In professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, maps don’t rotate that often. Pros have played on maps like Dust 2, Overpass and Nuke for years. So whenever a new map enters the rotation, like Ancient, it takes them months to get comfortable on it. But for 2v2 tournament Red Bull Flick, new maps are the norm.
The competition begins on the planet BU-11, with each victory taking duos closer to their final destination, the playoff arena on WI-nG:5. Our map makers spend weeks fine-tuning the maps for optimal 2vs2 play. Learning the maps can be a very daunting task, however, like most skills in CS:GO, there is an optimal way of learning them.
G2’s ‘NiKo’ Kovač and Nemanja ‘huNter’ Kovač are here to help with some tips on how to effectively learn the new Red Bull Flick maps and gain an advantage over your opponents the moment you load in for your first qualifier.
Your first playthrough
huNter and NiKo may be cousins, but both have very different mindsets when it comes to learning a map. Every duo’s Flick journey starts on the City Palace map. Winners will ascend up through the Control Room, the Digital Archives, the Sky Platform and, finally, Wi-nG:5. For those who are good enough, the playoffs include Wi-nG:5 Dex, Wi-nG:5 Flux and Wi-nG:5 T3L-P0RT. NiKo tells us that the first thing he does when he loads up a new map is run around it, saying: “I get familiar with the positions and I’ll get to know some angles.”
After that, he starts practising with grenades to find out if there are any special spots where you can place smokes, flashes and incendiaries. His cousin does it in a completely different way; revealing that he just tries to have fun because “once you have that, you try to learn the map the fastest – because when you are having fun, you learn faster".
A crucial part of Counter-Strike are your tactical grenades. Timing flashes, smokes and incendiaries so that a site is completely blocked off is something that pros do in every single round. Some flashes are easy, like flashing players holding A Long from double doors, while others require precise set-up and take time to learn. For NiKo, learning new grenade spots has become second nature: “I'm a quick learner when it comes to grenades, I know most of the grenades on pretty much every map and I also remember them for a long time. Furthermore, I also like to know all the grenades so I can support my team at any time.”
huNter tells us that he needs a little more time, but he says that it’s normal to forget some spots. Some maps have 20-30 different grenade setups that you need to remember and we’re only human after all. He also reveals that the fastest way of learning the grenades effectively is by playing the map with a friend.
He says: “Every map has some smokes which are easier and some which are harder to learn, the same goes for flashbangs and molotovs. Therefore, it will always take some time before feeling really comfortable with it.”
Getting comfortable on a map
So you’ve practised some grenades set-ups, walked around the map and you think you’ve got a pretty reasonable feel for how games will play out. Now it’s time to bring in your friend and play some 1v1s, or try setting up some scrims with other players so you can practice your 2v2 setups.
NiKo tells us that there is no exact number on how many times you should play the map to fully understand it, but he says it should be a lot. Adding: "Especially if the map is new for everyone, as you don’t get to learn from others so quickly, you have to do many things on your own so it takes even more time." He says that you’ll know when you fully understand the map once you feel comfortable on it and are aware of everything happening around you.
As a tip, NiKo tells us that you should try as many demos as possible and spend as much time as you can playing the new maps, adding: “Not just playing, but trying to understand every scenario that happens and learn all the grenades.”
Don’t overlook angles
huNter tells us that players often forget to learn all the good angles that a map has. Spending time on a map and really examining every single corner can help you in the long run with your crosshair placement. You’ll also have a better idea of where enemies can come from. You can do this alone, or with your friend. One player can play the pusher while the other holds the angle. The great thing is that these scenarios will happen in the game and then you’re prepared.
huNter also tells us that if you have the chance to watch other players, then definitely do so because “all teams and all players have different visions on the game and the map itself". Who knows, you might even learn something new.