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Valorant ranked guide: all ranks and badges explained

Learn how skill-based matchmaking works in Riot's new tactical shooter

Valorant's colourful array of ranks and badges are the game's way of rewarding you for your actions - or punishing you for being terrible. Our Valorant ranks and badges guide will walk you through each of the ranks in turn and how ranked play actually works in Valorant.

Valorant ranked guide

Valorant ranks and badges

After completing 20 unranked Valorant matches you'll unlock the ability to play in the ranked (or "competitive") queue. Below you can see what Riot Games have put together to label the various stages of Valorant's player skill curve, ranging from Iron all the way up to Immortal and Valorant. Check the ranks and badges out below.

Valorant ranked mode

Much of this should be fairly self-explanatory: you start off as an Unranked, but after you play your five placement matches you'll be given a starting rank, which you can work to increase through subsequent ranked matches. Within each rank are three sub-ranks (so within Gold there is Gold 1, Gold 2, and Gold 3), with the highest being the best.

At the very top of the list, above even Immortal 3, there is the coveted Valorant badge. This rank is reserved for the best of the best, and there are no sub-ranks here, just a single Valorant badge.

How does Valorant's ranked mode work?

Valorant's ranked matchmaking works in a similar manner to most other games: each player has an internal MMR (match-making rating) which increases or decreases after each match you play. Matches will take into account the relative MMR of each player and the teams as wholes when deciding how much to increase or decrease your own MMR after a win or loss. So if you manage to beat a team with a significantly higher average MMR than yours, you'll be rewarded more than if you'd stomped a team with a significantly lower average MMR.

Valorant's competitive mode allows you to party up with up to four friends, but all players in the party must be within at most 2 ranks (6 tiers) from everyone else in the party, or else you will be unable to start a ranked match. This is to help ensure that all players are on a similar skill level in ranked matches. To the same end, Riot have assured players that party size is taken into account when matchmaking, so if possible you will be matched against a team with a similar party composition (for example, if you have a party of 3 and then 2 solo-queuers, the game will attempt to prioritise another team made up of a party of 3 and then 2 solo-queuers).

Another thing taken into account with Valorant's ranked matches are your own personal performance. Here's what Ian Fielding of Valorant's Competitive team had to say on the matter:

Winning games is the most important factor in gaining rank, but if you perform exceptionally well, your rank can go up faster. Inversely, losing games and performing well below expectations (deduced from your previous matches) will reduce your rank.

Your personal performance will have a greater impact on the early evaluation of your skill, but will decrease in importance when compared to wins, as we hone in on your skill over time. Competitive mode also measures how decisively you win or lose. We figure, if there is a benefit to your rank that comes from playing your best for the entire match, it will incentivize you to stay in the fight and not throw games.

For those at the VALORANT rank level, winning and how decisive games are won or lost will be the only factor we measure, because at the highest levels of competitive play, we trust you and your teammates have earned your way there.

So extremely close matches (13-12, for example) won't make as much of a difference to everyone's rank as a very one-sided match (13-2). And you are also rewarded for carrying a substandard team (or penalised for dragging down your team), but only as a minor modifier. First and foremost is the outcome of the match as a whole. As it should be; this is a team game, after all.

And don't worry - your rank does not decay during periods of downtime; however it will be clear if you haven't played a ranked match for two weeks or more, because your rank will be hidden until you play another match.

Valorant Haven map guide

Alright, that's just about everything we have so far on Valorant's fledgling ranked mode. But we've got plenty more to offer for any Valorant player looking to increase their skill and knowledge! Click any of the links below to head over to a different Valorant guide.

Valorant basics (start here if you're new!)
Valorant weaponsValorant crosshair
Valorant characters
Valorant charactersValorant team comps
Valorant maps & callouts
Valorant Ascent mapValorant Bind map
Valorant Haven mapValorant Split map
Miscellanious Valorant guides
Valorant Store & Valorant PointsValorant ranks
Valorant error codesHow to report in Valorant

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Ollie Toms

Guides Editor

Ollie is sheriff of Guidestown at RPS, and since joining the team in 2018, he's written over 1,000 guides for the site. He loves playing dangerously competitive games and factory sims, injuring himself playing badminton, and burying his face in the warm fur of his two cats.