CS2 introduced two specific 5v5 game modes: Premier and Competitive. Most discussion online revolves around Premier, but we've found a surprising level of activity in Competitive.

This dataset covers every CS2 Competitive and Premier match that Leetify has seen from 2023-12-15 to 2024-01-04.

Only players who have played 20+ matches are included in the playerbase dataset.

What are we seeing?

  1. 20% of the playerbase prefer Competitive over Premier, even though Premier is widely considered the main 5v5 game mode.
  2. 30% of all 5v5 game mode matches come from Competitive (~1:2 ratio Comp. to Premier), despite stronger incentives to grind Premier

Why are people playing the Competitive game mode?

Competitive features individual ranks for each map (photo credit: Valve)

Competitive facilitates a casual low-stakes environment

Ranks are kept hidden throughout the entire match, even after it ends. Your rank is only known to yourself. This removes a lot of pressure that typically comes with having visible ranks.

Ranks are shown to everyone in Premier but kept hidden in Competitive

Players can choose which maps they want to play

Being able to choose maps lets players learn unfamiliar ones or play their favorite ones. Competitive acts as a space for players to learn newer maps without risking their rating in Premier.

You can choose exactly which maps you want to play (photo credit: WarOwl)

Certain maps are available that aren't in Premier

Dust2 and Office can't be played in Premier, but they can in Competitive. Dust2 in particular has been a staple of Counter-Strike for decades, but the only way to play it in a 5v5 setting is through the Competitive game mode.

Dust2 leads the way when we look at Competitive's map distribution. Office also sees a decent amount of play, surpassing Overpass, Anubis, and Ancient.

Premier is still out of reach (for new players)

For new or casual players, the barrier to play Premier could be too high. Playing Premier requires buying Prime status (a one-time cost of $14.99) and a level 10 profile rank (requires playing lots of games). These are not requirements to play Competitive.

Other considerations

  • Players that prefer Competitive - We didn't examine what kind of players these are. Newer players may make up a large portion of this playerbase.
  • Cheaters - Premier's visible rankings & leaderboards may attract more cheaters, making Competitive the better option for a clean game.
  • Non-Premier Maps - We didn't look into what portion of the playerbase are only playing because of Dust2 & Office. If these maps were removed, we may see a decrease in playerbase.

Are you someone who plays Competitive but not Premier? Let us know why on Twitter (X).