Ranked Play

Ranked play in Heroes of the Storm offers the greatest challenge within the Nexus, with epic end-of-season rewards for those who climb the tiers. There is a player level requirement of 50 for ranked games, so as soon as you've unlocked and leveled enough characters, it's time to fight for your place among the legends.

Ready your characters, sharpen your reflexes, and prepare yourself for the greatest hero battle the nexus has ever seen.

The Basics

How to gain ranks

The tiers of Heroes of the Storm, from Bronze all the way up to Grand Master

In Heroes of the Storm, your skill level, or Rank, is expressed in the form of League Tiers and Divisions. At the start of each Season, a series of Placement Matches determines your initial rank. As you play ranked games, you gain (or lose) Rank Points. Earn enough rank points, and you'll get the chance to move up to the next division or tier by winning a Promotion Match. If you consistently lose points, you'll have a chance to defend your rank in a Demotion Match. Players at the top of the leaderboard enter first into the Master tier and ultimately Grand Master, where the best players in the world battle for glory.

Okay, great. Now let's get out our Murloc to English dictionary and unpack all that.

Your rank tells you how good you are at competitive Heroes of the Storm; nothing more, nothing less. You can easily compare two players by looking at their tier and division and immediately tell which one is better at this game. Please note that your rank does not reflect how good of a person you are, nor is there (as far as we know) any correlation between rank and personality traits such as intelligence, empathy, social awareness, or taste in movies.
Players fall into one of several broad "skill buckets" called league tiers. What tier a player belongs to gives an idea of that player's general skill level. The tiers are, in ascending order: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Grand Master.
Each tier from Bronze through Diamond is further divided into five divisions. The lowest division within a tier is 5; division 1 is the highest. A player's division within their tier tells you how close that player is to advancing to the next higher tier via promotion (or whether they risk dropping down one tier via demotion). For example, a player in Platinum 1 (Platinum tier, division 1) has a higher ranking than a player in Platinum 4, and that Platinum 4 player is ranked higher than a Gold 2 player.
Player ranks persist for a finite time interval called a season. At the end of each season, the rankings are reset, and everyone gets a fresh start to earn ranks again. You get end of season rewards, including unique mounts, based on your peak rank and your initial placement in the new season derives from how well you did in past seasons.
When you first start ranked play and at the start of each new season, you will need to complete a series of ten placement matches to help the matchmaking system develop an understanding of your personal skill level. Note that you can only queue together with other friends who are also doing placement matches while you’re still in placement matches. Once you’re done, you will receive your initial placement for the season and can start earning rank points.
After each ranked match, you will either gain or lose rank points. The amount depends on whether your team won, whether your team was favored to win (based on your team’s overall rating going into the match), your personal rank, and possible stored excess points. Winning when you were not expected to will net you more points, while losing will cost you fewer. The “personal rank adjustment” compares your MMR (matchmaking rating) to your current rank and adjusts ranks points accordingly to help keep your rank close to your MMR. Finally, stored excess points come into play when you are fighting a promotion match; check out the promotion match info to learn more. This process of gaining and losing rank points is how you move through the divisions and tiers. If your rank points drop to zero, your next match will be a demotion match; if, on the other hand, your point total reaches 1,000, you will now fight in a promotion match.
To reach the next division (or to move up to the next league tier, if you’re in division 1 of your current tier), you will need to prove yourself in a promotion match. The process is pretty straightforward: once you’ve earned 1,000 rank points, your next ranked match will be a promotion match. If you win your promotion match, you move up one division and receive a nice chunk of rank points in the process. If you lose your promotion match, you stay in your current place, and you also lose the usual amount of rank points.
A demotion match is essentially the opposite of a promotion match. If your rank points drop to zero, you risk dropping down to the next lower division, and the next ranked match you play will be a demotion match. If you win your demotion match, you stay in your current place, and you’ll gain enough rank points to be safe from immediate demotion; if you lose, you drop down to the next lower division.
Beyond Diamond, Master and Grand Master await. This is where the best of the best face off against each other in intense, nerve-racking, epic battles that shake the Nexus to its core. Ranking in the Master leagues works slightly differently. Instead of divisions, the Master league shows you the total number of rank points you’ve accumulated. The top point earners in Storm League enter the Grand Master tiers. There, your badge will now show your position in the overall Grand Master ranking for your region, updated daily. If you run into a player who is ranked 3 in the Grand Master tier, that is the third-best player in your region, so you better step up your game!

Drafting Demystified

On ranked team composition

It may be tempting to jump straight into Storm League, but before you do that, you should learn about one more thing. How you pick your hero in a ranked game follows different rules from Quick Matches. Instead of just selecting your favorite hero and clicking "Ready", both teams go through a selection process called a Draft. Each side takes turns banning and picking Heroes until 10 Heroes (5 for each team) have been selected. Once the draft is complete, the match begins.