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CSGO Ranks Guide

It is hard to imagine that the original Counter-Strike game was only a mode. With the natural evolution of the iGaming industry and the launch of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the competitive stage evolved to the global level. 

For many years, the game's system of ranks was not complex to understand. However, as the dexterity and willingness of high-ranked and world-class competitors have increased to unprecedented levels, the system has been a bit changed to distinguish different classes of players.

Read on for a full guide on the CS:GO system of ranks. 

Why Do CSGO Ranks Exist? – The Basics

Similar to other iGaming leagues, CS:GO needs a ranking system to distinguish players based on their experience. The common factors used to determine the rank of a player include:

  • How long the player has been engaged in the game
  • How skilled the player is
  • How well-ranked the player is in competitions
  • At which level of competition the player is participating
  • Which titles and badges the player has acquired throughout the years 

At the end of the day, a rank is an indicator of performance. The higher the level of skill and experience of a player, the higher ranked he tends to be. 

When you play CS:GO, you will quickly notice that the rank of each player is displayed under his username on the start-up dashboard. The scoreboard displayed on matches also features the rank of each player at the right of the username dashboard.

While the CS:GO ranks system has objective benefits associated with higher-ranked positions, the greatest advantage is psychological and emotional. The higher a player climbs up the ranks, the better they feel about their progress.

How Are CSGO Ranks Divided? 

The CS:GO ranking system is not rocket science. In essence, your position depends on how many wins or losses you’ve scored in competitive matches. The more matches you win, the more your rate increases, which results in a higher rank.

Conversely, if you lose several matches, your rate automatically decreases, which results in a lower rank. Please note that a player can even suffer a downgrade from his current rank after a massive losing streak.

The CS:GO Ranking system is split into four groups – Silver, Gold Nova, Master Guardian, and Elite. In total, the sum of the ranks in all groups results in 18 ranks. Here’s a full list of the current ranks on CS:GO: 

  • Silver I (S1)
  • Silver 2 CSGO (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 CSGO (DMG)
  • Legendary Eagle (LE)
  • Legendary Eagle Master (LEM CSGO)
  • Supreme Master First Class (SMFC)
  • Global Elite CSGO (GE)

How Can I Get My First Rank as a CSGO Player?

You can be sure that you will not be able to climb these ranks without working sufficiently hard. To earn your first rank on CS:GO, you must win at least 10 competitive matches. 

Considering you can only play two matches per day at this point, you will need a bit of effort to break down this first barrier. After ten wins, you will be assigned to one of the 18 ranks depending on your performance. 

In recent years, some players have been complaining about mechanic flaws on CS:GO that simply throw newbies and inexperienced players against battle-tested players with thousands of combats in their resumes. 

Still, the complaints are sparse, as the system works properly most of the time. Once you’ve broken through this limited start, you can engage in an unlimited number of matches and put your skills to work daily.

Please note that you can only participate in matches with players who are either five ranks higher or lower than yours (excluding five-member premade teams).

Understanding the CSGO Ranks – Full Walkthrough

As it is plain to see, the Silver rank group is subdivided into several ranks. Rising from the bottom of the Silver ranks to the top of the Global Elite is an overwhelming challenge that requires a significant amount of time, money, and energy invested in the game.

Here’s a detailed explanation of each group and how players can get to the next rank going category after category:

From Silver I  to Silver Elite Master

As expected, the Silver category concentrates the largest percentage of inexperienced, untrained, or unskilled players compared to the other categories. The standard Silver I player is not a straight shooter, lacks knowledge of proper grenade usage, and has little to no map awareness. 

Luckily, it is not hard to climb through the first ranks. All you need to do is improve your skills and train every day. We recommend a daily training program of at least 30 to 60 minutes using training maps like Yprac’s maps and other options available on the Steam Community workshop.

Keep in mind that players on the Silver Elite Master rank are still not considered highly-skilled players but have sufficient experience to participate in matches and contribute positively to a team if there’s enough chemistry involved.

From Gold Nova I to Master Guardian Elite

Once a player has gone through the Silver Elite Master and transcended to the Gold Nova I rank, it means he spent at least a few hundred (or a thousand) hours in front of a screen focused exclusively on playing CS:GO.

This level of player already has a solid knowledge of peeking, strafing, spraying, recoiling, and other basic aspects of the game. To evolve further, a Gold Nova I player must dedicate more time to chisel his abilities, which include:

  • Efficient cross-hair placement 
  • Ability to peek and not get peeked
  • Acquiring game sense and advanced teamwork skills
  • Becoming a specialist in different maps
  • Demonstrating a solid knowledge of routes and lanes
  • Fluency in the usage of several weapons
  • Automated reactions when confronted with different situations
  • Advanced reflexive skills and motion control
  • Fluency in different roles within a team 
  • Solid knowledge of team tactics for attack or defense

Please note that many of these skills will be naturally developed throughout the endless hours of CS:GO gameplay. However, evolving through the ranks always requires taking time to study and practice, no matter how experienced you might be.

Keep in mind that you are still part of 30% of the total player base while you are fighting to attain the Distinguished Master Guardian (DMG) rank, so never get discouraged and boldly ride the tiger to get to the superior rank tier.

From Distinguished Master Guardian to Legendary Eagle Master 

Once you’ve reached the Distinguished Master Guardian (DMG) rank, you are finally entering the competitive scene. It might sound overly demanding, but it is the reality of the current CS:GO competitive scene at the global level.

This tier is associated with standard competitive players, those who will typically take their time to train hard and have a grasp of their personal stats. Being a self-critic of one’s performance and recording gameplay sessions is another common indicator.

At this point, the player already has invested between 2000 to 3000 hours in playing CS:GO. You will not find a player at the Distinguished Master Guardian (DMG) rank without a clear edge when compared to competitors.

For example, if you pick a DMG player and put him against a Master Guardian player in a 1 vs. 1 match, you will clearly spot the difference in map knowledge, positioning skills, maneuvering ability, utility usage, and marksmanship.

From this point on, the only way to climb up is to dedicate more hours to training and play competitively more often to keep sharpening one’s entire ability “toolbox.”

From Supreme Master First Class to Global Elite – The Final Edge 

Only the most talented, dedicated and determined CS:GO players can dream of reaching the Supreme Master First Class (SMFC) rank. If you have done so, kudos to you for being a remarkable CS:GO player.

In Europe, less than 5% of all CS:GO players are listed as SMFC or Global Elite. In North America, this number is close to 3,5% of all CS:GO players. Can you imagine being part of the elite players ranked over millions of users spread around an entire continent? It’s surreal!

Once you’ve climbed the CS:GO ranking system that high, the difference lies in the details. A Global Elite player can be beaten by an SMFC player on any day, depending on the circumstances involved in the match and the teamwork involved in the combat. 

CSGO Ranks Guide Summary

Becoming an elite CS:GO player requires hours of constant specialization and drills. Until the day you transcend the level of a globally-ranked competitive player, you will need above-average determination and willingness to be among the best.

Although the journey is pressuring and intense, it is truly rewarding to finally break through the higher ranks and stand at the top where only world-class players dwell.