shroud MMO

shroud’s shocking low rank shows CSGO matchmaking is broken

By Steven Rondina


Apr 26, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s ranked matchmaking system is broken, and former pro player Michael “shroud” Grzesiek can prove it.

shroud is a popular streamer today, but he began his gaming career as a star CSGO pro. His ability to land dazzling headshots made him one of the most popular players on one of the most popular teams in all of esports when he played for Cloud9.

He’s appeared on many of the grandest stages in competitive CSGO. His resume includes the ESL Pro League Season 4 title and an appearance in the finals of ESL One Cologne 2017. Put those accomplishments together and you have a highly successful CSGO professional.

Despite all of that, shroud is now ranked Gold Nova 4 in CSGO.

After an extended layoff from the game, shroud returned to CSGO with his Steam handle being “apple.” He’s evidently played enough ranked games to have his rank recalibrated and he was shockingly ranked at Gold Nova 4. 

He wasn’t alone in this regard, as his teammates were also credentialed FPS veterans. They included two top Apex Legends players, former pro Christian “Nokokopuffs” Feliciano and Tsoonami, who previously topped the North American leaderboard. Tsoonami was the highest-ranked player in the party at Master Guardian 1.

The low ranking of shroud and his crew of skilled players for his return to CSGO demonstrates the deep problems with the game’s ranked matchmaking system.

Why is shroud ranked so low in CSGO?

shroud’s low ranking stems from CSGO’s broken ranking system in the North American region.

Something is deeply wrong with CSGO’s ranked matchmaking in some regions, including North America. Various sites including Leetify have crunched numbers to find out the ranking distribution of different CSGO regions. A properly functioning ranking system should essentially be shaped like a bell curve, which is the case in CSGO for South America, Europe, and Asia:

That isn’t the case in North America and Oceania, however. These regions see a majority of players crammed into silver ranks. This results in skilled players being placed into matches alongside people who are brand new.

There’s no better demonstration of this than a squad of professional-caliber players being ranked as what should be barely average. This problem has been lingering for years now, and Valve doesn’t seem particularly bothered by it at this point. It’s unknown how this could ever be resolved without Valve’s direct intervention.