CS: GO – AWP Guide


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Today, we are going to discuss tricks and moments you should know when learning how to play as the AWP sniper in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

  • AWP Basics;
  • When to Buy AWP;
  • Two AWP Playstyles;
  • Advanced Techniques;
  • Where to Master AWP.

If you ever played tennis or ping-pong, you should know that Zen feeling of calmness and control at the moment when you serve the ball to start the point play. Leg movements, cut-off and spinning hits and everything melt down at that second: the game tempo is on your palm.

Using the deadliest weapon in Counter-Strike has something in common with serving tennis balls. Both great tennis players and AWP masters combine patience and confidence in their hearts. They rely on thoughtful actions and lightning-fast reflexes at the same time.

AWP is a real instrument of fear that can make you anxious not only when it aims at you but when you try to master it, too. AWP playing is rather a separate CS discipline with its techniques, methods, and hidden riffs, not just another rifle to equip for the round.

AWP Basics

AWP is heavy, lethal and expensive. Its main advantage is the fact it is the only weapon able to kill an enemy with one-shot hit to the body: it is hard to overestimate such possibility in a game where the goal is to eliminate opponents, isn’t it? Though, one bullet is not always enough: hitting the bottom part of the body deals only 85 damage points, just like all possible shots through walls, boxes and corners.

With a great power of AWP, its owner has to accept an equally great responsibility. Whether it is a casual match or a competitive 5 vs 5 clash, this rifle costs $4750. If you know the basics of CS: GO economies well, then you should understand possible consequences: a failed AWP investment can severely strike the budget of your team during upcoming rounds. No other weapon except that “semi-auto sniper rifle” and useless machineguns will influence your financial status that seriously.

Some gameplay aspects of AWP make it irritate newbie players: like its influence on your movement speed, for instance. The player with a knife has 250 movement speed points, USP reduces it to 240, AK-47 gives 215, and AWP presses you down to ridiculous 200 points. You can be slower only with machineguns: they reduce your movement speed to 195 points per second.

AWP has a relatively low rate of fire, and this makes your first shot very, very important. SSG 08, the younger sister of AWP, shoots nearly equally slow, but compensates that with a crazy mobility even when you look through the scope. Like any other CSGO weapon, AWP is very sensitive about movement: to take an accurate shot you need to stand still (we’ll discuss this moment in the “Advanced Techniques” chapter below). Consequently, AWP players have to stand still and hold the certain corner. This obviously turns them into a prey for flash grenades and surrounding group rushes.

Still, AWP has more advantages that disadvantages. It has the best penetration level among all weapons for both shooting through walls (250 out of 300 points) and armor penetration (97.5 out of 100 make the “softening effect” of Kevlar vests almost useless). If you can combine your thinking and movement coordination properly, your shots will possibly blow minds of enemies, teammates and random spectators. Many of them can call you a hacker, and there is nothing more pleasant for any CS: GO player.

When to Buy AWP

If you want to buy AWP in a competitive match, it is worth to do that as only you have the chance and $5750 on a budget. Usually, that is the fourth round of the match. Even if your team loses three rounds in a row without completing any objective and you personally have zero frags, you can earn $6500 (including those startup 800 bucks).

The most effective AWP player will spend some more funds and get grenades. Accounting your spending, the sum would reach nearly $6450:

  • AWP – $4750
  • Helmet and vest – $1000
  • Two flashes and one smoke grenade – $700

Buying an AWP with no armor turns you into a so called “glass cannon”. Consider gigantic risk before doing like that, because you become a slow artillery unit without and defense. Avoid using AWP without a complete armor set: this is the last desperate move usually made when opponents approach their victory.

If your teammate bought an AWP already, think carefully before buying another one for yourself. There are suitable situations for such moves on some maps (2-AWP tactics on Dust 2 is more than good thanks to straight areas in the middle and on A and B sites), but the economic risk is not always worth it. On the other side, you don’t risk anything but fund insufficiency for some upcoming rounds in the casual game mode.

Two AWP Playstyles

Commonly, there are two tactics to use AWP rifles:

  • Passive tactics suppose you to stand still and control certain area of the map hardly;
  • Aggressive tactics are opposite: you move all the time.

Passive tactics work best on corners where there is the possibility to fall back to the solid cover until you reload (B site corner boxes on Dust 2, for instance). Players with this manner should hold only one position while avoiding enemy flashbangs and smokes to guarantee hitting targets as they appear in sight.

In addition, maximal scope zoom usually helps exactly passive snipers. Despite the fact this counters the main AWP rule, the second scope zoom level can increase your chance to hit the armored opponent at a high distance. While in case of closer fights and aggressive playstyle you should avoid using the maximum AWP zoom: it will me much more difficult for you to react to a sudden close threat.

Aggressive AWP players consequently need much more mastery and experience with this rifle. Maximum field of view and information is more important for them than searching enemies and looking through the scope. If that is your style, then you need to make your advances AWP techniques razor-sharp.

Advanced Techniques

When playing as the aggressive sniper, you deny one of the main AWP advantages: map control. You need to know when to “push” corners which are suicidal in any other situation, and to use your weapon almost as a shotgun. It is important to rely on your intuition, tricks and reaction speed to dominate your opponent.

Holding a single corner is very good but this behavior won’t work if your enemy reacts faster than you do. Aggressive AWP behavior supposes much movement and tricks connected to it: for instance, looking behind the corner with crouching or variable speed.

These techniques use the advantage of fast going out from corners in CS: GO. Some of them are about your unexpected appearance from places unsuitable for enemies, but they all are actually based on in-game mechanics.

When using AWP, do not forget about the feature of Source engine: it shifts your camera a bit to the left from the screen center. This means, snipers can see enemies a few moments faster before revealing themselves.

A usual entrance supposes you to quickly strafe out from the corner, zoom the scope and take the shot towards the direction you chose beforehand. The whole trick is one move with a short stop at the moment you shoot. This mechanics lowers your chances to be prefired and provides quite high mobility as for a sniper.

The next trick is complicated by crouching as you show up. This is how you can catch the defense player unready: if they’re experienced enough, they hold their crosshair at the head level. To use this trick, you need to push your “crouch” button as you show up and to aim at the same time. If everything is done right, you are still for a short moment and your sight is aimed towards the required area. Your enemy is likely to be too slow to aim at you correctly before catching your deadly bullet.

This combination of strafing, crouching, aiming and a shot is very important to be mastered by aggressive snipers, because any mistake or rush while using it can influence their accuracy negatively. You need to crouch at the very moment you show up. Not before or after that.

The “quick scope” technique supposes the AWP player to take the shot right after activating the zoom: this gives you additional accuracy if to compare to “no scope” shooting. Just try in yourself. Stop, and then bush right and left mouse buttons quickly one by one.

“No scope” shooting is the art of using the AWP as the world’s biggest pistol. This trick is wonderfully relevant and professional esports players use it from time to time. The reason is simple: no scope shot is usually the best and the only choice when enemies decide to push the sniper head to head. In this situation, you should aim to the body of your opponent, stop and use your muscle memory to wait till the very last moment to cut the angle and the distance before taking the shot.

“Wall shots” obviously are about shooting through walls and other map surfaces. There are many walls only AWP and semi-auto sniper rifles can penetrate, and they all are useful positions for snipers.

Jump shot. This is the rarest and less reliable technique to use. Just like SSG 08, AWP lets you take quite accurate shots while jumping, but it demands you to calculate time perfectly. Nevertheless, if you are able to catch the highest point of your jump and shoot as you reach it, this skill can become your ultimate argument for the overaggressive playstyle.

Where to Master AWP

Theory is useful, but it is senseless if you do not harden your knowledge in action. Before you run to play competitive matches with an AWP enthusiastically, make sure you are actually ready. The defeat is even less pleasant if the reason of your loss was you “gifting” your AWP to enemies.

You can practice and try to feel AWP at any time and place in the game you want. But to save nerves and ranks of your potential teammates, you better keep to the certain study course and increase difficulty gradually as you progress.

The best way to start is to use community maps. There are tens of great training maps under “awp” and “aim” tags available in Steam Workshop. Many of them were created for solo practicing and are highly adjustable: you can change behavior and number of bots, distances, landscapes, equipment, etc. In a word, there you can simulate any possible in-game situation. Don’t forget to type “sv_showimpacts 1” to the console to track your shots.

If you don’t want to play against bots (consider that once more, seriously), then duel maps to train with friends are good to choose them. There are many of such maps, too: special AWP arenas, “1 vs 1” maps, minimalistic and expanded maps. You should use your favorite rifle on most part of them, because real situations are equally variable.

After that, you are ready to meet other people. Public Deathmatch and FFA servers are great to help you workout reaction time and in-game thinking for most situations. Be sure: traditional deathmatch madness will provide you with corner camping snipers, crazy machine gunners, 5 v 1 rushes, enemies coming from 3 different directions and God knows what else. It is difficult to survive conditions of total unpredictability and miscommunication, but that is exactly what you need to sharpen your reflexes.

The next step: casual matches. That is something like a waiting room before real battles: there you can get used to competitive AWP style without too much pressure and responsibility. Here you should pay attention to suitable sniping positions and common opponent routes. Additionally, it will be good to learn how to adjust your behavior to that of your teammates. Yes, teamwork is not the best in casual playing, but it is worth to note at least basic interaction principles there.

Then, enter the competitive mode. Maybe, you shouldn’t take that sniper vacancy at once and use the possibility to practice during warm-up rounds first. But as soon as you feel confident enough with AWP in competitive matches, start using your skills in action with no doubts.

Since that moment, you are the lord of the middle, long or any other position under your control. Careless enemies will fall to your feet, and then become more careful after noticing that AWP in your hands. Even if you did not spot the enemy in your position throughout the whole round, don’t be upset: most probably, opponents were too weak to break your dominance and decided to choose another way. If your team tactics are good, then mates obviously expect foes exactly where they come. Congratulations, your job is done. From now on, you are the excellent AWP player.

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