If you love FPS multiplayer games and have a mile-wide competitive streak, it's time to upgrade to Valorant's competitive ranked mode. This 5v5 FPS shooter had everything a gamer could want when it launched, but now Riot Games has made it even better.
You've worked your way to mastery with your favorite agents. Now it's time to see who really is the best in the community. Pit your skills against like-minded people and climb to the top of the regional leaderboards. The bragging rights are there for the taking – if you dare to take the challenge.
But before jumping into a competitive match, you should arm yourself with a bit of knowledge about the ranking system.
Keep reading to find out how Valorant's ranking system works, how to advance ranks, and how in-game acts rank up.
Valorant Ranking System - Overview
Valorant's ranking system is a bit confusing, especially for newcomers. The system is like other multiplayer ranking systems with a few key differences that are uniquely Riot Games.
For starters, you can't enter competitive/ranked mode on a whim. You need to complete 10 unranked matches to unlock the game's competitive mode. When this new mode first launched, players only had to complete 20 unranked matches to unlock it. Since it is easier to complete games than to complete matches, trolls and smurfs have flooded matching competitions and created myriad problems.
Riot Games' response to potentially problematic players was to "increase" unlock requirements in the form of match completions. It's not a perfect solution, but finishing matches takes a lot more dedication and commitment than just jumping into a few easy matches.
Once you have completed the required 10 unranked matches, you must complete five placement matches. Placement matches help the game determine where to start in the ranking system.
Before you stress about placement matches, don't worry. Even if you lose your matches, the game also takes your performance into consideration, not just whether you win or lose a ladder match. Valorant also takes your previous 10 unranked wins into consideration to determine your rank.
Ranks and Levels
There are eight ranks or divisions in the Valorant ranking system:
- The iron
- Radiant (formerly called "Valorant")
The first six ranks also have three levels or sub-ranks that you must clear to advance to the next rank. The last two ranks, Immortal and Radiant, only have one level each. There are 20 ranks in Valorant in total, excluding Unranked.
Most players start at Iron rank, although their performance in placement matches may place them in a higher rank and level. For example, exceptional players can skip four levels and see their starting rank at Bronze 2.
It is also possible to skip ranks and levels when competing in Competitive mode. It all depends on your MMR or matchmaking rating, your performance and your frags (kills) in a match. Consistency is key if you want to skip the ranks. Make big winning streaks, get MVPs and you can climb the ranks faster.
It takes a lot of dedication and patience, but if you do well and win matches, you might end up working your way to the top of the leaderboards. The first two ranks of the Valorant system are reserved for the best of the best. Only 500 players per region will achieve Radiant rank while Immortal rank is reserved for the top 1% of each region.
Some online multiplayer games encourage players to log in regularly by introducing a 'ranking down' mechanism. In other games, if a player does not compete for a set period of time, their in-game ranking begins to deteriorate.
Valorant doesn't have a rank degradation mechanic, so you can take breaks if you need to. However, if you've spent too much time away from the game, you may need to play a placement game to restore your rank. The placement game helps determine your skill level after a long absence and whether you can still compete at your last rank.
From a competition point of view, it makes sense. Riot Games wants to make sure you'll be placed in matches appropriate to your skill level. Completing a placement game before getting back into the swing of things can also help. The last thing you want is to jump back into competitive mode only to find you're a little rusty and overwhelmed.
Curious to know how you stack up against other players in your region?
Valorant Episode 2 introduced a new feature for competitive players: Regional Leaderboards. Leaderboards display your rank and rank along with some personal information such as your Riot ID and player card. If you prefer to be a little more anonymous when participating, you can always change your personal information to read "Secret Agent" instead.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to see your place on the regional leaderboards as soon as you start competitive mode. You must first play at least 50 competitive games. To keep your place on the board, you will need to commit time to the game and play at least one competitive game per week.
As mentioned earlier, your rank will not decrease, but you will also not appear in the leaderboard if you disappear for a few weeks.
Checking Match History
Getting an overview of your past matches can help you figure out what you're doing right and where it's going wrong as you move up the ranks. See the steps below to access your match history:
- Go to the game's main dashboard.
- Tap the "Career" tab located at the top of the screen.
- View information from your last 10 matches.
You'll be able to see stats like wins and losses, as well as kills, spike plants, assists, and first bloods. If you're the type of player who likes to get a bit of meta, this information is invaluable in understanding and optimizing your match performance.
As a bonus, you can also see the performance of other players in the same match. Just select a game and check the details.
Matchmaking Rating (MMR) Explained
Your matchmaking rating or MMR is one of the most important numbers you will ever see in competitive mode. This is how you are compared to other players in competitive mode. If you imagine a giant ladder, your MMR represents your rung on that ladder.
According to Riot Games, no two players will ever share the same rung or place on the ladder. Each match determines whether you move up the MMR ladder or are "pushed by others". It is simply a rating that helps the game match you with players of a similar level, and is separate from your RR or rating.
Rank Rating (RR) explained
Your rank is the number of points you get after each competitive game. You earn RR points based on competitive wins and your overall performance in the match, especially in the lower tiers.
To move to the next level, you must accumulate 100 RR points. Point allocation differs from game to game, but in general the breakdown looks like this:
- Wins: 10 – 50 RR, 5+ RR for Diamond ranks and above
- Drops: Minus 0 – 30 RR, 50 RR max drop for Diamond ranks and above
- Draws: 20 RR (based on performance) for Iron – Diamond ranks
Be careful though, because it is possible to be downgraded to the previous level if you do not receive any RR points in the game. If you are downgraded, Valorant has a “downgrade protection” for players in which you will not drop below 80 RR for the newly downgraded rank.
The good news is that it will only take you 20 RR to return to the previous rank, but the bad news is that you were downgraded in the first place.
MMR vs RR
Your MMR and RR are separate rating systems in Valorant. One helps the game match you with suitable players while the other determines your performance rating for competitive mode.
Here's where it gets a little confusing:
Riot Games strives to create ideal matches suited to your skills, but they only have an “idea” of your performance. This “idea” is your matchmaking note. By looking at both your MMR and RR, players are placed at the lower end of their rating estimate to create matches to test you.
If you "pass" the test or consistently win, you are proving that you belong higher on that metaphorical ladder and will be matched with players closer to your performance level. You will also see a difference in your RR points.
When you win you get more points and when you lose you lose less. All of those extra RR points serve to prepare you to move up to the higher end of the rank estimate the system has created for you.
Riot Games ultimately wants all players to move towards "convergence" for their MMR and RR scores. Ideally, your RR will reflect your level of performance and your MMR will allow you to prove that you belong in this rank.
Climb the ranks with skill, not grind
It's tempting to play as many games as possible to work your way to the top of the leaderboards, but that's not how the ranking system works. While the game emphasizes "wins", they also look at how you win and what skills you've displayed in your matches. If you want to progress through Valorant's ranking system, it's all about quality, not quantity.
How long does it take you to level up in Valorant's ranked mode? Tell us about it in the comments section below.