Like other first-person shooters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive requires its players to learn the maps.
There are eight main CS:GO maps that are played regularly: Cache, Cobblestone, Dust II, Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, and Train. All of these maps (with the exception of Dust II) currently reside in the Active Duty pool, which is played in international competition by the world’s best professional teams.
Related: The fundamentals of Counter-Strike
To improve your overall ability and become a well-rounded player, it’s good to learn the maps one at a time. Eventually, you’ll master the maps and then become a valuable player to almost any team at your skill level. Here’s a list of the most popular CS:GO maps from worst to best, according to how easy it is to learn for beginners.
Cache is a simple three-lane map with connecting pathways to the main lanes. Its easy-to-learn layout and well-balanced timings make it a good playground for noobs to hone their strategic in-game knowledge before going on to much harder maps. Not only is it a good map for learning the game, but it’s also a really good map that tests raw skill, thanks to its open areas and wide-spread peeking angles within the bomb sites.
2) Dust II
Dust II is the most popular map in all first-person shooters—and with good reason. With three entry points into each bomb site and three lanes within the map, the layout balance is polished to every minute detail to prevent either team from gaining an advantage at the round start. Coordinated teams can prosper on Dust II, but solo queuers can also perform really well under the right circumstances.
Like Cache, Mirage is a three-lane map that’s perfect for learning strategy. The round pace can be based heavily on the aggression of the Terrorists, making it easy for Counter-Terrorist versatility throughout buy rounds. As a map that requires good knowledge of rotations and map control, the momentum of Mirage can be swayed with a good execute or retake phase, since the map layout allows for variations of both phases for both teams.
Inferno is a Counter-Strike classic with an inherent risk and reward system based solely on a team’s map control. Counter-Terrorists are given map control at the start and Terrorists must find ways to push them back to obtain control of the bomb sites. Communication is the key to success on Inferno, as taking a site by yourself on both defense and offense is incredibly hard. This important point puts emphasis on the fact that CS:GO is a team game—not a game of individual showboating.
Similar to Inferno, Counter-Terrorists are given an absurd amount of map control at round start. When Terrorists successfully find their way into the bomb sites, the defense is punished with a tough rotation on both sites. Another source of difficulty on Overpass is its long ranges of sight, which give a good edge to AWPers and anyone with excellent aim. This, coupled with adequate situational awareness, allows for a variety of playstyles from skilled aimers and smart planners.
Train is a very tricky map for beginners. The defense is given an exceptional amount of map control, and Terrorists must bottleneck into the bombsites through extremely tight corridors. But once they make their way into the sites, they’re free to flush Counter-Terrorists out and away from the win. The challenge in becoming a good Train player is knowing what you’re capable of within the map, especially when your teammates are nowhere to be found.
Cobblestone is an odd map to learn because of its wide open areas and tight-knit corridors. There’s also no well-defined middle portion of the map, mostly because the castle in which the map is situated has a confusing layout. When Terrorists take control of a bomb site, Counter-Terrorist rotations are seemingly impossible and can be easy to predict based on timing. The test of rotation knowledge makes timing the most complicated concept associated with Cobblestone.
Nuke is an absolute headache for newcomers to Counter-Strike. The main building has three floor levels: a catwalk level, a main level (A site), and a basement level (B site). The entry points into each site vary due to verticality and can be confusing when you’re maneuvering around the map. These factors, combined with the difficulty to discern nearby sounds as enemies, make Nuke a terribly hard map to learn as a noob.