To put it mildly, not everyone has been a fan of Dust 2’s reintroduction to the Premier map pool and its addition to competitive play alongside it. But the map does have a role to play in both, and while it may not be a Transformer, it offers more than what meets the eye.

A kind word for the filthy casuals and their sepia-tinted memories

Sometimes, you’ve got to call a classic a classic and appreciate it for the simple joys that it brings to the table. Dust 2 is the old faithful of the CS franchise, a reference point we can all relate to no matter which decade we got involved with the game. Its occasional return to the spotlight will always make a lot of sense.

Nostalgia is a powerful drug, and it applies to gamers of all stripes. Fortnite recorded record player numbers late last year when they temporarily reintroduced the OG island, much like how World of Warcraft players are also enjoying their share of retooled and rebooted classic experiences. No wonder CS2’s headcount is looking pretty good right now. Having an old stalwart back around for the occasional spin is simply just a good thing for Counter-Strike, a celebration of past decades. Not all good things have to come to an end, and sometimes, all you want is something simple and comfortable, a plaything with familiar rough edges rather than a bunch of bells and whistles.

(It also does quite alright in the map crest department.)

Besides, at this point in Counter-Strike 2’s life cycle, it just made sense to introduce the map they already had ready to go into the competitive pool, if only to slightly change things for change’s sake, though I am also puzzled by the decision to take out Overpass instead of Vertigo or even Ancient in its place.

And it’s not like you will have to play the map over and over again. Unlike with the old matchmaking system, where the preponderance of players pre-selected only a handful of maps to search for, the veto procedure in Premier diminishes the effect of any one map in the pool. Yes, there is Mirage, but there is also Inferno. There are many overplayed classic maps to hate if that is how you want to roll.

Now, let’s gear up for a slightly more controversial take: I, for one, also welcome Dust 2’s return to the competitive map pool from an esports perspective.

Dust 2 is the great equalizer

Having different kinds of maps in the pool that test different aspects of high-level gameplay is simply just a good thing to have from a player and a viewer perspective as well. Yes, Dust 2 offers somewhat limited tactical options in CS2 matches compared to some of the more sophisticated maps that have been designed in the decades since, but that is precisely what makes it such a great equalizer.

How many times have we seen top teams get punished for leaving it open against underestimated low-tier opponents, who then frag their hearts out to get a surprise win? Banning it, in turn, would leave other interesting veto options afloat, providing a non-insignificant cascade effect.

And hey, sometimes, all you want is a highlight reel. Remember FaZe versus Spirit in the Antwerp semis, a 48-round affair? What a glorious, glorious bit of mess it was. And speaking of Spirit, don’t tell me you’re not looking forward to watching donk do donk things on the most classic map of them all.

That isn’t to say we won’t necessarily see some tactical innovations on the map after the collective brainpower of pros will descend on it again. Even when the utility dropping was introduced, we saw Aleksib cook up some exciting utility strats, and if nothing else, the breakable smokes in B tunnels and on A long will offer up some interesting moments. Open skybox, small layout adjustments – I think we might be surprised about Dust 2’s competitive potential.

So, the defense rests. Personally, I’m glad to have Dust 2 back. Now, if you excuse me, I’ve got some B rushing to do.