M4A1-S 5% Damage Falloff increase puts the M4A4 back on top at anything more than knifing distance.

The 117 word blog post that was released by Valve yesterday made some big changes. While the community focused largely on the Anubis changes, the changes to the M4A1-S might be the more significant update. We ran the numbers, crunched through the data and spent hours analysing the game post the M4A1-S nerf. Here's the findings

Only a 5% Change can completely nerf a weapon

– Reduced the M4A1-S range modifier from 0.99 to 0.94.

That is all the patch notes had to say about the M4A1-S nerf. The range modifier was given a 5% reduction, taking it from 0.99 to 0.94. For those unaware, the range modifier is a multiplier on the damage a bullet deals. So the higher the range modifier the less damage falloff over distance. Logically one might assume a 5% change only means a difference in long range duels.

But once we plug the new numbers into our formula, we see that the number of body shots required to deal 100 damage to an armored opponent goes from 4 to 5 as soon as we cross 500 units. That is a distance of just 9.5 meters in game.

This is the maximum distance where the M4A1-S is the better gun after the nerf.
This is the maximum distance where the M4A1-S is the better gun after the nerf.

That alone would be a big nerf for the M4A1-S but the actual impact of this comes when you factor in Time-To-Kill. TTK is a stat that was brought up quite regularly by players when asked about the M4A1-S and M4A4 difference. Since the M4A1-S' higher damage made it 50 milliseconds faster than the A4, most pros stuck with it even with the magazine size nerf the gun received.

Now with the increased damage falloff for the silenced gun, the M4A4's higher firerate takes the TTK crown, giving it an edge of 50ms at anything over 9.5 meters.

But Wait, There's More to the M4A1-S Nerf

A popular way of firing the M4s, especially amongst high skilled players, is to do the 2-tap. One shot to the head, one to the body. Previously on both guns this would be a guaranteed kill at all distances. Now, the M4A1-S' damage falls off to below 100 with the 2-tap at 1367 units or roughly 27 metres. That distance is usually where you will be resorting to small bursts, not tap shooting. So at actual tapping distance, the M4A1-S' damage means you will need 3 or more bullets to get the same kills, which can negate the stealth advantage of the silencer.

The M4A4 on the other hand can get the 2-tap kill at all possible distances in defusal sized maps (4000 by 4000 units). With the higher fire rate, this means that for players who often get the first bullet headshot, they will be able to get the kill and switch targets far quicker on the A4 than on the A1-S.

Number of Body Shots needed at various distances
Number of Body Shots needed at various distances

Is the CT-meta dead?

The difference between CT side and T side had largely come down to the M4A1-S and it's abundance of positives even when compared to the AK-47. The silenced variant could not only get absurd spam kills without showing tracers, it was also consistently equal or better in fair duels when compared to the A4 and the AK. And it was $200 cheaper. The only drawback for the A1 was the lower bullet count.

Now the only time the A1 is better in a fair duel is when your barrels are literally touching. That combined with the low bullets and higher TTK will likely mean that a lot of pros, especially those with good aim, will switch back to the A4, and will once again drop their M4 the moment they can get their hands on an AK.

Damage per Bodyshot over various Distances
Damage per Bodyshot over various Distances

Key Takeaways of the Nerf

  • 1x headshot + 1x chest shot will do 99dmg at 1367 units for the A1-S, and 4198u with the A4
  • The A4 has a TTK that is 50ms faster than the A1-S at all ranges except for distances shorter than 501u
  • At all ranges greater than 1938u, the A4 will do more damage per shot than the A1-S

Should I switch from the M4A1-S to the M4A4 after this nerf?

If you are that one guy in every Ancient game who refuses to leave cave and will play the most grimy off-angles, stick to the M4A1-S even after the nerf. But for everyone else, the M4A4 is mathematically far better in every fair fight. The M4A1-S is once again a stylistic choice, if you want to go for the unpunished smoke spams, use the A1-S but don't get surprised when you lose a duel to a Galil.

So dust off that M4A4 Howl from your inventory, and say goodbye to the A1-S Printstream you bought last month. Stay tuned on Esports.gg for the latest CS:GO news and updates.

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