Counter-Strike: Global Offensive uses a special ranking system to fairly queue players in matchmaking. The only problem is there are as many as four different, parallel ranks in the game. Sounds complicated!
CS.MONEY here to tell you how to figure out what all of these ranks mean.
You can view your current rank in the right menu, under your profile picture. The first rank displayed is the one gained for experience. Near it, you’ll see an XP bar showing the progress towards the next rank. Experience can be gained by playing in competitive mode or in special modes — or participating in Overwatch.
Among all rank types, the experience ranks are the largest category: they are comprised of levels from 0 to 40. When you reach the maximum level, the progress will be reset and a medal will appear in your inventory. However, the important thing about experience is not the medals but the fact that you can’t enjoy the entirety of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive experience until you reach a certain level.
Competitive mode becomes available after you reach 6000 experience points, and joining Prime matchmaking is only possible when your level is 21 or above! To reach this level, you’ll have to farm as many as 101,000 XP.
To prevent players from abusing the system, Valve introduced restrictions on the amount of XP gained per week: you can’t earn more than 5000 “net” experience points within a week. A 3x multiplier is applied to the first 3500 points and an x1 multiplier to the remaining 1500 points.
As you see, it’s not that complicated. Just play and gain your first level 21 as soon as possible. After that, Prime matchmaking will be available permanently
Right below the experience bar, there’s the current rank. Three ranks, to be precise. Those are the ranks in competitive mode, in Wingman mode, and in Battle Royale. They are calculated separately and function when queuing in the respective mode.
For competitive and Wingman modes, identical systems are used (independently of each other). All players who have passed calibration fall into one of the eighteen skill groups. They are as follows:
- Silver 1
- Silver 2
- Silver 3
- Silver 4
- Silver Elite
- Silver Elite Master
- Gold Nova 1
- Gold Nova 2
- Gold Nova 3
- Gold Nova Master
- Master Guardian 1
- Master Guardian 2
- Master Guardian Elite
- Distinguished Master Guardian
- Legendary Eagle
- Legendary Eagle Master
- Supreme Master First Class
- The Global Elite
For your first calibration, you’ll need to win ten times — for all subsequent ones, just one win or tie is required. The rank can be lost because of inactivity for more than a month — in this case, the player will need to calibrate it again. Battle Royale mode has its own rank hierarchy, with only fifteen ranks.
The game uses the Glicko-2 system to calculate a player’s rank. Compared to Dota 2’s Elo system, it has both advantages and disadvantages. The main problem is the system’s tardiness when playing for a long time. The more you play with one and the same rank, the more often and better you need to play to rank up. That’s why getting stuck on the same level is rather common in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Third-party services like FACEIT also have their own rating systems. With such services, the formula for calculating — or at least changing — the rating is normally shown in a simpler and clearer way.
How Do I Rank Up?
Win. The main driver of ranking up is a high percentage of wins. Ideally, of course, you should be the best player in the team, collect all MVPs, make headshots with every second shot, and blind a hundred opponents during a match. But in reality, you can’t achieve everything at once, so the main tool for ranking up is wins.
You can win more often by playing with your friends, honing your personal skill, for example, by practicing your aim, or just by playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for a result, not for frags.
Learning theory can help a great deal when improving your skills. Over the 8 years of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, all the mechanics have already been analyzed as thoroughly as possible, and the maps scrutinized to the smallest detail. The use of grenade throws, coordination with teammates, and accurate shooting will greatly increase the win percentage and, as a result, the rank.
You can find some useful tips in our guides:
The same is true for third-party platforms. The more victories, the higher the rank. This is a given.