The addition of Vertigo to the competitive map pool has shaken up the meta in CS. Removing Cache is a big change, and adding a brand new map like Vertigo has sent reverberations through the CS scene that will be felt for months, especially when it gets closer to Major time. It seems as though plenty of teams have welcomed it with open arms, as it’s already been played almost 100 times in professional play.

The map has ended up lacking the tactical depth that I personally assumed it would have. Granted, it’s very early in Vertigo’s life cycle, and the meta is far from set it stone, but the consensus right now is playing retake A, behind the wall of smokes execute, and stacking mid and B on the CT side. The map has a very Cobblestone-esque feel, especially in how little CT aggression is allowed, especially on the A site.

It’s still early to be drawing conclusions from the statistics we have, as the sample size is obscenely small compared to the other maps in the pool. (Vertigo has been played roughly 100 times, Mirage has been played 13,500 times) That’s not going to stop me from doing so, obviously. Vertigo is the most T sided map by a wide margin, with 52% of rounds going to the Terrorists. This beats out Cache as the most T sided team by a full percentage point, which is a deceptively large gap when talking about side win rates in CS:GO.

This actually helps the teams that would be most adversely affected by the change in the map pool. Teams that specialized in Cache were by and large excellent T sided teams, which means they’re likely to take to Vertigo well. Catching the teams that look good on Vertigo early is going to be important for CS:GO bettors, as it’s a big edge that you’ll have on people who aren’t looking for this kind of stuff.

The other big edge that Vertigo provides is that the map is still changing. That kind of variance is rare in esports betting, where the maps are actively changing while in the rotation. If you understand how the map changes will affect the flow of the map, you can predict how they’ll affect the gameplay of professional teams, which will in turn give you a leg up in CS:GO betting.

For example, Valve recently made some changed to the A site on Vertigo, in an attempt to swing the win rates more in favor of the CTs. They opened up ramp, and gave CTs more options on the site. This obviously means that T side win rates will decline, albeit fractionally. So, are there certain CS teams that hit A more than other teams? If they’re using the A site as a crutch on the map, to avoid learning how to hit B effectively, it can be assumed that this change will make them less effective on the map.

This kind of thinking can lead to big payoffs, especially with an understanding of the way that teams will veto. Vertigo has been vetoed minimally since its introduction into the map pool. This is likely a function of the maps relative simplicity, on both sides of the map. As the map gets more intricate, will its pick rate go down? It seems likely. Which teams will continue to put effort into it, which teams will continue to float it, who’s play style does the map fit? All of these things have to be considered if you want to continue to be successful.

To try and answer some of my questions, the biggest winners in this exchange will be the teams who have the most adaptable systems on T side. Coincidentally, those are the best teams anyway. I could see Liquid and Astralis performing well on Vertigo in the future, using their well run T sides to run opposing top tier teams off the server. As the map gets more tactically dense, which will happen slowly, the amount of teams willing to float it in a veto will get smaller. Vertigo will likely end up being a big advantage in the pick ban stage, rather than a go to map for most of the teams in CS:GO.

If the map goes the other way, however, and gets simpler, things will swing in the opposite direction. Valve may end up opening up the B bombsite more, and making it easier for Terrorists to have their run of the map. That would make the map more like a Dust II, and would likely lead to it being the decider in best of threes, rather than something like Inferno.

Vertigo is going to continue to be one of the most important things to monitor as a CS:GO viewer, and as a CS:GO bettor. It’s one of the only things in the scene that will be changing at that fast of a rate, between the meta, the teams playing it, and the actual topography of the map. We will keep you updated on any more changes with the map or the meta, so make sure to stay tuned.

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