A Guide To Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Maps
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was launched all the way back in 2012, but has seen plenty of maps come in and rotate out of its competitive pool. With the game boasting a huge player base and a ridiculously stacked competitive calendar, here’s your handy guide to getting up to speed with what maps you’re likely to find playing or watching an official match.
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One of the most iconic maps ever produced for the world of first person shooters, Dust II has been an ever present in every title in the history of the series and took its inspiration from the classic TF2 games of old.
The game was ported over into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive following the game’s release in 2012 and has remained in the active competitive map pool, bar a small stint on the sidelines for its revamping in 2017, and is so often seen as the face of the game.
In terms of design, Dust II is about as simple as it comes. The map is essentially split into three straight linear channels leading through to either bombsite and the middle of the map, with a couple of side corridors at catwalk and tunnels acting as the only sources of rotation in the middle of the round.
Behind Dust II as one of CS:GO’s most iconic maps, Inferno is an absolute gem of an example of map balancing in full effect. Set in a beautiful little Italian hamlet, the map is pretty much split right down the middle in terms of round win percentages according to HLTV, making it the most balanced map in the competitive pool at the time of writing, but one of the hardest to pin down in the CS:GO odds for the matches held on it.
So many of Inferno’s callouts and locations have become iconic and ingrained into the legendary moments in the game’s history, with the likes of Flusha and Friberg being dubbed the kings of Banana for example.
When Nuke was first released in the Counter-Strike series, it’s fair to say it shook things up pretty dramatically. No one had ever played on a map with the design of Nuke, with it stacking its two bombsites on top of each other on different levels rather than spacing them out across like on any other defusal map.
The skill ceiling for the map was initially hard to grasp, however sides like Ninjas in Pyjamas and Astralis were able to carve out formidable legacies on the map and prove its viability. Since then, the map has soared in popularity and is still evolving in a way that makes it fascinating to follow.
Mirage is another classic map that was ported over to CS:GO following the game’s release back in 2012, and is still the most popular map in official deathmatch matchmaking. The Moroccon theme is one of the cleanest the game has produced since redesigning all of the classic maps, and the overall pacing of Mirage is still one of the most accessible to pick up and play on.
For a nice all round experience, Mirage is your map.
The first map to make it onto this list that was specifically designed for CS:GO and built around its engine, Overpass really feels like a leap into the modern age of gaming. Set in the middle of an industrialized part of Germany, Overpass features more prominent differences in levelling, themes and aesthetics and is just a far more ambitious release compared to other maps around it.
It has also been the location of two of the game’s most iconic plays during its formative years, with Olofmeister’s boost and defuse in a molotov both having their own graffiti memes added on the map.
The last addition in the map pool, having only been introduced back in March 2019 as a replacement for Cache, Vertigo is still easily the most controversial pick in all of competitive Counter-Strike. Issues around both bombsites, the pacing of the map, the lack of viable utility spots and a general complaint about the map’s gimmick of being able to hear every footstep from anywhere on the map makes this the least picked map in the game still.
Nevertheless, more and more pros are starting to become convinced by the map’s tweaks and updates, and the likes of Team Liquid and Astralis have even begun to make Vertigo a bit of a surprising punishment pick against certain opponents.