You’re the last surviving player in your team, alone on a huge map. Enemies are hiding somewhere and they are waiting for you, but you know that your whole team relies on you. You concentrate, listening to every little sound, keeping an eye on your crosshair: one down, two down, three down… And you’re already defusing the bomb. It is after this moment your heart starts racing as the adrenaline kicks in.
That’s what a player who just won a clutch feels. The most stunning and intense moments that truly show any player’s skill and ability. How to keep your nerves in check, not to panic and win a clutch in CS:GO? Here’s some advice:
What’s a clutch?
We won’t talk much about the meaning of a word, you probably already know what it is. If you won a round by yourself against one or several opponents means you’ve won a clutch. We’ll talk about psychology.
Clutch is a mind game against your enemy. It’s a sum total of a player's intuition, game knowledge, aim and bunch of other skills that can only be learned only with years of practice. It is the knowledge of map’s positions and how to efficiently navigate it. Going backwards and stopping at every corner definitely will be detrimental during the clutch.
Clutch is also an ability to handle your nerves. Whoever’s calmer wins. That’s why for a skilled player clutch is akin to gambling with only cold calculations in their mind. There’s only hunter’s instinct and anticipation of victory. Some may even forget to breathe. All the feelings will rush later and what feelings these are!
Main factors for winning a clutch
• Gathering information. The more you know about your enemy, the easier it is to win a clutch. You have to keep in mind their location during your teammates’ death and also positions they may move to after that. And also that’s when “mental math” comes in. You should be able to guess where your enemies may be in 10, 20, 30 seconds. And this is one of the skills that can only be earned with practice.
• Using time and timings for your advantage. If you know how and where your enemy moves, you understand that he may have, for example, 16 seconds to get to point B but he won’t get there in time. You need to keep every second in mind and calculate how much time you have. What if the enemy already planted the bomb? You shouldn’t just sit and wait for him to come for 20 seconds. If he won’t come, you won’t have enough time to check all the positions and defuse the bomb. But you shouldn’t rush either. That’s why understanding time and timings is a crucial skill in CS:GO.
• Picking position. Clutch player has to know the safest way for him to check the corners. You must never be at open spaces that can be shot at from different directions. There’s a concept of “hugging the walls” in CS:GO - walking along the wall so at least one direction is always safe. You should never attack 2 enemies at once, so be careful with your movements and try to pick a direction that will allow you to take out your enemies one at a time.
• Plant the bomb correctly. First, you must know all possible locations for planting the bomb, even the most obscure ones. Always keep in mind where the bomb is so you can stop an enemy from defusing it even during a smoke. Second, you should plant the bomb in a position that you’re planning to defend. Third, remember that “second” isn’t mandatory. For example, after planting under a pit you may go to an opposite corner. Your enemy will assume that you’re in a pit, meanwhile, you may go around and win a round. That’s “next level play” though, so don’t worry too much if you’re not doing it.
• Keep your hands away from grenades. Skilled clutcher always tries to stay undetected. The moment a grenade leaves your hands, your position will become known to an enemy. During a non 1v1 situation that as well may be considered a loss. Enemy’s lack of information on you is your biggest strength, so you shouldn’t give it up easily. There are some situations where it’s justified to use a grenade: smoking a bomb for a defuse, killing a low health enemy if you definitely know his location and that he’s low or as a fake smoke to lure an enemy away from your actual location.
• Deceive your enemy. While playing as an attacking team, make your enemy run around in circles on a plant, wasting his precious time. As a defence, smoke positions that are safe from the enemy. Let him think that it’s the direction you’re expecting him from, that may make him play recklessly. Don’t be too hasty if you see your enemy trying to sneak up on you. Wait until the moment you’re absolutely sure you won’t miss.