Is Tuscan ready for Active Duty?
Last night, CS:GO received its ten-year anniversary update which added a plethora of fun to the game like stickers, confetti, and party chickens. However, the portion of the update receiving the most praise was the addition of Tuscan to the competitive map pool.
Released on Counter-Strike: 1.6 as a royalty-free version of the popular Cyberathlete Amateur League (CAL) map de_cpl_mill, it has long since overshadowed its predecessor and now is into the newest generation of CS. Its open avenues and short distances allow for fast fights and faster rotates, leaving the map with its set of strengths and weaknesses.
Tuscan has been a major request of the community for some time, with pro players and fans alike calling for their least favorite map to be replaced with Tuscan, even before playing it. With the map now released for public competitive play, does it have a place in the active duty pool?
One thing that is noticeable on the first play is the aforementioned short distances to initial combat. Within seconds of the round starting, pressure can be applied from the T-side in a variety of areas, many at the same time. On the other hand, the defensive members of the CT-side can exploit this with properly planned and paired CT aggression. The map’s design is welcoming to well-timed pushes by CTs, and the close quarters style of the map gives more incentive for the defense to work in pairs.
Offensively, the short B lurk is quite advantageous. An effective lurk is dangerous on any map, but the options given to the lurking player through short B on Tuscan are especially juicy. Besides being able to simply walk into the B site from short, there is an opportunity to silently get onto the bridge on multiple sets of platforms which also allows the player to decide to hit B from the high ground or lurk into CPL/tower for an A hit.
The sky boxes on both sites are rather elevated, giving T players the opportunity to work out unique executes that don’t have to be thrown in an exposed position. This allows for harder to read executes and also opens the door for intelligent fakes and double fakes.
Although it is still to be determined, the open ceiling will hopefully allow for more varied styles of execution and prevents a stale meta from forming.
Middle leaves a lot to be desired, as it currently only hosts a single large box for T side cover and nothing more. The ramp leads up directly to the A site, but its open linearity lives little to no room for creative or exciting fights. All it currently invites is a swing of some capacity from the offensive end and defensively an aggressive push with no utility, probably exclusively on save rounds.
In its current state Underpass feels borderline useless besides either a solo late lurk or a cheeky pistol round or eco play. Although the length was shortened on the CS:GO import, the timing is far too predictable when walking and a rushing player can be heard early enough that the opponents can be ready. The potential for surprise is very limited until something greater can be worked out for it. As it stands, there isn’t even a space for Underpass players to throw any utility for impact. The only option is to commit through the corridor or leave.
Overall, Tuscan is a beautifully designed map that utilized the best parts of CS:GO’s aesthetic capabilities. The oceanside backdrop similar to Canals gives it a bright and vibrant touch that makes it easier and more welcoming for a player to see positions and opponents. Not only that, it is a nice change of scenery compared to the settings we are accustomed to in the game.
From a competitive standpoint, the map isn't perfect, but does carry extreme likability and has just enough strengths to seem attractive as an Active Duty map. Similar to Vertigo, the site balance does not feel totally there yet. Right now, the B site is more welcoming for an offensive attack and allows for different kinds of takes, while the A site looks and feels more like a one-way impenetrable fortress.
Although it will take time to flesh out the meta and the most useful lineups, Tuscan’s framework gives it enough to qualify for an Active Duty map. As for what map it should replace, that has been a hot topic. Personally, it doesn’t make sense to add a close quarters, fast pace map unless a map with a comparable meta is also removed.
Based on the aforementioned characteristics of Tuscan, as well as the perceived play style that its players will operate under, it makes the most sense that Vertigo is the map removed in place of Tuscan. The two maps share enough characteristics and play similarly enough that it would be an easy one-for-one swap without shaking the meta of the entire map pool.