CS:GO Economy Guide 2022

*team let’s eco this round*
Goes ahead and buys an AWP

CSGO looks like a simple game that only demands reflexes, aim, and map knowledge, at first glance. Some dozen hours into the game and spectating high-level esports matches will show that this is not the case at all. CSGO has a very intricate in-game economy system that matters as much as the skill cap of the players.

Don’t worry though, this is not going to be an advanced analysis concerning details such as which player should buy a helmet if only 4 CTs are left alive at the second round versus 3 Ts and whether they’ve won or not... I don’t want to melt your brain, I don’t want to melt my brain either.

I will leave a useful analysis video for a deeper dive at the end of the article though. Keep in mind that this article is for people that did a little bit of their homework, or at least played a CS title once in their life.

Ad break is over, let’s get into it:

In CSGO’s competitive mode, one player can carry a maximum amount of $16,000. If you are carrying this much money on you at any given time, either you are dominating the enemy team or doing something wrong. Now keep this number in mind.

CSGO is a team that requires relying on teammates. So the amount of money carried will fluctuate between players and you will find yourself buying for your teammates or being taken care of by your sugar teammates (see what I did here?) at times.

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Important Terms

The terms that you will hear a lot when someone speaks about the in-game economy are as follows:

  • Full buy: This is when your team’s overall economy is strong and you can all safely get the best tools to maximize your chances of winning. Primary weapons, full armour, utilities such as different grenades, defuse kit etc. The T side will require a little bit less money to accomplish this since their weapons are cheaper. The difference between the sides is about $1500.
  • Eco/save: This is when players spend less than $1000, better pistols or a few grenades to accumulate money. It could be done two times in a row (double save) but wouldn’t be advised in a consecutive 3rd time.
  • Full save: A drastic version of eco/save, where you buy nothing and accumulate money for the next round.
  • Force buy: This is when your team has a bad economy but choose to take a risk and go all in to increase your odds. It might cost you everything in the next round or a means to snatch the victory from the enemy in later rounds.
  • Half buy/Light buy/Quasi buy: This is when you buy SMGs, partial armour, with a mediocre economy, or you can save again to further increase the wealth gap.
  • Drop(s): When your teammate buys and drops you a weapon or the guns that can be scavenged from the enemy. Utilities cannot be dropped in CSGO.
  • Money Making Methods

Not necessarily abbreviated as MMM -which I made up just now- are as follows:

  • Killing an enemy: Duh. Killing with different utilities and weapons affect how much money you make.
  • Planting or defusing the bomb: Even if it’s planted but didn’t explode it makes money for T side. Remember this.
  • Winning a round: You win therefore you make money.
  • Losing a round: You lose therefore you make money. How you might ask? There’s a loss bonus that also accumulates if you manage to pull off a “successful losing streak”. Nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s implemented so the losing side doesn’t get crippled. Otherwise, it becomes a boring slaughter for the rest of the game. This way CSGO matches never go down identical.

Now, before I continue. There are more than a dozen factors that affect how you earn and lose money. Such as killing someone with a knife instead of an AWP will net you $1500 instead of AWP’s $100 or shooting a hostage costing you $30. I cannot show them all here, they’d eat up the whole article. Keep the money page of the CSGO wiki underhand for further reference.

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Different types of Rounds in CSGO

Image credit: Valve

How you cohesively pull off the round types beneath as a team is %50 of CSGO, other %50 is aiming, moving, map knowledge, coordination and communication. Deception tactics and psyops such as typing down rush b in public chat, then rushing a will also make a huge difference —an old joke, sorry—

  • Pistol round: First round of each half in every match. Light kevlar, a single grenade or a slightly upgraded pistol such as P250 is okay here. Better than fully saving. The focus here is surviving the match.
  • Eco*/SMG round: If you lose the pistol round or a full rifle round you may want to go eco. Anti eco is when you are sure that the other time is going eco. Intuition combined with raw INT stats in real life makes a difference here. By keeping track of your enemy, enemies’ weapons and their losses you can make an educated guess.
  • *Anti-eco: is basically if you are not in a position to make a full buy, but have an educated idea that the enemy will come at you with lower-tier weapons. You’ll buy SMGs or cheap rifles to counter them hard without risking much. Kill them all and lower their chances even more of making a comeback.
  • Rifle rounds: When economies are strong and you or both sides are able to bring in rifles, AWPs, full armour or utility. CT needs about $5500 each to pull it off with their more expensive rifles and defuse kits. T needs about $4000 per player to compete here. There are intricacies to these rounds too: such as not buying a helmet as a CT if you are not drowning in cash, since T side’s AKs mostly ignore the helmet etc.
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Round by round tips

Pistol rounds:

CT side usually does not need utilities except maybe the odd defuse kit. They have P2000 with a larger magazine to defend from rushes. Or USP-S for longer range engagements with better accuracy against their opponents. Viable upgrades would be P250 or FN Five-Seven.

  • Light armour and weapon upgrades are the keys here.

T side should favour Deagles or fast shooting Tec-9 or P250 for upgrades and harness their guns’ speed against CT’s more accurate weapons to prevent getting headshots. Both sides cannot afford helmets in the first round but kevlar is preferable since most players will go for body shots with pistols. CT’s pistols favour medium range so:

  • T side should consider getting a utility such as flash or smoke to close off distance and plant the bomb and make use of their fast firing Glocks and Tec-9s.

Eco rounds/SMG rounds:

From this point on Desert Eagle is a viable choice for both sides in both rounds. It’s a powerful weapon that’s easy to use but hard to master, and can turn tides in the direst of situations if you are superhuman or ultra lucky:

Scout sniper is also viable for both sides in SMG/cheap rifle rounds because of its distance advantage against CQB weapons. Keep those suckers at bay, don’t let them zerg rush you.

  • CT side if the T side is winning with lots of players surviving in previous rounds, you can assume that they are on their rifle rounds and forgo the helmet. Because they are gonna one tap you anyway.

You can take a risk and try to pull off a sneaky one if you are not saving, to buy an AK and one tap heads in an SMG round as the T side.

  • T side should favour full body armour with a helmet because unlike T’s AK’s, CT rifles cannot one shot to the head with a helmet on. But also SMGs higher rate of fire and minimal spread gets mitigated by helmets and save you from those lucky sprays. This last tip also applies to CT’s.

If they are on eco or an SMG round full armour is highly advisable.

Armour really matters in these rounds for both sides since the goal is to survive rather than kill. So if you are strapped on cash, forgo an SMG in favour of full armour, get a better pistol or coordinate among your team so that they buy an upgraded pistol or an SMG whilst you purchase your full armour.

Utilities are again a must for both sides from this point on for taking bombsites, preventing rushes, and pulling off ninja defuses. Don’t negate utilities unless you are full saving!

Rifle Rounds

Image credit: ESL, Dreamhack

The point of rifle rounds is to bring maximum firepower as a team, all other previous rounds and many Bothan spies died to bring you to this round. When you are here you must strive to stay here and keep rolling. This is what CSGO is all about. Staying in the rifle round.

CTs could buy helmets but choose to forgo them as the T side will be mostly coming at them with AKs. The goal here is to wield maximum firepower as a team. So be cohesive and be ready to drop for your teammates. Purchase your damn defuse kits because it’s an objective-based team game. The point here is not to eliminate the T side but prevent the bomb from exploding.

T side should bring the maximum amount of utilities they can on top of their rifles. Since they have cheaper weapons and will need more aggressive play to plant the bombs. Get your Molotovs to block rotating CTs. Bring lots of smokes and flashbangs to create openings. JUST DO IT. They should also favour full armour because as aforementioned, CT rifles won’t one tap the head.

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Spend money to make money and some final tips

Juggling your economy and keeping track of your team's finances are a huge part of CSGO. It’s just not your standard FPS or arena shooter. There’s a reason that this game is a living legend. Intuition and game knowledge plays a huge role in CS when it comes to organizing your finances and I hope that this short guide helped you get a sense of what’s what.

For an extremely deep dive into the CSGO economy, even if you are a beginner or an advanced player I suggest watching this video:

Now do remember to bring your defuse kits, and keep in mind that you are not solely responsible for your money. You are also responsible for your team's, and this applies to your teammates too. If you want a solo experience, maybe try out something else eh lone wolf?

Keep track of your enemies loadouts, how many of them survived the last round? speak to your team and keep an eye on what’s going on economically in between rounds. Don’t try to memorize everything under the money entry of CSGO wiki and don’t worry, these will only internalize the more you play. Practice beats theory. Don’t go over $1000 in eco rounds, and don’t hesitate to push hard when your enemy is on their eco round or saving.

Stay updated on our news page about esports and competitive gaming, and if you enjoy guides such as these. We have more coming!

This guide was about one of the fiercest competitive games out there. There are more of them where stakes run high, tournaments play out non-stop. Prize pools where millions are won and lost. You can livestream tournaments, follow your favourite CSGO teams, and bet on Luckbox.