Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been known for its expensive skins market and excellent gameplay, with players sometimes spending millions on their customizable inventories. Most players that interact with the Counter-Strike skins market are interested in the aesthetics and expression of owning skins. However, there is also a large group of people who use Counter-Strike skins for both enjoyment and major investments. For example, collectors from all over the world purchase items such as the renowned AWP Dragon Lore for the excitement of using one in-game and also the financial aspects; knowing the skin will likely rise in price over the following years.
Throughout the lifecycle of Counter-Strike Global Offensive, players jointly invested hundreds of millions of dollars in opening cases, holding onto rare sticker capsules (Katowice 2014), and being lucky enough to open rare patterns like the AK-47 Case Hardened Scar Pattern (661) worth over $100,000 alone. Over time, this has created the most valuable games market in the world, with predictions estimating that the Counter-Strike skins economy is worth over $1,000,000,00 due to the volume of high-valued items and number of skins available to purchase. Today, we're going to look at some of the skins that contribute to this astronomical estimation!
Table of Contents
CS:GO Expensive Skins: AWP | Gungnir
The AWP Gungnir is the most expensive liquid AWP skin within the entirety of Counter-Strike, topping the non-souvenir version of the AWP Dragon Lore. The reason is the AWP Gungnir has an incredibly unique aesthetic and color pallet, with the glossy blue covering the rifle and taking effect by the rays of light hitting the AWP. Contrary to the Dragon Lore, the Gungnir is bright and aesthetically pleasing, attracting players who are interested in spending thousands of dollars due to bright and eye-grabbing colorways. Despite not being as iconic as the Dragon Lore, the Gungnir features similar "urban legend" vibes with the Viking aesthetic due to it being a part of the Counter-Strikes Norse collection.
Despite the AWP Gungnir feeling like a relatively old weapon, the AWP skin was only released on November 19, 2019, alongside the Shattered Web update. Over the years, the weapon has grown considerably in price, rivaling Counter-Strike's most expensive skins and overall being an incredibly iconic and powerful playing skin. Currently, an AWP | Gungnir retails Factory New for $12,000. However, Battle-Scarred versions of the weapon will cost $7,000, making the AWP | Gungnir the most expensive base and "generic" skin in the entirety of Counter-Strike!
CS:GO Expensive Skins: AK-47 | Wild Lotus
The AK-47 Wild Lotus doesn't make too many appearances and never has done. Throughout playing Counter-Strike consistently since the release of the Wild Lotus on November 19th, 2019, I've only seen the playing skin less than ten times with people owning the weapon. This is because when the Wild Lotus was released, there were many mixed opinions about the weapon, with players not knowing whether or not it would be popular, originally keeping the price far below what the rifle is worth now. This is due to the weapon having a strange floral design that has never been used before on a weapon such as the AK-47, keeping players away and observing from a distance.
However, since the release of the Wild Lotus, the skin has exploded in price, being one of Counter-Strike's most valuable liquid-playing skins, costing players $11,500 Factory-New and $2,600 in Battle-Scarred condition, making this the most expensive liquid AK-47 skin. This weapon has been seen on many awesome Katowice 2014 sticker crafts, with players excelling the price of the weapon to astronomical heights by placing four stickers, each valued more than $50,000 on the weapon, boosting this skin sometimes above the $200,000 mark.
CS:GO Expensive Skins: Karambit Doppler Black Pearl Fade
The Karambit Doppler Black Pearl Fade is an interesting topic of discussion. This is because few players recognize this skin even exists despite its high cost and interesting backstory. The Karambit Doppler Black Peal Fade is known for its golden tip and its 1:1 existence, being the only one to exist since the release of the skin in 2015. The exact Doppler pattern of the Black Pearl Fade is the 386 pattern. Due to the knife being 1:1 and irregularly sold, little is known about the knife due to the inactivity of its owner. However, we know the knife was sold for a souvenir Dragon Lore (Field-Tested) seven years ago, being valued at around $100,000 today.
Unfortunately, because this knife only has one copy, little information is known about the knife, making it less recognizable globally. However, that doesn't discredit the legend behind the knife, being the only 1:1 skin of the unique level, with nothing replicating it, neither being able to closely justify the uniqueness of this Counter-Strike knife. This is exactly why the Karambit Doppler Black Pearl Fade makes it onto this guide, showcasing a hidden gem buried deep within an inventory within Counter-Strike - hopefully, the legend survives into Counter-Strike 2!
CS:GO Expensive Skins: M4A4 Howl (StatTrack™)
The famous M4A4 Howl has quite the backstory, being introduced in May 2014 the Howl was originally a covert rifle, part of the Huntsman Collection. However, after Valve discovered the curator of the skin stole the concept and reused the art shown on the gun, the Howl was quickly redesigned to avoid the art theft claims, removed from the Huntsman collection completely, and taken out of the case. Except, there was a slightly outstanding feature... Valve decided to allow all players who owned the Howl to keep their updated copy and changed the weapon from "Covert" rarity to "Contraband" rarity, hence why the rifle has a gold outline instead of red in the HUD.
This is exactly the reason why the skin can no longer be unboxed and is an incredibly rare skin, simply because the curator stole the art. Over the years, players have learned the story of the M4A4 Howl and, therefore, made the rifle more desirable, slowly raising the price. Being released over nine years ago, the Howl remains the only contraband skin on Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike 2, raising the prices significantly and the legend behind the skin. Currently, you can purchase a Factory-New variant of the skin for $14,404 or a Field-tested version for $6,310, which is the cheapest because there are no Well-Worn or Battle-Scarred versions of the skin.
CS:GO Expensive Skins: Honorable mentions
The following are honorable mentions for this guide, simply because these skins don't have the iconic backstories these skins have. However, they are still expensive:
- Desert Eagle | Blaze
- AWP | Dragon Lore
- M4A1-S | Knight
- M4A1-S | Welcome to the Jungle
- Glock-18 | Fade
- AWP | The Prince
These weapons can be purchased for astronomical prices in almost unlimited quantities, fueling the Counter-Strike economy and the pockets of Valve. Despite many not understanding the reasoning behind these prices, Counter-Strike players continue to give valid reasons to spend thousands on their much-beloved skins!