CS:GO ranks explained

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CS:GO matchmaking ranks

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has, like many other competitive games, a built in ranked mode where you get compete against other players in 5v5 matches. After your first ten matches in the competitive mode of the game you get a matchmaking rank to show you where you stand against the rest of the game’s population.

Valve doesn’t give out any official ranking distributions, but there are of course a number of websites and surveys out there that try to find out how the ranks are distributed among the competitive population. We’ve taken some of those surveys and websites and averaged them out in the graph that you see on the right.

Obviously these numbers can fluctuate a bit over the months and years, but from our experience there aren’t really any massive shifts in the overall population in the different ranks. Valve did change the way ranks are calculated somewhere in 2016 (which caused most players to go down a couple of ranks, leading to the overall rank distribution that we see now) but aside from that this seems to be pretty stable.

As you can see the average lies around Gold Nova 3. A little over a third of all competitive players are ranked somewhere between Gold Nova 1 and Gold Nova 4. This means that if you’ve made it to Master Guardian 1 you’re in the top 33% of players, give or take a few percentage points.

How to rank up in CS:GO

Bear in mind that, just like in any game, your rank doesn’t tell the whole story. A lot of pros are ranked somewhere around Legendary Eagle, for example. They don’t use Valve’s matchmaking (commonly abbreviated as ‘MM’) as often because they spend the majority of their playing time on third party services such as FACEIT or ESEA or private scrimmage matches. If you haven’t played for a while your rank also decays (after a month the symbol goes away and you need one win to get an actual rank back) so pros who have been Global Elite and don’t touch MM for quite some time can have their rank degrade. Of course no pro player would be stuck in the Silver ranks either, but we’re just saying that it’s never a good idea to worry about your rank too much. Focus on improving yourself first and foremost, and then your rank will follow.

In general you should be able to get to the high Gold Nova ranks with relative ease if you dedicate enough time to practicing your basic CS:GO skills, but everyone is different so we’re not going to go out on a limb here and say ‘players in rank X need to work on Y and Z to get out of said rank‘ since these things are different for each individual player. If you want to brush up on your knowledge we can point you to our CS:GO guides on our blog.

We know that this isn’t the bite sized answer you were perhaps looking for, but the fact is that no one really knows how Valve calculates your actual rank and which stats are used to give you your rank so it’s useless to try and game the system. Don’t be that guy who absolutely prioritizes getting kills over anything else because someone said your kill/death ratio is one of the most important factors for ranking up. Again: focus on being the best player (and teammate) that you can be and you’ll naturally rank up over time. If you feel stuck it can also be a great idea to have someone analyze your stats or a replay of one of your matches.

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