At Which Ranks Duels Start to Change and its Counter Way
The ranked ladder for me consists of six levels. Throughout these levels there are drastic changes not only hero-wise, but also strategic-wise.
The first level consists of ranks 20-25. At this level, you meet a bunch of random stuff and weird choices of cards. Every loss is forgiven at this level, which means that a loss doesn’t remove any stars from your ranks, that’s why you can only move upwards the ladder. There aren’t many tips to give you, but to get out of there as soon as possible^^.
The second level (20-14) is obviously the easiest one, but at the same time there are many tricky obstacles you need to overcome to smoothly advance the ladder. Most players tend to rush these ranks to climb the ladder faster, whereas others use their main deck to improve their skills with it for when they actually meet strong opponents. Usually, you face murlock/zoo-decks, rush-paladins, aggro-mage (the most common one being Saturo’s) and other weird improvised decks who work from time to time. In order, to beat these rush-types of decks you need to be able to clear the board fast, as board control is hard to establish. I would also recommend you to have patience and not give up on the game as it is only getting better from there.
Moving on to the next level, which consists of ranks 14-10, where duels start becoming more interesting and the level of plays is higher. Unfortunately, 40% of the duels are still versus zoo-warlocks and other rush types of decks that are mentioned above, as well as the famous mid-game hunter from Kolento, which was actually nerfed a lot but it seems that some still choose to play. Personally, I am not a fan of rush decks and that is why I have never crafted such a deck. Conversely, I always tried to counter them with decks such as mid-game shaman or miracle druid, where I managed to win over 65% of the games versus them. On another hand, encountering the rest 60% of opponents is actually the fun part of this constructed game. These are the truly worthy opponents. Control decks start appearing in the scene, control-warrior decks, control-priest decks (over 15 minute duels) and even more skill-based decks such as miracle rogues and handlocks. What makes these duels more fun is that by facing these opponents every single mistake starts to affect the battle a lot and you begin to realize when you have actually made such a mistake. Your self-awareness begins to grow and you come to learn the limits of the deck you are playing, but also come to the point where you are able to predict if you can win the duel depending on the hero your opponent is choosing and other factors such as your starting hand. As you are climbing the ladder, the difficulty raises at a fast pace, and you start understanding the game much better.
The next level is formed by the ranks 10-6. Duels are pretty much versus the same classes as before, the only difference being the level of plays. At this point I would like to give you some tips about potential opponents. As you can see from the pie chart below (ranks 12-1 matchups) the most common opponent you meet is a warlock. There are two types of warlocks, rush and control. Versus a rush warlock all you need to do is deny him board control and create some pressure on him. Force him to use one of his soulfires on a minion of yours, which is not really important to you, but will be a threat to him and then use your aoe spells to start clearing the board. Duels versus control warlocks tend to be much different than versus zoo. For the first three turns, control warlocks will always life tap in order to have a strong hand. Both, the mountain giant and twilight drake benefit from having many cards in your hand. Once you reach turn 4, your opponent will throw minions that are pretty huge (4/9 twilight drake, 4/5 ancient watcher or an 8/8 mountain giant) that are of course followed by a defender of argus or a sunfury protector. You need to be able to clear these minions by using the least amount of removals you posses in your hand. A great way to win against control warlocks is by burning some of his cards, which can be possible if you play a rogue or have some hard removals such as brawl, shadow word death, hex, polymorph, big game hunter, etc. Also silences have huge value versus them, the best one being earth shock on a 4/10 twilight drake which kills it without the necessity of extra spell damage.
Another matchup which is pretty common is versus a miracle rogue. Miracle rogues are pretty hard to play as their deck is really expensive and you need to master rogue in order to play it. There are many people that play miracle rogues the wrong way and still are able to pull out wins just because they manage to draw their whole deck and find a lethal combo. Turn 5 is pretty huge for miracle rogues. Depending on how many preparations, backstabs and spells they posses, they usually play a gadgetzan auctioneer and draw cards until they don’t have another spell to play. Killing the auctioneer is the number 1 priority for you. If they manage to conceal the auctioneer try killing him with a deadly shot, lightning storm with +1spell damage, flare, etc. If you do not manage to kill him, they will in the following turn use at least one cold blood on him and deal 8 damage to your face and you will be really close to lethal range. The most common lethal combo for miracle rogues comes at 8 crystals, or less depending how many preparations they have in hand to combo with cold bloods, where all they do is shadowstepping their Leeroy two times for 18 damage without cold bloods. Basically, you need to stay out of lethal range, try having a minion with taunt on the board and hope he doesn’t draw like crazy because he will eventually find lethal.
Ranks 5-1, then Legend:
Back to climbing the ladder, when you reach rank 5, the winning bonus star streak is no longer given to you and a win is equal to a loss. People play more conservatively, not so much Yolo Rag anymore and you are starting to realize that each duel really matters if you want to advance. You can’t rely on luck anymore; you have to take things seriously in order to reach the top. Finally you get to the point of being promoted to Legend. At this stage, you have evolved as much as possible and you start to compete with the most skilled players of the region. There aren’t many things I can offer you at this place, but to tell you that you must not snipe streamers in order to win and try to be 100% concentrated to avoid misplays that can be avoided. Always remember not to get angry at top decks, cause this phenomenon is pretty ordinary and good luck climbing the ladder!
From my personal duels throughout ranks 25 to legendary the previous season, I have gathered some data which might be helpful to you. Specifically, I have managed to keep track of the opponents I have encountered at each level mentioned above and designed some pie graphs you will find below.
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