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Scott Kostov | 5. August 2022

The Ascendant rank impact one the Valorant ladder

In case you haven’t kept up with the Valorant patch notes, Riot Games have decided to add a new ranked tier into the game. The Ascendant rank hit the live servers with patch 5.0, which is the start of the current Episode.

Ascendant rank added to Valorant

It might seem counterintuitive to add a brand new rank to the game in the middle of the year, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But the developers gave some insight into their thought process in the patch notes, and it makes sense given their track record. Unlike Overwatch and CS:GO, which were created, ran, and stopped getting updated through a vicious cycle, Riot Games don’t operate like that. Fans can argue that CS:GO is the perfect FPS game and doesn’t need updates, but Riot had League of Legends at the top of the world in 2016 and kept working on it. Keeping the game fresh and resolving occurring issues is one way to make sure a new audience is drawn to the game to keep it growing. 

So why is this rank being added you might ask? Well Riot did the same thing in League by adding the Grandmaster tier, with the same intent. What this new rank does is make the higher ranks harder to get and makes them more exclusive, while relieving the lower ranks of the congestion.

Ascendant rank low elo impact

Before this update, only 15% of players were ranked Platinum One or above. The Bronze and Silver ranks hosted more than 50% of the entire player base, without much movement being possible. Riot couldn’t overlook the fact that players being stuck in the same elo for longer periods would demotivate them to play the game. The same was prevented in League by removing the Promotion series and adding the Grandmaster tier. But if the climb was made easier in Valorant it would cause the same issue of overcrowding a rank, just in the higher Gold and Platinum tiers. So this new rank should fix both issues without creating new ones. This is the ranked distribution before the addition of the Ascendant rank.

RANK PERCENT OF PLAYERS
Iron  10,8%
Bronze  26,5%
Silver  27,1%
Gold  19,5%
Platinum  9,9%
Diamond  5 %
Immortal  2%
Radiant 0.03%

Ascendant rank high elo impact

The issue Valorant high elo was facing was the overcrowding of the Immortal rank and poor matchmaking. Depending on the time of the day, server, and lobby MMR, a player who barely escaped Diamond and will soon return there, falls into the same bracket pool as the 27,000 Immortal players on the server and ends up in games with Radiant pro players. Needless to say, this was a serious issue since the skill discrepancy between those and the Radiant players is on par with the Iron and Platinum players. League had this problem where players were hoarding into the Master tier below Challenger, and all kinds of players were getting matched up versus pro players. Pro players would get their games ruined on stream in front of tens of thousands of viewers by boosters, inters, griefers, and match-fixers among other issues. Now since Grandmaster and Ascendant were introduced to the games, these ranks stir up competition. This makes it so that only people that truly care enough or are pursuing an amateur pro career are fighting for the elite echelons of the ranked ladder.

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Credit: Reddit user Mr_Aleko

Ranked ladder impact

As you can see in the graphic above this addition has shaken up the ranked ladder quite significantly. Only 1% of the player base is now in Iron, compared to the 7% it was in the previous Episode. Now the Bronze and Silver ranks have loosened up a bit with almost 50% of the players being Gold or higher. The Silver rank distribution is still higher than before but that’s because the new placements limits converge most of the players there. Diamond 1 is now in the top 13% of the player base, up from the previous 2,5%. This means that the top 5000 players who were previously Immortal 3 can’t get in the same game as the top 25000 players who were Immortal 1 or higher but are now Ascendant ranks.

Header: Play Valorant/ Riot Games