Even in 2022, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s ranks and matchmaking system is an absolute mess for a variety of reasons. But with a little work, it’s possible to break it down and understand how it works and how ranks in CSGO are distributed.
Hackers remain omnipresent in CSGO, with recent numbers suggesting that players came across a hacker in every two to three games. Even worse, CSGO’s ranking system is downright broken in some regions, leaving players of wildly different skill levels lumped together at the same rank.
This has led to a great deal of discontent within the CSGO fandom as many question whether Valve will muster up the energy to fix things. Here’s everything there is to know about CSGO ranks in 2022.
All CSGO ranks in order
CSGO’s ranks are set in the following order:
- Silver 1
- Silver 2
- Silver 3
- Silver 4
- Silver Elite
- Silver Elite Master
- Gold Nova 1
- Gold Nova 2
- Gold Nova 3
- Gold Nova Master
- Master Guardian
- Master Guardian 2
- Master Guardian Elite
- Distinguished Master Guardian
- Legendary Eagle
- Legendary Eagle Master
- Supreme Master First Glass
- Global Elite
The complete list of CSGO ranks can largely be broken up into three chunks. The silver ranks are the lowest, and are followed by the gold ranks that run from Gold Nova 1 to Distinguished Master Guardian. Legendary Eagle through Global Elite make up the highest echelon.
The percentage of players that make up each rank varies wildly from region to region. While the gold ranks should theoretically make up the majority of players, that isn’t the case around the globe.
CSGO rank distribution is a mess in North America, Oceania
The rank distribution of CSGO is broken in some regions, with North America and Oceania being the most impacted by issues.
In 2021, Leetify crunched the numbers to show the rank distribution in CSGO within each region. Theoretically, the rank distribution should make for a bell curve, with the mid-tier gold ranks attracting the majority of players. Things are behaving normally in this regard in Asia, Europe, and South America:
However, this isn’t the case in North America or Oceania. In these regions, players are being held back in silver ranks to a prohibitive degree. More than 50% of players are in silver ranks in these regions, compared to under 30% in the other regions.
This makes for a situation where new players are immediately tossed into the deep end. It’s not uncommon to see high-level tactics such as one-way smokes and pop flashes in some low-level silver games, which theoretically should be reserved for players who barely have a grasp on the basics of the game.
It’s uncertain what caused this problem. North America and Oceania might have a disproportionate number of players that have left the game, or hackers and smurfing might be a much bigger problem in these regions than elsewhere. Regardless, this desperately needs fixing on Valve’s part. But the developer doesn’t seem all that interested in addressing it.
What is an average CSGO rank?
The average CSGO rank varies by region, ranging from Gold Nova Master in Europe to Silver Elite Master in North America to Silver Elite in Oceania.
In a ranking system like CSGO, average players should be shepherded to the medium gold rankings. This is working in some regions, but in others there is most players are stuck at silver ranks.
The average ranking distribution in all regions should be in the range of Gold Nova 3 to Gold Nova Master. These ranking issues have instead skewed things terribly in some regions.
Do you need Prime to get a rank in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
Yes, Prime status is now required to play ranked matchmaking and to receive a rank in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
In June 2021, Valve took action to try and curb the number of cheaters and bad actors in CSGO by implementing a paywall. Prime matchmaking now costs $15 and serves as a gateway to drops, ranked matchmaking, and other features. Valve’s reason for this move was to make it so that banned players were no longer able to simply create a new account and return to action shortly after being banned.
This resulted in a noticeable decline in CSGO’s player base, but added the potential for a better experience for the game’s remaining players moving forward.
How many CSGO players are Global Elite?
Depending on the region, the Global Elite rank makes up between 0.4 and 1.4% of CSGO’s player base.
Global Elite is the highest rank in CSGO’s matchmaking. While there are an abundance of issues when it comes to CSGO matchmaking and ranks, Valve has done a good job of making Global Elite a rare achievement.
Even bona fide talents have fallen outside this mark. In 2019, Michael “shroud” Grzesiek returned to CSGO action by playing public matchmaking instead of FACEIT Pro League or ESEA. When he received his new rank, he was placed in Master Guardian Elite rather than Global Elite despite being a pro-caliber talent.