The AWP and M4A1-S: Nerfs and Viability in CS2

Want to know if the AWP and M4A1-S are viable guns in Counter-Strike 2? This guide tells you more about the AWP and M4A1-S nerfs in CS2.

A few years ago, back when CS:GO was still around, Valve decided to nerf the AWP and one of the most important CT rifles, the M4A1-S. These nerfs changed people’s buying patterns to some extent, for reasons we will discuss in this guide. 

When CS2 was released, the AWP was further nerfed by the enormous peeker’s advantage caused by the game’s subtick system. Some of the game’s most famous players started to switch to rifles like the M4A4 and the AK-47. But now that the peeker’s advantage has been reduced, we might start to see changes in the meta again.

Key Takeaways

  • Back in CS:GO, Valve introduced significant nerfs to the AWP and M4A1-S, challenging players to adapt their play style.
  • In CS2, the AWP became even worse because of what is known as the peeker’s advantage. More recently, that advantage has been reduced, which might convince players to start buying the gun again.

The Old AWP Nerf from CS:GO

AWP nerf CS2

More than a year ago, the AWP received a substantial nerf. Its magazine size was reduced from 10 to 5, forcing players to adjust their tactics. 

Previously, someone like Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev or Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut could hold a position with ease because there was no need to reload even if you missed several times and had 3-4 opponents assaulting your position.

But after the nerf, you could no longer afford to miss shots without getting punished.

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The AWP in CS2

In Counter-Strike 2, the AWP was considered a dead weapon in the first several months. Not only because of the delay created by the game’s systems but also because of the inaccuracies.

AWP specialists rely a lot on muscle memory to get kills. Their flicks are absolutely insane in some cases. But CS2 changed how shots are registered, which led to a lot of misses that felt like bugs.

Valve is trying to make CS2 feel a lot more like CS:GO. But to some extent, the players also need to make an effort to adapt to the changes.

This February, a major CS2 update reduced what we call the peeker’s advantage in the steady state by 16 ms, which is substantial. The same advantage was reduced overall, and cases that led to a ridiculous advantage have been addressed.

This means that in principle, the AWP should be a viable weapon again for holding angles, even at the highest competitive level. Many still regard it as one of CS2’s best weapons.

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The M4A1-S Nerf

m4a1-s nerf cs2

The M4A1-S nerfs introduced a few years ago by Valve mostly revolved around the weapon’s damage. Generally, you now need one extra bullet to connect to get the kill.

The M4A1-S is still an excellent weapon and many CS2 players prefer it over its sister, the M4A4. Here’s a brief comparison of the two rifles:


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In conclusion, the old nerfs to the AWP and M4A1-S have had a profound impact on Counter-Strike, but these weapons are still viable in CS2. More recently, thanks to the February 6 update, the AWP has been made a bit stronger.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the M4A1-S better than the M4A4 in CS2?

No. It all depends on your preferences and the situation. The M4A1-S costs $200 less but has a much smaller magazine. However, it is more silent and deals a lot of damage.

Is M4A1-S still good?

Yes, the M4A1-S is still a viable option due to its higher damage with body shots, making it effective in the current gaming meta for certain playstyles.

Is the M4A1-S better than the AK-47?

It ultimately depends on your playstyle and what aspect of a weapon is most important to you. You can only buy it on the CT side, while the AK is a Terrorist-side weapon.

Why is the AWP weaker in CS2?

In CS2, the AWP is weaker due to a disruption in accuracy when hit while scoping. It used to be weaker also because of the peaker’s advantage. But that has recently changed.

Posted by
William Westerlund

William is an author, editor, and an avid gamer with over 10.000 hours in CS:GO (Counter-Strike 2). He also enjoys playing Rust, Dota 2, and TF2 but never became a top 1% player in any of those games.