CS2 Trade-Up Guide | Key-Drop Blog
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CS2 Trade-Up Guide

KeyDrop Team

There are many ways to get bigger and better CS2 skins, and one of them is trading up using the in-game Contracts feature. While the CS2 trade-up process may seem simple — you put in skins of a certain rarity, and then you take out one of a higher rarity. However, contracts have a lot of nuance to them, and in this article we’ll explore how to trade up efficiently. But first, a short lesson about certain important terms.

CS2 Trade-Up Basics 

The three things you have to understand to trade-up are:


Each skin you get belongs to a collection or a case. This is important for contracts, because the collections determine the pool of skins you’ll be upgrading to. For example, if you put in 10 skins from the Ancient Collection, you’re guaranteed to get a skin from the Ancient Collection back. If you put in 5 from Ancient and 5 from Overpass, it’s a 50/50. If you put in 4 from Ancient, 4 from Overpass and 2 from Cobblestone, it’s a 40/40/20 split. 


Floats work similarly to collections. The end float will be an average of the floats of the skins you put in. So, buying lower float skins, will yield a lower float trade up. Trading up high float skins will result in a high float output. 


You can only put items of one rarity into a trade-up. You will receive an item of a rarity one above the items you’ve put in. Simple enough, right?

Additional rules state that you can’t mix StatTrak™ items with non-StatTrak™ items, and the same goes for Souvenirs.

CS2 Trade-Up Examples

Alright, now that you know all this, let’s talk about how to profit off trade ups.

Essentially, trade ups are a gamble. There’s no magic bullet here, no 100% guaranteed profit line. After all, the Steam market would self-regulate anything close to that before you could say “headshot”.

That’s why, your goal isn’t to ensure you make a profit, but rather to optimize the skins you select in a way that will allow you to make the most out of your trade ups.

We’ll be looking at a few trade-ups that work in different ways, and have different profit margins.

Let’s start with the low-odds trade-up, or as I like to call it, the “Risk it for the Biscuit”

Low-Odds Trade-Up

This trade-up is essentially one you should only do if you have money to burn. Choose 9 cheap restricted skins like the AWP Mortis, and one from a collection with a massive skin it can be upgraded to. For example, the 2021 Dust II Collection, with the Factory New Restricted Death Strike costing $600, and upgrading to a $2000 Gold Arabesque.

So basically, the question is, are you able to spend around $670 for a 10% shot at $2000? 

Actually, come to think of it, you’ll probably get better odds in the Key-Drop upgrader, so let’s show you a sensible trade-up instead.

Slow-and-Steady CS2 Trade-Up

Let’s call this the slow-and-steady approach. Trade-ups that are low value, and give you a small profit most of the time. Grinding these may be tiring, but they offer a good chance to make a small profit. For example:

Gives you a 63% chance to profit on the trade-up, Steam fee included, with 30% odds to double your money if you get the PP-Bizon | Brass. Even if you don’t, however, most skins will see you either make a small profit or break even.

There are countless combinations that you can create, as long as you remember a few factors:

Always look at all the possible skins you can upgrade to. For example, some collections only have one Covert skin, while others can even have three. All of these make the odds murkier. Be sure to remember, that sometimes the upgrade is just simply not worth the risk. For example, Gungnir crafting has made the FN Negev Mjolnir more expensive than the skin it’s supposed to upgrade to, making crafting FN Gungnir’s utterly pointless.

Yes, this basically means that crafting is math. But there’s also one special kind of crafting that we’ve still not talked about, and we’ll describe it briefly here.

The Gem Craft

This is extremely expensive, and not for the faint of heart. Essentially, the goal of these crafts is to create the lowest float possible for certain elite skins. Since the skins you need to put in are costly, and you run the risk of either overspending if you want a 100% guarantee, or losing all your money if you want to risk it.

We doubt that as a reader of this blog you have tens of thousands of dollars ready to spend on CS2 skins (and if you do, your odds are far better on Key-Drop!), but if you do, here’s the recipe:

  1. Scour the market for the lowest possible float skins that upgrade into the skin you want.
  2. Fill your contract with either all those skins, or other low-float skins.
  3. Say a little prayer.
  4. ???
  5. Profit (maybe).


Sounds like a lot of risk. Well, we have a solution: you can simply use the Contracts feature on Key-Drop to upgrade your inventory for a guaranteed skin, or use our Skin Changer to get amazing odds on an item that you choose.

However, if you want to craft, be sure to… count your luck. Your best bet is probably “investment upgrading”, but if you want to risk it… hey, we’re not ones to judge!

KeyDrop Team


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