Understanding League Promotions


There are little tricks and tips that people might have told you (get to X points, be in top 1 of division for Y amount of time, etc) about how to get a league promotion in Starcraft 2, but there is only one tried and true way to truly get promoted.

You will get promoted once you are consistently beating opponents in the league above yours.  Let’s quickly examine why this is below:

Examining MMR

For those of you who do not know, your MMR or Matchmaking Rank is your under-the-hood skill level in Starcraft 2.  When you win, it goes up.  When you lose, it goes down.  When it becomes on-par with players in the league above yours, you will get a promotion.  When it drops to the same as players in the league below yours, you will get a demotion.  Note that recently Blizzard changed their system so that it is impossible to get demoted mid-season, but the general rule applies; as soon as the new season starts, if your MMR is too low, you will get demoted.

Some interesting things to note about your MMR:

  • You only have an MMR in ranked games.
  • You have a separate MMR for each game type (1v1s, 2v2s, 3v3s, 4v4s).
  • You have a separate MMR for each team in team games (2v2s NoseKnowsAll+DeMusliM, 2v2s NoseKnowsAll+Mvp).
  • Your MMR is used when searching for a game.  You will usually be placed against an opponent with a very similar MMR as you.
  • When you beat an opponent with a higher MMR, your MMR increases more than if you beat an opponent with a lower MMR.

Awesome.  So this means that you just have to look at your MMR and you can tell when you are about to have a league promotion, right?  Correct!  Except there is only one semi-major flaw with this.  Your MMR is not visible to you or anyone else.  It is only visible to Blizzard.

Approximating Your Skill

EG Demuslim's Stats

While you cannot get at your actual MMR value, you still can approximate its value.  All you have to do is combine the interesting facts about the MMR to see this.  Note however that all of these approximations only work if you have a stable MMR.  If you have not played more than 50 games, then Blizzard does not have enough information to correctly place you and all the below information will not be relevant.

If you are constantly playing players just around your skill level, then on average you will be playing players who are both a little bit above your MMR and a little bit below your MMR.  This means that by looking at your opponent’s approximate MMR, you can take the average and approximate your own MMR.

However, without analyzing your opponent’s MMR by checking their opponent’s MMRs and thereby starting a never ending recursive loop, we can’t apply the same method to approximate your opponent’s MMR as we did to approximate ours.  So instead, simplify the whole matter by very vaguely checking their profile.  Are they in Platinum?  Claim that they have Platinum MMR.  Are they in Silver?  Claim they have Silver MMR.  Then, by looking at several of your most recent ladder games, you’ll be able to take the average and roughly guess what your MMR is.

Making the Final Step

Now in case you haven’t been able to see how yet, all of this MMR approximating does directly tie back to league promotions.  Once you have approximated your MMR, you will be able to roughly see what skill range you have.  However, Blizzard does not promote you to Gold if you have Gold MMR.  Blizzard will only promote you to Gold league if without a shadow of a doubt you have Gold MMR.  That means that not only do you need to have an MMR that is in the Gold Range, you have to have an MMR that is above the average MMR of all Gold league players.  Consistency here is key.  Once you have a consistent MMR that is above the average of Gold league, you are soon to get a promotion.

Thus, you can generalize all of this information to the initial statement at the top.  You will get promoted once you are consistently beating opponents in the league above yours.


Hope this made sense!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the IMBAbuilds Forums.