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How To Rank In CS: GO

Valve does not officially make it known to the public exactly how player ranking in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) is calculated. The only known information is that for Competitive modes, Valve built a specific system for CS: GO that is significantly more complex than Elo.

What Is the Elo System?

The Elo rating in video games is inspired by a system developed by the Hungarian-American physics professor, Arpad Elo. Applied in competitive gaming, the Elo rating system allows the game to assess in a fair way the skills of the players. These players are then matched based on their ratings. With this, players are more or less equal in skill for every match made.

The CS:GO competitive ranking system, however, uses the ideas based on the Glicko-2 rating model. Glicko is an improvement over the Elo system. The Glicko-2 rating model used in CS:GO is altered since its inception to fit CS:GO players and their skills. Computations are based on matchmaking parameters through a scientific set of rating variables. These variables are represented as Skill Group. There is a lot of deviations and volatility in these scientific sequences in this system that it is hard to pin down how it works.

What Is Profile Rank?

For the purpose of this guide, "rank" means Skill Group and not the Profile Rank. Profile Ranks were introduced in the Operation Bloodhound update back in 2015 and are mostly cosmetic, not affecting competitive matchmaking at all.

By playing games on the official CS: Go servers, players gain experience points that increase their Profile Ranks. Players gain more experience depending on the season. Leveling up Profile Ranks gives a chance of receiving weapon crates drops.

A Profile Rank is important in getting in a Skill Group since the rank of Private Rank 2 is needed to be eligible for competitive matchmaking where Skill Group is calculated.

There is a total of 40 ranks in Profile Rank. Check the table below.

Rank Required XP for the next level Total XP
Recruit Rank 1 5,000 XP 0 XP
Private Rank 2 5,000 XP 5,000 XP
Private Rank 3 5,000 XP 10,000 XP
Private Rank 4 5,000 XP 15,000 XP
Corporal Rank 5 5,000 XP 20,000 XP
Corporal Rank 6 5,000 XP 25,000 XP
Corporal Rank 7 5,000 XP 30,000 XP
Corporal Rank 8 5,000 XP 35,000 XP
Sergeant Rank 9 5,000 XP 40,000 XP
Sergeant Rank 10 5,000 XP 45,000 XP
Sergeant Rank 11 5,000 XP 50,000 XP
Sergeant Rank 12 5,000 XP 55,000 XP
Master Sergeant Rank 13 5,000 XP 60,000 XP
Master Sergeant Rank 14 5,000 XP 65,000 XP
Master Sergeant Rank 15 5,000 XP 70,000 XP
Master Sergeant Rank 16 5,000 XP 75,000 XP
Sergeant Major Rank 17 5,000 XP 80,000 XP
Sergeant Major Rank 18 5,000 XP 85,000 XP
Sergeant Major Rank 19 5,000 XP 90,000 XP
Sergeant Major Rank 20 5,000 XP 95,000 XP
Lieutenant Rank 21 5,000 XP 100,000 XP
Lieutenant Rank 22 5,000 XP 105,000 XP
Lieutenant Rank 23 5,000 XP 110,000 XP
Lieutenant Rank 24 5,000 XP 115,000 XP
Captain Rank 25 5,000 XP 120,000 XP
Captain Rank 26 5,000 XP 125,000 XP
Captain Rank 27 5,000 XP 130,000 XP
Captain Rank 28 5,000 XP 135,000 XP
Major Rank 29 5,000 XP 140,000 XP
Major Rank 30 5,000 XP 145,000 XP
Major Rank 31 5,000 XP 150,000 XP
Major Rank 32 5,000 XP 155,000 XP
Colonel Rank 33 5,000 XP 160,000 XP
Colonel Rank 34 5,000 XP 165,000 XP
Colonel Rank 35 5,000 XP 170,000 XP
Brigadier General Rank 36 5,000 XP 175,000 XP
Major General Rank 37 5,000 XP 180,000 XP
Lieutenant General Rank 38 5,000 XP 185,000 XP
General Rank 39 5,000 XP 190,000 XP
Global General Rank 40 N/A 195,000 XP

Winning affects the ranking system the most

What Is Skill Group?

Skill Group is based on the Glicko skill rating system. In CS: GO this is used in Competitive, Wingman, and Danger Zone modes. Introduced on October 25, 2012, Skill Groups were created to illustrate how competitive matchmaking in CS: GO works. Below are the ranks in ascending order:

  1. Silver I
  2. Silver II
  3. Silver III
  4. Silver IV
  5. Silver Elite
  6. Silver Elite Master
  7. Gold Nova I
  8. Gold Nova II
  9. Gold Nova III
  10. Gold Nova Master
  11. Master Guardian I
  12. Master Guardian II
  13. Master Guardian Elite
  14. Distinguished Master Guardian
  15. Legendary Eagle
  16. Legendary Eagle Master
  17. Supreme Master First Class
  18. The Global Elite

In order to get your initial rank, you have to win 10 matchmade games. Winning all 10 matchmade games will not put you to The Global Elite rank immediately though. You might rank in Silver I up to the Legendary Eagle Master, depending on your performance.

Winning or losing rounds affect your Skill Group the most. Although ending as the MVP or accumulating high kill-to-death ratios are claimed by Valve to have no effect, it is widely observed by CS: GO veterans that they have at least some sway in your rankings.

Like DOTA 2, CS:GO gives players a Matchmade Rating (MMR) depending on their performance. Losing or winning a game will move your ranking upwards or downwards on the rating scale. Different sections of the scale represent the Skill Group.

Spending your time in a particular Skill Group with consistent performance will decrease the volatility of your rating. Therefore, there can be no wild swings in your ranking. Conversely, being inconsistent will make your ranking vary greatly. Having a stable rating means that it is easier to climb and harder to fall down the rank. You can pace your game without having the pressure of freefalling in the ranks if you manage to lose a competitive match.

Dominating wins allow the player to rank faster

What Is The Pip Skill Rating System?

The Pip skill rating is only used in Wingman and Weapons Expert. Unlike Skill Groups, players are aware of how many matches they should win in order to climb up in ranking. Players gain one pip per win and they are not penalized if they lose in matches until rank 5. If the player strings a winning streak, he will get 2 pips as a bonus. Below is the ranking system in the Pip skill rating system:

Rank Pips to rank up
1 2
3 3
5 ?
7 4
11 5
15 6
16 7
17 8
18 9
19 10
20 11
21 12
22 13
23 14
24 15

What Is Matchmaking Cooldown?

CS: GO is very serious when it comes to competitive modes. Valve did not just establish a complex system for the players to abuse it, either by griefing or intentionally losing to the detriment of other players.

The following actions subject the players to matchmaking cooldowns:

  1. Abandoning a match
  2. Team Disruption
  3. Cheating
  4. Suiciding
  5. Excessive kicking (as the kicker or the player being kicked)
  6. Game limitation for players who has less than 10 competitive wins

A player is considered abandoning a match when he fails to reconnect in a set amount of time. The player can also abandon voluntarily by clicking the abandon button upon exiting the game.

Activities such as teamkilling, team damage, cheating, being vote-kicked, and suiciding also cause matchmaking cooldowns.

CS: GO also applies matchmaking cooldowns to players who have less than 10 competitive wins. These players are only allowed two competitive wins per day and will then be put into cooldown.

What Are the Cooldown Lengths?

Below are the cooldown levels and their time:

Level Time
1 30
2 2
3 24
4 7 Days
5 and above 7 Days

For those who are disruptive by being griefers, CS: GO attaches a penalty of 38 days. Repeat offenders and those who use third-party cheats are banned permanently.

Written By

JN is a video game enthusiast and has written for various gaming outlets for a decade. Follow him on Twitter.

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