Map Meta: Putting the Removal of Dust2 from Active Duty into Perspective | Post Atlanta Major

The Eleague Atlanta Major concluded a week ago with Astralis crowned as Champions. Following this Valve have switched up the Active Duty map pool by removing the historical and the iconic de_dust2 and replacing it by the newly re-textured de_inferno.

The following analysis was made based on the data from this major as there was a 6 week break between the ECS Season 2 finals and the major. Barring Virtus.Pro (VP) and Team EnVyUs (NV) (who attended the WESG finals in China a week prior to the major), every team has had plenty of time to practice and work on their map pool. Additionally majors are one of the most prestigious events so we can expect that the teams come well prepared.


Data: Map Bans and Picks

Map Ban Pick Stats

The chart above visualizes how the maps ban/pick system panned out.

  • The blue bar describes the number of times a map was played.
  • The green bar describes the number of times a map was banned.
  • The red bar indicates that the particular map was a possibility of getting played.

Subtraction of the blue values from the red values gives the amount of times the map could have been played but it wasn’t due to one of these 2 reasons.

  1. During the Swiss stage, the map was leftover after the bans and was not chosen by the randomizer.
  2. It was the 3rd map in a BO3 and the game never went to the 3rd map and finished 2–0.

For ex: There was a possibility that Dust2 could have been played 12 times, but it was only played 5 times. 6 times it was not chosen by the randomizer and once it was the 3rd map in a BO3 and never came to it (Astralis vs Fnatic semi-finals).


When Valve removed Dust2 from the active duty pool, plenty of people reacted with shock claiming that Cobblestone or Nuke should have been the map to be replaced instead. Many pros voiced their concern that Cobblestone was the most stale map with no unconventional gameplay left. But plenty others agreed with Dust2 being the most stale map and the only one that hasn’t been changed much since its inception in CS:GO. New outlook and some minor tweaks could really help get a fresh outlook and make the map more dynamic.

Valve have dropped a couple of hints of a Dust2 remake over the past few months. The first one was when MaxReiger investigated the 9/21/2016 patch and discovered some added textures and props for Dust2. Another hint was in a video by Eleague: Counter-Strike: A Brief History, where a couple developers are seen working on what appears a version similar to the layout of Dust2. Redditor /u/Le_BottomScorer and others discovered this and captured some screenshots in an extensive Reddit post. Yet many believed that Valve would never take out and re-do a map that has an unsurmounted legacy. Of course it is one of the most beloved and the most played map in CS history, so any changes surrounding it will be taken with a grain of salt.

Let’s see how Dust2 did in the major and get some context and perspective on this map pool switch up.

How did Dust2 do:

  • Dust2 was the least played map: 5 times.
  • It was never picked proactively by any teams, rather it was left as a choice for the end for either the randomizer to choose it, or it remaining as the final map in a BO3.
  • VP banned it the most: 6 times. Many are claiming that the removal of Dust2 now widens the VP map-pool.
  • Astralis, SK, Gambit, NV, Mouz and G2 never banned Dust2.
  • It was banned a total of 28 times, making it the 4th most banned map. So it wasn’t the most banned nor the least banned map.
  • The randomizer during Swiss System managed to avoid picking Dust2 66.66% of the times, making it the most avoided map.
  • One game went to overtime on Dust2 and one game was a stomp with the scoreline of 16–3.
  • Dust2 was the least balanced map with respect to CT/T sides win percentages: 59.54% CT — 40.46% T.

So even if Dust2 was the least played map, the randomizer’s bias toward it balances things out. But that fact that no team proactively chose it during the playoffs meant that those teams were indifferent to it being chosen, they were fine with leaving it to chance if it came down to playing it.

How did Cobblestone do:

  • Cobblestone was the 2nd most banned map: 30 times, however it was one of the 2nd most played maps as well: 8 times.
  • Astralis banned it the most times: 8 times followed by FaZe who banned it 6 times.
  • VP, NaVi, Gambit, NV, Optic and Hellraisers never banned Cobblestone.
  • Cobblestone was the favorite map of the randomizer as it was avoided only 14.28% of the times.
  • 4 games were really close with 1 ending in 16–14 and the other 3 ending in 16–13. One game was a stomp with 16–3 scoreline.

This shows a love-hate relation of some teams trying to entirely avoid it by banning it and other teams being indifferent to it and leaving it for the randomizer, which picked Cobblestone often.


Nuke was added to the active duty on 4/22/2016 and since then it has been criticized a lot. Not many teams have really had Nuke as their home map and it was only used as a wildcard map to maybe surprise teams on. Although it grew in popularity as it became the most played map at Northern Arena and then being the 2nd most played map during IEM Oakland and ECS Season 2 finals.

How did Nuke do:

  • Nuke was the 3rd most banned map: 29 times.
  • It was the 3rd least played map: 7 times.
  • SK banned Nuke the most: 6 times, followed by Fnatic and Godsent: 5 times.
  • VP, NaVi, FaZe, NV, G2 and Flipsid3 never banned Nuke.
  • Randomizer avoided Nuke 44% of the times.
  • One game went to overtime and one game finished 16–14.
  • Nuke was the most balanced map with respect to CT/T sides win percentages: 49.11% CT — 50.89% T.

So Nuke was a moderate map and it looks like many teams, especially the Swedish teams avoid playing it, whereas many teams are indifferent to it.

General Fun Facts:

  • Overpass was the favorite map among all other maps. It was picked 5 times in the playoffs making it the most picked map and it was only banned 20 times, making it the least banned map. It was the 2nd most avoided map by the randomizer: avoided 64.28% of the time. It still ended up being the most played map: 10 times.
  • Fnatic and NV banned overpass the most: 4 times.
  • Liquid ended up banning every map at least once.
  • NaVi, NV and G2 were the teams with widest map-pool banning only 3/7 maps.
  • Train was the most banned map: 31 times.
  • Mirage and Cache had the most overtimes: 2 games.
  • Overpass had 4 close games: 3 games with 16–14 score and one overtime.
  • All maps apart from Nuke had a game with 16–3 scoreline. This also contributed to the factor that Nuke was the most balanced map.
  • CT/T win percentage: Credit to G2Esports

The indifference of teams to not choose Dust2 and its mediocre stats, along with it being the most unbalanced map make some good arguments for the removal being fair.

Of course the addition of Dust2 only DM means it will still keep getting love and attention. Also a reminder that the map is not entirely removed. So players can most definitely still queue for it and I do expect the number of people playing Dust2 to stay high.


The raw data can be found in a Google Spreadsheet here. Credits to HLTV, Liquipedia and Valve GOTV that helped me to gather data for the above analysis.

If you wish to discuss this further or if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact me via Twitter @SidiPi7.

SidiPi

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