CS:GO Maps Ranked From Best to Worst

CS:GO is a first-person shooter focusing quite heavily on its maps. More modern FPS games, such as Valorant and Apex Legends, have a lot of other things going for them. But in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, maps, and guns are more than 80% of the game. And skins.

When it comes to CS:GO maps, it offers players excellent variety. But out of all the available options, only seven maps are played in professional tournaments at any time. This article focuses on those maps and their characteristics.

What makes a CS:GO Maps Good

CS:GO Maps
CS:GO Maps

A CS:GO map is good if it’s well-balanced and has the potential to generate spectacular plays. At the professional level, the game is played for an audience. So the question is: what does an FPS audience find exciting?

The answer is quite apparent: clutches, aces, great displays of skill, massive swings, and so on. Of course, the players would rather win every map with a score of 16-0. But for the audience, that wouldn’t be much of a spectacle.

Technically, a map is good if it has the right area. If it’s too large, it will take forever for the players to engage in combat. If it’s too small, the fighting starts happening fast, and the audience feels there’s not enough time to savor the action.

Some maps are not in the Active Duty Map Pool because they heavily favor one of the sides, usually the Counter-Terrorists. Some might say that there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, the two teams switch sides after the first 15 rounds. It’s true, but if you start your second half from a score of 12-3, your mental state might not be good enough to make you fight for a win.

On other maps, the bomb sites are too far apart, and the Terrorists have a big advantage. All they need to do is to establish map control and then focus on taking one of the bomb locations. After the bomb gets planted, the CTs will have a hard time retaking it. This will make many teams choose to save their weapons at this point.

It’s a smart move, but the audience loses all the fun. If the entertainment factor is low because every situation is too one-sided, the map is probably not suited for the competitive map pool.

The Active Duty Map Pool

The current Active Duty Map Pool consists of the following CS:GO maps:

  • Mirage
  • Inferno
  • Dust II
  • Overpass
  • Nuke
  • Vertigo
  • Ancient

CS:GO Maps: Mirage

The most popular CS:GO maps and probably the best is Mirage. The reason is not that hard to understand: both bomb locations offer the opportunity for spectacular duels. When the T side tries to conquer A or B, they need to utilize their nades to perfection.

The AWP players of the two sides have a huge role in every round on this map. The players can spot each other from afar, with nothing in between them other than some crates and a few other hiding spots. 

Players with excellent aim usually excel on this map. But it can still be difficult to land headshots from such a great distance. This is why the AWP is bought so often on this map. 

Mirage is picked around 28% of the time. It may not be the most balanced map in the game, but it’s very exciting to play and watch.

Inferno

CS:GO maps
CS:GO maps

Inferno feels like a maze. This is a very long map on which it’s hard to die at a lot of key points. The CT side’s worst nightmare is to have to retake a bomb site when more than 3 Terrorists are still alive. You need to check so many corners, and the odds of making it to the bomb site alive are quite slim.

One of the most exciting parts of the map is the alley called Banana that nearly links T spawn to B site. This is the place where most of the grenades are used in each round. The CT side usually throws incendiary and explosive grenades, while the T side throws flashbangs and smoke grenades to cut off some of the CTs from the fight.

Dust II

Dust II is a classic and the third most played map in the game. It’s been around since the beginning of CS:GO and is still played very frequently. Not as frequently as Inferno (24%) but still frequent enough (14%) to guarantee its spot in the Active Duty Map Pool for a long time to come.

Dust II is where one of the most memorable moments in CS:GO took place. Back in 2016, s1mple threw an AWP on nitr0 from the other side of the wall on B site and then proceeded to kill him with a pistol.

But Dust II is epic for many other reasons. It’s nicely balanced, allows the CT-side to fight for a chance to defuse the bomb, and offers excellent mid-duel opportunities.

Overpass

Overpass is one of the best maps for teams who have mastered nade tactics. Its structure allows for the usage of nades from multiple angles, and the T-side must make use of them to break into the bomb sites. Retakes on this map are very hard, but so are bomb plants.

Nuke

Nuke is one of the most challenging CS:GO maps you can play, but that’s exactly what makes it popular. The bomb sites are very close to each other but the battles take place at close range and there are so many angles to check, you can’t possibly win without excellent nade usage.

Vertigo

Vertigo is one of the smallest maps in CS:GO. It is a heavily CT-sided map, which is why not many players like it. The battles start quickly, and they usually end just as quickly. One wrong move, and your entire team can get killed if you’re on the T-side.

This is the only map in the competitive map pool that allows very little room for maneuvers and space-control tactics. The two bomb sites must be reached through brute force.

Ancient

CS:GO maps
CS:GO maps

Ancient is the most unpopular CS:GO map right now. Only 3% of games are played on it, and it’s understandable why. The colors are depressing and obstruct crosshair and player model visibility, the battles offer little excitement, and the map layout often creates one-sided battles.