For what appears at first glance to be a rather straightforward first-person shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a rabbit hole.
There is always more to learn about CS:GO, from weapons to systems to trick of the trade, and rankings are no exception. To an amateur player, CSGO ranks can feel confusing and inaccessible.
However, the CSGO ranking system is not quite as confusing as it initially appears. CSGO rankings can be understood rather easily if you look in the right place. Luckily, with this guide, you’ve found the right place to learn how to improve your CSGO rank.
The CS:GO leveling system runs from 1 to 40, and that initial system is only used as a tool to reward players with cosmetic skins and service medals during gameplay. When you have played a great deal, these service medals change color every 40 times you rank up in a year.
Players can reach level two in order to unlock competitive matchmaking by playing Valve-created game modes. Gaining access to matchmaking is the first big step.
That said, you won’t actually be assigned a rank until you win 10 competitive matches. If you’re a new player, you can only win two competitive matches per day until you have 10.
After you win your 10th competitive match, a skill group will appear underneath the in-game scoreboard. That skill group will remain present underneath your username at the startup screen and on the in-game scoreboard.
CS:GO’s ranks are as follows:
Silver I (S1)
Silver II (S2)
Silver III (S3)
Silver IV (S4)
Silver Elite (SE)
Silver Elite Master (SEM)
Gold Nova I (GN1)
Gold Nova II (GN2)
Gold Nova III (GN3)
Gold Nova Master (GNM/GN4)
Master Guardian I (MG/MG1)
Master Guardian II (MG2)
Master Guardian Elite (MGE)
Distinguished Master Guardian (DMG)
Legendary Eagle (LE)
Legendary Eagle Master (LEM)
Supreme Master First Class (SMFC)
The Global Elite (GE)
These are skill groups, and they are based entirely on your performance during gameplay. Once you are placed into a skill group, you can only play against fellow players with a rank plus or minus five ranks away from your own.
Ranks are adjusted at the end of each match. Be careful, because not playing for a month will make your skill group disappear.
Now, for the question of the day:
Generally, your ranking is the tier that the game slots a player into depending on his or her in-game behaviors. Players in the same rank tend to have similar in-game behaviors.
Silvers are beginning players, though sometimes professional and highly skilled CS:GO players will play on “smurf” accounts on these servers. Breaking out of the silver tier is very difficult, and it leads to the Nova rank. This is the middle of the road. Master Guardian is an advanced rank for highly skilled players.
Up in the Legendary Eagle through Global Elite ranks, the best of the best CS:GO players are at home.
Another common question concerns exactly how a player achieves a rank-up. This is actually fairly simple: just winning games. A Glicko-2 algorithm employed by Valve assesses a player’s round influence and keeps track of which team won each round. Many factors go into making the algorithm work, and some are not understood to this day. Playing to win the round is crucial here. Kills help your team, but they don’t directly help your rank.
The final, and perhaps most important question, deals with the notion of ranking up efficiently.
Ranking can be slow going in CS:GO, so any advantages for players looking to further their ranks can be essential.
It’s important to play with players who are also shooting for rank increases. Jumping into a game queue in CS:GO on your own can actually lead to demotions in rank, for a variety of reasons, including griefers and players simply not interested in winning or being competitive.
In order to avoid playing in the same matches as players who carry these rank-hurting tendencies, Valve has implemented some measures.
Prime Matchmaking was launched last year in order to give players better matchmaking experiences. The system matched players who linked CS:GO accounts with a unique phone number. Later on, a rank of 21 or higher was required to earn Prime status. However, according to Valve itself, this requirement essentially drew a boundary line in the sand right through the CS:GO community. Players who did not necessarily link their phone numbers or reach rank 21 were excluded from playing with Prime players.
Valve’s improved approach is the aforementioned Trust Factor. The company started with a question: What if the Prime system was reimagined using a wider range of factors rather than just rank 21 and a phone number? Valve began experimenting with using some other factors, including Steam account attributes and observed player behaviors. Account attributes included time spent playing CS:GO, frequency of being reported cheating, time spent playing other games on Steam, and more. This system is simply called Trust, and the listed factors and other go into comprising a player’s official Trust Factor.
Valve reports that its initial experimentation has been positive overall. Players in general reported fewer times, regardless of the Prime status they carried. The ultimate goal was to preserve the ideal parts of Prime and cut out the parts that the community found problematic.
Players now enter matchmaking using their Trust Factors as a determination affecting matchmaking. Their Prime status is not taken into consideration, though players could initially elect to use the old system for a time.
Trust Factor can seem a little mysterious to players, and that’s actually part of the point, according to Valve. There is no available official list of factors that affect Trust Factor because Valve does not want these factors to become a factor in gameplay. The company does not want players to play its game in an attempt to up their Trust Factor. It is intended to be a background system. Furthermore, it is a system that Valve intends to update constantly based on feedback and its own observations. Generally, however, Valve has stated that it is looking at past experience in CS:GO and on Steam to determine Trust Factor accuracy.
For these reasons, a player’s trust factor is not visible to other players.
For players hoping to up their Trust Factor for better matchmaking, Valve does not give guidelines for this process, either. Rather, it simply encourages players to act as positive members of the CS:GO and Steam communities. Again, the model is constantly being updated in order to enhance matchmaking experiences. Playing more sends more information, so that won’t hurt either if a player is a positive member of the community. Pervious Prime status is one factor used, so players who have had this status in the past will have it incorporated into their Trust Factor. Valve does recommend linking a phone number, as this will improve a matchmaking experience.
New players will not necessarily have low Trust Factors, as their experience on Steam overall is a criteria considered.
If players suspect that their Trust Factor is low due to poor matchmaking, CSGOTeamFeedback(at)valvesoftware.com can be contacted, with the subject “Trust Factor Feedback” and a description of an experience and Steam ID can help representatives fix a problem.
In conclusion, rankings in CS:GO are difficult to understand, but they come down to a couple of core ideas: win team matches, win them quickly and practice a bunch. You’ll need that practice when going up against the best of the best at higher ranks. Luckily, Valve is constantly improving matchmaking in these ranked games so player experience can be positively affected by systems such as Trust Factor. In this way, being a positive member of the CS:GO community and the Steam community as a whole can, in some very direct ways, affect a player’s rank due to better matchmaking overall.
These efforts make the game easier, and although the ranking system can be confusing and seemingly obtuse, it’s all part of Valve’s efforts to make things happen behind the scenes so players can be permitted to simply play the game without worrying about reaching certain milestones and criteria for ranks and Trust Factor.
Good luck with your CS:GO rank and we wish you easy frags ;)