Leagues and Ladders FAQ

The StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty matchmaking engine works behind the scenes to ensure fun and evenly matched multiplayer games, but you might be curious about how the ranking system works. We've got you covered. Let's answer some of your most frequently asked questions about StarCraft II multiplayer leagues and ladders.

Q. How do I participate in the StarCraft II leagues and ladders system?

A. To play a ladder match, click the Multiplayer menu item in the top left, select a mode from 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4, select a race, and then click Find Match. After playing in five placement matches within one mode (e.g. five 1v1 matches) you will be placed in a ladder for that mode. Note that Free For All (FFA) or arranged matches where you choose to play against specific friends do not count toward placement in a league, or ranking up or down within the ladder system.
Q: How do I form an arranged team? For example, my friend and I want to play 2v2.
A: Invite your friend either by right-clicking them in your friends list, or right-clicking their name from another screen such as a score screen or their profile. When right-clicking their name you'll see an option to invite them to a party. Once you're in a party, click the Multiplayer menu item in the top left, and select the team size according to the number of people in your party. In your specific case, you'd choose 2v2.
Q. How do placement matches work?
A.During your placement matches we match you against a variety of players and skill levels and the win/loss results are tracked. From this, we are able to determine your general level of ability and place you in a league that we believe to be appropriate for your skill.
Q. Does the system take into account stats gathered from within a match, e.g. actions per minute (APM), units destroyed, etc.?
A. No, the system only cares about whether a match was won or lost, and the skill of the participants.
Q. What are leagues?
A. A league is a rough measurement of a player's skill. There are seven leagues: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Grqandmaster. By completing your five placement matches you'll be placed into one of these leagues. There's also the practice league for players who are starting out, and other special leagues may be created in the future to provide rankings that differentiate the top players.
Q. What are divisions?
A. Leagues are divided up into divisions consisting of at most 100 teams (or individual players in the case of 1v1). Those 100 teams or players compete for the top slots in each division. In the future, there will be tournaments to determine the top players in each division and the winners will compete to determine the top players in each league. The system is divided up this way so players can track meaningful progress within their division while competing against others of similar skill.
Q. How do I move up in rank within my division? For example, from rank 51 to rank 44.
A.  Players gain points towards a higher rank by competing with other players and winning.  However, it is important to remember that the number of points awarded is based on the rated difficulty of your opponent.
Example: Player A may have a win-loss ratio of 19-17 and be ranked in the Silver League at 35; while player B may have a win-loss ratio of 18-19 and be ranked 30. The difficulty of some of those matches (say playing against Gold League players) may mean that he either received more points for a win or lost fewer points for a loss.
Q. How do players move down in rank on the ladder? For example, from rank 44 to rank 51.
A. Player lose points when they lose matches. You are ranked relative to everyone in your division within your league. The amount of points you lose per match is comparable to how points are calculated when you win. If you lose to someone who is rated higher than you, you should lose fewer points than if you were to lose to someone who was rated lower than you.
Q. What is the relevance of the Favored indicator and how does that affect the points distributed from winning or losing a match?
A. The Favored indicator helps give you an idea of whether the contender you’re pitted against is considered to be even with you, challenging to you, extremely challenging to you or not a challenge. 
You can use this indicator to gauge the approximate number of points you are likely to gain or lose after the match depending on the result.
Q. How does a player move from one league to another? (For example: from Silver league to Gold.)
A. The system constantly evaluates a team or player's performance given the difficulty of opponents and will move teams that belong in another league.
Q. I (or my team) obviously belong in another league. Why haven't I been moved?
A. In order to place teams as fairly as possible, the placement system does not move teams until it is sure how high or how low they will land. This may result in unusually high or low-performing teams waiting several games until they are moved.
Q. Are matches ever made between different leagues? (For example: a Gold league player playing against a Silver league player in a rated match.)
A. Yes, you may be matched up against players from different leagues to test your skill. So be on your guard and play your best in every match.
Q. What is the Bonus Pool and how are bonus points acquired?
A. The Bonus Pool is an accumulation of points that every player receives whether they're online and playing or not. They're essentially used as a means to help give a player a catch-up boost if they haven't played in a while. The pool does have a cap, but it increases slowly until the end of a season.
Q. How is the Bonus Pool used in competitive play?
A. When you achieve victory against another player, you are awarded a certain number of points. The Bonus Pool points will match the number of points you received for winning.
For example: If you were to have a Bonus Pool of 30 and you win a match that would normally give you 10 points, points will then be pulled from your Bonus Pool to match those 10 points and you'll be awarded 20 points for winning that game. Your bonus pool will then sit at 20.
Q. Is it possible to earn more bonus points than other players by either playing more or less than usual?
A. All players have access to the same amount of Bonus Pool, regardless of when they are assigned a division.
Q. Are 2v2 ranks counted individually or in pairs? For example: If Player A is on a team with Player B and they're ranked 2, is there another ranking for when Player A is on a team with Player C?
A. Yes. Each arranged team has its own score and rank.
Q. What about random team players?
A. Random team players have an individual score and rank for each random team mode: 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4.

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