How the Small M4A1-S In CS:GO Nerfs Have Begun Warping The CS:GO Meta

Turning down the range modifier on the M4A1-S in CS:GO means that the bullet will do less damage when it crosses a certain range threshold.

Credit : CS:GO
By Shubham Dalal | Jan 1, 2023 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


A month ago, Valve made a small but big announcement for an update to CS:GO. While most fans were shocked by the Active Duty map switch and Dust II’s exit, another big change to the game was hidden further down in the post.After dominating the rifle meta for almost the entire of 2022, the M4A1-S receives a nerf from Valve. On paper, the nerf seemed pretty small: a five percent reduction of the range modifier on the M4A1-S from 0.99 to 0.94. But now, after a month has passed on the new patch, this little tweak has really changed so much about CSB heading into 2023.

How the Small M4A1-S In CS:GO Nerfs Have Begun Warping The CS:GO Meta :

Even the patch notes from Valve are deceiving a bit when it comes to how this NRF translates in-game. Turning down the range modifier on the M4A1-S means that the bullet will do less damage when it crosses a certain range threshold. From the outset, many fans assumed that long-range exchanges would actually be effected when using the M4A1-S. Think of bullets from one side of Long A on the overpass to the other. How often do players actually connect over those distances? very less.

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In reality, this NRF for the range modifier actually massively changes the time to kill from very close range. In terms of pure play, the nerf has replaced any gunfights a player wielding an M4A1-S gets past 500 units, as noted by journalist Arnav Shukla.

It measures nine and a half meters (or just over 31 feet). Once a player exceeds that limit, the time to kill against an armored opponent on the M4A1-S goes from four bullets to five. Visually, this means that anyone engaging in gunfights on most sites in the Active Duty map pool with the M4A1-S is affected by the nerfs. Trading in the middle on Mirage? Banana dangling on Inferno? Peeking Bee Stairs on Vertigo? The M4A1-S will fire five shots to the body to kill the enemy.

This is the real kicker for not only casual CS:GO players but pros alike. The M4A1-S saw a previous nerf to its magazine size from Valve earlier this year and tried to strike some more balance into the CT rifle meta, to no avail. Pros and casuals alike chose the M4A1-S over its A4 sibling despite the smaller magazine size because the kill time was still faster with the M4A1-S at all distances despite being $200 cheaper.Now, the M4A4 is better at all ranges past the 31-foot mark. This includes very long ranges where most CT riflers will go to tap fire tactics. Over the years, most players have tried to master the “two-tap” strategy on both M4 versions of the rifle: one shot to the head, one shot to the body for a safe kill. From all ranges on Active Duty maps, both rifles can secure a kill with that strategy. But now, with the nerf, the M4A1-S doesn’t guarantee a two-tap kill from very far away (27m accurate thanks to Shukla).

This change in the M4A1-S has an even more widespread impact on the overall CT vs T meta in CS. The old M4A1-S was so good from all ranges that it consistently equaled and sometimes outperformed the AK47. Since the weapon is silent and does not show the tracer, it was wonderful for spam kills and did the same damage from a distance as the AK47. But now, with the M4A1-S nerfed, the T side of CS will get an overall boost that is desperately needed in the current state of the game.

When combining the M4A1-S’s shorter magazine (20 rounds compared to the M4A4’s 30 rounds) with this new range nerf, there is little reason to choose it over the M4A4. Sure, the comfort and finesse of spray control will keep some using the M4A1-S, but for players looking to get serious about climbing, it’s best to use the more powerful CT rifle. Expect more and more professional CS: GO players to switch, in the last month of 2022 many professionals are already doing this.

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