Methodology problems with Valve’s new CS:GO Ranking System

Valve has revealed its new Regional Standings ranking system, and there are some clear issues from the get-go. The Regional Standings’ main purpose is to decide which teams are invited to the latter stages of official CS:GO Majors. The new model they are using inadvertently creates a bigger divide between Tier 1 CS:GO, and the rest.

Valve Major

Under new Valve rankings, G2 would’ve received a free pass to the Rio Major.

Valve’s CS:GO Ranking Issues

Valve claims that the new model will leverage results from “meaningful matches in third-party events throughout the year”. As part of a better model, this could be fine. However, Valve’s model will utilize prize money and opposition prize money as key ranking components, as well as head-to-head results.

This is problematic, as it creates an almost-closed system from the model’s inception. Huge teams like G2 and FaZe have inherited high rankings that will see them automatically invited to the latter stages of the BLAST Paris Major in 2023.

The eventual aim is to “reduce the burden on Major participants and streamline the Major qualification process”. This route removes the element of predictability that makes competitive CS:GO great. Seeing G2 miss out on the Rio Major was disappointing but it was a reminder of the ruthlessness of CS:GO. If you’re not on form, you’re going home. Under the new ranking system, this wouldn’t have happened and G2 would’ve had an automatic invite to the major.

Organizations such as BLAST and ESL also have partner teams that they invite to every event, meaning these teams retain an inherent advantage in qualifying for Majors. Their winnings and head-to-head records will always be in bigger competitions against higher-ranked teams. It creates a self-fulfilling cycle that becomes difficult for smaller teams to break into, ruining the open circuit of competitive CS:GO.

A team might win a competition such as the Champion of Champions Tour (CCT) though the winnings mean very little if the team only beats teams like HAVU and BLUEJAYS to win. Meanwhile, NAVI and FaZe could face off in the first round of any competition and have it affect the rankings more, due to their past successes on the server.

Valve’s full methodology for their rankings was released publicly and can be viewed here.

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