Counter-Strike Wiki

Commit to a full match that affects your Skill Group. Buy new weapons each round with money earned and win the round by eliminating the other team or completing the objective.
―Official description

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the first Counter-Strike game to include a built-in competitive mode to appeal to the professional and competitive player by being structured similarly to professional tournament play including swapping sides, friendly fire, and locked teams.


Unlike casual mode, competitive mode always pits two teams of 5 against each other in a 30 round match. The roundtime is 1 minute 55 seconds and the bomb timer is 40 seconds. It is not possible to switch sides during the game except at the halftime. After the first 15 rounds, the game reaches halftime and the two teams will switch sides. The first team to score 16 points wins the game. If both teams score a total of 15 points by the end of the 30th round, the match will end in a tie. If the player has a rank then they are revealed to all players when the match has ended. Games can also end prematurely if one team surrenders to the other. A vote to surrender must be unanimously agreed upon, and the vote is locked until a team member abandons the match.

Additionally, players are required to have a profile rank of at least Private Rank 2 to be eligible for competitive matchmaking.

Differences from casual modes

Main article: Casual

The economy of the competitive mode is different from that of the casual mode. For each round, the losing team gets a lot less than the winning, and consecutive loses will receive gradually more. All kill awards are doubled compared to the casual mode, the money cap is $16000, and all players start the pistol round with $800 instead of $1000. Other differences include the ability to purchase two flashbangs instead of just one. Friendly Fire and team collision are always on and cannot be turned off. Also, armor and defuse kits are not received automatically, and can be purchased at the start of the round. The C4 also has a 40 second timer instead of a 45 second timer.

When the player dies in any way except a headshot then the screen fades to black in 3 seconds. On the other hand, if the player dies by a headshot then the screen fades to black much quicker and this takes 1 second. Spectating is much more limited compared to the casual mode. Players are only allowed to spectate other players on their own team and third-person view is not possible. On the flip side, full team chat (both voice and text) are enabled regardless of the player being alive or dead.

Ranked and Unranked Competitive

Ranked, where players' skill groups can be seen & factor heavily into finding other players, and Unranked, where players' skill are still calculated based on their performance, but skill groups cannot be seen & there are no restrictions on skill groups for partying with other players. [1][2]

Ranked matchmaking is only available for players with Prime status, while Unranked is available for non-Prime players and Prime players that toggle "Ranked Matches" to "Unranked Matches" in the "Play CS:GO" window.

Match Length Setting

Long and Short Competitive

Long Competitive is the traditional competitive settings. It is a max round 30 format, first to win 16 rounds. Short Competitive - introduced in Operation Riptide - allows for a shorter match time using a max round 16 format, first to win 9 rounds.

Private Competitive

Private Competitive - introduced in Operation Riptide - is a way to create a private lobby for people to host custom Premier Competitive games. This requires 10 people and each lobby has a custom lobby code. The code can be shared or people can join via Steam groups. Private Competitive games do not affect XP or Skill groups.

Beginning a match

Main article: Matchmaking

Competitive Map Selection

Unlike the casual game modes, the player is given the option to choose which map will be played by using checkboxes. By default maps from the active duty group are already selected, however, the player can choose to include maps from the reserves group and, if there is an active operation, the operations group as well.

Post match review

Watch tab with Competitive matches

The player can re-watch a completed ranked match by clicking on the Watch tab from the main menu. The 8 most recent ranked matches results will be listed and each one generates a match sharing link which can be used to download the GOTV replay for up to a week after the game has played. After a week has passed the post match review is deleted from Valve's servers and you are unable to download it. In addition, the 8 most recent ranked match results are stored for up to 2 months and then after that they are deleted from the list automatically. 

The match demo is not available for unranked matches. For ranked matches, there will be no match demo available if the match is cancelled when a player fails to connect in time or abandons during the warmup period.

Skill groups

Gallery: Skill Groups

Silver I Rank (Lowest)

The Global Elite Rank (Highest)

Starting with the October 25, 2012 update, skill groups were introduced to help the player understand how the competitive matchmaking works. When entering a selected game mode, the matchmaking system will try to place the player with other players around the same skill level.

Players new to the matchmaking mode will not have a skill group. To keep the game balanced for novice and experienced players, joining a competitive / wingman mode without a rank will place the player with others with no skill group or a low level skill group. Additionally, players without a skill group are limited to two competitive matches that result in wins or draws per day until they are placed in a skill group by winning 10 matches to get a rank (or drawing a match after the 9th win).

If a player does not participate in competitive matchmaking for 28 days, then the player's skill group will be hidden, and will require the player to win or draw an additional competitive match to be re-placed in a skill group. In addition, if the player gets a cooldown for griefing then their skill group will be hidden as well. [3] 

Prime Status

Prime Status Icon.

The Prime Status feature was introduced as part of the April 21, 2016 update, initially acquired by adding a valid phone number to the player's Steam account (and, from June 15, 2016 onward, also required having reached the Profile Rank of Lieutenant Rank 21). With CS:GO becoming Free to Play on December 6, 2018, Prime status was changed so that it could either be acquired with the aforementioned method (though no longer requiring a phone number), or could be bought for $14.99 USD/12.75€ EUR/£10.89 GBP Icon-global-price-2.png

In the June 3, 2021 update, Prime status was changed so that it could only be acquired by being bought, and XP, Profile Ranks, item drops, and skill groups became exclusive to players with Prime status; non-Prime players still have complete access to the core gameplay but cannot play on Competitive.[4][1]

Trust Factor

In the November 13, 2017 update, Trust Factor was implemented for a better matchmaking experience.

Trust Factor is calculated by a number of factors, which include but are not limited to: hours spent playing CS:GO and other games, the age of one's Steam account, the frequency with which one is reported for cheating and whether one is eligible for Prime etc.[5]. The exact algorithm is not divulged by Valve.

Trust Factor is always enabled, even when an option to queue exclusively for Prime users is picked. The system uses the lowest value of TF in a given lobby and then matches with an enemy team around this player's TF.

Competitive cooldown

If a player has abandoned a match, cheated, or otherwise has committed poor sportsmanship, the player will receive a competitive cooldown. When a player has a competitive cooldown, the player cannot participate in any competitive matches for the duration of the cooldown. The player will be notified of any existing cooldowns by a yellow banner at the top of the main menu page stating the reason and the remaining length of the cooldown. The first cooldown will last for 30 minutes, the second is 2 hours, then 24 hours, and lastly 7 days. If a player haven’t received a cooldown for a week, their level will go down by a level each week, starting after any existing cooldowns have expired. For example, once a 24 hour cooldown is over, they would have to wait a week until the cooldown level (provided that they do not trigger another cooldown) goes from 24 hours back to 2 hours.[6]

Reasons for a cooldown

Most of the actions that can trigger a cooldown only count when they occur during competitive / wingman matchmaking games.

  • Abandoning a match - If the player fails to reconnect in time for any reason or the player clicks the abandon button in the main menu then the player is considered abandoned and receives a cooldown. Choosing to abandon or failing to connect to the server within the warmup period is also considered match abandoning.
  • Team disruption - Activities such as teamkilling, excessive team damage, or a player being repeatedly vote-kicked from matches in competitive matchmaking.
  • Cheating - Use of 3rd party programs, scripts, or other hacking techniques in competitive or casual matchmaking
  • Suiciding - Excessive suiciding (e.g. jumping off a building from the map Vertigo) will result in a cooldown.
  • Excessive kicking or being kicked too often - Kicking or attempting to kick too many people can result in a cooldown happening eventually. Also being kicked too often will result in a cooldown.
  • Skill placement competitive cooldown - A new player with less than 10 competitive wins is limited to two competitive wins per day.

Cooldown lengths

During a cooldown period, a player cannot play any competitive games, but can still play any of the casual game modes, including community servers or locally-hosted servers running the competitive rule set.

Cooldown levels drop by 1 level after a week with no additional offenses. There is no known limit to how many levels a person can get.

  • Level 1 - 30 minutes
  • Level 2 - 2 hours
  • Level 3 - 24 hours
  • Level 4 - 7 days
  • Level 5 and beyond - 7 days
  • 38 days [7]  - Minorly Disruptive, applied to Griefers 
  • Permanent  also called a Global Cooldown, this can be from from being Overwatch Convicted - Majorly Disruptive for cheating and can be applied to Griefers for their second offence. A permanent cooldown may be received from being "Untrusted".

It's possible to receive a 10 minute cooldown due to the servers disconnecting players and it then rejecting their reconnection attempts because an update was released in the middle of your matchmaking game.

Professional play

In Professional Tournaments, only competitive mode is played among the various teams such as ESL One tournaments, or professional gaming leagues such as CEVO. The standard competitive setup can be modified slightly to accommodate the tournament/leagues rules, such as 6 rounds overtime in the case of ties. Professional gaming is also referred to as eSports, and is closely tied to the CS:GO community. A portion of the proceeds from eSports keys go towards cash prizes in official Valve sponsored tournaments.

Update History

June 3, 2021
  • Non-Prime status accounts will no longer earn XP, Ranks, Skill Groups, item drops, or Prime status through play time.
  • Non-Prime accounts will not be able to participate in Ranked matches.
  • Non-Prime accounts will not be able to activate Bonus Rank XP items and can no longer claim Service Medals.
  • Introducing Unranked matches for Competitive, Wingman, and Danger Zone game modes.
  • While still using skill-based matchmaking, Unranked matches do not affect Skill Group and have no Skill Group party restrictions.
  • Non-Prime accounts are restricted to Unranked, whereas Prime accounts may choose between Ranked and Unranked.
  • Ranked matches will always be with other Prime players, exclusively, whereas Unranked matches will be created from the mixed pool of Non-Prime players — and Prime players that have chosen to play Unranked.
  • Scrimmage has been removed from Competitive matchmaking, and has been replaced by Unranked matchmaking.
December 8, 2015
  • In Competitive Matchmaking times are now 1:55 and 0:40 for round and C4, respectively. These are also the new times for CSGO Major Championships.
November 22, 2014
  • Removed Rematch option after completing a match in public server competitive matchmaking.
November 21, 2014
  • Added three restrictions to Competitive Matchmaking:
    • If a player does not have a competitive Skill Group, they will not be able to queue in a party with a player having a very high Skill Group
    • Accounts are restricted to two Competitive wins per day until they receive their competitive Skill Group
    • Unless they are in a party of 5, players will not be able to queue for Competitive Matchmaking if their skill group range is very large.
October 1, 2012
  • Replaced Competitive mode "Join in Progress" matchmaking system with "Queued" matchmaking.
  • Searching for a Competitive game, either from "Find a Game" or "Play with Friends," will enter the player/s ( between 1 and 5 ) into a waiting queue. Once 10 compatible players are found then the game will begin.
  • Players that disconnect from a match can reconnect to it from the main menu or abandon it. Abandoning a game will :result in a cooldown period during which no new competitive match can be joined.
  • Note: Elo will be recalibrated for the new matchmaking system over the coming weeks.


  • On the July 31, 2019 update, scrimmage mode was added to the game to incorporate maps in competitive, however, skill groups will not be adjusted after the match but a match abandon still issues a competitive cooldown. On the June 3, 2021 update, Scrimmage mode has been removed and replaced with Unranked Matchmaking.
  • Before the November 22, 2014 once a match has finished, players had the chance to rematch with the current teams. Like surrender votes, the vote must be unanimous, but require all 10 players to still be connected to the server. After the vote succeeds, the map will be reloaded with the same teams for another match with the same rules. If not all 10 players are connected to the server, then the vote will not be offered, and instead an error message will pop up in chat saying, "Not offering rematch because not all 10 players are connected."
  • The default "freeze time" is 15 seconds, rather than 6 seconds from earlier games.
  • Occasionally, the SEAL Team 6 quote "Let's Roll" that is said when the player joins the game will glitch and stutter, making it sound like "Let's Roll-oll". The glitch gained much notoriety within the community and became a meme. A sticker in Sticker Capsule 2 was designed after the meme.


Skill Groups

See also

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Adjustments to Non-Prime on the CS:GO Blog
  2. Release Notes for 6/3/2021 on the CS:GO Blog
  3. Twitter video showing rank is hidden after Twitch streamer fl0m got a 38 days cooldown due to griefing Rank was hidden after Twitch streamer fl0m got a 38 days cooldown due to griefing
  4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - Prime Status and Free to Play on Steam Support
  5. The Trust Factor on the CS:GO Blog
  6. Bans, Competitive Cooldowns, and You on Steam Community - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Discussion
  7. Twitter video showing rank is hidden after Twitch streamer fl0m got a 38 days cooldown due to griefing Rank was hidden after Twitch streamer fl0m got a 38 days cooldown due to griefing