16 May 2018 - 09:14

A beginner's guide to the CS:GO economy—the basics and the meta

Welcome to Counter-Strike.
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Image via Perfect World

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive seems to be an easy game to understand at first glance, but once you start watching it more, you'll begin to see more and more intricacies.

There's a complex economic system past the superficial level of gameplay, such as moving, aiming, killing, and winning, and it requires a good sense of mental math and critical thinking. Not only do you have to understand and manage your own team's economy mid-game, but you also have to predict the other team's financial situation.

Related: The fundamentals of Counter-Strike

Don't fret though. With enough time, practice, and memorization of the buying and saving system, you can eventually coordinate buys for yourself and your team in a given situation without having to think long and hard about it. Here's a comprehensive guide for newer players looking to learn the fundamental basics and the meta of CS:GO's competitive in-game economy.

The Buy Menus

Weapon prices are listed below with the order in which they appear in-game, as well as the side that the weapon is available on—either terrorist, or counter-terrorist.

Image via [Jamie Villanueva](twitter.com/junioritis)

Win and Loss Bonuses

The outcome of a round determines how much money your team is awarded per player. The below charts may seem overly complex, so it's better if you try out a game to get a feel of the economy. These visuals can be a good reference that will help you do mental math for calculating and predicting the economy once you're comfortable with the system. Players start each half with $800 each, and money is earned based on the round outcome. The money cap for both sides is $16,000.

Image via [Jamie Villanueva](twitter.com/junioritis)

The Meta

There are several types of buys in the current meta—full buys, force buys, quasi buys, eco/saves, and full saves. Full buys are the most ideal type to have because your team has the best possible firepower. The remaining types of buys are primarily situational, with force and quasi buys being the ones that are done when a team has low money. Ecos and full saves are typically done when a team economy is reset, which happens when they win one round and then lose the next. It's called a reset because their loss bonus is reset back to $1,400.

  • Full Buy: primarily rifles, armor, and utility
  • Force Buy: SMGs, upgraded pistols, and some armor
  • Quasi Buy: some rifles, some SMGs, some upgraded pistols, and some armor
  • Eco/Save: upgraded pistols and very few grenades
  • Full Save: no buying weapons or utility at all
Image via [Jamie Villanueva](twitter.com/junioritis)

Above are common scenarios for the first three to four rounds, shown in a similar way to the round matrix on the scoreboard (displayed by pressing "Tab"). Teams like to force buy pistols if they lose the pistol round on either side, because it's a good gamble to break the enemy economy early on. But if the T side gets a bomb plant in the pistol round and loses, they can full save the second round and full buy the third round. If a team wants to play it safe on either side, they often full save twice in a row ("double save") after a pistol round loss so that they can full buy in the fourth round.

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