Get an overview of the biggest Counter-Strike news from the previous week, including the new CS2 update introducing visually enhanced maps Ancient and Anubis, Valve’s major changes to the esports ecosystem for 2025, controversy over trash talk at IEM Cologne, Twitch’s ban on CS:GO skin gambling and the formation of a new high-profile Russian team, and more.


Valve has released a significant update to Counter-Strike 2’s Limited Test, introducing the maps Ancient and Anubis. These maps have been visually enhanced with the “Touchstone” treatment, improving their appearance and lighting. Anubis is now available in Competitive, Casual, and Deathmatch modes, while Ancient is playable in Deathmatch and Casual modes. The update also includes improvements to animations and minor gameplay tweaks.

However, players initially raised two major concerns regarding the new maps. The water in Ancient T-spawn was not transparent, causing issues with weapon visibility, and some self-boosts were missing. Valve quickly addressed these concerns in a patch released the next day, fixing the issues.


Heroic’s captain, Casper “cadiaN” Møller, was caught shouting at opponents TheMongolZ during a match, leading to heated debates among fans. Some believe cadiaN’s behavior was excessive, while others see it as a natural part of competitive gaming. His teammate René “TeSeS” Madsen defended cadiaN, stating that trash talk is a part of every sport and is used to gain a psychological advantage. cadiaN himself sarcastically apologized on Twitter, acknowledging that he’s not the first to engage in trash talk in CS:GO. The incident has sparked discussions about the role of mental warfare in esports and whether there should be limits to trash talk.

Valve Ends Team and Tournament Partnerships in 2025

Valve has announced significant changes to the Counter-Strike ecosystem, starting in 2025. The company will end unique business relationships between teams and tournament organizers, effectively putting a stop to partnered leagues and tournaments. Invitations to tournaments will be based on Valve’s ranking system or determined by open qualifiers. Additionally, all compensation for participating teams must be made public and driven by objective criteria. ESL and BLAST, two major operators, have confirmed their commitment to continue under the new conditions. Valve’s decision aims to make Counter-Strike a more transparent and equitable competitive scene.

sh1ro brings crystal collection to IEM Cologne

Cloud9 player Dmitry ‘sh1ro‘ Sokolov brought crystals to his team’s match against GamerLegion at IEM Cologne, resulting in a 2-1 win. Pro players often bring good luck charms to matches, but sh1ro’s use of crystals added a unique twist. He placed five rocks beside him during the match, including amethyst and aventurine, which were believed to ward off negative energies and balance emotions. Sh1ro’s performance was outstanding, with 78 total kills across three maps and the highest HLTV 2.0 rating in the server at 1.42. The win qualified Cloud9 for the playoff stage but got defeated by Team Vitality in the quarterfinals.

Into The Breach remove NEOFRAG from active roster

Into the Breach (ITB) has terminated the contract of Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar after only 22 days with the organization. The dismissal was due to “comments and perspectives displayed” that conflicted with ITB’s values of inclusivity and equality. While some speculated that the termination was related to an old clip where NEOFRAG allegedly used a racial slur, ITB Founder Sam Macedonio clarified that the decision was based on “recent behavior.” NEOFRAG himself admitted to making “distasteful jokes” in an attempt to bond with his new teammates. The sudden termination highlights the organization’s commitment to upholding its standards and values, even as it faces challenges in the competitive scene.

Twitch Prohibits Skin Gambling Promotion in Major Rule Update

Twitch has implemented a ban on the promotion of CS:GO skin gambling, a move that could have significant implications for many streamers. The updated Community Guidelines specifically target CS:GO skin gambling, a practice that has become widespread and controversial. While the exact scope of the ban is unclear, it appears to target both streaming and promotional activities related to third-party skin gambling. This decision could eliminate a massive revenue source for many CS:GO Twitch streamers and may lead to migration toward other platforms. The ban reflects growing concerns about gambling on Twitch, particularly its potential to encourage children to gamble. CS:GO skins have become a popular currency for gamblers, with both current and former players often entering partnerships with gambling sites.

New Russian team goes official

A new Russian CS:GO team has been officially formed under the organization BetBoom, backed by a betting company of the same name. The team is led by in-game leader Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov, who was recently replaced on Cloud9. Joining him are former FORZE star AWPer Aleksandr “zorte” Zagodyrenko and Pavel “s1ren” Ogloblin, who was benched from Spirit earlier this month. The lineup is rounded out by Aleksandr “KaiR0N-” Anashkin, formerly of, and ex-Boston crab member Danil “danistzz” Roslyakov. This new team brings together multiple high-profile players who recently found themselves without teams, creating a potential powerhouse in the Russian scene.