As the year comes to an end, CS:GO fans are hopeful for a many things. Maybe their favorite team will lift a trophy in the last few weeks. Or maybe Valve has something bigger in mind for the game. Nonetheless, it’s also clear that Valve intends to keep their strategy to rotate the map pool once every year. However, the favorite for the next rework is a very important map at the moment.
Let’s take a look at why Mirage is so important and why it could be seeing its last days as it currently is.
How Valve select what map will be removed and reworked next?
Just as other Valve’s procedures, that’s unknown. In fact, the only standard process to select a map is how it’s doing in professional play.
Considering this, we can go back some months when the current version of Dust2 was first introduced for CSGO players. Back then, we correctly guessed that Cobblestone would be the map to go, but Mirage was a strong contender.
With Cobblestone out of the way, it’s just Cache and Mirage left as maps that could be replaced back then. We know that Cache is getting a rework by its creator FMPONE but Mirage future is uncertain.
Mirage still is the best map for players and viewers, but its age is showing up
It’s undeniable that alongside Inferno, Mirage is the most explosive map currently in the competitive map pool. Just like Inferno too, most teams don’t have it as a permaban. This means that it’s one of the most played maps in the game.
Not only popular though, but Mirage has been praised by its ironed out and balanced design. Indeed, It was one of the most balanced maps in ECS Season VI Finals and IEM Chicago 2018.
However, Mirage is now the oldest map that haven’t been through a rework since its introduction back in 2013. Of course, the map received lots of minor adjustments but that is it. In some extend, is also growing the number of complaints claiming that Mirage has been seen from every angle and it’s becoming tiresome to watch.
Personal opinions aside, Mirage is old and its layout has been figured out. Other than Astralis heavy usage of grenades there that caught the scene by storm earlier this year, there was quite a stagnation in its meta before.
A sequel that never took off
Originally built for CPL tournaments back in the original Counter-Strike by Michael Hull. To the surprise of many, Mirage was supposed to have a successor back in 2011.
Michael worked in a successor years ago and released it in 2015. During its development, it was known as ‘de_mirage2’ but it was ported to CSGO by different creators. Along it, Mirage 2 theme was reworked and it got a new name, Thrill.
Thrill was featured in CS:GO during the Operation Hydra but unfortunately, it didn’t caught player’s attention then. The map wasn’t popular enough to stay in the game and it’s now removed from it.
If Mirage is set to get a rework, it would be lovely to see it taking some characteristics from its spiritual successor though. Thrill has a very different layout but also has great ideas that could be implemented in Mirage. For example, its extended underground paths that could be an interesting extension to Mirage underpass.
How would Mirage’s temporary removal impact in the professional scene?
As stated above, Mirage is played by pretty much every team in the top 30 world ranking, with the exception being BIG. Of course, some teams prefer to avoid it in some occasions as they didn’t master it, while a few others will take it any day against any team.
Na’Vi, Astralis, MiBR have high win rates on it and removing it in favor of Cobblestone, for example, would certainly be seen as a negative change for those three. BIG, Mousesports and NiP in the other hand don’t play it or have low win rates, and they would be all over seeing Mirage removed.
Overall, Mirage favors perfect executions and high fragging and teams that lack tactics or raw skill and can’t compensate it suffer there. That said, even teams not that proficient on it can provide us very interesting games, as we saw in FACEIT Major with the Astralis vs NiP game that went through 3 overtimes.
Mirage is working now, but until when?
Mirage has been the most successful map in the long-term for professional play. With its peak fading off however, we’re starting to see teams leaving it as a decider, or just avoiding it.
Given that Thrill, its successor, never took off, it would be interesting to see Valve giving Mirage a rework with some changes presented there. Of course, Mirage has been subject of multiple fan works around it. Many of them proposing interesting changes to the known formula.
With Dust2 rework, players were left quite disappointed as the map layout hadn’t any major change. The biggest reason to take a map for a rework is to introduce new aspects reinvigorating it.
It’s impossible to make changes that are going to be well accept by every player, but at the same time, Mirage has too many options to get improved to be just left there as it is.
When we should expect to see the next major change in CSGO’s map pool?
With Valve being the one handing things, there’s no date set in stone for a change to occur. It’s possible however to pinpoint that most of changes related to the map pool were done during March to May each year.
Given that a CS:GO operation might be in the horizon, we could also be it earlier, like Nuke re-introduction back in 2016 with the Operation Wildfire. We don’t know for sure, but certainly changes are coming.
So, what your take on it? Should Mirage get a break from competitive play for a rework? Should it stay as it is? Let us know below!