Counter-Strike Map
CS:GO is now the world’s hottest Esport after breaking its concurrent player record and rounding off its most stacked competitive season in the game’s history. The level of strategy and skill on show by its passionate playerbase is one of the biggest appeals to the game, and that comes from its wide range of competitive maps to play on. Here’s our breakdown of the three hardest ones to pick up, play and go onto master.


The default and most popular map on official deathmatch servers after the removal of Dust II, Mirage is in this conversation because of how much everyone plays it. One of the most genuinely balanced maps in the pool with a 52/48 split in favour of the CTs, Mirage has more maps recorded on HLTV than any other map in the game.

It’s 16,512 plays at the time of writing is absolutely miles ahead of the nearest map (Inferno on 13,615) and its well-balanced design makes it the perfect decider map in a best of three or best of five series.

Set in the heart of a Moroccan-themed town, Mirage has the perfect blend of frantic stretches and long corridors and large open spaces with a handful of boxes and obstacles to take cover behind. Sudden rotations to different bombsites and plenty of areas to wait out the timer gives this map immense diversity in its strategies and play styles, and coming to master all of them is still one of the hardest tasks in the game.


Set in an abandoned old Soviet trainyard, Train is one of CS:GO’s oldest maps. Having been in the pool since the old 1.6 days, it is one of the few maps that has never left the competitive circuit.

The map is designed almost entirely from a series of tight long corridors that open up into two large bombsites, making it perfect for snipers, AUGs and SSGs. Good map awareness and a steady hand is completely non-negotiable here, with the average round on Train sometimes feeling like a tense waiting game as everyone sets up their positions.

There’s also the fact of HLTV’s 55% win percentage in favour of CTs makes Train one of the most one-sided maps currently in the pool. For those hoping to play games for real money in CS:GO one day, this one-sided nature can have some serious ramifications in ramping up the pressure. Train might actually be the one map in the pool right now where an 11-4 score at the half could be the most misleading line in the game.

Alternatively, teams like Mousesports have shown over the years just how powerful mastering a map like Train can be.


Surprisingly set in a nuclear power plant in the German countryside, Nuke is a map like no other in the game right now. Unlike every other map in the game, Nuke’s bombsites are located on top of one another on different levels.

Really the only map in the game right now that relies so heavily on one set location housing two bombsites, Nuke has so often been dismissed by the CS community for being ‘unplayable’ and too confusing to grasp.

It is only in the last year or so that we’ve seen Nuke really begin to find a home in the circuit again, thanks mainly to Ninjas in Pyjamas and then Astralis and their mastery on the server. Listening out for sound cues can become seriously intense with so much going on in a relatively small space, and calling is noticeably much harder on Nuke than any other map in active duty right now.