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The Best CS2 Maps (Ranked by Popularity)

Counter-Strike 2 keeps a wonderful balance of classic and newer maps in the Active Duty pool. It’s quite important for the game! On the one hand, people have been playing on those locations for years, and they want that time and effort to pay off. On the other hand, though, developers simply have to introduce new content: to refresh the excitement and support contemporary trends in gaming culture.

Maps themselves should be nicely balanced too. Essential components of enjoyable and fair shooting locations include (but are not limited to):

  • Equal chances for both teams to succeed. No architecture nor objects should give advantages;
  • Different ways to reach the same goals (Bomb Defusal and Hostage Rescue in CS2). Teams should have opportunities to implement different strategies, with a variety of traditional and innovative approaches;
  • A decent number of possible passageways to move around the map unnoticed;
  • Some spots to camp and punish careless opponents;
  • Good possibilities for various tricks, such as jump throws or hidden shortcuts.

Having all CS2 maps is totally excellent for competitive matches and casual fun—this makes the choice of what to play on more complicated. Maybe taking a look at the game stats will help you choose a map to focus on? Let’s check out the most popular maps in Counter-Strike 2 and describe why they are the best!

In this article, we highlight only official locations. You may also be interested in the list of the best CS2 workshop maps — check it out on DMarket Blog.

The Best Counter-Strike 2 Maps

There are 10 main maps in CS2 (at the time of writing this article). Not all of them are played at the esports tournaments, though.

Only seven maps are part of the Active Duty pool, and we’ve included them in our list of the best CS2 maps. The ranking itself is based on the HLTV stats—the number of times these maps were played at various events. The situation may change with game (and community) developments, but still, the current list is quite representative and informative for your personal playing experience.

Ancient

Ancient cs2 map

The map was added to Counter-Strike in December 2020. Ancient was part of Operation Broken Fang. When the Operation was over, the map was added to the Active Duty pool instead of Train. Sure, it was in CS:GO, but then Ancient was transferred to CS2.

The community received Ancient well after the release, and the map remains one of the most popular in Counter-Strike 2. Players find themselves on an archeological site somewhere in Mexico, surrounded by… well, ancient constructions of native Americans. Deep green colors and the buildings make the map quite unique in the Counter-Strike set.

Initially, Counter-Terrorists had an advantage on Ancient, and B bombsite attracted much more action than A. Now it’s no longer the case—Valve has nicely re-balanced the map. Now, taking Mid under control is quite important, and many teams build their strategy around this.

Split is one of the biggest routes in the entire game. It’s often compared to Banana on Inferno.

Skybox was added at some point in CS:GO, but the developers removed it in CS2, so there are no height limitations for your throw on Ancient.

In a way, this map continues the tradition started by Aztec from the original Counter-Strike. Some seasoned players may still use callouts from the old map, as both share some areas.

Anubis

Anubis cs2 map

This map had ups and downs during its way to the official competitive pool. In March 2020, Anubis was added to the Scrimmage mode and then, ten days later, it was promoted to the Competitive mode. The map was removed within a year, though. The (glorious) return happened in August 2022, as part of CS:GO’s 10th anniversary. Then, in November of that year, Anubis replaced Dust II in the Active Duty pool. It’s been in the game since then, including the current Counter-Strike 2 era.

The very name hints at the theme of this map. Anubis is an Egyptian god, and naturally, Counter-Strike invites us to Egypt. Aesthetically, there is a specific atmosphere of maps such as Mirage and Dust: a lot of yellow, sandy streets, and the feeling of hot weather. Still, Anubis is not a copy at all. Its style is ancient Egyptian—look at the carvings on the walls. And it sure is unique gameplay-wise.

Anubis has a classic three-lane structure, with the B bombsite being somewhat closer to the T Spawn than usual. Counter-Terrorists spawn at a distance from both bombsites. The map is large, and that is a good ground for a big variety of team strategies. Even Mid has two sites, low and upper, with many possible passageways.

Fake movements are quite effective for Terrorists on Anubis. Active rotations are accessible for both teams, and both should use them.

Mirage

Mirage cs2 map

This Counter-Strike map is absolutely legendary—one of the most beloved maps in both pro and casual communities. Mirage was available in Counter-Strike 1.6. It was among the most playable in CS:GO. It remains on top in CS2 (sure, with significant improvements compared to the original version).

The dusty location refers to Morocco, but the popularity of Mirage is not based on the architecture. Its amazing core is a mind-blowing variety of opportunities: from how to approach bombsites to where to camp on them. The map feels perfectly balanced, so only players’ skills (and a portion of luck) decides who wins here.

The A bombsite is simply iconic, with that approach through the Palace for Terrorists. It has big boxes for players to hide behind and deliver headshots. Mid is a place for hot battles, as Mid control is extremely important. The B bombsite is somewhat less active, but here, you never know what your opponents might do. Tricky rotations should be part of team strategies on this map.

Mirage brought us some of the best moments in Counter-Strike esports. Due to its popularity, many casual players have mastered the map, so it might be difficult to succeed here. Still, matches on Mirage are mainly super exciting!

Different aesthetics of CS2 maps add a pretty specific layer of demands to your game crosshair. It should be clearly visible on yellowish Mirage, green Ancient, and urbanistic Vertigo. Take a look at our article with settings for different crosshairs for more info on this topic.

Nuke

Nuke cs2 map

This map is very, very unusual. When you watch esports tournaments, and teams play on Nuke, it may be difficult to follow events on the mini map—the bombsites are located one above another. This is a nice change from the more traditional three-lane layout.

Such a decision in the map architecture requires new approaches to team strategies. Terrorists should know where Counter-Terrorists usually camp and quickly check these spots while entering the rooms. For CT, it’s important to cover many possible corridors and doors.

The map is small in general, and it mainly consists of small rooms. Even a relatively big bombsite A has rather limited space for maneuvers. This feature dictates a frequent usage of short-range weapons.

The only really big open space on Nuke is Outside. It may be tempting for CT to take it under control through the Garage, but the move is pretty risky. Terrorists have different ways to enter the building.

Since its release in 1999 for Counter-Strike 1.6, Nuke has made it through many changes, including a huge reimagining in 2016 and substantial adjustments in 2018. All the balance improvements help Nuke be one of the best CS2 maps.

Nuke features a nuclear station somewhere in the USA. The current art style follows modern industrial standards.

Vertigo

Vertigo cs2 map

Talking about unorthodox maps… Vertigo is simply one of a kind, as the shooting ground here is located almost on the top of a skyscraper. There is even a risk of falling down and eliminating yourself from that round.

The original version of Vertigo was added to Counter-Strike in 1999. It was re-released for CS:GO in 2012. Like other maps, Vertigo made it to CS2 without skybox.

Being a construction site sure affects the general aesthetic of this map. In addition to this, you will see a lot of blue sky on Vertigo, which is pretty unusual for the game. It is located in the USA.

Similar to Nuke, Vertigo has two levels, but both bombsites are on the upper one. The lower level contains the T Spawn, so Terrorists can disappear for a while, moving to their “base”, and then re-emerge from somewhere else. Counter-Terrorists also have to master the vertical play on Vertigo. Such a layout enables a lot of dynamic action in CS2, making the map interesting to play and spectate.

Another important feature of Vertigo in Counter-Strike is its close, tight spaces. Players must demonstrate an amazingly speedy reaction as opponents often appear super unexpectedly. The weapons should allow players to support such a shooting style. Usage of smoke and grenades is especially powerful here.

Vertigo is not too popular among pro players, though. Maybe the unusual layout motivates teams to ban it and compete on other CS2 maps.

Inferno

Inferno cs2 map

Here we have another great classic Counter-Strike map. Inferno was present in the very first game, and it has made it to the CS2 Active Duty pool. The location is simply beautiful. You really feel yourself being in a small Italian town (hopefully, such game situations don’t happen in Italy). The layout is rather traditional, but with quite a few distinguishing features.

Banana is an important “corridor” for both teams. It leads to the bombsite B from the T Spawn, and common initial moves of Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists are to take Banana under their control. It happens thanks to a variety of utilities, and helps the teams get important info on opponents’ plans. CT don’t have to be stuck in there. Retreating to B is a clever next step for them to avoid being an easy victim and free teammates for potential rotation.

Another crucial place on the map is Apartment. Terrorists may sneak through it to the A bombsite, and the task for Counter-Terrorists is to control it alongside Mid approaches.

Rotations throughout a round are common for Inferno, and the map makes them relatively simple. Lots of strategies are possible here. It’s one of the most iconic competitive maps in Counter-Strike history!

Perhaps the popularity of Inferno in CS:GO esports is a reason for pro players to avoid it in CS2 (for now). Opponents know it well, and they also have vast freedom of actions. Considering such factors may be as significant as knowing everything on damage in CS2, don’t you think?

Dust II

Dust II cs2 map

The story of this location started in the first Counter-Strike game, and then we had Dust II in all the following installments. It’s not a reimagined version of Dust (like the transformation of Nuke)—they are different maps, and both were available in earlier games at the same time. Sometimes, people call Dust II a spiritual successor to Dust. In 2017, Dust was removed from CS:GO “as a less playable map”, and Dust II was significantly revised. During the transition to CS2, Dust II was updated only visually.

The map’s look is quite in tune with the name. It’s a dusty town, built from yellowish stone. Previously, it was obviously a Middle East location, but then Valve removed some elements and proclaimed Dust II as being located in Morocco.

The layout is clearly based on three lines: from the T spawn through Tunnels, Mid, and A Long to two bombsties. Counter-Terrorists spawn closer to A, and some of them may become victims of a T sniper who shoots through Mid Doors almost from their spawn area. It’s quite an important moment during CS2 rounds on Dust II. CT should use smoke to avoid an early disadvantage.

The lanes on this map are interconnected, and Terrorists have many chances to change their plans, depending on the situation. The A bombsite can be approached from A Short, and those holding A should keep this direction in mind. Many decisive battles take place in the very beginning of A Long. The B bombsite can be guarded by Counter-Terrorists from CT Mid, so Terrorists will have only Upper Tunnels as a “free” entrance to B—often only one CT stays on this bombsite, hiding in the depths.

Dust II is a very interesting map for players. Don’t hesitate to learn and enjoy it!

Like other classic maps, Dust II is present on a sticker. Would you add Dust FA (Foil) to our list of the best CS2 stickers?

The Best CS2 Maps: Casual Play

The Competitive mode in Counter-Strike 2 has nine maps in general (including those of the Active Duty pool, marked with a special icon). Overpass is a reserve map for Bomb Defusal, and Office is for the Hostage Rescue scenario.

Overpass

Overpass cs2 map

Overpass is similar to Nuke yet very different from it at the same time. It’s another Counter-Strike map with an experimental layout. Overpass still has Mid, but the T Spawn is located somewhat closer to the bombsite B, with A Long being… really long.

This massive size is exactly the difference between Nuke and Overpass, and it is a key feature. Some people even say that the map is too big. Another common complaint from the early periods of Overpass was about the straightforwardness of the passageways, which strongly limited possibilities for rotation. That has changed, though.

Valve added Overpass to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive back in 2013. Like many other maps, it went through substantial adjustments in attempts to reach perfect balance. And Overpass succeeded in this quite well. It remains rather unorthodox, but the teams have more options to shake their strategies and be unpredictable for opponents.

Overpass represents Berlin, Germany. Counter-Strike 2 got it without the skybox.

Gameplay-wise, it’s one of the best CS2 maps for peeking over the walls to spot what’s going on in other areas. Experienced players know where it’s possible to get important info and where quick shots can give them an early advantage.

Considering how fast everything changes on the game screen, it’s important to have high FPS in CS2 and be a few crucial frames ahead, on Overpass and other maps.

Italy

Italy cs2 map

Only two CS2 maps have been built around the Hostage Rescue scenario, and Italy is one of them. It was present in the original Counter-Strike game and all the following releases, including CS2.

Sure, the game mode itself is not very popular. You will not see Hostage Rescue being played at esports events. But still, fans love Italy and consider it nicely balanced.

The map obviously refers to the real-world country. After being revised for Counter-Strike 2, Italy has become one of the most beautiful maps in the game. Unlike some others, Italy got layout changes in comparison to CS:GO, including new corridors.

In general, Italy consists of many narrow passageways, created for the mix of short- and long-range battles. Market is the biggest open space here. Counter-Terrorists often decide to go through it instead of the rather tight Stairs. Patient camping feels like the best strategy for Terrorists on Italy.

Similarly to Vertigo, this map has a lot of verticality—thanks to the buildings and the possibility to go upstairs in them.

Office

Office cs2 map

It’s a Hostage Rescue map, and it’s available in CS2 for casual matchmaking and as a competitive Reserve. Office is quite a popular location for this game scenario, and it was playable in many versions of Counter-Strike, starting from the original game.

The events take place in an office building. Terrorists and hostages are inside. Counter-Terrorists spawn in a parking lot. They can occupy nearby rooms for sniper shoots or head inside through different entrances. Those rooms are important for the offensive actions of CT, as snipers get info on Terrorists through the windows and deliver it to teammates. This moment nicely reflects the team-based nature of the whole game.

The three-lane layout is here, but similarly to other Counter-Strike maps, Office allows players to make quick rotations and change their push direction. The internal environment of the building is relatively vast, and players have enough space for various maneuvers. Sudden close-range battles are frequent here too, as players often jump at each other from behind a corner.

Office is located somewhere in the United States. Its style is modern and urbanistic. The map is a rare chance to see winter in CS2.

Competitively, Office is kind of unfair, giving Terrorists substantial advantages. Hostages are located in one area near the T Spawn, so the defending team can just camp there. But it is still fun to play on Office. It’s more of an entertaining map. Consider matches here a chance for goofy gaming time and unserious warm-up sessions.

The choice of map to play on is quite important as the very nature of Counter-Strike dictates two principles: repetitiveness and consistency. After getting familiar with the variety of game locations, focus on just one and practice it regularly to improve your skills there specifically. Once confident on that map, expand your personal Active Duty pool to other locations. Sure, it’s not necessary to start with #1 in our list of the best CS2 maps. But maybe the article has given you an understanding of what you personally are excited about the most. Good luck and have fun!

For other interesting and helpful info on Counter-Strike 2 (and sure, CS2 skins trading), stay tuned to us here, on DMarket Blog.


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