Players & coaches reflect on recent map changes

HLTV.org asked players at ICE Challenge and BLAST Premier Spring to give their feedback on the recent changes to Dust2, Train and Mirage, producing an array of opinions, both positive and negative.

On January 29, Valve released an update that introduced changes to Dust2, Train and Mirage. Dust2 and Train had skyboxes opened in Upper Tunnel and Ivy, respectively, while Mirage saw changes that were more drastic with the addition of a bench in Middle as well as the removal of the lip on Balcony. The T-side entrance to Upper Middle was also widened and a wall-bangable section was added to Palace.

Some players spoke against the addition of Bench on Mirage

We decided to pick the minds of professional players and coaches on the adjustments, and what they felt were the most drastic and impactful. Over the course of ICE Challenge and BLAST Premier Spring, we spoke to representatives of Natus Vincere, Complexity, Vitality and others to get their thoughts on the initial impact the changes will have.

Dust2

United States Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski: "It's the strangest change because most players on the B site on CT know how hard it is to deal with B pops and just not getting blind. Dealing with that, in general, has been really tough. Now that you'll be able to execute from within Tunnel and be able to have crazy support flashes, I don't really know how they're going to be able to deal with it while in conjunction dealing with the possibility of a Long rush.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola "NiKo" Kovač: "As a CT you're now going to have to figure out a way to stop B executes. It's one of the biggest changes."

France Dan "apEX" Madesclaire: "It didn't change much, except for the flashes; I don't think B smokes are going to be really good, to be honest, but the flashes are going to help a lot with B contact plays, rushes, and retakes. It's going to help both sides, so I'm really glad they made this change, even if it's not going to be a big one."

Denmark Benjamin "blameF" Bremer: "It's more about the CTs having to play two B a lot of the times. Usually, Dust2 was very focused on shutting down Long, but now people have to be very afraid of the early game as well. The smokes you can throw on B aren't going to be too new of a meta, maybe towards Window and Door, but that's it, I don't think we'll see any crazy executes. Instead of playing more towards Site and Plateau, and getting flashes behind you from a teammate, the CTs have to play close to Tunnel now, especially early-round."

United States Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte: "It's going to be rough for the B site players. Ethan on our team hates it, so it's going to be interesting."

Norway Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad: "I'm not playing B anymore, so I don't really know and we haven't tested it too much, but it was hard enough to hold B before, so it looks stupid."

Denmark Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså: "It just opens up more opportunities for the Ts to execute through flashing and smoking over B. It's definitely going to be a hard time being the B player on CT (smiles)."

Ukraine Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy: "The changes to Dust2 are a little bit imbalanced because you really need to sit down and analyze them. Ts can now execute on B and you won't be able to counter it. The only way you could counter it now is by having the CT players on B save grenades. You save the nades, but the Ts can make contact plays with flashes, so maybe you need to constantly play with an AWP, and even then, you might just get flashed overhead. I think it will significantly impact the T side, but both teams will play on the T side eventually, so they can repeat much of the same.

"I don't see a massive overall difference, it's just that the side balance will change. It's always interesting to follow tendency changes and everyone will have to adjust. It will be interesting to see what CTs come up with. For example, you can smoke Upper Tunnel just like you would smoke off Banana as CTs on Inferno. You waste grenades, sure, but you smoke them off and prevent them from entering, throwing off the flow of the game. As a result, different areas of the map will be used. From my observations, when the CTs find themselves at a disadvantage, they start taking risks and gamble. Gambles introduce the random element, and it will just introduce more randomness to the map."

B1ad3 thinks saving utility as a CT B player on Dust2 will be important after the change

Kazakhstan Dastan "dastan" Akbayev: "B site is one of the toughest spots. Two CTs find it very hard to hold the site and for now, it's a bit unclear, because perhaps they can exploit the skybox opening themselves."

France Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: "Opening the skybox on Dust2 offers more opportunities and I think it's always good to have more opportunities. We might see a lot of impressive stuff soon that we've never seen before, and that's the point."

Denmark Lucas "Bubzkji" Andersen: "It's obviously the biggest change, due to the fact that it was a really T sided map already, and now you're giving the Ts the chance to basically execute; people have been talking about this change since 1.6, and now it finally happened. It was so rough holding B, now it's going to be near impossible, I feel like. You can't even hear the flashes and you just get instantly blinded. It was rough before, and now it's even worse."

Denmark Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen: "We'll see some funny executes from Tunnel where there are a lot of good sky flashes and stuff like that. That will be awesome, but I don't think the meta is going to change that much, to be honest."

Denmark Finn "karrigan" Andersen: "I really feel the map is T sided, and as far as I have looked, the CTs don't get much out of the update. It's more like the Ts get new options. If it's powerful or not, we'll have to see in the future."

Train

Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola "NiKo" Kovač: "It's the best change they could have made, it's going to balance the T and CT sides more, so I'm looking forward to it."

France Dan "apEX" Madesclaire: "It's going to have a great impact because people will be able to throw a lot of nades from Ivy. It's a great change because you couldn't throw nades from that side. Not many teams really play around Ivy, maybe only lurkers, so it's a great idea to balance the map more."

Denmark Benjamin "blameF" Bremer: "I don't think it'll make much of a difference. You can throw easier smokes, so maybe some of the tactical teams will have an easier time mixing it up and faking, but other than that it's not going to make too big of a difference."

United States Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte: "The change is actually pretty good, I like it a lot. Being the Ivy player, now I can actually help and support my team from Ivy by throwing nades because there's no skybox."

Norway Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad: "They introduced the change so that you can throw shit from Ivy to Outside. The buildings are so tall, so you can't flash, there's no chance. You need to throw a smoke, and the air time is like 12 seconds or something, it just takes forever. I think that was a waste of time."

Denmark Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså: "I guess it will remain kind of a CT sided map, in my opinion, but I guess we'll have to see how it pans out."

karrigan feels that opening the skybox on Train will be a two-way street

Ukraine Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy: "The changes on Train won't change anything at all because when you're located in that area of the map, any grenades that are going through the roof give away your position. Your opponents understand where you're located. The actual idea seems strange, and any round that you play through Ivy you can cut off with any grenade seeing as there's a narrow entrance, it's a bit silly. Perhaps in late timings when Ts are playing with a man advantage and it doesn't matter whether the CTs know how many people are in Ivy, there could be a useful grenade between Plant and Red Train, it could genuinely help. If you don't have the opportunity to throw it from Mid, you can throw it from Ivy. That's the only significant grenade that can change a round, the rest can be thrown as usual from Ivy."

Denmark Lucas "Bubzkji" Andersen: "The changes on Train are going to be minor, it's just the skybox being opened up. From what I've tested so far, there don't seem to be any advantages by throwing the smokes from there. Maybe you could make some fakes, but it's a minor change."

Denmark Finn "karrigan" Andersen: "Opening skybox on Ivy makes sense, in a way. You can also throw faster smokes towards Outside, I think that's going to be a good change to the game. What I like about the skybox is that CTs can abuse it as well. They can take faster Ivy control by smoking from Z Connector, for example. That will even out, and maybe even favor a the Ts a little, but I also think that was needed on a map like Train."

Mirage

United States Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski: "It's a huge negative for the CT side. It's already been tough dealing with rotations or being in a man-down situation on Mirage, so now you're going to have to be super aware of Window. People can jump up into Window, jump into Ladder Room and then they can get into Catwalk kind of late, so you're always going to need to have someone spotting that. I don't know what the late-round setup is going to be now with that because you're going to have to dedicate someone to do that."

Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola "NiKo" Kovač: "I don't know how Bench will play out and the Top Mid widening change, but I think that overall it won't change too much."

France Dan "apEX" Madesclaire: "I don't really like Bench because it just means that teams are going to play more individually, and it doesn't add to teamplay or allow it to grow. It's not a good change for the CT side; Mirage was already a hard map as CT, because when you're on the A site, you have four angles to cover when you have only three players there, so it's not easy at all to cover all the spots, there are always timings and other things to consider."

Denmark Benjamin "blameF" Bremer: "It's a pretty big thing mid-round to late-round with the way Bench is in Middle, but I don't think early round is going to make too much of a difference because the CTs are usually always around either Connector, Window or even Short in the beginning. It's still more efficient to boost up into Window instead of jumping into it in the early round, at least. Maybe in clutches or 2v2s late-round, the CTs have to be more focused on one guy coming behind from B."

blameF noted that in late-game scenarios Bench will cause CTs to focus on a B lurker

United States Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte: "My only complaint is the Mirage Bench, it's kind of ridiculous that you can just jump into Window. It's such a big part of the map, and if you gain control so easily it's kind of frustrating."

Norway Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad: "Bench on Mirage is also stupid (laughs), and I think every pro thinks that way. People are saying that it's so easy to get into Window and flank and all that stuff now. Fair enough, but you still make a sound. After all our practice, I didn't feel any difference, and we've played it quite a bit. The only thing that's hard with Bench is that the Catwalk guy is kind of in the open. I don't know, we'll see after a while, but right now no one is taking advantage of the changes, especially the bench on Mirage.

As for jump-spotting on B, it's not as good to do it anymore, but actually I like that one because running out of B apps as a Terrorist, it's pretty hard to clear under you, you need to jump out or jump up on the ledge, so it's not a bad change."

France Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: "I like Bench on Mirage, I like the fact that you can go Window by yourself. It offers a lot of possibilities, maybe even too many. We'll find out with time."

Denmark Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså: "On Mirage it's easier for the Ts to get into Window, it provides more opportunity for them, but I don't think it's too big of a change. I guess it just became a little bit harder to play CT side on Mirage."

Ukraine Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy: "If we look at Mirage, I haven't fully taken in all of the intricacies, but I understand that players can jump into window alone, albeit with noise. If we look at it logically, well we had the same boost into Window before, and what? Now you can just do it yourself. Theoretically, it shouldn't have a big impact, but in reality, it will have an impact because now two players can make noise in Middle and make moves that used to require three people or even one player can fake the opponents out and hop into Window, while his teammates play out a completely different round setup and it will be really difficult to catch the Window guy out.

The Ts will have more mobility, but the main advantage isn't even being able to jump into Window, but being able to spot Short from Bench. That will now be difficult, but again, it will lead to CTs using more utility and taking gambles in the early stages. As for the wallbang in Palace, it's insignificant because recently nearly everyone has mollied Palace to get the player to move. If you don't, he can catch timings and mess things up, so it's a good idea to commit the Molotov. Overall, it'll just give players a fluke shot, something every map has; everyone knows not to stand there. There are a lot of wall-bangable objects in the game that people don't use, despite knowing full well where they are. It could be the same scenario here: some will try to wallbang, some won't even touch it."

Kazakhstan Dastan "dastan" Akbayev: "The changes are good. I honestly expected Cache to be brought back in, and everyone would just forget about Mirage. Not too sure what the impact of Bench will be just yet; as for B balcony, it's a good change because after trades on B it was really difficult to pile into the site because of that little barrier, so I think to remove it balanced things out well."

Denmark Lucas "Bubzkji" Andersen: "Bench is really overpowered for Ts. We tried it on the server, and you can barely see the guy's head on Bench from Short. The good thing with Mirage before was that, let's say, there are three opponents alive and you see two guys, you know he could never be boosted through Window, but right now they can just keep messing with you by jumping up, jumping down. It really screws with the rotations."

Denmark Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen: "I don't like the change on Mirage. Jumping into Window alone favors the Ts so heavily, it's going to be so mental. I don't think Mirage is going to be a good map to play as CT, and even before the change it was a T-sided map, in my opinion. That bench is going to hurt the CTs so much. The approach on Mirage is going to change a lot: either you fight for mid or you play the sites."

Denmark Finn "karrigan" Andersen: "I literally don't understand why they lowered the trim on Balcony. Jump-spotting B has always been a very hard time against good AWPers, so now you're making it really tough for the B guy. Bench, even though it's tough to play short now, can add something new to the game, and also change the meta. In the end, Bench can be good, but people just have to get used to it."

United States Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski
Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1235
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.16
Denmark Valdemar 'valde' Bjørn Vangså
Valdemar 'valde' Bjørn Vangså
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
876
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Kazakhstan Dastan 'dastan' Akbayev
Dastan 'dastan' Akbayev
Age:
26
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.88
Maps played:
89
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Denmark Lucas 'Bubzkji' Andersen
Lucas 'Bubzkji' Andersen
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
690
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1620
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
United States Vincent 'Brehze' Cayonte
Vincent 'Brehze' Cayonte
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
879
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.12
Denmark Nicolai 'HUNDEN' Petersen
Nicolai 'HUNDEN' Petersen
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.81
Maps played:
1578
KPR:
0.55
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.14
Ukraine Andrey 'B1ad3' Gorodenskiy
Andrey 'B1ad3' Gorodenskiy
Age:
33
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.83
Maps played:
899
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.16
Norway Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostad
Joakim 'jkaem' Myrbostad
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
922
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
France Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1571
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.16
Denmark Benjamin 'blameF' Bremer
Benjamin 'blameF' Bremer
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
394
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.16
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1183
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
France Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.14
Maps played:
1653
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.11
#3
 | 
African Union mikecool 
Omegalul
2020-02-27 11:42
not me
2020-02-27 11:58
yes you
2020-02-27 13:04
so sloww
2020-02-27 13:48
sorry
2020-02-27 14:28
#65
Happy | 
Poland Millka 
Blad3 the smartest guy at party.
2020-02-27 19:20
#66
 | 
Czech Republic knox^ 
+1
2020-02-27 19:53
+1
2020-03-02 14:07
#4
 | 
Germany Sonnabend 
Cool
2020-02-27 11:42
Nice article
2020-02-27 11:43
#6
kennyS | 
India Ryuota 
kennys comment should be on d2 not train
2020-02-27 11:43
Hahaha
2020-02-27 11:45
B1ad3 could write a 50 page essay about why that Bench on Mirage is worthless
2020-02-27 11:45
#26
 | 
Greece NitrouZ 
was looking for this!
2020-02-27 12:03
#27
jks | 
France teror 
so true
2020-02-27 12:03
Lmao
2020-02-27 16:50
I'd read it
2020-02-27 17:09
#73
Edward | 
Europe xztzonn 
Slightly disappointed that not even him talked about the wider upper mid t entrance.
2020-02-29 20:42
#9
 | 
Finland Faust_fSt 
Everyone else: yay/nay B1ad3: "It all started with the inventing of the alternating current in 1885..."
2020-02-27 11:46
#11
s1 | 
Armenia gr1nch 
lmaoooooooooooo
2020-02-27 11:47
#22
f0rest | 
Russia 1.6 FTW 
Ahahah
2020-02-27 11:59
KEKW
2020-02-27 12:00
#28
 | 
Greece NitrouZ 
xDDDDDDDDDDD
2020-02-27 12:03
#29
jks | 
France teror 
ahahaha blade goat
2020-02-27 12:04
#30
B1ad3 | 
Estonia vag1sk 
B1ad3 basically just wrote doctoral dissertation on every update :D
2020-02-27 12:11
lold
2020-02-27 12:17
#37
 | 
Slovakia SLAVak 
lmao Tbh it just shows B1ad3's knowledge of the game
2020-02-27 12:45
#47
 | 
Kuwait Oblivio_N 
+1 yes
2020-02-27 13:45
Lmao
2020-02-27 13:39
I love it. At least he really explains why he (doesn't) like the changes. I really think/hope he is what navi needed to take the next step.
2020-02-27 14:23
lolkekcheburek
2020-02-27 14:41
Axaxaxx
2020-02-27 16:50
#61
 | 
India _Jazz_ 
hahahaa
2020-02-27 17:12
#67
 | 
Sweden KattiZ 
best comment
2020-02-27 20:12
rekt b1ad3
2020-03-01 12:12
#76
 | 
Finland Faust_fSt 
Nahh nothing but respect, I bet he's doing great work at NaVi
2020-03-01 13:29
he's great. Results speak for him.
2020-03-01 14:20
#10
 | 
Denmark valt3rr 
Nice
2020-02-27 11:47
#12
 | 
Finland XARTEGoD 
intrestink why no comments from ence
2020-02-27 11:48
Not many people care what Tier 5 teams say about the game. They clearly do not know how to play this on top level so fuck them.
2020-02-28 18:07
#70
 | 
Finland XARTEGoD 
+1
2020-02-28 18:14
No Astralis players. Who 🚗🚗
2020-02-27 11:49
#15
 | 
Brazil gauIes 
nice
2020-02-27 11:49
look the legend gau !!!
2020-02-27 13:27
#64
 | 
Brazil gauIes 
salve
2020-02-27 18:21
#62
 | 
Brazil PrestusHood 
send save gau
2020-02-27 17:53
#63
 | 
Brazil gauIes 
saalve
2020-02-27 18:21
APEX PRO??
2020-02-27 11:50
apex about d2 is priceless...:D
2020-02-27 11:52
#18
fat | 
United Kingdom zakariin 
I see why he's a coach now.
2020-02-27 11:53
Ok
2020-02-27 11:55
cool
2020-02-27 11:58
nice read
2020-02-27 12:01
TL;DR
2020-02-27 12:02
#31
 | 
Serbia DjapeZ 
Jkaem so stup1do
2020-02-27 12:12
#51
 | 
Iran oldHabit 
+1
2020-02-27 13:55
#32
chrisJ | 
Poland Chiirs 
I like jkaem comments :>
2020-02-27 12:17
#34
 | 
Brazil Eneas56 
Jkaem likes nothing basically
2020-02-27 12:29
#34
 | 
Brazil Eneas56 
Jkaem likes nothing basically
2020-02-27 12:29
every pro player: dust2 chances are so stupid... APEX: YES ITS GOOD VERY GOOD YES
2020-02-27 12:35
Dastan "dastan" Akbayev: "The changes are good. I honestly expected Cache to be brought back in, and everyone would just forget about Mirage. Yeah sure mirage no name hater. Hope valve will never release this Trashe map to pro play. Old cache was way better
2020-02-27 12:46
FMPone was working on re coloring cache afaik, MCGA make cache gr8 again :()
2020-02-27 14:04
#40
 | 
Romania RZBD 
ok
2020-02-27 13:15
#41
 | 
Ireland IX! 
I hope B1ad3 writes a book about CS one day. The guy has the best mind for the deeper parts of the game that I've ever seen, maybe will ever see
2020-02-27 13:20
Everyone else: yes it is a good change B1ad3: 20000 word essay to explain why its a bad change
2020-02-27 13:26
bench in mirage that's a position needs to be further explored, on other maps or in balance, this is the best for both sides!
2020-02-27 13:35
#46
 | 
Brazil Bene_Tleilax 
Everyone: is bad change Kenny: is good change
2020-02-27 13:39
Stopped reading after i saw b1ad3 comment
2020-02-27 13:49
#50
 | 
France LeDiplomate 
This is why you have to love blade!
2020-02-27 13:53
If B1ad3 existed in LoL or Overwatch, he'd have a bi-weekly dissertation of understanding the meta-impacts and changes.
2020-02-27 14:08
#57
 | 
Brazil davidzor 
Funny how pretty much every pro say one or two things about the changes while Blade writes a dissertation about it. Good article nonetheless.
2020-02-27 15:13
my man Blade
2020-02-27 23:29
jkaem savage
2020-02-28 18:16
B1ad3 definitely should do a podcast
2020-02-29 13:47
#74
 | 
Hungary Joco413 
(smiles)
2020-03-01 11:45
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