Image via Riot Games

VALORANT’s ranked system explained

It's time to grind.

VALORANT’s Competitive mode, commonly known as the ranked experience, can often leave you fuming due to its complexities and quirks. Yet, the player base can’t seem to stop returning to it. As much of it is punishing, the ranked mode can also reward you generously, and knowing its traits and working can help boost your rank in no time.

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To help you get started, we’ve jotted down everything you need to know about VALORANT’s competitive mode in 2023. So, choose your main agent, and let’s get started.

How do you access VALORANT’s Competitive mode?

Only an account at Level 20 and above can participate in VALORANT’s Competitive. The Competitive mode will be locked into a new account until you reach the prerequisite level.

To increase your account level, regularly complete the daily and weekly missions and play alternate modes like Unrated, Spike Rush, Deathmatch, and more. 

We recommend jumping into multiple Spike Rush and Unrated matches and collecting as many power-buffing or Ultimate orbs as possible to gain the most XP. Also, try winning as many games as possible to reach your desired level faster.

Once the mode is unlocked, you must play five placement matches for the game to understand your MMR and unlock your Act Rank. The system analyzes your performance in the placement matches and moves you up or down in rank to see how you play in that Elo level. This system takes your casual MMR level as the baseline before your placement games.

Luckily, if you’re ranked lower than your true skill level, ranking up should be a breeze.

How do the Valorant ranks work?

Your rank rating, or RR, is the total amount of collected points you earn per competitive match. You earn RR points based on wins and your performance per match. Accrue 100 points to level up to the next tier.

With nine competitive ranks to place in, a hidden matchmaking rating (MMR) to determine your actual rank, subtle penalties associated with skipping queues, and whatnot, the Competitive mode in VALORANT is pretty intricate. If you’re a newbie, it can take time to understand the system’s ins and outs.

There is a key favorite agent for this playing solo, so keep an eye on your decision making when playing solo and worried about your rank.

All competitive ranks in VALORANT as of Episode Seven

To begin with, here’re all of VALORANT’s existing ranks in order:

  1. Iron
  2. Bronze
  3. Silver
  4. Gold
  5. Platinum
  6. Diamond
  7. Ascendant
  8. Immortal
  9. Radiant 
Valorant Ranks.
All VALORANT ranks, from Iron to Radiant. Image via Riot Games

Except for Radiant, the game’s highest rank, every rank has three tiers, each of which can be crossed by earning 100 Rank Ratings (RR). For example, say a player wants to reach Ascendant I from Diamond Three. Assuming they’re at the bottom of Diamond Three (zero RR), they must earn 100 RR to reach Ascendant One.

One may already know that winning matches is the best way to earn RR. While your rank will not decay over time, you’ll be demoted to a lower rank if you fall below zero RR for a tier or below the regional threshold (Immortal and Radiant). 

RR and MMR in VALORANT

The most apparent difference between RR and MMR is that the former is visible to you, while the latter isn’t. Both are factored in when calculating your Act Rank, which is the rank you achieve in a competitive Act.

You gain RR with every win, which can be tracked from your account’s match history. The amount of RR you gain per match depends on your performance and hidden MMR.

According to Riot, MMR is a “giant ladder consisting of all players, and no two players can hold the same spot.” You can think of it as a comparison chart for the internal system to determine whether you should be placed above or below a particular player who’s also in the same rank tier as you. 

Here are all the possible cases: 

  1. If your MMR is close to your Act Rank, you’ll gain or lose close amounts of RR upon winning or losing a match, respectively.
  2.  If your MMR is higher than your Act Rank, you’ll gain more RR upon winning than you’ll lose upon losing a match. This is prevalent right after a new Episode commences when all players’ Act Ranks are subjected to a hard reset. 
  3.  If your MMR is lesser than your Act Rank, you’ll lose more RR upon losing a match than you’ll gain RR upon winning a match.

While it may seem quite complicated, it isn’t—all you have to do is win as many ranked matches as possible to boost your MMR and continue ranking up at a steady pace. Try maintaining a positive win rate (above 50 percent) to gain more RR with each win.

Also, note that RR gains/losses are more dependent on wins/losses than the exact round differential of a match. Still, if your team manages to decimate the enemy team with a dominant scoreline such as 13-one, it’ll undoubtedly boost your RR gain.

But what if your random teammates aren’t cooperating? Being an F2P multiplayer game, VALORANT will always attract trolls and disruptors who join matches to ruin them for everyone. Unfortunately, there’s no way of avoiding such nuisances. 

All you can do in such cases is focus on raking as many kills as possible and be your team’s MVP to avoid losing much RR. 

Performance Bonus

Have you ever received a glowing star beside your RR gain after a big ranked win? That’s a Performance Bonus—extra RR—awarded you for exceptional performance in the match. You’ll usually be rewarded with a Performance Bonus for outperforming your usual form.

You don’t get a Performance Bonus against your teammates’ performanceVALORANT’s competitive system will only offer you those extra crumbs of joy if it figures that you’ve performed better than expected in your MMR.

While you’ll rarely receive bonus RR, it’s an excellent way to earn additional points toward your Act Rank unless you regularly outperform your average. You don’t have to be a match MVP to earn a Performance Bonus, although it certainly increases your chance of getting one.

How does a new Episode or Act affect your VALORANT rank?

VALORANT’s timeline consists of Acts and Episodes, which affect your Act Rank in their ways. Each Episode features three Acts, and each Act lasts for around two months, two Episodes in a year. 

At the start of an Episode, your Act Rank is completely reset, meaning you must play five Competitive matches to unlock your rank. On the other hand, a new Act only soft resets your Act Rank, so you can unlock your rank by playing just one match.

Placement rules.
Some ranked rules to consider. Image via Riot Games.

A new Episode hard resets your Act Rank; hence, be prepared to land up to two ranks lower than what you achieved in the previous competitive frame. The highest initial placement of a player after an Episode reset is Ascendant One, even for those who were Radiants.

If you reach Ascendant in the third Act of an Episode, you may unlock a tier in the Platinum in the new Episode. But if you win most of the five reset games and consistently perform, you may get placed in Diamond.

A new Act (second or third Act in an Episode) doesn’t hard reset your rank; additions or deductions to your RR will start from where you left in the previous Act. For example, if you were at Gold Three 50 RR in the last Act, you’ll gain or lose points from the same spot upon completing the reset match.

Difference between Immortal to Radiant RR and Iron to Ascendant RR

From Iron to Ascendant, gaining 100 RR will promote you to the rank’s next tier or a new rank. But things are slightly different for Immortal and Radiant lobbies. 

Once you reach Immortal One, you must cross certain regional RR thresholds to rank up. For example, players in North America have to gain 90 RR to reach Immortal Two and 200RR to reach Immortal Three. For Radiant, they’ll need to gain 450 RR. 

In Europe, players have to gain 550 RR to reach Radiant.

Party queuing and restrictions

Being a multiplayer tactical shooter, VALORANT naturally allows you to team up with friends and play matches. This feature is also available for the Competitive mode. But there are a few exclusive restrictions.

For starters, a party of four players cannot queue for a Competitive match. You can queue solo or in parties of two, three, and five. Again, a few conditions are related to rank disparity between party members. 

Rank restrictions for parties of two or three. Image via Riot Games

Players can only queue in parties of two or three if they meet specific criteria. For example, if the lowest rank in a party of three is Gold One, the party can comprise players up to Platinum Three. But things become stricter with higher ranks; look at the conditions below. 

A party of five can queue without rank restrictions but is subject to RR penalties if their rank disparities are beyond normal restrictions. Here’s what you need to know: 

  1. For parties with players at Ascendant Three or below, members will face a 25% RR reduction for rank disparities beyond normal.
  2. For parties with one or more players ranked between Immortal One and Three, members will face a 25% RR reduction. 
  3. For parties with one or more Radiant players, members will face a 75% RR reduction. 

So, while 5-stack queuing is fun and coordinated, rank disparities can snatch a lot of potential RR coming your way.   

Considering the quirks of the hidden MMR system and the complex algorithms it embraces, VALORANT’s ranked system is pretty difficult to predict. But the competition it brings to the game is addictive and worth it.


There you have it. You know everything you need about VALORANT’s ranked system. Also enjoy some of the best VALORANT trackers to follow for your ranked stats.


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Author
Jerome Heath
Jerome Heath is a senior editor at Dot Esports.
Author
Jalen Lopez
Freelance Writer with over three years of experience at Dot Esports. Mainly covers VALORANT, Call of Duty and other FPS titles.
Author
Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.
Author
Sharmila Ganguly
Staff Writer at Dot Esports. An enthusiastic gamer who bumped into the intricacies of video game journalism in 2021 and has been hustling ever since. Obsessed with first-person shooter titles, especially VALORANT. Contact: sharmila@dotesports.com