If you are an avid Counter-Strike gamer, then you most probably have a favorite map among the many dozens available, the one that you immediately go to as soon as you open the game. Maybe it’s the classic cs_assault or de_dust2, or the widely popular de_mirage. But have you ever wondered what those map prefixes actually mean?

What do the Counter-Strike map prefixes stand for?

All Counter-Strike map names are written as two-letter prefix_name. The prefix indicates the game mode that will be played within the map.

Let’s take the map ar_monastery, for example. The ar prefix means that the map is for an Arms Race scenario that will be played in a Tibetan monastery location.


Do note that some maps that are part of the War Games category in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) are used for multiple game modes. In this case, the map adapts the prefix for the game mode where it was first used. For example, the Safehouse (de_safehouse) map was designed for Demolition game mode, but it can also be used to play Arms Race and Flying Scoutsman modes.

The CS map prefixes are easy to remember, so you can quickly understand what type of map it is and what the gameplay will be without having to read the full description.

Official Counter-Strike map prefixes and its meaning


cs — Hostage Rescue

Hostage Rescue is one of the two classic game modes in Counter-Strike. Counter-Terrorists must rescue at least half of the hostages or eliminate all of the Terrorists before the round timer runs out. The Terrorists can win if they eliminate all Counter-Terrorists or if the Counter-Terrorists fail to rescue enough hostages.

Popular Hostage Rescue maps include fan-favorite Italy (cs_italy), Office (cs_office), and Militia (cs_militia), all of which are available in all major Counter-Strike releases.


de — Bomb Defusal

Another classic game mode, Bomb Defusal is the most popular game mode in the Counter-Strike community, and it is also considered to be the most balanced. In this mode, Counter-Terrorists must prevent the Terrorists from planting a C4 explosive at one of two bomb sites in the game and detonating it.

There are several Bomb Defusal maps available in the game, with the iconic Dust II (de_dust2) and Inferno (de_inferno) being two of the most widely played. Mirage (de_mirage) is also a beloved map since it was introduced in CS:GO.


de — Demolition

The Demolition game mode is a variation of the Bomb Defusal, with the main difference of only having one bomb site on a significantly smaller map. Instead of money, the players are rewarded with upgraded weapons each round if they eliminate at least one player from the opposing team in the previous round.

The Demolition game mode is available to play in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as part of the War Games category. Like Bomb Defusal maps, Demolition maps are also prefixed with de. However, the two lists of maps are mutually exclusive and completely separate in the game.

Widely played Demolition maps include Bank (de_bank), St. Marc (de_stmarc), and Safehouse (de_safehouse).


ar — Arms Race

Another mode under the War Games category, the Arms Race game mode is based on the original Gun Game mod. In this scenario, both teams have continuous respawns but cannot purchase any weapons; instead, they must advance through the weapons by killing opponents. The main objective of both teams is for one of their players to score a kill using the Golden Knife, the final weapon in the game.

Some of the Arms Race maps available are Shoots/Vietnam (ar_shoots), Monastery (ar_monastery), and Lunacy (ar_lunacy). Some Demolition maps like St. Marc (de_stmarc) and Safehouse (de_safehouse) can also be played in Arms Race mode.

as — Assassination

In the Assassination game mode, the Counter-Terrorists are tasked to safely escort a VIP player to a designated VIP escape zone and protect them from Terrorists who are trying to assassinate them.

The Assassination game mode is not as popular within the Counter-Strike community. As such, this game is featured up until Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and is not available to play in newer releases. The only official map available for Assassination is Oilrig (as_oilrig).


dz — Danger Zone

Danger Zone is a battle royale game mode where all the players need to gather equipment and fight and survive in a shrinking battle arena, with the last player standing being declared the winner. The Danger Zone game mode was first introduced alongside the news that CS:GO will be free-to-play in 2018.

Danger Zone games make use of wide open maps that are exclusive to the game mode. Available Danger Zone maps include Sirocco (dz_sirocco) and Blacksite (dz_blacksite), as well as the community-created maps Ember (dz_ember) and Vineyard (dz_vineyard).

The Counter-Strike map prefixes are a useful way to quickly understand what the game mode will be like. Now that you know what those letters in the map names stand for, you will now automatically know what to expect on the map, whether you’re in de_mirage, cs_italy, or any other map.

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