CS:GO Ranks, Weapons, Skins, Maps & More! | EarlyGame
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CS:GO Ranks, Weapons, Skins, Maps & More!

CS:GO ranks guides weapons skins
This CS:GO article will blow your mind! Well, not literlly, but in a good way instead. (Credit: Valve)

We’ll talk about rank, system requirements, weapons, game-modes, esports, and much more, so buckle up!

Counterstrike is one of the oldest IPs in gaming. The first iteration of the game called Half-Life: Counter-Strike was released in the year 2000. The newest entry in the series is called Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). It has been a widely popular game for more than 8 years now, so we thought it’s about time someone compiled ALL the questions people ask and answered them in one article. This is your CS:GO almanac!

What Is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

CS:GO is a team-based 5v5 tactical shooter. But not any tactical shooter. It’s the first of its kind. You will play both as the attacking side called ‘Terrorists’ (Ts) and the defending side called ‘Counter-Terrorists’ (CTs). The Ts have to plant the bomb at certain locations and defend it until it explodes, or kill all the CTs, to get a round-win. Vice versa, the CTs have to kill all Ts before they can plant the bomb, or defuse the explosive device. After 15 rounds the teams will switch sides. The first team to win 16 rounds wins the match

CS:GO Bomb
That's what it's all about. (Credit: Valve)

When Was CS:GO Released?

CS:GO was first released in August 2012, for Windows, macOS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Two years later a Linux version followed.

How Much Does CS:GO Cost?

From 2012 to 2018 CS:GO cost $14.99 to play but in December 2018 CS:GO moved to a free-to-play model. This means, you can now download and play the game for free!

Is CS:GO Pay-to-Win?

No, CS:GO is not pay-to-win. You cannot buy any items, that give you an edge over other players. If you hear talk like “skins get wins” or anything like that, it is most likely a joke.

CSGO pay-to-win
The closest we got to being pay-to-win were green Operator-skins, so that's great (Credit: Valve)

What is Prime in CS:GO?

Prime is a function that pairs people together in matchmaking. If you have an active prime status you will only play against other people with prime. Furthermore, you will get access to all community servers, exclusive loot drops etc...

How do You Get Prime in CS:GO?

  1. If you bought CS:GO prior to December 6 you won’t have to worry about prime. Your account will already have been upgraded to prime. If didn’t, there are two ways to get it:
  2. Buy the prime status on Steam. It will cost you $14.99, but you will get prime status immediately.
  3. You can also unlock prime by simply playing the game. Upon reaching rank 21 (Lieutenant) you will be upgraded to prime status. Don’t worry, you will reach rank 21 by earning XP, not by winning ranked matches.

Where to Download CS:GO?

CS:GO is published by Valve and Valve has their own little game store called ‘Steam’ you might have heard of it. If you follow this Link it will take you straight to the Steam-site where you can download CS:GO. If you don’t have one, you will have to create a Steam-account first though.

What System-Requirements does CS:GO Have?

One of the reasons for CS:GOs success is the fact, that it can be run on really old computers. So, if your machine isn’t state of the art, don’t worry. If you bought it within the last 10 years, you should be fine. The system requirements listed on Steam are as follows:


  • OS: Windows® 7/Vista/XP
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom™ X3 8750 processor or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card must be 256 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 3.0
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 15 GB available space

Mac OS X:

  • OS: MacOS X 10.11 (El Capitan) or later
  • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 2400 or better / NVidia 8600M or better
  • Storage: 15 GB available space

SteamOS + Linux:

  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04
  • Processor: 64-bit Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: nVidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1
  • Storage: 15 GB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card

How Many Players Does CS:GO Have?

Despite the fact that CS:GO was released 9 years ago, the game is still very popular. As of January 2021 CS:GO had a player peak of over 1.1 million. By using the tool ‘steamcharts’ we can see the exact number of average players per month. These are the numbers for average players during the last 6 months:

  • January 2021: 743,209.7
  • December 2020: 717,803.8
  • November 2020: 668,754.6
  • October 2020: 613,666.7
  • September 2020: 606,850.3
  • August 2020: 639,957.7

Unlike other games, CS:GO didn’t lose players over time. Quite the opposite: In the chart below you can see, that CS:GO is now more popular than ever before. In 2020 the game even won the “labor of love” steam-award. Rewarding the devs and the community for making constant improvements to the game.

CS:GO players over time
CS:GO is at an all-time-high when it comes to player numbers. (Credit: Valve)

How Does the Rank System Work in CS:GO?

There is a lot to talk about regarding the rank-system, so let’s get right into it. First, let’s talk about what ranks there are, because the naming of the ranks gets really confusing. The ranks from lowest to highest are as follows:

  • Silver I
  • Silver II
  • Silver III
  • Silver IV
  • Silver Elite
  • Silver Elite Master
  • Gold Nova I
  • Gold Nova II
  • Gold Nova III
  • Gold Nova Master
  • Master Guardian I
  • Master Guardian II
  • Master Guardian Elite
  • Distinguished Master Guardian
  • Legendary Eagle
  • Legendary Eagle Master
  • Supreme Master First Class
  • The Global Elite

Now that’s a pretty long list... if you have more questions regarding the rank-system we already have two articles about it. They go in-depth about how the rating system works and how to rank up. So give them a read if you are interested:

CSGO ranks
In case you were wondering what each ranks symbol looks like... (Credit Valve)

How Many Players Are at Each Rank in CS:GO?

Well, we've got bullet-point and a graphic again. You choose!

  • Silver I: 4.51%
  • Silver II: 4.33%
  • Silver III: 4.39%
  • Silver IV: 5.37%
  • Silver Elite: 6.70%
  • Silver Elite Master: 7.70%
  • Gold Nova I: 8.52%
  • Gold Nova II: 8.81%
  • Gold Nova III: 8.73%
  • Gold Nova Master: 8.17%
  • Master Guardian I: 7.39%
  • Master Guardian II: 6.30%
  • Master Guardian Elite: 5.25%
  • Distinguished Master Guardian: 4.07%
  • Legendary Eagle: 3.16%
  • Legendary Eagle Master: 3.19%
  • Supreme Master First Class: 2.61%
  • The Global Elite: 0.78%
CS:GO rank distribution
That's how many players are at each rank! (Credit: csgo-stats)

What Weapons Are There in CS:GO?

CS:GO features more than 30 unique guns. Each of them has a purpose, although some see significantly more play than others. You can choose weapons from four different categories:

  • Pistols
  • Heavy
  • SMGs
  • Rifles

If you want guides to each weapon, we talked about every category and their respective weapons in detail. Just click on the following articles to learn more:





What Are the Best Weapons in CS:GO?

Now this question is usually rather subjective, but in CS:GO you can name the five guns, that are heads and shoulders above their competition:

  1. AWP
  2. AK-47
  3. M4A4
  4. M4A1-S
  5. Desert Eagle

What Maps Are There in CS:GO?

Dust 2 CS:GO
Mom: We have Dust I at home. Dust I at home: (Credit: Valve)

Clarifying this question will require multiple answers. If you want to play matchmaking, the most popular game mode, you get to choose from 10 different maps:

  • Agency
  • Cache
  • Dust II
  • Inferno
  • Mirage
  • Nuke
  • Office
  • Overpass
  • Train
  • Vertigo

While Agency and Office are both part of the matchmaking map pool, they are so-called hostage maps. That means you are not playing around a bomb, but two hostages. These two maps play out VERY differently from the rest.

CS:GO active map pool duty
This is the active duty map pool (Credit: Valve)

From time to time, you will hear the term ‘Active Duty Map Pool’. It contains 7 Maps, all from the matchmaking pool and is mostly relevant for pro-play. Also, if you own the newest Operation Broken Fang, they are the maps you can choose from in the Broken Fang matchmaking:

  • Inferno
  • Train
  • Mirage
  • Nuke
  • Overpass
  • Dust II
  • Vertigo

Are There Cheaters in CS:GO?

Yes, lots and lots of Cheaters. It pains me a little to answer this question, because I love this game. Sadly, Valve’s Anti Cheat system can’t compare to more invasive software like the Valorant Vanguard system. You will encounter cheaters; I can guarantee you that. The best thing is to simply shrug it off, as you won’t lose any MMR losing against cheaters. Still, it’s hella frustrating.

What Can I Do to Avoid Cheaters in CS:GO?

There are a few precautions you can take to minimize your chances to que into cheaters:

  • Get prime matchmaking! This is very important. Cheaters often use new accounts that don’t have prime status, so if you have prime you won’t que into those accounts.
  • Play a lot! The more you play, the higher your trust factor. CS:GO will match you with people of the same trust factor. Cheating and swearing in chat will lower your trust factor.
  • Play with friends! If you have 4 premades, you will most likely get matched against another full-stack team. Remember: cheaters are lonely little trolls on the internet and don’t have friends.

What Are Skins in CS:GO?

Skins are cosmetic items you can use to make your weapons or characters look stylish. They are a huge part of CS:GOs success, since people love collecting them. You can customize all weapons, your characters and the gloves of each character. Skins for most weapons can be earned by playing the game. But if you want the really fancy ones, you will have to buy them on the Steam market for real dollarydoos. They won’t give you an advantage in the game, but some people love to spice up their arsenal. And they can get really expensive as well. Don't believe me? See for our self:

What Are CS:GO Operations?

Operations are like DLCs for CS:GO. They add new content like skins, maps, missions and sometimes even game modes. The newest one is Operation Broken Fang. You will need to buy the Operation via the Steam store.

What Game Modes Are There in CS:GO?

We already talked about the primary game mode ‘matchmaking’ but there are lots of fun ways to play Counterstrike. The most popular ones are:

  • Scrimmage: Scrimmage is exactly like matchmaking. The most notable difference is, that Scrimmage is unranked, meaning you can’t lose your rank while playing. It’s only available on a few selected maps.
  • Deathmatch: You spawn in a random location on the map with a random weapon in your hand. You will immediately respawn after being killed and get more chances to click some heads. Deathmatch is mostly used for warm-up purposes.
  • Dangerzone: CS:GOs battle-royale mode! Fight with up to two teammates to be the last man (men) standing. You will find weapons or order them via drone. The map gets smaller and smaller over time, until a victor is determined. Right now, there are 3 maps to play on.
  • Arms Race: Work your way through all weapons in CS:GO. After you get two kills with a gun, you get a new one. The final weapon is a golden knife. One kill with it will suffice to make you the winner of the match. Arms Race is played on 7 different maps.
  • Community Maps: These can be everything. Headshot only, movement maps, surfing maps. The possibilities are endless. Many people don’t even play the normal game anymore, because there are so many fun things to do on Community Maps.

There are quite a few more game modes in CS:GO, but those are the most popular ones. Just take a look through all the tabs in your main menu and see for yourself.

CS:GO vs. Valorant: Which Is Better?

CS:GO vs Valorant
Valorant at its core is a mixture of CS:GO and Overwatch (Credit: Riot Games)

Riot’s tactical shooter Valorant has quite a few similarities to Counterstrike, the godfather of the genre. This topic is enough to write an entire article about it, but lucky for me a college already did it:

How Does CS:GO Esports Work?

Just like DOTA 2 which is also made by Valve, CS:GO is played in many different tournaments leading up to two big Majors a year. Those Majors are comparable to the soccer world championship. To gain enough points to attend the Major, teams will need to attend tourneys all over the world. Of course, in 2020 and 2021 most of the competitions were held online.

The biggest tournaments apart from the Major are as follows:

  • Blast Premier
  • Intel Extreme Masters
  • ESL Pro League
  • CS Summit
  • Dreamhack
  • Flashpoint

By the way: CS:GO will have a Major in 2021. If you are interested in the biggest tournament CS:GO will have this year read the following article:

This is gonna be lit! (Credit: PGL esports)

As one of the oldest esports titles out there, CS:GO has some renowned organizations involved in their esports scene. Even if you don’t know anything about the game, you might have heard of some of the biggest names in CS:GO. As of right now the top five teams in Counterstrike are:

  1. Astralis
  2. Natus Vincere
  3. Vitality
  4. BIG
  5. Liquid

Who Streams CS:GO?

There are many great streamers out there playing Counterstrike. Just shining light on the ones that are the biggest feels a little unjust, but these guys have a huge following for a reason.

Now tell me this didn't answer all your questions! I dare you! No, seriously tell us if you were missing anything. We have a Discord for stuff like that. Or Facebook if you are more of an old-school person.

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