One of the most interesting and groundbreaking updates to CSGO saw the AUG and SG 553 get a drastic reduction in price. The two scoped assault rifles were barely ever used on the professional scene because of their price in comparison to the meta weapons, the M4 and AK-47. The AUG initially had a $3,300 price point while the SG used to cost $3,000. This means that in a full buy round, you’d have to sacrifice a flashbang if you were on the counter-terrorist side or a smoke grenade on the terrorist side if you decided to buy either gun over the standard options. You can check out our comparison of the AK vs SG and AUG vs M4 if you’re wondering what sets the weapons apart.
Both weapons now cost only $50 more than their counterparts, the price of a measly decoy grenade. This has tempted the pro scene to give the AUG and SG a try. While the SG didn’t quite cut it for most (except for Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski), the AUG has become a very popular weapon to use on CT-side. In fact, it has become so popular that it is now a common sight to see the counter-terrorists not pick up AK-47s in place of AUGs, a phenomenon that was considered standard practice back in the day. The chart below highlights just how much the weapon’s popularity has increased, following the IEM Katowice Major.
Naturally, the Ak-47 still sits at the top with over 37%. However, the AUG comes in very closely at over 21%, while the M4 family has dropped to a mere 9%. The AUG has officially dethroned the M4 as the favorite CT-side rifle. Meanwhile, the SG553 is nowhere to be seen.
What the pros think about the AUG
So what are the CSGO pros saying? Should the AUG be nerfed or should its price tag go up? We asked a few players at IEM Katowice to share their thoughts.
Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad (Renegades)
Daily Esports: I wanted to ask about the AUG. So obviously, we’re facing this new meta where, at times, we see players not even picking up AKs in favor of the AUG. What do you think of the meta we’re in right now?
Jkaem: I don’t know to be honest. I hated it a lot at the start, but I feel like with time I’ve been getting better with the AUG, so I don’t mind it now. It’s just annoying when you’re on t-side when the AUG just wrecks you at long distance. So I kinda want it back to how it was…
DES: So you think that there is a necessity to nerf the AUG?
Jkaem: I think they just need to bump up the price. The problem is when people know it’s that good, they’re just going to spend a little more and buy it anyways. So yeah, maybe it needs a nerf?
Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson (Ninjas in Pyjamas)
DES: What do you think about the ongoing AUG meta? We see this situation of counter-terrorists running around with AUGs, not picking up AKs, and sticking to the scoped AUGs. What do you think about that?
Lekr0: I like the part where there are meta changes, where there are sometimes different things. It’s been MP9 before, it’s been shotguns before. I think it’s good that [the designers] change the flow of the game but right now I think that they still should fix the AUG. I think it’s nice that there was a patch when the AUG was good. But right now, I think the AUG is a bit too good.
DES: So you think there is a nerf necessary?
Lekr0: Yes, I think so.
Catherine “CAth” Leroux (Dignitas)
DES: What do you think about the ongoing AUG meta? We’re seeing this strange phenomenon of CTs not picking up AKs and sticking to their AUGs.
CAth: I think on certain maps with long ranges such as Nuke or Dust2, the AUG is very powerful. The scope is incredible. I think for now it’s too powerful. It definitely needs a nerf. And I think maybe an upgrade on the price to like $3,300, $3,400, or $3,500 would be better and players would buy it less because CT economy is rough sometimes. I’m one of them that doesn’t pick up the AKs almost [laughs]. But I pick it up to drop it to my teammates and then I would buy myself an AUG, that’s definitely me.
DES: (laughs) But you’re pro-nerf basically, right? There should be something done about it?
CAth: It’s interesting. It adds something new to the game because I don’t think we’ve ever seen a scope this powerful besides the AWP and the Scout (SSG 08). It adds a different dynamic and I really like it but it definitely needs a little nerf.
Danny “zonic” Sørensen (Astralis)
Finally, we heard a little from Danny “zonic” Sørensen, the coach of Astralis, winners of the IEM Katowice Major. At the press conference after Astralis beat ENCE 2-0, Zonic was asked why the Astralis team tends to pick up scoped weapons less often than other teams. Here is his response:
zonic: We haven’t actually paid too much attention to it. We just tried it out. I think it was after Ibuypower, we decided to play a little bit more with it but it hasn’t been like, “Okay, now everyone has to do it.” I know for a fact that gla1ve is not fond of the AUG. I don’t think anyone on the team is fond of the SG. But my man [Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth], he likes the AUG. It’s different on the whole team and I also think it comes down to what map and what positions you have but it’s not like we try to use it as much as possible, just whenever we see fit.
Despite zonic not giving his opinion on a potential nerf, his general feeling on the AUG is that it’s viable in certain situations and there is no pressure on using it on Astralis.
If Astralis can win a Major without utilizing AUGs as much as others, does that change how the weapon is perceived? Is it fair for players to have an alternative option to the M4 and AK? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.