The Ultimate Guide to Getting Good - Part 7: How to Peek
Mon 12th Feb 2018 - 8:53pm
Today will we take a look at a very important skill in CS:GO that requires coordination of multiple mechanics like movement and aim as well as other factors, like working with your teammates and the knowledge about the positions of your enemies.
For this, I will write a short introduction about peeking, what purpose specific types of peeking serve, and then will talk about the specific types one by one, explaining how to perform them correctly, in which situation they should be used, and what it does to the in-game situation. This will be accompanied by video examples of the specific peeks to show you how they look and work. Yes, I know, they look staged, but that is because they are. The videos are supposed to be an example and point out the most important characteristics, as it is only learning material.
If you want to be sure that you have the other parts of CS:GO down, be sure to visit my other Ultimate Guides to Getting Good, like economy management, working on your specific mistakes and your Cache T- as well as CT-side.
Now, without wasting any more words:
Two Types of Peeks
In CS:GO, you can categorise peeks in two different simple and general categories: Those with a flash, and those without a flash. I will only give you one example of a flash peek due to them basically being the same as peeks without a flash but with, you guessed it, a flash added to assist you in your peek.
General Guideline to Peeking
In general, when peeking, you should aim to increase your chances of winning the fight or surviving the information peek by every percent you can. To do this, you can eliminate other angles with smokes, flashes or molotovs, flash your opponent, outmanoeuvre the opponent, prefire, peek with a teammate, and so on. A sloppy peek will more often than not end in an advantage for the enemies, or at best, a hard-fought trade. You should always try to win/survive the encounter with the enemies and increase your chances of winning the round.
Also, when peeking, you should not simply let go of the movement keys and wait for the moving inaccuracy to go away, but instead you should counter-strafe, allowing you to stop and therefore shoot accurately faster.
Peeking With a Flash
Peeking with a flash can be done in two ways: Either by throwing a flash that actually intends to blind the enemy or by throwing a flash the enemies will try to dodge.
For trying to blind the enemy, be sure that your flash (or the flash from your teammate) will not be heard or seen by the enemy before it actually pops. For this, it shouldn't bounce on an easily recognizable or loud surface, or even better yet, not bounce at all before it is close to popping since this can give the opponent a cue to turn around and dodge your flash. Remember that preparing the grenade by right clicking will make a noise that close-by enemies can hear!
If you want to have the enemy turn around and peek them before the flash pops, catching him with his back turned to you, you should throw the flashbang semi-obvious, either bouncing it off of a loud surface or having it be visible for a long time before it would blind the enemy. Be sure that the flash pops behind you when you want to peek the enemy at the same time.
Of course, like in the video, you can do basically both, trying to blind the enemy and peek soon enough that you would most likely win the engagement when the enemy is still turning around.
You can add a flashbang to all the types of peeks I will show you below if you want to.
The Other Two Categories
To further differentiate between types of peeks and their characteristics, I would like to point out that you can categorise peeks in two more categories: Those with only one guy peeking (and a support may be behind him, but not actively participating in the first few seconds of the peek(s)) and those with two or more people peeking at (almost) the same time. We will start with the solo peeks.
These peeks are done by quickly sidestepping out of cover and pre-aiming a spot where an enemy could be. With an AK or M4, people like to prefire at head-level and jiggling back instead of just peeking into the spot and you should be sure that you are able to peek every angle in an isolated manner, as you'd otherwise expose yourself to multiple angles, opening up a chance for the opponent to catch you off-guard by being in a non-anticipated position. If a teammate is currently checking a Bombsite by singlepeeking all the common angles, do him a favour and hold the angle that he previously checked.
With an AWP, like in the video, you can take your time a bit more and thoroughly use your zoom-advantage in order to spot enemies easier than they can spot your arm coming around the corner. But be aware that, depending on how the angles are, you may be seen way before you can see the enemy.
This type of peek is good for rather fast and thorough takes on bombsites later in the round (~40-30 seconds left) after the enemy has (almost) no utility left to keep you out. If you do this often, people will tend to play more off-angle corners, trying to catch you with your aim away from their angle. Others like to keep a flash for when they hear a cue that you are singlepeeking them again and flash you to have a teammate face you unexpectedly.
Widepeeking is a fast sidestrafing to go wide out of cover, not allowing for the enemy to just minimally adjust his crosshair and two-tap you.
Widepeeking is common with lower-tier players who make the mistake to think that fast movement always equals good dodging, but to do it correctly you need to make sure that you either open up a bit of space for your team to follow you and you basically plan to trade or that you know exactly where at least one opponent is. If you know where an opponent is and you know that you can get him by widepeeking, where you basically run away from his close-to-the-corner crosshair, you will want to evaluate if a different enemy is standing in a position to easily trade you.
In the end, the widepeeking is dangerous and you should thoroughly plan its use and think about the scenarios that will follow your peek. If you do it correctly, however, you will be able to either take an opponent out of the game with almost no harm done to you or you will open up enough space for your team to explode onto the bombsite and take it over.
Shoulderpeeking or shoulderbaiting is done by standing close to a corner and then doing a jiggle towards the open but stopping before you are fully exposed and jiggling back at the same moment, which will show an enemy holding the predicted angle only a shoulder for a brief second before he (hopefully) shoots into nothing. Keep in mind that, if you see your enemy, you're doing it wrong, since this means that he saw more than just your shoulder and most competent AWPers hit those shots all night long.
You can either follow-up with a prefire by strafing out further or you can just run out and use the opened up space to establish control and let the AWPer fall back. In an afterplant, you may also use this peek to get information about incoming CTs, same goes for CTs waiting for T aggression. The decision of what to do has to do with multiple factors that you should evaluate. Those factors are the current situation, if you can catch him in the back, and hunt him etc., if you can face him without risking death and if you want to execute just yet.
If you do this often, a lot of AWPers will try to wait for your final peek, not shooting before you actually show most of your body. Be sure to spot such a change in their play once it happens and try to use one of the other peeking methods.
This type of peek is basically a hybrid between the singlepeek, widepeek and shoulderpeek, allowing for you to try and bait out a shot, peeking angles one by one and widepeek once you have located an enemy. To do this, you should constantly change between pressing the left and right movement key, which will make your POV as well as model jiggle to the left and right.
You can use this when you are clearing out dangerous close-quarter parts of maps, like Toilets on Overpass, that allow for a lot of hiding spots for the CTs. It can also be used to singlepeek and clear out bombsites in a less dangerous, but more time-intensive, fashion.
Again, if you do this often, people will simply wait for you to walk into their crosshair instead of just shooting at the first sight of your shoulder. If that is the case, be sure to mix it up more!
This is the curveball that you can throw when you have exhausted the shoulder- and jigglepeeks beyond saving and the AWPer doesn't fall for your shenanigans anymore. To do the jumppeek correctly, take a step back from the corner you are about to blast past, get to maximum speed, and jump before you are visible for the predicted opponent. Most AWPers will get caught off-guard by this if you did not do it more than once or twice in the game yet, and it is basically only effective against people with AWPs since they can only fire one shot. Most people with a rifle will just spray you down, so be sure that you will face an AWP.
On the other hand, once you've made the AWPers nervous with this peek, you may try to use the safer methods again.
Peeks with One or More Teammate
In this combination of a wide- and singlepeek, the first attacker will swing out wide, trying to pull the crosshair away from the corner he started from, to allow the second attacker to swing out close and kill the defender.
This is especially helpful when you are a man up and want to get on the bombsite as safely as a team as possible, or when you want to open up the round by either killing an enemy with one or no fatalities, leaving you in an even situation at worst.
The important bit is that the first attacker really does need to swing out wide, albeit not as wide as shown in the video, otherwise he may block his teammates coming to secure the kill, allowing the defender to spray down both of you. So be sure to not to be scared when you go out first!
The idea for this jumpbait is that the first attacker will jump past the crosshair of an AWP waiting for anyone to show themselves, meanwhile, the second attacker, preferably with an AWP as well, will use the short moment of distraction to get his shot off.
To do this the safest way possible, be sure that you have not done this type of bait before and that you jump from an elevated position instead of just ground level, as the AWP may have a good chance to catch you on these long corridors like Ivy, where you aren't too close.
At spots like Mid on Mirage and A-Main on Cache, you can use a runboost in order to distract the AWP, take the crosshair away from the second attacker's angle, and give you a moment to strike without the AWP really having much of a chance
For this, be sure to coordinate your boost well. Be sure to communicate that the person at the top will jump twice before you start running: Once to let the person below him stand up, the second time to start running a moment after he landed back onto the head of the person below. Both must start running, and before you run into the crosshair of the AWP, the person on top must jump.
This takes a bit of time for players completely new to runboosting, but you will get the hang of it fast. You can use this as a curveball, but you don't make too much noise, as other may use the chance to push and foil your plans.
A Few General Words of Advice
Crouching allows you to have your head at a (most likely) unexpected height, allowing for you to have one more moment to strike before the opponent will adjust his aim, but it also means slower moving speed. Be sure to not to overuse it and become a slow easy target. Especially with an AWP, you can hide behind cover before peeking into an angle, like in Long at the A-Site on Dust 2, or as seen in the singlepeek video.
When repeeking, after spotting an enemy behind a different corner after jigglepeeking in the pistol round, be sure to not to be predictable. For this, either choose a slightly different angle or keep jigglepeeking with different timings, standing behind cover for longer or shorter than you did the few jiggles before. This will help you to stay alive and not get prefired with him matching his shots to your timings.
You can mix a repeek up by just baiting the next peek and widepeeking afterwards, especially against spotted AWPs. Alternatively, depending on the situation, crouching into the angle after you've seen the enemy hiding behind cover in order to move but have an accurate shot when he repeeks can save you time and your life.