Valve warns Counter-Strike 2 players: use AMD's Anti-Lag feature, get banned

Counter-Strike 2
(Image credit: Valve)

Some Counter-Strike 2 players are receiving VAC bans after installing the latest AMD driver update, and Valve says the culprit is an anti-lag feature. Driver update 23.10.1, released earlier this week, fixed stuttering and crash issues with CS2, and added driver support for Assassin's Creed Mirage, Forza Motorsport, and The Lords of the Fallen. It also added CS2 support for Anti-Lag+, AMD's Nvidia Reflex-equivalent tech that lowers input latency.

Following a Reddit thread that raised the alarm about inexplicable bans among AMD users, the official CS2 Twitter account confirmed the cause and issued a statement advising all AMD users to turn off Anti-Lag+ until the issue is fixed.

"If you are an AMD customer and play CS2, DO NOT ENABLE ANTI-LAG/+; any tampering with CS code will result in a VAC ban," the post reads. "Once AMD ships an update we can do the work of identifying affected users and reversing their ban."

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Anti-Lag+, which is only supported in the RX 7000 series cards and newer, minimizes input lag by "applying frame alignment within the game code itself, allowing for a better frame syncing which leads to even lower latency and great gaming experiences," according to the AMD website.

It sounds like the way Anti-Lag injects itself into a game's code, "detouring engine dll functions" as Valve says, is interpreted as unauthorized tampering and triggers a VAC ban. Valve's statement suggests it does not plan to adjust VAC on its end to allow for Anti-Lag+, and will instead wait for AMD to issue a patch. 

If you've already been banned as a result of Anti-Lag+, Valve says it will begin reversing bans once the driver issue is resolved. There's no indication that using Nvidia Reflex, which has been officially supported since CS2's launch two weeks ago, carries any risk of a ban.

AMD has yet to comment on the situation or give a timeline for a potential update, but I expect it's a high priority.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.