Operation Riptide’s balance update seems small, but it’s had a massive impact on the best counter-terrorist loadout.
Many of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams in the world have switched from the M4A4 to the M4A1-S. At the recent regional major rankings events for CIS and Europe, the M4A1-S has been used for 21.95% and 19.01% of rounds respectively. The small buff in Operation Riptide was enough for it to overtake its bigger brother, the M4A4, as the best rifle for the CT side.
The list of players that have switched includes big names across many of the best teams in the world. These are just some of the pro CSGO riflers who have switched over to the M4A1-S.
In Operation Riptide, the M4A1-S got a very significant buff to its body damage.
The exact numbers depend on distance, but the important part is that the gun can now consistently kill in four body shots. It still lacks the AK-47’s one-tap headshot, but it now has the same time-to-kill as its bigger brother, the M4A4. The removable silencer also makes it more difficult to hear from longer distances.
The M4A1-S does have a significant weakness in ammo capacity. The M4A4 has 30 bullets in four magazines. The M4A1-S has 25-bullet magazines with 20 less bullets to work with overall. That disadvantage is mitigated by extreme precision, which makes it more powerful in the hands of pro players. A handful of CSGO pros have stuck with the M4A4, so the weapon is clearly still usable but the sheer number of players shifting to the M4A1-S shows that it’s now the superior CT rifle.