New Ranked System Lead to Nearly 10x As Many Legend Players in April

I wanted to start with some introduction, but the title pretty much sums it up. The number of players in Legend has increased SIGNIFICANTLY between March and April. I found the numbers really interesting and decided to share.

Here’s the total number of Legend players at the end of March (Source):

Server Standard Wild
NA 3,470 639
EU 6,515 1,133
Asia ? 364
China 13,449 27,433

(The most interesting thing here is that in China, we had twice as many Wild Legends as Standard Legends)

And here’s the same table for April (Source):

Server Standard Wild
NA 30,971 4,531
EU 60,366 8,769
Asia 18,776 2,252
China 118,247 84,809

The numbers, of course, aren’t 100% correct – there had to be some more players hitting Legend during the last hours, because the data was collected by players some time before the reset, but that’s besides the point. It’s not about the exact number – it’s about how many more players hit Legend in the new system. In Standard, we’ve got 9-10 times as many Legend players as we did last month. China numbers are most impressive – we had close to 120,000 Legend players near the end of the month. Those are really insane numbers compared to what we’ve usually seen.

Some of the increase has to be contributed to the new content. After all, first expansion of the year is always more popular. This time around, we’ve also got a new class, which brought back multiple players. There’s also social distancing, but it was already in effect in March (especially in Asia, which is also included in those stats, but also in most of Europe), so I think that this part can get ignored. Also, if you think that March was a slow month or something – it’s not really the case. Here are February stats that are pretty similar to March ones.

I believe that most of the increase has to be attributed to the new system. It’s mostly two reasons. First is simple – it’s a new system. People wanted to try it out, and it feels more fun to progress through. Once people started playing more, they got closer to hitting Legend and many of them decided to stick with it. And the second reason is – obviously – because it’s easier to hit Legend under the new system. If I remember the calculations, it’s not FASTER – it actually takes a bit longer, but it’s EASIER, as in that you need a lower win rate. As long as you have star bonus, you can progress quite quickly even with a sub-50% win rate. Then, we’ve got a floor every 5 ranks – so every 15 stars, which is much more often than in the old system (which was every 25 stars). And better rewards for hitting Legend (5 packs from the latest expansion are really convincing)… All of that have resulted in so many Legend players at the same time.

I wonder how things will look like in May. I’m pretty sure that the numbers will drop slightly, since it’s not an “expansion month”, but I wonder whether they will be closer to March or April numbers.

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

18 Comments

  1. Phantague
    May 7, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Or, occam’s razor – Blizzard (whatever that is) made it easier to be Legend ranking on purpose, for financial motivations.

    Everyone wants to feel like a winner, now they can, or at least be able to say “I’m almost Legend, so that’s pretty cool” (think I’ll keep playing now..)

  2. Milamber
    May 4, 2020 at 6:22 am

    I don’t believe it’s as straight forward as just the new ranking system. While the bonus stars are certainly helpful, I feel that the blip more pertains to the pre-nerf and even post 1st nerf of demon hunter than it does the new ladder. That deck could beat anything 80% of the time but most anyone. And now that result will perpetuate a somewhat easier climb for the legends which will take a few months to level off back to where it was before.

    I hit legend myself for the first time last month after a 6 month absence. I had been to rank 3 before on the old system but never had the time to really dedicate to go all the way due to work/parenting. I made it to Diamond 2 with Highlander Mage and Control Warlock and after bouncing back and forth between D4-D2 for several days after the 2nd nerf I just went with DH and got legend in about an hour.

    Did I deserve it? Tough question. I believe I would have got it this month regardless if I wanted to grind it out some more but why torment myself? I just started playing what I wanted after I made it. And now that I have I don’t feel the need to mess with DH anymore. Been playing only Highlander Mage again so far this month and I am at Plat 5 in 3 days. If I don’t make it again no big deal but I think I can and I no longer have that pressure to get it for the first time which is nice.

    Lots of rambling here I know but back to the point of feeling DH is more responsible than the new ladder for the new legend players. Happy to be proven wrong by data in the coming months but that’s where I stand on it!

    • Teresh
      May 6, 2020 at 3:09 am

      Totally agree. DH dominance is missing in the points of the article.

      I also was between D4-D2 and took some tier 3 deck to finish Daily quest. Suddenly it worked as DH killer deck and I couldn’t stop playing until I got legend. It also took about an hour 🙂

  3. Davidus707
    May 1, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Thats true. But new sistem has a big upside IMO.

    Now it is posible to hit legend playing control decks for players that just can’t play 3 hours a day or more. With old sistem, it was super hard to get the +25 from 5 to legend.

    With +15, if you find a good deck for the meta and you play good you can at least have a chance.

    In my personal case, I had climbed multiple times before but always with aggro/tempo decks that allow me to play a lot of games per hour. If you do not have a lot to play it was litearaly the only way to hit legend.

    With new sistem, I feel I do not need to play fast decks to have a chance and that is great.

    Ej: This season I made it with higlander priest. With old sisten i may not have even tried the climb because i knew that even with 60% win rate it was impossible becasue the time factor.

  4. ScottAllen11
    May 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Don’t forget to mention that there were first time rewards for hitting each rank for everyone. There may be less incentive to climb this month when you only get the end of month rewards, or first time rewards for new ranks you didn’t reach last time.

  5. H0lysatan
    May 1, 2020 at 11:16 am

    One thing is changing. I think the bonus stars multiplier is reduced by 1.
    early April I got 10x stars sitting on 3rd Ranked.
    And this time, I only got 9x stars when hitting 3rd Diamond.

    What about legend? it should be 11x? Is it also reduced by 1 star?

  6. ActualWaterfowl
    May 1, 2020 at 10:18 am

    I find this really upsetting. The legend card back used to be something to be proud of, and just this one month has really cheapened that.

    • Vincent
      May 2, 2020 at 6:37 am

      I totally agree. Feels like they’re making the same mistake here like they did with wow. The legend card back was a real accomplishment showing both skill and investment of time. The flavor text ‘Wow. Hardcore’ should now read ‘Average Joe’.

  7. Davidus707
    May 1, 2020 at 6:36 am

    How can I know the legend rank in wich I finished the season?

    It do no appear in the client. Is there any way to know it?

    Anyway, I can undesrtand why they dont show you the position in the client. I played a lot to get top 10.000 in EU server and I would like to know if i made it

  8. James37
    May 1, 2020 at 4:28 am

    The most likely reason for the spike is that the Diamond rank 5 to legend is significantly shorter than the old rank 5 to legend. There are only 3 stars per rank compared with 5 stars per rank in the old system. If you need fewer wins to get to legend then naturally there will be more legend players.

  9. MegaHunter98
    May 1, 2020 at 2:25 am

    I have 10k dust and i’am build highlander deck. Rogue or mage? Please write yours opinion

  10. Vincent
    April 30, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    I usually hit legend just before the end of the month, now I hit legend within the first 10 days of the month. The difference is huge (15 vs 25 stars). I do miss MMR in your explanation. Somehow I think the new matchmaking also plays a role.

  11. Itch
    April 30, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Simply grinding doesn’t make you reach legend if you don’t have the skills. The system does seem easier to climb though, and shorter.

    • Kuskie
      April 30, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Grinding can almost definitely grant you the skills necessary to climb legend. I would assume your argument is that having a good deck doesn’t automatically turn someone into a good player?

      • Itch
        May 1, 2020 at 1:24 am

        You’re right, my comment was written poorly. You hone your skill in anything by grinding it out.

        Good decks don’t necessarily mean positive winrate as high rank. Especially in the current insanely diverse meta. But that wasn’t my point.

        What I meant was, many players put in more time this month (thank you COVID-19). However, if ~280k players didn’t have the skill until now, it doesn’t make sense that so many people suddenly “got it”.

        I was just addressing the 2nd (large) paragraph in this article.

    • Itch
      May 1, 2020 at 1:28 am

      Another theory I have, is good decks can carry somewhat if they’re busted enough. Tempo DH was so good early into the expansion, that someone in my friend list reached legend within a week. He never even reached rank 5 in the old system.