Halo 5 Ranked Skill Tiers & Matchmaking Breakdown

By Joseph C, 2 years ago
We recently brought you the coveted achievement list, and for those of you eagerly awaiting news about how Halo 5: Guardians's ranking system will work for Arena competitive gameplay, that wait is over. Yesterday on Waypoint, 343i released detailed information about how ranks will work in Arena, and what they mean for players.

First up, we have seven tiers to the ranks in Arena: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Onyx, and Champion. These tiers will be unique to each playlist, so those that are Gold in Team Slayer, for instance, will not be Gold when they step foot into a different playlist. Similar to Killer Instinct's seasons system in ranked play, players will play ten ‘qualifying’ matches whenever they first step foot into a particular playlist. Their performance in these ten matches will determine their starting tier within the 7-tier system.

From Bronze through Diamond, once you’re placed in a tier, the only way to rank up is to win matches. So if you plan on going into an objective game and around on a flag parade kill-grinding to rank up, think again. No matter how many kills you get in a match, your rank only goes up or down based on a win or a loss. Speaking of going up or down, there is no deranking. If you spend weeks upping your game and manage to graduate from Silver to Gold, for instance, Gold is where you will stay. You can lose rank within a tier – note the six emblems within each tier up through diamond – but you cannot fall back to the previous tier due to a string of bad games.


Things work a little differently once you reach Onyx. Onyx only has one emblem, and thus one position. If you reach Onyx, you will then be able to see your exact CSR (Competitive Skill Rating) score. Winning at this level doesn’t increase your tier any longer, but instead increases your CSR score.  Only the top 200 players in each playlist, based on their CSR score, will attain the highest rank, that being Champion.


Once Seasons begin in December, certain playlists will be seasonal playlists, and thus your CSR in those playlists will be reset and you will play your ten qualifying matches in that playlist again. Seasons last one month, and players that participate in seasonal ranked play will earn cosmetic items, such as banners for their Spartan ID, as a badge of honor for that season.


As for what this entails for matchmaking, well 343i has stated that although the ranked tiers are important for matching opponents of equal skill level, match quality is still paramount. The matchmaking search engine will first prioritize match quality, looking for other opponents at your skill level with low ping. If enough time elapses without an appropriately skilled and high-quality match being found, the parameters will slowly open up to include a wider range of opponents’ skill.

Additionally, Arena matches will not be join-in-progress. An aggressive banhammer is being implemented to punish unsporting players. Offenses include, but are not limited to, quitters, excessive disconnects, team-killers, AFK players, and intentional suiciders. Commit these offenses enough and you will receive bans of progressive severity. Therefore, when you search for a match in Arena, you can be sure that you won’t get thrown in on the losing side with two minutes left in the match. Join in progress will still be in place for Warzone, however.


Halo 5: Guardians is certainly aiming to retake the e-sports shooter crown on consoles. Get ready, because the Arena will be open for business when the game launches on October 27th.
Joseph C
Written by Joseph C
36-year old married gamer, father to a fierce Boston Terrier but no humanoid children. I've been gaming practically my whole life, starting around when I was 5 or 6 years old with an Atari 2600 and progressing through nearly every console ever released apart from the Wii U. I'm a completionist by nature, but am trying to move away from chasing every-higher gamerscore and just focusing on enjoying the great games that are all around me. We'll see how successful I am. I've been on TA since 2009 but have become much more active on the site in the past couple of years, and look forward to seeing it grow now that the XB1 app is getting it some much-deserved exposure!