CS:GO Ranks & Ranking System [Updated in 2021]

CS:GO Ranks and How do They Work

ranks in csgo

As in most online games, Counter-Strike with Global Offensive also has a ranking system – this is how it is determined which skill rating the player is in. If you want to work your way up here, you should understand the different ranks and the system behind them.

When you start CS:GO for the first time, you immediately notice the lack of a rank badge next to the player name. Because this badge is earned in CS:GO only by participating in games in competitive mode or, for short, in “Ranked”. However, this must first be unlocked, with non-competitive modes such as casual, deathmatch, etc. As soon as the player has reached profile rank 2, he can start immediately in the ranked.

In competitive mode, ten victories must now be achieved – sounds easy, but unfortunately it is not. Because there are the other players who are matched together by an algorithm. From absolute newbies to experienced players, everything can be included. And even if you finally manage to win a few matches, you can only achieve two victories per day, so that the desired rank is achieved in the best case after five days.

The long-awaited tenth victory finally brings first place on the global offensive. Depending on how the player performed personally and how long it took them to win ten wins, the profile is assigned one of the 18 ranks of the game.

CS:GO Ranks/Skill Groups

If you have won at least ten matchmaking games, the skill group you are in will now be displayed in the main menu. Depending on how well you play, you will be assigned to a certain group so that the matchmaking system finds the most suitable opponents. However, this only applies to the Classic Competitive Mode, all other game modes are independent of this ranking system.

If you get better, you naturally rise over time and face ever stronger opponents. But how many groups are there actually? And how big is the skill group you are currently in? Here is the list with all CS:GO ranks:

  • Silver I
  • Silver II
  • Silver III
  • Silver IV
  • Silver Elite
  • Silver Elite Master
  • Gold Nova I.
  • Gold Nova II
  • Gold Nova III
  • Gold Nova Master
  • Master Guardian I
  • Master Guardian II
  • Master Guardian Elite
  • Distinguished Master Guardian
  • Legendary Eagle
  • Legendary Eagle Master
  • Supreme Master First Class
  • The Global Elite

ranks csgo

Unless you’re a natural in Counter-Strike, you’ll likely get ranked in the silver region first. But be careful, this ranking category is teeming with other beginners, but also so-called grievers who want to spoil the fun of others by sticking to the rules, but playing more obstructive than target-oriented. There are also many smurf accounts, i.e. secondary profiles of players whose main account is ranked much higher. These are either used to be able to play with poorly ranked friends or just to have fun without having to make an effort.

Getting out of the silver ranks is accordingly a tough task that many have failed to achieve. But don’t worry, with the right attitude and an understanding of the ranking system it is quite possible to work your way up to the gold nova realms and even beyond.

Placement in a skill group

To get a rank, you must first win ten Classic Competitive Matches. However, you can have a maximum of two victories per day during this time. Then you get a cooldown and cannot play competitive matches again until the next day.

If you have won ten matches, you are classified in a skill group. From then on you can play an unlimited number of matches.

Note: Before you can even use competitive matchmaking, you must have reached at least level 2 in the Profile Ranks.

How does the CS:GO ranking system work?

On the Internet you can find a lot of explanations about how the ranking system in CS:GO supposedly works. But the fact is that a lot of it is pure speculation and some of it is just wrong. The thing is, Valve itself has given extremely little information about how the system works.

However, Vitaliy Genkin made a few statements about how the ranking system works in a statement on Reddit. Although it does not reveal any details, it describes the idea on which the system is based.

The ranking system in CS:GO is based on the Glicko 2 system or has ideas from it as a basis. Such rating systems are used, among other things, in chess to indicate the skill level of players. The Glicko-2 rating system works like the Elo system with a rating number for players, but contains two additional variables. The variable RD (“ratings deviation”) indicates how much a player’s rating deviates from his actual strength. If you play a lot, you have a low RD value because the rating number becomes more accurate with each match. If you don’t play, the RD value increases slowly but steadily. Then there is the “rating volatility”, which is represented by the Greek letter sigma. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to them as RV at this point. This variable indicates how consistently a player plays. The more consistently you play, the lower the RV value.

These two variables ensure that not only scores are compared with one another. Instead, it increases the reliability of the assessment and takes fluctuations into account. This is useful, for example, when playing against players who have not been active for a long time and who are therefore difficult to assess by the system.

Valve took the Glicko-2 system as the basis for the CS:GO ranking, but adapted it over time so that it better suits the game. After all, CS:GO has a different gameplay and different focus than, for example, chess. How exactly these adjustments look is unknown.

CS:GO is a team game, so the decisive factor is certainly whether you win or lose a match. Nevertheless, individual performance also counts to a certain extent. However, it remains uncertain whether this will be linked to the K/D ratio, the MVPs or other factors. A wide variety of statements about this are circulating on the Internet, but you should not really rely on any of them. Most of it is pure speculation. You should just try to play as well as you can, even when you are losing.

Based on the ranks of the individual players, the ranking system always predicts how the match will end in advance. At the end, the actual result is compared with the forecast. So it doesn’t matter if you lose to better players – the system assumed that is how the match will end.

Why doesn’t Valve reveal any details about how the ranks are calculated?

One of the most obvious reasons is that Valve wants to avoid players just looking to rise in rank and forgetting about team play. Even so, the so-called “boosting”, ie the dragging of worse players to higher ranks, is a real nuisance. If all the details about the functioning of the ranking system were known, then this could possibly be exploited. The ranks would then lose their meaningfulness and the whole system would be pointless.

csgo ranks

When do you get an uprank or a downrank?

It all depends on what kind of opponents you are presented with and how you fight against them. To get an uprank, you should win more against equally strong and stronger opponents. If you lose more often to players who have a lower rank than yourself, then you get downranked.

Distribution of players to the ranks

The skill group reflects where you stand compared to other players. The distribution of the players on the ranks graphically shows a bell curve. In a presentation on music in Valve games, composer Mike Morasky revealed that around 50% of players were Gold Nova 3 or lower, and around 95% of players were Distinguished Master Guardian or lower. This statement also coincides with the idea of ​​a bell curve. We have shown this normal distribution as a bar chart.

Even if there is no other official information on the distribution of the players via the ranks, we can assume that this graph is very close to the actual distribution. The ranks Gold Nova 3 and Gold Nova Master thus form the golden mean and comprise around a quarter of all players.

The following list expresses the distribution again in raw numbers. The percentages behind the ranks indicate what percentage of all players are in this rank. Although the figures are only estimates based on the assumption of a normal distribution, they can certainly be used as a guide.

  • Silver 1: 0.43%
  • Silver 2: 0.56%
  • Silver 3: 1.45%
  • Silver 4: 2.51%
  • Silver Elite: 4.39%
  • Silver Elite Master: 7.01%
  • Gold Nova 1: 9.11 %
  • Gold Nova 2: 11.61%
  • Gold Nova 3: 12.93%
  • Gold Nova Master: 12.93%
  • Master Guardian 1: 11.61%
  • Master Guardian 2: 9.11%
  • Master Guardian Elite: 7.01%
  • Distinguished Master Guardian : 4.39%
  • Legendary Eagle: 2.51%
  • Legendary Eagle Master: 1.45%
  • Supreme Master First Class: 0.56%
  • The Global Elite: 0.43%

This also explains why there are sometimes massive differences between players of the same rank in the Gold Nova and Master Guardian ranks. There are simply a lot of players in these ranks.

Automatic adjustment of the ranks

As described above, the players should always be distributed across the ranks in a normal distribution. Due to the strong growth in the player base, over time, however, more and more players gathered in the upper echelons. In December 2015, Valve responded and made a manual adjustment. Many players rose unexpectedly and sometimes several times in rank. A short time later, Brian Levinthal confirmed the adjustment to the ranks in a statement on Reddit.

Valve has only adjusted the limits of the individual skill groups. Since the matchmaking system works with an underlying value and uses this to select the opponents, the quality of the matches did not change for the players. So that such interventions are no longer necessary in the future, the system has been revised so that the distribution of players is automatically monitored and kept constant in the future.

Skill Groups FAQ

What is a skill group?

Like an ELO rating in chess, the CS:GO Skill Groups predict how well players will do when they play against others. Two equally strong teams should win the same number of games on average when they compete against each other.

I’m not a very good player. Should I still use competitive matchmaking?

Absolutely. Competitive matchmaking will put you up against other players of similar skill, making it more of a fun match than entering a random game.

Where are the skill groups displayed?

Skill groups are displayed in the main menu, in lobbies and in the scoreboard during a match. (As soon as the skill group is determined.)

Where can I see my own skill group?

When your group has been determined and you have won at least 10 competitive matches, your skill group will be displayed in the main menu.

When will Skill Group emblems appear in the lobby?

If a player is in a skill group, the corresponding emblem is visible to other players in lobbies.

When are Skill Group emblems visible in the scoreboard?

The emblem of players with a defined skill group is visible to their friends at all times. At the end of a match, after the last remacht, the emblem is also displayed to all other players.

Should I avoid playing with less skilled friends because they will damage my rating?

No. First, the matchmaking system takes your less talented friend into account when looking for a match. Second, the system predicts how well each team member will do in a match. If you lose a match with a less skilled friend on the team, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on your skill group. If you always play as well as possible, your skill group will provide you with suitable team members and opponents.

How can you predict my talent with just 10 games won?

When you play your first match we have no idea how good you are. If you play more matches, we’ll use those wins and losses to make predictions about which group we think you should be in. The more games you play, the more secure the system is in predicting which players you should play against. Winning 10 games gives us enough data to confidently place you in a skill group that we think will bring you together with other players at your level.

Why do I see a wide range of skill groups on the scoreboard at the end of a match? Shouldn’t everyone have the same group?

Most matches only have a small selection of skill groups. If you see a wider range of skill groups, then chances are those players came into the match as a group of friends.

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