To know Counter-Strike is more than just practicing with the guns, it’s about knowing when and where to throw a flashbang, it’s about predicting where the enemy will be at all times. But more than anything else it’s about knowing the maps inside out.
So we thought we’d get down to the intricate details of each map, to show you the way CS:GO pros dominate their favourite maps, teach you their plays and – ideally – help you become a better CS:GO player.
We’re starting with Cobblestone, one of the most divisive maps in CS:GO esports. Where some teams would love to ban this map every single time they play, others have such an incredible win rate that it’s practically a given map victory.
Knowing the callouts is the most important aspect of any map, whether you’re playing it or simply watching competitive play. Here are the most important callouts:
T Spawn, CT Spawn, Mid and B Yard
These are the four main areas of the map, the two spawn points being obvious. ‘Mid’ is the large area sweeping around connecting both spawns, featuring ‘Fountain’ at the top and rolling down ‘Mid Ramp’ into a small room leading to ‘A Point’.
‘Mid’ has a couple of key areas of note, Mid Plat – a platform overlooking ‘Mid Ramp’ and connecting via the ‘Halls’ to ‘B Point’. ‘Sidewalk’ is the long, raised platform that ultimately leads to ‘Long A’ and, via that, to ‘A Point’.
Since ‘A Point’ will be a significant part of the map, there are a number of callouts to go with it. ‘Barrels’ are hidden behind the charge set area, which can be jumped up to reach ‘A Plat’ to give a few of the area to defenders. Directly from there are ‘Cannons’, a covered walkway in ‘Alley’ and directly ahead of there – at the end of ‘Long A’ – is ‘Cubby’.
‘CT Ramp’ obviously connects through to ‘Mid Ramp’, but on the other side of ‘CT Spawn’ is ‘Ledge’ while the room connecting CT Spawn and ‘B Yard’ features ‘Vent’ – which can be smashed through into ‘Storage’ and ‘Balcony’, which gives a view over ‘A Point’.
‘B Yard’ also has quite a number of points that need to be known to overcome the map. ‘Flowers’ sits in the corner and gives a small spot to hide in, ‘Hut’ is the small chicken coup in the corner, ‘Terrace’ overlooks the yard itself while ‘Arches’ leads to ‘Back’ as a defensible area and the ‘Toilets’ that can be opened.
Between the three areas of ‘Mid’, ‘T Spawn’ and ‘B Yard’ you have ‘Halls’, often denoted between ‘Upper Halls’ and ‘Lower Halls’. Connecting this to ‘B Yard’ via a raised corridor is ‘Skyfall’ or ‘Dropdown’ – as it is also known – and a popular spot for teams making a rush through to ‘B Point’.
Lastly, right next to ‘T Spawn’ you have ‘Garden’ and in it ‘Rocks’, opposite those is ‘Picnic’ overlooking the spawnpoint, inside there ‘Van’ and rather obviously ‘Stairs’ connecting the two levels.
How to play on Cobblestone
There are a handful of routes to make it through to either A or B, and Cobblestone is one of the quickest maps for the Terrorist side for this reason.
The biggest play is to ensure the correct use of smoke, lobbing those grenades at specific locations so as to ensure they cover specific exits and areas once the team move forward. Sometimes this will be for the entire team, sometimes as a distraction and other times at well-timed moments.
Typically it’s B Point that will be targeted on Cobblestone since it is the quickest one to access, but doing so will need a decision between the type of assault you want to make. If you’re going for a delayed push then you’ll want to focus your route down ‘B Main’, making sure you cover different routes with smokes over the central wall.
Luminosity had a fun strat, shown in the video below. Because of the layout of Cobblestone, they were able to fake a run for A Point, using well positioned smokes to distract the opposition while they ended up rushing past through to B.
A lot of CS:GO is about managing to achieve perfect synchronisation on the smokes, but on Cobblestone it is arguably all the more important.
Ninja In Pyjamas have had a good few opportunities at taking control of this map, such as the video clip below that perfect shows the timing and skill needed to pull off those smokes.
By laying them down around ‘Connector’ and ‘B Yard’ it gives them the freedom to move on around throughout the map, picking out targets as they go and – ultimately – planting the bomb at B.
With that said, however, if the Terrorists are able to get the bomb placed at A Point, then it’s a fairly significant way to win. It’s harder to claim with the limited approach opportunities (most take Long A via Mid Ramp or Vent and Balcony), but it’s also much easier to defend.
You’ll see this play from KennyS a number of times watching pro games, crouching behind the wall by the A Point, using A Plat or the viewpoint over to Balcony to take headshots on anyone rushing in to disarm the bomb.
KennyS makes it look exceptional here, of course, but it highlights the strength of this position and how a skilled shot can make it an easy round win.
The teams to watch for Cobblestone plays
Despite how poorly some teams seem to play on Cobblestone, it’s one of the more popular maps. This is largely because there are a select few teams that really have their strategies down, and if you want to see new, evolving ways of competing on this map you really need to pay attention to these following teams:
SK Gaming have long been known as the team to watch when it comes to Cobblestone. Rightly so they’ve often been seen as the reigning champions, and though that power shifts a little in 2017 they’re still one of the most dominating teams to take on the map.
Gambit Esports might not have the consistent results that SK Gaming has, but it is certainly giving its rival a run for its money when it comes to Cobblestone. A score of recent victories is making everyone question the power struggles for best Cobblestone team.
North is always picking Cobblestone and with its string of consistent wins on the map it’s easy to see why. It might not stand out agaming SK or Gambit, but up against more unconfident Cobblestone players they certainly have an advantage.
Virtus.Pro might not always come out ahead at high tier tournaments, but when it’s playing Cobblestone it often has a handful of interesting strategies and plays that leave the opposition blindsided. Then there’s their rather amusing five-man pistol kill at Mid Ramp, a video of which we’ll keep below.