In recent years, Hearthstone, the game from Blizzard, has established itself as one of the most competitive games on the esports scene. Now offering several ranked game systems, as well as a powerful MMR system, Hearthstone is now more complete than it has ever been.
How does the rank and MMR system work in Hearthstone? Hearthstone offers two ranked game systems: Standard mode, which allows players to use cards from expansions released less than two years ago, and Free mode, which has no restrictions. The player evolves between the Bronze and Diamond leagues, which are themselves divided into 10 divisions. Once at the top, the player can qualify for the Legend league, which has its own rating system. All oppositions between players are governed by the MMR (MatchMaking Rating).
The ranked game system is quite simple to understand, but Heartshtone offers some subtleties, such as MMR, monthly rank reset or a derank system due to prolonged inactivity.
Standard and Free modes
Hearthstone’s ranked game system offers two modes: Standard and Freestyle. Standard mode allows players to use cards from the current year and the previous year to build their deck. Currently, players can therefore use cards from the expansions: Awakening of Shadows, Adventurers of Uldum, Descent of Dragons, Ashes of Outland, Scholomance Academy as well as the latest, released in November 2020: Mad Day at Darkmoon.
When the next expansion releases in 2021, the Rise of Shadows, Saviors of Uldum, and Descent of Dragons expansions will be removed from Standard mode and moved to Free Play mode. This mode allows players to use all expansions to build their deck. Players therefore have a different rank for each of these two ranked game modes.
Related article: Complete guide to the “Mad Day at Darkmoon” expansion
The rank system
On Hearthstone, players start in the Apprentice league, reserved for new players, and can claim to reach the Legend league, which brings together the best players. Each of the ranks is divided into several divisions, except the Legend rank, which has its own rating system.
|Apprentice||40 – 1|
|Bronze||10 – 1|
|Silver||10 – 1|
|Gold||10 – 1|
|Platinum||10 – 1|
|Diamond||10 – 1|
The apprentice league allows new players to familiarize themselves with ranked games, and collect rewards, such as cards or packages. The Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond leagues are divided into 10 divisions, ranging from 10 to 1. From bronze to diamond, each division requires obtaining 3 stars in order to progress to the next. A star corresponds to a victory. Divisions 10 and 5 of each League are “checkpoints”, and it is impossible to be demoted once these levels have been reached. The Legend league is reserved for elite players, who are awarded a rating based on their performance.
The winning streak system and start-of-season bonuses
After achieving a series of 3 consecutive victories, you collect a bonus, allowing you to earn 2 stars per victory. This bonus disappears when you lose. At the start of each season, the rank is reset, and you are again placed in Bronze 10. To compensate, the system gives you a star bonus, based on your old rank, which will greatly accelerate your progress.
|Bronze 5 to Silver 10||Two stars|
|Silver 5||Three stars|
|Gold 10||Four stars|
|Gold 5||Five stars|
|Platinum 10||six stars|
|Platinum 5||seven stars|
|Diamond 10||eight stars|
|Diamond 5||nine stars|
If you were Platinum 10 the previous season, a victory will earn you 6 stars, and you will go directly to Bronze 8. Your bonus loses a star each time you reach a level. As an ex-Platinum 10, your bonus will be 7 stars once you reach Bronze 5, then 6 stars at Silver 10 and so on. If you enter a winning streak, your bonus is doubled, earning you 14 stars per win. You are probably wondering how to balance games with such a system? Note that Hearthstone has another metric to calculate a player’s level: MMR.
What is MMR and how does it work?
The term MMR is an abbreviation of Match Making Rating , and represents a score that is assigned to each player. This score is calculated according to the player’s performance, and allows the game to oppose opponents of the same level. This system, widely used in video games, is derived from the famous “ELO” calculation method, created by Arpad Elo , with the aim of estimating the relative level of chess players. Thus, a player estimated at 1500 MMR will meet opponents with a score similar to his.
In Hearthstone’s ranked mode, you have a rank, which determines your current level, and an MMR, which determines your actual level. This MMR allows players of the same level to meet. Indeed, if you were Legend the previous season, and you have a star multiplier of 10, you will meet players who have the same multiplier as you.
When your multiplier bonus ends, the rank system takes over. If you are Diamond 5 without multiplier, you will meet other Diamond 5 without multiplier. This system makes it possible to offer balanced oppositions to players, even when launching a new season.
What affects MMR?
Only wins and losses affect MMR, and the content of your matches will have no bearing on it. Leaving a game counts as a loss, and therefore loses your streak bonus. The duration of the fight as well as the composition of your deck or that of your opponent do not count. Your only concern is victory!