Every Counter-Strike player has said this at least once, and the game's complexity means that CSGO requires a serious time investment from its players. Even after counting the hours spent learning the game's movement, mechanics, and grenade lineups, CSGO's players can sometimes spend more than an hour playing out a single match. And that's only in Valve's CSGO matchmaking system, where there are no overtimes and games tied at the end of regulation will result in draws. Players using third-party services such as FACEIT do play overtimes, meaning that those games can run even longer.
But few players will have experienced anything that compares to the longest CSGO games in the long history of Counter-Strike esports.
The longest CSGO game in esports history
In 2015, semipro CSGO teams exceL and XENEX went to game two of their ESL Premiership UK 2015 matchup on Inferno. The ensuing contest became the titleholder for the longest CSGO map ever played, and its mind-blowing record still stands to this day in 2020. After tying the match at 15-15, the two teams slogged through nine full overtime periods before XENEX finally defeated exceL with a final score of 46-42. With each overtime taking six rounds to complete, the longest CSGO game ever played lasted almost three hours for just a single map.
Overtime can be a blessing and a curse in CSGO. Matches that play out over multiple overtimes sometimes get more sloppy as each team runs out of strategies designed to confuse their opponents. That's how it went in CSGO's longest match. By the end of it all, Inferno had turned into a literal deathmatch server. Nine out of ten players had over 80 kills, with XENEX's Jonathan "Sheekey" Sheekey racking up a massive 92-79 KD over the 88 rounds played.
While that match was the longest CSGO game in history, there are two more matches worth mentioning when talking about CSGO's lengthiest matches. CSGO’s Major tournaments are the highlight of every Counter-Strike esports fan's calendar. With two of them each year, everyone is disappointed when they end. But there have been some Major matchups that kept fans enteratined for an exceptionally long time.
CSGO's longest Major matches go to mousesports, NRG Esports
The first took place in 2016 at the MLG Columbus Major. Flipsid3 Tactics and mousesports were locked into a heated elimination match with everything on the line, as the winner would go on to face off against Ninjas in Pyjamas in a decider match for a coveted Major playoff spot. What followed was the first match in CSGO Major history to play out over five overtimes. It was all CT sided when the game started on Cobblestone, where Flipsid3 won twelve rounds on defense before mousesports pulled off an impressive comeback with their own 12-round defensive effort in the second half to tie the game.
But that was only the beginning. The tie sent Cobble into its first of five overtimes, with the first four overtimes resulting in more ties. The teams would play until mousesports finally strung together enough rounds in overtime five to take the win and the decider match spot by a final score of 31-28.
Astralis holds first and second place records for longest CSGO Major matches
In a wacky coincidence, mousesport's overtime showdown against Flipsid3 shares the second-place record for the longest CSGO game in Major history with Astralis and NRG at StarLadder Berlin 2019. That game also went to five overtimes and 59 rounds before NRG pulled off the upset over one of CSGO's most decorated sides.
StarLadder Berlin was full of long games, especially when it comes to Astralis' matches. Just a day after their matchup against NRG, Astralis one-upped their own record by playing out 60 full rounds in another five overtimes against CR4ZY.
As Valve changes the CSGO economy to lessen the importance of eco rounds, it's likely that fans could see more overtime games going forward. With CSGO fully in online mode this summer, teams that might normally be expected to lose on LAN are winning more close games against typically better teams. All it takes is for both sides to put up a big fight to send a game to overtime. And from there, fans watching from home might have to dig in for a much longer viewing experience than they'd planned.