How CS:GO Case Keys Work After the Update?

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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.

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

Origins Of 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. Users opposed to it a bit, but after a time they adapted. After CSGO became free to play, it appeared more reasonable to keep up a system that will constantly supply some revenue.

Although the free key trading has been disabled (more on that below), the amount of keys needed on average to drop an item from a case is one of the most basic methods of counting its approximate value.

Oddly enough, when Valve limited CS:GO drops to only Prime accounts, the skin market had enough momentum for the skin trading economy to thrive, and most serious players and traders will be willing to pay for the game either way.

How Can You Obtain CSGO Keys

How to get case keys in CSGO? Originally, they functioned 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.

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Eventually Valve decided to change the way keys work. According to their technical analysis, the majority of key trade served money laundering process. Thus, now you can only buy them directly from the Steam store.

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.

Wait, What About The Keys In My Inventory?

To be more precise, it means that the keys that anyone bought before the change are still tradable. Any new ones you buy from now can’t leave the account, so the players can’t trade or sell them.

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

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It’s hard to pinpoint the most profitable case keys CSGO offers because 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 that 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 Case Keys?

The bad news is, if you haven’t figured it out right now, the only legit source of keys since 2019 is the Steam shop. Of course, the tradable keys from before the change of policy can still be sold or traded, but the ones you buy from now are stuck to your account.

One of the undeniable downsides of this change is the damage to the neutral trade between international players. Keys functioned 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, because of this people tried to use Steam keys like a cryptocurrency. Let’s hope it’s only for the better, a lesser evil.


Case keys allow you 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 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.