Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

518 ratings
Trading Simplified : A comprehensive CS:GO trading guide
By sheRiff ヅ
A trading guide ( for beginners and intermediate traders ) to help increase inventory at a steady pace without any risks . Following this guide won't guarantee you a Dragon Lore from p90 sand spray , but will definitely help you in multiplying your inventory slowly and safely .

Good Luck Have Fun
sheriff :)

Guys I am not adding anyone anymore , this guide is all the help I can provide you . However , I will open a free for all community run trading advice group if the guide hits 1000 favorites .
There are around 400 guides under CS:GO guides alone that claim to help you achieve Dragon Lore ( or a knife ) from nothing . Well , I don't promise you anything like that but I can guarantee you a Gut Safari Mesh BS from an AK redline in a couple of months or more ( kappa ) .

What gives me validity ?

I am a casual gamer and intermediate level trader who started with a 20$ steam wallet code , with which i bought CS:GO worth 15 bucks ( Noob cuz didn't wait for sale , ikr ) and skins of the rest and now i have 300$ inventory ( I know its not much ) . I built this over 7 to 8 months ( including exam breaks and stuff ) . So , I am writing this guide for new or intermediate traders looking for trading tips and friends who keep pestering me for the trade secrets .

  • A small inventory around 2-3 bucks minimum *
  • Time
  • Virtuous.Patience
  • sheriff's trading guide

* If you don't even have this much worth of inventory it's really impossible to trade up . Better wait for Gaben's merciful drops in-game or while viewing majors .
You need to know some basic stuff that will help you in trading . I hope you are already familiar with the skin exteriors , community market and Lounge[]

Skins and their prices

If you play CS:GO then you already have most of the popular skin names by heart . I recommend CsgoStash[] as it provides a very neat and efficient view of all skins in game . You can also view prices of all exteriors of a skin at a single page .

I would suggest you to "learn" skin prices of popular skins if you are new , as you trade more and more you would not even need to open browser to check the prices !

Avoid using extensions

I personally don't use any browser extension for help and neither should you . Yes , its easier but it makes you rely on the script to fetch and compare prices . Always compare prices manually from market , in this way you can see the first as well as the subsequent listings of a skin and also the graph of past sales . I would recommend SteamAnalyst[]

The Power Of Key

Q. I have 5$ in my wallet . What should I buy ?
A. 2 case keys .

Key is the most basic as well as powerful trade item as its value is stable and it is very easy to trade . You can get almost every skin for lesser price than market if trading with keys .

Generally you can get any 6$ skin for 2 keys ! So , if you want to trade up always have some keys in your inventory (even 1 would do ! )

Never invest fully

Hey that Huntsman knife looks so cool . I am gonna give all my stuff for it ! Its an upgrade , so profit right ? No .
Never invest fully into one particular skin if you are in for a long haul ( unless its a Dragon Lore or some other dream skin you aim for ) . If you have only one skin , you have very limited choices and are stuck with it . Moreover the market is very unstable , every new update , operation , major or case affects skin prices .

Always Double Tap

Before accepting a trade always check these things for two times ( or more )
  • Skin exteriors
  • Average price over last week
  • Current listing

Be Patient

Many a times during trading you may find the growth rate to be painfully slow . Such slumps are common for even the best traders . Just be patient and hold on !

Upgrading and Downgrading
Upgrading is the most essential craft if you want to get_rich . Upgrading means when you trade multiple skins/items to one single high valued item . Sounds easy !
The catch is upgrading "usually" comes at a cost . Nobody wants to downgrade without overpay , so some times you will have to overpay . The trick is to find someone who wants to downgrade into your items badly or with minimal overpay . It may take time to upgrade this way but its more profitable .

Another way to upgrade is first convert your skins into keys and then use these keys to find your desired higher tier skin at lower than market price . This way is faster but you may have to quicksell your skins .

Q. So I should never downgrade as it takes me a step back ?
A. No , downgrading is good if you are getting profit more than you invested in upgrading . This way you can upgrade downgrade in quick successions to make fast profit .

This is a knife downgrade i did generating a good profit !

Other reason you should downgrade is if you have some skin which is not easy to trade with , generally these are StaTrak or Souvenir skins . So, you can downgrade them to some other skin for a small profit and then trade them off .

I downgraded ST M4 Guardian , for which I was getting only quicksell offers with small profit .
Skin Priority
FN , MW , FT , WW , BS - you must be familiar with the weapon exteriors . Generally , the better the condition of a weapon the more its market value and demand ( However sometimes you will see a MW skin costlier than FN skin ! This is due to the rarity of that MW skin in market ) . So , you should avoid getting a BS or WW skin while trading up( unless its a Covert skin ).
Some skins have a pretty big price gap based on exteriors ( mostly seen in mid-high tier knives ) , so getting a such knives of good float value can easily generate good profit . Some examples are Crimson Web , Night , Modern Hunter .

A low float MW/FT M4 Modern Hunter can fetch you over market price !

Getting to the classes of skin - Mil-spec , Restricted , Classified , Covert . The higher the class the rarer it is and the more its value . Avoid trading away a higher class skin to a lower class unless there is a good profit as the higher class skins ( classified , covert ) fall in prices rarely .

Souvenir skins , are the bane for a trader . Never fall for the market price of a souvenir skin , they are pretty hard to trade off and will only bring you restless nights . Only get a souvenir if you want to use it personally !

StatTrak skins are also not so easy to trade with because of much higher value than their non-ST counterparts . ST AWPs and Knives are a big no-no if you are just buying them for trading away . Especially low tier ST knives are like cancer and usually traded off at 75% of their market value !

Souvenir cases and sticker capsules , these items are only good for long term investment . As the number of these is limited in market and can only fall , they tend to rise in price ( although at a painfully slow rate sometimes ) . So , get them only if you can hold them for so long .

Mirage case dropped in katowice 2015 has almost doubled in value over 6-7 months .

Knives , every new players dream , are also a risky trade item . Low tier knives ( Safari , Boreal , DDPAT , Scorched , Urban Masked ) are pretty hard to trade at a good profit . In my opinion the easy to trade order of knives is

  • Karambit
  • M9 Bayo
  • Bayo
  • Butterfly
  • Huntsman
  • Flip
  • Falchion
  • Gut

*Shadow are excluded as i have never traded them and their prices are still unstable .

Also some skins have random characteristics making some of them over market like

  • Fade , the percentage of fade
  • Crimson Web , the number and size of webs
  • Slaughter , patterns
  • Case Hardened , Blue/Gold colours
  • Marbel Fade , Ratio of colours
  • Doppler , different phases

A flip Ruby Doppler sells for triple the market value of a normal doppler .

You can find many guides regarding each and every of these specialities .

Lounge Secrets and more
In this section I would "reveal " some of the tricks to get profit on csgolounge .

The Land of Quicksells

Lounge has a plethora of QS trade post . Traders buy at 80-85% price and sell at higher . There are as low as 70% QS posts and 80-85% QS is almost flooded .

So ,how to make profit in this scenario ?

The answer is simple you have to beat the competition . As an example , consider AWP Electric Hive FN which has a normal QS price of 4 keys . What you can offer is 4 keys + 1 sticker ( or some other small add ) , it allows you get the skin at lower market price and later you can trade it for other skin or for keys . The profit margin in this particular case is quite less , 1$ or 1.5$ max . But as you climb higher you get more profit .

Stickers ! and Float Value

Stickers Don't add value ! Right ? No ,wrong .

Sticker doesn't add value if you are selling on steam market but for a trader a skin with good stickers is like a gold mine . This does not mean that you can ask for the value of sticker added with that of gun ( as you can see many doing on lounge ) , rather you can upgrade your skin using the stickers as a leverage .

Most sought after stickers are :
  • Crown
  • Katowice 2014 collection <3
  • Howling Dawn
  • Red stickers ( LGB , Hellraisers , iBuypower ... )
  • Holos and foils .
Apart from these if your weapon has a nice pattern of stickers ( like all red or all green or 4xsame ) most likely it will be easy to get some overpay . As a rule of thumb , whenever you buy a skin from market ( or trade ) try to get one with some good looking stickers .

I was recently able to trade off a ST AK Cartel FT ( avg price 12.46$ for 5 keys which is 100% market value ) because it had 4x Get_Right autograph stickers .

Now coming to FV ( float value ) , it represents the wear of your weapon . You can check the float of you skin at SteamAnalyst[] or Exchange [] . A skin with lower float value has cleaner look and is easy to trade . A low float value can even fetch above market prices when concerning some skins ( mostly knives ) . As an example , a low float Night skin is highly sought after as the FN Night skins are rare or too expensive.

Use Search Feature and bombard offers

Just posting trade posts on Lounge and bumping it will take ages to get an acceptable offer . You must be familiar with the Search feature of Lounge ( if you are not , check it right now ! ) . You can use this to find peeps interested in your skin/item and then send them offer .

Sending offers is free right ? So send as many offers as you can . Maybe one will get accepted ;)

Market Analysis
Steamcommunity Market is quite simple to use . Always refer the market before finalizing a trade .
I would advise you to refrain from using the market to sell/buy skins because of the 15% tax cut but in some cases it is more profitable .

Majors or Valve sponsored tournies are a great way for us to make some profit . Always make sure to have some wallet balance on the days leading up to the major , as people tend to sell off their skins at low price to get wallet balance and buy stickers and souvenirs . As an example , AK redline which is generally 5-6$ was listed at even 3.5$ before Cologne 2015 !

Also if you like to make some profit by buying stickers at sale and then selling them later , I would strongly suggest you to invest not more than 20% of your inventory value in stickers because stickers price may stagnate due to market overflooding by stashers .

New Cases

There is a tumble in the market whenever a new case is launched . People race to buy the new skins and cases . I would advise you to hold off before trading or buying new skins until a month . Recent price fall of shadow case skins are a fine example .

Moreover it is a good time to buy quicksells from the market .The below graph show the price variation of Awp Asiimov BS . The red arrows show steep decline in prices which are linked with the launch of new cases ( Chroma 2 and Falchion ).

Official Updates

In the past year , many weapon nerf and buff updates have been give to CS:GO . Each of these update has influenced the market strongly . Some noticable are
  • 15 Sep 2015 update ( M4A1-S nerf ) , M4A4 prices jumped and M4-S prices fell overnight .

  • 31 Mar 2015 update ( SMG's buff ) , SMG's ( MAC10 , MP7 , MP9 ) price rise .

While it is impossible to predict what the next update is going to be (unless you a CS:GO dev ) , being quick can help you earn some good profit if you are quick to the scene .

This is a trade i did roughly 6 hours after the M4-S nerf using lounge and later sold the skin at market for 10$ profit !

Furthermore , whenever you are trading check these facts regarding the skin .
  • First listing , it is the top listing and gives a rough idea of the skin's current value .

  • Subsequent listings and the price gap , these are important as they allow you to predict the trend . If the price gap is large , the skin price will most likely rise .

  • Graph , it is a very important tool to use . If the graph is linear the price of skin will not shift quickly and is a safe investment .

  • Number of listings , the lesser the number the greater the value ( general thumb of rule ) .

Safety first
Trading has its devils . Scammers are abundant in the world of trading . As your inventory grows and you become active on lounge , scam attempts may also increase .Some tips to avoid getting scammed .
  • Always trade in a Steam Trading window : Dont use middleman or go first no matter how many reps,hours or steam level the guy has .

  • Never click on any link , no matter how legit it looks . Just in case , remove any automatic download option in your browser or Download manager so that it prompts you before downloading anything .

  • Don't accept private profile : Block any invite that is Steam level 0 or is private . Mostly bots from lounge try to add you . Initially for each trade post or bump you will get multiple such invites But blocking them will reduce them gradually . I currently have 200 such blocked invites and now get very few .

  • Use Steam Guard and trade confirmation : It may be annoying to confirm by mail each time you trade but better safe than sorry .Also , use the new steam feature of adding your personal mobile number to your account .

  • ...
Good Luck
So, thats it for now and if you are a beginner and finding it hard to grow up remember The first few steps are the hardest .

Good Luck
to you bois and if you would like to ask me something post comments and i will gladly respond .

If my guide helped you and you would like to gift me something , thank you !

Please dont ask for free stuff


Thanks to Kocha for review and insights .
< >
clash May 21 @ 8:48pm 
kocha and sheriff, ye chal raha hai 😁
Send Help Feb 26 @ 11:02am 
Great guide!
Jennifer (boosting) Feb 19 @ 4:09pm 
loved this guide... this surely will help me in future trades.
Veggieloaf Aug 29, 2016 @ 10:12am 
Hey could you tell me how much my souvenir p250 is worth? It is a Katowice 2014 souvenir, also I'm QS my knife at 12 keys,

Thanks for the guide dude
Tahcko Aug 19, 2016 @ 5:38am 
This is a great guide and its great timing for me to join the cs:go trading community as cs:go gambling has died.
Duchess Maisie Aug 10, 2016 @ 12:39am 
Nice guide, shame the comments section is all cancerous shady fucks
Alena Tikhonowa Aug 6, 2016 @ 3:24am 
Russian, please <3
pdeevsOnichan Aug 2, 2016 @ 11:42am 
RUS: Выберите что то одно из этого списка и напишите в моём профиле, отвечу тем же!
ENG: Choose the one that's on the list and write in my profile, I will answer the same!

+rep good teammate
+rep nice teammate
+rep good awp player
+rep god awp
+rep top sniper
+rep nice awp
+rep nice sniper
GraMM Jul 7, 2016 @ 2:13pm 
ENG: Choose the one that's on the list and write in my profile, I will answer the same!
+rep nice player
+rep fast and nice trade
+rep good teammate
+rep Cool friend
+rep pro aimer
+rep Great man
+rep AWP king
+rep SCREAM!