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Ultimate guide to the CS:GO ranking system

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Ultimate guide to the CS:GO ranking system

Ultimate guide to the CS:GO ranking system

Thu Feb 17 2022 04:01:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Counter-Strike has become one of the top first-person shooter games in the industry since its first release in 2000. Valve decided to up their game and release a revamped version instead after countless updates on the patch of the old Counter-Strike mould.

Released in 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) eventually became a cult favourite because it caters to both previous and new fans. There were also a lot of changes applied for a more interactive gameplay and high-quality gaming experience.

Players all over the world can participate in a team fight where they can either play as the Terrorists or the Counter-Terrorists. Players are on the run to increase their CS:GO rankings as its competitive scene grows larger each year.

The ranking system is quite complex and it takes some time to understand. But, you’ll eventually get the grasp of learning it the more you play. Here is an in-depth guide on how the CS:GO ranking system works and ways you can increase your rank.

How can a player rank?

If you’re new to CS:GO, you might want to put in a bit of time to earn your stripes. The ranking system ranges from 1 to 40 with aesthetic skin drops and occasional service medals for the time you have dedicated to the game.

There is also competitive matchmaking that you can unlock once you reach level 2. To do so, play any game modes such as the Arms Race, Casual, Death Match, and Danger Zone. It is also the level where some of the best CS:GO fighters are found. However, your rank won’t be shown until you’ve won 10 competitive matchmaking games.

In the meantime, you will be placed in random games with players from different ranks. You’ll still play with lower-ranked players until you are at least halfway into the rank placement process.

Playing with a new account will restrict you to two competitive wins a day until you reach your 10th. Realistically speaking, you need to play at least 5 days and win 2 games each day. Your rank will only appear in every matchmaking set after winning 10 straight matches.

Once you earn your first stripes, your rank will be shown under your username as soon as the start-up screen appears. Moreover, you can only see your team’s ranks if you're in a match. 

CS:GO ranks list

CS:GO’s hierarchy has 18 ranks. Here is the order from top to bottom:

  • The Global Elite (TGE)
  • Supreme First Master Class (SMFC)
  • Legendary Eagle Master (LEM)
  • Legendary Eagle (LE)
  • Distinguished Master Guardian (DMG)
  • Master Guardian Elite (MGE)
  • Master Guardian II (MG2)
  • Master Guardian I (MSG1)
  • Gold Nova IV (GN4)
  • Gold Nova III (GN3)
  • Gold Nova I (GN1)
  • Silver IV (S4)
  • Silver III (S3)
  • Silver II (S2)
  • Silver I (S1)

What does your CS:GO rank mean?

Players are classified based on their tier. It might not be obvious but players show similar behaviours and tendencies as other players within their same ranking tier.

For example, a Master Guardian Elite typically knows the game more like how the economic system works which means they require little to no communication.

Silvers, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the tier. It’s where rookie players are usually ranked. However, there are some more advanced players who use a new account to play at lower tiers to exploit skill differences. This is what’s known as ‘smurfing’ which does happen frequently in lower-levelled games.

If you’re a beginner, ranking up beyond silver can be a challenging task because smurf accounts do join in your lobbies once in a while.

Levels above Master Guardians is where you’ll meet the elite players of the game. They are also considered as the cream of the crop of CS:GO. Moreover, those who are in Master classes are either full-time CS:GO players or esports players who get paid a lot of money to play in the professional scene. 


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Ranking up tips for CS:GO beginners

Ranking up in CS:GO is simple: play games and win them. If you lose, you get deranked which means that you go back to your previous rank. You might not think about this too much, but having the best equipment for CS:GO like a high-end mouse and a tactile keyboard changes your overall gaming experience.

Moreover, CS:GO follows a modified version of the Glicko-2 ranking system. This is an algorithm that evaluates a player’s skill set based on their round influence and if their team wins said round. 

There are many factors considered when ranking players. This includes the number of kills, deaths, assists, and damage. You can also rank up through bomb plants that affect a hidden value that will greatly determine your place in the CS:GO ranking system.

One of the best ways to rank up is winning the match instead of focusing on the number of skills. This simply means that it is still difficult to rank up even if you have the most number of kills if your team lost the match.

There are two definitive ways to rank up efficiently. These are:

Play with players who share the same goals

A lot of players only want to have fun with the game. After all, playing video games is one of the best ways to destress and just have a great time. However, there are those who seriously want to rank up rather than play casually. 

To have a higher chance of winning that leads to ranking up, you need to play with those who also want to rank up as well. To get started, message a player and see how they react to pings and team re-groups. This will show who is more committed to playing CS:GO.

If you feel like a player is as dedicated as you in ranking up, then you should add them to your friend list.

Avoid solo queuing

Playing solo also runs the risk of playing among griefers. These are players who intentionally lose the game to make fun of more serious players. When you queue with actual friends either in real life or online, you diminish the opportunity of a random player online who can be a griefer.

Also, there is a good chance that the rankings of your teammates when solo queuing will have ranks from across the spectrum of your tier. For example, you could be a Gold Nova IV player, but your teammates can be lower ranked than you of the same tier which can compromise your chances.

A Gold Nova I may be your teammate who just recently ranked up to Nova tier from Silver. This means that they can still be picking things up when you’re a few steps to becoming a Master Guardian I. As much as possible, match up with a party to eliminate the possibility of ranking disparity.

Prime: Combatant of cheaters

Prime is a premium feature for players who bought CS:GO before it turned into a free-to-play game. Players who are level 21 or above can also enjoy this feature.

When you are serious about ranking up fast, prime is a great way to mitigate aimbotters and wall hackers who cheat. If you enable prime, you will also be queued with other prime users who are sure-fire players who don’t cheat.

This way, you can enjoy a match while ensuring yourself that no hacker is trying to exploit you and therefore diminishing your chances of ranking up faster.

Play at an elite level in CS:GO!

Nevertheless, playing CS:GO is not all about ranking. With practice and dedication to win, your rank will eventually increase. 

When ranking, you can potentially get better at first-person-shooting games in general like Valorant which also relies on accurate aiming and learning the mechanics. Adding the skill set of being great as a first-person shooter player also makes you a better gamer overall.

While most will tell you that the CS:GO ranking system is just a title, it’s still a proud emblem of your experience with a game that was devoted so much time and effort to make you enjoy the best gaming session you’ll ever have.

Words by: Vonn Consul


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Ultimate guide to the CS:GO ranking system