Valorant Rank Distribution, Order, & Ranking System | Explained
Valorant is Riot Games’ newest team-based tactical shoot that has taken the esports scene by storm and even put CS:GO, a modern classic, under intense competition. With around 2 million players logging in daily, it’s no surprise that the game’s competitive spirit is both unwavering and inspiring.
Likewise, developers at Riot Games have shown how serious they are about nurturing the game’s competitive spirit by crafting an intelligent ranking system. This ranking system claims to accurately reflect an individual’s skill level by placing them in a wide range of ranks, a statement backed by the Valorant rank distribution.
This guide will explain and analyze the Valorant rank distribution across the game’s 28 ranks.
What Is The Valorant Rank Distribution?
Riot Games wants the low-ranked players that are improving at the game every day to eventually get their dream rank. The developers themselves expressed this desire on multiple occasions as their desired ranked distribution for Valorant. But has Valorant been able to achieve this vision?
Valorant’s API, released in December 2020, has been a great tool for monitoring the Valorant rank distribution and producing official rank data. Going into Episode 5 Act 1, the current rank distribution and the percentage of players in each rank right now are as follows:
|Rank||Rank Rating Range|
|Iron 1||0 – 100 RR|
|Iron 2||100 – 200 RR|
|Iron 3||200 – 300 RR|
|Bronze 1||300 – 400 RR|
|Bronze 2||400 – 500 RR|
|Bronze 3||500 – 600 RR|
|Silver 1||600 – 700 RR|
|Silver 2||700 – 800 RR|
|Silver 3||800 – 900 RR|
|Gold 1||900 – 1000 RR|
|Gold 2||1000 – 1100 RR|
|Gold 3||1100 – 1200 RR|
|Platinum 1||1200 – 1300 RR|
|Platinum 2||1300 – 1400 RR|
|Platinum 3||1400 – 1500 RR|
|Diamond 1||1500 – 1600 RR|
|Diamond 2||1600 – 1700 RR|
|Diamond 3||1700 – 1800 RR|
|Ascendant 1||1800 – 1900 RR|
|Ascendant 2||1900 – 2000 RR|
|Ascendant 3||2000 – 2100 RR|
|Immortal 1||2100 – 2190 RR|
|Immortal 2||2190 – 2390 RR|
|Immortal 3||2390 – 2550 RR|
|Radiant||2550 RR+ (Top 500)|
In order to better understand how the Valorant rank distribution data has come about, it warrants a deeper understanding of the game’s ranking system.
Also read: Best Valorant Skins
How Does Valorant’s Ranking System Work?
Valorant’s ranking system works based on MMR, a value used to match players of similar skill levels. At the start of the game, all players are placed at the bottom with 0 MMR (Match Making Rating) – this is natural as you are a new player, and the game has yet to gauge where you stand.
As you start playing your first couple of games (note that Ranked is not immediately available), your MMR fluctuates and affects other players around your MMR. To better illustrate, one can think of MMR as a ladder, where climbing up means pushing others down and vice versa. As such, Valorant’s philosophy is that if you truly deserve a high MMR, you will eventually climb up to it by consistently performing well against players at lower MMRs.
In other words, your MMR reflects your skill and progress in the game.
How Are Rank Rating and Match-Making Rating Different?
It’s important to clarify that MMR does not equal rank rating, which is the 100-scale progress bar you see under your rank’s icon under the “Career” tab. Of course, there is no icon in the beginning, as you are yet to be judged by the rank system and assigned a rank. As such, in order to start competing in Valorant’s ranked mode, your account must not only be at rank 20, but you must also play five Unrated games, which serve as placement matches.
Regardless, the driving force behind Valorant’s rank system is to ensure that convergence occurs between a player’s Rank Rating and Match Making Rating. So while you can not see your MMR value, you can get a rough estimate of it once your RR value catches up to it. But how does Valorant ensure that every player eventually converges on their MMR?
How Does Valorant Ensure MMR And RR Converge?
Anyone who’s been playing Valorant ranked for a long enough time has experienced times when they were gaining more RR per win than losing per loss and vice versa. This is no coincidence; instead, it falls under the grand design of Valorant’s ranking system.
- If a player’s RR is less than their MMR (e.g., they are Platinum 1 but get matched with low Diamond players), then to ensure that their RR catches up to their MMR, that player must be rewarded more for winning and punished less for losing.
- If a player’s RR is more than their MMR (e.g., they are Ascendant 1 but get matched with low Diamond players), then to ensure that their RR falls down to their MMR, that player must be rewarded less for winning and punished more for losing.
- If a player’s RR has already converged on their MMR (e.g., they are Ascendant 1 and get matched with low Ascendant players), then they will be rewarded for winning and punished for losing just the same. Moreover, in order for them to rank up, they will have to improve their overall performance; otherwise, they will be “hard stuck.”
Ultimately, these principles ensure that players earn the rank that accurately represents their skill and is actively held accountable for that rank. So, if you were at Diamond 2 and took a relatively long break from Valorant, don’t expect the game to treat you the same when you come back – it’s only fair for you to earn it again because, after all, you’ve done it before.
What Are All the Ranks In Valorant?
According to the game’s official rank data, Valorant features 28 ranks spanning 9 different leagues: Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Ascendant, Immortal, and Radiant. Promotion to these ranks or promotion from these ranks depends on how much RR you are currently on, and rank rating gains/losses will dictate where you will go.
|Rank||Percentage of Players|
What Is An Act Rank?
Act Rank is a buzzword commonly used in the Valorant community. Simply put, it is the highest rank you achieve in a particular rank, which Riot Games like appreciate as your “Proven Skill.” In other words, if you were able to reach Ascendant 2 in a particular act but couldn’t stay in it for more than five games, thus staying in Ascendant 1 for the rest of the act, it will still be recognized as your Act Rank.
Act Rank can be made visible on your player card, meaning all players in your lobby will be able to see that you were able to reach Ascendant 2 in the last act. Quite the flex!
What Does Rank Reset Mean?
The final part that completes the blueprint of Valorant’s ranking system is the rank reset feature that kicks in at the end of every act and episode. It’s important to note that the feature works differently depending on whether it’s an act that is ending or an episode. Furthermore, such a mechanic is necessary to make sure the Valorant rank distribution remains in check.
Rank Reset At The End Of An Act
An act lasts two months and is a subset of an episode, where generally, three acts make up one episode. The rank reset that occurs at the end of an act is considered to be a soft reset. In other words, while every player’s rank is reduced to nothing, all they need to do is play one placement game to get it back, where the rank under question is usually their last act’s rank.
The main motivation behind this soft rest is to make the Valorant rank distribution data more accurate by distilling all the inactive players. Since they won’t be playing that one placement game anytime soon, they’ll remain unranked and be excluded from the Valorant rank distribution. This will result in fewer players on the MMR ladder, allowing more lower-ranked players to rank up farther than they have ever before (should they continue to grind).
Rank Reset At The End Of An Episode
Since an act lasts around two months and three acts make up an episode, it’s fair to conclude that an episode lasts around six months. Moreover, if you’re also speculating that the rank reset that is put into place at the end of an entire episode must be more significant than the soft reset discussed earlier, then you’re right!
This hard reset, better known as the rank squish, adapts to the ever-improving Valorant community by placing everyone 1-4 below their previous Episode rank. Not only does this flush out botted or boosted accounts that went under Riot Games’ radar, but it ensures that players are held accountable. Regardless of how the meta may shift in the new episode, if one can not grind back to their previous rank, do they even deserve it in the first place?
What Factors Affect The Valorant Rank Distribution?
While it is indisputable that the Valorant rank distribution is still at a point where the lower ranks are concentrated, and the higher ranks are sparse, the situation has started to evolve. Particularly, the most prominent change that has finally begun to take shape is that the average Valorant rank is now moving away from Silver and towards Gold.
Even though the introduction of the Ascendant rank has played a role in this shift, other factors that influence the Valorant rank distribution should not be overlooked.
Average Skill Level
The most significant factor that has always been driving the Valorant rank distribution has been the average skill level. It’s easy to see that players who are good at Valorant will win more games and climb to high ranks (affecting the distribution positively), while those struggling with defeat will remain hard-stuck on lower ranks (affecting the distribution negatively).
However, if the average skill level increases, meaning those who are cruising through the ranks improve and that hard-stuck improves as well, won’t the Valorant rank distribution get better overall? Absolutely! Even so, with that said, it’s important to elaborate on what skill qualifies in Valorant and how it can be polished across the board.
What Is Skill In Valorant?
While skill in FPS games generally equates to having great mechanical aim and fast reaction time, the word is given more depth in Valorant. This has to do with how Valorant primarily differs from other tactical shooter games, that is, by having a versatile utility system with abilities that can accomplish things real-life military equipment can not.
While map awareness, positioning, and team coordination have been the core tenants of game sense in the FPS genres, Valorant has added a layer of utility to the word. Valorant’s diverse utility system vastly multiplies the different permutations in which every round can play out, something that is not often seen in tactical FPS.
As such, the ability to account for the enemy’s utility when trying to make a play, whether it be before hitting a bomb site or during post-plant, is what distinguishes the diamonds from the golds in Valorant.
While the idea of having different roles is not unknown to the tactical FPS genre, Valorant has particularly emphasized it. By having four distinct kinds of agents (Sentinels, Controllers, Initiators, and Duelists), Valorant has been able to design each agent with respect to their type whilst also making them stand out.
As such, a good controller is not one who plays Brimstone well but one who is proficient at playing a suitable controller for each map (e.g, Brimstone on Fracture, Viper on Breeze etc.).
Improving Skill Level
Although Valorant’s utility system makes your standard tactical FPS experience complex, an optimistic way of looking at it would be to draw interest from it. That’s exactly how Valorant’s community welcomes this new-found sophistication, as intriguing to learn and discuss with others.
Guides And Tutorials
It’s no surprise to see just how much of Valorant’s social media content is geared toward tutorials, guides, and strategies. From videos targeted towards finding the perfect sensitivity to in-depth tips & tricks regarding each agent, getting better at Valorant is simply a matter of one’s willingness to improve.
Content Creators And Professionals
Of course, aside from such content, one must not forget that content creators regularly stream and upload high-ranked gameplay consistently. These creators, coupled with how accessible Esports broadcasts are becoming, there is no doubt that improvement in the average skill level is inevitable.
While the average skill level is player-dependent, the match-making algorithm that drives the competitive experience is developer-dependent. It is argued to be just as important as it is what constructs all the games that take place in VLAORANT; these games have outcomes, with winners advancing towards the next rank and losers falling from their current rank.
Consequences Of A Poor Match-Making Algorithm?
If Valorant’s match-making algorithm was poorly designed, it would lead to unfair matches and overall impede a healthy competitive environment from coming about. The community would become toxic at how skewed the Valorant rank distribution will become, and the game’s competitive appeal would start to diminish – one could argue that it would mean the end for Valorant.
Is Valorant’s Match-Making Algorithm Poorly Designed?
No, we are fortunate to have Valorant’s match-making algorithm operate on MMR. This robust mathematical value accounts for a player’s skill level, win-loss record, and other performance metrics. The only drawback, however, is that it is not able to perfectly handle edge cases that include smurfs, boosted players, and bots. Even so, the situation will always get better in that regard because the developers at Riot Games are taking these problems seriously.
Let’s suppose that Valorant’s match-making system guarantees the fairest of games and that you are a player of great potential. Is it safe to say that you’ll be able to reach your desired rank smoothly? No, because Valorant is a 5v5 game, not a solo-based game!
Despite how good you are for your rank, the chances of you winning a game all on your own are minuscule. If the enemy team knows how to position themselves such that they can trade their teammates, even a Radiant smurf will struggle to get that “free ELO.” With that said, the team dynamic is of utmost importance when it comes to securing a (mostly) green career board.
How To Improve Team Dynamic?
Therefore, it is best to not only actively communicate with your teammates (whilst avoiding the habit of backseat gaming) and go into each map with a solid team composition. Although large sources of toxicity in the community are silent teammates and interlocking duelists, the Valorant rank distribution will experience a positive uplift if team dynamics were taken seriously all around.
What is the Ascendant Rank?
The Ascendant Rank made up of Ascendant 1, Ascendant 2, and Ascendant 3 was released at the start of Episode 5 in the June of 2022. Represented by emerald, this rank was to serve as the gateway between diamond and immortal, and although it was received in a mixed manner, the fruits of the decision have started to show.
Why Was The Ascendant Rank Added?
Before the introduction of the Ascendant rank, players who would break through Diamond would instantly end up in Immortal, the highest league of the game, where they would clash even with Radiants. Furthermore, they would be instantiated on their region’s leaderboard and would battle it out with other Immortal players to climb up.
By observing the Valorant rank distribution up till that point, Riot noticed that the average Valorant rank was not budging beyond Silver. This was due to the congestion that would result in the Platinum and Diamond ranks if the Valorant rank distribution shifted positively, leading to a detrimental level of skill diversity that would counteract the positive shift.
As such, they decided to add Ascendant after Diamond to make more room for any positive shifts in the Valorant distribution. As such, the highest placement rank is now Ascendant 1 instead of Diamond 1.
What Were The Effect Of Adding The Ascendant Rank?
Although the introduction of the Ascendant Rank made the climb to Immortal more challenging (and rightfully so), the main effect of the Ascendant rank has just been as the developers predicted. By leaving more room for the Valorant rank distribution to shift positively, the average Valorant rank has shown significant progression from Silver to Gold.
However, it’s important to realize that a new rank does not necessarily constitute a positive force for the Valorant rank distribution. The introduction of the Ascendant rank worked due to a very specific circumstance. Otherwise, adding more ranks to any tactical FPS generally makes the ranking system more granular, complicating the grind and thinning out the rank distribution.
Why Is The Valorant Rank Distribution Important?
After extensively discussing the Valorant rank distribution, the factors that influence it, and the ranking system that brings it about, it’s natural to ask why so much emphasis is on such a statistic.
The hardest thing to get right with tactical FPS games is the competitive environment –that’s what they essentially boil down to! The Ranked mode is at the top if you look at Valorant and the kind of game modes it offers. Sure, unrated, deathmatch, spike rush, escalation, replication, and swift play have their own appeal, but they are widely considered to be warmup exercises.
While one crucial aspect of any ranked game is ensuring a balanced experience, particularly in terms of characters, utilities, and maps, match-making is just as important. You could have the most balanced set of agents playing on the most well-rounded maps, but matches won’t be fair if your match-making system is poorly designed.
It doesn’t just end there, as the match-making system partially proliferates the Valorant rank distribution. Thus, the Valorant rank distribution would become exponentially skewed if the match-making system is poorly designed, inevitably destabilizing competition. With unstable competition, Valorant would lose its edge, and all the efforts that went into crafting each agent and designing each map would be in vain.
If the Valorant rank distribution were skewed, that would primarily make the prospects of reaching the higher ranks very unfavorable. As such, the general player mentality would take a hit as players would be demoralized from grinding the game, eventually expressing frustration and making the community more toxic.
Since too many players would be concentrated in the lower ranks, there would be detrimental diversity in the skill level. You’d have, for instance, players that lie on the lower end of Silver 2 and those that lie on the high end of Silver 2, where the former would struggle against the latter. Moreover, even when the latter get promoted to the next rank, they will be subject to the same problem.
While breaking out of the lower ranks will require much more improvement, the higher-ranked players’ mentality would also be affected. Since the majority of players will be crowded towards the lower end of the Valorant rank distribution, high-ranked players would suffer from complacency and lack of competition. In a nutshell, the lower ranks would be too competitive, while the higher ranks would be insufficiently competitive.
Longevity Of The Game
While a skewed Valorant rank distribution would destabilize the competition and negatively impact the player base’s mentality in the short run, the game’s popularity will suffer in the long run. A skewed Valorant rank distribution would bring about poorly matched games where players won’t be playing against players close to their skill level due to the skill diversity at said rank.
This would result in two outcomes, both of which bring down the game’s competitive appeal, the backbone of every tactical FPS game. Players who will regularly get matched against higher rank players under unfair circumstances would become exceedingly toxic and eventually quit the game, while the higher rank players being put into easy lobbies will be plagued by complacency.
All in all, the game’s competitive environment will be in anarchy, and the player base will numerically decline, bringing about the eventual fall of Valorant. As such, given how healthy competition is tied to Valorant’s longevity and how a balanced Valorant rank distribution supplements the former, a skewed Valorant rank distribution has terrible foreseeable long-term consequences.
To sum it all up, if Riot Games were to not place so much emphasis on nurturing a healthy Valorant rank distribution, the negative consequences would be detrimental to the longevity of their massive project. Short-term buildups, such as the destabilization of the game’s competitive nature and the resulting toxicity in the community, would bring about the decline of Valorant.