50 shades of hardening. The History and Secrets of Skins


You know what the most expensive knife and the AK-47 in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have in common? They are both Case Hardened skins. The CS.MONEY Blog is here to tell you why these finishes are so expensive and how to tell the difference between an incredibly rare pattern and a most ordinary one. Let’s roll!

A couple of words about case-hardening

To keep it simple, case-hardening is a process whereby the surface of a metal is covered by a thin hard crust. It’s difficult to say just when case-hardening as we know it today was used for the first time. But we can safely assume that arrowheads were subjected to this process during the Hundred Years’ War, among other things. A whopping seven hundred years ago! 

Case-hardening was also used on firearms. In the Wild West, for example, cowboys would often wield a Colt Peacemaker with case-hardened spots! Talk about skins in real life.  

The hunt for the blue

Just like in real life, in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, case-hardened skins combine shades of gold, silver, blue, and purple. Depending on the pattern, the gun or knife can be a jumble of all colors — or, contrariwise, it can demonstrate the total dominance of one color.

The most valuable of all Case Hardened colors is blue. And there’s an actual hunt for it! Specimens with lots of blue are called blue gems and cost more than others by an order of magnitude. 

To find the bluest and most valuable skins, the community initially resorted to photo editors. The blue pixels were counted almost manually. Now this idea is long gone: for each finish, there are lists of patterns with the greatest amount of blue. By the way, on our wiki, you can find all the patterns for each gun — and there’s even a filter with rare patterns. Be sure to check it out! And here’s your promo code, detective: DB959N

Million-dollar knife

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive features as many as nineteen different types of knives with Case Hardened skins. The most coveted and valuable of them is by far the Karambit Case Hardened. The Karambit Case Hardened Blue Gem is said to be the most expensive knife in the game. The last confirmed transaction with it exceeded $100,000. Currently, traders even speculate on this topic, attributing to the blade a price of half a million or even a million dollars! 

A bit about the finish itself. The most expensive Karambit is the Case Hardened with pattern number 387. Its float is 0.04808! It’s almost impossible to get such a knife out of a case, hence the exorbitant price. By the way, here’s another fun fact: in real life, karambit knives cost about 15–20 bucks.  

The Scarface AK

The second most expensive and desirable case-hardened skin is the AK-47 Case Hardened. To be precise, it’s an AK-47 Case Hardened with pattern number 661, a frag counter, and a streak of four Titan Katowice 2014 (Holo) stickers. Why are we so sure? It’s simple. It was exactly an AK like that that was sold last year for $150,000. 

Besides pattern number 661, there are several other patterns with more blue, but their price is noticeably lower. Still, if you want just a blue AK and aren’t chasing a collectible rarity, these skins are an excellent budget-friendly alternative to said pattern 661, otherwise known as the “scar pattern.”  

Most valuable pattern for the Five-SeveN

The skins for Five-SeveN and MAC-10 are much cheaper than knives and AKs. Nevertheless, you can find very expensive copies even among them. Like pattern 868 of the Five-SeveN Case Hardened, which is several times more expensive than the regular skin. Its main feature is that most of the upper part of the finish is covered in blue or its shades. 

Notably, the Five-SeveN Case Hardened isn’t entirely covered with blue: the lower part of the gun is dark gray. So the pattern only affects how the upper half of the gun looks. 

The ultimate blue MAC-10

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive CSGO - Tier 1 Mac-10 Blue Gems & Tier 2 Mac -10 Blue Details – Steams Play

The latest addition to the family is the MAC-10 Case Hardened. The skin dropped as part of The 2021 Dust 2 collection on September 22, 2021. Among all MAC-10 Case Hardened specimens, there are a few of the bluest guns that stand out. These are skins with the following patterns, from most to least blue: 95, 19, 251, 251, 748, 890, 239, and a few others.

Interestingly enough, there are no entirely blue skins among the MAC-10 Case Hardened versions. Most of these patterns have a common feature: the back side of the submachine gun is painted blue. The front, on the other hand, is normally left with a bunch of yellow spots that blue stickers can’t cover.

Quick search for rare patterns

As we’ve already figured out, all Case Hardened skins have rare patterns. The community formed lists of rare patterns pretty long ago. It’s easy to google them. Also, as a reminder, we have lists of rare patterns on the wiki, too, with handy sorting. 

If you want to get yourself a rare Case Hardened, we at CS.MONEY offer a handy pattern filter — you can find it at the bottom of the filter list. To filter skins by pattern, just enter its number and apply. Now you’ll only see skins with this pattern. How convenient is that! 

And you know what else is extremely convenient? Receive all the best stuff from the CS.MONEY Blog in the newsletter. Leave your e-mail, and we’ll regularly send you letters with the coolest stuff from our blog!


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