Counter-Strike 2 Premier vs Competitive: What’s the Difference?

In Short
  • In CS2 Premier mode, you can't choose a specific map, it is decided by the players through a voting system instead.
  • The CS rating you get in premier mode is consistent, so there is only one CS rating, which is not the case with competitive mode.
  • In the competitive mode, you will get a different skill group for various maps. You can select which maps to play.

Counter-Strike 2 was released earlier last year to much fanfare, and if you are wondering about the differences between the two ranked modes – competitive vs premier in CS2, we have you covered in this ultimate comparison. Without further delay, let’s discuss the rules of Counter-Strike 2 Premier vs Competitive modes.

Premier vs Competitive: Prime Status Requirement

Prime Status for CS2 costs $14.99 to buy on Steam. In Counter-Strike 2, there are different rules set for how you can queue up in the game. Counter-Strike 2 features an exclusive Prime-based matchmaking system that is only for those players who own the Prime Status Upgrade.

It is possible to queue up in the competitive mode without having the CS2 Prime upgrade, but you would be playing in the non-Prime matchmaking pool for the competitive mode if you don’t own it.

Talking about the requirements, the Prime status upgrade is compulsory to queue into the new CS-rating-based Premier mode. So, the option for playing in Premier is unavailable in the game if you don’t have Prime Status in CS2.

Counter Strike 2 Premier Mode Requires Prime Status
If you don’t have Prime Status, the Premier game mode will be unavailable in Counter-Strike 2.

After you have the Prime status, you get Prime matchmaking for both Competitive and Premier game modes. If you play with friends who don’t have Prime, the matchmaking will be against other non-Prime players even if you have the Prime status yourself.

Premier vs Competitive: CS2 Ranking System Compared

In the competitive mode of Counter-Strike 2, the rank starts from Silver 1 (S1) and goes up to Global Elite (GE). The 18 ranks in CS2 competitive mode have been listed in the ascending order below:

  • Silver I (S1)
  • Silver II (S2)
  • Silver III (S3)
  • Silver Elite (SE)
  • Silver Elite Master (SEM)
  • Gold Nova I (GN1)
  • Gold Nova II (GN2)
  • Gold Nova III (GN3)
  • Gold Nova Master (GNM)
  • Master Guardian I (MG1)
  • Master Guardian II (MG2)
  • Master Guardian Elite (MGE)
  • Distinguished Master Guardian (DMG)
  • Legendary Eagle (LE)
  • Legendary Eagle Master (LEM)
  • Supreme Master First Class (SMFC)
  • Global Elite (GE)

In Counter-Strike 2’s Premier Mode, the ranking system is not divided based on various named skill groups like in the competitive mode. The Premier ranking system isn’t based on an alphabet system at all. These ranks are instead based on numbers, ranging from 0 to 30,000+ for the top-ranking players.

After a Premier match in Counter-Strike 2, your CS rating can increase by a few points or even 100+ points, based on how the match went.

The CS rating is a precise number representing your Counter-Strike 2 skill level as a player. This way, the game measures your skill in numerical form on the global & regional leaderboards. To climb to the #1 rank in Counter-Strike 2, you would have to win many matches and have a high win-rate percentage.

CS2 Counter Strike 2 Premier Vs Competitive Ranks
CS2 Ranking System Compared Between Competitive vs Premier Modes

Premier vs Competitive: Map Picking Process

In the competitive mode of CS2, the map-picking is based on your custom selection of maps done before queuing up for a game. So, you can choose any map from the Active Duty or non-competition pools. Whether you want to play Dust 2, Mirage, or even Office (which is part of the hostage group), you can select it accordingly in the Competitive mode section of CS2.

But in the Premier mode, you don’t get to choose which map you’ll play. The map-picking for the match in CS2 Premier mode is decided by the players. All 10 players vote on which map will be played. One side also gets to pick which side they start from (Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist).

CS2 competitive mode allows player to pick any specific map and only play those maps
You can select the map of your choice before queuing for CS2 competitive. But for Premier, the maps are decided by the players by voting.

Before entering the Premier mode, it is best to be prepared with at least some map knowledge & game sense. I’m not going to lie, even I don’t know all the important lineups in every map that Counter-Strike 2’s premier mode features.

Because of this, CS2’s Premier mode can be quite punishing for those who take it casually and don’t know the maps!

Premier vs Competitive: Differences in Skill Assessment

Now, let’s discuss how skill assessment works in Competitive vs Premier modes. In the competitive mode, your skill group will be different and vary on a per-map basis. So, if you are a mastermind of the iconic Dust II (de_dust 2), you could play it all the time in CS2 competitively, as long as you only choose that map when queuing up for a game. By winning often, let’s assume you’ve ranked up to a high-end skill group such as Legendary Eagle Master.

However, let’s say you are still practicing and learning the ropes of a second map, such as Mirage (de_mirage). When you win enough games on this map, your rank for it will be decided differently based on the win rate. So, if you’re bad at Mirage, your rank could technically land among the Silver skill group too. In the CS2 competitive mode, you will have a different rank depending on your win rate and overall skill level of different maps.

Counter Strike 2 Premier Mode
CS2 Premier Mode: Map Picking & Team Selection Process

On the other hand, the skill assessment in Premier Mode involves a precise number ranking you based on your Counter-Strike performance within the game. The rank (in numbers) allocated to you is unique, and you can compare your CS rating across the worldwide & region-based leaderboards.

By the way, there are also various colors given to your CS rating. For a rating between 0 to 5000, the border and color theme will be grey. But if you have a high CS rating, between 20-25K, the color is pink. Top-ranked players, those with a CS rating above 30K, have a yellow color text theme. Between 25-30K, the color is red.

Counter-Strike 2 Premier vs Competitive: What’s the Difference?
Various colors are used depending on your in-game CS2 Rating

To recap, when playing the CS2 Premier mode, there is no individual skill decided based on the map. The map is never decided beforehand and instead is voted by the players. So you need to be prepared to play any CS2 map when playing the Premier Mode. While you’re here, also check out the best CS2 console commands.

Your CS rating will be one number and will be based on your win rate on all the maps. In Counter-Strike 2 competitive mode, you can select your desired map to play in advance, but as mentioned earlier, the system decides your skill group on a per-map basis.

How Many Matches You Need to Play Unlock Rank?

Both Premier and Competitive modes in Counter-Strike 2 require you to win at least 10 matches to get your skill group or CS rating. In addition, you’ll need to gain your skill group in individual maps (in the competitive mode).

To unlock your rank in competitive or premier mode, simply win 10 matches, and the system will assign you your first rank based on many factors. It includes your K/D ratio, your overall damage, the amount of MVPs, your trust factor, and more.

How many matches to unlock rank in CS2

Premier vs Competitive in CS2: All Rules Discussed

In the Premier vs Competitive modes, there are different rules for map selection, prime-status requirements, ranking system, and more. Below is a comparison of the matchmaking rules set for the two ranked modes.

The number of rounds and matches you need to play to unlock your rank is the same in both modes, but there are plenty of differences.

Before, the Premier mode did not allow groups of four people to queue up together. Now, this has been changed since this update by Valve. When a solo player lands in a Premier match paired with a party of four players, the solo player also gets immunity from vote-kicking.

RulePremier ModeCompetitive Mode
Prime Status RequirementYesNo
Ranking SystemNumerical (0 to 30,000+) Alphabetical (Silver I to Global Elite)
Map PickingMap Voting Process (decided by players)Select Any Map (before queuing)
Map-Based RankingNoYes
Play With FriendsUp to 5 players (any number allowed) Up to 5 players (any number allowed)
Matches To Unlock Rank1010
Number of Rounds2424
CS2 Premier Vs Competitive Rules

So there you have it; the differences in Premier vs Competitive modes in Counter-Strike 2. By the way, while you’re here, check out the best Counter-Strike 2 settings for maximum FPS. Also, if you have been having lag issues, high ping, or low FPS in CS2, we have a handy guide to fix that too.

Which mode in Counter-Strike 2 do you prefer playing? Are you going to grind in-game by playing the premier mode, to increase your CS rating? Let us know in the comments below.

What is the difference between Premier and competitive in CS2?

There are different skill ratings in Premier (CS rating) and Competitive (alphabetically named skill groups). In CS2 Premier, you have to be ready to play any map that gets voted. But in CS2 competitive, you can select which maps you’d like to play.

How do you qualify for Premier CS2?

You will need to purchase the Prime Status (which costs $14.99) and also reach Level 10 in Counter-Strike 2. After that, you will qualify to play Premier mode in CS2.

Can you play CS2 competitive without prime?

Yes, you can play the Counter-Strike 2 competitive mode even without purchasing the Prime Status. However, without Prime, the matchmaking pool will be different as compared to when Prime matchmaking is enabled.

What is a good CS2 Premier rating?

In CS2 Premier, a rating above 25K can be classified as “good”. Many CS2 professional players are above 25K. After that, players with a CS rating above 30K are considered even better and one of the very best.

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