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Published: February 21, 2024

Written by: Barney

Counter-Strike 2 caused a furore when it first came out. Today, players are not only fond of the game, but they are actively interested in improving their CS2 ranks. To do so, though, any player would first need to know what their CS2 rank signifies, and how they can improve it in the first place.

On balance, it will come to your skill in the game rather than knowledge of CS2 ranks, but we don’t see how your understanding of the ranking system would hurt either way. We will talk about the 18 ranks, their names, and how many points you need to progress to the next rung of the competitive ladder.

These ranks are applied to maps only, and to gauge your overall skill level, CS2 utilizes a ranking system called Premier Rating System which is calculated based on points. The first round of points is awarded after 10 games that determine your skill level. We will now step forward and explain how CS2 ranks

Understanding CS2 Ranks and What They Are

To get yourself started, you first need to know how the system works. Luckily for you, despite the many individual ranks involved in the game, following them is quite easy. There are 18 CS2 ranks in total, which will be spread across three individual tiers.

In broad strokes, you start as Silver I and progress to Globa Elite. However, only a handful of players have been able to reach the very summit of the CS2 ranking system, so make sure to adjust your expectations accordingly. This way, players can enjoy the game more, as CS2 is actively trying to spread the balance even across different tiers, creating teams of similar game aptitude.

Between you and glory lies a road filled with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of players, who are equally zealous about attaining a higher pecking order. Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that CS2 ranks are not quite universal across your entire performance.

Maps CS2 Ranks

In fact, individual maps matter, and you may be a Master Guardian II on Dust, but be only Silver I on Inferno, if you haven’t played that specific map. It is easy to throw a player out of whack when they realize this simple fact about CS2 ranks, but it is also an additional incentive for players to perform well in every game they show up to.

CS2 ranks listed.
Image credit: Blast Premier

In addition, the matchmaking and ranking system in CS2 has been designed to significantly improve on its predecessor, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). For one, players are going to now be weighed on a much more ambitious and complex scale, which will feature individual aspects of their gameplay proficiency (think map knowledge, placement awareness, aiming, and shooting) as well as their overall rank achieved on individual maps.

The CS2 ranks system is designed in such a way as to encourage players who are actively trying to improve. There is no harm in gravitating towards the lower ranks either, but if you want to significantly improve your ability to play, you will benefit from putting a conscious effort into your gaming sessions.

How the CS2 Ranking System Works?

To begin with, the CS2 ranking system is not that complicated on the face of it. It seems fairly simple enough – you have 18 ranks and three tiers. Climbing to the top is hard, and it gets even harder as each rank is assigned to you individually for a map.

To help you make a sense of how ranks are awarded, Counter-Strike 2 uses a familiar metric, which is pretty standard for most Valve games. This is the Matchmaking Rating or MMR for short, which will change depending on whether you win or lose. This means that if you want to advance in CS2 ranks, you will have to improve on several fronts.

First, there is your overall ability to play the game. Secondly, you would need to develop a strong map awareness regarding individual maps. Third, you would have to practice. Most professional players, or at least those who advance rapidly through the CS2 ranks argue that players who wish to grow have to take about an hour a day practicing their aim, whether they choose headshots-only or FFA maps.

The new system will actually consider your ability to aim and shoot accurately as one of the determining factors of how fast you advance through the ranks.

How Are CS2 Ranks Groups in Tiers

As mentioned before, there are several tiers in the CS2 ranks. We have summed up these tiers as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Ranks. Further breaking down of the available ranks may suggest that there are a few more tiers, but we have preferred to keep things this way instead. Let’s take a look.

Beginner CS2 Ranks

The first tier to address is the beginner ranks, which start from Silver I and progress through Silver Elite. The ranking here is fairly easy to attain and it usually doesn’t come at a great expense. However, you will notice even in these entry ranks that there is a clear commitment to rewarding skilled play and taking a rather more conservative approach under chronic underperformance. The game has been designed to stimulate you to do better, whether it’s aiming, map awareness, or taking down enemies. The ranks in this category are as follows:

  • Silver I
  • Silver II
  • Silver III
  • Silver IV
  • Silver Elite

Intermediate CS2 Ranks

Intermediate ranks are where your true competitive mettle will be put to a serious and extensive test. These ranks are already awarded to players who show exceptional quality and are capable of playing on a level that is considered advanced. This means that once you enter the intermediate ranking system, you will need to practice.

You need to be able to move quickly through a map, head for a bomb site, take down enemies along the way, and continuously aim accurately so that the game picks up that you are indeed performing well.

Advanced CS2 Ranks

Once you enter the CS2 advanced rank system, you will immediately notice that there is a significant increase in the skill level of players you face. The players you will be exchanging bullets with are constantly striving to improve themselves and advance across the tiers. On an advanced level, players will immediately feel that their efforts have led them to a competitive stage where every game poses a challenge and the opportunity to grow, learn, and improve. All players who have achieved these tiers tend to be dedicated and apply themselves to strengthening their game knowledge. Here is the list of ranks to explore:

  • Master Guardian Elite
  • Distinguished Master Guardian
  • Legendary Eagle
  • Legendary Elite Master
  • Supreme Master First Class
  • Global Elite

Premier Rating in CS2 – The Universal Ranking System

CS2 ranks are all very well, but as we have noted, they are awarded per individual maps. To get a more universal approach to the ranking system in CS2, Valve has come up with Premier Rating, which is accumulated as part of Premier Mode and the regular competitive mode. The tiers here are awarded per a number of points accumulated by players, as follows:

  • 0-4999 – Silver – Gold Nova (Grey)
  • 5000-9999 – Gold Nova – Master Guardian (Light Blue)
  • 10000 – 14999 – Master Guardian – Legendary Eagle (Blue)
  • 15000 – 19999 – Legendary Eagle – Supreme Master First Class (Purple)
  • 20000 – 24999 – Supreme Master First Class – Global Elite (Pink)
  • 25000 – 29999 – Upper Global Elite (Red)
  • 30000 or more – Yellow

You will notice that Premier Rating in Counter-Strike 2 is color-coded which will make it easy to spot what player you are going up against, or what player you have next to you. Although this skill display could be rife for internal conflicts, it could also show smart and skilled players what to advise their teammates.

Do you send a Gold Nova player versus a Supreme Master First Class one? No, you let them guard a chokepoint in order to slow down the more advanced players, or even score a lucky kill against them if they are not being careful.

How to Rank Up in CS2?

CS Lab training map.
Image: CS Lab

If you are keen to rank up, you will have to generally follow several pieces of advice that have stood the test of time and that have proven to be a reliable formula for advancing. Although the theoretical knowledge of each of these points is sound, and a crucial aspect of progress, the practical application of everything you learn now will be equally impactful and important for your long-term success.

Train Your Aim, Advance Your Map Knowledge

If you want to really start climbing through your ranks, you may as well start putting in the hard work. Players who are keen to advance would have to work on two individual aspects – aiming and map knowledge. Both are crucial aspects of the experience.

Luckily for you, training in your aim can be done outside the ranking system and it can be achieved quickly through dedicated maps. The recommended amount of time to spend on training your aim is set at one hour daily, but you may or may not train more if you like.

Practice Good Internal Communication and Teamplay

CS2 is a game that encourages teamwork, and this is important. If you want to advance by any meaningful degree, you will have to continuously work with others. No matter what your personal skill is, developing leadership capabilities and being able to communicate with your teammates will lead to great overall boons to your success as a unit.

Teamwork can help you better identify enemy positions, take down opponents, and utility usage so that you know when to advance if an enemy has used up their kit already, and whether someone has been wounded and therefore a frontal attack is feasible. All of this is incidental, and it won’t translate into success all of the time, but developing a habit of communicating in a calm, succinct and efficient way with your teammates, of all tiers, will lead to better results, and faster growth across the rank tree.

Look at How Professional Players Play

Often an underestimated part of the experience, taking a look at how professional players play is something that you ought to do. It’s not just a matter of watching tournament series such as ESL or BLAST Premier. You ought to also see if top-ranking players are sharing advice, or even offering coaching sessions. There is a lot to emulate, and there are many players in both CS2 and even Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, who have been imparting a lot of knowledge for free. Internationalizing and automating these lessons is the next step towards success.

Final Word on CS2 Ranks and Rating

Overall, CS2’s ranking and rating system can be a little confusing at first blush. This is completely normal and understandable and there is no need for you to feel particularly ill at ease or even lost. Some things will take figuring, but once you see how things work, it will all make sense to you. Counter-Strike is a game of great depth and an almost endless opportunity to improve yourself. The CS2 and rating systems are there to give you an incentive and help you properly gauge your aptitude.

CS2 Ranks FAQs

Does CS2 have ranks?

Yes, CS2 has ranks and the game is designed to reward skilled gameplay, but also helps those who show real effort to self-improve in advancing their positions more quickly than more casual players.

What is the CS2 ranking system like?

The CS2 ranking system is split into two main categories for the most part. First, you have the individual CS2 ranks – 18 – which are distributed for achievements in individual maps. You also have the MMR which also awards ranks, with both scales capped at the Global Elite rank which is considered the pinnacle of competitive performance in CS2.

How can you check your CS2 rank?

There are two ways to check your rank – by seeing what your rank for a particular CS2 map is or through Premier Mode which will display your rank as a point value in Matchmaking Rating (MMR).

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