Rare doesn’t always mean expensive: all about knife prices in CS:GO


The skin market in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive functions just like any other market. Prices of items depend on supply and demand. Sometimes, however, there are weird deviations from the rules price-wise. Today, the CS.MONEY Blog is going to tell you a couple of exciting facts about the prices of knives in CS:GO.  

Laws of pricing

Before we delve into the topic of weird knife prices, let’s dwell on the basics of price formation. The reason why knife prices are so exuberant is that knives are incredibly rare, and their popularity is accordingly high. This was Valve’s original idea. The devs knew full well that knives would be extremely sought-after in the community, as every player sees them in every round. That’s why they made them rare — to raise the price and emphasize the status of the owner. 

Nevertheless, not all knives are equally popular; some are noticeably cheaper than others. As an example, compare the Flip Knife Slaughter with the Flip Knife Fade. According to stats provided from csgofloat.com, both knives have about the same supply on the market. There are about 5,600 copies of the Flip Knife Fade and about 5,650 specimens of the Flip Knife Slaughter in public inventories. With a difference in supply so miniscule, why is the Flip Knife Fade one-third more expensive? It’s all about demand. There are simply more people who want the Fade. Below is a discussion of similar situations where a price deviation occurs.

Flip Knife Slaughter price dynamics
Flip Knife Fade price dynamics

Knives with a frag counter

For ordinary skins, the frag counter, aka StatTrak, has a definite influence on the price. The presence of a frag counter renders the price tag higher. This literally applies to all weapon finishes. The logic behind this is as simple as it gets. First, skins with a frag counter are by an order of magnitude less common. Second, the counter serves as a sign of the player’s coolness without ‘spoiling’ the image of the skin. 

As knives go, it’s a whole other ball game. The distribution itself remains the same, with ten times more knives without StatTrak  on the market than with it. Still, the prices of StatTrak knives aren’t always higher. Not only that — in many cases, such knives are almost cheaper than their regular counterparts. 

It all comes down to how the frag counter looks on the knive. Valve rejected the notion of attaching a screen to the knive the way it’s done with firearms finishes, although the idea to place the counter on the handle doesn’t sound ridiculous. Instead, the dev team placed the counter directly on the kniveas a scratched number. Many collectors believe that a counter like that only serves to ruin the knife’s appearance, therefore making the demand for knives with a frag counter not so high compared to the regular versions of the same knives. 

Knives with rare float

Float difference between different quality Doppler knives

Usually for a skin, the float range includes everything from 0 to 1. For some skins, it’s ‘trimmed’ and values responsible for the Battle-Scarred condition, for example, fall out of it. But in rare cases, the float range for a skin is trimmed so much that only Factory New and Minimal Wear remain. 

Doppler knives are a case in point. Since there are more Factory-New Doppler knives than those in the Minimal Wear condition, the latter are slightly more expensive. But not always. Sometimes, they have an equal price, and sometimes, the Factory New knives are more pricey. The whole point is that the float difference in itself isn’t associated with the ultimate collector’s value.

What you end up with is confusion over nothing. If you want to begin trading and start off with knives in particular, be sure to check the price by looking at different sources. This will help you avoid overpaying for a knife with questionable rarity. 

Knives with a rare pattern

Doppler may have a LOT of options

We’ve now covered the wear and tear of Doppler knives, but we’re going to use them as an example of yet another phenomenon. Thing is, there are several rare variations of these knives. Doppler knives come in one of four Phases and additionally, fall into the Sapphire, Ruby, and Black Pearl categories.  

The three latter are the rarest. Sapphire, a deep blue knife, and Ruby, a deep red, are much rarer than your regular Doppler. Black Pearl knives are even rarer: there are fewer of them than Sapphire and Ruby knives combined. So Black Pearls should be the most expensive, right? 

Surprisingly, that’s not the case. Even though these knives are extremely rare, they are usually cheaper than their Sapphire and Ruby counterparts. The price difference is significant. The Karambit Doppler Black Pearl can be half the price of the Karambit Doppler Sapphire! It’s all about the looks. The bright-blue Sapphire knife looks much more badass and goes much better with gloves than the rarer and darker Black Pearl. As a result, the demand for the Sapphire version is much higher and greatly outweighs the supply against the background of the supply-demand ratio of the Black Pearl.

Laws & rare skins

As you can see from the previous examples, the ‘the rarer the skin, the more expensive it is’ rule of thumb doesn’t apply to knives that well. Every now and then, knives deviate from the orderly pricing system. Importantly, though, these specific prices didn’t arise from nothing. There’s always a supply-demand ratio behind the final price tag; it’s just that demand may not be defined by the most obvious reasons.

Hence the following tip: when dealing with rare items, be it the AWP Dragon Lore, knives, or gloves, always check the price and try to find out why it is exactly this much. This kind of meticulousness is the recipe for success in trading. If you just want to get a knife, we suggest that you use our website. It boasts a user-friendly design with tons of useful filters that will help you buy the finish you want with minimal time investments. Before you make that purchase, we recommend that you read our wiki that has both a price chart and some fun facts about the finish! Be sure to check it out, so you can flaunt your knowledge in front of your friends in the next game.

You’ve read the entire post? Then check out our article about knives that should appear in the game next. We suspect that the next case will contain as many as five Doppler knives we’ve talked about so extensively today. To find out what other knives may appear in the next case, just follow the link and read away!




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