Counter-Strike 2 global rating system explained & all ranks in order

Counter-Strike 2 global rating system explained & all ranks in order
Images via Valve

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

11th Jan 2024 09:30


Climbing the ranks in Counter-Strike 2 from Silver to Global Elite can feel like an impossible task, but if you take a moment to understand how the system works, then you'll make your life a whole lot easier.

A few months on from launch, CS2 remains on top as one of the best competitive shooters out there right now, and much of that is down to its impeccable ranked competitive mode. Reaching the very top in the game will require supreme mechanics and tight teamwork, often taking hundreds, if not thousands of hours of playtime and grinding.

Below, we've explained everything you need to know about the Counter-Strike 2 ranking system, including how it calculates your skill level, and all the ranks you'll need to progress through to get to the top.

How does the ranking system work in CS2?

Similar to most other competitive ranking systems, the Counter-Strike 2 ranking system is based on a skill rating that you gain through wins and losses - more commonly referred to as MMR.

The key thing to note about the CS2 ranks is that, unlike many other games, your MMR in standard ranked matchmaking is entirely hidden, so you never know how much you're gaining or losing after each match.

You typically gain MMR after a win and lose MMR after a loss, but the amount that you receive or lose is very much dependent on your own individual performance.

Going 35-6 in a dominant win will likely have you gain far more MMR than if you only went 6-15 in the same winning match for example, and it also works in the reverse losing situation too. Some people also theorise that getting MVP stars in winning rounds also helps you climb up the ranks in Counter-Strike 2, but this is once again unconfirmed and purely speculation.

Furthermore, one of the biggest changes in CS2 is that you have a different rank for every single map, meaning that you could be Global Elite on Mirage but Silver 2 on Vertigo. This is to encourage people to expand their map pool, allowing you to try out maps that you might not be as confident on.

Map knowledge and callouts play a huge part in your success, so if you don't know the intricacies of a map you're playing then you're not going to be anywhere near as good as you would be on a map that you play all of the time.

I don't know about you, but I am certainly more confident on certain maps than others - so this change would benefit me a lot. One of the biggest benefits of playing CS is not having to deal with maps you don't like, but I will certainly be more inclined to give new maps a go and expand my map pool with this new change.

Alternatively, if you're looking for a clearer ranking system with visible gains and losses, then you should definitely try out Premier Mode and the new CS rating system, which is detailed below.

How does the CS2 rating system work

a leaderboard in the CS2 Premier Mode
Click to enlarge

The standard Counter-Strike 2 competitive mode works mostly the same as CS:GO's if you're familiar with that, with the exception that you have a different rank for each map, but Counter-Strike 2 introduces the Premier Mode, which features a different rating system entirely based on a numerical value.

The CS2 Premier Mode starts with ten placement matches, and then assigns a numerical value between 0 and 35,000. Every game you play will change your rating, reflected by your performances and whether you win or lose.

Before you even get into a game, there is a pick and ban system (much like in CS esports) for the maps, forcing players to be comfortable with all the maps in the pool if they want to climb the ranks.

The CS2 rating system also corresponds roughly to the competitive mode ranks, so you can get a good idea of where your skill level is. Here are how the ranks and ratings map onto each other:

  • Silver 1- Silver Elite Master: 0-1999 Premier Mode rating
  • Gold Nova 1 - Gold Nova Master: 2000-5999 Premier Mode rating
  • Master Guardian 1 - Master Guardian Elite: 6000-8999 Premier Mode rating
  • Distinguished Master Guardian - Legendary Eagle Master: 9000-12,999 Premier Mode rating
  • Supreme: 13,000-14,999 Premier Mode Rating
  • Global Elite: 15,000 Premier Mode Rating

How many ranks are there in CS2?

There are 18 ranks in total in CS2's competitive ranked mode, and you will have to work your way through all of them if you want to reach Global Elite. You can skip a few if you do well in your initial placement period, but once you have been placed, the real grind will start.

As mentioned, you will have a different rank for every map in CS2, meaning that you will only climb the ranks for each of the separate maps that you play, and MMR is not gained across the board.

There are also no rank reset periods or seasons where you will have to climb again, so if you continue to play you will only progress or falter according to your own performance.

Being absent from CS2 for a lengthy period will temporarily suspend your rank, and you will have to win a certain number of matches again to have it visible. This will mimic the placement period from when you first started ranked, although you will likely be placed back where you were before the rank suspension.

While there are no discreet ranked groupings in Premier Mode, there are colour groups that largely correspond to the item rarities, ranging from white (the lowest) to gold (the highest). We do not currently know the boundaries for these ranks, but we will let you know when that information does arise.

All CS2 competitive ranks from Silver to Global Elite

Infographic of all of the CS:GO ranks, from Silver to Global Elite
Click to enlarge

Check out the list below for all 18 of the ranks in CS:GO and CS2, starting with the lows of Silver 1 through to the apex of Global Elite:

Rank Shorthand
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
Master Guardian I 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
Global Elite GE

While most players will be striving for the Global Elite at the top, very few will actually make it there as it is only reserved for the best of the best. You will need to win a lot of games and perform exceedingly well in them to climb that high - but if you do make it then you have something to be very proud of. 

How good is each rank in CS2?

While you can check out the CS2 rank distribution details here to see the spread of players in the competitive ecosystem, it can be quite difficult to understand how good each rank really is in the grand scheme of things.

Largely, if you find yourself anywhere between Gold Nova 1 and Master Guardian 2 then you're about 'average' at the game - in the best possible way. The low Gold ranks are where the majority of the player base sits, so you're as good as a standard CS2 player if you're around this area, with the better players finding themselves in the lower MG tiers.

Anywhere from DMG to Supreme Master First Class and you can call yourself good at the game, as the skill level required to reach here is quite significant. While players with fantastic mechanics can get here on pure skill alone, you will also have to really integrate tactics, strategy, and teamwork into your game to reach these ranks.

Finally, comfortably at the top of the table is Global Elite, and only the best of the best will find themselves in this ranked category. There is a significant drop-off when it comes to distribution from SMFC to Global Elite, signifying truly how elite you have to be to reach the highest rank in the game.

This only further extends to Premier Mode too, where making it into the official leaderboard will let you properly boast about your skill level as you can find yourself ranked among the best players in the entire world.

How many wins does it take to rank up in CS2?

In general, it usually takes around 8-10 wins to rank up in CS2, but it entirely depends on your own individual performance in each of the games.

Furthermore, while you can have a few losses and draws in between the wins, going on a win streak is the best way to rank up quickly, especially if you are near the top of the leaderboard and pick up a number of MVP stars.

As the game has no means of telling you your exact MMR, or how close you are to the next rank, all you can do is keep grinding away and hopefully you will climb the ladder soon enough.

If you're feeling frustrated though, it might be worth trying out Premier Mode to get a better sense of how you're progressing after each game, as that has no discreet ranks and instead uses a visible MMR system.

That's it for our explainer on the Counter-Strike 2 ranking and rating systems, and now you know all of the ranks in order. Be sure to head to our Counter-Strike homepage for more guide content on how to check who has Counter-Strike 2 access, or for a rundown of what the most expensive skin ever sold in CS2 is. We've also covered how to create a jump-bind throw, as well as explained whether you can take CS2 on the go with you using the Steam Deck.

Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.

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