Steven R. October 18, 2019
Professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pros are just about done with the SG 553.
The scoped assault rifle is becoming increasingly popular across all teams in the highest levels of competitive play and that is irking some players. Earlier this week, a trio of pros vented their frustrations with the gun and called for Valve to nerf it.
French CSGO star Richard "shox" Papillon started the action by popping off on Twitter. “Hey CSGO, when will come the Krieg nerf? We had AUG, now this. Can we [get] back to CS identity please?
“I can admit the SG is definitely too good,” said Robin "ropz" Kool or Mousesports. “I've got a lot of confidence from it because it is just OP in aim duels. Especially the scope factor, I'm sometimes going for awp peeks.”
Cloud9 in-game leader Damian "daps" Steele co-signed the sentiment, and gave a more insightful breakdown on the gun.
“As much as I love using the SG 553, it’s honestly ruining the game...It costs $50 more than an AK and shoots faster, has a scope and is easier to spray,” he said. “Either buff the AUG again or nerf the gun, please," daps said.
This was followed by a slew of other professional players agreeing on Twitter, including MiBR’s Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Team GamerLegion’s Dennis "dennis" Edman, and Team Liquid’s Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken all either affirmatively replying to the tweets or giving them a like.
Scoped rifles take over in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The AUG and SG-553 have generally been less used throughout much of Counter-Strike's history, including in CSGO. Players routinely opted in favor of the AK-47 on the T side and M4A4 or M4A1-S on the CT side, with the higher price tag for the scoped assault rifles typically acting as a deal-breaker for professional players while their scope attachments were seen as unnecessary for those skilled in controlling their aim and recoil.
This was driven home further at the casual level as players mocked those who used the so-called “CoD guns,” due to their toggleable scopes resembling those of weapons from Call of Duty.
Ahead of the IEM Katowice Major, Valve tackled this by dropping the prices of the guns. Teams at the major adopted the AUG in a big way, while the SG-553 saw a more modest uptick in usage.
As time went on, Valve delivered heavy nerfs to the AUG. Its price was raised and eventually its spray was widened and its fire rate was reduced. This saw the gun largely slide out of the professional scene.
That hasn’t been the case with the SG-553, however. Though the AUG was aggressively nerfed, the T-side scoped assault rifle has remained untouched both functionally and economically for a long while now. This makes it unclear what Valve’s plans are for the gun, if any.
Is the SG 553 Krieg overpowered in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
Pro players are clearly frustrated over the SG-553, but far fewer are actually using it than one might expect.
Stay in Pit tracks gun purchases in professional CSGO and the AK-47 remains the most-purchased assault rifle by T-side players, often by a strong margin.
ESL One New York saw 998 AK-47s purchased throughout the event in comparison to 748 Kriegs and 70 Galils. This means 55% of T-side assault rifle purchases were for the AK-47 in comparison to 42% for the Krieg. And that was actually an inflated number. BLAST Pro Series Moscow saw AK-47s purchased 75% of the time, while the tally came in at 69% at the StarLadder Berlin Major.
Some of this can be chalked up to fears of dropping the weapon to the CT side. The SG-553 is incredibly powerful for CTs, giving them a manageable spray, long-range accuracy, and one-shot kill potential through helmets that the AUG lacks. This can make it seem almost impossible to attack some angles if the CT players can scrounge one up.
Couple that with the fact that, seven years deep into CSGO’s lifecycle, pros are just very comfortable with the AK-47 to the point where they might pass on an objectively better gun.
That said, comparisons to the AUG are way off. Following the IEM Katowice Major, the AUG was the most popular CT-side assault rifle to the point where it was purchased over 70% of the time at events such as the CS Summit 4 and DreamHack Masters Dallas. This stands in harsh contrast to the Krieg, which is yet to hit even 50%.
Of course, Valve may be considering nerfs to the Krieg just based on the outcry from pro players. Players that enjoy the gun ought to enjoy it while they can.