Is CS:GO’s Operation Riptide a Game-Changer?

Operation Riptide is the 11th one since the launch of the game in 2012. This update has brought a... Radu M. | 28. September 2021

Operation Riptide is the 11th one since the launch of the game in 2012. This update has brought a lot of significant changes to CS:GO and some of them do more than just enhance the player’s experience by adding new content or improving the quality of existing one. Let’s take a quick look at these changes and how they may impact professional matches.

Operation Riptide’s Key Features

Operation Riptide costs less than $15 and for this price, you’re getting a lot of good stuff.

Private Queues

One of the great things that you can now do is create private queues, accessible only to your friends and their friends. Or, more generally, a Steam group. This feature offers groups of people the possibility to organize their own matches, just like they do in traditional sports.

Imagine you’re going with 11 friends to play football. You get to the pitch (probably a synthetic one) and the best two players are named captains of their team. Each of them gets to choose one player taking turns. And the group of 12 plays football for as long as people are able to.

You can now do something similar in CS:GO. Because Operation Riptide simulates this method of playing the game and gives you the chance to reduce the player pool to a small (or large) group of friends. Instead of stumbling upon completely random people, you now know for a fact that you’re in good company, where nobody’s cheating and everything’s alright. That alone will give a lot of CS:GO enthusiasts the incentive to play more.

Shorter Matches

Operation Riptide solves another big problem that some players started to complain about years ago. Instead of having to play long-format matches, where the winner is decided in a Bo30, you can now compete in Bo16 matches. This reduces the duration of the match from around 50 – 60 minutes to an average of 25.

The benefits of this option are far-reaching and they don’t consist just in giving people the ability to have more frequent playing sessions. The bigger benefit here is the ability to end a lost match much quicker. We’ve all had the experience of being put in a team with some really terrible players and going 1 – 9 in the first 10 rounds. By then you already know the match is over but now you may have to lose another 20 minutes until it reaches the end.

By giving people the ability to play Bo16 matches, Operation Riptide solves this painful problem. If you get to compete against a smurf or you random 4 guys that simply don’t know how to cooperate with each other while your opponents do, you can now get out of the match in around 20 minutes and go to the next one.

This feature comes in handy at the end of the day, when you don’t really have a full hour left until you go to sleep but would love to play another match. Knowing that it will last just 20 – 25 minutes, you’re much more likely to search for it than you would otherwise.

When searching for a new match, players have 3 options:

  • Any length (Bo16 or Bo30)
  • Short match
  • Long match

Gameplay Changes

The most important changes introduced by Operation Riptide are the ones that actually modify what happens during the game and could potentially change the current meta. Here’s a list of them:

  • Desert Eagle’s body damage has been decreased
  • M4A1-S’ body damage has been increased
  • Dual Elites now cost only $300
  • Players have the ability to share grenades
  • Post-death vision has been decreased from 1s to 0.5s for a headshot death and from 3s to 2s for a body shot death

The Desert Eagle’s nerf is significant and might deter teams from trying to force-win rounds by investing in this weapon. Before the change, 2 bullets were enough at close range. Now you need to land 3 of them and the probability of doing that before your opponent has a chance to react is much smaller. However, keep in mind that the Desert Eagle was nerfed just for body shots. If you can land a headshot, it’s still perfectly fine. One bullet will do the job.

The M4A1-S buff is huge because it gives players the possibility to kill their opponent with just 4 bullets even if their aim is not that great. Prior to this change, the weapon dealt 23 damage to the chest and 28 damage to the stomach if he was armored. Now it deals 26 damage to the chest and 33 to the stomach. Since players often aim for the head of their opponent, the number of bullets needed to get the job done is now 2 – 4 instead of 2 – 5.

The Dual Elites change is insignificant because nobody uses them.

In the long run, the biggest change of the 5 listed above might turn out to be the 4th. The fact that grenades are now droppable gives teams a lot of room for outside-the-box executes. In the short run, we’re not likely to see pro teams do anything crazy. But with enough experimentation and practice, it’s only a matter of time until they start finding clever ways of using this rule to their advantage.

Some of the top players, including s1mple, have already hinted at some of the executes we might see in the future after initially questioning the usefulness of this change.


Photo credit: IEM|Adela-Sznajder