Ranked mode has been out for almost a month now and it truly has been a wild ride for me so far. I calibrated at position 170 with almost 1000 mmr (match making rating) and since then I have been oscillating between position 1 and 400, mostly struggling at around 1800 rating. For me it offered a mix of exorbitant highs and rock-bottom lows. In this article I share a bit of my personal ranked-experience in the past month, differences in the brackets, and tilt and how to deal with it.
Stairway to heaven ~Journey to Rank #1:
So… my ranked experience has been entirely comprised of highs and lows for me; I started with the expected winrate at about 70% and found myself in the top 20 for a long time. Sadly I did not track my winrates with different decks, but overall not too surprising Scoia’tael performed the best for me out of the 4 factions. I started my ranked-journey playing myself into the top 50 in the first week with Skellige, but after that point it got a struggle to keep on climbing, so I was looking out for something new. At that point I found the original version of the PFI-deck shown to me by NubSh1t and then I saw it performing quite well on Dale´s stream, so I tried the deck out and made my own adjustments, with which I quickly rose to top 10 and shortly after I managed to climb to the #1 spot. I stayed on the 1st rank for only a little more than 24 hours, but it was definitely worthwhile.
I got my 15 minutes of fame and also a lot of unexpected hate at that time. While the deck itself is not hard to play I certainly met hard opponents, who were quick to adapt to the deck. Only 2 days after that the deck was unplayable in the top 100, due to the meta evolving so rapidly.
Highway to Hell~ Fall to Rank#400:
Shortly after that I dropped in and out between top 50 and 200 and never really managed to make any real progress beyond 1890 rating.
Generally there seems to be an invisible wall at the 1900 rating ~ rank 7 border. Every time I almost broke that barrier, a losing spree occurred. This happened about 3-4 times until I just recently finally broke it after the latest patch ~0.8.37.
I heard and saw similar things from different players. My lowest position-rating brought me to the deep & dark woods of the lower end of the 1700-rating, despite the comparatively low rating players at those ranks are far away from being “bad players”, though their play is not as polished and decks played are often either unrefined or just netdecked without any changes. Players at these ranks not playing 100% properly, not having a reason for every decision and playing different decks aside from the super-competitive decks makes playing against those players at times more difficult, because of the unpredictability and unusual strategies. In those ratings I used Geéls to get myself out of the “dumpster” and out of tilt. Sometimes playing a different deck helps. Point-wise this region is great, being high enough to have competitive games and also meeting a bigger variety of decks, while not having the huge risk point-wise as in the higher ranks, enabling playing unfamiliar factions.
How does rank 1 differ from rank 400?:
When being in the top 10 or even top 20, the lists you are playing are very predictable and you get to know your opponents and their playstyles. These factors allow you to tech against the very specific playing field you meet and in this playing field the meta switches every single day making it is hard to stay on top and adjust accordingly. Overall being able to play all those top players at the higher ranks is a pleasure and a lot of fun. The extremely competitive play is very encouraging and makes completely up for the lack of different decks.
Generally, the top Scoia´tel-players have been dominating the top 10 standings most of the time.
Also playing at the top ranks is currently a real gamble rating-wise, there are a lot of games against players with much. much lower rating than you. You risk losing about 20 points, while gaining next-to nothing for winning, which feels discouraging.
Between rank 100-400, much more is possible as you begin to face a higher variance of opponents and decks, which is a completely new situation to adjust to after coming from the top-end of the ladder. At those ranks, playing generally good decks without teching too much against specific matchups seems to work well. It feels like a lot more random things happen in this range of ranks and it is hard to predict match-ups and outcomes. Risk-taking seems to have higher rewards here compared to risk-taking in top ranks.
In these ranks Skellige and Monster-decks still seem to be viable, unless you’re Cmel in that case you can also bring Skellige in the top 20.
That being said, Scoia’tael is still the most dominant faction within the top 100 and outside of the top 100 for the most part as well.
I can look back at 389 ranked games by now, I accrued a “disappointing” (for my ambitious and competitive mindset) score of 206 wins to 170 losses and 13 draws so far, which makes for a abysmal winrate of 54% overall. I can tell you, as someone who is as competitive-minded as I am and a person who sees himself as one of the best players it is not easy to take that hit to your ego.
Tilt. Tilt is something almost every one of us knows and by many is known as the root of all evil and salt in this world. I was dealing with a lot of mixed expectations of myself, both inside and outside the game, which I could not meet and ended up extending the tilt to new unseen levels.
I took breaks, I tried to recover by doing other things for a few hours, but every time I got back and was ready to grind myself up in the ladder again and set those goals and expectations up for myself (” You can take your 1st place back again, don’t need scoia´shit to do that!.”, “Okay, at least top 100 should be doable right now”) I quickly ended up getting salty after only 1 or 2 losses, losing focus and tilting again.
At various points through my journey so far I tried to switch my mindset to a “Fuck it, I don’t give a shit”, which in all honesty might be the right mindset, but you have to temper it the right way and not corrupt it with the “whatever” mindset, which happened to me at times. My tilting-issues didn´t seem to go away for over a week and I just barely managed to hold a winrate over 50%, which is not what i expect from myself. I was aware of it, but I could not deal with it properly, until I really decided to take a look at what was causing my tilts and what I have to change, which also was the time I decided to write this article. Being self-aware of that you are about to tilt and what is causing it, means a lot. Obviously I still get salty and tilt from time to time, but really doing something about it really had a positive effect for me.
To sum up this small brainstorm about my tilt-fest:
Having a good mentality towards the game both before and after a game is needed to do the ladder-grind and even just to have fun, while playing, which after all is what it is all about. Resetting your mentality after each game, instead of carrying it over to the next game is really important to cease the tilt. That said you obviously want to learn from each game and keep those in mind to improve your overall play.
Also don´t take yourself too seriously. Try to have a laugh about things at times and don’t let your ranking, position or what people say about you get to you or let it influence your thinking. Most of us can not stop themselves from tilting, but we can change and learn how to deal with it both before and after a game.
Those are some of the things, which helped me getting out of my personal “dumpster” and deal with my personal burdens (dumpster in this case being #300 out of over 60.000 ranked players). Since I started taking a closer look at this issue of mine i managed to climb from rank #370 #50 again, which I haven´t been able to do in a relatively long time.
I hope you enjoyed this article and may help you on your own path. May the grind be with you.
If you want additional opinions and experiences i can recommend you this Interview done by GwentCity
With best regards