The Elder Scrolls

A comprehensive post about the state of the TESL ladder.

This post is in no way meant to take away anyone's recent achievements on ladder. Its more of a post trying to wonder if Sparky has solutions to the ladder or if it will perpetually stay the same.

I understand this post will come off elitist and possibly condescending to a large majority of the community. However its a point that I would like to get across. I'm not going to claim I'm the highest level of TESL player, I'm no superthx, Warriors7, or Thuldir. But I've been invested in the scene for a while and have a few observations.

Ladder is almost meaningless if you have competitive aspirations. – I want to explain this thoroughly to make sure my meaning is not misconstrued. Every game of TESL you play you can always reflect on your own plays. You can learn from almost every game as the only games that are played perfectly are the ones where you draw the back end of your deck, don't play anything until turn 5 and get smorc'd down. Almost every game has a refinement that could be made due to the complexity of TESL and the multiple thought processes that you can cycle through. When you queue into ladder and half of the decks aren't coherent or aren't built properly. This is not to say people cannot experiment or that creativity is not encouraged. The point is that when you're trying to discover new things yourself and what works, playing against ramp token spellsword, or hist grove aggro tribunal there's not a lot to learn. A vast part of the complexity is being able to react and to play around what your opponent wants to do or attempts to do. This isn't an open deck list complaint this is complaint about being able to refine your instincts in TESL which is impossible on ladder. I would say the biggest problem is ladder does not currently allow for you to play the game on the highest level.

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Team Rankstar is TESL's most decorated competitive team. Last month the members of their team, EndoZoa, Lateralus, IlikePasta, Superthx, PDMD and Mattyborch all seemed uninterested in placing on ladder or even making the top 100 due to a variety of reasons. Super and Endo and Pasta still competed in tournaments but felt no real compulsion to test on ladder anymore. The quality of ladder is declining and a part of it is players opting out of ladder or leaving the game due to a multitude of issues. (As the ones who cared enough to qualify for their own tournament that was meant to incentive ladder competitiveness had already qualified for the tournament and didn't need the ladder points). This isn't me saying what they're doing is wrong. Most of them who trained for TRS Classic did it off ladder in friendlies. Because thats the only place you can get consistent competitive games. Obviously scrimming off ladder is always going to be a practice with upside but I know none of them even considered ladder for more then familiarity purposes with decks. Should ladder be a place that TESL players consider a competitive environment?

What is the problem with an arbitrary cutoff of legends players or a deranking system? There is no incentive to play competitive decks on ladder either? The only payoff for pushing your rank outside of personal gratification is your name on a list. What is Sparky's intent for ladder? I know there is a variety of issues they're currently dealing with but ladder is a trainwreck at the moment. I believe that its the weakest its ever been and its not appearing to get better anytime soon. If there was a cutoff point for legends (or even a divide, x amount of players are like a higher level of legend where they match against only players past that arbitrary cutoff point) would help out ladder immensely. There's 2000+ legend players a season. What does say about legend? This ties back into the ladder problems. If a deck IS good enough to make it into the cutoff of the top players and whatever that number is then thats good for the deck. But currently when there's 2000+ people of a wide range of skill sets being pit against each other it seems more cheesy then competitive.

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Ladder seems pointless and a decent amount (not all) of the upper tier TESL players seem to have reflected that with their ladder playtime each month. I hope there's improvements to ladder and I'm not sure how many people agree with my viewpoint but I just wanted to put it out there for others to see. Thanks for reading.

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