How The Valorant Ranking System Works – Rankings Explained
If you love FPS multiplayer games and have a competitive streak a mile wide, it’s time to jump into Valorant’s competitive ranked mode. This 5v5 FPS shooter game had everything a gamer could want when it first launched, but now Riot Games has made it even better.
You’ve made your way to mastery with your favorite Agents. Now, it’s time to see who’s really the best in the community. Pit your skills against like-minded individuals and climb to the top of the regional leaderboards. Bragging rights are right there for the taking – if you dare take the challenge.
But before you jump into a competitive match, you need to arm yourself with a bit of ranking system knowledge. Keep reading to find out how Valorant’s ranking system works, how to advance ranks, and how the game’s Acts figure into ranking.
Valorant Rank System – Overview
Valorant’s ranking system is a bit confusing, especially for newcomers. The system is like other multiplayer ranking systems with some key differences that are uniquely Riot Games.
First, you can’t just jump into competitive/ranked mode on a whim, and you won’t get placed in unfair matches due to Riot Games’ unique Rank Ratings (RR) and Matchmaking Rankings (MMR) systems. Second, the Leaderboards omit how much you play to keep it fair. A person with more kills and wins that plays less still gets their Leaderboard spot when someone else plays more, has more kills/wins, but has less of a kill/win ratio.
Here’s the breakdown on Valorant Ranks and How they work in 2023.
Initial Ranking System Details
When this new mode first launched, players only had to complete 20 unrated games to unlock competitive mode. Since completing games is easier than completing matches, many trolls and smurfs flooded the matched competitions and created problems, so ten unrated matches became the requirement.
The Ranking System Before Episode 4
Before Episode 4 launched, you needed to complete ten unrated matches to unlock competitive mode for the game. Riot Games’ answer to potentially problematic players was to “up” the unlocking requirements through match completions. It’s not a perfect solution, but completing matches requires more dedication and commitment than just jumping into a few easy matches.
Once you completed ten unrated match wins, you needed to complete five placement matches. Placement matches helped the game figure out where you should start in the ranking system.
Even if you lost matches, the game considered your performance, not just whether you won or lost a placement match. Valorant also considered your previous ten unrated wins when determining your rank.
The Ranking System After Episode 4
Now, as of Episode 4 and later, you must reach account level 20 to access competitive/ranked mode games. However, if you played at least one ranked match before Episode 4, you will get access to the same competitive games.
Before you stress out about placement matches, take a closer look.
Valorant Ranks and Tiers
There are nine ranks or divisions in the Valorant ranking system:
- Radiant (previously called “Valorant”)
The first eight ranks have three tiers you must achieve to advance to the next rank. The last rank, Radiant, only has one tier. There are 25 ranks in total in Valorant, excluding Unranked.
Most players start at the Iron rank, although their performance during placement matches can put them in a higher ranking and tier. For example, exceptional players may skip four levels and see their starting rank at Bronze 2.
When a new Episode begins, all players need to play 5 placement matches to get placed, with Ascendant 1 being the highest initial placement.
Playing one placement match is required to receive your rank in Act 2 or 3 of a new episode. Your Rank won’t drop at the beginning of each Act, but it can drop if your placement match becomes a bad experience.
Skipping ranks and tiers as you play in Competitive mode is also possible. It all depends on your matchmaking rating (MMR), performance, and frags (kills) in a match. Consistency is key if you’ve got your eye on skipping ranks. Go on large win streaks, get some MVPs, and you may advance through the ranks faster. You must achieve a 100 Rank Rating (RR) per act to move up, such as from Iron Rank 1 to Rank 2.
After initially getting placed in a Rank, you get 50 RR to start. For Episode Acts 2 and 3, you get a minimum of 10 RR. Once you reach Immortal 2 or higher, you must earn a specific amount of RR to get promoted, which is based on Regional settings. For North America (NA), you need 90 RR to get promoted to Immortal 2, 200 RR for immortal 3, and 450 RR to achieve Radiant Rank.
The top two ranks in the Valorant system (Immortal and Radiant) are reserved for the best of the best.
It takes a lot of dedication and patience, but if you perform well and win matches, you may eventually work your way to the top of the leaderboards.
Some online multiplayer games encourage players to log in regularly by introducing a “ranking decay” mechanic. In other games, if a player doesn’t compete for a set period, their rank starts deteriorating.
Valorant has no rank decay mechanic, so you can take breaks from playing if desired. However, if you spend too much time away from the game, you may have to play a placement game to reinstate 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 standpoint, it makes sense. Riot Games wants to ensure you’ll be placed in matches appropriate to your skill level. Completing a placement game before getting back into the swing of things can help you, too. The last thing you want is to return to competitive mode only to find out that you’re a little rusty and in over your head.
Curious to find out how you rank against other players in your region?
Valorant Episode 2 introduced a new feature for competitive players: the Regional Leaderboards. The leaderboards display your rank, rating, and personal information like your Riot ID and player card. If you’d rather be a little more anonymous when you compete, you can always change your personal info to read “Secret Agent” instead.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see how you place on the regional leaderboards when you begin competitive mode. You need to play at least 50 competitive games first. To keep your place on the board, you’ll need to put some time into the game and play at least one competitive game a week.
As mentioned before, your rank won’t decay, but you won’t appear on the leaderboard if you disappear for a couple of weeks, either.
Checking Match History
Understanding your past matches can help you determine what you’re doing right and where it’s going wrong as you climb the ranks. Check out the steps below to access your match history:
- Go to the game’s main dashboard.
- Press the “Career” tab located at the top of the screen.
- Check out the information for your last ten 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 that likes to get a little meta, this information is invaluable for understanding and optimizing your match performance.
You can also see how other players performed in the same match as a bonus. Simply select a game and check out the details.
Match Making Rating (MMR) Explained
Your Match Making Rating (MMR) is one of the most important numbers you’ll ever have, but you cannot view it. It’s an internal system that Valorant uses to determine your rank and placement in matches. It’s how you’re matched to other players in competitive mode. If you picture a giant ladder, your MMR represents your rung on that ladder.
Riot Games states no two players can share the same rung or spot on the Leaderboards ladder. Each match determines whether you advance up the MMR ladder or get “pushed down by others.” It’s simply a rating that helps the game match you to players of a similar level and is separate from your RR or Rank Rating.
Riot Games also considers your performance, such as the number of matches compared to wins and kills, to place you on the ladder to maintain a fair playing field. For instance, if “Player 1” wins more matches than you but plays fewer, you can’t take their place in the Leaderboards and affect their successful placement. You haven’t won as many, even though you’ve played more matches.
Rank Rating (RR) Explained
Your Rank Rating is the number of points you gain after each competitive game. You earn RR points based on competition wins and your overall performance in the match, especially in lower tiers.
To advance to the next tier, you need to accumulate 100 RR points. Point allocation differs from game to game, but generally, the distribution looks like this:
- Wins: 10 – 50 RR, 5+ RR for Diamond ranks and above
- Losses: Minus 0 – 30 RR, 50 RR max drop for Diamond ranks and above
- Draws: 20 RR (based on performance) for ranks Iron – Diamond
Beware, though, because it is possible to get demoted to the previous tier if you receive no RR points in the game. If you do get demoted, Valorant has “demotion protection” for players wherein you won’t go below 70 RR (previously 80 RR) for the newly demoted rank.
The good news is that it’ll only take you 30 RR to get back to the previous rank, but the bad news is that you got demoted in the first place.
MMR vs. RR
Your MMR and RR are separate scoring systems in Valorant. One helps the game match you with the appropriate players, while the other determines your performance rank for competitive mode.
Riot Games strives to create ideal matches that are suitable for your skillset, but they only have an “idea” of how well you’d perform. That “idea” is your Match Making Rating. When Riot Games looks at your MMR and RR, you get placed at the low end of your rank estimation for creating matches to test you.
If you “pass” the test or win consistently, you’re proving that you belong higher on that metaphorical ladder and will get matched with players closer to your performance level. You’ll also see a difference in your RR points.
When you win, you’ll get more points, and when you lose, you’ll lose less. All those extra RR points go towards prepping you to move towards the higher end of the rank estimation the system created for you.
Riot Games eventually wants all players to move towards “convergence” for their MMR and RR scores. Ideally, your RR will reflect your performance level, and your MMR will allow you to prove that you belong in that rank.
Climb the Ranks with Skill, Not Grind
It’s tempting to play as many games as possible to “grind” your way to the top of the leaderboards, but that’s not how the ranking system works. While the game places emphasis on “wins,” they also look at how you win and the skills you displayed during your matches. If you want to advance through Valorant’s ranking system, it’s all about quality, not quantity.