With the latest major update in CS:GO developers have changed the competitive map pool. They removed Train and added… Ancient. Those of you who have participated in Operation Broken Fang should be very familiar with this map. For the rest, Ancient is little known.
In addition, now we will see Ancient in professional tournaments very soon! Let’s figure out what kind of map it is, and what its pros and cons are.
Why not Tuscan, Cache or anything else?
The first question that many players have is “Why Ancient?”. The map is not the most popular and well-known in the community.
Tuscan! But it’s not really there. The map is still in beta testing. Tuscan is not the worst map in itself, although atypical for CS:GO. Anyway it is not ready for the game yet – there is a lot of things to work on on Tuscan, both in terms of textures and bugs. It will take several more months before the map is brought to the release state.
With Cache everything is more complicated. There are no obvious reasons to ignore the existence of Cache, but if you think about it, now there are Dust2 and Mirage which are shooting-based maps. The third map with a strong focus on shooting might seem superfluous to Valve. But this is just one of the guesses – no one knows the true reasons, except the developers.
As for Cobblestone, in its current form, the map is poorly suited for a competitive 5×5 game. It will take a lot of effort to bring Cobblestone to a good balance.
But let’s come back to Ancient.
Ancient is a huge, very wide map with a lot of corners passages, and corridors. The map opens up an incredible space for creating tactics.
At first glance, the map may seem quite simple, but as soon as you dive a little deeper into it, the situation changes.
Perhaps there are too many angles and approaches for sites, but in this situation, the balance is better than, for example, on the Subzero map.
The latter could have applied to join the mappul, but it turned out to be too complicated.
Ancient is not worse than Train
Yes, there are many people who believe that the Mirage, or, in extreme cases, Dust2, should have been removed from the mappool. But the fact is that those maps are often played both in matchmaking and on the pro scene. But Train does not get that much love it’s played not more often than Vertigo.
Train was in mappool for a long time, and given the fact that it did not find much love among the players, it was removed, because Valve partly focuses on statistics on maps in matchmaking – this is a well-known fact.
Train is a linear map that requires a good sense of the round and the opponent, but the tactical scope for it is limited. Ancient looks like a decent replacement for Train in terms of refreshing the mappool.
Freedom for grenades
Ancient has partially open skyboxes and a lot of textures that you can throw grenades through. This means that the map is also interesting due to the features for spreading out. However, the map has a controversial point about grenades, but more on that later.
Perhaps the only one 100% disadvantage at the moment is optimization. Ancient is a very heavy map with complex textures. The map squeezes almost the maximum out of the Source engine. Now there are various visual bugs on the map, and FPS relative to other competitive maps sags almost twice.
So, based on our tests, if on the Mirage, Nuke and Dust2 maps the FPS is kept between 250 and 300, then on the Ancient it balances between 100 and 170.
Of course, soon the developers will fix this point, but so far it’s not that good.
Green maps are good. Too green maps are bad. Taking into account the presence of custom agent models, playing on Ancient in matchmaking and on FaceIt can turn into not the most pleasant experience.
For the pro scene, this is less of a problem, since there is a gentleman’s agreement – most professional teams and players do not use agent skins.
Also, we should not forget about people with color perception problems.
There are a lot of tunnels and corridors on the map. This is the very moment that we talked about when we were happy about the wide opportunities for throwing grenades. The corridors restrict freedom in some places.
We are not only talking about grenades, but also about moving, boosting, and other things.
With all the tactical variability, there is one difficulty on the Ancient map – the defense wins by timings on almost the entire map. This means that quick T-side pushes will often be doomed to failure.
It is still unclear is it good or bad, at the moment at least ambiguous and atypical for competitive maps in CS:GO, but we will figure out in a couple of months.