As I hoped, CS:GO’s appearance on Steam Workshop eased the map drought irking Global Offensive players since launch. About 700 Defusal, Hostage Rescue, Deathmatch, Arms Race, and other maps now populate Steam Workshop, and all are available for easy download (and auto-updating) through Steam. I’ve played a bunch of them with our community over the past week.
All the maps I’m recommending can be played on our official CS:GO server, “The Psychedelic Den of Map Experimentation,” hosted in St. Louis. Thanks to GameServers for being a helpful provider of our community servers. Download everything that our server is running in a single click by subscribing to our CS:GO map collection on Steam Workshop.
I haven’t tried everything the community’s produced, of course, but I’ll continue to update this list as I encounter CS:GO maps worth your time. By all means, recommend maps that I should take a gander at. (de_library, which released on Monday, is at the top of my list.)
Compact and straightforward, this is CS:GO’s best custom map. The CTs are steps away from covering both bombsites, so the onus is on the Terrorist team to find creative ways to draw attention, distract, or outright outgun their opponents. I love the waterworn surfaces that cover the dock setting—they remind me of The Parish from Left 4 Dead 2.
Bombsite B itself is a miniature siege—a long wooden bridge (and another that passes underneath it) are the most direct routes for the Terrorists, and any would-be bomb-planters taking this path need to be covered from the dock, where snipers can protect themselves behind large boxes as they line up shots on B. Separating A and B is a hazardous middle lane that represents a high-risk flanking route for both teams.
Conduit is conventional and damn good. Like Seaside, its rectangular layout offers a left, right, and sniper-friendly middle lane for both teams. Unlike it, Conduit feels suited (as creator ds- describes) for competitive play.
Bombsite B is a choked concrete room with an aluminum ledge that sits right above the planting point like a hat. Securing B relies on an aggressive push from the Terrorists, encouraging some members of Team T to die for the cause so they can secure a foothold on that side of the map. A is a more open construction yard—a secret tunnel in the middle provides a secondary route to it from the middle of the map. Vibrant colors (yellow paint, neon red and green lights, contrasting light and darkness) give Conduit character against the odds of its industrial setting.
Cache’s flat, three-lane layout is the handiwork of competitive CS legend Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo. Its industrial setting borders on boring, but terrific balance compensates. Cache features a middle lane similar to Seaside and Conduit—a coverless no-man’s-land that’s treacherous to cross and can be ignored entirely, but one that opens up flanking routes to both bombsites if you push through.
Bombsite B is overlooked by a nest that CTs have ladder access to, and I love the way fights play out here when Terrorists pop a smoke grenade to make an aggressive entrance into B.
Museum is GO’s most gorgeous map. Outside, stone arches overlook a street entrance lined with gardens. Inside, golden light filters through an atrium onto carpeted stairs, a T-rex skeleton, and scaffolding. Creator Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling called upon fellow modders to build custom assets for the map, and the extra help is evident in every corner.
In the nearly 50 rounds I’ve played so far, Museum has favored the Terrorists. Raised windows, scaffolding, and an elevator shaft give the Ts some great vantage points for getting the drop on the CT assaulters who spawn outdoors.
Snelling wrote a terrific explanation of his design decisions on Museum (and the research that informed them) for Mapcore.org.
It’s a novelty map, but in lieu of a worthy, ridiculous successor to de_rats (de_rats_ol_shack for CS:GO hasn’t impressed me), Motel has been a huge hit on our server, and our go-to for unserious Counter-Striking. Two floors of cramped bedrooms open out into a parking lot and small swimming pool. Four hostages spawn randomly in the rooms, and most rounds play out like hide-and-seek. The Terrorists have an incentive to camp the rooms that hostages spawn in, but this is mitigated slightly by hostages only appearing on the CTs’ radar. I also like that Motel makes shotguns preferable to rifles and SMGs.
A port from CS:S, Parkhouse hands the CTs a dozen different sniping options from a rock ledge that hugs one side of the map’s centerpiece, a two-floor modern house moated by a lake. Two pairs of hostages are isolated on a top and bottom floor. With scoped weapons, the CTs have a serious advantage, but there are moments of fun in this asymmetrical siege map that remind me of classics cs_assault and cs_militia.
Against the threat of sniping, turtling is usually the best option for the Terrorists, and things get wonderfully messy when the CTs are forced to take the fight indoors. I wouldn’t call Parkhouse balanced, but I've enjoyed it.