CSGO Ranks & Ranking System Explained

All complex systems in the world have their internal ranking system. Gorillas have a ranking system. Zebras, lions, even bees have a ranking system. We, humans, are pretty much like them, and since the dawn of time, we have tried to determine the hierarchy of competence so we could choose the best among us to lead us. In addition to that, the next generations had a well-organized behavior model laid out at their feet.

The ranking system became a tool for measuring excellence, and CSGO ranking is not much different. If you look at mainstream sports, you will probably notice that within every major competition, like Premier League, for example, you can separate a certain kind of individuals who are on a different level than the others – they are in their own skill group, their own mini-zone of extraordinary competence. They have earned the status of a global elite level in their field, and their skill level is at the highest rank there is.

Have you ever thought about why that is? Why do we need to know who is the best? Where does our need to win matches come from? Ranks have been with us since we exist, and luckily, the same applies to CSGO. Competitive matchmaking is what has built CSGO into the e-sports giant that it is today, and the skill bar required to play professional matches is rising every year. The psychology of winners hasn't changed a lot as well. If you want to become the best, you need to see yourself as someone who is able to climb the ranking system, to work hard, to polish your skill, to improve your game, get to the level where playing is highly competitive, and stay there long enough to get noticed and remembered. Luckily, CSGO ranks work similarly to all the other ones, so stick with us as we will try to explain the ladder players must climb to get to the top and how you can climb it too if you put in the time, effort, and a lot of hard work. After all, you need to know that you do not become a global elite player without a couple of obstacles in the way.

All CS:GO Competitive Ranks List

  1.  CSGO Silver I (S1)
  2.  Silver 2 CSGO (S2)
  3.  Silver III (S3)
  4.  Silver IV (S4)
  5.  Silver Elite (SE)
  6.  Silver Elite Master (SEM)
  7.  Gold Nova I (GN1)
  8.  Gold Nova II (GN2)
  9.  Gold Nova III (GN3)
  10.  Gold Nova Master (GNM/GN4) 
  11.  Master Guardian I (MG/MG1) 
  12.  Master Guardian II (MG2) 
  13.  Master Guardian Elite (MGE) 
  14.  Distinguished Master Guardian CS:GO (DMG) 
  15.  Legendary Eagle (LE) 
  16.  Legendary Eagle Master (LEM CSGO) 
  17.  Supreme Master First Class (SMFC) 
  18.  Global Elite CS GO (GE) 

CS:GO Rank Distribution

As you know, the road to Global Elite is challenging, but between silver and GE are many different ranks. In the following picture, you can see the distribution of CS:GO ranks:

csgo ranks distribution

How do CSGO Ranks Work?

CSGO ranks apply to both beginners and elite players. Your place in the ranks depends on your skills, how long have you been playing, and a few other factors. There are no quick and easy ways to move up through the ranks, but it is more than worth to invest some time into improvement so that you can level up your game and an overall CSGO experience.

The basic level ranks go from one to 40. However, during that 1-40 period, the only rewards you get for leveling up are skin drops and service medals. After that, the goal is to reach another level – level 2, so that you could unlock competitive matchmaking. You can do that by playing Valve game modes like Casual, Arms Race, Demolition, Danger Zone, and DeathMatch. Once you hit level 2, you are now able to enter matchmaking, where a much better competition is waiting for you.

Ten competitive matches are needed to be won in order for your first rank to show. During those 10 matches, you will get tossed in with players from different ranks, but generally speaking, Valve has done a good job pairing players on a similar level so you won’t have many issues due to the skill gaps.

Finally, when you have done your part and earned your place in the ranks, it will be shown just under your name on the start screen, and right next to your name on the scoreboards during live matches. In addition to that, your ranks are can’t be seen by anyone who is not on your roster, and vise versa – you can see only your teammates’ ranks.

Getting Your First Rank in CSGO

Reaching the Global Elite rank is a tough challenge, but not unachievable with the right approach. There is a ton of good advice out there, and if you are ready and dedicated to following the right steps, you can make the daily changes that will propel you towards a higher position in the ranks. Also, keeping up with what the pros have to say is another way of improving your knowledge-base, so pay attention next time you are listening to Dev1ce, Elige, or others.

In order to get your first rank in CSGO, a player must complete the task that involves winning 10 placement matches. However, there is a rule that limits the number of matches to only 2 per day. There is also one good thing that Valve came up with to protect the unranked players, and that is to make it impossible for them to get queued up with any of the guys with Master Guardian II rank or higher unless they’re queueing with the whole 5-man squad.

Getting your first rank in CSGO is a great motivation you need for the progress and the victories that will come as you go further into your CSGO journey. It is also important to stay consistent so you don’t lose the “playing touch” and keep yourself up to date with the rest of the competition and your skill group.

How to Rank Up in CSGO?

You probably already know that the CSGO ranks-ladder consists out of 18 levels, differentiating the skills of players who are positioned inside of each and every one of them. They serve as an indicator of players’ competency and their status in the CSGO community. Often, a matter of ranks is a matter of pride for some players, so reaching a higher position in the ranks, or staying consistent on the current one can be quite a serious achievement to obtain.

Rising in the CSGO ranks is pretty similar to the ranking system in any other shooting game. Winning games makes you go higher in the ranks while losing games eventually makes you lose your position.

According to Valve, the players’ ranks can be impacted by the influence they have had on the outcome of the round, and their overall team success. We also cannot forget the important stats like kills, assists, deaths, damage, and other elements that show a player’s contribution to the game. However, those stats are like icing on the cake and can help your ranks only if you are not constantly losing. The primary goal is to try to push your team to be better, and as you progress together, the more you will benefit yourself, and it will be much easier to climb the ranks instead of trying to do it by chasing individual stats and accolades.

CSGO Danger Zone Ranks

CSGO Danger Zone Ranks is one of the three different ranks that players get next to their name, the other two being The Main Matchmaking ranks and The Wingman ranks. It is a special CSGO game-playing mode, designed for those who love fast-paced and exciting adventures on the map – a special kind of battle royal game with lots of tactical challenges. Players are free to choose if they want to fight single-handedly or in a group. Either way, it requires a lot of skills as it brings non stop action, and one thing is sure – no one ever got bored by participating in this kind of match.

Although Danger Zone Ranks are relatively new to the CSGO community, they have earned huge popularity and there are no signs that this game mode will be slowing down anytime soon. There is also one different feature of Danger Zone when compared to other ranks – it does not make the selection between them. It is possible for a beginning player to team up with global elite players and enter the Danger Zone battle royal. Some may like it, some may not, but it is one hell of fun when chaos gets unleashed on the map, making Danger Zone a unique place for an unforgettable CSGO experience.

CSGO Wingman Ranks

CSGO Wingman game mode might be one of the most underrated game modes in CSGO since it offers a unique set of features that unfortunately did not receive much popularity and attention. It is a very fast-paced game with a lot of missions and in-game tasks included, but never managed to win the hearts of the people. There were numerous attempts to make it an official e-sports game, but the tournaments just did not live up to the expectations.

When it comes to game difficulty, Wingman offers the ultimate simplicity and is very easy to play. First, you just need to enter the queue – you can do that alone, or you can choose to play with a teammate. Whatever your choice is, you will have fun, but most people prefer playing in doubles since it is a bit more interesting that way. The more the merrier.

After the queue (which in practice doesn’t take long), you are thrown into the game with 16 rounds total, each of them lasting 90 seconds, with only one bombsite available. The bombsite detail takes away the unnecessary waste of time while chasing around the map. In order to win, you must take 9 rounds. The tie is a possibility, so if both teams win 8 rounds each, the game ends without a winner.

As regards the Wingman ranks, they are much easier to climb due to the less competition, but nevertheless, that does not mean one should not attempt to give 100% when striving for the highest ranks this game mode offers. It might not be the most competitive solution for most players, but if you want to have fun while also working on your skills, Wingman definitely has everything you need.

Tips to Rank Up Faster in CS:GO

If you’re stuck in a “rank plateau” (unable to move up in the rankings for a long time), or just want to progress through the ranks at a faster rate than you currently are, we have a collection of tips and suggestions to help you rank up.

1. Play With a Party

Playing with a friends in a party is a great way to assure that your teammates cooperate and want to win. Starting a solo game, or game with just a single friend, is like playing Russian Roulette – but instead of a bullet firing from a gun, it’s whether or not you’re queued with a griefer, bad player, or player who doesn’t want to play with your team.

By playing with your friends, you can assure that everyone has a microphone and wants to play with the team. You can employ strategies like rushes and executes together, and won’t have people running out onto bombsites alone with the bomb on terrorist side!

2. Don’t Play Again Straight After Losing

Often after losing a game, players immediately rush into another game straight after out of frustration, and hope to win back their lost elo. This is bad because you play a lot worse when frustated (you are less patient, more likely to annoy your teammates, less focused), and also (most imporantly) because you haven’t worked out what went wrong in the last game.

Instead of playing another game straight after losing a game, take a short break from competitive matches to work out what went wrong in the previous match. You can do this by watching back your game demo via the “Watch” option from the main menu. Below are some things you might realise went wrong in the previous game, and pointers/advice to improve:

  • If you were aiming badly: practice in an FFA or deathmatch server for 15-30 minutes before playing again.
  • If your teammates were the problem: this isn’t something you can always improve on, but ask some friends (who are good at CS:GO) to join you in your next match. If you don’t have any friends to join you, start sending friend requests to players that you get along with at the end of your future games!
  • If you never had a good weapon (like an AK-47, M4A4, or AWP): make sure you have proper eco rounds in the next game.
  • Other problems include: rushing too much on either side (yes, you can rush too much on T side), not playing with your team, and playing too passively (especially on T side).

3. Limit Your Map Pool

Everyone has a favorite map on CS:GO. One where they know a few more strats than they do for other maps, or a few more smoke lineups. It only makes sense then that if you’re trying to rank up as fast as possible then you should play these maps the majority of the time.

Even better, if you’re a master of one of the maps the community doesn’t play as often like Cobblestone or Train, then you’ll likely be playing against players who don’t know the map quite as well. This is just another small thing you can do to ensure you get the most matchmaking wins possible where you shine as much possible, thus accelerating your climbing of the CS:GO ranking system.

4. Train Your Aim and Practice Grenades

Even after thousands of hours, players are still far from mastering CS:GO. There are lots of different aspects and skills required to be good at Counter-Strike (or any FPS), but there are a few crucial skills that you need to practice. Two of those skills are training your aim and practicing smoke grenades.

Aim is an important, perhaps even the most important, skill a player can have. Every role in the game requires a reasonable ability to aim in order to succeed. Entry-fraggers have to have amazing aim to out-aim players on bombsites, support players have to have good aim to trade the entry fraggers out, and lurkers have to have good aim to kill players in unexpected parts of the map.

There are many ways to train your aim, here are just a few:

  • Deathmatch and FFA Servers – join a casual deathmatch game, or FFA server from the community server browser and practice your aim here.
  • Aim Botz – this is a workshop map that has lots of bots that you can practice your aim on. You can change settings to make them move, give them armor, etc. You can use this map by going to clicking “Subscribe” (make sure you’re signed in), and then in the “Play” menu in CS:GO select “Workshop Maps”.
  • Retake Servers – via the community server browser you can join retake servers. Retake servers are servers that repeatedly put players in positions to retake, or defend a site (on CT or T) with the bomb planted. These servers allow players to practice situational aim on different maps, as FFA servers have players playing differently to how they usually would (e.g. playing more aggressively, getting killed from behind, players in parts of the map they wouldn’t usually be).

5. Improve Your Settings (Mouse, Graphics, etc)

Would a football player play with incorrectly sized studs? Or, a tennis player play without the perfect racket? No! There are lots of optimizations, changes, and personalized adjustments you can make to greatly improve your game and peripheral setup.

Firstly, make sure that you have HRTF enabled in your audio settings. HRTF allows you to better hear where sound comes from – this comes in especially handy when pinpointing footsteps that you’re not too sure of the exact location of.

Everyone has different optimal mouse settings, but there are a few things you can do to help find those optimal settings:

Enable raw input (in CS:GO mouse settings) – this makes the signals your mouse sends go directly to CS:GO, instead of being changed/slowed down by Windows or other applications.
Aim for a lower sensitivity – you can do this by lowering your sensitivity by 0.01 every few days until you find the best speed. A lower sensitivity means you can more accurately make small adjustments, like moving your crosshair slightly to the left to make sure you hit a headshot.
Have a good quality, big mousemat – this might not be possible if you don’t have the funds or room where your mouse is, but a larger mousemat means you have to pick up your mouse less, and a high quality mouse mat will make your mouse more accurate.

Most graphics settings don’t make all that much difference to how the game plays out, but a few can completely hinder your ability to play well. Here are our graphics settings tips:

  • Disable VSync, or “Wait for Vertical Sync” in the CS:GO graphics settings menu.
  • Remove the FPS cap in the CS:GO graphics settings menu. You can also do this with the fpsmax command.
  • Play in “Fullscreen” mode, not “Windowed” or “Fullscreen Windowed” (better FPS).
  • Turn off Motion Blur.
  • Enable Multicore Rendering.
  • If you are suffering from low FPS, the settings that will help the most are: FXAA Anti-Aliasing (Disabled), Multi Sampling Anti-Aliasing Mode (None) and Shader Detail (Low).

CSGO Ranking System FAQ

  • What ranks can play together in CSGO?

    In order to play with each other, players can be maximally 5 ranks apart. That means that if, for example, a player is a “Global Elite”, the lowest ranks he can play with are “Supreme Master First Class”, “Legendary Eagle Master”, “Legendary Eagle”, “Distinguished Master Guardian”, and “Master Guardian Elite”.

  • Can unranked players play with Silver Ranks?

    Yes. However, there are certain limitations to that rule, meaning the unranked players can play with those from “Silver 1” to “Master Guardian 1”. This disables high-rank smurf accounts and boosting companies are unable from mixing along with the low ranks, which protects the overall quality of the matches.

  • How Does CSGO Ranking Work?

    CSGO ranking system is pretty simple and easy to understand. You win games in order to get to the higher ranks. You are not allowed to skip ranks, as you can progress only one at a time. The more games you win, the faster you go up.

  • How many games does it take to rank up in CSGO?

    Ten matches. Before you get ranked, you will get mixed with different levels of players, that is just how basic matchmaking works. Once you get ranked and advance to the top, you will play with those approximately close to your skill level.

  • How do you rank up in CSGO?

    By winning games. The more games you win, the more XP points you get and the faster you advance through the ranks. There are additional points to be won by achieving good individual and team stats, winning rounds, and staying consistent.

  • How many ranks are in CSGO?

    Eighteen. They are separated into six different tiers, each of them consisting of subcategories that determine how good of a player you are in terms of skills and experience. From the “Silver 1” which marks the starting point of the journey, a player must climb all the way through matches.

  • What is the Highest Rank in CSGO?

    Global Elite. This is the highest of ranks and it shows a lot about a player – skills, time, and effort he had to put in to get there. A small percentage of players manage to enter this rank as it is reserved for only the best of the best.

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