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From Ranks to MMR – How VALORANT’s Ranking System Works

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As a competitive-focused tactical FPS, VALORANT naturally has a ranking system, and a robust one at that. Although the general beats are the same as any other esport, there are some unique elements that make this game’s ranked mode stand out.

Whether you’re a competitive player whose ladder climbing is serious business or you’re just an enthusiast of the game, knowing how the ranked mode’s various systems work is near imperative.

Below, we cover everything there is to know about VALORANT’s ranking system and its nuances.

Ranked Mode in VALORANT

Like most competitive games out there, VALORANT has a ranked mode called Competitive Mode. When you’re ready to leave the kiddie pool of Unrated and truly test your mettle, this is where you go.

As you’d expect, it’s not a mode you should take lightly and the game communicates this quite effectively. Just from the simple fact that you need to be of a certain account level to even get your foot in the door, VALORANT makes it clear that Competitive Mode means business.

How Do You Unlock VALORANT’s Ranked Mode?

Yes, you read that right. You can’t just go diving head-first into Competitive Mode once the installation bar gets to 100%. There’s a simple yet sizeable journey you need to make before you can join the grueling battles of the game’s ranking system.

As of Episode 4, you need to hit account level 20 in order to unlock VALORANT’s ranked mode. Before this episode, Riot merely required you to play 10 matches in Unrated to get the Competitive doors to open for you.

Now, you’ve got to truly earn your place among the battle-hardened competitive players out there. There are a few reasons why this is a good thing.

More Time to Git Gud

VALORANT ranked is no picnic. The game has been around since 2020, meaning there’s a big pool of players that have been cutting their teeth in the game for a while now. Therefore, 10 measly games aren’t enough to give you a prayer against them. With 20 levels to go through, you’ll have plenty of time to be more prepared.

Agent Mastery

Even if you’re pretty good at tactical FPS games, VALORANT’s Agents add a unique twist to the genre. Their abilities are strong enough to turn the tide of any battle so learning their ins and outs is key to success. Even more importantly, mastering one or two Agents will give you a running start once you’re able to play in Competitive.

Learning The Maps

Each map in VALORANT is different and has a unique mechanic to it; like Lotus’s rotating doors and Fracture’s zipline, for example. It’s important to get familiar with the maps so you can understand common angles that player’s hold and how teams position themselves, learn call outs on the maps, where abilities gets used/placed by enemy teams, where and how to use your agents’ abilities on the maps – turning yourself into a “lineup larry”, and much more.

Becoming A Teamplayer

Being a good team player is everything in VALORANT. It’s not enough to know which corners to cover and to cover your squad’s rear. You also need to get familiar with Agent synergies and the best time to deploy your abilities to give your team the best possible advantage.

So, now you know how to unlock ranked mode but you’re not quite there yet.

VALORANT’s Ranked Seasons

What are Acts and Episodes in VALORANT?

Like every self-respecting competitive game, VALORANT has seasons but they are not called that explicitly. Instead, the game has Episodes and Acts.

There’s a logical way to look at these two terms. Every VALORANT Episode can be viewed as an event, each of which is comprised of 3 competitive periods. These periods are called Acts, aka VALORANT’s equivalent to seasons.

Like in other games, the arrival of each Act is heralded by major updates, including new Battle Passes, new Agents, new maps, and major changes to the Competitive mode.

An Act will span approximately four to five update patches that are released on a roughly two week schedule. In other words, a single Act will last somewhere in the ballpark of 2 months. When you do the math, a VALORANT episode with 3 Acts will play out for 6 months before moving to the next event.

Does VALORANT Have Placement Matches?

Yes. VALORANT expects you to play a certain number of placement games in Competitive mode. This is in place to determine your first rank and the ranks you start off with during each Episode. The highest rank you can achieve from your placement matches is Ascendant 1.

How Many Placement Matches Until You Get Your First Rank?

After you gain access to ranked mode, you’ll need to play 5 placement matches in order for the game to determine your starting rank.

What Happens To Your Rank After Each Act And Episode?

After each Episode you will have to play 5 more placement matches.

Sounds like a bummer? Well, there’s some good news. At the beginning of Acts when VALORANT only does a soft ranked reset, assuming you had a rank in prior Acts, you only need to play 1 placement match before you can get your rank.

Now you know how to lay the groundwork so let’s move on to the good stuff.

Ranks, Tiers and Act Ranks

Every ranked mode worth its salt has ranks and tiers for its players to strive for and VALORANT’s is no different. In fact, this game’s ranking system may be one of the most robust Riot has come up with.

On the one hand, it’s fairly straightforward compared to LoL’s ELO system. On the other hand, it emphasizes skill over grind to ensure your climb reflects your developing skills.

What Ranks Does VALORANT Have?

VALORANT has a total of 9 ranks (from lowest to highest):

  • Rank 1 – Iron
  • Rank 2 – Bronze
  • Rank 3 – Silver
  • Rank 4 – Gold
  • Rank 5 – Platinum
  • Rank 6 – Diamond
  • Rank 7 – Ascendant
  • Rank 8 – Immortal
  • Rank 9 – Radiant

Pretty standard stuff so far, right? Well, there’s still one more layer to be aware of: tiers.

How Do Ranks and Tiers Work?

Apart from Radiant, each rank from 1-8 has three tiers that you need to climb before you can advance to the next rank. For example, once you hit Gold, you’ll likely find yourself in the first tier, aka Gold 1. You’ll need to clear through that, plus Gold 2 and Gold 3 before you can get promoted to Platinum.

Once you reach Radiant, you only have one tier to work with. When you factor in that only 500 players per region will achieve Radiant, it’s pretty cutthroat. To further compound this point, roughly only 1% of a given region’s player pool even sees Immortal.

What are Act Ranks and How Do They Work?

Act Ranks are a cool and unique display method VALORANT uses to showcase your proven skill throughout each Act. It’s represented by a triangular badge that evolves in appearance as you play matches in Competitive mode.

Your Act Rank is showcased through an elaborate pyramid that has two evolving components: the border and the inner triangles. As you win games in your given rank, the border of your pyramid will evolve and change. Specifically, it will evolve once you achieve 9, 25, 50, 75, and 100 wins in ranked mode. You can track this through the progress bar underneath your pyramid which shows the level of your border with level 5 being the highest.

Then we have the inner part which is represented by accumulating triangles within the border. You receive a new triangle each time you win a game in Competitive. The color and style of the triangle represent the rank you had when you achieved that win. As you can expect, your higher-ranked wins will slowly replace the triangles of the lower-ranked ones.

The triangle at the tippy top of the pyramid is your highest-ranked win achieved for a given Act. This is your proven skill, aka your Act Rank. At the end of each Act, your highest-ranked win will become your Act Rank Badge and will be viewable on your Career tab and Player Card, which is a cool way to showcase your skill.

Does VALORANT Have Ranking Decay?

In the strictest sense, no. VALORANT will not lower your ranking if you stop playing for a period of time. This is good news if you prefer to take regular breaks from the game, making VALORANT pretty stress-free in that regard.

However, if you spend a fair bit of time away from Competitive, you’ll likely need to play 1 placement match to reinstate your rank, this is because ranks are often reset at new Acts. The purpose of this is to check if your skill still matches your rank after some time off.

What Ranks Can Play Together in VALORANT?

Playing solo can be lonely and boring sometimes so it makes sense to want to play VALORANT’s ranked mode with friends. There’s good news and bad news on this front.

First, the good. You can play Competitive with a pre-made party of friends or people you found on Discord. The bad? There are restrictions depending on the size of your party.

If you are queueing up with a party of 2 or 3, then a rank disparity restriction applies. You can view these restrictions in the table below:

Lowest Rank in the SquadHighest Rank in the Squad
Iron and BronzeSilver
SilverGold
GoldPlatinum
Platinum, Diamond, Ascendant, Immortal, RadiantCan only be exactly 1 tier higher (ie. Diamond 2 with up to Ascendant 2)

For full parties of 5 players, there are no rank restrictions. This means that Iron players can team up with Immortal players and so on. However, there are RR penalties that apply when players are outside the restrictions in the above table.

For instance, a full party of Iron, Bronze, and Silver players will see no reduction in the RR they receive. However, if they add a Gold or above player, then they will incur a penalty to their earned RR. These penalties are percentage-based and can be roughly estimated as follows:

  • Players outside the restrictions within a party of less than Ascendant 3 players will result in a 25% RR reduction for them
  • A player who is in any Immortal tier will receive a 25% RR reduction
  • A player who is in Radiant will receive a 75% RR reduction
  • A player who is Radiant within a 5-player party with another player below Radiant will result in a 90% RR reduction for them

Match Making Rating and Rank Rating

Now that you know the kinds of things you can strive for as a competitive VALORANT player, it’s time to dive into the wonderful world of ratings.

The game has two rating systems you need to be aware of: Rank Rating (RR) and Match Making Rating (MMR). It uses the former to determine your advancement through each rank and its respective tiers. The latter determines the squad and foes you get matched with.

What is Rank Rating?

Put simply, RR is how many points you gain or lose every time you complete a game in ranked mode. These points are influenced by two factors:

  1. The outcome of the game (win, lose, draw)
  2. Your performance throughout the game

To go from one rank tier to the next, you need a total of 100 RR points which you can check via the progress bar in your Career tab.

How each match goes determines the range of points that get added or subtracted from this bar while your performance will ultimately decide the final number within that range.

A Competitive mode win in VALORANT can earn you anywhere between 10-50 RR. However, this number is lowered to 5 and above from Diamond rank onwards. Subsequently, if all goes poorly and you lose a match, you can lose anywhere between 0-33 RR. That number can go up to 50 RR if you’re Diamond and above. Finally, draws can net you up to 20 RR until you reach Diamond. After that, no draw points are awarded.

Can I Lose Ranks in VALORANT?

Yes. If you lose enough RR points, you can find yourself demoted to a lower rank. This can happen even if you receive 0 RR so draws typically aren’t a great outcome in that regard. There is an upside to this.

VALORANT has demotion protection when you are newly demoted. The way it works is that you can’t go below 70 RR in your demoted rank, making it easier to climb back up with only 30 RR needed.

Does VALORANT Have MMR?

MMR refers to your Match Making Rating in most competitive games and VALORANT absolutely has such a system. It’s a hidden metric that decides who you are matched with and against.

VALORANT’s MMR should be seen as a sort of long ladder with single-slot rungs. Only one player can occupy each rung of the ladder. But, your MMR isn’t the only factor that determines where you sit on that ladder. It’s also the MMRs of the other players. This means a player who achieves a similar MMR to yours can kick you down the ladder a bit. Of course, you can do the same as you climb.

Your total MMR is calculated by taking into account two components: Win/Loss and Encounter.

The first is quite simple to understand. The more you win, the higher the score that gets calculated. But that’s not enough. What also matters is who you defeated or who defeated you. If you played against stronger opponents and won, then congrats! Your Win/Loss contribution to your MMR calculation will be a lot higher. You can likely guess what happens if you lose against a lesser foe.

The other component, Encounter, relies on how you perform specifically against other individuals within the match. What it takes into account can include but not be limited to the following:

  • Damage done
  • Effective use of abilities
  • Assists
  • Duels won
  • …and more

One thing to note is that the scales between these two components tip depending on the rank you are in. Lower ranks put more weight onto Encounter factors, making your MMR more reliant on your individual performance and skill growth. On the flip side, at higher ranks, your wins and losses contribute a lot more to your MMR.

According to Riot’s Senior Competitive Designer, Jonathan “EvrMoar” Walker, the reason for this tipping of the scales is that at higher ranks, personal skill begins to even out, making it a tougher component to use to determine where players sit on the MMR ladder.

How are MMR and RR Different?

Your MMR and RR in VALORANT have their own objectives but ultimately serve one purpose and that is to ensure you are playing games with players as close to your skill as possible. That said, there are some key differences.

For one, your RR is visible to you while your MMR is not. You know at all times how much RR you need to make it to the next rank. On the other hand, there is no UI element in the game that shows you where you sit in relation to the rest of the playerbase.

MMR and RR also have different purposes. RR is there to determine the general player pool you can be matched with. MMR decides who joins your team and the squad you’re going up against in each match.

Can You Double Rank Up in VALORANT?

Yes, it is possible to get a big bump in your rank when playing ranked in VALORANT. This means you can go from Gold 3 to Platinum 2, for instance, by winning a single game.

This happens when you are matched with teammates of the same or lower rank as you and the opposing team consists of mostly players at a higher rank. If you win that match, then you’ll likely see yourself jump two tiers.

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