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[PSA] xCobalt's Complete Guide to Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know about CS:GO Trading

Hey everyone!
This is a post that isn't just aimed towards newer players, but to everybody. I'm including a lot of information in this, and it is basically my guide to trading in general. It's a compilation of my past 2 years of trading combined with everything I've learned from other people, and I hope that it helps you all.
I will be adding more on to this guide, but this has already taken me 4 hours to type, so I will be gradually adding on. If you have anything to contribute or suggest to me, then please feel free!
I would also like to add that I'm doing my best to credit everyone who made x image, but some of the images were found on imgur or without parent posts, so if you could please tell me who made x image, I will happily update the post with credit to them.
Edit: Fixed a lot of typos.
Edit 2: Thanks for all of the support and feedback! Very glad to know that people will be using this guide :)
Edit 3: If you guys want, I will go ahead and work on the video version I was considering making this week. It will be a fair amount of work, but It should be nice.
Edit 4: More Grammar and spelling fixed
Edit 5: Removed Katowice price Generalization
Edit 6: Holy shit! This is now one of the top 6 highest ranking posts of all time on the subreddit! Thank you all so much for the love and support, and let's try to keep new traders always informed and aware!
Index
(Press CTRL+F To Find These on the Page)
1.0 The Basics
2.0 Patterns: What are they?
3.0 Float Values (Exteriors): What is Float Value/exterior?
4.0 Key Trading 101
5.0 Souvenir Items
6.0 Stickers on Guns
7.0 Trading FAQs
Without further stalling, let's get started!
1.0 - Trading Basics
In late 2011, before CS:GO was even released, Valve introduced the ability to trade TF2 items in Steam. It was a phenomenon that nobody thought would become as big as it was, and it has only expanded over the last 5 years. With the Arms Deal update in CS:GO on the 14th of August, 2013, we were introduced to what would eventually become one of the largest and most sustained economies in gaming. A trade is when two steam users interact by moving items from accounts, and the safety and level of it has evolved since its release. Trades can be live, or they can be offers. An offer is when a user sends a non-live trade to another player, who can then spend time to think about it, and either decline or accept the offer.
1.1 - Getting Started
Against what all of the nothing to knife videos would lead you to believe, trading is not something where you can get to a FN Dragon Lore from a Nova Sand mesh... well not within 2 weeks (Unless you are very fucking lucky.) The best way to start out trading is to invest $50+ and start from there. The more you invest, the easier it is to make profit, but there are more risks associated with some higher tier items. The least amount of money you should spend when getting into the game is $10, $5 is fine too, but honestly, it is worth spending the amount of money that you might spend on lunch to buy some skins that will last longer then said lunch.
In order to get started with trading, you will need the following:
The rest is explained throughout this guide.
1.2 - Who to Trust
Deciding on who to trust is simultaneously extremely easy and incredibly difficult. When you're doing a normal trade, there is next to nothing that the other person can do to scam you. Basically, as long as they or you send a trade offer with both items in the trade, you're golden.
Never trade with people who do the following:
1.3 - Cashrep
So what is cashrep? Cashrep is a Reputation thread that a user uses when they are doing trades for real money. If you're looking to start trading with real money yourself, the best thing to do is to small money trades with extremely reputable traders who have extensive cashrep, to start building your own.
So what is steamrep? Steamrep (http://steamrep.com/) is a community run website that is aimed stopping scammers in their tracks. Always check a user's account before trading with them, regardless of whether they are doing a cash trade with you or not. This is important, because some people will go to extensive lengths just to get a bit of extra cash from you. I am also aware that everyone does not believe steamrep is necessary, but believe me when I say that it is actually a very useful tool that has saved me plenty of time with figuring out people who have tried to scam me out of real money.
1.4 - The Most Common Scams
1.5 - Trading Etiquette
Here is a list of the things that you should and shouldn't do just as general rules of thumb.
1.6 - Trade Confirmations: What Are They?
Trade confirmations are done via a mobile device. They are pretty much forced upon players to make them do their best to keep their accounts secure. All that you need to do when trading is open your phone, click on the notification that the app gives you, and doublecheck and confirm the trade.
2.0 - Patterns: What Are They And Why are They Important?
A pattern is an ID from 1-999 that is assigned to any item in one's inventory. Randomly generated skins (such as Electric Hive, Crimson Web, Case Hardened, Modern Hunter, Fade, etc.) will appear unique in every pattern. Don't be mistaken though, patterns do affect static skins (such as Dragon Lore, Fire Serpent, Howl, etc.) in a significant way as well. Each pattern also changed wear placement on the gun slightly (i.e. two different skins with the exact same float but different pattern IDs can have completely different scratches.)
It is also noteworthy that every single skin on a given gun with a certain pattern ID will have the exact same wear placement, regardless of what skin it is.
This is important. Note that on ALL of the DLC Knives (Butterfly, Huntsman, Falchion, Shadow Daggers, and the Bowie Knife), the patterns are mirrored. This means that any 'double sided xx' on these knives are lying, or just uninformed.
2.1 - Slaughter Patterns
Slaughter has a wide variety of unique looks, but not all patterns that people claim are patterns are accepted by the community.
The most commonly used patterns are listed here:
This is an image that shows what all of the slaughter patterns look like (generally). It however does have a terrible example of a heart, but finding good heart examples can be difficult.
This is what the slaughter pattern i nthe game files looks like, the shape in the middle of it is the heart.
2.2 - Crimson Web Patterns
Crimson web simultaneously matters the least and the most when it comes to patterns.
Here is an album of 3 different factory new m9 crimson webs, each with different webs to illustrate my point.
2.3 - Fade Patterns
Fade value varies from knife to knife. On the gut knife it is actually unaffected 95% of the time (110% 0.00x usually goes for 105% of market, but nothing else usually sells for much more.) Flip knives are actually sold equivalent to their fade percentage of SA Price (i.e. 90% fade for 90% of steamanalyst, and same for 110%). Meanwhile Karambits go as low as 190 and as high as 700. I will have to update the guide with more prices soon.
Tip: You can use CSGOZone to check the fade percentages of most knives pretty acurately, but it isn't 100% accurate, so doublecheck with people to confirm the fade.
Tip 2: Metjm has an amazing database to scroll through every fade pattern on a few of the knives. View Here.
2.4 - Marble Fade Patterns
Marble fades are one of the most desirable knife finishes in the game, being quite popular in general. Against what some of the shittily made guides out there will have you to believe, you can only get True Fire & Ice with no yellow on the Karambit, Flip Knife, Gut Knife, and Bayonet. This means that you cannot get Fire and Ice on the M9 Bayonet.
On The M9 Bayonet, the most desirable pattern is the Max Red tip, the least desirable is yellow, and the middle child is blue tips.
2.5 Electric Hive Patterns
Electric hives are a skin with a wide pattern range, but many traders either ignore them or are even unaware of the pattern value ranges. I'm an Electric Hive enthusiast myself, and I'm speaking out of my own experience for this part.
Similar to Case Hardeneds, Electric hives desirability peaks at Full Blue, followed by Full Orange hives. Other hives are generally considered to be nothing special, and sell ar market.
The desirability of blue patterns is based NOT on the amount of blue/orange, but the solidity of the line itself. The ideal patterns are shown below, note where the purple line sits.
There is more to go into with these, will add more images when Metjm's buggy screenshots are updated.
2.6 - Kami Patterns
Kamis are purely based on whatever the person is willing to pay for them. A Good example is the Vagina Kami, which from what I've heard has sold for more then 20 keys in the past..
Many patterns exist on the back of the 5-7 Kami, but there aren't that many solid guides for them.
2.7 - Case Hardened Patterns
Case Hardened is simultaneously one of the most and least desired skin & knife finishes in the game.
The prices of these items involve too many factors for me to go over, but the TL;DR version of it is that Blue = Sexy and Rust/Grey = Shit.
Here are some examples of blue gems for each case hardened. Credit to acidaus for finding some of the METJMs and Alamer99 for 3 of the bowies:
2.8 - Doppler
Doppler is extremely controversial because of some of the terms that certain people use to describe their knives.
There are 7 different game files for the doppler, called Phases. The phases are as follows.
People use terms such as "Fake Black Pearl" and "Pink Galaxy" to describe their dopplers. Using terms that do not describe something that it isn't aren't allowed (i.e. a Phase 3 full black is just that, full black. Not a Fake Black Pearl. Phase 1 can arguably be fake black pearl since it has purple, not black.) This is the gray area of dopplers, and is up for debate.
2.9 - Other
This section is for skins that some people may argue deserve to have pattern price differences, but in my experience don't matter. Icarus fells for example are very debatable. I've bought and sold almost all of the Phases of icarus fells for 85% of steamanalyst in keys (only float has mattered in my experience), but I know that some people find certain patterns more desirable. With items such as Icarus fells, it is purely the user's preference that matters.
Other items that fall under this category are:
3.0 - Float Values: What Are They?
A float value (Or Floating Point) is a static numeric string used in programming to set a value for whatever purpose is correct in context. In the case of CS:GO, the float value of an item determines the amount of wear it has (relative to the pattern seed's wear placement.) Basically, higher float skins have worse wears (Battle-Scarred through Field-Tested) and lower float skins have better wears (Field-Tested through Factory New.)
The Float ranges for items are as follows:
3.1 - Float Values and Knives
Float ranges vary on every skin in the game. It's noteworthy that on the Karambit, the pattern is just as important as the wear, as you can get 0.04 corners that look better then 0.000x ones.
Many knives have a minimum float of 0.06, which makes Factory New extremely rare, since skins have a bell curve on condition (making Field-Tested much more common then Factory New and Very Battle-Scarred)
As you can see, most of the knives with Custom paint finishes all have a 0.06-0.80 float range, making FN equally rare on all of them. Fades are uncommon in minimal wear, but not as rare as a FN Crimson web.
Rust coat and slaughter are the only knives that don't follow the trope.
3.2 - Float Values and Skins
Skins float ranges are determined by their creators.
The only skins that have 0.06 min floats are usually valve-made skins (such as fire serpent, safari mesh, etc.) and most other skins are usually 0.00x - 1.00.
Notable exceptions are AWP/M4 Asiimov (0.18 - 1.00) and Galil Chatterbox (0.35 - 1.00.)
4.0 - Key Trading 101
Keys are the universal currency of the Counter-Strike economy. So how exactly do they work?
If your item is regularly listed on the steam market (and doesn't have any special stickers/patterns), then the typical way to list it is to use SteamAnalyst's averages, and multiplying them by 0.80-0.90 depending on the item's desirability. 0.8 is 80%, which is usually considered a quicksell. 85%-90% are considered quicksells by some and normal prices by others. Note that no item should sell for 100% of steamanalyst if it has no special traits, unless the person wants the item very fast.
4.1 - High Tier Key Trading
For items over 130 keys, the most common thing to do is to look on Reddit (or lounge, depending on your style) and find similarly listed items that actually sold at that price recently. These are the community's agreed prices on these items. If you're using items that are regularly listed on the steam community market to trade for high tier items, then you will need to use the 80-90% averages as explained above.
4.2 - Key Prices
When buying keys with real cash, the price for you depends on several factors.
The Price for keys varies depending on these factors. Basically, the more reputable you are, the easier it is to get cheaper keys (Via Bitcoin rates are usually $1.8-$2.0). This completely depends on the above factors though.
5.0 - Souvenir Items 101
Souvenir items are items that were dropped from Souvenir packages, which were dropped from Valve-Sponsored Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Majors. These are all of the majors that have happened so far:
5.1 - Which Stickers Add Value?
This is a debatable subject.
Stickers based on rarity (Rarest to Most common):
In the latest two 2015 tournaments, signature stickers were added, and some of these add significant value to guns. These are the stickers that add the most value.
Most other signature stickers don't add significant value. These are just the most noteworthy ones.
6.0 - Stickers on Guns
Up until mid 2015, stickers adding value to guns was considered to be a joke by the general trading community. Once the Katowice 2014 stickers skyrocketed, people realized that the look was actually worth paying for, and Kato 14 collectors started to grow. Now, stickers are considered to be an important part of the trading meta if their value is > 10 keys.
6.1 - Calculating Sticker Values
Before anything else, check these factors:
Unfortunately, the price from stickers varies too greatly based on these factors as well as trivial things such as StatTrak and all of that, so I will not be adding back the general pricing.
7.0 - Trading FAQs
Q. What are steam levels and why do they matter?
Steam levels are a level (ofc) that is determined based on the number of badges a user possesses. Each badge is worth 100 XP (with a few exceptions) and they cost money to craft (usually). High steam levels have spent considerable amounts of time & money, and usually don't want to risk their high level account as it is hard to replicate. This does not mean that someone with say a level 300 account isn't scamming, but it is much less likely for someone with a steam level > 200 to scam then someone with say a 50 level. (Though there are scammers and legit dealers at all levels.)
Q. I got scammed, what do I do?
Report it to Steam Support and on the Steamrep Forums & Partner communities. GoTrade itself is a great place to report scammers.
Q. Why are Katowice Stickers and some souvenirs so expensive?
Simply because of the fact that they are from a time when CS was newer and less popular, so there is a small supply of them.
Q. Why do traders pay so much just for a certain float or pattern?
Because of the rarity, uniqueness, and look.
Q. How do I get started on cash trading?
The best way to get started on cash trading is to deal with well known traders in small amounts to build a rep.
That's the end of the guide (For now). If there is anything that I should add to it, please let me know as I will be expanding it in the future. It took a considerable amount of time to make this, so I would very much appreciate your feedback!!
submitted by CobaltTheDragon to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]

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