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/dev diary: New Tiers & Placements in Ranked 2019

Meet Ed, Primus, and Thiago. They’re working on two new tiers and a new placements system.

We added the transcript below in case you’re stuck in class or work and can’t watch the video.


Ed “Sapmagic”: Hey everyone, I’m Ed, the lead for the Ranked team.

Primus “Riot Gortok”: I’m Primus, and I’m the lead designer for Ranked.

Thiago “Mango Thunder”: And I’m Thiago. I’m an artist and senior visual designer on the team.

Sapmagic: In today’s video, we share some long-awaited details on placements and how we’re updating tiers and divisions.


Sapmagic: We’ve heard consistent feedback that placements can be frustrating and create anxiety. They’re pretty much a black box, and even if you win most of your games, your starting rank might still disappoint you. We want placements to feel transparent and rewarding, so we’re making some big changes to how they work.

Riot Gortok: First off, you get a provisional rank after your very first game. During your provisional period, only you will be able to see your rank. When you win, you’ll see huge LP gains, and you’ll even get to skip promos. When you lose, you won’t lose any LP. Once all your provisional games are wrapped up, you’ll get your official starting rank, and you can show off to your friends and try to climb higher.


Riot Gortok: Now that placements are complete, let’s talk about the climb. We’ve heard for years that a lot of you feel like you’re getting better, but still not seeing your rank go up. So we took a closer look at tiers and divisions and saw that some work better than others.

Take a player in Bronze, right now. They might get a little bit better, but not climb divisions. Up in Diamond and beyond, your games can feel totally different at the top and the bottom of the tier. There’s just too big of a skill gap in these places. On the other hand, in Gold, even a slight change in your skill can bounce you up or down a couple of divisions really rapidly. It’s kinda like a ladder where some of the rungs are much farther apart than the others, and that’s a pretty hard ladder to climb. We want to find a happy medium where your improvements are accurately reflected.

Sapmagic: We landed on adding two new tiers. The first tier, Iron, is going below Bronze to help give those players an opportunity to get better recognition as they get better at the game. The second tier is Grandmaster, which is going between Master and Challenger, and gives us a chance to perform a long-overdue recalibration of the top of the ladder and better differentiate those players based on their skill.

Riot Gortok: If you’re already doing the climb in your head, you might be worried that we’re just adding an extra grind with the new tiers. That’s why we’re dropping to four divisions instead of five. So yes, that means next season there won’t be a single Bronze V player in all of League of Legends.


Mango Thunder: On the art side, we haven’t looked at tiers in a long time. Right now, we’ve got a ton of shiny metals, but they don’t feel really connected to Runeterra or the experience of playing Ranked.

The new visuals for Ranked will be inspired by the factions, materials, and aesthetics of Runeterra. And it will reflect the battle scars of your climb. We want the Ranked experience to feel like going from a scrappy brawler in Iron and Bronze, to a warlord in Plat, and finally feeling like the battle among gods at the upper tiers. We’re still just in concepting phase, so be sure to let us know how you feel about the new approach.


Sapmagic: Everyone on the team is excited to bring you these changes and more in the preseason. As always though, we need your feedback. Share your comments and questions and we’ll address as many as we can in the coming weeks. Thanks for playing, and we’ll see you on the Rift.

Mango Thunder: pew pew

If you’re at the top of the Ranked ladder and are wondering how these changes will affect you, head over to our dev blog for an in-depth breakdown. As always, we’re open to your feedback, so let us know what you think and hit us up with your questions in the comments—or, better yet, click the Ask Riot button below.

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