Ranked Play

Ranked play in Heroes of the Storm is now bigger and better than ever. We've raised the stakes, upped the rewards, and turned the competitiveness all the way up to eleven. Epic end of season rewards await those who climb the tiers, divisions now give you a much better sense of where you stand, and the elusive Grand Master tier promises intense, glorious battles between the game's greatest players. There is no player level requirement 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 brawl the nexus has ever seen.

The Basics

How to gain ranks and dominate people

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 200 point earners in Hero League and top 100 in Team 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!

Ranked Game Modes

Finding your preferred way to play

So you've read all about the basics, and you're eager to give this whole ranked play thing a try. Fantastic! To actually start climbing the ranks, you'll need to have access to at least 14 heroes (owned and free to play, excluding Cho'gall) that you've played to level 5 or higher. Once that's taken care of, all you need to do is queue for one of the game's two ranked play modes: Hero League or Team League.

Hero League

In Hero League, you queue up alone to play with (and against) other players who are going it solo looking for a challenge. But remember, even though you may be lone wolves, that pack that fights as one will always triumph.

Choose hero league if:

  • You want to start playing ranked RIGHT NOW! I'M SO READY!
  • You don't mind riding into battle with random players
  • You want the rewards that are exclusive to ranked play

Silenced player restriction

Ranked play is meant to be the place for competitive, high-intensity matches. Because communication is integral to a team's success, we will be removing silenced players' ability to queue in Hero League until their silence penalty expires.
Team League

In Team League games, pre-made teams of two, three, or five go up against each other. It's you and your friends against the Nexus. Once you've got a solid crew, this one is the mode for you. If you still need a few more friends to complete your ideal team, you can always Recruit a Friend.

Choose team league if:

  • You're ready to take on the greatest challenge the game has to offer
  • You have a reliable group of friends ready to tear it up in the Nexus
  • You really want those exclusive rewards

Drafting Demystified

On ranked team composition

It may be tempting to jump straight into Hero or Team 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.

Draft Sequence

Hero Picks Once a player picks a hero, that hero becomes unavailable for all other players.
Hero Bans Banned heroes cannot be picked. The highest ranked player on each team issues the bans.

Let's look at a typical draft in Heroes of the Storm. First, a virtual coin toss determines which team goes first. We'll call the team that goes first Team 1, and the other team we'll call Team 2. Then the drafting phase begins:

  1. Team 1 bans a hero.
  2. Team 2 bans a hero.
  3. Team 1's first player picks a hero.
  4. Team 2's first player picks a hero.
  5. Team 2's second player picks a hero.
  6. Team 1's second player picks a hero.
  7. Team 1's third player picks a hero.
  8. Team 2 bans a hero.
  9. Team 1 bans a hero.
  10. Team 2's third player picks a hero.
  11. Team 2's fourth player picks a hero.
  12. Team 1's fourth player picks a hero.
  13. Team 1's fifth player picks a hero.
  14. Team 2's fifth player picks a hero.

Once the draft is complete, the match begins. Teams that communicate well during the drafting phase and successfully balance team composition against what heroes each player is comfortable with generally do better than teams that have no coordination whatsoever. Talk to your teammates, tell them which heroes you're familiar with, and watch what the other team is doing.

Drafting for Beginners

At first, the drafting process may seem a little overwhelming, especially if you just want to play and don't really care about the finer nuances of strategic team composition. Keep in mind though that a successful team draft can give you a significant leg up. To make your first few drafts a bit easier, try these tips:

Your team needs to know which heroes you've got access to, which ones you're good at, and which ones you're still learning to play. Likewise, you need to listen to your teammates.
Your team’s strategy will depend on which heroes your team is made up of. Some compositions are excellent for split pushing, other hero combinations favor team fights, and yet other team makeups lend themselves to hit-and-run attacks. Use the draft as an opportunity to talk strategy with your team, and pick accordingly.
As you’re drafting your team, be mindful of what the other team is doing. Look at which heroes they’re picking and try to figure out what their strategy is going to be.
In an ideal world, you and your team will immediately agree on a game plan, everyone will get exactly the heroes they wanted, and the other team’s schemes will lie in ruin. Sadly, this isn’t that world. So if things don’t go your way, don’t bemoan what isn’t and instead focus on dealing with what is.

Spoils of War

Not all that glitters is gold; some of it is exclusive mounts and portraits, too

To some players, having fun with their friends, crushing their enemies, and mastering the greatest challenge this game has to offer, and claiming their rightful place among the legends is all the reward they need. You know, in sort of a "the journey is the destination," Zen kind of way.

But hey, it's a material world, and maybe all this experientialist stuff doesn't ring your bell. If you need more tangible rewards to feel satisfied, worry not; we've got you covered.

Ranked Play Rewards