Who ruled the Hearthstone rankings after February?
Our monthly GosuRankings reports brings you an update on who were the best players and teams in Hearthstone following the February action.
Another month, another GosuRankings report. February was a relatively slow one for Hearthstone, with the majority of the tournaments being small-time online invitationals, with the exception of the ESL Legendary Series grand finals. Thus, with not many opportunities for points to be gained in bulk, the shifts in the standings were minor.
If you don't count a certain German juggernaut, that is.
What are the GosuRankings?
The GosuRankings are an Elo-based ranking system for players and teams, improved with a number of secret sauce modifications. The system uses the GosuGamers tournament database - which currently has over 450 tournaments, qualifiers and showmatches recorded - to track players' performance throughout their lifetime careers and calculates their Elo rank based on who and where they play.
One important factor of the GosuRankings is the different tournament importance, which themselves are determined by a number of factors like player and prize pools, offline/online events, international/local, format and so on. The higher a tournament is ranked, the more points are lost/gained while playing it in, so winning the World Championship means more than winning a qualifier for an online cup (obviously).
Below, we take a look at some of the bigger events that happened in February 2015 and who finished high in those. To exemplify the ranking importance, we've provisionally tiered them on the scale of "Tier 4" (lowest) to "Tier 1" (highest).
- Note 1: February's results aren't solely responsible for the final rankings; they merely add to players' lifetime career performances.
- Note 2: Tournament importance varies even within a particular tier (i.e. not all tier 2 events are equal)
- Note 3: Tiers are NOT the official way of determining/naming tournament importance by GosuCrew. These are used so that some basic mechanics of the system are articulated better to our readers.
|Event & prize pool||Tier||Winner||Runner-up|
|ESL Legendary Finals • $20,000||Tier 2||SIlentStorm||Chakki|
|The Pinnacle #3 • $5,000||Tier 2||Massan||Dog|
|HearthStats League • $5,000||Tier 2||ARee||DaleCZ|
|Kinguin Spring • $5,000||Tier 2||Lifecoach||Lothar|
|Heroes of Cards #1 • $3,000||Tier 3||Kolento||Lifecoach|
|ROOT Invitational • $2,300||Tier 3||Lifecoach||Chakki|
|Inven Invitational #2 • $1,000||Tier 3||StrifeCro||Firebat|
|GosuCup SEA Finals • $500||Tier 3||TrollTrollTroll||Havatite|
New season, new changes
The Hearthstone tournament scene is changing and so our rankings must, too, change. To be more in-line with how the 2015 climate is formed around the World Championship campaign, we'll be making a number of adjustments to how tournaments are ranked.
A) Invite-only tournaments will be ranked lower. This has been a long requested - and long discussed - change. Doing it in 2014 was dangerous as most of the HS tournaments were exactly that and it could've potentially led to a ranking without distinct leaders: fewer opportunities to get more points meant a lot of the players would be around the 1,000 starting point. However, in 2015, we feel obligated to address this. This is also connected with the requirements for Blizzcon points, which will hopefully force more tournaments to consider implementing open qualifiers.
We also want to give more chances for up and comers to break into the scene and appear in the rankings. If you win an event with an open qualifier portion, it will mean more than winning one where everyone's straight up invited and we think that's fair!
B) Tournaments that award WCS points will be ranked higher. Obviously, some 2015 tournaments will award more than just money, but valuable WCS points as well. These are tournaments with at least 16 players where at least half of the slots will be reserved for qualifiers. These events will be ranked higher than before for their extra stakes.
C) There will be a ranking cap to online tournaments. To complement А and to prevent "points farming" in high-prize invitational leagues, no online tournament will ever be considered Tier 1. Tier 1 rankings will only be reserved for offline events as they require significantly more commitment and preparation. When you set aside days for travelling to a foreign country, your wins should win more compared to when playing from your bedroom in your pajamas.
D) Team leagues' rankings have been re-evaluated. A lot has changed since the days of Gentlemen Cup and leagues like NEL are now properly organized and funded, with actual offline games. To reflect this, team league games will be ranked tangibly higher than before.
E) Players with less than 10 games will be hidden from the rankings. This is to prevent what we call "ranking anomalies" where a player wins one big event and immediately climbs to a high position. These hidden players will keep the points they earn but will only appear in the rankings after they play 10 matches.
These changes will be implemented in the coming days - i.e. they might not be in effect at the time you're reading this article - and will retroactively effect tournaments since the start of February.
We're constantly looking into more potential changes to our rankings but for the time being this is what we're ready to implement. Keep giving us feedback, however - we're listening.
World's top 3
All ranking numbers are as of March 5th. It's possible that rankings have changed at press time.
For a second time in a row, Cong "StrifeCro"Shu holds the world #1 in the GosuRankings, though not for the lack of competition. While last month it was only James "Firebat" Kostesich gunning for the spot, February also marked the deafening advance of Nihilum's Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy.
Honestly, the only thing that saved StrifeCro from dropping out of the top was his Inven Invitational #2 victory combined with his great overall record. Despite being a minor event, wins against players like Savjz and Firebat helped support StifeCro's not exactly rich tournament life last month. StrifeCro played only six games in February and had it been a longer month, he could've easily be overthroned.
In fact, that's exactly his position at the time of writing of this article as Lifecoach has finally found strength to topple the GvG king.
Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy, for the lack of a better word, is a weird type of player. He's said multiple times, including in a recent interview with GosuGamers, that he's not particularly moved by monetary success and he's in Hearthstone for the love of the game. At the same time, though, this love didn't bring him to many tournaments in 2014, even though his deckbuilding prowess has shown times and again that he's easily one of the most strategicly-minded players in the game.
Everything in Lifecoach's career before 2015 was on-and-off appearances. He would not play for two months, then have a terrible month, followed by a great month. He would stop for another three or four weeks, then go to an offline event and almost win it. "Wild card" would be putting it midly and betting on him was pure madness.
Moving from the semi-professional Lucky Draw to the fully-comitted Nihilum is what did wonders for Lifecoach. Ever since his disappointing debut in HearthStats League, the former poker player has been on a burning-hot streak. Second in Pinnacle 2, losing to world's #1 StrifeCro. Second in Heroes of Cards a month later, losing to 2014's player of the year Kolento. And finally first at Kinguin Spring after a one-sided stomp against team-mate Lothar. Just four losses in his last 20 games.
So this is what happens, when Lifecoach decides to give a damn.
It hasn't been a good month for the world champion. Ever since the loss at Inven Invitational #2, James "Firebat"Kostesich has been on a skid and his next four games were all losses. These include round one eliminations in all three of HearthStats League, Kinguin Spring and the very recent ESL Katowice online round, played on March 3rd. His enormous points reserve was what kept him in the top three, even though TiddlerCelestial and Dog were seriously shooting for the coveted spot.
Fortunately for the world champ, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to make a return in March. Even though he's out of the Katowice run, he's guaranteed appearance at Viagame's HouseCup #2 as well as Gifinity Spring Masters. He'll also have four KPL matches before the end of March - next one being against Sjow - which could put his record back on track.
Or destroy it further.
Unfortunately, the GosuRankings still doesn't allow us to adequately track team rankings. Future iterations of the ranking system are planned to include an algorithm which can calculate that based on members' individual performances (i.e. every win a player scores helps not only him but his team as well) but for now this is still uncharted territory.
Nevertheless, we believe ranking teams is fun even if it's based on the simplest math of averaging Elo scores. Note that only teams with at least three actively competing team members have been ranked, so if you don't see a particular team for which you know its players are good and winning tournaments, it's likely because of that.
Note: The averaged rankings have been calculated as of March 9th.
After the monstrous ascend of Lifecoach, paired with the excellent overall records of its other two spearheads ThijsNL (#2 EU) and Rdu (#20 EU), Nihilum barely managed to overcome Cloud 9 at the top. The difference is marginal, mere five points, but for captain Lothar this day will be one for celebration.
Not so much for Cloud 9 captain Marcin "Gnimsh" Filipowicz. His fall towards the bottom of the rankings after failing to pass the 50% win-rate threshold for five months in a row has dragged his team to the second position, despite his team-mates doing their best in tournaments. It's also been an uneventful year for former NA king Drew "TidesofTime" Biessener who's only played two matches since the start of the year.
Next come Archon, holding their top three position, though coming dangerously close to dropping it. The new blood the team signed, particularly Paul "Zalae" Nemeth, looks promising but Archon are in the same position as Cloud 9 to some extent - their captain is playing less and less and being split between streaming and running a business, he's nowhere near the results he had during the summer of 2014.
Newly formed Trig Esports sneak in as fourth in the rankings, having recently picked up the powerfist of Faramir, Dtwo and Powder, formerly of IHearthU. While the three are yet to bring any achievements for the Trig family, it shows just how valuable they are if they are, on average, worth almost as much as the entire roster of Archon.
Finally, we have Tempo Storm, refusing to drop out of the top five, though losing their top three spot from last month. The Reynad boys have been having success in the Chinese NEL but the fact is that the team is still mostly carried by the shoulders of Petar "Gaara" Stevanovic. There's a good chance this changes, though: Hyped is playing in the finals of the Elite Invitational and they still have the NEL championship in sight. We could be looking at a very different Tempo Storm in 30 days' time.
World top 20
Europe top 20
NA top 20
China top 20
Asia top 20
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