Steven R. June 15, 2019
The Esports Championship Series Season 7 finals were a compelling watch that brought together some of the best teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
There were many storylines to sift through including the rise of Furia eSports, the decline of Astralis, and the possible ascension of Team Vitality to elite status. It also gave an interesting snapshot of the meta heading into the StarLadder Berlin Major.
CSGO stats provider Stay In Pit broke down the gun purchases at the event, rattling off how many times pros invested in each specific weapon. That provided an interesting angle on the game as it stands right now and also hinted at a possible shift that could be felt over the coming months..
AUG Reigns Supreme, M4A1-S Usage Falls Off
More than Renegades or even ENCE eSports, the AUG was the breakout star of the IEM Katowice Major earlier this year. The scoped rifle offered the CT side better long range accuracy and one-shot kill potential up close at a fairly cheap cost. The price of the gun went up following the event but its popularity in the months since hasn’t wavered.
Across multiple recent tournaments, the AUG has been by far the most popular rifle on the CT side. This didn’t change at the ECS Season 7 Finals with the rifle remaining the go-to primary.
Of the 1,092 instances where players purchased CT-exclusive assault rifles, the AUG was grabbed 74% of the time. The M4A4 was a distant second at just 21%.
This isn’t a huge surprise but the biggest note when it came to CT-sided weapons was that the M4A1-S was barely ever touched during the event, with just seven appearing at the tournament.
The rise in popularity of the AUG has left the M4A1-S without a strong purpose in the game. While it was long a viable alternative to the M4A4 that trades some ammo capacity for greater long range accuracy, the AUG trumps it in that department while also offering higher DPS.
The M4A1-S was buffed earlier this year with its ammo capacity being boosted from 20 bullets to 25. Still, the gun remains definitively worse than the AUG on every level except cost.
Unless the M4A1-S is buffed or weapon prices change, don’t expect this to change any time soon.
Furia Esports are SG-553 trendsetters
While the AUG is the clear-cut most popular assault rifle on the CT side, its T-side equivalent hasn’t seen nearly as much action in recent events. Still, the SG-553 saw a marked uptick in usage during the ECS Season 7 Finals.
The AK-47 remains the standard primary weapon for terrorists with 1,085 purchases while the Galil kept its spot as a situational option at 62. Interestingly, the SG-553 was bought on 362 occasions, or 24% of the time.
That’s a profound spike relative to other tournaments. The SG-553 was purchased less than 9% of the time at DreamHack Masters Dallas and less than 7% of the time at CS_Summit 4.
Some of this can be chalked up to Furia Esports, who have adopted the gun far more than any other professional team, but they were not alone in using it. This might just be an anomaly, but it’s looking like there could be a bit more variety in the T side arsenal going forward.
Shotguns are still unpopular
When the M4A1-S was buffed, shotguns were also given a boost in the form of a major price discount. Though that was designed to make the guns a viable option for eco rounds, that hasn’t made them any more popular among pro players.
Just 15 shotguns popped up at the event including eight XM1014s and seven MAG-7s. This pales in comparison to the 363 SMGs that popped up.
The Sawed-Off, MAG-7, and Nova all offer one-shot kill potential at the cheapest prices in the game but aren’t seen with any kind of regularity. Though specialized weapons like shotguns will always be a niche option, it’s unclear what Valve could do to steer pro players towards them at this point.