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VAC ban wave hits CS2, thousands of cheaters removed

After months of complaints from CS2 grinders, a VAC ban wave has finally hit matchmaking and will likely clear out many of the cheaters from the game.

Valve has clamped down hard on bad actors with the latest ban wave. According to third-party trackers, more than 2,000 VAC bans have been distributed over the past two weeks. This marks the second-largest wave since the official release of Counter-Strike 2. 

The launch of CS2 last November was effectively a reset for cheating, as cheats from the original game don’t work on the Source 2 engine. However, the worst members of the player base have had time to brew up new cheats. This led to mass complaints from fans on social media platforms, which pushed Valve to take action.

CS2 VAC wave drops the ban hammer

The new CS2 VAC ban wave has hit at least 2,594 accounts between April 24 and May 7, 2024.

Unusually, the ban wave peaked twice during the two-week period. The first “mini-wave” hit a peak of 216 players on April 24 before slowing down. The bans then surged back in early May. Valve handed out 654 VAC bans for CS2 on May 3 alone, which will likely be the daily peak for this wave. Non-VAC game bans have remained normal during the period, with around 100 per day.

CS2 May 2024 vac ban wave

These numbers are taken from ConVars’ CS2 ban tracker, which represents only a small portion of the total hackers banned from the game. The actual number of bans is likely much higher, with potentially tens of thousands of accounts involved. Steam does not publicly disclose VAC ban numbers, so user-generated CS2 databases are the best metric available to measure a ban wave’s impact. 

VAC ban wave could foretell big Counter-Strike 2 update

Valve often drops VAC waves to prepare for upcoming in-game events. With the lack of a major championship in the near future, this could point to a major update for CS2.

The last major VAC ban wave for Counter-Strike was in February 2024 shortly before the release of CS2. That wave featured over 21,000 accounts banned in a single day according to ConVars’ stats. Almost immediately after, CS2 updated all of its spawn positions and made major map changes that affected gameplay. 

The timing of this VAC ban wave could indicate a potential CS2 update on the horizon. Valve has yet to release any major gameplay updates for CS2 aside from the addition of Arms Race. Fans have speculated quite a bit about a potential Operation or the return of alternate game modes like Danger Zone and Retakes. Counter-Strike fans ought to be on the lookout for something big in the near future.

Kenneth Williams is an experienced esports journalist with an affinity for Counter-Strike 2 and Dota 2. Starting as a commentator, Kenneth moved on to writing for a variety of publications including WIN.gg, esports.gg, and Dexerto. He loves bouncing between the rush of a new competitive release and honing his skills in games as old as he is. When not writing, he tries to find time for fighting game tournaments and Dota 2 draft leagues.