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How to unlock competitive ranked mode in Valorant

Looking to become a competitor in Valorant? Here's what you'l have to do first.

Phoenix from Valorant in competitive mode, standing and looking into the distance

Valorant is already a promising game for esports, and its addition of ranked competitive play in patch 1.02 on June 24 cemented that direction as a new focus for the hero shooter. Except just like in comparable games like Overwatch, you can't immediately access competitive ranked play right away. In fact, you'll have to work fairly hard for it — or at least put a lot of time in first.

If you do want to play Valorant competitively, here's the step by step process you'll need to follow in order to access ranked matches.

Step 1: Play 20 matches of Valorant.

Even if you played ranked in the Closed Beta, that progress does not carry over, so you'll have to start from scratch. To even get into Valorant's ranked mode, you'll have to prove your dedication to the game by completing 20 matches. It doesn't matter how often you've won. You just have to put the time in.

If you've been playing Valorant consistently since launch, you probably have already accomplished this. Still, considering the average Valorant match can last 30 minutes or more, this could take you upwards of 10 hours.

Thankfully, you don't have to worry about how you actually perform in these unranked matches. Matches are counted no matter if you win or lose. Furthermore, these wins or losses don't count towards your rank in competitive play. It'll take a lot of time (and you're not even done yet after doing this), but if you are a dedicated fan of Valorant, you should eventually complete this step after playing enough

Step 2: Play 5 placement matches.

Now that you have played enough unranked matches, you'll be able to access ranked mode. Before you can proceed, you'll have to play five more matches in order to determine your placing. While your performance didn't matter in those first 20 matches, how you do in these five matches does, which makes for a tense 150 minutes or so.

There are eight different ranks in Valorant, and all but one of them are comprised of three tiers: Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Immortal all have three individual tiers within them. The top rank, Radiant, only has one tier. While you won't end up in Radiant after your five placement matches, doing well is important, as it will give you a headstart on the climb up to Radiant rank.

Obviously, the best thing you can do to get a good placement in Valorant's ranked mode is to win a match. When it comes to both placement and ranked play, Riot Games explained in a blog post that "Winning games is the most important factor in gaining rank, but if you perform exceptionally well, your rank can go up faster. Inversely, losing games and performing well below expectations (deduced from your previous matches) will reduce your rank."

Step 3: Enjoy ranked mode!

Once you've completed those 20 unranked matches and the 5 placement matches, you'll be good to go in ranked play to start climbing your way up to Radiant. While you'll probably want to start playing Valorant even more after you get ranked, you can also now take a break if you like. Unlike some other competitive games, your rank in Valorant is not impacted by inactivity. Still, if you want to stay good at the game you'll want to find a helpful team and practice often.

Valorant is available now on PC.

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