What are ECO Rounds? An ECO round is where you are playing as cheaply as possible due to your economy (i.e. not having enough money to make a full buy of Armor, Primary weapons, Grenades, and Kits (if CT side)). This usually means that you will NOT BUY ANYTHING AT ALL and will instead just run with your default weapons, no armor, no grenades, and no kits (if CT side).
The first ECO round that you will encounter will be the 2nd round. If you lose the first round (a.k.a. the Pistol round), then you will be ECO’ing rounds 2 and 3 in order to have the money to make a full buy for round 4. The trick to winning ECO rounds is to work as a team, set up good crossfire exchanges that occur up close, and hopefully get a kill, even at the cost of a trade. If you play passive, eventually one of your opponents will get aggressive and give you a chance to kill them. Your primary goal during an ECO round is to GET A PRIMARY WEAPON from the other team so that you can somewhat equalize the round in regards to overall tactical advantage.
If you win the first round/pistol round, then you will be Anti-ECO’ing, meaning you have the tactical advantage due to having Armor, Primary weapons, Grenades, and Kits (if CT side). The trick to winning an Anti-ECO round is to play passive, make sure that all exchanges take place from a distance, especially since you have the distance advantage with your weapons. Set up crossfires and angles that take place where your opponent has to be out in the open if at all possible. Your primary goal during an Anti-Eco round is to NOT DIE.
Other times that an ECO or Anti-ECO round might take place is 17th and 18th rounds of a match, which take place after the pistol round of the second half, or any time that you and your teammates are not able to buy fully. Now, I designed this guide to be more for the individual, and not for a team, so I will give you this simple hard and fast rules for knowing whether or not to ECO:
- As a CT everyone should have over $5000 to make a full buy. As a T everyone should have over $4500 to buy.
- If one person saves, everyone should save.
Remember that this is a team game, and you live and die as a team. Trying to buy while everyone else saves is only going to cause you and your team to lose additional rounds. Very rarely does buying while everyone else saves win you a round. It can happen, but the chances are slim to nil. It is much easier to save and lose a round possibly getting some lucky kills as a team, than it is to constantly having to ECO because people keep half buying (buying only part of the equipment you need) or force buying (having to buy because everyone else is buying, and thus having to do a half buy).
An easy way to help eliminate the chance of having to ECO is to constantly monitor your money by using the Scoreboard. As soon as a round ends, bring up the Scoreboard and see how much money everyone on your team has. If you are short on money, but you see a teammate has extra money for this round, enough to afford you a primary weapon, then ask them to drop you a primary weapon. Vice versa is true as well. If you see that someone doesn’t have enough money to buy a primary weapon, but another teammate does, ask that teammate to drop for the other teammate.
As I mentioned, this is just a brief synopsis on ECOs and Anti-ECOs for the individual player, so be sure to check out the many in depth guides and tutorials on CS:GO’s Economy.