Beginner’s guide to CS:GO’s economy

Learning the ins and outs of the economy is fundamental to Counter-Strike.

Image via Valve

Counter-Strike might look like a simplistic game, but once you start watching and playing more, you’ll begin to see its intricacies.

It has a complex economic system that requires a good sense of mental math and critical thinking, along with the bread and butter gameplay mechanics—moving, aiming, fragging, and, of course, winning. 

You have to understand and manage your own team’s economy and predict your opponent’s financial situation. But with enough time, practice, and mental fortitude, you can easily learn to coordinate buys for you and your team without hesitation.

Related: The fundamentals of Counter-Strike

Here’s a comprehensive guide for newer players looking to learn the fundamentals of CS:GO’s economy.

The buy menus

Weapon prices are listed below with the order in which they appear in-game.

RifleWeapon side(s)PriceKill Reward
Galil ART$1,8800$300
SG 553T$3,000$300
G3SG 1T$5,000$300
SSG 08T/CT$1,700$300
PistolWeapon side(s)PriceKill Reward
Dual BerettasT/CT$300$300
Desert EagleT/CT$700$300
R8 RevolverT/CT$600$300
SMGWeapon side(s)PriceKill Reward
HeavyWeapon side(s)PriceKill Reward
NovaT/CT$1,050 $900
XM 1014T/CT$2,000$900
GrenadeWeapon side(s)PriceKill Reward
Molotov CocktailT$400$300
GearWeapon side(s)PriceKill Reward
Kelvar VestT/CT$650
Kelvar + HelmetT/CT$1,000
Zeus x27T/CT$300$0
Defuse KitT/CT$400

Win and loss bonuses

The outcome of a round determines how much money, per player, your team is awarded. The chart below should give you a good reference point for calculating and predicting the economy. 

Once you’re comfortable with the system and you’ve put a couple hundred hours into the game, you should be able to recite round wins and losses by heart.

Each player starts the half with $800 and money is earned based on the round outcome. The money cap for both sides is $16,000.

Terrorist (T) side

Round after resetWinBomb detonateTotalLoss**Bomb plantTotal
First round$3250$250$3500$1400$800$2200
Second round$3250 $250 $3500 $1900$800$2700
Third round$3250 $250 $3500 $2400$800$3200
Fourth round$3250 $250 $3500 $2900$800$3700
Fifth round*$3250 $250 $3500 $3400*$800$4200*

(*maximum loss bonus)

(**T side players who lose the round due to time are awarded no loss bonus ($0)

Counter-Terrorist (CT) side

Round after resetWinBomb detonateTotalLossBomb plantTotal
First round$3250 $250 $3500 $1400N/A$1400
Second round$3250 $250 $3500 $1900N/A$1900
Third round$3250 $250 $3500 $2400N/A$2400
Fourth round$3250 $250 $3500 $2900N/A$2900
Fifth round*$3250 $250 $3500 $3400*N/A$3400*

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 ideal when your team has the best possible firepower. The remaining buy options are situational, with force and quasi buys used when you and your team are low on money. Ecos and full saves, on the other hand, are used when your team’s economy has been reset. This typically happens when your team wins a round then loses the next. It’s called a reset because your team’s loss bonus goes 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

Here’s a set of common scenarios for the first three to four rounds:

Image via Jamie Villanueva

Your team will often force buy pistols if they lose the opening round on either side. This is a sensible gamble that allows your team to break the enemy early on with little to no risk. But in a scenario where the T side plants the bomb in a pistol round and loses, they can then full save the second round before full buying the round after.

If your team wants to play it safe, they can instead full save twice in a row (double save) after a pistol round loss and full buy on the fourth round. This is a conservative approach to the game, but it won’t always necessarily work in your favor.

About the author

Jerome Heath

Associate Editor. Brit stranded thousands of miles from home on a tiny little island that looks like a sweet potato. League of Legends? He's aware of it. VALORANT? Might have heard of it. Counter-Strike? Sounds vaguely familiar.