SC2 Master & Grandmaster Leagues Exist

Some winners, yesterday

Are you a bit of a StarCraft 2 contender? Do you keep build orders in your wallet, eat nothing but egg whites and speak not of your poops, which have started resembling shaving foam? If so, I suppose you’ve probably heard this news already. Nevermind.

With the new 1.2 patch Blizzard has introduced a Master League for its sci-fi RTS, comprised of the top 5% of the game’s Diamond League (or the top 1-2% of the total players in a region). Blizzard has also revealed plans for a Grandmaster League, made up of just the top 200 players in a region. Personally, I’m hoping for all these numbers to keep extending in such a way that the very top of the league table somehow ends up linking with the very bottom in an ouroboros loop. I think that’d be swell. Thanks to BigDownload for the tipoff.


  1. Lysander Gray says:

    You mean like it is now, when bronze is matched against diamond?

    • Sic says:

      That’s because the match-ups are based on a hidden MMR rating, and because whomever playing is probably playing at some ungodly hour when nobody else is playing.

      If you’re constantly being matched with bronze-level players (and you lose), your MMR rating is poor, and you will be placed accordingly if you play enough matches. It could, of course, also be the other way around, that you’re placed too low. The matchmaking system is trying to figure this out. If you just play enough matches, your MMR rating, and your placement will converge, and you will be playing largely players at your own skill level.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Yeah I didn’t get it. Me and my friend sometimes get paired up with people a league higher than us. That doesn’t make any sense.

    • Starky says:

      It is on purpose (mostly) – the ranking system re-evaluates you every so often – I think it might be every 10 games, but I’m not at all sure by matching you against someone higher than you by 1-2 leagues.

      Otherwise 1v1 you should not face Diamond if you are bronze – team games gets a bit messy though, as the system has an odd idea of team balance when playing 2v2 upwards. I’m high platinum in 2v2 and it seems like every other match it is teaming me with a bronze/silver player to go against gold level players, which is incredibly frustrating for me as a random player, because me and a bronze does NOT equal a arranged team at gold level, not even close.

      Hell it would be easier (and better) for me in most cases to simply face a 2v1 (due to the double income).

  2. 8th Veil says:

    Off-topic I know, but why not place a third facebook button at the beginning of the text, at least twice the size. In case someone missed the others.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Just add these rules to AdBlock Plus, and you’re good:

      This gets rid of the Twitter virus and tracking cookies too.

  3. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    You must consume the core as well, not just the albumen. This wisdom is what makes a true warrior.

  4. AndrewC says:

    I want these numbers to extend until there’s an ultra vizier gundam league alpha which is so exclusive you can’t leave once you enter. When you start playing it’s a big banner saying ‘congratulations you won the war, now there is peace.’

    • Rhin says:

      It then replaces competitive mode with a custom map based on SimCity 2000.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      IMO, the game is just evolving towards the One Shot Zen Tier.

  5. Nallen says:

    Bronze league for life, yo

  6. Sweedums says:

    the matchmaking is ridiculous as it is… 1v1 isn’t THAT bad, but team games are… so often me and a mate in bronze league get put up against platinum teams and it says teams are even… yeah right.

    though to be fair, we do win the majority of our games against those teams, so maybe the issue isnt with matchmaking, its with the way it decides what league you go in..

    • Sic says:

      The issue is that you haven’t played enough matches yet. The matchmaking is based off a hidden MMR rating, what league you’re in has absolutely no relevance. If you play enough matches, the ladder-system will figure out what league you really belong in; just bear in mind that it takes quite a few matches to get to that point.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      My friend and I have that happen only we get trashed. Maybe we just suck o.O

    • Starky says:

      As I just posted – I’m that platinum guy you face, and chances are ill have a sub-bronze cheeser as a team-mate, which is why you win as often as not in those situations.

      Because frankly so long as you build units and do something with them, 2 vs 1 is really hard to win against.

      I think the game must figure an arranged team with bronze/silver players is roughly equal to a platinum player and a random bronze guy who only knows how to 6pool, or cannon rush, and does it badly.
      It’s always fun to have a teammate who is still on 1 base 10 mins in and not building an army.

  7. JeCa says:

    Ouch. Hopefully with this change they’ll also try to make the leagues actually matter, unlike how for me my every third opponent seem to be from either Diamond, Platinum or Gold regardless of what league I’m in (Am currently ranked 10 in platinum, so right now that feels quite fair, but it was the same back in my silver league days as well…)

    Slightly offtopic, I really wish ppl’d stop labeling “knowing build orders” as equaling being good whenever talking about SC2. I’ve gotten up to rank 9 in platinum (top 22% in my region?) with a measly average APM of 65, without “knowing” a single fine-tuned build order and while still only playing for fun, not putting any real effort into winning for winnings sake. Starcraft really is underestimated as a simply enjoyable game.

    • Magrippinho says:

      Come on, we all know top players average 300 APM, with half of those actions being in the actual game, and the other half dedicated to updating their twitter feeds about how they totally pwned that guy.

    • sirchen says:

      Yes, thank you JeCa! I picked it up over Christmas and knew i have only the time over the holidays. Hence, I just played it for fun, not drilling in BOs, or watching massive amounts of replays. Just play! And enjoy!

      Clearly, this being a rather competitive RTS, it helps to have a good background in strategy games and some fundamental understanding of how gathering resources works. But at the same time, understanding the game let’s you slack off on APM (or how other call it frenzy-clicking) and i believe you can potentially advance up to Gold / Platinum. At this level, games are quite enjoyable.

      Evidently, if you plan on cracking Diamond, well, that requires a bit more efford than just playing 3 weeks.

      Just take it as what it is – a strategy game. Don’t go into it as being a generic shooter. Just think about the game for a bit (in between games), realize how you can improve your overall decision-making. That’s all you need for a macro-zerg : ). There is a playstyle for everyone. Crazy-taktik-clicking and more relaxed macro games where you just make more than your opponent and a-click.

    • Rhin says:

      Part of that “knowing build orders” thing is kind of a subconscious effort to maintain self – esteem, with the general implication that the people who you lose to either (a) have less of a life, and thus spent time memorizing and studying things for a video game or (b) abuse broken mechanics of the game (aka ‘cheese’) and therefore don’t really deserve the wins they get.

  8. Heynes says:

    In the end, I wonder how much this will really matter with the inflated point system SC2 is using. Even many of those in the top 200 are simply mass gamers who rely mostly rely on cheese/all-ins/semi-all-ins that work more often than not. Heck, I even read a thread on TL today that said some people in Korea are using (literal) rock-paper-sisters online to determine ladder game outmatches.

    On related note, I think there may be even more custom maps coming from Blizzard than previously announced during BlizzCon: link to
    Of course when, no one knows.

    Also, apparently can’t edit out my double post as it’s “spam.”

  9. Brumisator says:

    I keep forgetting that I actually don’t suck at Starcraft, compared to the common man.
    Although I’m only in the silver league, I can’T find anyone I know (IRL or on the internet) whose butt I can’t kick in 10 minutes… it makes me sad.

  10. deuterium. says:

    “comprised of the top 5%”

    This should be “comprising the top 5%” or “composed of the top 5%”.

    • Jade Raven says:

      Should actually say “comprising the top 10% of the game’s Diamond League (or the top 2% of the total active players in a region)”

  11. Marioonsafario says:

    I’m actually disapointed to read people saying that the matchmaking system is poor, or even just average. In my opinion it is actually the very best matchmaking system I’ve used.

    No doubt things can get interesting in team games, but when it comes to 1v1, anyone who plays a few dozen games will almost always be near 50% win rate, and anyone playing 100s will be every close, aside of course from those at the edges of skill, either good or bad.

    One of the amazing things about the matchmaking system is that you can have a bad day and a lose a few and quickly be matched up with weaks players, or be having an amazing day day and face harder players. Within a few games it will always seem to find someone you can beat, and someone you can beat you.

    I seems the major complaint I read is that people are shocked that when they are given a shiny skill level badge of silver or diamond that they should play people with different badges. Yet they seem to miss the point that they are still almost always around 50% win rates… I actually wish that the Sc2 matchmaking model become the standard amoung 1v1 games

  12. durns says:

    I actually just re-watched that Red Dwarf episode on NetFlix (fancy American on-demand video through your PS3 wizadry).

    The circle is complete, Lister shall never end. Series 6 was the pinnacle of the show, shame Barrie didn’t want to play any more after that

  13. Hatsworth says:

    Diamond is roughly 7% if the player pool, not 1-2%.

    link to

    Hopefully Master League will actually mean something, because Diamond didn’t.

    What I’m most excited about regarding this patch is custom keys. Haven’t updated yet, but I hear you can modify close to everything.

  14. Butler says:

    I have no problem with SC2’s matchmaking.

    I’ve only started playing properly this past week or two. I was platinum 1v1 at retail and I’ve obviously had some work to do to regain that level.

    But I have. I’ve worked back up the hardway using random 2v2 as a training area to prove to myself I could get back to that level.

    Played a hundred or so games in that time and I’ve not had many problems: when I lost i deserved it, etc.

  15. SuperNashwan says:

    Soon Blizzard will be able to select an Ender Wiggin and we’ll finally beat the alien menace!

    • Girdot says:

      The only way I can see this working is if the Grandmaster League’rs were sent to Battle School!

      (Yes, I registered after almost a year of lurking just to post this comment.)