"I made GM! Now what?" Read this before you play Pro Ladder!
June 29, 2018 by Apero
You just hit Rank 21 and you feel amazing because now you finally get access to Pro Ladder! Congratulations! But… wait… what does that actually mean? How does this strange new playground work?
"I just made GM! Now what?" Read this before you play Pro Ladder!
You just hit Rank 21 and you feel amazing because now you finally get access to Pro Ladder! Congratulations! But… wait… what does that actually mean? How does this strange new playground work? Is it the same as ranked? When do you get access? What is ‘fMMR’ exactly? Why is it taking so long to find a game? This article aims to answer all the main questions that players new to the Pro Ladder might ask, but which can sometimes be hard to find.
Do I just need to hit 4300 or do I need to stay above 4300 to get access to Pro Ladder?
You only need to hit Grand Master, which currently occurs at 4300 MMR or Rank 21 on Ranked Ladder, to access Pro Ladder. You could reach Grand Master and then drop to 3000 MMR the very next day and you would still gain access. Did you make it to Rank 21? BOOM! You’re in Pro Ladder next season.
When can I start playing on Pro Ladder?
Many people reach Rank 21 and then are confused to see that they don’t have access to Pro Ladder immediately. That’s because after reaching Grand Master, you only gain access to the Pro Ladder at the start of the next Pro Ladder season. Pro Ladder seasons last two months and there is no fixed public schedule for start/finish dates, so just keep an eye out for announcements from CDPR. The trend so far for 2018 has been for a season to start at the beginning of the odd months and to end at the close of the even months. Once Pro Ladder is open to you, a 'Switch to Pro Ladder' button will appear in the Play menu where you normally enter Ranked matches.
OK, the season has begun, I can see the button, and I’m ready to go! What should I know before I begin?
There is only one major tip for new Pro Ladder players which is often overlooked: When you first gain access to Pro Ladder, play one game with each faction.
Why? Because Pro Ladder matches first-game players with other first-game players. Early in the season, many people are playing their first games with certain factions, and so it is not so bad. Later in the season though, most people have already played with multiple factions, and it could take 10-15 minutes to find another player looking for their first match with a faction on Pro Ladder. If you’re trying to play your first Monsters game 50 days into the season, you’re going to have a bad time.
How does matchmaking work on Pro Ladder?
This is still a bit of spooooooky mystery, but what we do know is:
- Players on their first match with a faction will be matched to other players on their first match with a faction
- Players are generally matched to other players with similar ‘current fMMR’ (explained below)
How does ranking work on Pro Ladder?
Pro Ladder rewards mastery of multiple factions, meaning you won’t be making it to the Gwent Open qualifiers by being #1 at any single deck. Specifically, your total score on Pro Ladder is calculated by adding up your four best factions’ peak fMMR.
What is fMMR? Is it similar to Ranked Ladder MMR?
You’ll already be familiar with MMR from Ranked Ladder, but on Pro Ladder you actually have separate MMR for each faction called fMMR. The default fMMR for each faction at the start of the season is 1200. The full value of your fMMR is unlocked over the first 100 games, with each game representing 1% of a rolling total. Your fMMR rises and falls with wins and losses (much like Ranked MMR), but until you’ve played 100 games, you’ll only have achieved a proportion of that score. Simply put, 50 games played = 50% of your fMMR.
To explain this more concretely, let’s look at the example below of Team Aretuza member Molegion. His Northern Realms (blue) score is incomplete, as he has not yet completed 100 games. It shows his current fMMR with Northern Realms is 1,227, but only 393 of those points are counted, as he’s only played 32 matches. 32% of 1,227 = 393 (rounded up). Once you’ve played 100 games with a faction, your current score and your fMMR will match exactly.
OK, I’ve played one game with each faction and have played 100 games with four factions. What happens to my Pro Ladder score now?
Your total Pro Ladder score will be taken from your best four factions by fMMR. Looking again at the example of Molegion, his total score (5,801) has been taken from his four best factions. Even if he had completed 100 games with Northern Realms, it would still be his worst faction and would not be counted toward his total. Sorry Molegion, no Henselt Happy Meal for you.
What’s the difference between your 'peak' faction score and ‘Current fMMR’?
A huge point of difference between Pro Ladder and Ranked Ladder is that your faction score is always the ‘peak’ fMMR you achieved with a faction this season. Of course, your current/ongoing fMMR rises and falls just like on Ranked Ladder, but once you’ve played 100 games only your top score will ever count towards your total. If we look at Molegion’s Nilfgaard score (in yellow), we can see that he has hit a peak of 1,484 fMMR in the past, but is currently on 1,463. Only the higher score will count toward his total – whew!
What does it mean to play ‘on peak’?
This terminology of your ‘peak’ fMMR is why you might hear some Pro Ladder players referring to playing or encountering other players who are ‘on peak’. Being ‘on peak’ basically means that your current fMMR and your peak fMMR (the score counting towards your total) are the same. This can be a nerve-wracking time for a player and/or can show that they’re on a winning streak.
When should I play to maximise my rank?
If your goal is to get the best possible score you can, then playing earlier in the Pro Ladder season is usually best, as that is when the highest number of people are in the mix, including newcomers, experienced Pro Ladder grinders, and the professional players. Mid-late season is generally when the more serious players settle in for the grind, and as such it is when you will face more pro players. I don’t know about you, but personally I fancy my chances better against everyday fans than against Adzikov and AndyWand!
What rank should I be trying to reach?
There are a few ranks which are important on Pro Ladder:
- Top 6: Automatic entry to the Gwent Open at season end.
- Top 50: The top 50 players on Pro Ladder as of 25 July 2018 will be eligible to play in a Gwent Challenger online qualifier.
- Top 100: Entry to the online qualifiers held over two days, from which the top two players gain access to the Gwent Open.
If it’s your first season, you might want to aim for Top 200 or Top 300, or alternatively set yourself a goal fMMR for your favourite faction/s.
What is a good fMMR to have?
Everyone starts Pro Ladder at 1200 fMMR as the baseline for each faction. As such:
- <1200: You probably don’t wanna be here
- 1200-1250: OK, you’re doing fine with this faction.
- 1250-1300: Nice! Great start.
- 1300-1400: You are showing some serious skill there Broseph.
- 1400-1500: Woah! Show-off!
- 1500+ : Just win Challenger already, dayummm.
Of course, the more time you have, the more games you can play, and the better your chances of pushing your peak score, so if you’re time challenged (I’m looking at you, parents) remember to be sensible when setting your goals.
Why do some players use Pro Ladder as a place to play meme decks?
Some people, after reading the above information, will think ‘Great! Now I know how it works and I’m gonna go out there and become World Champion!’. However, many people will read the above and think ‘Holy crap, that’s a lot of work and a lot of games and ain’t nobody got time for that’. If you’re not absolutely committed to making it to the Top 6, the Top 50, or the Top 100, then there’s no reason to take Pro Ladder too seriously.
As a result, some players will use Ranked Ladder to access seasonal rewards (titles, borders, etc.) and will play their ‘fun’ decks in Pro Ladder, since it’s an environment where you can test fun decks against good players without sacrificing access to those sweet, sweet rewards. Taking meme decks to casual can mean playing against beginners, which is often not a ‘true test’ of how a meme deck stacks up in competitive play. As such, Pro Ladder can be a tempting trial ground for decent players to bring their fun decks, sometimes to the frustration of those trying to seriously climb the ladder.
Do I stay in Pro Ladder forever now?
Unfortunately not. To stay on Pro Ladder, you must be in the top 90% of players (i.e. not be in the bottom 10%) AND play at least 50 games by the end of a season. If you haven’t done both of those things, then you will have to reach Rank 21/Grand Master on Ranked Ladder again.