Beginners in depth introduction to CSGO and its economy system

With CSGO's rapid growth and the insurgence of newer players, it's important to help them understand the economy system within CSGO -- an intricate and essential part ofthe game.


With CSGO’s rapid growth and the insurgence of newer players, it’s important to help them understand the economy system within CSGO — an intricate and essential part of the game. I’ve written this article to help new players and players who aren’t new but aren’t well versed in the intricacies of CSGO and it’s economy system. I hope this helps the people who are always asking questions like “what are force buys?” or “what are eco’s?”


What game-mode is played in Counter Strike?


To start off, Classic:Competitive is the most common game mode and the game mode played professionally in Counter Strike. However, other game modes do exist for casual play.

In Counter Strike the match is played in rounds, rounds which last 1 minute and 55 seconds. In each round you have one life with no ability to revive or regenerate health. There are two bomb sites at static positions on each map which can either be attacked or defended, and a bomb which is given to the Terrorist side at the start of the round.

Competitive is played as 5 vs 5’s – meaning 5 players on each team – and the matches are played as best of 30’s, the first team to secure 16 rounds wins the game. In regular matchmaking, if both teams secure 15 rounds then  the match ends in a tie, however, in professional play and competitive leagues, the match will continue to an overtime.

The game involves an attacking side – the Terrorists, and a defending side – the Counter-Terrorists, each with their own objectives and separate ways of securing rounds. The game is played in two halfs, each half lasting 15 rounds. At half time teams switch between the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist side.

Here is an example of a competitive game of Counter Strike(includes overtime): EnVy vs G2 


There are 7 maps played professionally in Counter Strike: Global Offensive:


How do teams pick what side they start off with?


To decide what team starts off with which side a decider is used. The most common decider is the knife round; a round were teams can only use a knife –that means no grenades, no weapon and no bomb plants.  Another common way for deciding side is within the map veto itself. Often event organizers will structure the veto in a way that allows teams to pick a map and allows for the other team to pick  the side. The sides that are chosen at the start of the game are played until half time. As for matchmaking (Public matches or ranked queue for those familiar with those terms) it’s randomized. 

Example of knife round: Na’Vi vs TSM 


What is the objective in Counter Strike? 


Well the objective in Counter Strike is to win. Simple!

We’ve already gone over the fact you need 16 rounds to win a game but now the question arises, how do you win rounds in CSGO? Well the answer to that is different for the Terrorist side, which will now be referred to as T-side, and the Counter-Terrorist side, which I will now refer to as the CT-side. One way to win that is the same on both sides is to entirely eliminate the opposing team.

On the T-side: As the attacking side it’s your objective to attack either bomb site, plant the bomb and allow it to detonate. To win a round on the terrorist side you have three options; seek out and eradicate the opposition before you plant the bomb and before the time runs out; plant the bomb and eliminate the rest of the opposition while defending the planted bomb; plant the bomb, defend it and allow it to explode after its 40 second countdown. 

It is not required to eliminate the entire opposing team to win a round – this would require the enemies to give up on the bomb defusal and hide -, and it is possible to win a round even if your entire team dies before the bomb explodes. To win in that situation you would need the opponent to not have enough time to defuse the bomb. It takes 5 seconds to defuse a bomb with a defusal kit (a purchasable item which costs $400) and 10 seconds without. If a team manages to distract the CT side long enough the bomb will explode before they can defuse it. 

On the CT-side: As with the T-side, there are also three ways of securing a round on the Counter Terrorist side. The first way is to eliminate all 5 opponents exactly like would be required on the T-side. The second way is to prevent the opponent from planting the bomb — This would require you to defend the bomb site from the attackers until the 1 minute 55 second timer runs out. The last way to win a round for the CT-side is to allow the terrorist side to plant the bomb and then defuse the bomb afterwards. This can be done either by eliminating the opponent team post plant or sneaking in a defuse while the terrorist team are distracted. 


Now that we’ve gone over how the game is played, let’s go over the economy system. 

 The economy (money) system is a gameplay mechanic featured in CSGO. Players are rewarded money for various different reasons throughout the game. Players use the money awarded to obtain weapons and equipment which should help to secure rounds and thus win the game. 


How do you receive money and how much do you receive? 


Well there are numerous ways to earn money but in this article we’ll specifically go over the most important ways. As with the gameplay itself, the economy also works slightly differently between the terrorist and counter terrorist side. Initially we’ll go over ways to acquire money that are the same for both t and ct side and then we’ll go slightly more in depth in both for both sides. 

First of all when the game starts every player on the server is handed $800 which they can use to purchase weapons and equipment. Because of the low sum of money and the price of the weapons, this round usually consists of solely pistols. This is why the first round of each half is called the pistol round. 

Next you’ll be awarded money based on your success in the rounds. On both CT and T side each player on the winning side will be awarded $3250 for winning the round through elimination i.e eliminating the opposing team without a bomb plant, bomb defuse or bomb detonation taking place.

For the Terrorist side, if you win a round through bomb detonation then each player will be awarded $3500 while the bomb planter is awarded an additional $300. 

For the Counter Terrorist side, winning a round through letting the time run out will award each CT player with $3250 while winning a round through defusing the bomb will award each CT player with $3500 while also giving a $300 bonus to the player defusing the bomb. 

So far I’ve only talked about the winning side, however, the losing side is also awarded money. This part is probably the most complicated and important part for new comers. If a team loses one round they are awarded $1400. If a team loses two rounds in a row they are awarded $1900. Three in a row would award $2400. Four would be $2900 and a team with five consecutive round loss would be awarded $3400. This loss streak bonus resets upon a round win meaning a team that wins a round and loses the successive round would only be awarded $1400 in the following round. The round loss bonus applies the same to the Terrorist side and the Counter Terrorist side, however, the Terrorist side also has an opportunity to secure a bonus $800 for planting the bombing in a lost round(this is in addition to the $300 the bomb planter receives). 

In addition to all of that you are also awarded money for kills with additional bonuses for kills with weapons that are weaker. Generally you will be awarded $300 for a pistol, rifle or grenade kill, $600 for a sub machine gun kill, $100 for an awp kill and $900 for shotguns. There exceptions however. For a full list click here


Now that you have a run down on how the money system works in CSGO let’s take a look at foreign words like “full buy”, “eco round”, “force buy”, “saving”, “hunting” and “building an economy” and what they mean.


What is a “Full Buy”?

A full buy is when a player has sufficient money to buy a standard full kit which includes a rifle(m4, awp or ak47), grenades and full armor(also defuse kit if you’re a ct). This sum would amount to $4700 for Terrorist players and $5650 for Counter Terrorist players. 

Example of a full buy round from both teams: Na’Vi vs TSM

What is an “Eco Round”

Instinctively a lot of users would like purchase whatever they can with whatever money they have. An eco round is when, instead of spending your money, you save the money and let it build up so you can go into the following round with a “full buy” which would increase the likelihood of your team winning the following round. Of course this generally means giving up the round loss so teams would like to avoid “ecoing” as long as they can. Eco rounds generally occur when a team fails to “build an economy” and loses a round or when a team loses a round after winning a round which resets their round loss bonus. 

Also an example of an eco round: Fnatic vs VP

What is a “Force Buy”? 

A force buy is when, instead of saving for a “full buy”, a team opts to spend whatever money they have on whatever they can afford. This is usually done when a team knows the opponent is on a weaker buy, when a team knows that the opposition has a weak economy or when the match is close to ending. The reason you want to force buy when a match is close to ending is because you need to win every single round and can’t afford to risk losing any more rounds. 

An example of a force buy: Fnatic vs VP

What is “Saving”?

Saving is where players decide to save their weapons (usually by hidingg from their opponents) so they can carry their weapons into the next round. Because of how the economy works for Counter Strike it is important for teams not to waste money. Saving allows teams to carry on the weapons from the current round into the following round which results in either the team having more potential to win the  round(if the rest of the team can’t afford to buy) or enabling them to save money and help strengthen their economy.

Saving usually occurs when a team realises it is no longer possible or extremely unlikely for them to win the current round. 

Na’Vi saving their weapons: EnVy vs Na’Vi

What is “hunting”? 

Hunting is when a team sends out players to kill the opponents that are trying to save their weapons and equipment.  

This usually happens when a team realises there is no longer any opportunity for the opponents to win the round. 

What is “building an economy”? 

Building an economy is when teams manage to maintain several players alive resulting in them saving money from not having to purchase new weapons and equipment. Building an economy is necessary so that it is much more difficult for the opposition to force your team on an “eco buy”. It allows you to lose runs but continue to “full buy” without issue. Having a “full buy” increases your likelihood of winning rounds. 


That about sums it up for Counterstrike Global Offensive and its economy. 



Trivia and additional comments:

  • A knife kill rewards you with $1500.
  • If a terrorist player is killed after the round time runs out then the terrorist player will not earn any money from that round. 
  • When you are on a large round loss streak is a lot less risky to repeatedly force buy. 
  • It is almost always good to force buy on the second round; your opponents economy is still weak and their utility and inventory is also relatively weak and you will be saving on the third round either way because you would not have sufficient money to buy on the third round. The exceptions to this is when you are playing as terrorists and plant the bomb. The additional money allows you to save on the second round and full buy on the third round. 
  • Terrorist buys are a lot less expensive than Counter Terrorist buys so it is much more likely to see terrorists aggressively hunting for CT players to try and further ruin their economy. There is of course a lot of risk to this because T side players could be killed themselves so generally this is only advised when you have a decent enough economy.
  • Killing a teammate results in -$300 penalty. 
  • Terrorist players that manage to stay alive after the round is over without the bomb being planted are not awarded the loss round bonus.


 I hope you enjoyed this article! Hopefully you can link it to your friends or family members who are interested in CSGO and would find this article helpful! 

If you missed my other articles I talk about what i hope for csgo in 2016 and the studs and duds of 2015.