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How does Valorant Ranked work - How to rank up

Here's how the ranked system works.

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About Ed Thorn

Ed will not rest until a new Wario Land is announced.

Valorant's competitive ranked mode is for players who want to get serious about the game. Here's how to rank up and climb the ladder.

Since Valorant's official launch, Riot's has slowly trickled in new features and updates to keep the game moving in the right direction. One of these features is a much anticipated ranked/competitive mode for those who want to get serious, climb a ladder, and prove that they're the best out of all their mates.

Riot's already trialled a beta version of ranked and it's on the cusp of launching it for real. Below we've broken down everything we know so far about it, and how it all works.

Stay tuned for further updates as the mode evolves!

Competitive Act 2 UPDATE:

As Act 1 comes to a close, Riot's already begun laying out plans for its next season of content. Namely, it's introducing something called 'Act Ranks', a snazzy badge which shows off how you performed in each Act.

Here's how it works:

  • After an Act, all that matters for your Act Rank are the 9 best ranked wins of the act, as well as the total number of wins you earned in the Act.
  • At the end of the Act, your Act Rank will be preserved as a badge on your player card in Competitive Games (and in your career history).
  • As you play competitive matches, your Act Rank fills up with small triangles. Each triangle represents your ranked match wins. As you win and climb, you'll begin filling up this triangle and actively replacing your lower rank wins with your shiny new ones. Hitting win thresholds (9,25,50,75,100) also gives the border a lovely new sheen too.
  • Your Act Rank badge progress can be viewed in the career page at any time.
  • Act Rank Badges won't be awarded once Act 1 is over. Instead, they will become active during Act 2 and will be awarded at the start of Act 3. This is because Riot wants players to become acquainted with the system before dishing them out.
  • Placement games don't count toward earning your Act Rank!

Does Riot have any other plans for Ranked? Yes, absolutely.

At the start of Act 2, it'll only take 3 games to display your rank instead of the initial 5. These placements are quicker as Riot's able to draw from your previous Act's MMR.

For a complete, in-depth look at all the changes, head on over to Riot's official announcement page. Make sure you keep this page bookmarked for all the latest!

Valorant: How does ranked work?

Right, here’s a bitesize ‘everything you need to know’ list to kick things off.

  • Complete 20 Unrated matches to unlock Competitive mode.
  • There are 8 ranks, 3 tiers each, except the top rank, VALORANT.
  • You can queue with up to 5-player parties, must be within 2 ranks.
  • Rank isn’t displayed if competitive matches aren’t played within 14 days, but your rank doesn’t decay behind the scenes.
  • Closed beta rank does not carry over to launch.

How do I unlock ranked?

To unlock Competitive matchmaking, you’ll need to complete 20 Unrated matches. Once you’ve done so, Competitive mode will be available to select from the matchmaking menu, so you’ll be able to kick off your quest to reach Valorant rank.

Before you get ranked, you’ll need to complete 5 placement matches. Depending on how those matches went and your personal performances within them, you’ll then be ranked. The game usually starts people off at a pretty low rank, unless you’re exceptionally good and win all of your placements easily.

We go into further detail on playing in a party down below, but it’s worth noting that you can’t initially queue up for ranked matches without everyone having unlocked it. For example, if someone who enters your ranked party hasn’t unlocked ranked, you won’t be able to queue up at all.

How do I rank up?

To rank up in Valorant, you’ll need to win games. It’s that simple. If you aren’t winning, you aren’t going to climb. Even if you have a bad game, as long as you win, you’ll still gain some ranking points. Simply put, losses and bad performances will hurt your rank - loss streaks will really hurt your rank, but wins will always go some way to increasing your rank.

More essential Valorant guides:

As you can see from the image above, there are eight levels of rank, each divided into three tiers: Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Immortal, and Valorant.

Winning games is the most important factor in gaining rank, and if you perform exceptionally well your rank will climb faster. As you’d expect, losing matches and not performing too well will cause you to lose rank.

Personal performance will have a greater impact early on, but this’ll decrease in importance when compared to wins over time. What’s more, competitive measures how “decisively” you win or lose, so if you perform well and stomp the team, the game will know and reward you for it!

Manage to reach Valorant rank? Well, winning and how decisive your games are won or lost will be the only factor measured.

Is there a points system?

There's almost certainly a hidden MMR/ELO system which matches you with similarly skilled players. If you win this'll go up, and if you lose, it'll go down. Currently when you finish a match you'll have no real indication of where you lie on this scale. There's no flashy points animation, or a ladder to climb - you simply check your rank beneath your name and hope you've either gone up one, stayed the same, and hopefully not dipped down.

If you win multiple in a row with strong performances, expect to go up. As you'd expect, if you start losing quite a few, you'll likely go down.

Can I queue up with friends?

If you’ve got a group of mates, you can queue with up to a party of 5 people. However, whoever you party up with must be within 2 ranks (6 tiers) from you. This is to make sure there isn’t someone who is far, far better than everyone else, basically.

Riot also wants to make it clear that if you do queue up with a party, the matchmaking system will take this into account and “automatically optimises your match to favour similar premade sizes on the opposing team”.

What happens if I don’t play ranked for a while?

Rank inactivity will be tracked. If you don’t play a competitive match within 14 days, then your account will be considered “inactive” and your rank will be hidden. After your first match back in ranked it’ll be visible again. Riot won’t decay your rank, it’ll simply hide it until you come back, so don’t fear if you go on holiday for a while - you won’t suddenly go Diamond to Platinum.

Will my rank reset once Valorant launches for real?

Yes, when Valorant launches in Summer 2020 your rank will be totally reset. We imagine the game itself will completely reset too, meaning you'll likely need to complete Unrated games again before you can even jump back into a ranked match. From there on out, you'll need to play your placements, get ranked, and get climbing.

At first this sounds a bit frustrating, but it's a chance at redemption if you're stuck in a certain rank and need a bit of a mental refresh. What's more, if you know you're a good player, it's another chance to put everything you've learned from the closed beta into practice from the very beginning this time.

What’s the future of ranked look like?

Rounding off Riot’s first post on ranked, progression is the main talking point. It’s currently tinkering with how to “add an element of persistent rank progression that recognises your competitive accomplishments for all ranks outside of just the match rank display.”

It’ll also be interesting to see if there will be a special competitive ruleset like League of Legends or CS:GO. Will there be a map pool? Will there be a pick and ban phase before each match? We’re excited to find out.

Finally, we imagine there will be cosmetic rewards for placing in certain tiers at the end of a season too. Expect special agent skins, weapon skins, and more.

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