How Overwatch's Ranking System Works

asdf / Image by Spencer Ridley

With Overwatch competitive season 12 finished, and season 13 beginning soon, it is time to look at how the Overwatch ranking system works. This is the system that determines who a player faces and who they are grouped with. Rank is shown by Skill Rating, often referred to as SR. 

How does competitive Overwatch work?

After doing placement matches, a player is placed into one of the ranks (described below). Once there, a player can only gain SR by winning in subsequent games, or decrease SR if a player loses in competitive games. Upon a win or loss, the SR change is calculated based on individual performance, the average SR of the opponents compared to the average SR of the players team, and the average SR of the opponents compared with the SR of the player. 

When getting a win, a player will usually gain between 19-24 SR depending on individual performance, but can gain much more if they are facing a higher SR team. SR will increase a bit more if a player experiences a win streak, but will also drop more upon their first loss after said streak.

What are the ranks?

The ranks in Overwatch are as follows:

  • 1-1499 SR: Bronze
  • 1500-1999 SR: Silver
  • 2000-2499 SR: Gold
  • 2500-2999 SR: Platinum
  • 3000-3499 SR: Diamond
  • 3500-3999 SR: Master
  • 4000+ SR: Grandmaster
  • Top 500 Players in each region are designated as: Top 500

The top ranks have separate rules surrounding them, and are as such. 

In Bronze through Diamond, players can group with others within 1000 skill rating of themselves. In Master, players can only group with others within 500 SR of themselves, and in Grandmaster, players can only group with those within 350 SR of themselves.

Players can drop out of their given tiers (unlike seasons past). In Bronze through Diamond, a player has to be in the lower SR range for five games before they lose their higher rank title, but in Master and Grandmaster, players will shift down immediately if they cross the threshold. 

The only way to lose SR other than through a loss is by SR decay, which occurs in Diamond and above if a player does not participate in competitive games for a certain number of days. Decay stops at 3000, so the lowest a player can decay to is Diamond. 

A players rank is determined by their previous SR, but also their MMR, an invisible number that compares quick play performance against others. At the beginning of each season a player must complete 10 placement matches to determine their SR, a full article was written about that here

At the end of each season, a player gains competitive points relative their peak tier in that season. These points can be used to purchase golden weapons. 

The SR system can seem confusing, but it is very simple once a player gets into it. Gaining SR in Overwatch and changing ranks can be tough, however through hard work and dedication, anyone can make it to Grandmaster if they work at it enough. Don't get discouraged due to a low placement. Each season is new and allows for another chance to get a career high. With Season 13 beginning soon, take the time and push a bit, try to get to that new career high.