The M4A4 | Howl is the only contraband quality item in CS:GO — it was discontinued as artists copied its design from somewhere. However, there are still a few Howl skins in the game. This is also the reason the most expensive craft of 2021 was Howl with four iBUYPOWER (Holo) from Kato 2014.
In March 2014, a Steam user with the nickname Auzzii uploaded the M4A4 skin called Howling Dawn to the Workshop, as well as a sticker with the same name. The new skin immediately gained popularity among players. After the case release, its cost did not fall below $15 per unit. But a month later, everything changed — the real creator of the Howl pattern, CanisAlbus, found out about the skin’s release. To protect his work, he took advantage of copyright law. On 12 June, the real author filed a copyright lawsuit. “I did not upload items to the Steam Workshop, and no one received any permission from me,” the artist said angrily after learning about his creation’s theft.
On 11 June, Valve released a statement regarding the story. Thus, the skin M4A4 | Howl and the Howl sticker were no longer available. Both designs were changed, and the M4A4 Howl received Contraband rarity. The lucky ones who somehow managed to get the M4A4 | Howl before the scandal instantly got rich.
The skin was added to the game on 1 May 2014, as part of the update “The Hunt Begins”. Its designed in red and black colors. On the central part of the body, there is an image of a wolf’s head with a wide-open mouth. The image of the wolf is colored with an orange-white gradient. On other parts of the case, there are red tongues of flame. The handle is painted red as well.
Depending on the wear rate, sometimes, you can buy this skin for insane money:
- Factory New+ ST – $14,323;
- Minimal Wear +ST – $9,185;
- Minimal Wear – $3,977;
- Field-Tested – $2,999;
- Well-Worn – $2,562.
M4A4 | Howl has become the first scandalous skin in CS: GO. After it, there were still skin incidents in connection with copyright violation. For example, the skin M4A4 | Griffin. But none of them affected the game’s economy as much. In addition to Howl receiving a separate category of rarity, the skin has influenced Valve’s approach to working with the workshop.
Now the company is much less likely to turn to new artists, and more often uses the work of the proven ones. There is a warning in the FAQ on the Steam workshop that the company will not even consider skins with images that are protected by copyright.