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Hearthstone’s new Ranked system - How does it work?

How to rank up in Hearthstone.

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The Hearthstone dev team have been working hard on their new system for ranked play. Here’s our guide on how it all works.

Hearthstone has had pretty much the same ranked system for years. You start at rank 25, and gain stars with each win until you get to rank 1, and the best among us hit Legend above that.

However, the devs felt this isn’t the best way to explain the way the game works, and the arbitrary numbers don’t make things particularly easy to grasp. We’ve put together an explainer on how Hearthstone’s ranked mode will be structured from now on.

Hearthstone Ranked - How does it work?

Every player will start at the lowest rank - Bronze. Each rank has 10 tiers, with 3 stars in each tier. At its most basic level, you’ll earn a star per win, and have to work your way up the ranks - Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Legend.

According to Hearthstone designer Alec Dawson, this new system will make it easier for players to talk about their rankings. For example, it’s more illustrative of a skill level to say, ‘my rank is Gold 7’ than ‘Rank 12’. Out of context, it’s slightly easier to understand with the broader category and the number within that category.

There are rank floors too - every 5 ranks you can no longer be demoted that season, just like the case now.

Matchmaking by MMR

Matches will be decided by MMR, rather than by simple ranking. This means you're more likely to come up against someone of your skill level, rather than forcing lower-level players to face decks from the very top of our Deck Tier List.

Hopefully, new players won't get stomped quite so easily and they'll be able to get into Hearthstone without being turned off by high level decks.

More great Ashes of Outland guides:

How do you get a star bonus in Hearthstone Ranked?

Star Bonuses come into effect to help more experienced players rise through the ranks more quickly.

At the start of each season, you'll get a star bonus based on your MMR. This is because every season, everyone gets reset down to Bronze 10. Don't worry though, your star bonus will get you out of these lower ranks far more quickly, and the better you do each season, the higher your bonus will be.

The best players will get a x11 star bonus, which means all wins at this rank give them 11 stars, boosting them right up the lower ranks with only a few wins. Losses still only count for 1 star, so you can boost your ranking with a 50/50 win rate.

Win streaks still apply as well, doubling your star haul. A win streak on a x11 star bonus will give you a whopping 22 stars for the game.

As you rise up through the ranks, your star rating will go down until you're in the right spot for your skill level.

End of season rewards - new stuff

Previously, you’d have to wait around for your end-of-season rewards. This time, you’ll be able to earn your season card back immediately after your first five wins in ranked, and there’ll be bonus rewards for the first time you reach a rank threshold. For example, the first time you reach Legend, you'll get a free Legendary card.

End of season rewards are now focused on packs and rare or better cards, rather than dust and golden common cards. The packs will hopefully be more enticing thanks to the new duplicate protection for all rarities, meaning you'll be able to unlock all cards in a set much more quickly.

When does the new Ranked system take effect?

Keep an eye out for an update on April 1st. That's when the new system kicks off, and there's more info on Hearthstone's blog.

That's all for our Ranked mode breakdown, but be sure to check out more Ashes of Outland coverage from us. We've got the lowdown on the brand new Demon Hunter class, as well as why on earth Leeroy Jenkins was dumped into the Hall of Fame.

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  • cholis-ketteridge #1 A year ago
    Honestly not a big fan of the tiered ordinal ranking systems in games. I have 300~ hours in Rocket League and I still don't know whether 'platinum' is higher than 'diamond'. At least in RL there is some semblance of order by using the classic Bronze < Silver < Gold. Dota abandoned its MMR system for the nonsense of 'herald' < 'guardian' < 'crusader' < etc around the same time I stopped playing.

    Chess has survived with Elo's rating system for 50+ years. I can't help but feel like the named ranks serve to enhance the 'operant conditioning chamber' model of F2P games by offering players shiny new badges as they grind and get better.