Upcoming Ranked Play Update

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Ben Brode is here with a new developer update video, announcing improvements to the rank ladder.

Starting with the March 2018 Ranked Play season, three important changes are going to take place. First, you will no longer have to reach Rank 20 to earn the monthly card back. Instead, you will only have to win 5 Ranked games to earn it.

Second and more important, everyone will lose exactly 4 ranks during the monthly rank reset, depending on their highest achieved rank standing at that month. This will make the grind to higher ranks less steep. Last but not least, all ranks will now have 5 stars. According to Ben Brode, this will improve the matchmaking experience in lower ranks, since players will be more spread in each rank.

The 5 ranked floors will remain as they are. These changes will be added to the game with the February update, which will contain new events and perhaps balance tweaks, but they will take effect with the March 2018 season.

Blizzard LogoDaxxarri

Beginning with the start of the March 2018 Ranked Play season, we’re making improvements to Hearthstone’s Ranked Play ladder experience.

Join Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode as he explains what to expect, as well as the philosophy and intentions behind the update:

Here are the upcoming changes you can look forward to:

  • You’ll earn card backs by winning five Ranked games during the season, regardless of what rank you achieve. It will no longer be necessary to reach Rank 20 to earn these card backs.
    • After each game, the UI will let you know how many wins you still need to earn the Ranked season card back. You can check your progress between games by visiting the Quest Log.


  • All Ranks will now have 5 stars.
  • Player ranks will reset to exactly 4 ranks below your current standing, including the number of stars in that rank you earned. Here are some examples:
    • Rank 14, 2 stars resets to Rank 18, 2 stars
    • Rank 1, 3 stars resets to Rank 5, 3 stars
    • Rank 10, 0 stars resets to Rank 14, 0 stars
    • Players at Legend reset to Rank 4, 0 stars


Moving to the New System

Some elements of the old and new systems will exist simultaneously when we first make the transition:

  • During the February Ranked Play Season, you’ll still need to reach Rank 20 to receive your Ranked season card back. At the season’s end, your rank will reset to four ranks below your current standing.
  • Starting with the March Ranked Play Season, you’ll only be required to win 5 games to receive your seasonal card back. At the season’s end, your rank will reset to four ranks your current standing.

The update should allow players at the top of the ladder to jump into the action immediately by matching them against similarly-ranked opponents, providing more engaging matches while reducing the time it will take for them to climb to a rank appropriate for their skill-level each season. This in turn should improve matchmaking for everyone who plays Hearthstone, including those climbing the ladder for the first time. Since players will be more evenly matched at the start of each season, they can make immediately meaningful progress toward their ladder ranking against players of similar caliber. We want the experience of climbing the Hearthstone Ranked Play ladder to be fun, challenging, and satisfying for everyone.

We hope you enjoy the updates to Ranked Play, and we’re looking forward to your feedback. See you on the ladder! (source)

De-ranking only 4 ranks during the monthly reset is amazing, especially for players in the higher spectrum of the ladder. It makes the game feel less grindy and it also frees up space in lower ranks. Lately, progressing past ranks 20 to 15 in the beginning of the month could be hectic even for skilled players, because of all the players cramped into these ranks.

I am a bit sceptic about each rank having 5 stars. It could be good for matchmaking indeed, but it can be unfriendly for players around rank 15 who decide that they want to hit Legend in a particular month. Even though losing only 4 ranks can help with that, having to earn 5 stars to gain a rank can slow down player progression, since one would have to resign to the fact that he or she might have to ultimately reach Legend in a longer period than that of a single month.

Lastly, even though these changes are quite significant and will definitely improve the Ranked Ladder experience for now, we'd expect that the team would bring more changes, since they've been discussing this issue for almost a year now. There's still a lot of work to be done when it comes to the new player experience, meta decks in lower ranks, progression from rank 5 to Legend and ways to show the difference of exceptional players and just good ones within the same rank. Thankfully, the team is going to pay attention on how these upcoming changes will be received by the playerbase and they will make further iterations to them accordingly.

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So that's the big changes that they've been working on for months now ?

Heeeeh, I don't know. I guess it's more of a bigger initial grind now.

I expected something a bit more amazing than that, but well, it's something, I guess.

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Every single one of the top 16 brought a priest, but only 1 brought a hunter, and they're wasting their time on these updates??? At least pretend to care about balance.

Edited by SMOrcMan
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Getting to rank 5 or legend seems so much better now, these are some very nice changes.

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Only dropping four ranks each month is great, but was hoping for fewer stars on each rank and removal of win-streak bonus instead.

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I think these changes look good so far, but thinking about the time they had they are still living in the past.

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1 hour ago, Slam said:

Not a crazy change but I like it!

Yea. Even if the changes turn out to be good and I really hope so and appreciate it, it's pretty disappointing. Ofc changes to a mechanic have to planned for a while but in fact they are small and should have been done at least a year ago.

I guess 99% of their budget goes to making profit by creating more sets faster and faster (next rotation will be 6 sets in standard, no idea how average and especially new players will be able to keep up) and 1% of their budget goes to improving the game.

I hope the possible balance changes will be good ones and maybe the announced so far unknown event will be more exciting but they tend to announce things like they did a hell of great job then it turns out to be far below any expectations :D Or the event will be just again a Tavern Brawl that costs Money, calling it an event and making it sound like they are doing us a favor.

Edited by Caldyrvan
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On 25/01/2018 at 7:28 PM, SMOrcMan said:

Every single one of the top 16 brought a priest, but only 1 brought a hunter, and they're wasting their time on these updates??? At least pretend to care about balance.

Are you saying you enjoy SMOrc Huffer plays, SMOrcMan? Or do you prefer Unleash the SMOrc?

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