Ready your characters, sharpen your reflexes, and prepare yourself for the greatest hero battle the Nexus has ever seen.
Ranked play in Heroes of the Storm offers the greatest challenge within the Nexus, with unique 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.
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 at the end of every match. Earn (or lose) enough Rank Points and you’ll get promoted (or demoted) to the next Division. 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.
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 divisions. 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 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 placement matches to help the matchmaking system develop an understanding of your personal skill level. Note that while you’re in your placement matches in a party with your friends who have already placed, your skill rating will be ignored by the ranked matchmaking system, until you finish your placements or leave the party. Once you’re done, you will receive your initial placement for the season and can begin 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), win and loss streaks, and your personal Rank. Winning when you were not expected to will net you more points, while losing will cost you fewer. This process of gaining and losing Rank Points is how you move through the Divisions and League Tiers. If your current Division’s Rank Points drop below zero, you will be demoted to the next lower Division or League. If, on the other hand, your Rank Points exceed 1,000, you will instantly be promoted to the next Division or League. The exception is Master and Grand Master Leagues, which do not have an upper Rank Point limit.
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. You will also need to finish the Seasonal Questline in order to be able to placed into Grand Master. 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!
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.