Do you remember a moment when your teammates yell something like “Don’t peek!!!” in voice chat during the clutch? And here you are with two options: either to do something unexpected for your opponent, peek and kill him, or play it safe and waste the information you have on him. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but aggressive play can bear its fruits. What peeking in CS:GO even is and why do you need to know about it? Let’s find out.
What 'to peek' means in CS:GO ?
In English, 'to peek' means a to look quickly or furtively. But be careful, it’s peek we’re talking about, not pick, pik or peak as you might have seen some players in matchmaking say.
A 'peek' in CS:GO means to take a look around the corner from cover. It means to quickly find your opponent, kill him or just get any information about him. As we know full well, everything is decided in mere moments in CS:GO, that’s why any peek can be fatal for the player who decided to take a look around. It is an aggressive move that can turn any round upside down.
There are several reasons for peeking in CS:GO:
- Gathering information. In this case, the player quickly gets around the corner to take a look. That’s an extremely important skill during the game. You can’t hide behind some cover for the whole round without trying to help your teammates in one way or another. The more information you provide, the easier it will be to win a round.
- Killing an opponent. In this case, the player has a general idea of his opponent’s position and decides to go for the kill. It is very risky, but a necessary move in CS:GO. You simply won’t win a lot of games if you don’t peek. The player has to have nerves of steel and a good aim, but you probably already know that if you play CS:GO.
- Combo peek. This skill separates the most veteran players from the rest. In the short time peeking out of the corner, the player has to both find an enemy and kill him. For this you have to know and practice default player positions. You have to figure out where your opponent might be beforehand, get out of hiding and fire at him. You’ll have about one second to do all that.
While in theory it might sound simple, most people don’t know how to peek efficiently. There are several peeking techniques that can be used depending on a situation. We’ll cover all of them, but first we should figure out why we even need them. Why would you gather information and look out for your opponents, if they’ll come to you instead, while you camp some corner for two minutes straight? The saddest part is that’s what even some attacking team players might think sometimes.
What are the advantages of “peek” and peeking player in CS:GO?
Let’s talk about psychology first. Players who don’t care about learning how to peek usually assume the “rat” playstyle. They almost don’t move around the map, don’t look for possible entry frags, don’t trade their teammates and prefer to wait for the enemy to walk into their crosshair. The main issue with this approach is that the enemy may not walk into their crosshair at all and he may just go around the position this person’s holding. Another issue is that nobody’s aim is perfect even if the enemy manages to walk right onto you.
Person sitting on the same position can “doze off”. What that means is you can easily lose focus while watching at the same place for a longer period of time. In that case you may miss the enemy coming right at you. That’s why a lot of players are constantly strafing instead of idly sitting.
Another thing is that the “rat” who was killed on the same position a couple of times starts to get nervous, becomes afraid of holding important positions and runs away from the slightest danger. That’s why by aggressively playing around the map and peeking the enemy correctly you’ll defeat your opponent in psychological warfare and you’ll have more room to move around the map.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s only natural when you learn. In time, you’ll remember the basics of the game on the mechanical level and become really effective at peeking in CS:GO. If you want some advice on how well you’re doing, come to SCOPE.GG, log in via either Steam or Faceit and check what mistakes you made in your games. Website’s built-in systems will analyse all of your mistakes and will give you some advice on how to avoid them in the future.
Now let’s talk about the mechanics. There’s a concept of dynamics in CS:GO. That’s the word describing a player's movement. Whenever somebody is doing something while moving instead of just standing in place, that means the player is dynamic. That’s when the player is focused and his opponent is less likely to move in front of him unnoticed. It’s more difficult to shoot while moving, so you’ll have to learn how to strafe properly and practice stopping for a moment to take a shot, but at the same time hitting you will also be much harder.
Dynamic player always has a small advantage over the one who’s just sitting and waiting. He always aims at the most dangerous positions beforehand and is ready to get a frag.
Now it’s time to talk about maths. The peeking player’s advantage is not only psychology and his skill, but also the game’s netcode. Reddit users disassembled CS:GO into the smallest bits a long time ago. They found out that the game has a forecast system.
To keep it simple, you probably already know that all player’s actions are processed by the game’s client first and then are sent to the server. If it wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t be able to shoot due to everyone having a different ping and the shooting wouldn’t start until the server’s response. That’s why the server makes some adjustments depending on your ping, trying to balance the game for everyone to be in the same condition. Due to this, players with high and low ping see each other at the same time.
The one deviation in this mechanic is that the server is trying to show you whatever it sees itself. By sending the picture to a person with higher ping a little bit earlier, it allows the lagging dynamic player to see his opponent first.
Both screenshots were made at the same time. As you can see, the attacking player is able to peek the camping Counter-Terrorist due to seeing him first. The server is trying to compensate for the higher ping of one of the players and forecasts the picture to him a little bit earlier.
It’s important to note that the lesser the ping difference between players or if the ping is low in general (for example in LAN match), the lesser will so-called peeker’s advantage be. Server has to compensate for a much lesser amount of variables and the forecast becomes so small that it almost can not be noticed by the human eye.
There still are arguments on Reddit about the existence of this peeker’s advantage. Anyway, if there’s a chance that the advantage exists, why wouldn’t you exploit it? As we’ve already said, aggressive peeks won’t only raise your confidence and make your enemy be afraid of every shadow, but it may also turn any game upside down in your favour.
How to properly peek in CS:GO?
Now let’s take a look at peeking techniques in CS:GO. As we’ve already said, there are several of those, you should use them depending on a situation and your personal level of skill. It’s obvious that a new player won’t be able to snipe his enemy in half a second after peeking from behind the wall.
Here’s a video explaining how professional players peek. Pay close attention to how the players move.
How to fast peek in CS:GO?
The first one is the fast peek. It means doing a small strafe out of the wall, usually this peek lasts less than a second. In general, it won’t be enough for your enemy to react and kill you. You can see what is fast peek and how it works in this video here:
Fast peek can be divided into two categories. The first one is a quick shoulder peek. It means that you do a short strafe near the corner, but you don’t entirely get out of cover. You show your shoulder for a moment and retreat back. Why would you do that? To find out whether or not an enemy sniper is looking at you. You can always assume that he’s completely focused and will immediately react and shoot at any pixel that enters his line of sight, but he’s very likely to miss.
Considering that it takes two seconds for a sniper rifle to reload, your next strafe might be lethal for him. So, the reason for this fast peek is to bait the enemy AWP to shoot, leaving you free to push him away from his position.
The second category is entirely getting out of cover. This peek can be used in two situations. First, to find out if the enemy is in the position you supposed he’ll be. For example, on the Mirage connector. You aim at the predicted position beforehand, do a quick strafe out of hiding and back. This should be enough to understand if the enemy is there.
The second situation is using the short strafe to peek and kill an enemy. You might’ve already seen this covered in the video above. Short strafe peek is really effective against an enemy with superior weapons to yours. Even if you know that there’s more than one enemy, quickly shooting a couple of bullets and getting rid of one enemy will give you a significant advantage for a round.
Another feature of fast peek in CS:GO is prefire. That means shooting at the enemy immediately after getting out of cover. It can work both against an enemy with a known position or just a predicted one. In both cases you have an advantage of being the first one to shoot, all that is left is not to lose this advantage with poor aiming skills.
Pros of the fast peek:
- Works great against enemy snipers.
- Helps you to gather information.
- Allows you to catch your enemy unaware, get a kill and retreat back to safety.
Here’s a small lifehack for you: fast peek works best with a light-weight weapon. The quicker you move, the harder it’ll be for your enemy to react and land a shot on you. That makes AWP and other heavy rifles not the greatest choice for a job, but it is still possible if you accelerate a bit before peeking. That will definitely require some practice and experience in CS:GO.
How to wide peek in CS:GO?
Peeking with a wide strafe is a “next level” skill in CS:GO that can only be acquired with practice and time. Intuitively players are afraid to openly advance on their enemies, that’s why the short strafes, or fast peeks we’ve discussed previously, are the prevalent in skirmishes. The downside of it is that the veteran player with good reaction time is hard to outplay with a move like that.
Imagine a situation when you need to push for a key position on a map, but the enemy already has every entrance to it under control. What can you do in this situation? Short strafe against enemy sniper can fail. That’s the perfect time to ask a teammate for assistance. One of you can advance by wide strafing, meaning moving out of cover by 2-3 character player’s models. In theory and psychologically it may sound like a certain death.
The truth is, it’s not. While you take 3-4 steps to the side, the enemy will try to shoot and is likely to miss a moving target. Meanwhile, your teammate short strafes out of cover and secures a kill. It’s done, you’ve done great!
The wide strafe is also known as the Ferrari peek. The possible reason for this name is that the player character gets out of cover as quickly as an expensive Ferrari car would. Anyway, this technique is extremely effective against players that aim one pixel away from the corner they’re covering.
But that’s not everything there’s to say about peeking in CS:GO. It is crucial to learn how to strafe correctly and stop right at the moment of taking a shot. Everybody knows that accuracy drops significantly while moving. For maximum precision you have to immediately stop moving by pressing an opposite movement button. More skilled players may also use the Shift and Ctrl buttons. The latter needs to be pressed but for a moment. Your character’s model will make a small visual jump and the movement momentum will cease.
Have you noticed that your enemy shoots immensely well while moving? That’s just how it looks from your perspective. Most likely he’s just doing a very wide strafe and stops exactly at the moment of taking a shot. When you’ll learn how to do it yourself, you’ll stop complaining about the game mechanics.
The benefits of a wide strafe aren’t limited to luring the enemy’s crosshair away. It also allows you to get a better picture of an enemy's attack or defence, you get a wider field of view and you can count your enemies and consider the best way to dispatch them.
How to close peek in CS:GO?
Just like in real life, there’s a matter of perspective in CS:GO. You need to have a clear understanding of that before trying to close peek, especially if there’s some distance between you and your enemy.
Imagine a situation when you’re standing next to a box and decide to do a short or wide strafe. Your elbow and body will show up much earlier than you would be able to see your enemy. Also you’ll have to do a bigger strafe due to a wall blocking your line of sight. In that case, you can be easily outplayed by a skilled player. To make it harder for him, you can back away from the wall and strafe after that. Your character model will be visually smaller to an enemy, making you harder to shoot at and it’ll also take less time for you to get out of cover and find your enemy.
Close peek works best with a teammate. Ask him to flash an enemy and peek immediately after that. Your enemy will be blinded and an easy mark for you.
How to peek with AWP?
We’ve already established that peeking with heavy weapons is harder. That’s true, but it’s still possible. The longer you play and practice, the easier it would be for you to peek even with something like AWP.
As a sniper you’ll have to adapt to different peeking techniques. You’re slow and easy to hit. You’ll have to find a way to compensate for the inertia you get when you strafe out of cover and survive after that. And the way you’re looking for is a magic Ctrl button.
To properly peek with AWP you’ll have to:
- Take the AWP and hide behind the wall.
- Start strafing to the side and zoom in near the end of the wall.
- As soon as you look out of cover, you press Ctrl to sit and immediately take a shot.
Sitting helps with survivability due to slow movement speed. Your enemy will certainly aim at the head and crouching may stagger him for a few precious moments.
You can also jump out of cover, but that crazy move is quite impractical without a teammate. You’ll probably just make one frag and die.
Key skills for peeking in CS:GO
To become good at peeking you’ll need to master several skills:
- Aiming. You’ll have but a fraction of a second to get a kill during peek. In that time you’ll need to aim at the enemy's head, take a shot and retreat back to cover.
- Strafing. Mastering control of your left hand is the difference between life and death during peeks. A couple extra moments in your enemy’s crosshair and you’re dead.
- Using the sound to gather intel. Understanding your enemy’s position through sounds he made will allow you to easily peek and prefire at him with almost no danger and delay.
Good luck in the game!