One of the biggest reasons behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s impressive longevity and growing popularity even in 2021, a whopping nine years on from its original release, is the continued tweaks and updates Valve Corporation dish out to the game. One of the most hyped and anticipated tweaks Valve possess amongst the community is the continual rotation of the maps in the game’s competitive pool, the seven selected maps that are available to play in official matchmaking and at events and tournaments attended by professional players and orgs around the world.
The official competitive map pool currently consists of the seven following maps: Dust II, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Train and Vertigo.
It has been tradition that Valve rotate their map pool a couple of times a year to coincide with one of their Major Championships, however the latest reshuffling to date remains the swapping of Cache for Vertigo all the way back in March 2019.
With appetite growing amongst the community for reshuffles and remakes, here are 3 bold predictions you should look out for in the world of CS:GO map pools this 2021.
Mirage Gets A Remake
Though it can trace its roots back to the early days of de_Italy, Mirage was added to the Counter-Strike series with the release of CS:GO in June 2013. Set in a dusty Moroccan town, Mirage is the very embodiment of balanced and fair competitive matchmaking with a simple to grasp layout, but enough utility knowledge and tightly contested spots to allow pro players to sink their teeth into.
To date, Mirage is the only map in the history of the game to have been played in all fifteen of Valve’s Major Championships, and according to HLTV it has replaced the likes of Inferno and Dust II to become the most popular competitive map in the pool with 17,982 matches played at the time of writing.
For those who get paid to play video games professionally at events and tournaments, Mirage represents a nice and balanced pick, usually being left in the veto as a map either side is happy playing as a decider.
However, despite the fact that Mirage is a map that has hardly seen any tweaks or developments by the developers since its launch, there has been a growing appetite for Valve to give its most popular competitive map something of a rework in 2021. Expect to see Mirage being given a reworking at some point this year, presumably after the PGL Major Championship in November.
Something Old or Something New?
The issue of a map pool change in CS:GO raises an interesting question for the community to wrestle with: do you rotate in a map like Cache or Cobblestone that have been in the pool in the past, or create something entirely new for the game’s pro circuit to tussle with.
The likes of Nuke and Dust II have both gone out and then appeared back in the map pool over the years, and Cache and Cobblestone are still amongst the most beloved map picks if you scroll around the CS:GO forums on Reddit or HLTV. But does rotating in a map that hasn’t been seen on the big stage for a number of years really represent a game growing and innovating in 2021?
When it was introduced in March 2019, Vertigo was an entirely new thing for the CS:GO community. And whilst it’s enjoyed a notoriously controversial reputation and remains the least picked map in the pool today, even after all of its tweaks and changes, it was undeniably a serious talking point for the game and something new for the pros to really grapple with.
There are a plethora of maps such as Anubis or Ancient that Valve have brought into the game that are still waiting for their chance to flex themselves in the competitive pool, and it could be fascinating to see what the pro orgs in the scene make of them.
Dust II Or Mirage To Bow Out
Out of all the maps in the pool, Mirage and Dust II are easily the most simple to grasp. From silver ranks to global elites, there’s very little in how either map plays out that really changes from game to game. If you were to bet on any map leaving the pool, you really shouldn’t look too much further than either one of those two.
Dust II might be the undeniable face of the Counter-Strike series ever since its first introduction in CS 1.6 in 2001, but it is a map that doesn’t exactly reek of top tier Esports competition. The ultra-puggy feel of the map, complete with all the impossible B bombsite retakes and shots through the smoke up middle, don’t require a great deal of skill to master, and the game would undoubtedly benefit from a professional point of view if it were rotated out in favour of a map that combined this duel heavy approach with a greater amount of detail in rotations and utility knowledge.
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Jose Luis Horta e Costa’s Favorites and Contenders for Rugby World Cup 2023
In the exhilarating world of rugby, as the Rugby World Cup 2023 unfolds in France, fans and experts alike are eagerly assessing the field of contenders, favorites, and potential game-changers. In a candid conversation with renowned sports writer Jose Luis Horta e Costa, we delve into the dynamics of the tournament, the teams to watch, and why he believes France could pose a formidable challenge to New Zealand in the final, should they both reach that stage.
A Wide-Open Tournament
Horta e Costa begins by emphasizing the unique nature of this Rugby World Cup. “It’s quite extraordinary,” he remarks. “We’re accustomed to a few dominant teams, but this time around, it’s wide open.” The traditional rugby powerhouses such as New Zealand, South Africa, England, and Australia remain strong contenders. However, what sets this tournament apart is the balance across the board, with several teams showing the potential to create upsets and rewrite the script.
The Reigning Champions: South Africa
South Africa, the defending champions, are naturally one of the favorites. “Their confidence is riding high,” says Horta e Costa. “Impressive victories against Wales and New Zealand in recent matches have solidified their status as a formidable force.” The Springboks’ physicality and tactical prowess make them a daunting proposition for any opponent.
New Zealand’s Pursuit of Glory
New Zealand, a perennial rugby powerhouse, is always a team to watch. “Despite a recent loss to South Africa,” J Luis Horta e Costa notes, “the All Blacks have a squad brimming with experience and talent.” With a quartet of players boasting over 100 international appearances and a history of success, New Zealand remains a top contender.
Ireland’s Grand Slam Ambitions
Ireland, currently the number one ranked team in the world, has been on a remarkable journey of late. “Their grand slam victory in the Six Nations and the top world ranking have set expectations sky-high,” says Horta e Costa. Ireland, with a mix of seasoned campaigners and emerging stars, is eager to overcome its history of underachievement in Rugby World Cups.
France’s Home Advantage
While France might not be considered an outright favorite, their home advantage cannot be underestimated. “France has a certain X-factor in this tournament,” Horta e Costa observes. “Defeating Australia, Fiji, and Scotland in warm-up games showcased their capabilities.” Despite recent injuries to key players, the French squad is brimming with talent, and the roar of the home crowd could propel them to greatness.
The France vs. New Zealand Final
When asked about a potential final matchup, Horta e Costa’s eyes light up. “A France vs. New Zealand final would be a dream scenario,” he states. “France’s historic rivalry with the All Blacks adds an extra layer of intrigue.” Horta e Costa believes that if both teams reach the final, France’s combination of home advantage, a formidable squad, and the desire to create history could tip the scales in their favor. “It’s not a far-fetched notion,” he says. “France has the potential to beat New Zealand on their day.”
As the Rugby World Cup 2023 unfolds, rugby enthusiasts will be treated to an exhilarating display of talent, determination, and sportsmanship. While favorites and contenders emerge, the beauty of rugby lies in its unpredictability, and every team has a chance to etch their name in history. Under the watchful eye of experts like Jose Luis Horta e Costa, fans will savor every moment of this rugby extravaganza, eager to witness whether the favorites hold their ground or if new champions emerge, making the sport richer and more captivating than ever before.
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