Stickers are like an extra topping that makes your food even more delicious. Take an average looking skin and slap some matching stickers on it, and you get a beautiful combo.
Sticker combinations can represent the personality, style and preferences of a player. That's why "crafting" became a hobby which a lot of CS:GO players enjoy, they’ve even created communities to share their passion and creative crafts.
Tournament stickers tend to have a higher value than regular stickers since the demand is higher thanks to a combination of the expanding esport scene, their sentimental value — as fans love to cheer for their favorite teams — and most importantly, these stickers end up becoming part of the game’s history.
Throughout the years, scandals have shaped the prices of many infamous skins and stickers including the iBUYPOWER sticker from EMS Katowice 2014, and the current most epensive regular sticker in game, which came about as part of a scandal and permanent bans against the creators.
History of the Howl Scandal
Back in 2014, two community members decided to submit a skin and a sticker to the workshop, all normal so far. According to "sic" who by that time had plenty of submissions, the design was inspired by the other artist Auzzie’s dog — with the skin being named Howl. The skin received a warm welcome from the community and eventually made its way to the game; until Valve got hit with a DMCA complaint by "CanisAlbus" the artist behind the original design that was stolen for the M4A4 Howl and Howling Dawn sticker.
As a result, The skin was changed and both artists were banned from Steam indefinitely.
It was the first skin for "Auzzie" who actually stole the design, and unfortunately for "sic" he made the skin live, but killed all his work and future career by being part of the scandal.
Any item that "sic" has worked on got discontinued and removed from the game, including many popular skins and four of the most expensive regular stickers we have today.
One capsule, four discontinued stickers
The Community Sticker Capsule One was introduced as part of "The Hunt Begins" update alongside the Huntsman Case and Bank Collection.
Right after the “Howl” scandal occurred, Valve took action against “sic”, who contributed to both the sticker capsule and the Huntsman case. That resulted in removing six total skins from the case — including the M4A4 Howl and four stickers from the capsule.
The removed stickers are now sitting on top of the most expensive regular stickers list at incredibly high prices according to our research on buff.163.com.
The Howling Dawn was the only sticker that got a makeover and was changed to "Contraband" rarity because of the DMCA complaint.
Though it’s one of the most expensive regular stickers today, that wasn’t always the case.
In fact, The price only took off at the end of 2019 when it spiked from $200 to over $1200 USD by the end of the year. It's currently sitting at $1700 USD after months of being stable around $800-$900 USD.
King on the Field:
“King on the battlefield! The best one on the battlefield," read the item’s description on release, which fits perfectly with the design. But on June 12, 2014 it became the "falling king" after it was removed from the capsule.
The King on the Field sticker took even more time for it to start gaining popularity among players, the price started to shoot for the stars at the beginning of 2021 to reach over $1500 USD (sale price) by the end of that year. In today's market, it costs anywhere between $1000 to $1300 USD depending on the marketplace.
Harp of War:
Arguably one of the best looking stickers from the capsule, the Harp of War sticker was inspired by a character from the cartoon “Mickey and the Beanstalk." But instead of a mysterious thief who stole a musical Singing Harp, it’s a brave soldier in battle fighting for his life.
The original steam submission included the sticker in a Paperback, Holographic foil and Glossy version. Following the same route as the previous stickers, this particular sticker had a low value from its release up until late 2019. The current price is anywhere from $700 to $800 USD, though a single recent sale was made for $1500 USD.
The last and most kawaii sticker out of the four, the Winged Defuser was worked on by a total of seven artists including; "Nextgenz", "Dirp", "irecon" and "Klint", as well as the makers of the Harp of War skin. The sticker had a much better holo version but Valve unfortunately only accepted the paper version.
This sticker is the least valued among the removed stickers from the community capsule. It only reached the $300 USD mark by the end of 2021 and is currently priced at ∼$550 USD.
What happened to "sic" is unfortunate, as according to him, he had no clue that “Auzzie” stole the design. But since Valve took action and went to the lengths of removing anything related to him, it makes it seem like the evidence they were presented with was more than enough to ban him.
We might never know the truth, But the entire story will forever remain in the game’s history and so will all the rare stickers we crave to get a piece of today.