CounterStrike: Global Offensive is the top competitive FPS for esports games. It has stood the test of time and remains king. This makes it a challenging experience for players trying to achieve the highest ranks and maintain them. This article is a guide to help new players and experienced players alike to make better sense of what CS:GO ranks are and how to rise through them.
What are the Ranks in CS:GO
CS:GO has a total of eighteen ranks. Players start the game with no rank. They are placed based on their performance in placement matches. For the most part, new players are placed in the Silver ranks. Moderately experienced players are usually in the high Gold Nova/low Master Guardian ranks. The best players are anywhere from Legendary Eagle to Global Elite.
Below is the complete list of ranks available in Global Offensive in order from lowest to highest:
- Silver I
- Silver II
- Silver III
- Silver IV
- Silver Elite
- Silver Elite Master
- Gold Nova I
- Gold Nova II
- Gold Nova III
- Gold Nova Master
- Master Guardian I
- Master Guardian II
- Master Guardian Elite
- Distinguished Master Guardian
- Legendary Eagle
- Legendary Eagle Master
- Supreme Master First Class
- Global Elite
Getting Your First Ranking
As previously stated, new players start the game with no rank. They can’t even play a ranked match until they reach account level 2. This is done by playing regular matchmaking in modes like deathmatch and casual. New players must get the experience they need to understand the basics of the game before jumping into ranked matches.
After unlocking ranked mode, players are required to win ten matches to be placed into a ranking. If you are already an experienced Counter-Strike or fps player, it is possible to achieve a starting rank of Legendary Eagle Master. However, it does require that you win all ten of your initial placement matches.
Side note: You may only accrue two wins per day during the placement match period. It may be a little annoying, but it keeps hackers at bay. It also gives pro players a reason to stick with their main accounts and not to “smurf” new players.
Once you’ve been placed into your initial rank, it’s time to start grinding to the top. Gaining higher ranks is pretty straightforward. Play ranked matches. Then win them. The more you win, the higher your rank will rise. It’s a simple, merit-based ranking system. All you need to do as a player to reach Global Elite is get good.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. Remember, there are thousands of other players just like you. They have the same ambition and drive to win. To become a true competitor, you will have to use your superbly trained aiming skills and superior tactics.
What Effects Rank Gains
On the player’s side, ranking up is an easily understood process. Behind the scenes is a different story. CS:GO uses a more complicated algorithm to influence how fast your rank moves. There are a few different things they factor in:
• Your team’s ranks. Your teammates’ ranks determine the amount Elo that is awarded for the win. Underdog teams gain more for overcoming skill-level adversity.
• Your opponent team’s ranks. Higher skilled opponents reward more Elo when defeated.
• Amount of MVP awards. The more you are recognized as MVP, the higher the Elo you gain from wins.
• How badly you beat your opponent. More Elo is awarded for winning a match definitively. For example, you will gain more Elo for winning a match 16-3 than you want for 16-15. Just the same, if you lose definitively, you will lose more Elo.
This means that not only does ensuring the win increase your ranking but also your individual performance affects it as well.
How to Improve Your Rank Faster
Now that you understand how ranks work, it’s time to climb. As stated above, you need to win ranked matches to improve your rank. It sounds so easy, right? We both know it’s much more complicated than that. You’ll need to improve your skills and master your aim to keep up. Other players are not just going to let you win.
If you are aiming for the highest ranks, you’ll need every advantage you can get. Legendary Eagle and higher on CS:GO is full of only the most skilled PC FPS players in the world. You will need to become one of the best to compete amongst them.
For that reason, here are some tips to use in your daily practice routines:
Familiarize Yourself with the Game
Don’t rush into ranked mode without understanding the weapons, movement system, purchasing, and mode types. You won’t do any good rushing into unknown territory and finding yourself in spectator mode for the rest of the round. Instead, take the time to understand each game mode fully. You’ll want to know the most common tactics, player pathways, kill zones, and grenade aim spots.
Playing in regular deathmatches and casual mode is the first way to get a feel for the mechanics. However, most high-level strategies and tactics take place in ranked. You’ll learn a lot in the non-competitive mode, but eventually, you will need to focus only on ranked matches.
Competitive mode functions differently than regular deathmatch, casual, or war games. Two teams made of five players each face off against each other over thirty rounds. The first team to score sixteen points is the winner.
Each round, the two teams are separated into defensive and offensive sides. The offensive side, or T-side, has one minute and fifty-five seconds to plant the bomb. The defensive team must prevent them from doing so. The round ends when either the bomb goes off or all players on one team are eliminated.
Get a Team
Playing as a random addition to a team of public queue competitors can be inconsistent. You may be stuck with a poor squad one match and a master of the game the next. If you want to guarantee steady improvements to your rank, get together a solid team you can trust.
Team gameplay will help you overcome the easier ranks rather quickly. The better your team is, the more you’ll stack wins. Take time to practice strategies and positioning with your team. You’ll want to be able to coordinate positioning and establish a good form of communication.
You will begin to see a significant improvement in your rank as your team gets more efficient at moving and operating together to control each map.
Take a Break After Losses
Focus is important. Reaction time is essential to being successful in CS:GO. A technique known as ‘peaking’ requires quick movement and clear vision to assess dangerous kill zones and areas in the enemy’s line of sight. If you lose a match, it can be extremely aggravating. This anger is a lot like road rage. Competitive gaming culture calls it “being tilted.”
When a player gets tilted, they begin to make compounding mistakes. They become more aggressive and run into poor positioning. Their aim starts to get worse. They make unnecessary and poor decisions. They even begin to become verbally toxic to their teammates. All of this adds up to an easy loss.
If you lose a match, talk to your team and take a break. You don’t have to stop playing altogether, but it would be wise to refrain from continuing ranked matches. You need to clear your mind of the anger gained from a grueling defeat. Don’t go back into ranked until you regain your center.
Master the Maps
There are two essential skills to master in CS:GO. The first is memorizing the maps. Global Offensive has grown its collection of maps extensively over the years. Luckily, they organize them into competitive map pools. So, you don’t have to master every single map in the game. Instead, start with a pool you like and stick with it.
It’s essential to know the maps you play on by heart. To get that slick corner kill, you’ll need to know every space inside and out to make sure you can maintain a quality line of sight on potential threats. This also means you need to know the best flash and grenade spots, for example these grenade spots in Dust2. It will take some time and practice to get the hang of each board. Try to keep track of the different pathways that are taken. You can use the least commonly traveled paths to surprise opponents. The heavy foot traffic zones are usually “kill zones.”
Kill zones are areas where players are most commonly killed. It’s common to either avoid them or be overly cautious and quick when using them. They are also useful for defensive positions. The main reason they are often dangerous to travel is their open line of sight from a safe place on the defensive team’s side of the map.
Practice Your Aim
The second essential skill to master is the most basic. Get good at aiming. Trust me; you aren’t nearly as good as you need to be. Players can spend thousands of hours in-game and still not master the aiming and movement mechanics of Global Offensive.
There are a few different ways to train your aim. The best way to start is by using Aim Botz. No, not auto-aim hacks. Hacks will get you permabanned. Don’t cheat. Aim Botz is a community workshop map. It’s filled with programmable bots to practice your headshots on. It’s an excellent way to get better at aiming without all the dying in between.
My personal favorite method to practice aim is to play Deathmatch and FFA. The targets can think and act in similar ways to competitive players. You get more play-time. It also helps you to improve your movement and juking skills.
You can also take a look at a situation setup servers like Retake Servers. These servers set the players to spawn in specific situations repeatedly. This way, you can practice positioning and line of sight in the exact manner you would in a competitive match.
Optimize Your System
The last tip I have for you is to make sure your settings and hardware are optimized. That means you want to make sure you have the best gaming laptop for CS:GO, the best audio you can get from your equipment, mouse sensitivity tuned to you, and the game running at full speed.
First off, go to the audio settings of CounterStrike: Global Offensive. Make sure you enable surround sound and Advanced 3D Audio Processing. The sound of footprints is crucial. It can tip you off to the enemy position.
Next, you’ll need to figure out the best settings for your mouse. Everyone has their preferences for mouse sensitivity. So, play with it until you find the sensitivity that works best for you. You will want to enable raw input in the Global Offensive mouse settings. It helps to lower the latency between your movements and on-screen action. It might also help to have a good mousepad.
The last thing you can do to optimize your settings is to make sure your machine is running the game at the highest fps and clarity it can. Here are a few things you can adjust to make the game run smoother:
- Disable Vsync
- Remove the FPS cap
- Turn off Motion Blur
- Turn on Multicore Rendering
- Play in “Fullscreen” mode