Who are CS:GO's map specialists?
Here are the pros who go from good players to some of the best in the world on their best map.
Everyone has a favourite map — even professional players. And this often comes with a boost in performance. Before we measure that, however, we need a big enough sample size which means we're taking data from all maps played between top thirty opposition since rating 2.0 was introduced all the way back in 2017.
The next step is establishing percentile ranks on all the maps; the highest-rated player is in the 100th percentile, the average 50th, and the lowest 1st. A player is considered a 'specialist' when they are both in the top ten per cent of all players on that map, and five percentile ranks higher on that map than their average rating. This excludes the very top echelon of players but that is intentional. Rather than trying to find the best player in the world on each map, we're trying to find the players who elevate their level on that map.
For example, take a player who has a 1.16 rating on Cache over more than 20 maps, which puts them in the top 10% of players on that map (requirement one). Overall they have a 1.06 rating which puts them around the top 20%, meaning a 'jump' in percentile rank of 10 (requirement two). Therefore, they are considered a 'Cache specialist'.
Once we have a list of players that suit those requirements, we'll then pick the highest-ranked player who is still active in CS:GO's tier-one scene in 2022, with a full leaderboard at the end of each map section.
Starting on Ancient, given how new the map is we've had to adjust our filters a little bit to a minimum of ten maps rather than twenty for the percentiles. That did not affect Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke, though, whose 1.27 rating on Ancient over 22 maps makes him the highest-rated rifler in that map's history. One of Counter-Strike's most inconsistent stars, even k0nfig might struggle to explain exactly how he finds this level so regularly on Ancient.
When the map was new, k0nfig pioneered the T-sided mid-rush with flashes flying over the top and the entry fragger wide-swinging out every single time he had the best spawn for it. This particular play is a reason why k0nfig has 34.8% opening kill attempts on the T-side of the map, managing to convert 48.2% of those attempts into an all-important opening frag.
Even beyond the opening duel though, k0nfig has made Ancient's mid his playground. On CT, his designated spot is donut but teams will have to expend considerable effort to force him to retreat to that spot. On T-side, on slower rounds, he often trades entry fragging duties for lurking around red and aggressively cutting off rotations.
Given how new the map is in the pool, even once we reduce the sample size to ten maps only two players meet the threshold of performing five percentiles better on Ancient than average, Ádám "torzsi" Torzsás and Abay "HObbit" Khasenov. However, we must mention Ancient's undisputed king Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov, who has a 1.30 Rating on the map but is disqualified from this article because he is similarly effective on other maps.
Hopping over to Dust2, it is Valentin "poizon" Vasilev who meets our requirements most nicely. Even he, though, only has a strenuous claim to being active in the tier one scene in 2022 after an unsuccessful trial in fnatic. The highest-ranked 'true' tier one player is Florian "syrsoN" Rische, whose 1.18 rating on Dust2 puts him 4.4 percentiles above the score his overall 1.11 rating gives him.
syrsoN's 6th place means that 4 out of the 6 top Dust2 specialists are primary AWPers, whilst Olli "sLowi" Pitkänen and Karol "rallen" Rodowicz have racked up a respectable number of AWP frags themselves as hybrids. With the long angles and little-to-no avenue for innovation Dust2 remains the AWPer's paradise, something poizon and co take full advantage of.
In his short stint on fnatic poizon had his finest hour on Dust2 in a 16:2 victory over G2 where the Bulgarian posted 27 frags and a 2.27 Rating. Popping up with kills on long, A ramp, CT mid, and even four frags in the B tunnels themselves, he never let G2 get an idea of how he played on the map.
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub is another AWPer who was consistently better on Dust2 than the rest of the pool, and is the biggest name out of these honourable mentions.
On Inferno, unlike Dust2, it is a surprise to see an AWPer like Tim "nawwk" Jonasson have it as by far their best map statistically. Especially so, given that 40% of his kills came from the AWP, far higher than Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev (33%), Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut (32%), and Nicolai "device" Reedtz (35%).
It is undoubtedly impressive that nawwk goes from a top 25% player to a top 8% one when he spawns in on Inferno. Yet, it must be mentioned that his (not all-too-high) 1.13 Rating is buoyed by his impeccable 42% survival rate on the map that likely contains more than a few saves.
Another player to impress on Inferno is Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså. Over a far larger sample size than nawwk (176 maps to 57) valde jumps from a 1.10 rating overall to a 1.15 on Inferno, the equivalent of six percentiles. valde had the unique role of rifling long on OG with AWPer Mateusz "mantuu" Wilczewski deployed towards B.
This was a change from the anchor spots valde often found himself in on OG, even playing B on Mirage. On Inferno, though, he showed his skills as a rotator; valde was just as tricky to force back as a primary sniper. The question is now whether his Inferno form keeps up in a new team where an AWPer might take long from him.
Other players to impress on Inferno far more than the other six maps are Ricky "floppy" Kemery, who anchors the B-site as well as any player in the world despite Complexity's struggles and Belgian legend Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom.
It's easy to forget that Evgenii "FL1T" Lebedev was very nearly in today's now-legendary Natus Vincere in place of Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy. forZe said at the time that it was FL1T's decision, but that was an easy one to make when Natus Vincere were unwilling to activate his considerable buyout clause.
Instead, he would move to Virtus.pro eighteen months after the Natus Vincere saga, giving himself extra time to hone his craft with Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov. Throughout that time, and on Virtus.pro and Outsiders, FL1T has always been most dangerous on Mirage. A map that suits his ridiculous technical ability, FL1T's Mirage is made even more impressive by the fact that he does not drop off against top opponents: He averages a 1.14 rating vs the top five, and a 1.17 against top 10, compared to 1.15 against top 30.
That FL1T did not drop off upon his move to Outsiders, despite moving from the short spot where he made his name on the map to connector, makes this even more impressive. Now, with Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis gone, FL1T is Outsiders' primary star, and will need to carry his Mirage form onto the rest of the pool. With a 1.50 rating at ESL Pro League S16 Conference, it is so far, so good.
Mirage actually featured our highest percentile jump, by way of Kaleb "moose" Jayne. The aptly-named Canadian jumped forty percentile ranks on Mirage, going from the top 48% of players to the top 8% on Mirage, though his sample size was fairly small. Another player to excel was Miikka "suNny" Kemppi, who himself jumped 15 percentile ranks with his 1.14 rating on Mirage.
Olek "hades" Miskiewicz, like k0nfig has come under fire for inconsistency — 61.8% of maps with a rating above 1.00 on LAN in 2022 is fairly low for an AWPer. However, on Nuke that number jumps to 72.2%, form that hades has shown long even before 2022 on that particular map.
His jump of 17.6 percentile ranks on Nuke compared to overall is one of the highest on this list, the Pole pairing high KPR (0.74) with an even higher, percentile-wise, survival rate (41%) on the map. However, he is not a super soldier, even on Nuke; hades' 1.16 ratingin this time period drops to a 1.09 on LAN.
Yet, he is improving: Out of the last 10 Nuke games, hades was positive in nine, including a 1.54 rating against MOUZ and a 1.22 against FaZe. His 0.38 rating against Natus Vincere draws the eye but it is very much the outlier as of late.
Other players to jump up the leaderboard on Nuke include Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg, who is as good as ever on Nuke, and BIG's Josef "faveN" Baumann, who was the highest-rated player on Nuke on LAN in the first six months of 2022.
Fredrik "REZ" Sterner is another player who has threatened to become a top-tier star player but never quite reached the mark. On Overpass, though, all that potential is laid bare. Controlling the A bathrooms area as well as any player in the world, REZ's 1.18 rating on Overpass puts him inside the top five per cent of players in the world on the map.
He is so good on Overpass that NIP have made it a hallmark of their map pool, with REZ's 151 maps played on it since June 2017 the highest of anyone. Overpass looks to continue being a staple of their pool with the addition of Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin, who actually averages an even higher rating (1.20 over 1.18) than REZ on Overpass in his 113 games played. Alongside Ancient, NIP can always first-pick a map they have advantages on, in no small part due to REZ's dominance on Overpass.
The most Overpass-reliant player in our findings was new Outsiders player David "n0rb3r7" Danielyan, who jumps an incredible 32 percentile ranks on the map. Overpass actually has eight players who meet our requirements, with Fredrik "roeJ" Jørgensen, Ethan "Ethan" Arnold, and poizon just missing out on the graphic.
Vertigo is one of the most marmite — that is to say, you either love it or you hate it — maps in CS:GO's map pool. A tricky map full of precise smoke spams and interesting utility battles, it is no wonder that it features several 'specialists' who go above-and-beyond their regular level on the map.
Rasmus "sjuush" Beck, who jumps 18.5 percentile ranks, is our pick for Vertigo. One of Heroic's less flashy players, sjuush does not have the mechanics of René "TeSeS" Madsen or consistent peaks of Martin "stavn" Lund but he does have excellent decision making and solid enough aim to hold his own against the very best.
On Vertigo, sjuush's 1.16 rating puts him equal with Robin "ropz" Kool, and above the likes of Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato, Benjamin "blameF" Bremer, and teammate stavn. Back in 2020 for MAD Lions, sjuush posted a 1.72 rating 30-bomb on LAN against then-ranked #2 in the world MOUZ — a glimpse into just how formidable sjuush can be on this map.
The player with the highest percentile jump was actually Philip "aizy" Aistrup, his 1.24 rating on Vertigo making him the joint-2nd highest rated player on the map since 2017 albeit over just 27 maps. Joining him on a 1.24 rating is Yuri "yuurih" Santos, who is one of the key reasons FURIA possess such a fearful Vertigo.
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