Dust 2 has always been one of my ultimate favourite maps, which may divide many a counter strike fan. The day Dust 2 was taken out of the competitive map pool was a gloomy one, especially seeing as it was replaced by one of my least favourite maps, Inferno. Don’t get me wrong, Inferno is a great map to watch in the professional scene, but I’m not the biggest fan of playing it in MM, alongside Nuke. As much as that may again be controversial, I am determined to prove that Dust 2 is one of the best maps in CS:GO.
Firstly and most obviously, it has always been extremely popular in matchmaking, and generally if something is popular, it is for good reason. Many pros also prefer the map from others in the competitive map pool, such as Nuke, as they feel it is a much more balanced map, an argument which I will come onto later. However, just because something is popular, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good. There are a plethora of other reasons why Dust 2 is a strong map, which for me, ultimately boils down to a few key features.
One thing I love about Dust 2 is the fact that it is the only map where you can look all the way from one side to the other, through mid. Although this is rather dangerous when compared to many other spots on the map, it gives the terrorists an opportunity to immediately pick off CT sided players crossing to B site if they have the right weapons such as an AWP or SG, and if they are skilled enough. this, in my eyes, enables the terrorists to get a stronger hold of the map, which is arguably more difficult in maps like Inferno. In this sense, I think it allows for some much more diverse play style, as well as making some crazy plays in the professional scene, such as Fnatics’ 4 AWP buy against Team EnVyUs.
The middle of Dust 2 is undoubtedly better than that of Nuke, which doesn’t really even have a mid. In my opinion, this open mid, comparable to that on Mirage, allows for more interesting strategies, but also requires a lot more skill considering CT’s can hold it from not only mid doors, but lower dark and short. Having the ability to smoke these areas off from the back of mid also allows for some very exciting strategies, and some very close range combat on A Short. XBox is also a very important feature, having this smoked on T side allows for a much less risky push up onto short, but at the same time, allows CT’s a place to hide and wait for a possible close range battle. Using this as a quick boost up to short also helps both sides when taking or retaking a site, and aids to make Mid more diverse in terms of not only the smokes available, but as a spot for CT’s to use in order to catch Terrorists out.
It is also true that Dust 2 is a balanced map in terms of CT and T side. This in turn, provides for a fairer match up, which is important for both MM and casual, as well as in the professional scene. It is really up to the player to decide the best spots for their specific strategy, and I would argue that not particular spot on the map is overpowered. For example, sitting on Car on A Long can be great if enemies come up from Long, but it is relatively weak if they decide to do a split push through short and long, as you you’ll be shot from two different directions. It is then up to the player to decide which smokes they will employ, and there are definitely some very interesting smokes that can be used on Dust 2.
A Long is also a part of the map I particularly enjoy holding as a CT, but also pushing on T side. Although this is rather ironic, as the map creator himself said that A Long was unfinished, I think it creates an area of diversity. Smokes and flashes are of particularity importance here, especially if you are rushing as a CT. Pit is also a particularity useful spot as a CT, and also means that T players have more than just one angle to check when executing a rush, meaning that this push is not overpowered.
Mid to B is also one of my favourite strategy to execute on T side, especially when forcing. Simply buying a Tec-9 , a smoke and a flash bang has the potential to wreak havoc, and can enable the T side to gain critical kills even when they may be at a disadvantage in terms of money. This can also be used in conjunction with a push through B tunnels, which allows T players to take a hold of B from multiple angles.
The Future of Dust 2
However, not everyone seems to have the same love for Dust 2 as I do. In order for Dust 2 to come back into the competitive map pool, it will of course need a visual overhaul, as seen recently with Inferno and Nuke. However, I also have a few other ideas as to how Dust 2 could become an even stronger map.
Firstly, it would be incredibly interesting to see the skybox above B tunnels be changed, allowing for T sided players to throw smokes over B tunnels onto the site, before entering tunnels itself. This would change the dynamic of B site, which can sometimes feel more like suicide when rushing out through B tunnels as a Terrorist. Creating the possibility of smoking off platform or other areas of the site could allow for a more interesting push from the T side, and give the Terrorists a slightly less difficult job of gaining control of B.
While on the topic of B site, something that has been commonly requested among many fans is to remove the car and replace it with boxes, as movement along the car itself is a little clunky. Boxes are also not as hit and miss in terms of shooting, and this may also allow for a new dynamic when holding B site after planting, especially if multiple boxes were stacked on top of one another, allowing a spot for T players to hide behind when holding B post plant. This would allow for some more tight angles for the T sided players to hold, but in turn, may allow for an interesting position for a CT player if the T side executed a mid to B strategy. Exchanging the Car on A Long could also help to improve movement, making it more smooth to hold the tight angle onto A long for CT players.
Width is also another issue commonly brought up when discussing Dust 2, namely that of widening mid and widening B tunnels. To some extent, I agree with this, it would be better to make B tunnels wider in order for T sided players to push onto the site without feeling as though they are trapped, also preventing them from getting stuck on each other if someone decides to stop mid rush. However, I think it would ultimately B would become too T sided if both the sky boxes were changed and tunnels to site were widened. In my opinion, this would give the T players too much to work with, ultimately meaning that B site becomes too difficult for the CT’s to hold. As it stands, Dust 2 is a balanced map, so too much change to a certain area may result in the map swaying to become more favourable to T or CT, which is something that needs to be carefully considered when remaking any map.
There is also a similar issue with mid, which many think should be widened. Again, to a certain extent, I agree with this, as currently there aren’t many fights taking place here. Widening this would allow for more fights to occur, and with the use of short and lower dark, will mean that mid is a more critical part of the map as a whole for face to face combat.
Finally, I would love to see Dust 2 have a visual overhaul, which will certainly happen if and when Valve bring the map back into rotation. As much as I dislike Nuke and Inferno, the visual qualities of these maps are now excellent, and really bring more life into the game. Having a visual re-haul may improve visibility on certain areas of the map, for example in B tunnels, which many people have stated is too dark.
So here’s to Dust 2, a map that has always been a core part of CS:GO, and provided a whole host of amazing plays and strategies. Although I miss watching it be played in professional tournaments, its exciting to think that it will eventually have a new visual overhaul, and it will always have a place in my heart as one of my favourite maps.