CS:GO Stats | Find out how CS:GO's ranking system works!

CS:GO's matchmaking rank system explained!

Understand how far you want to take your CS:GO career

As with most games that focus on competitive online multiplayer, CS:GO’s ranking system is meant to provide some semblance of where a player ranks skillswise in a way that allows the game to do a better job of matching them with similarly skilled opponents.

Percentage of players in each skill-group

Counter-Strike’s system ranges from Silver I and finishes up at The Global Elite. You climb the ranks by winning matches against other players, the better the players you defeat, the more points you earn towards the next rank.

It also works in reverse however, so if you lose a match and the players you lose to have a much rank that is much lower than yours, you will lose more points and be one step closer to being demoted. It is a constant battle to stay at the top of the CS:GO food chain.

Regardless of how deep into the metagame of Counter-Strike you plan on delving, improving yourself and therefore your rank is a key part of the game. And remember, the game at that level is just as much mental as it is based on skill.

Explaining the rankings

There are 18 ranks in three different categories. All of which essentially group players into skill tiers and knowledge of the game.

Silver rank players are the up-and-comers in the game that starts at Silver I and ends at Silver Elite Master - a name that sounds much grander than the position actually is. They are the bright-eyed youths attempting their first matches and looking to get better any way they can. Or they might be one of many professional players ‘smurfing’ on a new account that make it extremely difficult for those newbies to climb into the next rank.

Escaping the ‘hell’ that is Silver is something that has been difficult to manage for a long time now, but the simplest way is to find a solid group of people to squad up with. This will hopefully help your consistency out and net you enough wins to push to the middle of the battlefield.

The Novas start at Gold Nova I and ends with Gold Nova Master. This is the proving ground where players need more than just good aim to advance. Learning about economy, smokes, sprays, and other more advanced techs in the meta will help you grind upwards here. Once you hit the higher Nova tiers, you can finally claim you are quote-unquote good at the game.

Welcome to Master Guardian, otherwise known as the final barrier to the true elite. This is where honing your craft and a practice routine becomes necessary to push forward. You won’t break out of these ranks without at least putting effort into perfecting your game. Coordination, advanced positioning, and advanced skills in basic CS:GO techs are the minimum here.

If you manage to push out of Distinguished Master Guardian - congrats in advance - and into Legendary Eagle, you can pat yourself on the back and call yourself elite. This is where the game is always played at the highest level and you need to constantly improve to take on the challenge. Good luck in pushing for the coveted Global Elite. You will need it.

These rankings are all much more complex than just the basic profile rankings and is factored by several different calculations that combine to form the Elo rating system. Though, according to Valve, CS:GO uses a modified Glicko-2 model that focuses more on consistency than kills.

Learn more about the Glicko-2 system in WarOwl's video!

Ranking up faster

Boosting your ranking is made much more difficult in this game due to the fact no one outside of the developers at Valve actually know what goes into the calculations. Speculation leads to the standard kills and deaths not factoring in as much as MVPs and outcome consistency.

To put it into perspective, trying to find a faster way to level here is like trying to take a shortcut in Mario Kart for the first time and not knowing you need a specific item for it to work, but somehow you end up with a result that still works.

Meaning, it isn’t impossible to increase your odds of leveling up, but it isn’t an exact science.

Jamie Villanueva put it best in his piece when he said “Improving your rank is pretty rudimentary: if you win enough games, then you rank up. Losing games will derank you.”

Focus on finding your groove and actually improving at the game. There is no reason to advance to the next rank if once you get there all that will happen is your team getting smacked around because you are unprepared for that level of competition.

Don't be too concerned to rank up, if this graph shows anything, it is that it takes time and practice!

Find a reliable group of people in your same skill range to party up with as you all grind. This will help you learn the game faster since you will all be inclined to help each other out. It also instantly provides you with an advantage in the lower tiers since you aren’t just solo-queing.

And while all games rely on some luck - be that through getting good teammates or something else - you can do your best to minimize those factor’s effects.

The basics

The basic ranks or profile ranks in Counter-Strike play closely to most other competitive shooters in that they go from the base level - one - and once you reach the top level - 40 - you can prestige back to the start again and continue gaining skins and other cosmetics.

Before you can join the competitive scene, players must reach level two - or Private Rank 2 - in order to access matchmaking. Once it is available, you can play matches up until you have two competitive victories per day.

That trend continues until you reach 10 victories - so a minimum of five days must be spent playing the game to reach this point - and then the game mode will become fully unlocked and your first rank which will be displayed directly under your username. Thus, the switch from focusing on the 40-level chart to the competitive rank begins.