CS:GO Ranks: How The CS:GO Ranking System Works

Anwell Patdu
Anwell Patdu
16 Min Read

Are you curious about the different CS:GO ranks and how they work? I’m here today to fully explain the CS:GO ranking system.

Climbing and grinding the ranks is one of the best things about online games. It gives you a sense of fulfillment once you reach your desired rank. It also allows you to see how skilled you are at the game compared to the other players.

CS:GO is no different. They have a complete ranking system with 18 CS:GO ranks since its release. Admittedly, the CS:GO ranking system isn’t perfect, and it definitely has its flaws. However, balancing online ranks is a challenging task, but I’m sure that they’re doing everything they can to provide a fun experience for everyone.

Ranking up in CS:GO is a mysterious process. Many often wonder what it takes to rank up and how many games they need to win. Some players use the best aim trainers daily but still can’t rank up in CS:GO.

I’ve got you covered, though. Today, I’ll explain how the CS:GO ranking system works and talk about the different ranks in CS:GO.

CS:GO Ranks Explained

CS:GO Ranks Explained

The CS:GO ranking system helps match you with players with similar skill levels. This allows you to enjoy the game and not get destroyed by players who are way above your skill level. The system was made to create a fair and balanced environment in rank – at least, that was the goal.

Of course, it isn’t a perfect system, and you’ll sometimes be matched with players who are better or worse than you. But for the most part, it works well and allows you to enjoy competitive CS:GO.

All CS:GO Ranks

First up, let’s talk about the different CS:GO ranks. Ever since CS:GO’s release, they’ve always had the same ranks. CS:GO is divided into 18 different ranks, split into 3 tiers. Where you land within the ranking system tells you how good you are at the game.

CS:GO RanksAbbreviation
Silver IS1
Silver IIS2
Silver IIIS3
Silver IVS4
Silver EliteSE
Silver Elite MasterSEM
Gold Nova IGN1
Gold Nova IIGN2
Gold Nova IIIGN3
Gold Nova MasterGNM
Master Guardian IMG1
Master Guardian IIMG2
Master Guardian EliteMGE
Distinguished Master GuardianDMG
Legendary EagleLE
Legendary Eagle MasterLEM
Supreme Master First ClassSMFC
Global EliteGE

Generally speaking, Silvers are commonly made up of new players who don’t know most of the CS:GO mechanics and don’t even know how CS:GO scoring works. Usually, the lower Silver ranks in CS:GO are used as stepping stones while newbies get used to the game.

Starting from Gold, you’ll start seeing better players who have a solid understanding of the game. Gold is where you should find most of the players in CS:GO. If you can earn a Gold rank in the game, you’re probably somewhere around the average skillset.

The last tier is where legends are made. Distinguished Master Guardian, all the way up to Global Elite, are all A-list players in the game. Most professional players and aspiring pro players are usually found in Global Elite. These are the crème of the crop ranks and have definitely poured thousands of hours mastering the game.

How to Get your Rank in CS:GO?

First CSGO Rank

As a new player, you won’t get access to competitive queues right away. You’ll first need to get your CS:GO account to level 2, also known as “Private Rank 2,” in-game. To level up, you’ll need to earn XP by playing any of the standard game modes. These game modes include Casual, Deathmatch, Danger Zone, Demolition, and Arms Race.

Each game mode will reward you with different XP values, allowing you to play the one you enjoy the most. You’ll need to get a total of 5000 XP to get Private Rank 2. It’ll take you a while, so just make sure to be patient and keep playing.

If you’re a new player, there’s only one way to get your rank in CS:GO. You simply have to win 10 competitive games. These 10 wins are used as “placement games” that will determine where you start your CS:GO rank journey.

Once you’ve won 10 games in the competitive queue, your rank will be revealed to you. It will also appear under your username in the main menu and beside your IGN on the match scoreboards. Players you party up with can also see your current rank.

How Do Placement Matches Work?

At the start, you’ll be playing against players with various ranks. This is done to help calibrate your MMR and find out what specific skill group you belong to.

Generally, your first few matches will be within the lower tiers. But, as you win more games, you’ll be tested against stronger opponents in the higher ranks. However, if you lose a game, the level of opponents will be adjusted accordingly.

It’s worth noting that you can only gain a maximum of 2 wins per day during your calibration matches. This means you’ll have to wait a minimum of 5 days before getting your rank. This system is in place to discourage smurfers and cheaters because of the long and grindy process.

Even if you have CS:GO prowess like s1mple and win 10 games in a row, the highest rank you can get will be Legendary Eagle Master or LEM. From there, you’ll have to grind it out with some of the best players in the world if you want to get to Global Elite.

How Does the CS:GO Ranking System Work?

CS:GO’s ranking system also works as their main matchmaking determiner. You get paired with other players within the same rank or with the same skill level. A Silver player won’t be playing with a Master Guardian because that will simply be unfair and result in a one-sided match.

You’re assigned a match making rating (MMR) in most competitive online games like Valorant and CS:GO. This MMR is used to determine your rank and your skill level. The higher your MMR, the higher your rank will be.

Unfortunately, in CS:GO, the MMR is hidden, and no one can access it aside from Valve. But generally speaking, the ranking system uses everyone’s individual MMR when finding the right opponents.

The Things We Know About MMR in CS:GO

The Things We Know About MMR in CSGO

Even though Valve uses a hidden MMR to determine your rank, we know a few things that can affect your MMR. This includes the number of rounds you’ve won, your KDA, the MVPs you’ve received, and the average rank within your games. These elements can help you get a general idea of your hidden MMR in CS:GO.

First up is the number of rounds that you win within your games. A close loss like 14-16 or 13-16 will generally allow you to lose less MMR than a landslide like 3-13. The same is true for wins. This is why you should always try to win as many rounds as you can, even if you’re losing.

Your KDA or Kills, Deaths, and Assists also contribute to your MMR. Having a high KDA will often result in more MMR gain in wins and less MMR loss for defeats. To calculate your KDA, you can use this simple formula: (kills + assists)/ death = KDA.

Your total number of MVPs can also lead to higher MMR gains. The round MVP refers to the player that contributed the most to winning the round. You can get MVPs by getting the most kills within the round, clutching, and planting/defusing the bomb.

Finally, you can also use the average ranks within your matches to find out your MMR and if you’re close to ranking up or down.

Let’s say you’re Gold Nova I, and you’ve noticed that your recent matches have been filled with Silver players. This usually indicates that your MMR is getting low, and you’ll likely be close to ranking down. This also holds true the other way around.

How To Rank Up In CS:GO?

As mentioned above, Valve is very secretive regarding their CS:GO ranking system. It’s hard to determine when exactly you’ll rank up because there are no clear indicators of your hidden MMR. Sometimes you magically rank up after one good game, but other times it takes five.

Not knowing when you’ll rank up can be annoying, but one thing is certain: you need to win games to get a better rank in CS:GO. If you consistently win games, you’ll eventually rank up. Winning consecutive games in a row greatly increases your chances of quickly ranking up.

Although getting kills and MVPs will help, it’s only a small part of the ranking process. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 kills in the game and get all the MVPs; as long as your team loses, you will not rank up.

So try to become a team player and learn a few smoke spots or two to increase your team’s chances of winning. I know it can be challenging to play cohesively as a unit when teaming up with randoms. Always communicate with your team and help them out when needed.

Alternatively, the best way to rank up is to recruit a bunch of friends with the same skill level and work on playing together. This ensures that you’ll always be on the same page. You can also join a Discord server for flawless communication in-game and chill with music bots while waiting for the next match.

Rank Expiration and Rank Decay

Rank Expiration and Rank Decay

Your CS:GO rank will reset if you haven’t played a competitive game within the last 30 days. After this period, your rank will become invisible and display “Skill Group expired” instead of your usual rank.

But, all you need to do is win 1 competitive game, and you’ll get a rank back. Unfortunately, this will usually result in a lower rank than before.

Once you lose your rank, the CS:GO rank decay mechanic will start to hit your account. Rank decay will slowly lower your rank rating the longer you don’t play a competitive match. This mechanic was created to offset the drop in skill level that occurs when you don’t play the game for a very long time.

Often times you’ll get “rusty” if you don’t play for long periods and lose some of the muscle memory you have already built. This basically acts as an “adjustment period” that allows you to slowly get a good grip of the game again before placing you in the proper rank.

Don’t be discouraged if you end up with a lower rank. Almost everyone returning from a hiatus end up in a way lower position than before. Even Shroud, the FPS God himself, got the lowest rank he ever had in CS:GO after returning to the game. Just grind it out, and I’m sure you’ll be back to your old rank in no time.

Prime Status

CS:GO Prime Status

CS:GO initially launched as a paid game. It was relatively cheap at $14.99, unlike most of the weapon skins in CS:GO. But on December 6, 2018, an update was released that made the game available to the public for free.

While this move attracted a lot of new players, it also caused a spike in cheaters. Going Free-to-play allowed cheaters to easily create accounts and ruin everyone’s competitive gaming experience.

This is where the Prime comes in. Prime was awarded to everyone who purchased the game before it was free to play. It can also be obtained by getting to a level 21 account or Seargent Major, which requires 100,000 XP to accomplish. Alternatively, you can also just buy Prime status for $14.99.

Obviously, most cheaters don’t have the time to get to level 21, so you’ll encounter them less frequently. They also won’t spend money on the game because they’ll eventually get banned anyway.

When Prime is enabled, you only get matched with other Prime users who have either bought their Prime status or grinded for it. It’s not guaranteed that you won’t encounter any cheaters, but at least the frequency will be significantly reduced. This results in a solid CS:GO rank experience.

Additionally, you can also get exclusive souvenir items, drops, weapon cases, and access to all community-based servers if you have Prime enabled.


Climbing the CS:GO ranks is no easy task. It requires dedication, patience, hard work, and skill. However, there’s no better feeling than getting to the rank you’ve always wanted. Hopefully, I was able to teach you a thing or two about the CS:GO ranking system.

Leave a comment below if I left out any details about CS:GO ranks that you want to know.

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Huge gaming nerd and tech enthusiast. Spends countless hours playing shooter games, MOBAs, RPGs, and exploration games.
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