Valorant Ranks and Ranked Play – New Ranking System Explained

First launched in 2020, Valorant has rapidly risen to become a titan of the esports industry. It’s one of the most widely enjoyed shooters out there, for both casual players and hardcore, competitive gamers. Since the beta was first released, Valorant has established itself as a leading title, fusing the FPS gameplay of CSGO with the hero-style action of a game like Overwatch. Today, we’re here to take a look at the more competitive side, examining the Valorant ranks and learning how to best climb through them.

If you’re on the path to Radiant, this guide will hopefully help you power through the journey as effortlessly as possible. Of course, if you’re totally new to the game, then this guide should help you better understand the Valorant ranks, and the more competitive side of the game, and offer a few tips and tricks that will help you get started.

Valorant Ranks and Ranked Play

© Valorant

Valorant Ranks

Like many other competitive titles, the Valorant ranked system is relatively easy to understand and digest. It consists of eight tiers that are subdivided into three ranks per tier. This only differs at the highest rank, Radiant, which boasts a ‘one and done’ subsystem. If you’re going to work your way up from the top to the bottom of the Valorant ranks, you’ll transition through the following:

  • Iron
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond
  • Immortal
  • Radiant

According to statistics platforms, the most common Valorant ranks are Bronze and Silver, with more than 53% of all players sitting within these areas. At the very lowest end of the spectrum, in Iron, around 11% of players can be found. However, only 0.03% of players are skilled enough to make it to the highest Valorant rank, Radiant.

Valorant Ranks Restrictions

Once the preliminary placement matches have been completed, most players will be deposited within the Iron or Silver ranks. If you’re an exceptionally skilled player and your placement matches are something special, you may find yourself boosted up to Gold or Platinum straight away. However, to get that far that early, you’ll need to have played with a full squad, all of whom are communicating, and you’ll need to win every single game with high personal performance.

How To Get Ranks in Valorant?

If you want to get started with the ranks in Valorant, you’ll need to become eligible to play in the more competitive ranked mode. It all begins with winning ten unranked or ‘unrated’ matches in Valorant. Following the achievement of that step, you’ll need to complete a further five competitive fixtures to fully unlock your first rank.

While the first ten matches are a preliminary step, it’s these five matches that ultimately determine your ‘skill level’. They’re designed to calculate your first ranked Matchmaking Rating, or ‘MMR’, which determines how you’re placed in competitive fixtures. Once you’ve completed (and not necessarily won) five ranked matches, you’ll be placed in the rank that best suits your performance.

When you’re just starting out, you’ll likely be placed between Iron and Silver, unless you’re a truly gifted player. It takes a lot to reach Gold and Platinum early on, but it’s not impossible. It just requires a well-oiled team and a fantastic performance throughout all five placement matches.

When it comes to Valorant esports, almost every professional, competing player will be sitting in Radiant or Immortal. That’s a little indicator as to how tough it really is to get up there.

How Do I Rank Up?

It’s an easy system to understand, even for the newest Valorant player. Once you’ve reached (or exceeded) 100 points, you’ll automatically jump to the next rank. As long as you keep playing well, there’s no reason why this would slow down, and over time, you’ll get further and further up the Valorant ranks. However, if you lose a full match while sitting at zero points (so, in the new rank, for example), you will be de-ranked and you’ll drop down to the previous position.

These ‘points’ are awarded based on your performance in the game and your overall MMR, which is hidden by default. This ‘MMR’ is driven by a number of competing factors, such as your in-game performance, win/loss records, and leave rate.

Can You Skip Ranks In Valorant Ranked?

Absolutely – and this is made possible by the nature of the system attempting to determine your true MMR. Let’s say a new season (otherwise known as an episode) has just begun, with all players being de-ranked back to the beginning. If you play exceptionally well in your early placement fixtures, you’ll skip several ranks straight off the bat. There’s even a chance that you’ll be boosted straight up to Gold or even Platinum, provided you play well enough.

Valorant Matchmaking

Historically, the Valorant matchmaking system has suffered from more than a few flaws. Since the game first launched the competitive matchmaking system, we’ve seen issues like desync, unbalanced latency, and peeker’s advantage present in the game. However, Riot, the developer behind Valorant, has worked hard to fix these issues.

It’s a constant and ever-changing process, with Riot attempting to provide a balance in the Valorant matchmaking system as often as possible. With that being said, there are a few niggling issues that cannot be resolved overnight. For instance, the European region faces an issue with server division. This can prove to be a blocker, particularly where in-game communications are concerned.

Let’s take an example – League of Legends hosts separate servers for Russia and Turkey. When you play Valorant, there’s every opportunity to be plunged into a match with Russian or Turkish players, which causes immediate issues where team play and communication are concerned.

Ultimately, it’s an unfortunate fact, but no multiplayer platform is perfect. While Riot tries its best to keep everything under control, you can’t always please everybody.

Can I Play Competitive Valorant with Friends?

As an advocate for inclusive play, Riot has stated that they respect the fact that people enjoy playing Valorant with their friends. In fact, a statement from a Riot developer specifically backs up this claim:

“Having a solo queue can easily lead to that becoming the definitive test of someone’s skills and the primary way to play competitively. We’ve opted instead to allow players to play at any team size they prefer. We also think it’s valuable for players to search for good teammates now for competitive play, so when higher-stakes competition becomes available, they already have teammates they can rely on.”

However, given that we’re referring to a competitive, ranked landscape, there have to be considerations made for competitive integrity. For instance, Call of Duty’s ranked mode, League Play, can be terribly imbalanced, as the lowest-ranked player is free to queue in with three of the highest-ranked players. Alternatively, one highly-ranked player can queue in with three of the lowest-tiered players, giving that one player a clear and defined edge against the likely competition.

In the Valorant ranking system, greater scrutiny has been placed on the ‘upper echelons’ of the ranks. While you can still compete alongside your friends, there are restrictions in place that prevent players of vastly different ranks from playing with one another. For instance, if you’re ranked at Diamond or above, you can only play with one other friend in the competitive queue.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to play with a full squad that communicates well. Not only does this reduce the need to hope for good random players, but if you plan to advance up through the ranks quite quickly, you’ll be better off doing so with a well-oiled team. If you’re going to advance beyond the Platinum and Diamond ranks, you’ll almost certainly need to play with what’s known as a ‘five stack’. This is simply a squad made up of five players.

There have been many tweaks to the matchmaking system where ‘5-stacks’ are concerned. While you can still play competitive Valorant with your friends, some restrictions will be imposed. For instance, there are now reduced rank rating gain/loss penalties based on the build of your 5-stack. If everyone in your party is ranked between Iron and Diamond 2, no penalties will be issued. However, if even one player in your stack is Radiant, a 75% penalty will apply to all players.

Valorant’s New Ranking System

As we’ve already mentioned, the Valorant ranks system is constantly being refined. Currently, it’s as good as it has ever been, with accommodations being made that better balance the game for both solo players and 5-stack aficionados. It’s relatively easier now for the lower-ranked players to climb up those bottom tiers, which means that, if you’ve come back from a break from Valorant, you may find yourself ranking higher, faster.

Previously, Riot had collapsed the Immortal rank into one, to match the Radiant rank. However, as of episode three, a three-rank split has been re-introduced to the Immortal rank, meaning there’s a little further to go for players seeking Radiant.

Valorant Ranks Rewards

When every episode wraps up, all players will be issued a ‘gun buddy’ that matches their highest act ranks. Also, depending on the player’s activity, they will also be issued a ‘border’, which ranges from rank 1 to 5. This will be displayed on their profile and it helps to identify the skill level of any given player.

Valorant Episode 3 Act 2

Valorant Episode 3 Act 2, for example

Five Tips to Instantly Improve Your Valorant Rank

For the most professional player, there are thousands of tips and tricks to give out. To finish off this guide to the Valorant ranks, we’re going to give you the top five tips you’ll need to succeed early on in your Valorant journey.

Here are the top tips:

  1. Communication is key. Learn the call-outs and get comfortable using a microphone.
  2. Always practice at the Shooting Range before starting your daily matches.
  3. Use the mini-map. Valorant has a lot of information packed in your top left-hand corner.
  4. Sound is important, learn how far your footsteps sound travels and where sound queues originate.
  5. Watch a Valorant stream or YouTube videos to learn spots and tricks.
Check our guide about: Valorant Betting