Meta changes: SG553, Galil & FAMAS update

Valve's most recent update returned the increasingly popular SG553 to its original price and buffed the rarely-used FAMAS and Galil. These changes are certain to affect the metagame, but where exactly will we see the biggest shift and why did the developers decide to make weapon adjustments again in the first place?

Unless you haven't been watching CS:GO for the past half a year or so, there is no way you missed SG553's increasing popularity among pros lately. With its price lowered to $2,750 in an extensive gameplay update in October 2018, its affordability was on par with the conservative AK-47. If you add to that the considerable advantages with the scope, the better accuracy, and the overall higher damage per second stemming from a higher firing rate and armor-ignoring penetration, it made for an obvious choice over the Russian staple.

Interestingly, it took the vast majority of the scene over seven months (or over five years, if you consider that its stats have remained unchanged since 2014) to realize the SG553's true power, and it's possible it only happened as a natural response to its CT counterpart, the AUG, which had been a big source of frustration for Terrorists due to the defense's ability to hold more aggressive angles in the first half of 2019. Whatever was the root cause, in another four months it became the preferred choice and by this November, the SG553 had gotten to a point where it was overwhelmingly the most prevalent gun, leading many players and pundits to call it overpowered, with Peter "⁠dupreeh⁠" Rasmussen going as far as to label it the most "OP" weapon in the history of Counter-Strike.

SG553 had been rising steadily over the past six months until it overwhelmed the AK in popularity

Although it's difficult to know what exactly made Valve revert its price back to $3,000, you can certainly see where they are coming from. It could be that they simply planned on doing that whenever people got a proper chance to discover its power, which may have been the reason why it was made cheaper in the first place. The developers always seem to strive to balance the weapons in line with the every-gun-should-be-viable sentiment, and the recent update was yet another example of that, as the tendencies in the pro scene as of late show that the SG is much more versatile rather than situational and certainly warrant changes.

But is that nerf sufficient?

Probably not. The SG553 is just as powerful as it always has been — the stats remain exactly the same, after all. It has only been made slightly more difficult to buy. Terrorists will still be able to afford it in most of the same economic scenarios, at worst at the cost of one piece of utility, and given how almost everyone has switched to it by now, it seems unlikely the pros will be willing to give up the advantages outlined above just to save an extra $250, especially in cases where they have enough money not to sacrifice a thing to purchase it.

If you're not convinced, just look at how things went with the AUG. Valve opted for the same course of action with it in March when it went from the lowered $3,150 back to the original $3,300 price tag and it barely made a dent in the gun's usage. It quickly spiked back up and reached peak popularity in May, shortly before the developers introduced much more substantial changes in June, reducing the rate of fire and unscoped accuracy and causing its popularity to tank almost immediately.

The one area in which we are bound to see some effects are the economic scenarios where Terrorists can no longer afford the SG553, most notably in the highly-criticized post-plant forcebuys in the second round, which became standard practice over the last few months. After planting the bomb in the pistol round, Terrorists forcebought 77% of the time in the SG meta compared to only 42% of the time during the AUG meta, which made CTs' lives harder early on as they had to face those kinds of buys much more often. However, they were also far from overpowered as some pundits would have you believe, with just a 41% win rate versus over 50% in the preceding metas where the SGs weren't commonly purchased. As to why the win rate in post-plant forcebuys specifically decreased despite the superiority of the SG, the pattern below suggests the more forcebuys are attempted the less they are successful, a trend that is most likely a result of teams becoming much more expectant of those buys nowadays, purchasing weaponry and positioning accordingly as Counter-Terrorists.

Frequency and win rates of post-plant second-round forcebuys at big events over the last three distinct metas show an intriguing trend

To be clear, it will still be possible to buy SGs in those rounds, but only for the players who get at least $300 in bonus money from kills or from being the one to put down the bomb in addition to the $1,900 loss bonus plus $800 Terrorists get from a round ending via bomb defusal. But with utility being a scarce commodity there already, the $250 difference in price might just sway the offense to opt for ecos more often again or towards other forcebuy choices, which have now notably widened thanks to the other important recipients of the recent update: the Galil and the FAMAS.

Having become quite a rarity a while ago already due to most players preferring SMGs for their mobility or even shotguns on maps like Nuke, the two weapons that used to be secondary rifling choices to the AK and M4s moved even further down the pecking order during AUG and SG metas. The Galil and FAMAS had stayed untouched by Valve practically since the start of CS:GO, as outlined in the first chapter of the Meta changes series, and only after six years of competitive play was their price reduced by $200 to $1,800 and $2,050, respectively, and their spraying accuracy improved.

What Valve is hoping to introduce with this is a step between the SMGs and the strongest rifles that players will take seriously and start considering again, which you can see in the graphic below. It's nothing new; a very similar progression has existed from the very beginning of CS:GO, but it should help visualize just how big the jump between SMG buys and the main rifles is — $1,200 to $1,900 — and how that extra Galil or FAMAS step can help with both sides' options when it comes to scenarios where you have a sub-ideal economy.

Overlooked for the past few years, the Galil and FAMAS could now become fashionable again

We can use the T side post-plant forcebuys again to illustrate a specific scenario, one that sparked a conversation immediately after the update happened. The $1,800 price of the Galil introduces a whole new option there, as the $150 you keep from a kevlar buy in the first round plus a $1,900 loss bonus plus $800 for a plant equals a Galil and full armor, and the kills you get on top give you utility and a very real gunround instead of the rather shoddy and individualistic double SG (or AK) drops that have been so prevalent in recent months.

With the aforementioned gap being even wider on the defense, the CTs' added option will also help. As an example: those who previously opted for an SMG after a pistol round win with $3,400 in the bank — assuming $150 extra from a kevlar start again — could instead get a FAMAS and full armor for $3,050 and have $350 plus whatever kills they got on top for utility (or $600+ in defusal scenarios).

In the same way, this could serve as a great alternative in the third-round buys after a pistol loss where you have around $4,300, which is enough for AKs and some utility, but for CTs it might be more swallowable to go for some more FAMASes on players who got no kills in the first two rounds rather than going for SMGs or one of the bigger rifles with next to no utility. And this naturally applies in any scenario where the money works out in a way that you don't have enough for the primary rifles but still want to have the advantages of a rifle (range and damage) instead of the more situational SMGs.

All of this could become more standard as players and teams get used to the Galil and FAMAS and the slightly different options and, as a result, should lead to a better balance between them and the currently vastly more popular SMGs. It all depends on how players will view the new cost-effectiveness of the two buffed guns after these changes, but with the scene being rather slow to change historically as Jesper "⁠JW⁠" Wecksell points out, don't hold your breath for sudden changes later this week at ECS Season 8 Finals, where the new update will be used for the first time — it's much more likely that we will start seeing real results when it comes to the Galil and FAMAS some time at the beginning of next year. In regards to the SG, don't expect much change until Valve nerf its stats as they did with the AUG.

Denmark Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen
Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Sweden Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Very cool changes! RIP SG also means RIP EG, Flukia and many more!
2019-11-26 14:33
26 replies
Finland pornokarhu
2019-11-26 14:40
3 replies
goodbye forever flukia
2019-11-26 15:50
2 replies
Goodbye 100 Kriegs!EG will shine at the top again!!!
2019-11-26 18:22
1 reply
Sweden b8police
2019-12-07 01:30
+1 RIP brehze
2019-11-26 14:42
Australia Raychippy
SG isn’t gone, it’ll still be fken OP. A $250 price increase won’t make it RIP lmao
2019-11-26 14:43
10 replies
ik its like 1 flash over long if they spawn in d2 like its nothing lol..
2019-11-26 14:50
2 replies
Germany AdiZen
also they can afford them if they have a big enough bank
2019-11-26 14:53
1 reply
that can be said for any weapon. you can afford it if you have money :|
2019-11-26 17:35
2019-11-26 14:54
+1 it aint gonna be as popular, but still will be ahead of ak by quite a bit
2019-11-26 15:19
If u wanna keep banging the mid from T at round start, hoping to hit some one, krieg is definitely the smaller gaygun.
2019-11-26 15:32
Brazil duker
well, before we had 5 SGs in the T side, if we count the 5 players, it is -10 flashbangs out of 20 in total, that is kinda big
2019-11-26 16:32
2 replies
400$ for two flashbangs, 250$ extra for sg... Where does the extra 150 go in you calculation?
2019-11-26 18:12
1 reply
Brazil duker
you need to round the number, of course, unless you want to buy a decoy EDIT: from calculations, it looks even worst. Imagine if you have $4100. You could buy AK + Full Kevlar + 2 Flashbangs (2700+1000+400) or Krieg + Full Kevlar, no nades what so ever (3000+1000). Huge difference
2019-11-26 18:35
Poland el_chempo
yes , hltv users are dumb af
2019-11-28 09:54
Actual good teams can win again now
2019-11-26 14:48
1 reply
its not nerfed....
2019-11-26 19:21
R.I.P 100 Kriegs
2019-11-26 14:51
6 replies
2019-11-26 15:12
3 replies
2019-11-26 15:26
nt 100kriegs
2019-11-26 17:32
1 reply
United States MidN_
Free HK
2019-11-27 01:31
2019-11-26 17:02
2019-11-28 09:52
2019-11-27 02:04
oBo | 
North America ZachS721
2019-11-26 14:32
2019-11-26 14:32
2019-11-26 14:32
2019-11-26 14:32
2019-11-26 14:32
Russia ToughGuy
2019-11-26 14:32
Georgia Broozman
2019-11-26 14:34
very nice
2019-11-26 14:34
Europe LoookATme
lmao galil is shit
2019-11-26 14:35
12 replies
No it's not. Just learn the pattern.
2019-11-26 14:38
4 replies
Europe trash_star
+1 , galil is nice)
2019-11-26 14:40
Europe LoookATme
i don't need because krieg is better
2019-11-26 16:02
2 replies
When you can't afford the krieg it's a great option.
2019-11-26 16:14
+1 brudda x)
2019-11-27 17:47
If you learn how to Galil, Galil is literally just M4A4 with 5 more bullets per magazine - a direct upgrade.
2019-11-26 14:47
6 replies
galil is not accurate as m4, galil has slightly less dps and you have higher move speed with m4
2019-11-26 15:33
1 reply
Galil will kill in as many shots and has firerate comparable to M4A4. Accuracy of either doesn't matter unless you're on long A Dust 2.
2019-11-26 15:39
2019-11-26 18:15
3 replies
Your name checks out.
2019-11-28 15:25
2 replies
2019-12-19 13:05
1 reply
Took you a while to respond lmao
2019-12-19 13:06
get rid of one headshot kill with kreig and thats it nothing else need to change, only AK should be one shot kill
2019-11-26 14:40
7 replies
Sweden levymonsta
Dumbest thing I've heard.
2019-11-26 14:50
NEO | 
Brazil ptL^^
You're 100% right, I was thinking the same thing
2019-11-26 14:55
2 replies
dgl? scout? awp?
2019-11-26 15:17
1 reply
deagle, scout, awp are semi-auto, even though u can spam deagle, its recoil recovers slow af. krieg can scope, can burst tap and recoil recovers fast, can't oversee that.
2019-11-26 15:38
Russia SW@G
Do you have a brain?
2019-11-26 15:03
are u hav retard?
2019-11-26 15:17
you braindead idiots, I clearly meant AK should be only "rifle" capable of One headshot kill, right now its AK and SG, AWP, deagle and scout dont fall in the same category,
2019-11-26 16:18
Great work Striker! VAMOUZ
2019-11-26 14:46
TLDR; plz
2019-11-26 14:47
o nice, content
2019-11-26 14:48
The SG does not need to RIP! It is a great alternative to AK, but more expensive. So SG or AK + Smoke... AK only should not be the solution.
2019-11-26 14:49
1 reply
+1 it's been really entertaining now that they're using more variety of weapons.
2019-11-26 17:07
Watching pro CS is extremely boring nowadays it's just scoped weapons 24/7, like unranked players going at each other - aug/krieg have no place in a skill based game
2019-11-26 14:49
5 replies
Denmark twinseN
2019-11-26 15:16
its aight
2019-11-26 15:36
crosshair has no place in a skill based game
2019-11-26 16:02
I aggree. Decrease the zoom 15% maybe ?
2019-11-26 17:43
rng has no place in a skill-based game, and the ak (due to its high spread) is random af
2019-11-29 00:07
nice clickbait
2019-11-26 14:50
2019-11-26 14:51
Great Update ! When Terrorists buy sg553 they buy very great gun, but when they die with SG, Ct-s get very great gun, i am think right now SG are balanced
2019-11-26 15:04
2019-11-26 14:57
RIP cs
2019-11-26 15:10
This is looking like CS.16 after introduction of Famas/galil. Is the death of the SMGs (on that time the MP5) and games based in the AIM instead of strategy... People will keep buying the SG during normal rounds and TR side will still having advantage comparing to CT's opitions... I prefered a SG nerf or Aug back to previous version mantaining the price of $3300...This should balance the rounds making TR afreid of overpicking for first kill. RIP strategy in the current CS:GO scene....
2019-11-26 15:13
3 replies
There's no strategy in using an overpowered scoped weapon with very minimal recoil that can be easily learned and controlled. The target trace capabilities of AUG and Kreig are very easy to master even for players that stopped at DMG rank.
2019-11-26 16:32
2 replies
Agree, my statment say the same...
2019-11-26 18:24
1 reply
My first reading was bad then...I'm sorry :).
2019-11-27 21:14
250$ does nothing
2019-11-26 15:20
United States zachary998
Fnatic to top 1
2019-11-26 15:33
2 replies
France J0riS
2019-11-26 16:34
Best spelling evah haha, nice
2019-11-26 19:03
I feel like krieg requires 0 skills for that exact reason krieg and aug are played by golds and silvers since the buffs from 2014/15 dont remember
2019-11-26 15:41
csgo really died long ago..
2019-11-26 15:45
2 replies
But numers do rise up. Idiot...
2019-11-26 15:47
csgo is top1 game everyday on Steam at 18-21 0/8
2019-11-26 16:17
Price didnt change a lot. Still cheaper than aug and m4
2019-11-26 15:48
In MM you see less Krieg since the change (my personal experience not a general one)
2019-11-26 15:54
thank you striker very cool
2019-11-26 16:34
the tears shed over the SG will be eternal
2019-11-26 16:36
So with your graph showing gun usage; The AK starts on 40 vs 0 for the SG, somehow that was fine right. Before the price nerf the SG was 30 vs 10 for the AK. So a weapon being 40-0 is fine, but 30-10 means it's overused? Not to mention the fact that its use will drop after the price increase. How was the AK not overused before exactly?
2019-11-26 17:18
4 replies
You're onto something with that and I'm sure the fact that the AK-47 (or M4s on the other side) was "god" in its tier is what made Valve introduce the other options — or rather push people to try them because they were too accessible not to, eventually. But the AUG and SG were exactly the same for years before, though, so we learned that we just perceived the AK and M4 to be the best options while there were better ones lurking around the entire time, more powerful than what we thought wrongly was the best option. That's why it's not okay even if the balance is technically better than it was. Sure, we could just accept this as the new norm, that the main guns are simply better than they used to be, but where would (or did) that lead? Most likely to a lowered skill ceiling because I think it's pretty obvious that the SG and AUG make certain fights a lot easier.
2019-11-26 17:37
3 replies
No doubt you're right that's why Valve reduced the price of the Aug and SG, to great affect at that. They are more powerful guns so they definitely make some fights easier, but I don't necessarily agree with that lowering the skill ceiling. Using that point, do we nerf every gun to bizon level? I haven't noticed a huge imbalance between T/CT side in pro CS recently. Presumably if the SG is genuinely OP, T side would be winning far more rounds than CT considering it's priced so that every T can use it. Having said all of that, as a spectator I've really enjoyed the shake-up and I personally think the more viable weapons the better. They seem to have destroyed the Aug and I'm hoping they don't do the same to the SG! I don't see a problem with a tier above the AK and M4 existing, it just needs to be priced a tier above. Cheers for the response.
2019-11-26 18:19
2 replies
I actually went through the numbers for CT/T balance as well regarding this and only noticed any sort of trend upwards on Dust2 and Mirage (a matter of a few % towards the T side, nothing massive). But you also have to consider that CTs get a hold of the SG as well quite often, so it's hard to find out exactly how real the gun's effects are without seeing some numbers on the correlation between kills with the SG and win % (something that is incredibly hard to research).
2019-11-26 18:21
1 reply
Yeah I had thought about that, but I kind of dismissed it with the thought that for a CT to use the SG a T has to have bought it and died with it. Every team has the choice to prevent the CT side having it by not buying it in the first place. But I also just don't think picking up a dropped weapon is likely to be enough to balance the rounds. What I mean is, in my opinion, the team that can buy an OP weapon should be winning far more with it. In regards to the skill ceiling (I find that point interesting) in a 1v1 situation, both players with the SG, what determines the winner if it's not skill? The more I think about it, gun balance is potentially a bloody nightmare!
2019-11-26 18:45
RIP Evil Kriegs(or SG), Kriequid, 100Kriegs, Kriegstralis, Kruria, Krieg Clan, SIG, Kriegsports, SG2, Kriegtality, Fnakrieg, Kriegs in Pyjamas, SGBR, Krieg Vincere and so on..
2019-11-26 17:22
3 replies
And what about KRIBR?
2019-11-27 05:22
2 replies
I wrote SGBR but i liked KRIBR more xd
2019-11-27 09:19
1 reply
Haha I liked Kriequid
2019-11-27 17:19
I think that sg is still the best weapon in the game, and a year ago one of the Russian-speaking YouTube speakers talked about this :3
2019-11-26 17:36
tweaking guns by a little amount meanwhile we're still playing maps my grandfather used to play zZZzzzzzZZZzzzZZZzZZ
2019-11-26 17:37
Stopped playing Cs before aug/Sg meta thanks god.
2019-11-26 18:11
VALVE must say if dont whant use last update no tournament VALVE owner of The game VALVE rules dont like dont play go make own games tournaments then.
2019-11-26 18:53
1 reply
Germany cTm|oNe
Good point, ESEA sucks.
2019-11-26 21:18
SG top rank #1 HLTV
2019-11-26 22:17
still the same shit game though
2019-11-27 02:24
Great article, HLTV, congratulations!
2019-11-27 05:21
Great change
2019-11-27 09:28
galil op mens)))
2019-11-27 09:50
@OP you mention that the win rate of the 2nd round forcebuys with SGs is lower than before, but the number of rounds won is significantly higher. I think it's worth mentioning explicitly.
2019-11-27 11:45
4 replies
If you mean absolute numbers, why would that matter? The important part is that on average they work less often. Regarding the fact that CTs face those forces more often and that Ts win more rounds on average after they get a bomb plant, that's implied in the frequency vs. win rate (which amounts to about 32/23/23%). And when it comes to overall 2nd round break rate on T side, that's actually not that significant at all, because it's 22/17/17%. But why I didn't mention these numbers explicitly is simply because of clarity and not to confuse people with the changing contexts - also because the second number could be affected by other things that I don't have the data on (such as how often Ts forcebuy when they don't get the bomb down).
2019-11-27 12:49
3 replies
I initially thought that the 9% increase in 2nd round wins from 23% up to 32% was substantial enough to say its OP. But looking on the other hand if they lost the force buy (which they still did often) they then give the CT's the krieg which is even more op on CT side and led to some players like JustinKriegSavage being monsters on say Inferno B site. I feel like this meta shift to second round force buys, especially with the bomb plant, was inevitable as soon as the economy changed to two round loss bonus for pistols. And as you say it just took time for teams to learn to counter it
2019-11-28 11:12
1 reply
You can't really say that difference makes it OP anyway when the bigger factor in that is simply that people forcebuy so much more often, which isn't a proof of strength, only tendency. But yeah, there's a lot more to take into consideration if you want to go deeper and try to find out what effect that has in future rounds (economic downfalls on either side or like you say CTs getting a hold of the guns). In regards to the shift to 2nd round forcebuys, I'm not entirely sure that it was inevitable without the SG. Before the 2nd round SG buys became a thing, barely anyone forcebought after a bomb plant consistently for over half a year, mostly it was Na`Vi and then some other teams like NRG did it fairly often, but it was far from being meta as you see from the frequency. We should see how the SG nerf and Galil buff affects things from now on. If people start doing AK drops more or do those Galil buys with some utility on top, maybe it was inevitable and it was just a matter of the SG pushing everyone to find out.
2019-11-28 14:39
I appreciate your reply and totally understand the fact that adding too much info and different contexts would make the article harder to read and the good point you made harder to convey. The relative numbers suggest that more forcebuys happened but yielded less wins, which is not the case. Assuming that there wasn't a massive growth in the overall number of 2nd rounds, only in the number of 2nd round forcebuys, we did see more 2nd round wins by 1st round losers with the SG meta than before.
2019-11-28 18:50
When is m249 méta?
2019-11-27 12:31
2019-11-29 11:32
OP meter before nerf: 1 After nerf: 2750/3000
2019-12-03 09:21
if a nade (300$) is called nerfing a gun you are just stupid thinking this
2019-12-04 17:18
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