UPDATE - 10:34AM 26/1/2018
Game director Ben Brode has confirmed on Twitter that the win-streak system will not be changed when the new ladder goes live.
Winstreaks are unchangedBen Brode (@bdbrode) 25 January 2018
Elsewhere on Reddit, Brode confirmed that the rank "floor" system will remain in place as well, but you will be placed four ranks lower than wherever you finished on the previous month.
Hearthstone's ranked ladder system is to be overhauled, starting with the March season. The details were outlined in a Developer Update video published on the game's official YouTube channel yesterday evening.
There are a handful of changes coming. First up, all ranks will now have five stars of progression. This is different from the current system, where in the early stages of the ladder you only have to win a handful of matches to reach a new rank.
Most significantly, however, is the news that end-of-month resets will now be much more forgiving of the rank you achieved in the previous month. You will now be dropped four ranks at the start of every season, wherever you happened to finish up on the ladder. If you finish at Rank 15 in February, for example, you'll start March at 19. If you're Legend, you'll move down to Rank 4.
What this means is that if you can climb more than four ranks in any given season, then you'll be making positive progress through the system overall. As for the changes to the inter-rank star system, game director Ben Brode is confident this will lead to better matchmaking, as there are more levels to gauge player skill level with.
As for card backs, going forwards you'll need to win five games in any given month - rather than hit Rank 20 - to get your reward. This is to prevent new players having to grind through 25 stars to reach Rank 20 and claim the cosmetic.
There are two big unknowns right now, however. We don't yet know whether or not the win-streak system is being changed to reflect the larger gap between levels at the lower end of the ladder. The system may be made more generous, or simply removed altogether given the greater sense of progression across the long-term.
In the last ladder update, certain hard “floors” were placed in the system as well, so that once you'd reached Rank 15, for example, it was impossible to fall below that rank in the month in question. We're intrigued to know whether this system remains in place as seasons roll over, to discourage players from deliberately sabotaging their own rank to face easier opponents.
We've contacted Blizzard this morning to get clarification on both of these topics, and will update this article with any extra detail we receive.