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Valorant Ranked: How to get access, and how it works
Riot's team-based shooter Valorant has launched, here's how to earn bragging rights
Written by Jack Grimshaw
Published on
After a couple of months of hotly sought drops and plenty of twitch hours earned, Valorant has gotten off to a good start. The polished and fun beta has given way to a full release, which surely means it's time to start playing in ranked, right?
With a shooter as skill-focused as this it was inevitable that a ranked mode was coming, but the form it would take was unclear. Now that people have gotten used to the gunplay, the abilities, and the strategy, Valorant has added a competitive mode to its game. You can now log in and climb the ladder to get to as high a rank as possible, maybe even the allusive rank of Valorant.

How to unlock ranked mode in Valorant

Accuracy is crucial for success in Valorant
Accuracy is crucial for success in Valorant
In order to gain access to the new ranked mode, you will need to play enough matches of unranked Valorant to become familiar with the map layouts, weapons, and character abilities. This will take the form of twenty matches in the standard mode. Your performance in these matches does not affect any part of your competitive experience, they just need to be completed to unlock the ability to play placement matches and earn a starting rank. Even after the competitive ladder is unlocked, your unrated matchmaking and match scores will not affect your competitive placement. Once these have been completed you will have access to the ranked mode. This will give you plenty of time to unlock agents and learn the maps. Once you have access you will have an option in the main menu above your banner: Competitive.
After you get into ranked you will have to play through five placement matches and get your first rank. In Valorant, wins are weighted higher than your personal performance, but the developers have said that doing well in matches is part of how the game determines your progression. As you play more, wins and losses will become more important to your ranking, and will be the main path to progress. The ranking system is currently geared to combat smurfing by focusing on your personal skill during placement matches. This should mean that players who are good at the game will have a hard time getting into low ranks, however people have been complaining that this hasn’t worked as intended, with players being stuck in their tier despite a long streak of high performance wins. As with all betas there may be problems with the algorithm and tracking, so expect some unusual placements as things settle, but hopefully Riot will be working hard to refine the systems under the surface to provide ranks that are more accurate representations of your skill.

Valorant Ranks explained

You too, can be flawless
You too, can be flawless
The ranks that you can earn in Valorant Ranked are tiered, with three tiers in each rank. However, the top rank has only one tier. The ranks are as follow:
  • Iron I
  • Iron II
  • Iron III
  • Bronze I
  • Bronze II
  • Bronze III
  • Silver I
  • Silver II
  • Silver III
  • Gold I
  • Gold II
  • Gold III
  • Platinum I
  • Platinum II
  • Platinum III
  • Diamond I
  • Diamond II
  • Diamond III
  • Immortal I
  • Immortal II
  • Immortal III
  • Valorant
You must work your way through all levels of Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Immortal. You can then reach the final rank: Valorant. These tiers all have associated badges so you can quickly identify player level and skill. Unsurprisingly they get fancier the higher you place.
As you progress through the tiers your individual skill will be used less by the algorithm, eventually leaving you with wins and losses as your only metric of rank. Your rank will determine who you will be matched against, and you can only party up with people within six tiers of your own position.
Be aware that if you do not play Valorant for fourteen days, your rank will become hidden until you play a ranked match again. This will not affect your tiers or any progression in the ranked ladder, it just will not be visible to other people.
Currently there are no rewards based on rank, other than the badge that is visible on your profile and can be deployed for bragging rights.
Ranked mode plays the exact same as the normal unranked mode. It includes all the same maps with the same bomb sites. It also allows you to use any of your unlocked agents as well as any weapon from the normal pool. There are no restrictions that differentiate ranked and unranked, so all the usually plays will still be viable and exploitable in the ranked mode. The agent pool is currently too small to enable a banning phase, but if Valorant takes on any of the lessons learned by League of Legends, it could be coming once the pool of characters has bulked out a bit.

Future of Valorant Ranked Mode

Valorant's ranked mode is easy to find
Valorant's ranked mode is easy to find
Your rank will only last until the end of the beta. Once the game officially launches everything will be reset, and the path to ranked may change. We do not know if ranks will be seasonal, but it is a safe bet based on Riot’s other games, and the general template of the genre. You can also expect rewards based on your ranking, such as sprays, buddies, or skins, though this is currently unconfirmed. It is possible that the ranked system will change before or on launch, so be aware that you may have to play more unranked matches to unlock the ranked mode, as well as more placement matches to earn your rank once the game is officially released. Major changes to the ranking formula could be implemented, so you may find that you move slower or faster up the ranks.