The stage was set at Barclay's Center for the ESL One New York 2019 Grand Finals. However, before Evil Geniuses and Astralis showdown began, the audience in Brooklyn was treated to something special.
The map update for Cache, one of the most popular maps in the competitive pool, was revealed to the public for the first time. Fans watching on stream and in the arena were treated to a flyover video of the entire map, showing hyperlapsed transitions of portions of the old Cache becoming the new Cache. The map changes, which only make up about 10-15% of the entire space, are minor and mostly cosmetic, most noticeably in the form of rich greenery that can be found all over the map.
Those wondering how the top level of CS competiton would adapt to the new textures on the updated Cache didn't have to wait long. Shortly after the reveal of Cache's new look, a showmatch was set up on stage featuring professional players participating in the main event.
Team Toxic featured the only non-competitor, Joshua "steel" Nissan, alongside Team Liquid's Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip and Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella, G2 Esports' Audric "JaCkz" Jug, and Evil Geniuses' Ethan "Ethan" Arnold. Team Squeaky consisted of Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, OpTic Gaming's Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke, G2 Esports' Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, and Tarik "tarik" Celik from Evil Geniuses.
The showmatch featured a flurry of impressive individual plays, but in the end, it was Team Squeaky who would win 16-12. Before preparing for the Grand Final, tarik joined O.J. Borg for a quick interview to share his thoughts on the new Cache. "The changes aren't drastic, but there are small changes here and there. That kind of stuff can make a big difference overall," tarik explained. "There's still a lot of stuff that we haven't even seen, because that was our first time playing the new map."
There is validity to tarik's point. At the top level of CS:GO, even the smallest of changes to a map can make a huge difference because every little advantage counts. On the ESL One NY Analyst Desk, Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert said he expected the current version of new Cache to not be the final version for competitive play, as pros will become more familiar with the changes and potential competitive differences as the community at large gets more time to play on the new Cache.