How Did This Happen: The CZ75-Auto’s reign of terror
For anyone who’s read the previous CS:GO entries in this series, you already know the recipe for making a broken gun in Counter-Strike: Cheap gun plus lots of damage, plus accuracy, equals broken, cheesy nonsense.
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At various points in CS:GO’s history, many weapons have held the dishonorable title of “most broken” and for a while, the humble CZ75-Auto sat atop the pile as the most broken gun in CS:GO.
It was no mere pistol, the CZ was more. It was accurate, it was powerful, it was the pocket AK.
How did it work?
Let’s go through that equation again. Even after being nerfed, the CZ dealt enough damage to kill even an armored opponent with a headshot. It doesn’t have as much impact when it connects anywhere else, but don’t you worry, you’re bound to hit something. The CZ had a ridiculous rate of fire for a pistol, designed to make it spectacular at close-quarters combat — a real spray and pray tool.
Think of gun damage in CS:GO as a triangle. You can have two of damage, accuracy or rate of fire, but not all three. On top of the decent damage and great rate of fire, the CZ also had solid accuracy when not on full auto, giving it all the advantages of an SMG or rifle at a fraction of the price.
That’s right, the CZ cost (and still costs) just $500, and had a $300 kill reward. Two kills and the CZ would pay for itself, making it great for low economy rounds. Simply put, the CZ had all the upsides of an AK-47 for $2,000 less.
Look, you don’t need me to tell you that a cheap gun with good damage, solid accuracy and a high rate of fire was considered severely overpowered. It was a must-buy, making players on eco rounds much scarier than they would be otherwise.
The only problem the CZ75 really had was the fact that it was effectively useless at long range, but when it ruled over CS:GO, you ended up at close range more often than not anyway. Even if you were planning to engage at range, you may as well have bought a CZ before the round started, just in case your opponents rushed you with CZs of their own.
There was virtually no situation you wouldn’t want to pick up a CZ. Lagging behind in economy? Just grab a CZ and try to even it out. Ahead and want to pick up some easy kills against a team with low economy? Grab a CZ and let them come to you. Are you sitting on the bomb with a couple of enemies headed your way? Unleash the the full power of the CZ and go to work — you’ll probably clutch it out.
In a December 2014 patch, Valve basically gutted the CZ. It lost some damage, magazine size, rate of fire, reload speed, draw time and kill reward. Of course, it was still able to kill an armored opponent in a single headshot and had decent accuracy. It just wasn’t nearly as rewarding or as easy of a kill.
A month later Valve reverted some of the changes, bringing back the high rate of fire and increased the magazine size, realizing that they were perhaps too severe with their destruction of the pocket AK.
These days, the CZ is still pretty powerful, but it’s not quite what it used to be. It packs a serious punch, but with low ammo, long reload time and a basically pointless kill reward, it just doesn’t pack the economic punch the pocket AK used to.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. He calls it See-Zee, but it’s okay if you say See-Zed too. You can follow him on Twitter.