The great irony of the spike in the AUG’s usage is that even though it was brought upon us by a price buff, it remained prevalent after that change was reverted later down the line. Were we playing CS:GO “wrong” all these years? That’s a question we’ll never know the answer to. What is clear though is that having a viable scoped primary rifle for the CT side has changed the way the game is played, and many pros argue that it’s not necessarily for the better.

An interesting Twitter discussion unfolded yesterday between OpTic’s k0nfig and MiBR’s FalleN about the weapon we all seem to love to hate nowadays:

While it’s not exactly a representative sample size, it’s safe to say that the pro community is fairly divided on the newfound popularity of the CT’s scoped rifle. It’s changed the way the game is played for sure, allowing for different engagement ranges and angles for the counter-terrorists in many scenarios across multiple maps. While it seems funny in retrospect how much the gun’s been ignored for so long considering its prowess, its gameplay implications are not necessarily positive.

It’s not necessarily a question of the weapon’s current stats, either: FURIA have rocked the world with their aggressive use of the SG553 (affectionately known as the Krieg) after its minor price reduction, and could very well end up as trend-setters in this regard. The AUG itself also survived its re-adjustment to the original $3350 price without a hitch, though it has to be said that the economy changes likely made it more viable despite its price returning to normal: the longer-lasting loss bonus makes the CT’s expensive equipment a lesser hurdle to manage, likely making it a better choice than it would have been before either the money system or the AUG itself was changed by the all-knowing developers.

Historically, it’s been close to impossible to achieve a balanced state where multiple weapons of the same kind are used in competitive Counter-Strike. For a long time, the UMP was the clear choice of SMGs, and often the preferable choice in low buy situations. Until the price reduction, no one was willing to touch the AUG, and the usage of two versions of the M4 also fluctuated wildly depending on the minor changes made to the silenced variant over time. For all the interest the young Brazilians are generating in the alternative, the AK-47 is still the quintessential T rifle (or overall rifle) in the game.

If we accept that finding a balanced state of usage across multiple guns is not a viable solution, the question that remains is whether the gameplay of the scoped rifles is something we want to propagate in 2019’s CS:GO landscape. If not, the answer is a heavy nerf, likely made with a heavy heart. Based on what the pros have said over the last few months, it’s certainly a discussion worth having.