Meta changes: post-pistol economy, AUG & SG

Valve's latest major gameplay update from October 9 has caused parts of the metagame to change. As the year is about to come to an end, we take a look at how the trends have begun to shift when it comes to post-pistol economy and diversity of weapon usage.

Our first "Meta changes" article, released in February 2017, discussed the then-rising popularity of the UMP-45 as a cheap alternative to the main rifles, which was a result of a more natural shift of the metagame as teams realized the strengths of the SMG over time.

This time, we will analyze a different form of a meta change, an artificial one initiated by the developers, Valve. Their October 9 gameplay update pushed the post-pistol round loss bonus one round further, which means it now begins at $1,900 after the pistol round and rises to the $3,400 maximum at a 0-4 start to the half.

EliGE is one of the few players who have dedicated themselves to mastering the scoped rifles

It also reduced the price of the defensive AUG to $3,150 and of its Terrorist-sided counterpart, SG553, to $2,750, which makes the two weapons only $50 more expensive than the more established rifles, the AK-47 and both the M4A4 and M4A1-s.

The same update also revised the Tec-9 and the CZ-75, although the effects of that have been somewhat negligible compared to the aforementioned adjustments, so we will leave that for another time if ever the usage of the two pistols, or others in response, shifts in a significant manner.

With the changes, Valve aimed to, first of all, "reduce the impact of a pistol round win on subsequent rounds", and secondly to make the two scoped rifles more appealing so that the usage of weapons diversifies even more.

So, have the developers achieved what they had aspired to?

The new economy is making its mark

In theory, the changes put in place were always going to work as intended. $500 extra per round after the pistol loss gives teams exactly what's needed to be able to buy up one round earlier than before and start the gun rounds earlier, or the option to save up so that they can buy even more in the same round as before and give themselves a better chance of winning the first gun round thanks to having full weaponry and utility.

The result of this is that it has become the standard to eco fully after losing the pistol round — especially as CT and without a bomb plant as Terrorists — to buy up with $4,300 plus kill bonuses in the third round, which equals the same amount as when teams forcebought with pistols in the second round and bought up in the fourth pre-changes. But that also means that teams have just as limited weaponry, particularly on the more expensive CT side, in the third round as they had in the fourth after a second-round forcebuy before changes. Most teams have come to terms with that, while others wait for a complete buy in the fourth round after a double-halfbuy, predominantly on Inferno, where utility is key.

You can see what this has done to the numbers in the graphic below, in which we analyzed data from matches played at big events between ESL One Cologne (early July) and ESL One New York (late September) for a pre-update sample, and from EPICENTER (late October) to BLAST Pro Series Lisbon (mid December) post-update. There has been a significant increase in the second-round conversion success, more so on the Terrorist side, but also a decrease in converting a pistol round win into 3-0 and 5-0 starts to the half, more prominently on the CT side.

The economy update has caused 2-0 conversion to go up and 3-0 conversion to go down. For a per-map-per-side overview of conversion rates, go here.

Then there are teams who appear to be unfazed by the changes and forcebuy in the second round most of the time, especially with a bomb plant on the back of it. In that case, the T side receives a $2,700 base income in the second round versus $3,500 that the CTs get for winning the round by defusing the bomb. And with a few kills on top, the relatively small difference of income and chances of winning the round between the two sides makes forcebuying in the second round tempting. Natus Vincere are perhaps the best example of a team who thinks this way, as you often see them throw a couple of AKs when such an opportunity arises and they generally like to forcebuy in the second round under other circumstances, as well.

"For us, the new economy didn't change things a lot because we usually do a forcebuy in the second round and almost every other team is doing an eco to buy in the third round. But we like to play with force buys, we get more nades because of the additional money and that's nice, we can buy a Deagle with nades instead of just the Deagle," Egor "flamie" Vasilyev said in our interview with him at EPICENTER, the first big event with the economy changes in place.

This is also part of the reason why second-round conversion on the defense has not improved by as much as it has on the offense; it's not uncommon to see more teams than just Na`Vi attempt those $2.7k+ second-round buys and succeed with them.

Given that 3-0 leads now only happen half the time (versus nearly two out of three times a team won a pistol round pre-update) and 5-0s are also less common (from 25% to 18%), it's fair to say that Valve have — to some extent, at least — accomplished what they had set out to do. That has also had the desired effect on the pistol rounds' overall impact on the results, as teams who win both pistols now win the map a little less often than before, as seen in the table above.

The scoped rifles are rising in popularity

Prior to October's update, the price tag was the main factor preventing players from playing with the AUG and the SG, and few ever tried to in any official capacity, with just a couple of the daring individuals like Emil "Magisk" Reif and Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi, who occasionally played with the latter rifle when they were part of dignitas and NiP, respectively.

But, as outlined in our previous Meta change article, both of them have always been viable (a bit too viable for about a week in early 2014). They have the stats to compete with the main rifle options, mainly being better at dealing with armored opponents despite having lower base damage compared to the more popular options, which is down to higher armor penetration (and a quicker firing rate in SG's case versus the AK-47), while also offering the scope for improved accuracy in longer ranges, among other bonuses such as the first-bullet accuracy and recoil resetting times. On the other hand, both weapons have slower reload times and movement speeds in comparison with the M4s and the AK-47.

Both scopes offer higher DPS against armored opponents, but that comes at the cost of slower reload times and movement speeds

After the price was moved to almost even ground with the popular rifles this October, the scoped alternatives have garnered some fans among the pros once again, and more than ever before. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, Chris "chrisJ" de Jong started playing with both of them almost immediately after the update in the ESL Pro League as the guns' biggest proponents and have continued to do so for the past two months, prioritizing the scopes over its better-established rivals.

"My general thought on the two guns is that they are statistically better than their counterparts. AUG vs M4 basically have a movement speed difference of 2.2%, which to me is negligible, and has worse capabilities of shooting through walls, as they do less damage. Meanwhile, the AUG does more damage and is able to 1 shot from close range and about 95-99 damage from mid-range, so any type of damage earlier in the rounds, even if it is a 4 damage nade, will net you a 1 shot headshot. So for the AUG vs the A4, they have the same fire rate, you get a scope with the AUG, are able to one-shot at certain distances with the AUG, and move slightly slower than compared to the A4.

"For the AK vs Krieg, the Krieg has a faster fire rate than the AK, better first bullet accuracy, 2.3% movement speed decrease compared to the AK and a scope. So, for me, having that better fire rate and first bullet accuracy has been so huge that I am very comfortable always using the Krieg. It also helps that the spray pattern is different from any other gun in the game so I think that has helped me get used to it because it's one of a kind and I can focus on it easier that way. I don't think the really small percentage change in movement speed in comparison from the AK to Krieg is large enough to make a difference. Not being able to do that much damage spraying through walls is a negative as well, but, for me, that doesn't break it."

- United States Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski

Finn "karrigan" Andersen also began to use both weapons a bit later on at EPICENTER after testing things out on a deathmatch server, and more and more people pop up with every tournament, such as BIG's trio of Johannes "nex" Maget, Tizian "tiziaN" Feldbusch, and Fatih "gob b" Dayik, Astralis's Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Magisk, and Na`Vi's Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko and Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev, among others. However, the majority of them have only begun to dabble with the AUG and look hesitant to switch guns on the Terrorist side, as the Krieg is only used by chrisJ, EliGE, and karrigan on a consistent basis.

While people are hesitant to switch to the SG, the AUG keeps gathering more support

Some of the aforementioned downsides to the SG are keeping more players from joining in, as even if they believe that the weapon is an upgrade over the AK, it may not be worth it to risk the short-term loss of form caused by a lack of certainty with the unfamiliar spray pattern and the weapon's behavior. That caused trouble to both karrigan and chrisJ when we asked them about it at some of the last tournaments of 2018.

"I don't think I'm as good [as with the AK and the M4] yet, like everybody else I've played with the AK and M4 for a really long time, so the spray control is certainly something that isn't as good for me or for anyone else right now yet. But yeah, I feel like I'm already seeing the benefits of the weapons in certain situations, especially with the AUG, it just helps a lot that you're able to kill someone instantly from really close range and, at the same time, in really long ranges you have an advantage because you're so much more accurate, so I think I am able to see the benefits from the weapons already."

- Netherlands Chris "chrisJ" de Jong (ESL Pro League S8 Finals)

"I still have some awkward duels sometimes in which I shouldn't have zoomed and which I have should zoomed, but, right now, I have specific situations in which I think it's really good. Still, it's pretty hard to play without the zoom on the SG, that's one thing. If you play some specific positions, I think the AUG can be really good, it's actually kind of the same recoil and the same fire rate on the M4 and AUG, so there's no big difference there, you just have to get used to it."

- Denmark Finn "karrigan" Andersen (BLAST Copenhagen)

On the other hand, EliGE had a bigger issue with the AUG when we asked him about it in November, but he looks comfortable (and claims to be so) with the SG after over two months' worth of experience.

"After playing with the AUG for a bit now, I think that for sure the AUG is a stronger gun, but it will take a long time to be able to get my muscle memory good enough to 100% be buying it. The spray pattern towards the later stages of the spray feels really random, even after really focusing on it, so I am going to be looking to situationally use it on maps that I think warrant its advantages."

It's possible that the SG will make a turn for the better after players return from the end-of-the-year break. That is when a lot of top-tier teams will have the time to experiment and play on their own, which they didn't amidst the busy schedule of the last two to three months. For now, the AUG is rising steadily and is expected to continue doing so as more players get on the train, which means the developers have partially achieved their goal with the second portion of the update, as well.

United States Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski
Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1182
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.16
Ukraine Ioann 'Edward' Sukhariev
Ioann 'Edward' Sukhariev
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1414
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
1400
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.17
Germany Tizian 'tiziaN' Feldbusch
Tizian 'tiziaN' Feldbusch
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1117
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
Sweden Jacob 'pyth' Mourujärvi
Jacob 'pyth' Mourujärvi
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
734
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.13
Denmark Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1403
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.13
Germany Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.85
Maps played:
975
KPR:
0.56
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Denmark Emil 'Magisk' Reif
Emil 'Magisk' Reif
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
981
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.15
Netherlands Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Chris 'chrisJ' de Jong
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1464
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
Russia Egor 'flamie' Vasilyev
Egor 'flamie' Vasilyev
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1239
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1538
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Germany Johannes 'nex' Maget
Johannes 'nex' Maget
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1048
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
#2
 | 
Portugal Joefilas 
How is he so fast wtf^^ Also 2018 was csgo's best year let's hope 2019 is better :)
2018-12-29 20:23
you wanna be the first one to comment something ? ok follow the steps: > be a kid > have a lot of free time > press f5 in hltv.org every 5s you welcome
2018-12-29 20:27
someone is mad because he didnt get #1 xaxaxaxaxaxaxa
2018-12-29 20:34
lmao no , i was in twitter and saw this shit and just tried to be the first i dont really care but this dude is always 1 nwm?
2018-12-29 20:51
+1 kkkkkk
2019-01-02 07:32
Very mad
2019-01-18 23:12
Mad axaxaxaxaxaxa
2018-12-29 21:10
so mad OMEGALUL
2018-12-30 00:44
#90
Portugal dyds 
low iq mad?
2018-12-30 05:04
He isnt even #1
2018-12-31 10:18
#123
f0rest | 
Europe facecs 
why you care ?
2019-01-16 11:56
Crazy how many teams were good this year and astralis still rekt everyone.
2018-12-29 20:36
#54
 | 
Asia ElemeNt4ffff 
2 teams tl navi Where are g2 vp fnatic nip mibr faze
2018-12-29 20:55
Faze was good all year. Fnatic has a roster change and still looked good. Also they were winning early 18. NRG Vitality coL Mibr with awful comms and deaf fer. Mouz even with roster changes. LDLC had a good tourney. Nip. Cloud9 won a major. Gambit was up and down. Avangar
2018-12-29 21:31
#99
 | 
Asia ElemeNt4ffff 
ye u forget tyloo mvp nasr all tier 1 .vitality ldlc nip avangar!!!lol
2018-12-30 11:11
Tyloo early in the year. Renegades. Optic came on late after kicking gade. Vitality won a tournament and Avangar won 23 straight this year. Ldlc and nip had good tournaments
2018-12-30 21:13
#3
 | 
Norway Alexed 
Noy
2018-12-29 20:22
#55
s1mple | 
Other zj2 
looks nice in stats but adds stupidity to the game if u actually look whats happening there like idk why but every game i watch T's force in 2nd round with better buy than CT's, even though they the lost pistol... but they have aks and cts have smgs
2018-12-29 20:57
#67
 | 
Myanmar xdcc 
And if they lose they still have that +$500 (2400+2900 allowing to buy pistols and full buy again on 4th) whereas CTs instantly go to $1400 shit economy and they can only play weak pistol and full buy in 5th round (1400+1900+2400).
2018-12-29 21:30
#5
Sosa | 
Europe Sosa19 
Wtf
2018-12-29 20:22
#8
TACO | 
Portugal MSANTOS 
G
2018-12-29 20:23
#9
World fns1 
yes
2018-12-29 20:23
#10
 | 
Norway AndersBreivik 
unexpected but gj
2018-12-29 20:23
New update?
2018-12-29 20:23
no
2018-12-29 20:24
#12
 | 
Finland G0Dteukkab 
lmao
2018-12-29 20:23
#13
 | 
Turkey Aybars1 
nice update for sure
2018-12-29 20:24
#14
 | 
Finland lasarus 
I thought it was a new update..
2018-12-29 20:24
#15
 | 
United Kingdom Tigercmd 
Lel
2018-12-29 20:24
#16
 | 
Europe youngjcsgo 
nice
2018-12-29 20:24
#17
SPERMY | 
United States Fledge 
Cool
2018-12-29 20:24
#19
 | 
Turkey CHAMPTZ 
I thought it was a new update lol
2018-12-29 20:25
wat
2018-12-29 20:25
my god I thought that was an update
2018-12-29 20:25
#23
 | 
United Kingdom alexx5 
VOLVO PLS FIX
2018-12-29 20:26
#24
 | 
India Tritium 
wat
2018-12-29 20:26
#25
 | 
China chineseplayer 
tldr?
2018-12-29 20:26
scopey gun boom better and cost less so more often buy pistoley losey more money mean faster guns
2018-12-29 20:27
well done
2018-12-29 21:52
#78
Aleksib | 
Finland MorstB 
Nothing to add here
2018-12-29 23:32
holy shit old update HYPE!
2018-12-29 20:26
God elige
2018-12-29 20:26
#28
 | 
Russia baryga007 
tl;dr version pls
2018-12-29 20:26
#33
 | 
Finland tehtaaNkierre 
fak
2018-12-29 20:29
#34
sergej | 
Finland KentNT 
To much to read, what is this about?
2018-12-29 20:30
#79
Aleksib | 
Finland MorstB 
Valve actually didnt fuck up and did what they wanted
2018-12-29 23:33
#95
sergej | 
Finland KentNT 
Only 128 tic to mm. Then the game is good
2018-12-30 09:39
#97
Aleksib | 
Finland MorstB 
yes
2018-12-30 10:08
Hltv biggest baiter
2018-12-29 20:31
+1
2018-12-29 23:20
#37
GuardiaN | 
Slovakia Pepo_ 
gr8 m8 i r8 this b8 8/8
2018-12-29 20:32
F
2018-12-29 20:32
FFS, you did have to beat me to posting an article on this that I've had in the works for the past few weeks...
2018-12-29 20:33
#49
 | 
Belgium 69Savage 
If you worked on it for weeks without finishing, then it’s your own fault x)
2018-12-29 20:47
I sent it off for review earlier on the 29th, but dignitas staff aren't always around to publish it, grrrrrr.
2019-01-04 19:03
Great article
2018-12-29 20:33
The AUG and SG are very good alternatives on maps like Inferno and Overpass
2018-12-29 20:36
#46
 | 
Germany Bestgerman69 
just thought new update FFS
2018-12-29 20:41
Ok am too lazy to read all this can someone explain what new in this patch ?
2018-12-29 20:42
#60
 | 
Finland Kuiva_Simo 
Doesn't really have anything to do with coming updates. It talks about oct 9th update where they lowered prices of aug and krieg + buffed money bonus after pistol. So: -Krieg good now, most still don't use cos weird spray pattern -Aug good in certain situations/maps, lot of ppl starting to use Most teams eco 2nd rounds after pistol loss expect NaVi, they don't give a sh**. -Elige uses aug and krieg and every1 already knew this
2018-12-29 21:23
So they're not making any new changes now ?
2018-12-29 21:24
#65
 | 
Finland Kuiva_Simo 
Nope!
2018-12-29 21:28
Thanks very much for passing by
2018-12-29 21:28
You could have literally read just the first paragraph... Is that also too much?
2018-12-30 09:53
what if i didn't find anything in the first paragraph ?
2018-12-30 17:45
Then you have to work on your reading comprehension. :)
2018-12-30 22:34
no u
2018-12-30 22:36
kk
2018-12-29 20:48
As more players get used to the spray, it will be used more.
2018-12-29 20:54
#56
 | 
Estonia mr_abdul 
Valve doing great moves
2018-12-29 21:02
No matter astralis will destroy everyone
2018-12-29 21:04
M4a1-s needs 4 more bullets in magazine or higher damage vs armor.
2018-12-29 21:09
#61
 | 
United States Raptorial 
Nice try
2018-12-29 21:23
#63
 | 
Germany ariany 
how many ppl thought its an update hahaha xDDD
2018-12-29 21:24
We all got fooled
2018-12-29 21:35
#71
s1mple | 
Ukraine Wok3r 
hello
2018-12-29 21:57
#73
shox | 
France pacthelad 
got baited
2018-12-29 22:32
The AUG and SG are insane. Very good for the price!
2018-12-29 22:48
#75
Xyp9x | 
China Autumn7 
Comment here if you thought this was a n update
2018-12-29 22:59
Jebaited
2018-12-29 23:57
#76
 | 
Luxembourg fowkingell 
Thought this was an update, got baited again.
2018-12-29 23:18
I thought this was a new update god damn it. I got baited. 8/8 HLTV you win this time
2018-12-30 00:49
exactly what I was thinking haha
2018-12-30 02:20
CSGO has so many weapons, and still the matches always resume to only 3 or 5 guns. When it comes to reduce that, the update was very efficient.
2018-12-30 01:24
#86
steel | 
Belarus Ruble 
aug and sg what a joke 0 skill guns, but csgo is dead so who cares
2018-12-30 02:54
You are dead you mean, irrelevant hater
2018-12-30 15:19
I rekt noobs like you everyday on my free account hhhh 45 kills every match only AUG/SG.
2018-12-30 21:38
#111
steel | 
Belarus Ruble 
I dont even play csgo anymore so bad game
2018-12-30 21:50
because #108
2018-12-30 22:02
#91
 | 
Brazil Collee 
Remove COD guns ty
2018-12-30 06:46
#108
2018-12-30 21:38
#92
 | 
Other VladimirLucas 
meanwhile m4a1 is used by 0 players
2018-12-30 09:17
they should just give it 30 bullet and a lot of people will switch
2018-12-30 15:17
maybe, i used to want bullets too but now idc for bullets i want fire rate, it's sooooooooo weak
2018-12-30 15:19
i still think the bullet is general problem for the gun though. less fire rate is what make the gun eazy to use, it give less recoil and better accuracy. i mean 20/60 is no no, use it for spaming through the smoke and you out of the round already. i wish they could make it 25/75 or 25/100.
2018-12-31 05:33
i got baited
2018-12-30 09:22
m4a1-s and m4a4 same movement speed?? I always though I move faster with the silencer
2018-12-30 11:03
Best meta
2018-12-30 12:20
#105
 | 
Australia SUNSPY 
Now they should just reduce the CT costs slightly, damn good job by Valve but its still tough to be CT
2018-12-30 15:56
that awesome feeling when the opponents are 0-10 down then start crying "sToP uSINg nOoB wEAPoNs cHEatErS"
2018-12-30 21:40
#117
 | 
Estonia E$t0 
aug is just for fucking retards
2018-12-31 19:21
BOTS
2019-01-03 01:50
#120
 | 
Brazil thnoronha 
zigzauer is too strong bro LOL....
2019-01-03 12:55
I rather use aug and light kev anyday beacuse m4 is literally a smg in csgo.. Must be the ONLY game were it actually is as strong as smg's. Also with M4 You Cannot do any Fatal hits with it. UMP caliber .45 same Dmg as above. Have fun :)
2019-01-16 08:10
bad changes, aug should stay down
2019-01-20 09:54
And the m4 is still like a smg :)
2019-01-20 22:28
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