 2 and Cache are both great maps for new players, as they have simple layouts. When learning these maps, learn important smokes needed to take and hold bomb sites. On Dust 2 for example, a Mid smoke is essential for taking Catwalk. If you have these smokes learned, taking sites will become much easier.

As you specialize, learn what positions you like to play. When carrying, you want to play in a spot in which you can aid your team the most. For Cache, playing Mid allows you to maintain Mid control while being able to rotate quickly around the map. Even if a bombsite is weak, you can move to defend or retake it.

Map knowledge will also allow you to navigate individual engagements much more easily. When people talk about good crosshair placement, they are talking about putting aiming where an enemy's head might be. With knowledge of how the map is played, you can aim at common angles to get an easy kill.

Aiming at an enemy across the map in Counter Strike Global Offensive

Fight Well in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Individual combat is fast and challenging in CS:GO. Movement greatly decreases accuracy, and it is very easy to get killed. To carry, you must have the ability to actually get kills. Again, you must never fight a fair fight. While there are many individual aspects to fighting in CS:GO, there are a few key aspects essential for victory.

First of all, you should not move while shooting, as it makes you incredibly inaccurate. The exceptions to this are when firing pistols and SMGs, which rely on running and gunning. When shooting rifles, you should always stop before taking a shot, as this will make your shots much more accurate. Note that shooting while jumping or while on ladders has the same effect. To properly shoot, make sure you aren't moving.

Positioning also comes into major play, especially if your point-and-click aim is poor. A good practice to stand by is to never stand out in the open. Always use cover to make yourself harder to hit. Also, try to only be visible to the one you are shooting at. If the enemy can have multiple players fight you at the same time, you're dead. This tip will keep you alive and able to carry.

side profile of a CS:GO player holding a rifle with pink highlights

Playing as a Counter Terrorist

On the Counter Terrorist (CT) side, you focus on defending the bomb sites. These next few tips will focus on playing specifically for the CT side and its challenges.

Beginning the half will be the pistol round. This is considered one of the most important rounds, as it sets the economic status of the next few rounds. You will want to maintain distance, as both starting pistols are incredibly accurate and can one-shot kill to the head. The Terrorist Glocks are inaccurate, leading to them trying to close the distance when fighting.

If you win the pistol round, play carefully with SMGs and rifles, and continue to hold positions. Do not push, as the Terrorists will be on an Eco round in which they don't have money to buy weapons. They will want to take your gun and use it against your teammates. Do not let that happen.

Two players working as a team in CS:GO

If you lose the pistol round, try to save your money for the fourth round, where you can buy real guns. You can buy pistols, but only if you have the expendable money. Try to surprise the Terrorists and take their guns. If you can save a few guns on an Eco round, that is considered a win and will make the gun rounds much easier.

Soon, you will end up in gun rounds where both sides have the money to buy rifles. AKs are the default Terrorist rifles and offer a one-shot kill to the head, regardless of whether or not the target has a helmet. If you can, take any AK you find because it will make combat much easier. Again, your goal will be to hold bombsites and retake them when necessary. Be careful, as playing recklessly will cost you the round.

screen showing player loadouts and economies in CS:GO

Playing as a Terrorist

Now you are on the offensive. You must plant the bomb on the bomb site and defend it until it explodes. Combat is much more aggressive, but you must remain careful. You will focus primarily on dividing the CTs and taking a bomb site. When doing anything, protect the bomb. If you lose bomb control, that round has become nearly twice as difficult.

On pistol round, you will need to close the distance and overwhelm the CTs. Try to go as a group and avoid long-distance engagements. When taking a site, clear as the bomb carrier plants the bomb. While defending against retakes, either take a CT's pistol or hold close angles that take advantage of your abundance of ammo.

reloading a pistol in CS:GO

If you win the pistol round, you must be careful. Take sites carefully, as CTs like to hide and surprise the enemy when they think they're safe. Also, be aware of a push in which CTs get aggressive. Maintain distance, and clear the sites methodically and carefully.

If you lose, you will want to try to get a bomb plant in order to gain money. To get kills or a plant, you will need to surprise or overwhelm the CTs. Again, close the distance, as the Tec-9 is really dangerous in a rush.

On gun rounds, use your AK-47 and carefully take engagements. Punish CTs who are overly aggressive by killing them and taking the map control they had. Divide the CTs through smokes or combat, then take a bomb site. As you carry, you will likely have to get the first kill when taking a bomb site. Try to get those 1v1's and catch players unaware. Take the bombsite and win the round.

two players climb a large wooden crate while the other two keep watch in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Working With Other People

CS:GO is a team-based game and requires communication. Get and use a microphone. You will need to be able to communicate where the enemy is located. Always work as a team and be friendly to all you play with. Some people will be jerks, but you have to work with them. If you are helpful to the team, most people will work with you.

Specifically in regards to using your mic, only use it to call enemy positions or suggest a strategy. Do not critique or comment on a player's ability. People are not going to kindly take criticism from someone they don't even know. Mic spamming will just lead to you being muted -- and you won't be able to communicate with players. Teamwork is essential to winning in CS:GO.


These tips and guidelines should help you rank up much faster in CS:GO. Remember that this game is supposed to be fun, and if it's not, stop playing it. Your time is more valuable than a rank in a video game. Good luck, and have fun ranking up in your future Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches!

Note: Images unless otherwise stated are from Steam

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Published Mar. 23rd 2018

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