Legendary Counter-Strike maps Aztec and Dust may soon come back to CSGO according to a theory posted on Reddit, but there’s a sneaky Assassin involved in this mystery no one has noticed.
In the past several weeks, tweets from both the official Valve account and the CSGO development team account have included screenshots from the classic CS maps Aztec and Dust. While a Redditor put the tweets together, there’s one more hint that Valve dropped.
On December 12, the official Valve Twitter account sent out congratulations to both Counter-Strike and Dota 2 after the games were nominated as Esports Game of the Year by the annual Game Awards. The photo that accompanied the tweet featured a photo of Aztec.
But there’s more in the photo than just the Aztec screenshot.
There’s one more sneaky hint that no one’s picked up on just yet.
In the same photo, Valve chose Lanaya, Dota 2’s Templar Assassin to represent the MOBAs Game Awards nomination.
For those unfamiliar with Dota 2, Templar Assassin’s lore revolves entirely around her obsession with a hidden temple. Her official lore bio from Valve mentions the “Violet Archives,” and the photo included has a heavy purple tint. Here is an excerpt from Templar Assassin’s bio:
“As she devoted her furtive talents to unlocking the secrets of the universe, she instead unlocked a secret door that exists in nature itself: the entryway to the most Hidden Temple… She swore to protect the mysteries, but more to the point, in service to the Hidden Temple she satisfies her endless craving for understanding,” says Templar Assasin’s official bio.
Sound’s a lot like Aztec.
The hints, along with the announcement that the next Valve Major will take place in South America, all point towards Aztec’s release at some point between now and ESL One Rio.
While the Aztecs mainly lived in modern-day Mexico, the mountainous areas of western Brazil and Peru were home to the Incas, another South American people known for their construction abilities. Machu Pichu is particularly well known, but it isn’t in a hidden valley.
Technically, it’s in the Sacred Valley, set deep within the Andes Mountain.
The original teaser came on December 7. The official CSGO Twitter account tweeted at caster James Bardolph announcing that they had reenabled the ability for players to draw on the in-game map. The map they used to show it off was none other than Dust.
Valve removed Aztec, Dust, Vertigo, and Militia in 2017. Militia made its return as a winter special last holiday season alongside CSGO’s annual holiday patch. Vertigo reappeared in January 2019 before replacing Cache in the Active Duty map pool on March 19.
Between the two tweets and the Templar Assasin hints just weeks after CSGO’s 20th anniversary on October 18, it seems likely that both Dust and Aztec are on their way. Valve has put an unusual amount of effort into Counter-Strike lately, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see these classic maps make a return sooner rather than later.