The inspect animation is just one of many factors.

If you’re looking into buying your first CS2 knife, you may be shocked by the prices on Butterfly Knives. Despite their relatively small size, these knives easily outprice every other option. Even the cheapest Butterflies sell for upwards of $700 on the Steam Market, which is over six times the price of the cheapest Navaja. Sure, the flipping animation is cool, but why is the Butterfly Knife so much more expensive than anything else in CS2?

As with many questions about CS2 skins, the answer comes down to aesthetics, availability, and memes.

Why the Butterfly Knife is the most expensive melee in CS2

Popular Animation

The first major factor pushing the price of Butterflies is the animation. In CS2, all knives have a unique inspect animation including the default one. Many knives, especially those added later in the game, have rare animations that play on inspect. The Butterfly, however, has three different inspect animations and two different draw animations. This makes it the most entertaining knife to hold, which naturally makes it more desirable.

A Butterfly Fade paired with Sport Gloves | Vice (Image via <a href="https://twitter.com/Dragy" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">@Dragy</a>/Valve)
A Butterfly Fade paired with Sport Gloves | Vice (Image via @Dragy/Valve)

Pattern Interaction

The second reason is its unique interaction with patterns. The thin blade of the Butterfly only uses a small chunk of the finish texture, which results in many unique patterns unavailable on any other knives. There are around 70 different blue gem patterns for the Butterfly, the most of any knife. Fades tend to have tighter color spectrums while Marble Fades have a fuller palette, both of which are desirable to some. Butterfly Slaughters have a ton of special patterns, and certain examples were among the most expensive knives in the early days before CS2.

Supply and Demand

Lastly, it's a matter of supply. The Butterfly Knife is only available in five different cases, all of which are quite expensive as a result.

  • Operation Breakout Weapon Case
  • Spectrum Case
  • Spectrum 2 Case
  • Operation Riptide Case
  • Dreams & Nightmares Case
An Emerald paired with Sport Gloves | Hedge Maze (Image via <a href="https://twitter.com/filimon_trade">@filimon_trade</a>/Valve)
An Emerald paired with Sport Gloves | Hedge Maze (Image via @filimon_trade/Valve)

In addition, many of these cases have exclusive finishes for the Butterfly. The Breakout Case, for example, is the only case to get Case Hardened and Fade Butterflies. Lore and Gamma Dopplers are exclusive to Riptide and Dreams & Nightmares. Spectrums contain Marble Fades, Dopplers, and Tiger Tooths. The harsh split means that the supply of desirable patterns is particularly low, further driving up prices.

Those three factors effectively create a feedback loop where any given Butterfly Knife is almost always the most expensive model for any finish. The Karambit and M9 Bayonet lag behind, though the former has a massive claim to fame over the Butterfly.

The Karambit is the runner-up for most expensive knife model

Karambits are often considered the second-best knife to open, as they have a very high average price across all finishes. Similarly to the Butterfly, it combines a unique blade shape and a flashy inspect animation. However, the Karambit has a much larger supply, being available in over a dozen cases.

A StatTrak™ Karambit | Autotronic (Image via <a href="https://twitter.com/CS2Game">@CS2Game</a>/Valve)
A StatTrak™ Karambit | Autotronic (Image via @CS2Game/Valve)

Of course, when it comes to value debates, Karambit fans can always play a trump card. The absolute most valuable knife in the game is a Factory New 387 blue gem Karambit | Case Hardened, which is estimated to be worth $1.5 million. Blue gems are the peak of knife prices, and the massive blade on the Karambit gives it a higher peak than the smaller Butterfly.

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