Ever since the inclusion of weapon skins in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, there’s been a rather significant change in the mentality of an average player. Of course, gameplay skill and the ability to make the best of your tools are key in maintaining a positive win/loss ratio, but I’d argue personalising these tools is what makes the game as alluring as it really is. The innate pull of good gameplay mechanics pales in comparison to the possibility of attaining impressive digital swag – this is the key reason CS: GO is as successful as it is, make no mistake. After all, had the skins not made their way to GO at the precise moment when they did, it’s quite possible a significant chunk of veteran Counter-Strike players would have just stuck it out playing Source; an older, arguably more polished and perhaps better-balanced build back in the day. This wasn’t an overnight switch, of course, but it was the skins that made people pick up this new, untested version of their favourite shooter.
Three years later, Global Offensive is one of the largest eSports games there are, and with that, the exclusivity of certain visual mods has made them extremely expensive. The current price tag of Dragon Lore is around 1000 euro, so we’re going to do away with all of those disgustingly expensive skins for the time being. Instead, this article is going to pull the significantly less pricey paint jobs that are regardless some of the most beautiful you could get your paws on.
This article will take you through a list of the prettiest realistically attainable CS: GO skins at the time of writing this piece. If you’re new to the whole matter of skin collection, this should give you a fair few pointers on what to look out for in the future.
The key features we’ll be looking at are price (obviously) and the general quality of the skin. In many cases, going for the usually much heftier ‘Factory New’ price tag is unnecessary because the differences between Factory New and Minimal Wear are, well, minimal. The maximum price tag per skin we’re looking at here is five euro, so nothing over-the-top. However, you’d be surprised just how nice some of the “cheap” skins are. Of course, this is somewhat subjective, although the quality of these items remains objectively high.
Disclaimer: Price references were checked at 22nd of June 2016.
Let’s begin with something simple, yet neat. The Ivory skin for P2000 is a smooth two-tone black and bone-white render of one of the two CT starter handguns. If you’re a P2000 user, you’ll want to start the round with something cool and memorable, but perhaps not too tacky. In these cases, Ivory is your best, and most stylish bet.
The Factory New version will set you back for only 17 cents, but the Minimal Wear is almost indiscernible from it and even cheaper if you’re on a tight budget.
P250’s Valence features a more prominent geometrical blue/grey theme that makes its operator stand out in a sea of derivative camo-patterned armaments. The fact that P250 is a great handgun may or may not also be helpful.
The Valence is one of those skins you generally want to buy factory new, due to the fact that it’s a mere paint job. Whereas some others, like USP’s Lead Conduit, trick you into thinking it’s a mesh change due to the way they’re drawn, stuff such as Valence does no such thing, and will set you back for about 30 cents a pop.
USP-S Guardian/Lead Conduit
Ah, the legendary silenced USP. If you’re a veteran of Counter-Strike, this is your starter firearm of choice, and with good reason too. The skins you’ll most likely want to invest in are Lead Conduit and/or Guardian.
The thing with Lead Conduit is that you can safely invest in Minimal Wear (30 cents) and see practically no difference compared to its
maxed out version, which is massively more expensive anyway (1 euro).
Guardian’s Minimal Wear, on the other hand, is bound to have visible scratches which is highly undesirable in my opinion. The Factory New build will set you back for a bit over 1 euro, but the sleek navy blue finish is worth the price.
R8 Revolver Reboot
The latest addition to the sizeable arsenal of CS:GO is the R8 Revolver, and it caused quite a bit of ruckus upon its inclusion to the game. What disappointed me the most about this weapon, however, was the severe lack of decent-looking (and detailed) skins for this gun.
This was alleviated with the very cool and very futuristic Reboot, which albeit expensive at launch, has now dropped nicely to 3 euro for Factory New and half that for Minimal Wear. Even though scratches will undeniably be visible on Minimal, it’s not too much of an issue and combined with the price tag makes for, I feel, best value as far as Reboot is concerned.
There’s this thing I like to call ‘the curse of the Glock’. It’s bothered me for a significant amount of time – the fact that it’s a poor armament and that the majority of its available skins are quite bad. As with P2000 and USP, it’s important for your starter to look decent at the very least, and it is my firm belief that there’s no better skin for Glock than ‘Wraiths’ is.
The reasoning behind this is simple – it’s pretty cheap (40 cents Factory New), has a cool design on the slide that doesn’t pop too much and, most importantly, features faux-tritium sights that glow slightly in the dark.
Desert Eagle Corinthian
Desert Eagle is host to a fair few decent skins, yet none combine the sheer visual flair with financial viability in quite the same way as Corinthian does. This bronze flair features pleasing engravings all along the weapon; as stylish as you can possibly get.
The Factory New build is sitting at around 40 cents, yet the potential faults of Minimal Wear remain almost invisible with the price reduced by 10 cents or so.
Dual Berettas Ventilators
Dual Berettas are bad – we all know that, but they’re undeniably cool. And for an undeniably cool weapon, you need a properly curated visual mod as well. This is where the Ventilators come in.
These dirt-cheap handguns are fitted with just the right amount of vivid details and chrome, and will make you an imposing, albeit inefficient player on the battlefields. Due to its render, you can go for Minimal Wear without expecting to see the skin too damaged. For 13 cents, it’s a steal.
It was because of this skin that I learned how to play with UMP – after seeing Riot in the hands of a fellow CT, I rushed to the Market expecting to spend a not-insignificant amount of money to get the best possible version of the skin, only to be greeted by a puny 25-cent price for Factory New.
An absolute steal, especially if you take into consideration just how well the elements of Riot mesh together into a badass package of .45 ACP death.
The Bizon is another SMG I don’t really know how to play with, yet as soon as I saw Osiris in combat, I had to get one for personal (occasional) use.
Osiris features a highly-detailed, high-contrast paint job that combines yellow with grey to create a jarring, yet well-designed firearm that’s a joy to look at. Factory New (60 cents), however, is practically a must, because even Minimal Wear will have several very visible specks and scratches the most of the time.
MP7 Armor Core
The MP7 is one of the best mid-game SMGs, and thus requires a cool enough skin for you to use accordingly. Armor Core is a somewhat low-profile paint job, but the sleek and smooth combination of silver and black make for an impressive little firearm.
Even better, Armor Core is one of the cheapest skins on this list and looks good even when with a scratch or two.
P90 Elite Build/Blind Spot
The infamous Silver gun – the P90 – is a weapon with a fair few good-looking skins, yet the best balance of pleasing visuals and low price comes from its Elite Build and Blind Spot mods. Elite Build can be found surprisingly cheap (30 cents) at Minimal Wear, where you’ll be hard-pressed to find a proper scratch anywhere.
Blind Spot, however, may well set you back for over a euro because even the tiniest of specks are easily visible upon its highly-contrastive couture.
AK-47 Elite Build/Cartel
Just like P90, the AK has a number of viable skins, albeit most of them somewhat expensive. The two you’ll want to look out for are Elite Build and Cartel. Again, Elite Build can be found cheap-ish (60 cents) under Minimal Wear, and will serve you just fine.
The Cartel is a more subtle and perhaps more impressive revamp, though, but also quite expensive. The good news is that Minimal Wear differs only slightly from Factory New, and is half the price (2.15 euro).
SCAR-20 Green Marine
Called a newbie gun by some, SCAR-20 is as competent a weapon as any in most cases, and it’s only natural for you to want to outfit it with a pleasing skin to boot. Luckily, the vast majority of its visual mods is also very cheap.
Green Marine is one such skin, but it will most likely have you getting its Factory New version (20 cents) due to scratches and imperfections being very obvious upon its green frame.
Five-Seven Forest Night
Surprisingly enough, there aren’t many impressive Five-Seven skins if you’re not a fan of mildly tacky designs or extremely vivid colours. A Factory New Forest Night, however, is the perfect choice for those who don’t want to spend too much money on this sidearm – sitting at only 15 cents.
If you’re looking for an impressive M4A1-S skin, you’re not going to come out of that ordeal cheap, but that doesn’t mean you should start dishing out money left and right. The best choice for the budding skin collector on a budget is undoubtedly Basilisk.
With Basilisk, you can safely ignore the Factory New version and go for the significantly cheaper Minimal Wear (1.5 euro). This is the gun everyone is going to want to pick up, and may well distract a Terrorist or two while you’re on the charge.
One of the most used weapons in GO is for sure the M4A4, but that means its skins are on the more expensive side as well. There’s no better choice than Desert Strike, which offers a sleek design combined with a subtle choice of colouring.
Desert Strike’s Minimal Wear version will set you back for about 3 euro, but is well-worth the inflated price.
SG 553 Atlas
The Atlas is a prime example of complex skins done right. With its deep green hue being the base for all kinds of nifty details, Atlas is one of the coolest skins you can get for the former Krieg.
Naturally, Factory New is what you should be aiming for, but at 20 cents, it’s hardly going to break your bank.
AUG has long suffered from chronic lack-of-skinitis, only for this to be alleviated not too long ago with the amazingly engraved Aristocrat. Navy blue combined with silver details reminiscent of something you’d find in a fantasy RPG makes for a lovely background for when you’re dealing headshots left and right with the AUG.
Naturally, it’s pricier than some of the skins featured here, but the Minimal Wear at 1.3 euro will do the trick nigh-flawlessly.
Galil AR Firefight/Titanium
For the Galil, we’ve got a nice contrast between the reddish Firefight and deep-blue Titanium. The contrast translates to the pricing as well, with Firefight’s Minimal Wear sitting at 70 cents while Titanium rarely goes above 40.
Both are great choices and will serve you well in those early rounds when the AK is just a tad bit too expensive, or you’re simply feeling frisky.
The Memento skin for MAG-7 looks like something straight out of Deus Ex, with its dark grey and bright orange triangular details and smoothed out visuals. For this one, Factory New is a must if you can’t stand overly visible scratches, and will set you back for 1.8 euro.
And that’s the primer you need if you’re about to invest in some skins, basically. In competitive play, it’s just as important to leave a good impression with a nice selection of visual mods in your armoury as it is to shock and awe.
While we haven’t featured a gander at each and every weapon there is, it’s bound to have given you an idea of what to keep an eye out for – which was the point anyway.
Stay tuned for more similar features on your favourite FPS right here at breakthegame.net.