If you have ever watched a national or international FPS eSports competition, you may have seen the unusual technique of some pros tilting their keyboard.
But why do pro gamers tilt their keyboard? Does it give some competitive advantage?
I’m not too sure about that.
The reason why pro gamers tilt their keyboard is that:
Tilting your keyboard allows you to save a ton of real estate on your desk. In LAN competitions where desk space is limited, pro gamers began tilting their keyboard to open more space for their mouse to move around. As long as the angle didn’t impact their gameplay, the additional mouse space benefited them more.
For the casual gamer, tilting your keyboard may not be ideal unless you find it comfortable.
However, if you’re a competitive gamer, you may want to try doing this tactic as a way to ensure you have adequate desk space during your competitions.
Let’s dive in a little deeper on why pros used this unusual technique and whether tilting your keyboard will give you an advantage...
Many of the top gamers in competitive sports can have similarities, and one such technique is the keyboard tilt.
An appropriate surface area for your mouse is huge for competitive FPS gamers because it allows you more room to move your mouse, which is critical for significant aim corrections like flicks and swipes.
More mouse space means you will have an easier time aiming; this is especially prevalent in FPS games, where enemies can pop up from any angle on your screen, causing you to need to swipe your mouse fast.
During LAN comps, pros are bound to hit their keyboard or the side of the wall because of how the seating arrangements are like:
If you have limited desk spacing, this won’t be the case.
Another reason you need mouse space is how heavily it will affect your aim style, whether you aim with your arm or your wrist.
Arm aiming allows you to use the three points in your arm to aim: your wrist, elbow, and shoulder, which lowers the strain on your wrist and will enable you to use lower sensitivity, which is what many pro-FPS gamers use.
Ensuring that you have adequate spacing between your keyboard and your mouse will mean that you are guaranteeing consistency in your aim.
LAN comps and tournaments have gamers seated next to their teammates side-by-side.
So naturally, the spacing would be limited.
Placing your keyboard on a tilt ensures that you have an adequate amount of space despite the limited desk space given to you.
The extra mouse space during LAN comps is the main reason why pro gamers use the keyboard tilt.
One of the most common misconceptions people have is that tilting your keyboard will lead to discomfort, making it an ineffective tactic.
Tilting your keyboard is a lot more ergonomic than you would think.
For instance, when using a standard straight keyboard with flat keys, you would typically have your wrist straightened out like this:
Instead of having your wrists sit in their natural position, like this:
To combat this, I tilt my keyboard ever so slightly so that my wrist sits in a natural position.
It also helps a lot to have a wrist rest, especially high-profile keys like the ones I have above.
You may see pro gamers on an insane tilt, like this:
This type of keyboard tilt is less about ergonomics and more so about saving space.
The game you play will decide whether or not you should tilt your keyboard.
For instance, in League of Legends and Dota, you don't need as much mouse space because you wouldn’t be moving your mouse as sporadically as in FPS games.
If the game is an RTS like Starcraft II, then keyboard tilt will be all but useless since your hand position should remain primarily consistent throughout the entire game, similar to how you would play League.
You would typically see a keyboard tilt for FPS games that require tracking or click-timing aim, games like CS:GO and VALORANT.
A keyboard tilt is not for everyone, and if you are a casual gamer, chances are you won't need to tilt your keyboard at all.
For best practice, just place your keyboard in a position that feels most natural, and you should be fine.
If you want a keyboard that maximizes ergonomics, consider buying a low-profile keyboard or a split ergonomic keyboard.
Of course, everyone is different, so what works for a pro gamer may not work the same way for someone else.
If you have limited spacing on your desk, you may benefit nicely from a keyboard tilt.
The smaller your keyboard is, the more comfortable your keyboard tilt will feel, which is why many gamers prefer using smaller keyboards with fewer keys because it saves room.
I mean, the Numpad on a keyboard is used a ton if you need it to crunch numbers, or even in an MMORPG game where you could bind your abilities to your Numpad buttons.
If your keyboard comes in a smaller form factor, you’ll be able to tilt your keyboard easier since it won’t take up as much room.
At the end of the day, whether you tilt your keyboard or not to play games comes down to personal preference and comfort level.
By now, you should have an idea as to why pros tilt their keyboards.
There's no "competitive advantage" for pros who tilt their keyboard, but instead, they use it as a technique to maximize the limited spacing they have during a comp.
So if you find yourself in a position where your mouse space is limited, why not give a keyboard tilt a try?
If you find that gaming on a keyboard tilt feels better for you, comment below and tell us about your personal experience!