With the Dust 2 map likely to return, we’re looking at a possible changing of the balances in CS:GO. CS:GO has always had a very limited map pool, and even in that limited map pool, one finds that teams cannot gain a complete mastery over all maps. This is why bans and picks are so important in the initial stages of a match. Matches are often won or lost depending on which maps are picked or banned by each team.
The balance will further be shifted by the fact that some map will probably will sacrificed so that Dust 2 can take its place. Whichever teams specialize in the map that is sacrificed will suffer from this. Cache is the map perhaps most likely to be banned, in our opinion. This is because it is the map that is most of banned in tournament play. It may possibly be the least played map this year. Therefore, it is likely that Valve will choose to give it a makeover, as they have done for Dust 2, trying to increase the tactical opportunities and strategies possible in the map. Cobblestone is another map that is a candidate for replacement. This another map that is often banned, and even pro teams often avoid playing it. So let’s see which teams are most likely to gain from the return of Dust 2.
Astralis on Dust 2
Astralis is a team likely to benefit massively from the return of Dust 2, because what many people have perhaps forgotten is the original Dust 2 was a map at which this team excelled, and that the team suffered from its removal from the pool of official CS:GO maps. This is a team that has always excelled in coordinated strategy and tactics, and are also the team most likely to benefit from the increase of strategic opportunities that Valve has introduced to the new avatar of Dust 2. Astralis’ victories have been fewer and farther between since the original Dust 2 was removed, so we may look forward to seeing this team become far more dominating if the map returns.
FaZe Clan usually suffers when playing against teams like SK Gaming on maps like Cobblestone, Cache and Train. With the former two maps likely to be replaced by Dust 2, FaZe has potentially more to gain from that replacement than just about any other team in the CS:GO universe. Bear in mind that the present members of FaZe Clan are mostly aging veterans (at least as far as CS:GO is concerned), and therefore are mostly holding on to their position with their last despairing grasp.
It will be especially beneficial for FaZe Clan if Cache is replaced, as the team does consistently badly when playing on it as terrorists. With the new Dust 2, each team will more or less be feeling their way on the ‘new’ map, and this gives the veterans of FaZe a chance to bring their greater experience to bear against the younger teams presently pushing them out of the CS:GO universe.
While SK Gaming have had many disastrous experiences on the original Dust 2, like being crushed mercilessly on it in a flawless 16:0 by Fnatic, they are likely to do well on the new version because boltz is now on the team. While boltz on the team gives the squad less sheer aggressiveness as when they had felps, boltz gives the team much more tactical capability, which makes them likely to thrive on the new Dust 2. Fer and the rest of the squad are also exceptionally good at plays once the bomb is planted, and it seems they can bring a lot of that ability to bear in the new map.
Cobblestone, Train and Cache are SK Gaming’s best maps, and two of those are among the maps that are likely to be replaced by Dust 2. If Cobblestone is replaced it will be a disaster for SK Gaming, as this their best map, and their skills in the new Dust 2 are not likely to be anywhere near the present Cobblestone. If Cache is replaced, there could be a definite advantage for SK Gaming, as, while they are reasonably good at it, they could potentially adapt to become as good or better in the new Dust 2.
G2 Esports are perhaps the most versatile of all the CS:GO teams out there, and have a wide map pool that allows for effective play on just about any of the official maps in the CS:GO universe. It’s true that this team goes down before the heavy hitters in teams like SK Gaming and FaZe, but that is because the players on those teams generally put down G2 players in all-out firefights. The main benefit to this team if Dust 2 returns is the fact that kennyS is one of the greatest AWPers who ever lived, and Dust 2 offers exceptional opportunities for his skills. With kennyS in the background, and the team working close-quarters with their legendary force-buys, we look to see this team climbing the ranks rapidly if the equally legendary Dust 2 returns to the official tournament pool.
Other AWPer-based squads that could benefit
Mousesports have been doing brilliantly, especially towards the latter half of the last year, playing in near perfect form and with exceptional consistency. They even gave the redoubtable FaZe Clan a run for their money at the last event of last year, in the Finals of the third season of the ECS. That said, it’s likely this highly-adaptable team will do very well on the new Dust 2. Another team that is very likely to benefit from the new map is Cloud9, which has a massive emphasis on individual skill, and uses hybrid AWPing capabilities to gain an advantage over opponents.
Teams that Dust 2 will affect negatively
These would be Virtus.pro and North, obviously. Virtus.pro were reasonably incompetent (if that term could really be applied to a pro team) even on the old Dust 2, while North also had endless trouble, as well as little experience, with the original map. So both these teams are likely to suffer if this map comes back, even in a new avatar, especially as they will likely have to sacrifice a map that they are familiar and comfortable with for it.
Whatever happens, the arrival of Dust 2 will shake things up. Teams that are at the summit of the CS:GO universe and growing complacent will be shaken up and have to get down to training at the new map. Meanwhile, underdog teams will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a beach head into the higher echelons of the CS:GO universe by mastering the map before higher-ranked teams can, and then beating those higher ranked teams on it. Whatever the results of this map returning, it’s bound to bring a lot of interesting plays and excitement to the lives of CS:GO fans and commentators alike.