Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players took a sigh of relief when Valve announced M41A-S nerfs in June. But have the changes done any good?
Terrorists may have a slight advantage in terms of a cheaper AK-47, but Counter-Terrorists enjoy a choice of primary rifles. The M4A1-S and M4A4 may seem similar on the surface, but both rifles are drastically different. M4A1-S provides one-tappers with a competitive edge and many other benefits it brings to the table. Conversely, M4A4 is more apt to spray in close-range duels, making it a perfect gun in close quarters.
The June 15 patch notes brought good news for frustrated CSGO fans who thought the silenced rifle was OP compared to M4A4. Valve finally delivered M4A1-S nerfs, but stats barely show any difference in-game.
Did the M4A1-S nerfs work?
Statistics show that the M4A1-S is still not a balanced weapon as players continue to favor it over the M4A4. The June 15 nerf failed to bridge the difference in pick-rate of both the rifles.
Before the nerfs, the M4A1-S dominated the weapon pick in casual and professional games. The majority of the players preferred the silenced rifle for its increased damage, invisible trails, and affordable price. The developer took note and rolled out decent nerfs to M4A1-S‘ magazine, decreasing it to 20 bullets. But new stats on HLTV show that players aren’t bothered by the nerf.
During one month after the nerf, about 23% of players are still sporting the M4A1-S. This still makes it one of the most popular weapons after the AK-47. The weapon’s pick rate dropped by a negligible percentage, confirming that Valve’s nerfs don’t account for much. Those who tap with the CT-sided rifle are finding their way around the limited magazine instead of dropping it in favor of the M4A4.
The nerfs were aimed at balancing the pick rate of both weapons by making them situational. If you’re spraying close-range, you want a gun with plenty of bullets loaded. Technically, players should have switched back to M4A4 post-update, but most haven’t. Both sprayers and tappers are trying to make the new 20 bullet magazine work.
M4A1-S is still mechanically the superior rifle. The nerf didn’t necessarily tweak the bullets’ impact or the economy, two changes that may have shifted the meta. For high-skilled players, reduced magazine size isn’t a massive change as they usually finish off enemies in a few bursts. The silencer, buffed damage, and lack of tracers still make it a viable pick compared to the M4A4, regardless of the reserve.
So it’s not exactly surprising that the first round of M4A1-S nerfs are not enough. The developer may want to address the problem more directly in order to bring the M4A4 back into the game.