Maps form the backbone of Counter-Strike. Whether it be Dust 2's four-clover layout or Nuke's innovative two floor structure, the maps of CS GO are an integral part of the tactical gameplay that makes Counter-Strike the best FPS out there. The design of a map determines the weapons one should purchase at the start of every round and the flashes and smokes one should throw in order to achieve victory. Some maps favour Ts, others favour the counter-terrorists. The rich tapestry of maps available to CS players is one of the most important reasons for the long-lasting dominance of Counter-Strike in the FPS genre. Here, I have compiled a list of the most popular Counter-Strike maps that have stood the test of time. Rank this list to let me know which are your favorites or at the least which ones you like after Dust II :D. Sources: PC Gamer, Counter-Strike Wiki, Team-Liquid.net
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Dust II, also known as Dust 2 (de_dust2) is a Bomb Defusal map featured in the Counter-Strike series. It is the successor to Dust. Perhaps the quintessential CS:GO map, Dust II has been a classic since its original release. The map captures the essence of CS and has been one of the most popular maps in the Counter-Strike series. Its strong balance and strategic gameplay makes it synonymous with the Counter-Strike franchise. It is widely played on many servers and is a popular choice for Counter-Strike tournaments as well. Dust 2 is reliably fun but is often a victim of its own popularity. It has the “easy to learn, hard to master” quality we value in games, with the sniping lane down mid being a great example of the latter. Re-taking bombsite B, despite three entry points, is satisfyingly tough for the CTs. Both teams have to hurry to occupy the junction at long A, a perfectly-timed early-round flashpoint. Architecturally, the map appears to be set in the Middle East, similar to its predecessor Dust. Earlier versions of the map lack many identifying features, with the only identifying features being what looks like sandstone textures for walls and sand for floor.Later games added more visually identifiable features to show the map's setting. The original Global Offensive version featured islamic architecture and presence of military and conflict activity such as Jeeps and bombed walls, reflecting a contemporary view of the Middle East. In the revamped version, the map is set in Morocco, which is not in the geographic region of Middle East, but featured similar architectural styles.
The map is set in a small town with European architecture. In the Global Offensive version, the presence of the Separatist faction suggests that the map is set in the Basque Country, where the real ETA separatist group operates, though signs written in Italian seen around the map suggest otherwise. The map is loosely rectangular, with the Counter-Terrorists spawning on one corner of the map and the Terrorists on the diagonally opposite corner, and the two bombsites sitting at the other two corners. In terms of layout, this map has it all: wide open areas, narrow pathways and even a small tunnel to hide in. Over the years teams have used a lot of different tactics on this map, and the creative freedom offered to the players is huge. mixwell likes the map because of its balance. The A and B side are far apart but difficult to approach, which is why players can make creative use of fake pushes and other interesting strategies.
Nuke (de_nuke) is a bomb defusal map featured in Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Source, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Nuke is one of Counter-Strike's most iconic and enduring maps. First released in November 1999, the map has undergone numerous aesthetic and functional changes over the years, yet always retained its elegant simplicity. The map takes place in a warehouse containing nuclear materials or a nuclear power plant. In Global Offensive, the original version of the map takes place a German nuclear power plant, while the revamped version takes place in an American one. Unlike most Counter-Strike bomb defusal maps, the map revolves around a central structure rather than multiple lanes, with the two bombsites being overlapped on top of each other. In Global Offensive, before the rehaul, many players had criticized the map for being too CT-sided. Due to the map's unusual structure, CTs have access to a wide array of defensive positions that are very difficult for Ts to reliably clear one by one, particularly in the 2 bombsites. Two small vents offer a quick way for CT to rotate, which makes it almost impossible for T to sneak a bomb plant. As a result, the performance of Terrorists was influenced heavily by lucky enemy positions, weakening the skill-based gameplay.
Mirage is a Bomb Defusal map for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The map was added to the game on 6th of June, 2013. The map is themed like a Middle Eastern town, but because of its close resemblance to Moroccan style architecture, it is likely set somwere in Morocco. Michael "BubkeZ" Hull originally created Mirage specifically for the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) for Counter-Strike league play, called de_cpl_strike. Hull later created a non-CPL version of the map and called it Mirage (de_mirage). It was a popular unofficial map in the Counter-Strike community for years, and a version of the map was even made for Counter-Strike: Source. After Global Offensive was released, Valve decided to remake the map and include the map as an official bomb defusal map. As with all official maps, Valve updated the visuals and tweaked the gameplay for better competitive play. For instance, the original versions of Mirage had textures similar to Italy, but was later updated to reflect a Moroccan style. Every entry point in Mirage presents interesting, complementary risks and rewards. Pushing cat to B as a Terrorist is a great example of this: you have to smoke the A connector to do it safely, but that action in and of itself expresses your intention to bring the bomb to B. Adjacent map areas, like apartments and underpass, or ladder room and sniper window, have strong relationships to one another. Map timings at mid window, A ramp, the van at B are all deliberately tuned. The bombsites are tough to take and relatively tough to defend, and the CTs have sneaky options to turn defense into offense in apartments, underpass, and palace.
Train is one of the most difficult maps to play. Since the map offers so many different corners and attack routes it can be frustrating for the CT side to hold every angle. Train is a map that has a big discrepancy in team win rates; some teams have a hard time scoring a map point while others love the design. No classic CS map is more argued over than Train. For many matchmakers it is a mainstay, but some displeased players have gone so far as to revise the map themselves. One thing is for certain: the Terrorists face rough odds on bombsite A—even rushing at full speed, the CTs are always able to put themselves in a better position more quickly. Dark areas in the train tunnels put the Ts at further disadvantage. Only with a lot of coordinated grenades, can the Terrorist side mount a significant advantage.
Cache is a bomb defusal map featured in Operation Bravo and was created by FMPONE, Volcano and penE. It is currently one of the Active Duty maps in CS:GO's standard competitive matchmaking and sees frequent use in tournaments. The map takes place in Pripyat, Ukraine. The Chernobyl Power Plant is visible from the Terrorist spawn, along with nearby buildings and even fencing material consistent with the real-life counterpart. Cache has an intriguing layout. No corner of Cache is superfluous—its uncomplicated three-lane structure is gimmick-free. The tiny vent entrance to B is about as unconventional as Cache gets. That leaves us with a pure competitive map—it couldn't be more obvious that Cache was co-designed by a pro player.
Cobblestone (de_cbble), formerly known as Cbble and also known as Cobble, is a bomb defusal map featured in the Counter-Strike series. The map was originally called de_cstle and was always intended to be set in a castle, but de_cstle was scrapped in favor of the redesign that became de_cbble. It was introduced in Counter-Strike Beta 6.5. Memorable competitive moments on de_cbble include SK.SpawN's attempted ninja defuse against Ninjas in Pyjamas at CPL Winter 2005. The remake for CS:GO was released on December 18, 2013 along with Overpass with the Winter Offensive update. In remaking the map, Valve focused on opening the map up and adding more strategic options for site takes and retakes. The first professional CS:GO tournament to feature the map was ESL One: Cologne 2014, where it was played 6 times, including in the grand finals. The old castle of Cobblestone holds many small pathways, corners and plateaus to hide in for T. This keeps the CT side players guessing constantly until T decide to make a move. The superstar player GeT_RiGhT is well known for his lurking playstyle. Popping out of corners to surprise the enemy when they least expect it and being as annoying to the enemy team as possible. Cobblestone gives GeT_RiGhT the power and the chance to top the scoreboard.
Office (cs_office) is an official hostage rescue map. It has since appeared in every Counter-Strike game, besides Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes. It is set in the winter in a office building with parking areas and outside yards. Counter-Terrorists (CT) spawn zone is in a parking garage while the Terrorists are inside the offices. Arguably, Office is one of the more balanced Hostage Rescue maps in Counter-Strike as players will have even ground throughout the map and the hostages are easily escorted in the wide pathways. Shoulder-peeking and entry grenades are the name of the game for the CTs in Office, making the map more about small-scale execution of these maneuvers rather than larger map-level tactics
Overpass (de_overpass) is a Bomb Defusal map for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, released in the Winter Offensive update along with the map Cobblestone. The map's setting is a canal overpass and the park built above it in Berlin, Germany. The GSG-9 must protect a stalled military shipment on a canal overpass while the Phoenix Connexion can either attack the shipment head-on or attempt to destroy the overpass itself by bombing the pillar below. The Counter-Terrorists spawn in bombsite A, where the disabled cargo truck is located at. Meanwhile, the Terrorists' Spawn Zone is around the bottom of the canal. Bombsite B is located below the CT Spawn Zone and can easily be accessed from a stairwell. In here, snipers can easily guard here as a sniper nest is positioned towards the entire site. The map became infamous following Dreamhack 2014 because Fnatic's three-man boost and pixel walk exploit.
Dust (de_dust) is a bomb defusal map, and the predecessor to Dust2. It appears in every game of the Counter-Strike series. The map is set in a Middle Eastern town and features two bombsites: one in the Counter-Terrorist spawn and another one in an open area nearby. In Global Offensive, the location has been slightly altered, resembling a North African setting such as Maghreb. The map's central structure contains more distinct Islamic architecture elements indicative of a setting in the islamic world, which encompasses both the Middle East and North Africa. Dust has been a part of every version of the Counter-Strike Series. Although still popular, it has effectively been retired from competitive play altogether, and these days is played mostly for nostalgia. The route alterations that Valve made to Dust when CS:GO was released were welcomed my most players but the fact that both bombsites are absolutely buried in CT turf means it is unlikely to ever be effective as competitive map.
Italy is a Hostage rescue map featured in the Counter-Strike series. Since its debut, it has appeared in every game and is widely considered a fan-favorite amongst the community. Italy is filled with narrow passageways and includes an iconic marketplace. In these areas, it features both close quarters and long range combat, with many diverse tactical opportunities. The market, being a usual site for firefights, is arguably the most "open" and spacious part of the map. Several of the buildings and houses are accessible, leaving behind the outdoor skirmishes. It's possible that the map takes place somewhere in the north of Italy since there are mountains visible. It is suggested that it takes place in the South Tyrol province since there have been real seperatist-terrorist attacks in the 20th century, the street sign "Bixio" suggests the real town of "Brixen" Because of its long corridors and elevated camping positions, Italy is often regarded as a haven for snipers.
Aztec (de_aztec) is a bomb defusal map featured in the Counter-Strike series. It is set in a Central American archaeological site. This is one few maps in the Counter-Strike series that has not changed frequently. Noticeable changes include texture differences and a few minor structural changes. The map is quite CT sided offering them every conceivable advantage: the bombsites that are steps away from CT spawn; there is a bridge that crosses the open air, an incredibly easy-to-defend ramp, and double doors that open out into two AWP lines for the Terrorists. Temple of Doom indeed.
Assault (cs_assault) is a hostage rescue map featured in Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Source, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Counter-Terrorists must rescue hostages captured and put into a warehouse by a group of Terrorists. Despite being included in Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source, both versions are noteworthy for their extreme differences. Counter-Strike: Source brought forth a very realistic approach, as well as excluding the Security cameras. Besides taking away the cameras, one of the major changes was the replacement of the highway with the train station. Some players got frustrated with the new changes, however, they are still present in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Even so, Assault is still one of the most popular maps in all Counter-Strike series. Assault requires CTs to mount a siege to rescue hostages from the clutches of the terrorists whose best strategy is to camp and wait for an entry. The he CTs' entry options are not great and is somewhat mitigated in CS:GO by the addition of glass windows on the facility rooftop.
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