How CSGO ranks work

CSGO Ranks 2023 – Explanation of CS:GO Matchmaking Ranking System

5 min

Having trouble understanding CSGO ranks? CSGO doesn’t provide much in-game information to help you navigate the ranking system. It’s also important to note that earning higher ranks in CSGO takes longer compared to other popular first-person shooters like Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch.

Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO) has seen a continuous increase in player count, with over 1.8 million players during peak hours. This means there are numerous new players trying to learn and adapt to one of the best PC games of all time. However, with 18 different CSGO ranks and no progress bar, climbing the ladder can be challenging. To assist you in this multiplayer game, here is an explanation of CSGO’s ranking system.

How do CSGO ranks work?

Unlike CS2 ranks and rating system, the distribution of CSGO ranks seems somewhat mysterious. However, based on available information from rank-up trends and a slip-up from a Valve employee in 2015, we have managed to gather some insights.

CSGO uses the Glicko-2 system to determine player ranks. This system focuses on rating volatility and deviations rather than considering round disparity or other factors like the ELO system. Valve has made modifications to the Glicko-2 system for CSGO, but the specifics of these modifications remain unknown. Nevertheless, using information available online about Glicko-2, we can explain how the CSGO ranking system works in 2023.

The CSGO ranking system assigns a numerical range to a hidden Match Making Rating (MMR). The system constantly looks for variations and spikes in player performance. For example, if your assigned MMR range is 1500-2500, winning multiple games won’t change your rank until you do something exceptional. The higher your rating variability (RD), the greater your chances of ranking up.

If you play around 20 games daily, the CSGO ranking system will have more consistent data to determine your rank. If you consistently perform at your skill level, the system won’t push you out of your rank because it has already determined your level of skill.

However, if you have a volatile history with many ups and downs, the system will notice the high variation and struggle to accurately place you. This situation ultimately increases your chances of ranking up. Players may use this information to their advantage by taking breaks when their rank becomes stagnant. Sometimes, allowing your rank to expire and then surprising the system with exceptional performances can spike the variance and lead to a higher rank.

What are the CSGO ranks?

The 18 ranks in CSGO are divided into six tiers:

  • Silver
  • Gold Nova
  • Guardian
  • Eagle
  • SMFC
  • Global Elite

The lowest CSGO rank is Silver I, while The Global Elite is reserved for the most skilled players in competitive Counter-Strike. It is unclear if CS2 will follow a similar ranking system.

Here is the complete list of CSGO ranks from lowest to highest:

  • 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

CSGO ranks distribution

Wondering who you will be matched against in CSGO? Well, most players fall into the Gold Nova ranks. In 2023, approximately 34.68% of the player base is in the Gold Nova rank, while 31.93% are in the Silver ranks.

The lower ranks in CSGO are filled with highly competitive players, making it challenging for many to progress. However, reaching higher ranks can bring significant rewards. If you manage to climb out of the Silver ranks, you will join the top 0.75% of players known as the Global Elites.

Here is the breakdown of the CSGO ranks:

  • Silver I: 3.9%
  • Silver II: 4.23%
  • Silver III: 4.37%
  • Silver IV: 5.21%
  • Silver Elite: 6.44%
  • Silver Elite Master: 7.78%
  • Gold Nova I: 8.76%
  • Gold Nova II: 8.79%
  • Gold Nova III: 9.05%
  • Gold Nova Master: 8.08%
  • Master Guardian I: 7.55%
  • Master Guardian II: 6.61%
  • Master Guardian Elite: 5.24%
  • Distinguished Master Guardian: 4.15%
  • Legendary Eagle: 3.25%
  • Legendary Eagle Master: 3.2%
  • Supreme Master First Class: 2.64%
  • The Global Elite: 0.75%

How to get ranked in CSGO

To earn a rank in CSGO, you must reach level two by playing any standard game mode such as Deathmatch, Demolition, Arms Race, or Casual. Once you reach level two, you can access ranked matches. Winning ten matches is necessary to receive a rank in CSGO. While you are not ranked, you will be matched with players of various skill levels to help the game determine your appropriate rank.

Even if you win all ten initial matches without a single loss, the highest initial rank you can achieve is Legendary Eagle Master. It’s important to note that you can only earn two wins per day while working towards your rank to deter smurfing and hacking. Once you have completed your ten matches, you will receive your CSGO rank, which will be displayed next to your username on the match scoreboard.

Is Gold Nova a good rank in CSGO?

The Gold Nova tier is the most populated in CSGO, with the average player falling into the Gold Nova II rank. However, earning this rank is not easy, especially for inexperienced CSGO players.

In early 2023, many returning players noticed that they were placed lower than their previous rank. Depending on your previous rank, it is possible to start playing competitive mode at the Silver ranks. Skilled players should quickly climb to their appropriate rank as Valve adjusts it accordingly. This even applies when losing games. If your kill-death ratio is higher than everyone else’s in a match, you should still rank up if your team doesn’t perform to your standards.

Novas have a range of skills but generally possess a basic understanding of advanced components in CSGO such as recoil, spray patterns, and popular smoke and flashbang spots. New players are likely to start in one of the Silver ranks, which consists of both smurfs and new players with a basic understanding of the game’s mechanics, maps, weapons, and economy.

Master Guardian is home to players with a comprehensive understanding of the game and its tactical and gameplay intricacies. Reaching higher ranks like Supreme Master First Class requires honing your skills to perfection.

How to rank up in CSGO

In CSGO, simply aiming for a high score is not enough to rank up. Winning games is the most crucial factor in CSGO’s matchmaking system, which is based on the Elo and Glicko-2 ranking systems used in chess.

Wins are the fastest way to rank up in CSGO, although maintaining a high kill-death ratio can help mitigate deranking. To rank up quickly, it is beneficial to play with a group of skilled players who share your goal of reaching the Global Elite rank. Avoiding trolls and griefers will also contribute to a positive experience.

MMR (Match Making Rating) plays a crucial role in your journey to rank up. If you win against a team with a higher MMR than yours, your rating will increase significantly compared to winning against expected opponents, and vice versa.

The ranking system is more complex and considers factors such as the frequency and consistency of your play. While playing numerous games in a row may seem like a good strategy to rank up, the number of points gained or lost decreases for each consecutive game. Playing one or two games per day consistently over a week will be more valuable than cramming all those games into one session. It’s also better for your overall well-being.

Many players complain about not ranking up despite a long winning streak. However, the reason could be that the points gained from the last few wins in the streak are less significant compared to the initial wins.

The release of Counter-Strike 2 means CSGO is now unplayable. However, the information in this guide still applies to CS2’s competitive mode, so you can still benefit from it. To further enhance your CSGO skills, take a look at our CSGO tips guide. If you want to catch up on all the changes in Counter-Strike 2, including upgrades to smoke grenades, check out our guide. Lastly, if you’re interested in CS2 skins, we have all the information you need to create impressive loadouts.