According to data from ISPO, the world’s largest sporting goods and sportswear trade fair, CS: GO is the biggest eSport in terms of the number of tournaments organized, the total number of pro players, and the total prize pool. In this Counter-Strike Global Offensive eSports guide, find out everything you need to know about the game at a competitive level.

What is CS: GO?

Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS: GO) is a multiplayer FPS video game developed by Valve. It was released in August 2012 on Windows, macOS, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The Linux version came later on in 2014.

Global Offensive is the 4th installment in the Counter-Strike series. It came with several new features, including updated maps, new characters, new weapons, new game modes, online matchmaking extras, and Competitive Skill Groups.

Popularity of CS: GO eSports

Over the years, CS: GO has attracted more and more FPS fans. Today, it boasts an estimated 11 million players monthly. Much of the game’s success is owed to the 2018 transition to a free-to-play model, making cosmetics the only revenue source.

CS: GO is also a household name in the eSports betting industry, accounting for 29% of the global eSports betting volume. This is according to Chris Grove, a renowned gambling industry analyst.

Gameplay and Objectives

Just like the previous installments of the game, Global Offensive pits two sides in multiple rounds of objective-based game modes. There are 9 game modes; Competitive, Wingman, Casual, Deathmatch, Arms Race, Weapons Course, Demolition, Danger Zone, and Flying Scoutsman.
CS GO E Sports

CS: GO Competitive

The CS: GO Competitive is the standard game mode at the competitive level. This is a 5v5 classic game mode that puts the two teams in a best of 30 match under the game’s standard rules. The first team to win 16 rounds in either of the two modes, Bomb Defusal (Bomb Scenario) or Hostage Rescue (Hostage Scenario), wins the contest.

Global Offensive Competitive Mode Objectives

When playing as Counter-Terrorists, the objective in Global Offensive Hostage Scenario is to rescue any of the hostages and kill all the terrorists before the timer runs out. When playing as Terrorists, the objective is to complete the mission; run down the round timer before the Counter-Terrorists rescue any hostages and make sure all Counter-Terrorists are eliminated.

In Global Offensive Bomb Defusal, when playing as Terrorists, the objective is to plant the C4 bombs and make sure they are detonated. Besides, all the Counter-Terrorists should be eliminated. However, when playing as Counter-Terrorists, the objective is to make sure the terrorist’s mission fails, and they are all eliminated.

What CS: GO Tournament Formats Exist?

There are many CS: GO eSports tournaments and competitions that fall under four main categories:

  • Regular league tournaments, for example, FPL, ECS, ESEA, and ESL.
  • Cycle tournaments, for example, the BLAST Pro Series event.
  • Intel Grand Slam Tournaments, for example, DreamHack Masters, IEM, and ESL One.
  • Minor CS: GO tournaments are tickets to big eSports tournaments, while Major CS: GO tournaments are the creme de la creme of CS: GO at the eSports level, for example, the Majors.

For the record, CS: GO formats depend on the particular tournament or competition. Besides the main categories, it’s important to understand three concepts; group stages, bracket structures, and match types.

eSports Tournament Group Stages

Group stages in CS: GO are very common, as they help the tournament organizers sift out the weaker teams and remain with the strongest teams slated for the playoffs. In group stages, there are three formats;

  • Round-Robin – Also known as ‘the circle,’ this format pits the teams in one or two Bo1 or Bo3 matches with each other, one by one.
  • GSL System – This system is used in groups with four teams. The four teams are split into two couples, and the two winners of each pair face off in a Bo3 match.
  • Swiss System – In events where there are so many participants, where Round-Robin or GSL System can’t be deployed, the Swiss system is applied.

CS: GO Tournaments Bracket Structures

There are two formats when it comes to CS: GO bracket structures, single-elimination, and double eliminations.

In the single-elimination system, the teams in the competition play elimination series at once, and the loser is dropped from the competition. Single elimination matches have no room for mistakes.

The other format is double-elimination, which is the most popular format between the two. Here, there are two brackets; winner and loser. The team that loses the first time is not dropped from the event; instead, it falls into the loser bracket.

For the record, there are also triple-elimination systems, and here, a team needs to lose the three matches to be eliminated. This system is very rare in CS: GO, but common in collectible card game events, such as MTG, Gwent, and Hearthstone.

CS: GO Tournaments Match Types

Global Offensive has several maps that a team needs to win, to win the entire match. There are three match types in Counter-Strike: Bo1, Bo3, and Bo5.

Bo1 is a random one-map match type where players ban maps and battle it out on the remaining one. Bo1 is common in qualifications and regular tournaments, as well as the BLAST Pro Series.

In Bo3, when a team clinches two victories, they win the game. Here, the two teams ban and pick favorite maps one by one. Bo3 format is the most popular CS: GO match type in eSports and is deployed in all events and playoff brackets.

The third match type is Bo5, which is a rare match type that is neither played during the group stages nor playoffs. Bo5 matches are common in tournament finals, for example, ESL, and take very long, up to 8 hours.

CS: GO 2020 Tournaments, Competitions, and Team Rankings

Despite the impact of Covid-19, several CS: GO tournaments and competitions have gone on as planned.

But, some tournaments were canceled. The biggest CS: GO tournament, Majors 2020, which was initially set for May 2020, was pushed to November 2020. In September, Valve announced that the Majors 2020 had been canceled. Other canceled events include WESG 2019-2020.

When it comes to the CS: GO team rankings, Team Vitality is at the helm as the best CS: GO eSports team, as of November 30th, 2020. It’s followed by Heroic, Natus Vincere, Astralis, and BIG, which closes the top 5 list. G2 and FaZe come in at 8th and 10th, respectively.

Where to Watch CS: GO Tournaments and Competitions

Most CS: GO professional tournaments are streamed live on several live-stream channels, including Twitch, YouTube, and websites such as, among other platforms. Some eSports sportsbooks also have live stream features so bettors can follow the matches to facilitate in-game betting.

That’s the end of this Counter-Strike Global Offensive CS: GO eSports guide.