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CS2 skins explained

Here's what you need to know about Counter Strike 2 skins, including the state of the market, how Source 2 has changed skins, and more

How do CS2 skins work? CS2 skins alter the appearance of weapons, gloves, and knives, giving players the chance to show off their library of digital assets. Returning Counter-Strike players were worried that their CSGO skins weren’t going to transfer over to CS2, but Valve quelled any fears when it officially announced the game in March 2023.

Owning Counter-Strike 2 skins isn’t just about making a fashion statement. It’s about putting your mark on your implements of death. It’s about showing off your expertise, and, occasionally, selling on for a decent profit – maybe just wait for the skin prices to calm down a little before you decide on investing too much. Now that the Counter-Strike 2 release date is finally here, this is everything you need to know about CS2 skins before you jump in.

Are there any new CS2 skins?

As of February 7, Valve released a major update to CS2 that introduces the Kilowatt Case, featuring 17 weapon finishes and the Kukri knife. Check out this gallery on Reddit to see every weapon skin in the case, including the first skin for the Zeus. The Kukri knife comes in 12 finishes, but it’s missing some modern types like Doppler, Gamma Doppler, and Lore.

Counter-Strike 2 sticker placement

The CS2 update, named ‘A Call of Arms’ gives players a new way to apply stickers. Stickers used to be confined to specific areas on weapons, but now you can place up to five stickers anywhere on your guns. This should create more unique weapons as players have a wealth of possibilities when it comes to sticker placement in CS2.

Why do some of my skins look different in Counter-Strike 2?

Certain weapon skins have some minor differences compared to the way they look in CSGO. This might come in the form of scratches or wear where there otherwise was none. Valve hasn’t responded to any complaints about this, but they have been fixing weapon skins in updates.

Here’s a list of some of the skins that have problems in CS2:

  • Mecha Industries (M4A1-S, Deagle, FAMAS) – Certain variations now look metallic rather than plastic, the white effect isn’t as pronounced.
  • Printstream (M4A1-S, Deagle, USP-S) –  This skin used to have a pearlescent effect in CSGO, but this has been severely toned down in CS2.

Can I get CS2 skins for free?

The fastest way to acquire CS2 skins is to pay for them on the community market, however, you can claim some for free in-game using the weekly care package system. Once you earn enough experience points, the new weekly care package system allows you to pick up to two rewards. You have four options that should include weapon skins, cases, and sprays. These are weekly rewards, so you need to wait seven days before you get the chance to claim any more skins.

Why have some CSGO skins shot up in price?

The CSGO skin market has been booming since CS2 was announced back in March, prompting skin traders to hoard as many rare weapon and knife skins as possible. In addition to this, the Source 2 engine has received a huge lighting upgrade, making certain skins like the Fade effect stand out considerably more than before.

As a result of these changes, knives that were readily available on the market have shot up in price by two, sometimes three times their original value since March. There are variations of the Butterfly Knife and M9 Bayonet, two of the best knives in the game, that have disappeared from the market due to scarcity.

While the overall price in skins has dropped since CS2 launched, we still aren’t back to pre-CS2 levels where you could pick up a ‘cheap’ knife for under $100. Those days appear to be over, even in the state CS2 is in right now with regard to the community being unhappy with the game due to the cheating epidemic.

Counter-Strike 2 skins: an assault rifle spraypainted orange and blue.

Will CSGO skins transfer to Counter-Strike 2?

Thankfully, CSGO skins transfer over to Counter-Strike 2. Because CS2 utilizes the Source 2 engine, your skins also look much nicer in the newer game. 

As soon as you boot up CS2 for the first time, you should find your inventory stocked with your skins from CSGO.

Now you know that your skins will all transfer over to Counter-Strike 2, and look a lot shiner, it’s time to get your head down and start grinding out some matches. We have a list of all Counter-Strike 2 maps here, as well as how to use the CS2 smokes and CS2 binds. Finally, if you’re looking for other free PC games, check out that list.