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How much pro players cared about last M4A1-S nerf? History of CT main rifle balance of the last years

CT side in CS:GO has always been special. Only CT has a choice between two main rifles: M4A1-S and M4A4. As planned by the developers, each option has its pros and cons: you choose the right gun based on your style and team needs. But in fact, for the most part of CS:GO history, pro players mostly chose only one — M4. Everything changed in 2021. Escorenews has studied the almost year-long M4A1-S meta.

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M4A1-S dominated more than M4A4 — S1mple even discovered a special feature

On September 22, Valve released an update for CS:GO. Developers added operation Riptide and rebalanced several weapons. The main change was the massive M4A1-S buff. The rifle's body damage was increased.

Just wondering, does anyone else use the M4A4 instead of the M4A1-S? Because today every team that played against us used the M4A1-S.

Pro-players immediately switched to the silenced gun: it was cheaper and had better accuracy.

M4A1-S quickly became the dominant weapon for CT. During the M4A4 meta, depending on the map and economy, players were purchasing both AUG and Famas in a lot of situations. But after the buff, every other weapon disappeared from frequent purchases.

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For M4A4, the selection percentage rarely exceeded 16-17%, but for a silenced version, it never went below 19% over the year, and at the peak, it even broke 28.5%! This happened at IEM Dallas, and the rifle was nerfed after the event.

M4A1-S is a cheat. For example, take the "long" on Overpass: you just shoot in the body and kill the dude with AK. If it doesn't hit your head, you overspray AK without a chance.

With this M4A1-S, you can seriously fire at a long distance. It also has a silencer, which dampens the recoil. And it costs $2900. I don't know when they will fix it, but they must do it sooner or later.

After the update, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev surprised everyone. The NAVI sniper didn't just casually play with the M4A1-S — he deliberately removed the rifle's silencer. At first, everyone thought that Kostyliev was just having fun, but later everything became very serious. In the semifinals of IEM Fall 2021 against, the NAVI star crushed with M4A1-S without a silencer even on the T side. The final against Gambit was the same.

S1mple's riddle was solved on Reddit: a user named birkir measured the accuracy of the M4A1-S with and without a silencer. It turned out that with the second option, the rifle shoots more accurately when running and moving on Shift. In crouching and static, the standard version of the M4A1-S is still better.

Some people tried repeating this move in matchmaking, but not much players can move like s1mple, and this idea was quickly forgotten. And even NAVI star later went back to playing with a silencer.

M4A1-S got nerfed after all: it didn’t change the meta, but it became a bit more difficult to play

The imbalanced M4A1-S lasted for 9 months: on June 16, 2022, Valve reduced the number of bullets in M4A1-S from 25 to 20. Immediately after the nerf, the pro-scene began to try the M4A4: at the Roobet Cup, the ratio of rifles was 4.3% vs. 21.7% in favor of the M4A1-S.

But just after one event, everyone returned to the silencer: at IEM Cologne, a new-old M4A1-S was chosen in 26.5% of cases, and the M4A4 did not even reach 2.3%.

Everything is clear if you listen to the players: they still highly rate silencer for accuracy, price, and damage. It's just harder to do multikills now.

The main problem with the M4A1-S is that people can play very aggressively. Do three kills alone without any teamplay. With 20 bullets, this will be more difficult. Now the teams will have to play more as a team, and not rely on individual actions. They will make a frag and move away, and will not spray all over the map. Previously, people could make easy frags even without a hard skill. I think things will be more balanced now.

Dan "apEX" Madesclaire

Everyone will continue to use M4A1-S. The gun is still too strong, as it can kill with four hits to the body. You don't even need to aim, just control the spray.

Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov

I don't think there will be any difference. M4A1-S is still extremely strong, you just have to play more carefully and don't spray all of your magazine. It's still strong, you have to use it even with a 20-round magazine.

Boris "magixx" Vorobyev

The gun is still very good, even tho it lost 5 bullets. It's obvious that it will be harder to do multikills now, but it's still good in shooting through smokes and in duels. But I might try M4A4 because of the 10 additional bullets in the magazine.

Emil "Magisk" Reif

Matchmaking preferences also returned to the M4A4 on FACEIT: according to, at the end of June, the classic version of the M4 won back 4-6% over the silenced one. But there is a feeling that in three weeks the situation has returned to its original state. So it seems that CT gun balance need another change.

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