CS2 Premier vs Competitive: Which is Better?

CS2 Premier vs Competitive: Which is Better?

Well over a decade ago, the Counter-Strike community was split between two CS games: Source and 1.6. However, in the 12+ years since this split was healed by the introduction of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, recently replaced by CS2, another split has arisen. But rather than between games, the split is between game modes.

Premier and Competitive are Counter-Strike 2's main ranked game modes. While there are a few other options like Casual, Wingman, Arms Race, and Deathmatch, Premier and Competitive occupy the majority of the average CS2 player's playtime. However, there seems to be a split between people who play almost only Premier and people who stay away from it and stick to Competitive.

In this article, we will dive into both the merits and shortcomings of each game mode and help you determine which is better in CS2: Competitive or Premier.


In Premier, players can't select which map they play before queueing a game; they must go through a pick/ban system that is practically identical to the system used in competitive play. Players have to work with teammates to veto the maps they don't want to play until one map is left, then the team who didn't get the final veto gets to pick whether they will start on the Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist side.

Premier in CS2 is quite different from CS:GO's premier game mode, which was seldom played. The largest difference between the two games is the ranking system. In CS:GO, your overall rank was based on the system used in Competitive and Wingman(Silver 1 -> The Global Elite), but in CS2's premier, the rank is based on an ELO system called CS Rating. For more on the topic of CS rating, read this excerpt from our article: CS2 Ranks Explained-What is Premier Mode?

CS2 ranks explained - What is Premier mode?
One of the largest shifts between CS:GO and CS2 was the transition to an alternate approach to the matchmaking rank system. CS2 has implemented drastic changes to the ranking system, and in this article, we will cover everything you need to know about CS2 ranks. Premier Mode Unlike in
After every game, you either earn or lose Counter-Strike rating points(essential ELO), which is dependent on the outcome of the game as well as your performance as an individual. This ELO system feeds into a leaderboard, where you can see where you place among your friends, your region, and the rest of the world. To earn a rank, you must win 10 games of premier mode, and you will be given a Counter-Strike rating. The ratings are color-coded into separate groups as follows:
1000-4999 Points: Grey
5000-9999 Points: Light Blue
10000-14999 Points: Blue
15000-19999 Points: Purple
20000-24999 Points: Magenta
25000-29999 Points: Red
30000-35000 Points: Yellow
The lowest possible rating you can achieve is 1000, and the highest is 34999.

The ELO system is probably the biggest merit of Premier mode. This way, you know exactly what is at stake in every match; and how much rating you will earn or lose depending on the outcome of the game. Along with this, the ELO system allows players to set milestones for themselves to create a more logical skill progression as they improve at CS2.

Premier's map vote system is both a pro and a con of the game mode. While it can be beneficial to play on maps that you aren't used to playing, it can also make the game difficult for players who mostly play the same two or three maps. To play premier, you need a good idea of how every map is played, otherwise, you may be losing some ELO.


Unlike Premier, Competitive CS2 allows you to select which maps you want to play, and it also allows you to play maps that aren't part of the main competitive map pool. Simply select which maps you want to play and unselect the rest, then press GO and wait to find a match. Plus, you can see the wait times on each map to see which maps are most popular and which you are most likely to play.

Competitive ranks depend on individual maps and there is no overall rank. While some may dislike this, we view it as a positive aspect of the game for the most part. This way, you can see which maps you are best at and which you need the most improvement on, and it allows you to conform your map selection to the maps you are more comfortable playing or the maps you need to practice the most. Plus, a few bad performances across multiple maps will likely result in no loss in rank, rather it takes multiple individual map losses in a row to lose a rank in that respective map.

The downside to Competitive is that CS2's ranking progression and matchmaking system is far from ideal. Sometimes, you may find yourself a Silver 3 in the midst of 4 Gold Nova 3 teammates and 5 Master Guardian enemies. Along with this, the rank progression is not always logical. If you win 3 games in a row, you likely won't rank up at all, but you can rank down by 3 ranks from three losses; the system isn't very well balanced.

Should I Play Premier or Competitive CS2?

At the end of the day, a question like this is completely up to personal choice. If you prefer a high-risk/high-reward environment where you can rely on consistent matchmaking and ranking progression, then Premier is ideal for you. If you want to hone your skills on individual maps and not risk guaranteed loss of rank, then we suggest playing Competitive.

Then again, with the amount of cheaters running rampant in CS2's Premier and Competitive games, you might be better off just playing Faceit or Casual...