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How to AWP: mastering Counter-Strike's iconic rifle

Awp Csgo 4

Advanced techniques

As an aggressive AWPer, you’re defying some of the native characteristics of the AWP to gain map control. The aggressive AWPer needs to know when to push angles that would seem suicidal in normal scenarios and often wield their slow, clunky weapon more like a shotgun than a sniper rifle. The aggressive AWPer uses a two-handed sword as if it were a one-hander, relying on speed, intuition, and tricks to gain the advantage.

Passive AWPing can only take you so far. Think of it this way: holding an angle won’t work if you meet an opponent who’s quicker on the draw. Aggressive AWPers incorporate movement and manipulative model tricks (peeking at certain angles crouched or with a varying speed) to defeat their opponents.

Crouch-peeking and shoulder-peeking relies on the inherent advantage that comes with peeking in CS:GO (check this GIF below for a visual representation) by turning corners quickly, scoping in, and firing with a little bit of guesswork. Although some of this technique relies on popping out at an unexpected place or time, it’s also underpinned by two mechanics of the game itself. AWPers use ‘corner advantage,’ the Source engine’s preference for the camera to be slightly left-of-center, allowing them to see an opponent just a moment before they see you.

To shoulder-peek, you should quickly strafe a corner or known angle with a shot in mind, scope-in and automatically fire, and strafe back in the opposite direction right away; all of this should be one fluid motion with no delay except to stop and quickly shoot. This technique tries to limit the chances of being prefired or tagged, and keeps you mobile as an AWPer.

Crouch-peeking adds one more element to this act of angle manipulation, by bringing the player into a crouched-state as they round a corner. This is meant to throw off a defensive player whose crosshair, if they’re experienced, is most likely aimed at head height. To crouch-peek, hold the crouch key as you round a corner, falling into your aim in one motion. In the brief moment that you’re stationary, you should be crouched, scoped-in, and aiming at an angle that you are looking to clear. Chances are the opponent is trying to correct his aim and you’ve got a clear shot!

Aggressive AWPers have to master this quick input of keys: crouch, strafe, scope-in, and fire, without doing any of these commands too quickly or else the recoil is thrown off. The crouch key needs to be pressed exactly as the player rounds the corner, and not before or after.

Quickscoping is a technique where right-clicking is immediately followed by a left click, granting a more accurate shot than you would have by noscoping. To try a quickscope, stop moving, then right and then left click in rapid succession. Practice this technique in casual play so you’ll have more opportunities to buy the AWP and less pressure to contribute to a victory.

Noscoping, or the art of using the AWP like it’s the world’s largest pistol, is still functional and sees occasional use by pro players in the highest echelon of CS:GO. Noscoping is often the best and only choice when someone is rushing you head-on. If you find yourself in this situation, dip your aim to around center of mass on an enemy, stop moving as much as possible before you shoot, trust your muscle memory, and wait until the last possible moment to fire to maximize the angle and distance between you and your target’s hitboxes.

Wallbanging is Counter-Strike’s tasteful way of referring to shooting through hard map surfaces. There are certain angles that only an AWP (or an autosniper as well) can penetrate and several of these happen to be in very useful positions. As seen in these clips on de_cache, preset angles can be used to try and tag players on the other side of the map. The best way to try this yourself is to load a map on an offline server (simply type ‘map de_dust2’ in console, for example), then enter “sv_showimpacts 1” in the console to track bullet penetration and search for new spots.

Lastly, and very infrequently, the AWP is able to hit accurate shots at the apex of a jump, similar to the notorious Scout jumpshot but far less dependable and requiring near perfect timing. Rarely seen, this technique is best left to hyper-aggressive players willing to take the risk.

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