Competitive is the flagship game mode of CS2, and almost all CS2 players play this game mode. One of the main reasons for such popularity is that playing the competitive game mode allows players to get a rank that represents their skill level. However, not many players know what ranks in CS2 are. To help you with that, here is a complete explanation of ranks and skill groups in CS2. This article was updated in 2023.
CS2 Competitive Mode Ranks
There are 18 skill groups in CS2 competitive mode, and we can split them into six tiers. The first tier is Silver, and it includes six total ranks. It starts from Silver 1 to Silver 4 and then two more called the Silver Elite and the Silver Elite Master, with Silver 1 being the lowest skill group in CS2.
The tier you'll rank up to after Silver Elite Master is Gold Nova, which includes Gold Nova 1, 2, 3, and the Gold Nova Master skill group. After that, we have the Guardian tier, which has four, and then the Eagle tier, which includes two ranks.
The final two ranks in CS2 are the Supreme Master First Class and the Global Elite. As you might have already figured out, the Global Elite is the highest achievable rank in CS2. To make things simpler, here is a list of all the ranks in CS2 in order from the lowest to the highest:
Understanding The CS2 Ranking System
Unlike what most people believe, CS2 does not use an ELO ranking system. Instead, CS2 uses a customized version of the Glicko-2 rating system. Valve has been very quiet about the ranking system CS2 uses. We only know about the Glicko-2 system because it got revealed by a Valve employee on Reddit about nine years ago.
We won't bore you with the working of the Glicko-2 system. You only need to know two things. Firstly, because of how the CS2 competitive ranking system works, it can not give a single number to represent your MMR, which is why your MMR never gets displayed in CS2. Secondly, the CS2 competitive ranking system also considers how much you play. Consistent gameplay maintains skill groups, while long breaks increase ranking volatility.
Factors That Determine Your Rank In CS2
Unfortunately, since the Reddit Glicko-2 reveal, Valve has neither released clear information on their ranking system nor all the factors determining your skill group. However, with the information we have, we can make quite a few reliable assumptions. Here are the main factors that determine your rank in CS2:
- Individual performance in a match, including kills, assists, damage, plants, and defuses. All that positively impacts rank.
- Personal performance gets weighed more if your teammates have a similar performance in a match as you.
- Your performance won't get weighed as much if your teammates are in a lower rank.
- Playing against higher-ranked opponents increases the chances of ranking up upon winning.
- Consistent ranked CS2 play reduces the likelihood of de-ranking after a loss.
CS2 Rank Distribution
There are tens of millions of players in CS2. To explain what percent of the total CS2 player base is in what skill group, we need to look at a rank distribution chart. Fortunately, we have made one based on data from several reputable sources.
Depending on when you are reading this, the distribution may differ. However, it won't vary by a massive amount since the rank distribution of CS2 hasn't changed a lot for a long time.
For example, you can see in the CS2 rank distribution chart above that most of the CS2 player base is in the higher Silver ranks, Gold Nova ranks, or the lower Guardian ranks. On the other hand, there aren't a lot of players in the lower Silver skill groups.
Finally, there are very few numbers of players in the skill group above Distinguished Master Guardian, especially in the Global Elite rank. This type of distribution will stay roughly the same, and the CS2 competitive rank distribution chart will always have a bell curve similar to the one shown above.
With that said, you might be wondering right now what being in a particular skill group means. To explain that, we split all the skill groups into five categories, which start from low ranks up to Global Elite.
- Low Ranks (Silver I - Silver IV): If you are anywhere between Silver I and Silver IV, you are probably a new player in CS2. Being in one of these ranks means you are among the lower-skilled players, which make up about 18% to 20% of the total CS2 player base.
- Mid Ranks (Silver Elite - Gold Nova Master): This category includes a wide range of players, in terms of skill level. Overall, being in any of these ranks suggests that you are an average CS2 player, which includes about 48% to 50% of the total CS2 player base.
- High Ranks (Master Guardian I - Distinguished Master Guardian): You will eventually reach one of the high ranks as you start clocking in more hours in CS2 and get better at the game. Only about 23% of the CS2 player base is in these skill groups, making them better than 65% to 70% of all the players that play CS2 ranked.
- Elite Ranks (Legendary Eagle - Supreme Master First Class): Reaching these ranks is not easy. Only about 10% of players get to these ranks. Being in one of these skill groups means you are better than slightly over 90% of all CS2 players. You'll have to play each competitive match with maximum alertness and have no room for mistakes to get an elite rank.
- Global Elite: Being a global elite means that you are the best of the best and are better than 99% of the CS2 player base. Less than 1% of players, around 0.7%, make it to the Global Elite rank.
The CS2 ranking system uses a modified Glicko-2 system to represent the skill level of CS2 players. Each player that unlocks a competitive rank gets placed in one of the 18 skill groups. To get a better idea of how many players are in each individual rank, you can check out the rank distribution chart above.