For the sake of Mirage players, the map should get rotated out of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s active duty status the next time Valve makes a change.
With the additions of Vertigo and Ancient, Valve is clearly trying to shake up the competitive map pool for CSGO esports. Many fans are content to grind away on Dust 2 and Mirage, but even they will admit that strategic development on those maps is stagnant. With little to discover, it might be time for Mirage to take a backseat to whatever maps Valve is cooking up next.
Mirage is the most-played map in the history of competitive CSGO with more than 20,000 matches. It’s also one of the most popular maps for Valve matchmaking and third-party matchmaking services. Everyone is completely comfortable with it, and it’s hard to find anyone who refuses to play on it. Well, except for Astralis.
But repetition breeds stagnation. The most exciting thing to find on Mirage is a pixel walk at top mid. The only legal techniques to come about recently on Mirage are fancy venthops near sniper’s nest, but those rarely appear in pro-level play and are almost unheard of in public matchmaking.
Players are still discovering new strategies on Ancient, Vertigo, and Nuke. Even older maps like Overpass still get some love every now and then.
If Mirage players want to enjoy their map for years to come, the best thing Valve can do is take it away for a while.
Dust 2 has rotated out before, why not Mirage?
The obvious counterargument against Mirage being removed from active duty is that it’s one of the most popular maps in all of CSGO. That hasn’t stopped Valve before, though.
To understand what Mirage getting rotated can do, CSGO fans should look to Dust 2. The all-time most popular pub map was removed from competitive in early 2017. Six months later, Valve released a new version of Dust 2 with tons of gameplay changes. Long A got cleaned up, mid was heavily rebalanced, and the new skybox opened up tons of new grenades.
Dust 2’s new quirks and features reinvigorated it with both the community and the pro scene. Dust 2 is now a better map than ever thanks to that absence.
In Mirage’s case, the map could use considerable changes to both sites. Lower roofs near A ramp could make grenade setups easier, while market and bench are finicky to both attack and defend. The map is relatively balanced, but shortening the path to B site or expanding the underground area would open up new options for greater creativity.
In order to save Mirage, it might be time to put it on the shelf.