“Upgrade your weapon by eliminating enemies. Win the match by being the first player to get a kill with the Golden Knife.”
Arms Race mode is based on the original Gun Game mod. The entire game consists of one round with continuous respawns. The winning conditions are the same for both teams. One player from either team must score a kill with the Gold Knife.
Arms Race maps are prefixed with
The ultimate goal in Arms Race is to score a kill with the Gold Knife. There is no time limit, buy menus are unavailable, money will not be rewarded for any reason, and weapons cannot be thrown away but will disappear as soon as the player dies. Instead, players spawn with the weapon on his or her current level as well as the knife. For every two kills on a particular level, the player will receive a new weapon by leveling up to the next level. The gold knife is the final weapon a player receives, and the first player to score a kill with the gold knife wins the game along with his or her team.
After a death, the player will immediately respawn a short spawn protection time to prevent spawn camping. Much like deathmatch, once the player moves the spawn protection is quickly removed. Respawning will leave the player with the same weapon being used prior to death, unless the player was killed with a knife or by committing suicide. Doing so, will cause the player to revert to the previous weapon tier.
It is possible to dominate enemies in this game mode and earn a "killing spree" when a player successfully eliminates 4 or more enemies. The message "[player name] is on a killing spree!!!!!!" is seen to all players when the player earns a killing spree.
As of November 11, 2014, a major overhaul to the Arms Race scenario was made. The weapon assortment is now randomized, although the Gold Knife retains its place as the last kill to win. However, the category of weapons in order are kept constant which is:
- 3 SMGs
- 4 Rifles
- 2 Shotguns
- 2 Sniper Rifles
- 1 Machine Gun
- 4 Pistols
Furthermore, akin to some gun game mods, it is required to earn 2 kills per weapon (excluding the Gold Knife) to level up.
A new mechanic in the Arms Race mode is the "Team leader". A team leader is a player who has progressed the most in Arms Race for his team. When firing, a red (for Ts) or a blue (for CTs) silhouette is drawn around the team leader's models as well as glowing screen edges in first person. The glow reveals the team leader's location to all players capable of seeing the enemy. Prior to the February 17, 2016 patch (Operation Wildfire), the glow was visible from behind any surface.
If a player kills an enemy team leader, the player will instantly level up unless the killer is a leader as well.
If a team leader has progressed further than the opposing leader of the enemy team, the team leader will be named the match leader.
Prior to the November 11, 2014 patch
Every player started with a submachine gun, specifically the MP9, and would receive a new and different weapon for each kill. The assortment of weapons was fixed. If a player manages to score 2 kills with the same weapon, the player will advance two "levels." This can be done with shotguns and the AWP.
The weapon progression grouped by weapon type in the following order:
- Sub Machine Guns
- MP9 → MAC-10 → MP7 → PP-Bizon → UMP-45 → P90 →
- Nova → MAG-7 → XM1014 → Sawed-Off →
- Galil AR → FAMAS → AK-47 → M4A4 → SG 553 → AUG →
- Sniper Rifles
- AWP →
- Machine Guns
- M249 → Negev →
- Glock-18 → P2000 → Tec-9 → P250 → Desert Eagle → Five-SeveN → Dual Berettas →
- Gold Knife
- Arms Race & Demolition
Play a round on every Arms Race and Demolition map.
Kill a player who is on gold knife level in Arms Race mode.
Win a match on every Arms Race and Demolition map.
Win an Arms Race match without dying.
Be the first player to get a kill in an Arms Race or Demolition match.
| One Shot One Kill|
Kill three consecutive players using the first bullet of your gun in Arms Race mode.
Win an Arms Race match without reloading any of your weapons.
| Born Ready|
Kill an enemy with the first bullet after your respawn protection ends in Arms Race mode.
| Base Scamper|
Kill an enemy just as their respawn protection ends in Arms Race mode.
| Knife on Knife|
Kill an enemy who is on gold knife level with your own knife in Arms Race mode.
| Level Playing Field|
Kill an enemy who is on gold knife level with a sub-machine gun in Arms Race Mode.
| Still Alive|
Survive more than 30 seconds with less than ten health in Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| Practice Practice Practice|
Play 100 matches of Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| Gun Collector|
Play 500 matches of Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| King of the Kill|
Play 5,000 matches of Arms Race or Demolition mode.
Win one match in Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| Keep on Gunning|
Win 25 matches in Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| Kill of the Century|
Win 100 matches in Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| The Professional|
Win 500 matches in Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| Cold Pizza Eater|
Win 1,000 matches in Arms Race or Demolition mode.
| Repeat Offender|
Dominate an enemy.
Dominate ten enemies.
Kill an enemy who is dominating you.
| Can't Keep a Good Man Down|
Kill 20 enemies who are dominating you.
Kill an enemy whom you are already dominating.
| Command and Control|
Kill 100 enemies whom you are already dominating.
| Ten Angry Men|
Kill 10 enemies you are already dominating during a single match.
| Excessive Brutality|
Kill an enemy whom you are dominating four additional times.
| Hat Trick|
Dominate three enemies simultaneously.
| Avenging Angel|
Kill an enemy who has killed a player on your friends list in the same round.
| Hip Shot [?]|
Kill an enemy with an un-zoomed sniper rifle in Arms Race or Demolition.
- The Arms Race mode is the one of the two official game modes that allow players to respawn infinitely; the other game mode is Deathmatch.
- Excluding Lake, StMarc, and Safehouse as they were originally Demolition maps, it has the least amount of official maps in its rotation, which is only 3.
- Before an update, the SSG 08, SCAR-20, and the G3SG1 were not available in the Arms Race scenario. This made the AWP the only usable sniper rifle.
- In the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Beta, the Arms Race mode had a bug in which after a player successfully eliminates an enemy with the Gold Knife, players will experience a delay (or lag) for the round to end.
- The term 'Arms Race' refers to the competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces.