How to Most Efficiently Rank Up in CS2 Competitive Matchmaking (2023)

From Silver 1 to Silver Elite... wait I mean, Global! Global Elite!
image via Valve

So, you have decided to get out of Silver and Gold Nova and move towards the top ranks? We will show you some of the most efficient strategies that you can use to rank up in CS2’s competitive matchmaking. With the adoption of these philosophies, you will be able to display your progress within weeks.

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How to Rank-up Fast in CS2 Competitive Matchmaking

Whoever is telling you that you can rank up fast is not being very honest. This is an elaborate effort that involves a lot of training, patience, and learning. Progress can be shown in a matter of weeks, but the end goal could be a few months away.

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Easiest Ways To Rank Up in CS2 Competitive Matchmaking

There are many things you can do to help yourself rank up, and while you do not need to excel in all of the aspects that we will list below, you should try to at least get better as much as you can in all departments so that you can become a more complete player, and with that, a more useful team member overall.

Always remember that Counter-Strike: 2 is a team-based FPS game. It’s nearly impossible to Rambo your way to the highest ranks. Having friends who play CS2 with you who also share your philosophy and want to work as a team will help you a lot, but more on that a bit later.

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How to Get Better At CS2

Train Your Aiming Skills

This goes without saying: It’s an FPS game, and you can’t really attain a high rank if you are not a good shot. You should master all relevant weapons as much as you can: M4A4, M4A1-S, AK-47, AWP, Scout… And especially pistols. Winning a pistol round can generate a big advantage for your team.

Mouse Sensitivity and DPI

There are different theories on what your mouse sensitivity should be. Some people insist on very low sensitivity for precision because CS2 is mostly a game of watching corners and camp spots, but some people go into medium or high sensitivity so that they can quickly flick their aim wherever necessary. All of these people are correct in a way.

But, you should adjust your sensitivity so that YOU are the one that is most comfortable with it. Your aiming performance is your performance only, and no one else’s. Some people even say that you should have a sensitivity with which you can hold your aim steady at a certain dot while you are strafing left and right around it. We can’t really give a sensitivity range that you should try because all mice are different, Windows settings are different, drivers, and, of course, the DPI of your mouse.

Try different settings on training maps and see where your best performance/score is.

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Recoil Control and “One Taps” and How to Practice Them

They talk about my one taps” is the (in)famous quote of famous CS:GO player, Scream.

There are two modes of fire that you should master. One is, of course, full-auto, and the second one is semi-auto.

AK-47 is a one-shot-kill if you hit someone’s head from a reasonable distance (even if they have a helmet), but it is not always possible to be in such a situation and position to perform those kills with one tap. This is why you need to know about recoil control. I’d say you should learn to control at least the first five bullets minimum.

On paper, this is fairly easy. Boot up, let’s say, de_dust2, in your console, join the T side, get an AK-47, and stand in front of a wall from a 9 feet/3 meters distance. Aim straight, lift your mouse up from the pad, and hold fire until the magazine is empty. You will see a “spray pattern,” which somewhat resembles the inverted number seven. Your first bullet goes where it’s supposed to, but due to the gun recoil, you lose your precision gradually.

Now, there is a way to mitigate this. The spray patterns are always the same for automatic weapons in CS2. Also, in CS2, Valve has added a feature that is meant to help new players a lot:

You need to basically “mirror” the recoil’s behavior with your mouse and move your mouse in the opposite direction of the recoil pattern so that your bullets stay as close as possible to the original target location. Do not be frustrated if you do not get it right the first time; this sometimes takes days to remotely perfect.

Once you do, it will enter your muscle memory, and you won’t need to think about it. Shoutout to BenVin from Steam Community, who made a brilliant guide on this. You can technically even practice the movement by following the dot on the GIFs presented in their guide.

It doesn’t matter if you do not have 100% accuracy. Most people don’t. And many just drag their mouse straight down, so you will already have an edge over the lower-ranked people. And we are sure you will get better in time!

Also worth mentioning are two terms: Burst Fire, where you fire 2-4 bullets full auto and then stop, and Spray Transfer, which is being approached by two enemies from different angles and holding the fire button as you are moving your crosshair from one enemy to the next to avoid the recovery penalty after ceasing fire.

Now, you probably want to know where to practice your aim in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive…

Where to Practice Aiming in CS2

The question of all questions. Sure, you can practice with bots or in a deathmatch with live players that move like real people, but there are custom maps that you can try out alone and get a lot more actual practice compared to your time invested.

Introducing Aim Botz – Training Map and Fast Aim/Reflex Map – Training [Dust2]. Subscribe to these maps while logged in to Steam, and they’ll automatically download. Upon turning on CS2, type /map aim_botz in the console (or start your own game). For the second map, there are detailed instructions on how to run it on the official Workshop page.

Note:

Aim Botz and Fast Aim/Reflex Map (as well as many others) many still be tuned for CS:GO right now. Check the official workshop page for an update regarding the availability of these maps within CS2.

As soon as we find cool CS2 practice maps, we’ll add them below.

When you enter the map, you’ll see that you’re in a box with dozens of options. You can choose your weapon, set various bot behavior parameters, have them lose or gain armor and a helmet, etc. If you were a basketball player, think of this map as you standing at the free throw line and having an infinite amount of balls to throw without anyone disturbing you. Sounds much faster as a method of practice than practicing in a live basketball match where you won’t get to shoot that much for the same amount of time, right?

Now you get the idea. You can kill thousands of bots in just half an hour! You can even start your warmup before your first competitive match of the day on this map just to get in the zone. If you commit between 30 and 60 minutes every day on this map, you should see improvement within weeks.

We suggest you do like 10 minutes of one taps, 10 minutes of burst fire, and 10 minutes of full auto/spray transfer and then adjust accordingly to invest more time into departments where you’re lacking precision. You can also keep track of how many bots you are killing just to see how you’re doing. Here are some other cool maps you can try for practice:

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Do NOT Play a Competitive Match in CS2 Without Headphones and a Microphone

CS2 has a sound engine that can tell you where a sound source is coming from pretty well. Playing on speakers is bad; it does not give the quality of sound the headphones can, and your voice chat may be flooded with in-game sounds looped through your microphone (and no one wants to hear those; you will just get muted and/or kicked pretty fast).

Take your time to learn how to listen to surrounding sounds in CS2, and it will pay off big time.

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Map Knowledge and Map Tactics in CS2 Competitive Matchmaking

After becoming a trained killer machine on the training maps, you will also need to know about your surroundings. No, we’re not saying that you should become a one-trick-pony for de_dust2 or any other map, but you should find a few maps that you are most comfortable with and build your rank on them.

If you are playing the new Premier mode, you will need to be prepared to disco on seven different maps:

  • Ancient.
  • Anubis.
  • Mirage.
  • Inferno.
  • Nuke.
  • Vertigo.
  • Overpass.

You need to know the following for each map you are playing on:

  • The complete layout of the map. Every map’s layout can be found online. You can also run through it alone or with bots just to get a hang of it before trying the Competitive Matchmaking mode.
  • All callouts on the map so that you can communicate better with your teammates about stuff that’s happening.
  • All common camping/peek spots so that you can know how to counter them with prefires and flashbangs, for example, and to generally know where to expect danger from.
  • Movement around the map, like how to stay covered from positions you can be attacked from while moving towards the objective, where to sneak, what the optimal and other possible routes for rotation between the two sites are, etc.
  • First possible contact point with the enemy within the round, so that you can know when first to expect fire engagements against your enemies and, of course, where (assuming everyone has the most optimal route towards the bomb site from the start of the round). This is important because you should run with your knife out as long as possible to maximize your movement speed as much as you can.
  • Common strategies that people use to defend or attack a bombsite. This is something that you must learn through either playing the competitive matchmaking yourself or by watching a stream or a gameplay video of someone playing the competitive matchmaking mode so that you can analyze what’s happening in the match in general.

These are just the basics that will reinforce your chances of climbing up the ranking ladder. Some of the things simply must be experienced first-hand.

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Communication with Teammates in Competitive CS2 Matchmaking

This is probably one of the most important aspects that can make or break your game more than you’d think. CS2 is notorious for toxicity, especially at lower ranks. However, you should do your best to stay out of toxic and volatile situations for your own good.

Communication should always be positive when your voice button is on. Keep your teammates encouraged even after they make the most trivial mistake and lose the round because of it. There is always a place for improvement, and if you must, hand out a piece of advice in a positive manner. After all, you should work as a team with your assigned teammates.

If someone’s being a meanie, you can always mute them and be done with it. It’s not worth your energy to argue with people that you probably won’t ever meet again. Just… let it go.

Communication during the match should be short and precise. Leave the banter for when the round ends, and do not hog the microphone for too long. Of course, it’s up to everyone to set up their volume settings so that the voice chat volume doesn’t disrupt their game volume, but still, have some consideration – there are five of you on the team. Assuming you have set the radar correctly so that the entire map can be seen, you will easily be able to report the whereabouts of the enemy.

If you see three people pushing Long on Dust 2, you should simply say “Three Long” or “Three Long, with Bomb/C4” if you see it on the radar or on one of the Ts. It doesn’t occupy a lot of “air time” of the voice chat; it gets the message across about what’s happening on your part of the map. In lower ranks, people aren’t used to doing this by themselves or do not even have a microphone, so you might just take the initiative and become a backseat coach when you die during a round and then pass info that you see when you are cycling through your remaining teammates.

If you are in a bad economic situation at the end of the round that you’ve lost and you see that all of your teammates are under, let’s say, $4,500, which would be a decent amount of money to get a Kevlar, Helmet, an Assault Rifle and perhaps one or two grenades, you might as well ask the team to go “eco” – meaning that you buy either nothing or let’s say a grenade and a P250 just to try and sneak some kills off to slightly dent your opponent’s economy. Yes, you are willingly giving up the round, basically, but you threaten to come back stronger the next round.

This is always up for debate, depending on the current score. Nowadays, you can scrape by and win a round by buying armor (without a helmet) and Galil / FAMAS.

When the pistol round is lost, the common course of action is to go eco one or two rounds. There is, of course, the idea of “force buy” in order to strike with a surprise attack because most people have a firm belief that they have won the first three rounds of the match automatically if they have won the first pistol round. This mostly happens on the T side when, for example, you have made a successful plant and your team has gotten 3-4 kills but eventually lost and had their bomb defused. Bomb plant and those kills gave a considerable amount of money to your team, and “force buy” is to be considered.

If you see that one of your teammates is struggling with money and keeps dying every round, and you have money to get them an assault rifle or something, notify them via voice chat before the round starts that you will “drop” them a weapon so that they should only buy Equipment. “Drop” is commonly understood as an act of giving your weapon to your teammates. The same goes for when you are in a bad situation with money, and you see a teammate surviving a round with an AWP and having thousands of dollars to spare.

You can just ask them, “Hey Player_Name, please drop me m4/ak,” and in most cases, they will understand that you are broke as hell and that it’s in the common interest that you are supplied with a proper tool to neutralize your mutual enemies effectively. Sharing is caring!

Now that we are talking about “Drops,” make sure to try to upgrade your weaponry at the end of the round. For example, you’re a CT, and you spot an AK. Drop your M4 or maybe even AWP if your team is rich enough, and take the AK because CT cannot buy an AK, and AK is MUCH more potent than M4. But even if, for example, you are bad with AWP, someone in your team isn’t, and you can save them an AWP, and then you can (or they can) buy a new copy of the weapon that you dropped for the AWP. It’s still a net gain because AWP is the most expensive weapon in the game.

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Mental Approach to CS2 Competitive Matches

This subject warrants an in-depth analysis and a subpoena of an expert for sports psychology, but there are some basic and short tips that everyone could agree with:

  • Do not play if you are not feeling positive, if you get the feeling that the next match is a chore, etc. It can and will reflect upon your game, and that negative sentiment can pass on to your teammates like a disease.
  • Do NOT play if, for example, you’ve lost two matches in a row badly. Let your head cool off, do something else for 30-60 minutes, and then come back. Do not let yourself get burnt out because of a video game. Games are supposed to make you happy. Even if an obvious cheater just wrecked you, take a bit of time to breathe in and out before moving to the next match.

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Get a Premade for CS2 Competitive and Premier Matchmaking

Even if you can muster just one friend to play with you, that’s GREAT. It’s always better to play with someone you know. You are then aware of their capabilities and limitations, and you can arrange who will specialize in what aspect of offense/defense. You can also craft your own playbook for different attack and defense strategies.

And, of course, you can prevent malicious vote-kick abuse that can happen if you end up playing with four premade people in the team who just didn’t like how you lost the first round, and they just go and get rid of you. Having a full premade makes things easier because you all know the rules of engagement. Sometimes, you can also pick up some decent people in the matchmaking that you’ve clicked with, and you can party with them afterward.


This is somewhat like a gym; it takes time and practice to improve. As mentioned, getting friends to play with you makes this activity much more encouraging since if you become good as a team, you will often have reasons to be happy when one of you gets a rank up.

Check out Wingman Mode in CS2 if you’d rather play 2v2 in CS2.

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Author
Nikola L
Nikola has been a Staff Writer at Prima Games since May 2022. He has been gaming since being able to hold an Amiga 500 joystick on his own, back in the early 90s (when gaming was really good!). Nikola has helped organize dozens of gaming events and tournaments and has been professionally attached to gaming since 2009.