A look at the current map pool metagame for CS:GO
With the recent changes made to the competitive map pool, Valve have continued to have trouble with understanding the professional scene of Counter Strike: Global Offensive. With the replacement of Inferno with Nuke it has left some teams with a very limited map pool and instead of promoting new and exciting strategies, teams now look less skilled playing the remaining maps. Let’s look at what needs to change and what effect it may have on the current CS:GO Metagame.
We recently saw in the PGL KeSPA Regional Minor Championship that Nuke, while in the map pool wasn’t picked once during the entire tournament and was instead banned by every single team. I was hoping to see some gameplay coming from these up and coming teams but it’s possible that professional teams haven’t had enough time to practice the T side effectively.
After looking at the map picks for the four previous events we have seen Overpass (15), Dust 2 (15) and Inferno (12) left behind as Cache (28) and Mirage (27) dominate most tournaments. I‘m of the opinion that these two maps are currently the most exciting to watch as there is a high amount of mid game options that can be called and strategies to implement. Each bombsite is easily accessible by either team and while there is still that CT sided bias on Mirage I feel like more strategic teams can end up getting more rounds on the T side.
The stats also show that Inferno was less popular as the change was implemented but tournaments are still using it in their map pool. I believe the reason for this is Inferno has always been a dynamic map when it comes to attacking sites, much like Cache and Mirage there was never a bias towards a particular bomb site like we are currently seeing in other maps. It will be interesting to see which maps will be played during the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals as teams are now in this weird situation.
With Inferno still kind of sitting in the competitive map pool I’m sure it has left teams wondering if they should even relearn the new Nuke strategies. If they do attempt to strategize, their opponents will either ban it because they haven’t played it or we will constantly see the best aimers duelling it out game after game. That’s assuming that Nuke is even implemented by the companies hosting these events. We have seen this in recent times with maps like Cobblestone where the teams who excel at a particular map will utterly dominate as teams that haven’t practiced will only be able to rely on the aiming skill of their players.
With Nuke still being such a strategically focused map, much like Cobblestone/Overpass, a lot of teams will struggle to pick up rounds on the T side unless they just overwhelm one particular site. It’s been obvious for a while that professional teams have a weaker T side so they’ve come to conclusion of banning maps where they just can’t fully utilise their fragging potential. This leads to teams putting up with T Side, coasting along with CT rounds and relying on getting frags instead of planting and rotating.
The idea of a rotating map pool has floated around the scene for a little while. This option would allow teams to freshen up strategies and shuffle up the metagame of CSGO. Right now we know who the dominant teams are on every single active map and it hasn’t changed. While the map pool may have needed the change I think there should have been a beta phase before implementing the changes and telling people to deal with it. With a testing beta phase, the professional community can give Valve the feedback it needs. The newly tested map pool could be implemented after every Major tournament (ESL One Cologne, Katowice) to keep teams on their toes for the next phase of competition.
I’m looking forward to the days where competitive teams can play Nuke effectively because it’s definitely an interesting map but might not be the right time to implement it. Being able to strategize for a T sided style of play is something we haven’t seen in the CSGO seen for a long time and I think it would definitely be a welcome change in today’s metagame.