Ranked (also known as Ranked Play) is the serious side of Play mode, with players able to earn special ranks to reflect their prowess in battle this season. Winning and losing matches can gain or lose players rank, with the player's rank determining matchmaking. There are two separate Ranked ladders, one for each game format: Ranked Standard and Ranked Wild.
Each player's rank is reflected in a special medal, visible during Ranked play and in the Quest Log. 50 numbered ranks exist, with the Legend rank above those. The Legend rank additionally shows the player's precise numerical ranking in their region. The player's current rank is also displayed on their friends list, using whichever is higher of their Standard or Wild ranks.
Ranked play occurs in seasons, each a month long. At the end of each season, rewards are handed out to all players who have won at least 5 games, and each player's rank is reset 4 ranks lower than the highest rank attained during the season. Rewards mostly come in the form of Standard format golden cards, arcane dust and card backs, and are determined by the player's highest rank that season.
- 1 Ranks
- 2 Season reset
- 3 Matchmaking
- 4 Rewards
- 5 Seasons
- 6 Ranking percentages
- 7 Notes
- 8 Commentary
- 9 History
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Gallery
- 12 Patch changes
- 13 References
Ranks[edit | edit source]
There are 25 new player ranks, 25 regular ranks, and an extra rank, 'Legend' above that. Each rank has its own medal and title, with ranks 2-25 named after minions from the game. Note that ranks are numbered in decreasing order: the smaller the number, the higher the rank.
Winning games will reward players with extra 'stars' above their medal. As of February 2019 the number of stars needed to reach the next rank is as follows:
|Ranks||Stars per Rank|
|50 to 16||3 Stars|
|15 to 11||4 Stars|
|10 to 1||5 Stars|
Once all star slots have been filled for the current rank, earning another star will grant the player the next rank with a single star. At rank 20 and above, losing games will also cause players to lose stars, and potentially ranks, with one exception: ranks 20, 15, 10, 5 and Legend are milestone ranks, and a player can never fall below a milestone rank within a season. As an example, if a player is at rank 15 with no star, and they lose a game, they will stay at rank 15 with no star. At the end of the season ranks are reset according to the usual rules, regardless of milestones.
There is a winning streak feature that grants players a bonus star if they also won the previous two ranked matches (below Rank 5).
- This means that winning three games, followed by losing three games, will result in a net gain of one star.
- Winning five games, followed by losing five games, will result in a net gain of three stars.
Note that games do not need to be played in the same session to qualify as a winning streak.
New Player Ranks[edit | edit source]
- See also: New player experience
Ranks 50 to 26 are exclusive to new players. New players start at rank 50 (Brave Rooster), and earn 3 Classic card packs upon reaching milestones at Rank 45, 40, 35, and 30. Upon reaching Rank 25, the player earns 2 Classic packs and 2 packs each for the most recent four Hearthstone expansions. Players cannot lose stars in these ranks.
A player can choose to skip over the "new player" ranks and start at Rank 25, but then they will not get the associated card packs.
These new player ranks were introduced in Patch 12.2 on October 2, 2018.
|50||Brave Rooster||37||Serious Seahorse|
|49||Awesome Blossom||36||Ravening Piranha|
|48||Dream Shroom||35||Card Shark|
|47||Giant Acorn||34||Playful Gryphon|
|46||Verdant Seedling||33||Swift Courser|
|45||Great Oak||32||Noble Highmane|
|44||Wriggling Grub||31||Patient Mammoth|
|43||Mysterious Cocoon||30||Baleful Kraken|
|42||Sociable Butterfly||29||Grinning Murloc|
|41||Hungry Mantis||28||Wise Tuskarr|
|40||Formidable Frog||27||Fearsome Ogre|
|39||Infamous Starfish||26||Jolly Patron|
Normal Ranks[edit | edit source]
The following table lists the normal ranks for a typical Hearthstone player, ranging from Rank 25 to the Legend rank.
At Legend rank, if the player is in the top 10,000 Legend players in their region, their precise ranking will be displayed as a yellow number on top of an orange gem. For example, if a player's gem displays the number 275, that player is ranked the 275th best Ranked player in their region. For a live leaderboard of Legend players, visit the official Legend player leaderboards for both Standard and Wild in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.
|25||Angry Chicken||12||Warsong Commander|
|24||Leper Gnome||11||Big Game Hunter|
|23||Argent Squire||10||Ogre Magi|
|22||Murloc Raider||9||Silver Hand Knight|
|21||Southsea Deckhand||8||Frostwolf Warlord|
|19||Novice Engineer||6||Ancient of War|
|18||Sorcerer's Apprentice||5||Sea Giant|
|17||Tauren Warrior||4||Mountain Giant|
|16||Questing Adventurer||3||Molten Giant|
|15||Silvermoon Guardian||2||The Black Knight|
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Each rank can be attained with no stars, some stars, or all stars collected. Once all stars for a rank have been collected, gaining another will take the player to the next rank, with a single star displayed. However, losing that star will not return the player to the previous rank, but will simply remove the star, leaving them on the new higher rank with no stars. Losing another star from this position will cause the player to drop a rank, but will leave them with a single star missing. Any given rank with full stars is therefore equal in value to the next rank up with no stars. The difference is that full stars in any rank can only be attained through winning the last match played, while no stars can only be attained through losing the previous match.
- Winning streak bonus stars stop being awarded at Rank 5 and higher. However, a bonus star earned at Rank 6 can carry the player one or two stars into Rank 5.
- The milestone ranks take pressure off players, preventing losing streaks from bringing them below a certain level. They also allow room for experimentation with new decks and deck modifications, or simply fun with less reliable decks; being unable to lose rank allows the player to then resume their laddering efforts from where they left off.
- Because stars cannot be lost below Rank 20, it can be considered possible for all players to reach Rank 20, given sufficient time. It can therefore be argued that the ranking system truly begins at Rank 20, with the lower ranks serving as a launch pad into the real competition.
Season reset[edit | edit source]
Each month of Ranked play is called a season. At the start of each Ranked play season ranks are reset, with each player's new rank determined by the highest rank attained in the previous season. This new rank is exactly 4 ranks below their highest standing including the number of stars in that rank earned. (For example, a player whose rank at the end of the season was Rank 1, 3 stars resets to Rank 5, 3 stars.) However, if the player has ever achieved Rank 15 or higher during their Hearthstone career, they will never drop below Rank 20.
The first time the player logs in, or enters a match, following the start of the new season, they will be shown a special announcement informing them of their rank at the end of that season, their best rank during that season (which is the one which matters for the rewards and next season's initial rank), their rewards for that season, and their rank at the start of the new season.
Note that if activated by the start of a match, the season reset window will appear during the mulligan phase, and will prevent the player from selecting cards or taking any other action until it has been removed, including waiting for its animations to complete. If playing during a season reset it is therefore recommended to log out in order to avoid disruption.
Earlier implementation[edit | edit source]
Until February 2018, season reset followed a different logic. All players would be reset to rank 25 with no star, and then would be granted a number of stars equal to the difference between rank 25 and the best rank they obtained in the previous season (regardless of how many stars they had there). As ranks 25 to 21 has only 2 stars back then, and ranks 20 to 16 had 3, Legend players would be reset to rank 16. Basically this approach was squashing the whole range of players from 26 ranks into just 10 ranks at the beginning of each season. This means that top players had a lot of work to do every season to get back to the top of the ladder.
At that time, the player would also be told of the ranking percentile they achieved during the last season of play, intended to reflect the position of the player's rank within the total pool of active players in that region. This feature was removed, although players generally appreciated it and would like to see it return.
Matchmaking[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Matchmaking
While the match is usually fairly close, sometimes players are matched against others of far lower or higher rank. This appears to depend on the pool of available players at the time, with the matchmaking system accepting looser matches if necessary in order to ensure players are not left queueing for too long. However, gains and losses from matches are fixed, and do not vary based on the player's relative ranks.
Players at Legend rank are matched according to a hidden Ranked matchmaking rating (MMR). MMR is in fact tracked during all Ranked Play activity, but only affects matchmaking involving at least one Legend rank player. MMR also determines the player's initial numbered seeding upon reaching Legend rank.
While the system aims to limit Legend/sub-Legend matchings as much as possible, Legend rank players are sometimes matched against sub-Legend players. When Legend and sub-Legend players are matched, matchmaking is determined by each player's MMR.A legend player proved (during an experiment he conducted), that he could actually be matched against a rank 25 player, after conceding 858 consecutive ranked matches and bringing his MMR to as low as possible. 
Rewards[edit | edit source]
Highest Rank Bonus chest[edit | edit source]
At the end of each season, players who have won 5 games or more in either game format (Standard or Wild) will be granted a Highest Rank Bonus chest (also known as a Ranked Chest) containing rewards based on their highest rank attained that season, using whichever is higher of their Standard or Wild ranks. After each ranked game prior to the 5th victory, players are reminded how many wins they still need to earn the chest. Progress can also be checked by visiting the Quest Log.
Rewards include the season's card back, golden cards of common, rare or epic rarity (not legendary) , and Arcane Dust (or Gold for ranks 21 and lower). As with Arena rewards, only cards available in Standard format card packs will be awarded. Card packs themselves do not feature as rewards. All card rewards are craftable, allowing them to be disenchanted if desired.
The Ranked Chest being based on the seasons's best rank is intended to encourage players who have achieved a high seasonal rank to enjoy Ranked play, without worrying about losing rank in subsequent matches.
Chest rewards[edit | edit source]
Rewards are handed out from the Highest Rank Bonus chest, corresponding to the player's highest rank, each with its own comical title, based on the matching rank. Precise legend numbering does not affect rewards.
A new chest is available every 5 ranks (Legend seemingly awards the same chest as ranks 5-1, but actually features different contents). For example, the Shieldbearer's Footlocker is awarded for ranks between 20 and 16, while the Ogre Magi's Stash is awarded for ranks between 10 and 6. The chest determines the number and rarity of rewards, although individual cards are still selected randomly, with a chance to be from any Standard format set. All chests except that awarded at Legend include Arcane Dust. The amount of arcane dust awarded is determined by how high the player's rank is within that chest's rank range, ranging from 5 to 25 in increments of 5.
Due to the substantial reward increase from rank 6 to rank 5 (280 Dust value), many experienced players will aim for at least rank 5 during a season even if they don't plan on pushing to Legend. Less experienced players will aim for rank 15 which also brings a nice increase (80 Dust value).
|Rank||Title||Rewards||Dust value ||Dust gain |
|Legend||season's card back, 3 golden commons, 1 golden epic||550||25|
|1||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 25 dust||525||5|
|2||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 20 dust||520||5|
|3||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 15 dust||515||5|
|4||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 10 dust||510||5|
|5||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden epic, 5 dust||505||280|
|6||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 25 dust||225||5|
|7||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 20 dust||220||5|
|8||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 15 dust||215||5|
|9||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 10 dust||210||5|
|10||season's card back, 2 golden commons, 1 golden rare, 5 dust||205||30|
|11||season's card back, 1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 25 dust||175||5|
|12||season's card back, 1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 20 dust||170||5|
|13||season's card back, 1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 15 dust||165||5|
|14||season's card back, 1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 10 dust||160||5|
|15||season's card back, 1 golden common, 1 golden rare, 5 dust||155||80|
|16||season's card back, 1 golden common, 25 dust||75||5|
|17||season's card back, 1 golden common, 20 dust||70||5|
|18||season's card back, 1 golden common, 15 dust||65||5|
|19||season's card back, 1 golden common, 10 dust||60||5|
|20||season's card back, 1 golden common, 5 dust||55||15-35|
|21-25||season's card back, 25-30 dust or gold or a common||25-40|
|26-50||season's card back, 25-30 dust or gold or a common||25-40|
Card backs[edit | edit source]
Each season brings with it a unique card back, which is included in all chests. These card backs are designed to be available to all players for participating in that season. Additionally, reaching Legend for the first time will award the Legend card back.
Golden heroes[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Golden heroes
Whenever a player completes 500 wins in Ranked play or Arena mode with a given hero, that hero will be permanently replaced with a golden version. These are similar to golden cards, with golden borders and special animations for the hero and their Hero Power, and will automatically be used instead of the regular version. Players can track their win progress to a golden hero on the Ranked deck selection interface.
With the newest Updates on October 8th, 2019, whenever a player complete 1000 wins in Ranked play or Arena mode, that hero will permanently replaced with another golden version, but with different portrait of the hero.
Seasons[edit | edit source]
Each month of Ranked play is known as a 'season'. At the start of each season all players' ranks are reset, depending on their previous rank. Each season offers its own reward for participation, in the shape of a special card back. Previously, this was rewarded to players reaching at least Rank 20. As of March 2018, this will be rewarded to players winning 5 ranked matches. The remaining duration of the current season is displayed for the player upon reaching 10, 5 and 3 days from the end of each season.
Dates for the North America region are given below; precise dates and times may vary by region. Currently, each season ends at 11:59 PM PST in the Americas region, and 11:59 PM UTC in the Europe region.
|Season||Month||Card back reward|
|Season 69||December 2019||Hellfire Peninsula|
|Season 68||November 2019||Cake of the Dead|
|Season 67||October 2019||Darkmoon Faire|
|Season 66||September 2019||Sea of Dunes|
|Season 65||August 2019||Year of the Raven|
|Season 64||July 2019||Shado-Pan|
|Season 63||June 2019||Suramar|
|Season 62||May 2019||Awesome Blossom|
|Season 61||April 2019||Card of Shadows|
|Season 60||March 2019||Kul Tiras|
|Season 59: Pizza Stone||February 2019||Pizza Stone|
|Season 58: Just Chillin'||January 2019||Chillin'|
|Season 57: Friend of the Frostwolf||December 2018||Frostwolf|
|Season 56: All's Well That Moonwell||November 2018||Moonwell|
|Season 55: Defias the Odds||October 2018||VanCardback|
|Season 54: On the Level||September 2018||Dr. Boom's Lab|
|Season 53: Refreshing Lemonade||August 2018||Lemonade|
|Season 52: Put Your Faith in the Lightforged||July 2018||Lightforged|
|Season 51: Back in Blue||June 2018||Back in Blue|
|Season 50: Garden Party||May 2018||Lunara's Garden|
|Season 49: Raise the Roof||April 2018||Raise the Roof|
|Season 48: Mammoth Memories||March 2018||Year of the Mammoth|
|Season 47: Savage Sparkles||February 2018||Sparkles|
|Season 46: Frostfire||January 2018||Frostfire|
|Season 45: Gear Up, Get Down!||December 2017||Catacomber|
|Season 44: Hooked on a Reelin'||November 2017||Gone Fishin'|
|Season 43: Unholy Horror Knights!||October 2017||Unholy Knight|
|Season 42: Furious Frost Knights!||September 2017||Frost Knight|
|Season 41: Blood Knight Bash!||August 2017||Blood Knight|
|Season 40: HearthS'mores||July 2017||HearthS'mores|
|Season 39: The Magic of Dalaran||June 2017||The Magic of Dalaran|
|Season 38: Sunwell Unleashed!||May 2017||Sunwell|
|Season 37: Un'Goro Bound!||April 2017||Un'Goro Mystery|
|Season 36: Let's Get Kraken!||March 2017||Year of the Kraken|
|Season 35: Come one, Kabal!||February 2017||Kabal|
|Season 34: Grimestreet's Back!||January 2017||Grimy Goons|
|Season 33: Paid in Jade||December 2016||Jade Lotus|
|Season 32: Over the Halfhill!||November 2016||Halfhill|
|Season 31: The Pie is Not a Lie!||October 2016||Pie|
|Season 30: The Burning Legion||September 2016||Legion|
|Season 29: An Intriguing Invitation||August 2016||Medivh’s Invitation|
|Season 28: Tanned Tinyfins||July 2016||Tinyfin Beach|
|Season 27: Back in Zul'drak||June 2016||Zul'Drak|
|Season 26: Shadowmoon Shenanigans||May 2016||Shadowmoon Valley|
|Season 25: Clutches of Evil!||April 2016||Clutch of Yogg-Saron|
|Season 24: Riverpaw Ruffian||March 2016||Hogger|
|Season 23: We're Not Bluffin'||February 2016||Tauren Thunderbluff|
|Season 22: You've Won My ♥-Stone||January 2016||Love Is in the Air|
|Season 21: The Slammin' Shaman||December 2015||Shaman Thrall|
|Season 20: The League of Explorers!||November 2015||Explorer's Map|
|Season 19: Highmaulin' and Brawlin'||October 2015||Highmaul|
|Season 18: Exodar’s Exodus||September 2015||Exodar|
|Season 17: The Grand Tournament!||August 2015||Tournament Grounds|
|Season 16: Darkspear Delight!||July 2015||Darkspear|
|Season 15: Nature Rises!||June 2015||Darnassus|
|Season 14: Go Ninja, Go!||May 2015||Ninja|
|Season 13: Sweet, Sweet Victory!||April 2015||Cupcake|
|Season 12: Raging Ragnaros!||March 2015||Ragnaros|
|Season 11: Luminous Lunar New Year!||February 2015||Lunar|
|Season 10: Marauding Maraad!||January 2015||Maraad|
|Season 9: Go Big or Go Gnome!||December 2014||Gnomes|
|Season 8: Lobbin' Goblins!||November 2014||Goblins|
|Season 7: Hallow’s End!||October 2014||Hallow’s End|
|Season 6: Plundering Pirates!||September 2014||Pirates!|
|Season 5: The Chill of Icecrown||August 2014||Icecrown|
|Season 4: The Dread Necropolis||July 2014||Naxxramas|
|Season 3: Colors of the Rainbow!||June 2014||Rainbow!|
|Season 2: Brave the Black Temple||May 2014||Black Temple|
|Season 1: Pandamonium||April 2014||Pandaria|
|Season||Start date||End date||Rewards|
|Test season 4||1 March 2014||31 March 2014||None|
|Test season 3||1 February 2014||28 February 2014||None|
|Test season 2||9 January 2014||31 January 2014||None|
|Test season 1||10 December 2013||9 January 2014||None|
Ranking percentages[edit | edit source]
November 2019[edit | edit source]
The infographic to the right displays the distribution of players for each rank in Ranked mode for the end of November 2019. The published data was posted by Dean Ayala on Twitter in January of 2020.
The data displays the highest rank achieved by all active players during the November season, in which all players in the study had to have played a game during the season for them to be counted in the study. Compared to the ranked distribution data posted in September 2014, Dean Ayala noted that the greater distribution of players at the higher ranks were probably due to the new rank floors, which were introduced in February 2017 in Patch 22.214.171.12420. However, it is worth noting that the number of Legend players had slightly decreased in percentage, from 0.5% in September 2014, to 0.3% in November 2019.
September 2014[edit | edit source]
NB: The following data documents Seasons 1-5. The Ranking system went through several major changes since the following numbers were published, and Blizzard had not published new numbers since then despite repeated requests from players. However, finally, a new infographic was posted in November 2019 by Dean Ayala on Twitter.
While the ranks provide a handy guide to your progression within the Ranked play system, they do not directly state your success in relation to other players. However, while ranks change rapidly over the course of each season, by the conclusion of any season a certain percentage of players will have attained each rank. With a knowledge of the percentage of players at each rank, it is therefore possible to state a player's overall ranking within their region's Ranked play competitors.
The following data, released by Blizzard in September 2014, shows the average percentage of active players at each rank at the end of any given season, based on combined data from Seasons 1-5. By comparing your own rank at the end of each season, this can be used to get a rough idea of your overall standing in Ranked play. (It should be noted that this data was gathered prior to the introduction of "milestone" ranks at 15, 10 and 5; as a result it may be out of date.)
- 75% of players are between ranks 25 and 15
- 17.5% of players are between ranks 15 and 10
- 5.5% of players are between ranks 10 and 5
- 2% of players are between ranks 5 and Legend
- 0.5% of players are at Legend
This data allows for further extrapolation of figures:
- Players at or above rank 15 are in at least the top 25% of players
- Players at or above rank 10 are in at least the top 8%
NB: The above figures appear to include rounding up, since the combined total equals 100.5% of players. However, it is assumed this does not majorly affect the overall proportions represented by the statistics.
- You're better than you think
One characteristic of this distribution is that players commonly underestimate their true ranking within their region, due to the disproportionately small number of players reaching the higher ranks, as referenced by Blizzard in the title of their report - "You're Better Than You Think!" A player exactly half way up through the ranking system (Rank 13, Legend excluded) may expect to be better than precisely 50% of other players, when they are in fact ranked above at least 80% of their peers.
When total stars are taken into account, 75% of players can be seen to inhabit roughly the bottom 20% of possible rankings, with the other 80% of rankings populated by the top 25% of players. The true "top half" of rankings is populated by roughly 5% of players, with the other 95% of players occupying the lower "half" of possible ranks.
One important factor to take into account is that these numbers include players of all levels of participation. Included are those who have played every single day and spent lots of money and/or gold on packs, as well as those who have barely played that season and who are mostly relying on basic cards.
At the least, these percentages should be considered a reflection of performance, not ability or true potential. Players who find less time to climb the ladder will inevitably end the season with lower ranks, and factors such as which cards are owned, and whether the deck is handmade or copied from an expertly-crafted decklist, will continue to affect the player's success.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- A greater variety of classes and deck types tend to be found at lower ranks.
- Ranked accounts for the majority of games played in Play mode, as of November 2016.
Commentary[edit | edit source]
The rank system has certain characteristics which affect the nature and overall pattern of matchmaking in Play mode. Firstly, player ranks are subject to a soft-reset at the start of each season, reducing players to a rank 4 levels below what they achieved in the previous season. This combined with the floors at 20, 15, 10, 5, and Legend means that players start out close to their 'true' rank even early in the season. This is far better than the pre-March 2018 system where players would start out the new season between Rank 25 and Rank 16. With patch 13.0 players who reach rank 15 can never go below rank 20.
One consequence of this is that matchmaking is between players of roughly equal skill rather than the situation seen with the pre March 2018 system where highly and less skilled players could face each other. The March 2018 change prevents the situation where a Rank 15 player could face a previous Legend rank player, who due to not having played since the season reset, was currently placed at Rank 16, thus providing a surprisingly stiff and rapidly overwhelming challenge from this apparently lower-ranked contender. Between the level floors and 4 ranks less next season mechanics this situation is now impossible.
Due to the overall shape of player distribution through the ranks, matchmaking also tends to be most precise at roughly Ranks 20-15 (although this will shift over the course of a season). Matchmaking at these ranks usually succeeds in finding a player of almost equal stars, presumably due to the large pool of players at these ranks. In contrast, at higher ranks it is common to see pairings between players with several ranks' difference, while Ranks 25-21 often feature pairings separated by 2 or more ranks. In both cases this is likely due to a far sparser selection of players from which to find suitable opponents.
Another feature of Ranked play is the win-streak feature. This allows players winning more than two games in a row to gain an extra star each time they win a game, below Rank 5. This is useful for higher-ranked players when they begin playing each season, accelerating their ascent to an appropriate rank, but also acts to drive all players toward higher ranks, in turn further causing the average player rank to improve over the course of a season. The lack of a complementary lose-streak feature also makes uneven play rewarding - win-streaks followed by lose-streaks offer more bonus stars than the overall win:loss ratio, and can cause players to gain in rank even when they lose more matches than they win.
In theory, the win-streak feature may mean that given enough time and the right matches, almost all players would reach Rank 5. Most players at higher ranks would therefore likely end up Legends. Consider that if two Rank 25 players were to face each other continuously in Ranked play, taking turns to win a streak of games before then losing an equal streak of games, each player would in fact slowly gain in rank due to the stars awarded from their win-streaks. Given enough time, these two players would eventually reach Rank 5, without requiring any progression in their decks or abilities. If this type of progression were to occur with a large enough group of players, one would only need to be moderately superior in ability to the worst of these players in order to reach Legend rank. If this model is indeed also applicable to the larger and more random pairings found in actual Ranked matchmaking, it can be considered that there is no 'correct' rank, only the rank which players are able to reach before the end of the season, with longer seasons offering proportionately greater ranking opportunities.
History[edit | edit source]
Like the current system, there were several available ranks, each of which could have 0-3 stars, and the player's current rank was displayed on the Play mode deck selection screen. However, winning or losing a match did not usually result in the player gaining or losing stars. Players would often have to achieve a reasonable win-streak to earn an additional star, and could stand to lose several games without losing stars. Matchmaking was also less transparent, as player rank was not displayed during battles, and some posters on the official forums contended that the matchmaking pool for both Ranked and Unranked play (the original name for 'Casual' play) was in fact the same.
Rank was reset at the end of each week, which raised some complaint from less active players. Once the ranks reset, upon logging in each player would be awarded a medal equal to their previous rank. The intention was to have players collect these medals, either for vanity or for some other more useful purpose. However, this was never implemented before the system was changed.
Unlike the 26 detailed and iconic named ranks of the current system, the original 9 ranks were named more traditionally: Novice, Journeyman, Copper, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Grand Master. The term "Three-Star Master" was commonly used to refer to the highest level below Grand Master, and was often used as a standard for high-level play. These medals are still used for Arena keys, although some of them have been given different names, or adapted slightly.
Ranked mode was originally known as "Weekly Tournament".
- Better expressing the ranking percentiles
- Improving the "last-minute jostling for high Legend ranks" at the end of a season
- Countering the feeling of the ladder "grind"
- Adding win-streaks for the top 5 ranks
- Reanalysing and possibly changing the number of stars awarded for each rank at the end of a season
- Developing simulation tools to explore various possible changes: "With better simulation tools, we are planning on trying a lot of crazy things."
On January 25th, 2018, Ben Brode announced the changes for Ranked, which were implemented at the beginning of the March season. These included limiting the number of ranks dropped by 4 after each season, and setting the number of stars per rank to 5 for all players. This was done in order to better balance matchmaking at the start of a season, as well as give the same sense of progression to each player while playing on the ladder.
Patch 126.96.36.19917[edit | edit source]
With Patch 188.8.131.5217, the system was overhauled, replacing the previous rank system with 26 brand new ranks and rebranding Unranked as 'Casual' play. The new ranks featured icons and names derived from minion cards, and the number of stars for the higher ranks was expanded to 4 or 5. The new system was far more transparent than the previous design; player rank was displayed during battle for each player. While the match was not always precise, it allowed players to understand the occasionally notable disparity between opponents, and helped to make the matchmaking process more transparent. Separate MMRs for Ranked and Casual were confirmed.
In comparison to the hidden and lethargic rank-changes of the previous system, the new system simply granted one star for each win, and removed one for each loss. A specific win-streak feature was also added, awarding bonus stars upon winning more than 2 games in a row - until Rank 5, at least. Finally, the weekly reset was changed to take place at the end of each new 'season' of play, allowing players more time to climb the ladder, and fitting plans for future rewards.
Patch 184.108.40.20644[edit | edit source]
Immediately preceding the release of Hearthstone, Patch 220.127.116.1144 saw further adjustments to Ranked Play mode. Most significant was the change of the season reset from a complete reset to a soft reset, with each player's rank increased by one star for each rank they previously held. Prior to this, at the start of each season all players would be reset to Rank 25: Angry Chicken, throwing the previous season's Legend rank players in with the newest and least experienced. One result of this was an extremely unpredictable and often challenging experience at the start of each season, with newer players often unable to gain any stars due to repeatedly being matched against high-level players, and Legend rank players sometimes battling each other simply in order to rise above Rank 25. The new system allowed higher-rank players to start each season at a higher rank, preventing the mayhem of Legend rank Angry Chickens, and allowing lower ranked players to pick up roughly where they left off at the end of the last season, without a protracted period of lose-streaks.
With the end of the beta test seasons, this patch also finally saw the implementation of the planned rewards for Ranked play, in the form of golden heroes and the introduction of card backs. The new seasons began to take shape as strictly monthly terms determined by the calendar, complete with names and unique rewards, with the remaining duration of the current season displayed to players in-game.
Patch 18.104.22.16886[edit | edit source]
The next change to the system would not come until Patch 22.214.171.12486, with the addition of the Highest Rank Bonus Chest. For the first time, this added tangible rewards for improving your rank, aside from the seasonal card back at Rank 20 and the Legend card back at Legend rank.
Patch 126.96.36.19974[edit | edit source]
In April 2016, Patch 188.8.131.5274 brought about the advent of game formats: Standard and Wild. This brought substantial changes throughout Hearthstone, but perhaps most significantly in its effects on Ranked play. This marked the first time previously released cards had been barred from use in any game mode (aside from the odd Tavern Brawl), and the arrival of Standard format provoked a strong reaction among many players, for the first time facing losing the option to play with a sizable portion of their hard-won cards, though players still can play with their old cards in the then-new Wild format.
Where previously there had only been a single Ranked ladder, there were now two separate ladders for Ranked Standard and Ranked Wild, with players able to choose between two different paths for pursuing their laddering ambitions. Player ranks were initially set based on the player's existing rank at the point in time when the two brand new game formats were added to the game.
Patch 184.108.40.20620[edit | edit source]
"We’re continuously looking for ways to refine the Ranked Play experience. One thing we can do immediately to help the Ranked Play experience is to make the overall climb from rank to rank feel like more an accomplishment once you hit a certain milestone. In order to promote deck experimentation and reduce some of the feelings of ladder anxiety some players may face, we’re introducing additional Ranked Play floors.
Once a player hits Rank 15, 10, or 5, they will no longer be able to de-rank past that rank once it is achieved within a season, similar to the existing floors at Rank 20 and Legend. For example, when a player achieves Rank 15, regardless of how many losses a player accumulates within the season, that player will not de-rank back to 16. We hope this promotes additional deck experimentation between ranks, and that any losses that may occur feel less punishing."
Patch 220.127.116.11996[edit | edit source]
In October 2018 with Patch 12.2, 25 new special player ranks were introduced into the Ranked system to allow new players to better ease into the game, allowing them to find matchups in Ranked play more suited for new players. Introductory ranks such as Brave Rooster and Jolly Patron were implemented, and the ranks are exclusively available only to new players.
New players can earn a total of 22 free packs by ranking up in New Player Ranks:
- 3 Classic card packs by reaching milestones at Rank 45, 40, 35, and 30.
- Upon reaching Rank 25, 2 Classic card packs and 2 packs each of the most recent four Hearthstone expansions.
Patch 18.104.22.168556[edit | edit source]
In February 2019 with Patch 22.214.171.124556, the number of Stars required to advance in lower-level ranks was reduced. This was to make the climb faster in the lower levels of Ranked Play, while preserving a higher number of Stars for the more competitive ranks.
|New Rank Advancement System|
|Rank 50 to Rank 16||3 Stars per Rank|
|Rank 15 to Rank 11||4 Stars per Rank|
|Rank 10 to Rank 1||5 Stars per Rank|
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The system of minion cards used to represent the ranks does not strictly adhere to any single rule. The main pattern is an increase in mana cost at higher ranks, although this is not entirely consistent; Silvermoon Guardian, Dread Corsair, Big Game Hunter, and The Black Knight break the order, the latter quite notably. There is also an increase in rarity at the higher ranks, with Ranks 6, 5, 4 and 3 being epic, and Rank 2 being legendary (Rank 1's Innkeeper presumably trumping even legendary status), but below this the rarity is fairly random, with even Rank 25 being rare, while Rank 8 is a common Basic card. In addition, there is clearly an intention to have less valuable or effective minions at the lower ranks, with the quality, value and power of the minions growing as the rank increases. This fits quite well with the increase in rarity, and is best depicted by Angry Chicken at Rank 25, as well as the innkeeper himself at Rank 1.
- From January 2015 to August 2015, players who were in the top 100 Legendary players at the end of the season received qualifying points for the 2015 Hearthstone World Championship. See that page for details.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- End of season rewards (in or before February 2018)
- Ranked Chest
Patch changes[edit | edit source]
- Patch 126.96.36.19920 (2017-02-28):
- Upon achieving certain milestones in Ranked Play, it will no longer be possible to lose ranks beyond those milestones for that season. The milestones are Rank 20, 15, 10, 5, and Legend.
- Patch 188.8.131.5274 (2016-04-24):
- With the arrival of game formats, Ranked has been split into Ranked Standard and Ranked Wild. Rewards are now based on whichever rank is highest.
- Patch 184.108.40.20686 (2015-08-18):
- A bonus chest will be granted at the end of each season based on the highest rank reached in Ranked Play mode.
- The gaining rank animation has been updated and lengthened.
- Patch 220.127.116.1111 (2015-03-31): The end of season rank announcement now includes a percentile for the player's success on that month's Ranked play ladder: "That puts you in the top _% of our ranked play players!"
- March 21st 2014: The remaining duration of the current Ranked season is now displayed upon logging into the game, or entering Play mode. This system was added with Patch 18.104.22.16844, but not activated until March 21st.
- Patch 22.214.171.12444 (2014-03-11):
- During each Ranked Season change, players may now start the new season at a rank higher than the default Angry Chicken rank, depending on the rank that was obtained at the end of the previous season. You’ll receive one bonus star for every rank you achieved in the previous season.
- The Angry Chicken rank now starts with 0 stars, instead of 1. Bawk!?
- Rewards for ranked play have been implemented.
- A special card back will be available each season, gained by reaching Rank 20
- Golden heroes are now available, gained by achieving 500 wins on that hero in Ranked play
- Unknown patch: Sound effects have been added when gaining or losing stars
- Patch 126.96.36.19917 (2013-12-10):
- The Ranked play system has been completely redone
- There are now month long seasons that reset at the end of each month
- There are new ranks and minion portraits for all levels of play
- You earn a star for each win and lose one for each loss and your stars determine your rank
- Players who get to top rank of legend and are in the top 10,000 players have their exact region-wide ranking displayed
- There will be rewards for playing ranked mode in the future, but they were not implemented with this patch, and will be added at a future date
- Unranked is now known as Casual
- User interface:
- The toggle between Casual and Ranked Play modes is now more explicit.
- Your player rank (icon and number) is now visible in the friends list, the versus screen and your BattleTag in-game.
- The Ranked play system has been completely redone
References[edit | edit source]
- Blizzard Entertainment (November 29, 2018). Hearthstone Update – November 29 – Rastakhan’s Rumble!. Retrieved on 2018-11-30.
- Hearthstone: How Bonus Stars are Awarded.
- Hearthstone Season 21 (December 2015) Ranked Season Rewards (Legend Rank).
- Upcoming Ranked Play Update
- Recent, detailed ranking percentages?.
- Hearthhead - Breaking Down Hearthstone's Competitive Matchmaking Process. (2017-01-23).
- Patch 188.8.131.5217 - In Ranked Play, you’ll be pitted against opponents equal to or as close to your rank as possible.
- Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-01-11).
- Beta Forums: Ranks reset, ELO/MMR stays the same - is this working?
- Casual mode is brutal. (2015-01-30).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2015-03-27).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2015-03-27).
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-19).
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-05).
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-05).
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-05).
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-05).
- The Grand Tournament at gamescom. (2015-08-05).
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-08-05).
- Dust value indicates the amount of Arcane Dust earned by disenchanting the reward cards plus any additional rewarded dust. This shows how much each rank is "worth", which may help with setting ranking goals.
- Dust gain indicates the change in dust value from the previous rank.
- Official Forums: Hearthstone Test Season 4 End Reminder (2014-03-24)
- Yong Woo on Twitter. (2015-08-31).
- Hearthstone® January 2016 Ranked Play Season – You've Won My ♥-Stone
- Dean Ayala on Twitter. (2020-01-03).
- Hearthside Chat - You're Better Than You Think!. (2014-09-18).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-09-18).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-09-18).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-12).
- Hearthpwn.com - Dean Ayala (IksarHS) Discusses Arena and Rogues. (2016-11-25).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-06-08).
- Ben Brode. (2016-10-20).
- Ben Brode on reddit. (2016-10-20).
- Ben Brode. (2018-01-25).
- A New Way to Play. (2016-02-02).