How CS:GO Case Keys Work After the Update?

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rusted key

Part of the catch of playing CSGO is the drop system. After you finish a match, you have a chance of dropping a weapon skin or a case, where the first one is less possible than the other one. Cases also contain weapons, but to open them, you need to buy CSGO case keys.

Cases and case keys were first introduced to the game in August 2013 in the form of the first ever Weapon Case during the Arms Deal update. Before that, players used only the standard weapons. This event gave birth to the new skin system that has become the main hook of constant CSGO play. From now on, whenever you wanted to open a case, you needed to buy a key. Back when CSGO was a classically distributed game, this met with a little opposition, but after a time users adapted. After it became free to play last year, it appeared more reasonable to keep up a system that will constantly supply some revenue.

The skin market developed greatly, even moving out to third-party sites. While prices of various skins change over time with hype, market volume, and other factors, keys were always the same price and made for a great reference point for the trades.

How can you obtain CSGO Keys

How to get case keys in CSGO? Originally, they were treated as any other marketable item on Steam. Not only you could acquire them from the publisher, but you could also buy them from other users who had a surplus. What’s more, it was normal to use CSGO case keys as trade tokens between users in exchange for items.

Alas, last month Valve decided to change the way keys work. According to their technical analysis, the majority of key trade was used as a money laundering process. From now on, they will only be distributed by the Steam store. To be more precise, it means that the keys that have been bought before the change can still be traded in the market, but any new ones that will be bought from now on will be tied to the account, so it won’t be possible for players to trade or sell them.

Especially in the light of those changes, be wary of third-party websites that offer you free CSGO case keys. For years it was a regular bait of gambling portals and shady scam sites. Some of them lure with some kind of loyalty system or offer some sort of task to perform for free items. As the market volume of unbound keys will slowly deteriorate, they will surely try to change their tactics. Just stay clear of those that will ask you to trade in your skins or require to charge in some internal currency or tokens by paying.

Are keys “the key”?

In a way, they are the basis of CSGO item circulation. Without them, players can only count on rare raw drops which are usually only happening regularly during weekly operation challenges or some other season events. Aside from spending large sums of money on the marketplace, this is the only way to obtain ultra-rare items like covert weapon skins, knife skins or new gloves. Additionally, if you spend $2.50 on a key and loot an uncommon item, you’re multiplying your profit greatly. It might take some tries, but in the end, it might be worth the risk.

Best CSGO Case keys

Check price

It’s hard to pinpoint the most profitable case keys CSGO offers because here the gain depends on what you are aiming at. In general, all the case keys have the same base Steam price of $2.50. Even if you don’t drop a case after a match, there’s the option to go to the marketplace and buy one. Because a case by itself only represents a possibility to loot an item, they are very cheap. Certain cases contain an assembly of more popular or more valuable skins, thus making opening such cases more worth it. As knives are the rarest items in the game, it’s a good idea to open cases like Huntsman or Shattered Web, which include more knives than others. If you’re not feeling that lucky, buy Chroma 3 case keys or Hydra case keys to open these cases for a good chance of looting valuable items.

What about trading them?

The bad news is, if you haven’t figured it out right now, the only legit source of keys as of 2019 is the Steam shop. Of course, the keys that were tradeable by the users before the change of policy can still be sold or traded, but the ones you buy from now on will not be tradeable.

One of the undeniable downsides of this change is the damage done to the neutral trade between international players. Keys were used as a universal currency because of their stable $2.50 price, which, in contrast to real money, didn’t fluctuate with the exchange rates of national currencies. Unfortunately, this fact was abused by people who tried treating Steam keys like a cryptocurrency, thus leading to a necessity of changing the system. Let’s hope it’s only for the better, a lesser evil.


Case keys are used to open weapon cases in CSGO. If you consider how cheap CSGO case keys are, it is not that great of a risk to buy one every time you are willing to open a case. However, the strategy is all up to you. CSGO case keys, especially in the light of recent changes, represent a basic and most stable element of the skin looting process. Hopefully, you’re now ready to deal with them properly and be safe from any scams.