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CS:GO Maps Guide: How to Play Every CS:GO Map

Zakaria Almughrabi

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matchmaking map pool contains a diverse set of battlegrounds for players to compete on. Some of them have many similarities, while some could not be more different. If you’re trying to improve at CS:GO, you’ll need to know the basics of the maps. From the popular staples to the new additions, we’ve got you covered. Here is our beginners guide to CS:GO maps.

csgo maps

Image Credit: Valve

All CS:GO Maps

Active DutyMirage // Inferno // Overpass // Vertigo // Nuke // Dust2 // Ancient

Reserve: Train // Cache

Hostage: Agency // Office

Active Duty CS:GO Maps


csgo maps mirage

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit Total CS:GO 

Mirage is the only one of the CS:GO maps to have never left the active duty, competitive rotation. This fan favorite follows the standard conventions for most CS:GO maps. There are three main routes that opposing teams meet at with multiple points of contact within each one.

A site is a fast rollout for both teams, allowing for very quick plays through Ramp or Palace. If the pace is slowed down, Mirage A provides one of the most meticulous full site executes in CS:GO. Grenades can be thrown over the Ramp walls or from within Palace to block off and clear almost every location on site. As such, CT’s must frequently swap up how they play A in fear of getting run over.

B site is a much longer rollout with entrances through Apartments and Catwalk. While T’s can rush through Apts, early Incendiaries and HE Grenades make it difficult. If the T’s manage to split the site through Apartments and Catwalk at the same time, it’s a much easier take. Typically, only one defender needs to be in the B site so the others can play around the much more traveled Mid.

Mid on Mirage is what makes the map so cohesive. Both teams have multiple access points at a variety of angles to the central route. Smokes can be lobbed over T spawn for fast play, while CT’s can also create early cover and one-ways to push up in. Connector and Catwalk connect the A and B sites respectively, while Window provides for early CT presence, or a potential T flank.

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csgo maps inferno

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit SimpleRadar

Inferno is the second most commonly seen competitive CS:GO map. The abundance of corridors and choke points makes for a very utility-heavy experience. Most of Inferno’s playable area is towards the A side of the map, but that doesn’t stop B from being the most contested location.

B site is home to Banana, the single most heavily Grenaded area in Counter-Strike. Here, both teams wage a war of utility to try and gain control of the narrow corridor. If the CT’s have control, the T’s are cut off from one of the two bomb sites entirely. If the T’s hold Banana, the CT’s have to sit back on site, awaiting a push with slow reinforcement rotations.

The B site itself is very defender-sided. There are multiple good cover locations on it that all need to be cleared before planting the bomb. Luckily for the T’s, any angles from outside of the site itself can be smoked off. And once they do manage to clear it out, that defender’s advantage turns in their favor.

While the B site only has one entrance for T’s, Inferno A has three. Mid opens up into two wrapping routes onto the A site, one from Long and one from Short. The Apartments area also opens up to Short and has a drop down into Pit, the most important spot for holding A. There are many ways for T’s to push Inferno A, and just as many ways for the defense to be set up.

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csgo maps overpass

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit Total CS:GO

Overpass takes place in a German urban setting and is one of the biggest maps in the active duty lineup. CT’s start on top of the A site and can quickly rotate through spawn to the lower B site. There are many potential areas of contention on Overpass, as the map is too large to keep every area locked down.

The A side of the map contains long approach routes in the form of Bathrooms and Long. CT’s can use their favorable spawns to push forward early, or choose to sit back and hold the site entrance points. The T’s need to clear up through these corridors to have a chance at planting on A. They can also choose to rotate through Connector, the crucial mid-point of Overpass.

B site is much more prone to rushes due to the T’s closer spawn proximity. Utility can be thrown over the Monster tunnel and Water for some very powerful site hits. Heaven provides a long AWPing angle that must either be Smoked or Flashed then held. Once the T’s take the site, the retake can come from both the CT and T entrances to B.

Connector is the key to playing on Overpass. It’s the fastest way to get from the middle of the map to either bomb site. Both teams can opt to play for Connector control early, but doing so will make you weaker in other points of the map. In order to take space towards either A or B side, teams must potentially give away Connector control. This allows for T’s to quick rotate from site to site in the mid round, but also provides the CT’s an advantage in retakes since they can flank from behind.

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csgo maps vertigo

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit TheGlobalGaming

Taking place at the top of a skyscraper, Vertigo has the most unique location among CS:GO maps. Vertigo operates on two floors, with CT’s starting on the upper and T’s on the lower. In order for T’s to take a bomb site, they’ll need to clear upwards to the next floor and displace the defenders.

A site lies right next to the CT spawn and is connected to the lower floor by a single, wide Ramp. Defenders can play aggressively on this ramp, peeking down it with the help of early utility. When their smoke cover clears however, they must vacate the immediate area and let the T’s have their turn. In addition to the main Ramp exit onto A, T’s also have a second angle of attack in the form of a Sidewalk.

Vertigo B lies at the top of a narrow set of Stairs that T’s must push up to get on the site. There are many points of cover for the CT’s, such as crates and steel girders. Smokes, Molotovs, and Flashbangs must all be used in tandem to force Vertigo B open. Trading kills all the way to the bomb plant is very common, leaving for many tense low player retake situations.

While Vertigo does have a Mid, it doesn’t have nearly the same traffic as the Mirage or Dust2 Mid. The reason is because it’s simply not worth the manpower required most of the time. Since Vertigo’s bomb sites require full executes to take consistently, T’s need as many players trading forward as possible. The CT’s don’t want to be shorthanded on their site defenses either, so they also tend to stack the sites. Teams sometimes set up a single lurker or spotter in Mid, but the area is the least contested point of the map by far.

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csgo maps nuke

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit ohtoy/Harry Bedershy and Wile

The original multilayered CS:GO map is Nuke. Taking place in a nuclear power plant, the T’s need to infiltrate one of two rooms containing nuclear silos. Much of the map takes place indoors, but there is a very potent wide open outdoors space that needs to be controlled, or else flanks can come through at all angles.

A is the preferred rush site on Nuke. The narrow entrances of Hut and Squeaky door are the fastest ways for T’s to get a plant down. The most important part of taking this site is trading kills on the defenders standing above. The T’s can also take a slower approach to an A hit. Utility can be lined up to hit Heaven, Rafters, and even the top of Hut from outside on T Roof. This execute is effective at reducing the chances of CT’s finding multi-kills.

Nuke B is much more nuanced, as there are three very split entrances to the site. The Ramp room contains the fastest way to a plant on B, as well as providing a flank into Heaven. Vent is dangerous and often just used for CT’s to make isolated rotations. Finally, Secret is the most common point of attack for T’s to get to the lower site. Once there, attackers can split between Double Doors, Decon, or Control Room in order to flush out any remaining CT’s.

Outside is what separates Nuke from all other CS:GO maps. T’s can set up a wall of Smokes from their spawn to provide a safe cross all the way through Outside to Secret or Garage. Conversely, the CT’s can throw their own forward utility and even cut off T Smokes with Incendiaries to put pressure on Outside. There are tons of possibilities for Outside plays, such as T’s throwing the Smoke wall for a single lurker, or CT’s using Smokes to play close on T Red. Sometimes seven players will walk Outside in a round, sometimes only one will.

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csgo maps dust2

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit Froosh

Dust2 is [everyone’s] favorite long sightline, aim heavy map. Compared to other CS:GO maps, Dust2 is much more basic in terms of setups and strategies used. Most of the time, rounds are determined by a single grouped play with standard utility usage and an emphasis on winning aim duels/trading kills.

A site provides the most intricate experience on Dust2. The site itself lies in the middle of two huge sightlines, one from Long and one from Catwalk. Getting isolated on the site is a death sentence, so CT’s often opt to play for aggressive control of one of the two entryways. The left-side spawners can opt to either rush to Double Doors with Grenades and contest the Long walk out, or boost a player onto Catwalk early.

On the other side of Dust2 is the birthplace of “rush B my friends do not stop.” The Dust2 B site is one of the most rushed points in CS:GO, to mixed results. Oftentimes, one or two CT’s can hold off an entire team if they dodge the flashbangs. However, if the T’s do manage to trade kills evenly and take the site, they are treated to the easiest retake defense in the game.

Capping off Dust2’s iconic locations is Mid. Famous for the instant AWP peek from both teams, a recently lowered roof over Suicide makes for a more nuanced sniper battle than before. Once the T’s throw either an Xbox smoke or a Hinge smoke, they are free to move about the sightline and between Catwalk and Tunnels. Since attackers need to be fully grouped for their attacks on this map, Mid control is crucial to transition from defaults.

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csgo maps ancient

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit u/AndreCarneiro1/EliGE

Ancient is the newest map to hit the active-duty pool. This spiritual successor to de_aztec was created by Valve in 2020 and introduced to competitive in mid-2021. Ancient is a very big map made mostly of corridors. The most open spaces on the map are actually the bomb sites themselves. Ancient is also by far the most one-sided competitive map, with CT’s being overwhelmingly favored.

The most common default on Ancient has T’s stacking the area at the bottom of Mid and outside Jaguar, or the T side of B. The B site is the more frequently attacked of the two, as the T’s can clear out tons of angles with Molotovs. A full smoke execute is required, since there is no true safe plant on the site. If the attackers manage to get the bomb down, playing post-plant from Cave or Ramp is very powerful.

The other main area of contention on Ancient is Mid. Both teams have the option to throw utility from spawn in order to create space for early control. Some examples include the CT’s smoking off Elbow or the T’s Molotoving Cubby. Getting control of Mid allows for pressure, rotations, and even flanks.

The A site is much more difficult to push than B, as the only ways in for T’s are two narrow corridors. Main is a difficult walkout, as CT’s have cover from Box, Temple, and can be boosted up close. Most of the time, attackers must split between Main and Donut to try and flush out the many positions CT’s could play. CT’s will often play just one to two players on A and opt to play for retakes. Since they have the option of Temple, CT Spawn, or a Donut flank, retakes are fairly consistent.

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Reserve CS:GO Maps


csgo maps train

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit Total CS:GO

Before it was removed from the active duty lineup, Train was the most CT sided map in competitive Counter-Strike. With tons of open space, narrow corridors, and brutal sightlines, Train can be a very difficult map to get the hang of.

On their rollout, T’s have the option of going straight to A main, or running down one of two extremely long corridors. One leads to Ivy and a backdoor to the A site. One leads to the only entrances to the B site, with a potential detour to Ladder. With the right spawns, CT’s can contest both of these passageways by the time the T’s get there, so be careful.

The A site has many potential positions that CT’s can play in. Most of the time, we see one in Ladder (Popdog) or at Ebox, one holding Ivy, and one floating to wherever there’s pressure. They can also play aggressively on A Main with the help of a teammate’s utility. For T’s to break into A, they pretty much need to either win a duel at Ivy or Ladder, or go for a full smoke execute and trade kills.

Train B has some of the smallest T walkouts in CS:GO. Attackers have the option of a small doorway on the ground or a small doorway on height. While they can throw Grenades through windows in B Halls, they still have a hard job in getting through CT utility and players positioned on a number of potential angles. The silver lining is that if the T’s can push forward to CT Spawn entrances once they plant, they have a pretty solid retake defense setup.

Choose another map.


csgo maps cache

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit u/AreYouConfused_

Cache is a favorite map of PUG players and DM capable teams. There are few CS GO maps more tactically straightforward than Cache. With a limited number of ways to push into and defend both bomb sites, Cache is a big test of quickness and mechanics.

The A site has two entrances, Main and Squeaky. CT’s can be posted on any number of angles both horizontally and vertically. Attackers must clear quickly and efficiently to avoid being multi-killed. Positions like NBK and Quad are Molotov-able, while the main cross through Car and Newbox has an easy smoke bounce. CT’s can opt to play inside the site, or play for retake through Car and Highway.

Cache B is another two-entrance site, this time consisting of the rushable B Main and the direct Vent route from Mid. T’s can throw utility through the Sun Room windows in order to help clear the countless boxes on site. Defenders can choose to play aggressive on B Main, or passive back towards Headshot, Tree, or Heaven. CT’s can also boost a player up the Vent for a fast flank to Mid.

Speaking of Mid, Cache Mid is interesting because both teams have the option to quickly play aggressive through multiple angles. CT’s can smoke Garage off then push up close to the doorway. They can also peek from Window or White Box with an AWP to try and find a pick. The T’s have Boost to work with, allowing one or more players to take high ground. By winning a single aim duel, the T’s can lay claim to the central point of the map and choose to split either bomb site.

Choose another map.

Hostage CS:GO Maps


csgo maps agency

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit StormCSGO

Agency is another map that takes place at the top of a skyscraper, but this time you’ll be going inside to rescue hostages. The Hostage gamemode is different from normal CS:GO, where now the CT’s have to attack an area the T’s are defending in order to pick up a hostage and bring them back to CT Spawn. 

The CT’s have the option of crossing through a corridor on the right side, or move towards the Main Cafeteria side through either low ground or the upper Office. T’s will have the option to aggressively peek on high ground angles everywhere, making it very difficult for the CT’s to get through.

Once they do get into the T side of the map, CT’s will need to rescue one of two hostages in the Storage or the Conference Room. Defenders could still be hiding behind any number of corners or desks, so be cautious when approaching the hostage rooms. A Rescue Kit, rather than a Defuse Kit, makes the picking up animation much shorter.

Now with a hostage over shoulder, CT’s are tasked with escaping back outside. The fastest way to do so is through the Window Hallway on the offensive right side. If they took the Meeting Room hostage, that path is more difficult. Going through the Cafeteria is riskier, but can also be better for clearing angles in Spawn.

Choose another map.


csgo maps office

Image Credit: Valve

Common Callouts, Image Credit

Despite being queue-able in CS:GO’s competitive matchmaking, Office is the biggest Valve-made meme map in the game. Still, there are players who do queue for, and even only play Office in matchmaking. The term “Office Elite” refers to players who reach high rank just by playing this map.

CT’s spawn outside and have to infiltrate a complicated Office building. With tons of narrow corridors and sharp turns, clearing through to the back of the building can be tricky. The name of the game is aim duels and trading, since it can be difficult to make offensive utility valuable. 

Once the CT’s make their way past the initial maze of hallways, they’ll need to retrieve a hostage either in T Spawn or in the Projector Room. Getting the hostage out is just as difficult since Office is absolutely massive and can have T’s hiding in any number of positions. 

There are simply not enough CT’s to push through and clear every room and corridor on their way in, so T’s will often try and flank behind if they notice an area is open. Setting up an ambush in the abundance of angles CT’s need to check to get back to their Spawn safely is the best way to take down the last of their opposition in a round.

Choose another map.

Zakaria Almughrabi

Zakaria Almughrabi

Zakaria is a former professional TF2 player turned caster and analyst. He has had a passion for gaming and esports for years and hopes to use his skills and experience to convey why gaming is so great. His specialty games are League of Legends, CS:GO, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros, and PUBG.

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