Heroes of the Storm

Beating MMR Hell (Hint, its all in your head.)

HeroesoftheStorm 10 - Beating MMR Hell (Hint, its all in your head.)

I USED TO believe that MMR hell was a thing and that I was trapped there. After having my rank drop from Gold back down to Silver due to the recently launched Storm League system knocking me down — I have now climbed up to the edge of Platinum for the second time. I feel that I have a meaningful contribution to this conversation. For those in Bronze/Silver who think that they can't climb; realize the following:

  1. You auto lose 40% of your matches due to Trolls, Opposing Smurfs, Disconnects and Brain Deadz in your game… You auto win 40% for same reason when the situation is reversed and your opponent has the burden. The other 20% of the games you can win because you are better than your rank and perform as such. (Thanks NotParadox.)
  2. With a win rate between 50-60% climbing takes MANY games.
  3. Over the course of MANY games, you will experience losing streaks. Losing streaks have the potential to effect your mind set far more than win streaks, and far beyond the number of rank points you lose. This is where i intend to contribute to the discussion.
  4. When you allow the inevitable loss streaks to affect your winning mindset you will tilt – you will lose more – and you will have a negative win rate. If you don't understand that your mindset is contributing to the losses, and instead blame the system, you will perceive this as MMR hell.
  5. You may also simply be no better than your current rank, but we will assume for now that isn't the case.

Suggestions to climb:

A. Play a lot of games. Unless you are far far better than your rank, you will have to play a lot of games. I used to cry MMR hell after 50 games. The first time I climbed from Silver 5 to Gold 2, it took around 200 games. I did it in 2018 and again in 2019. It was much easier the second time.

B. Accept loss streaks. Stop playing after 2-3 losses. Stop playing ranked for the rest of the day. A short break or even an hours long break is usually not enough. Especially if the same player population at your rank is still active when you return. Test the waters again the next day. The more chance-y your match-ups are, the more you will tilt because you will inherently feel that your play has negligible impact on the game. DO NOT ALLOW A LOSS STREAK TO CONVINCE YOU THAT THE GAME IS STACKED AGAINST YOU. You cannot FORCE a win.

C. Get a climbing buddy. This climbing buddy should be very close to your rank (or below) and should have as high a win-rate in Storm League as possible (55% or more). Be willing to change that climbing buddy if necessary as you rank up.

D. Avoid playing on the weekend (FRI afternoon -SUN) unless you are with strong climbing buddies. The reason is simple. Weekend matches will have more weekend warriors, who will be less consistent in their play. Weekend warriors frequently play below their placed skill level. When your team plays below its rated skill level you get auto-losses (which can happen at any time) but are more common on the weekends. Most importantly it will affect your mindset in future games.


E. Turn off team chat. Yes, in ranked. This is controversial, but depending on your personality it can generate terrific results. Speak minimally in draft, and just before the match type "use pings please." Don't make a big deal about chat being off or it will tilt your teammates. If 40% of your games are being lost because of LOSERS in your world… you can't afford the negative communication impact that may come from chat. Over many games, any coordination advantage you gain by verbal communication will be negated by the energy that dealing with losers will cost. Pings are incredibly effective. This is generally less of an issue in voice chat, but, know thyself. A jerk-face in voice chat is highly tilting.

F. Be a Jedi. Here's how: Win-streaks allow you to believe that wins are plentiful and more will come if you play well. They facilitate relaxed and intelligent play. Loss-streaks make you think that you must effect a win by FORCE. Interestingly, many heroes in the game are best played by expertly treading the thin line between making sick plays and death. If you try to force the win, you won't be watching, waiting, and choosing the best moment to capitalize on your opponent's weakness. Watch, listen, and feel the ebb and flow of the battle. Success comes when you are attentive to what the game IS not what you think it SHOULD be.

G. Unfortunately, If you are no better at HOTS then your current rank, you cannot climb. Even an MMR hard reset, which we are not ever going to get, will not help you. You are not in MMR hell. You must change the way you are playing the game. There are many ways to improve game-play, but they are beyond the scope of this post.


In conclusion, Loss streaks will happen. Loss streaks are a function of the random nature of inter-player dynamics in match made games. MMR hell is not cause by loss streaks. MMR hell is a perception that is created as a result of loss of streaks. Mentality deeply effects performance. It is well understood that humans will do more to avoid pain, than to gain pleasure. Fear and pain are powerful motivation in human behavior as well as human learning. Fear and pain of loss is stress. A stressed in-game mindset is tilt. Tilt loses games that "could go either way", and it is on these games that you must make your climb. It is your response to loss streaks that cause you to lose even more and create the "MMR hell" phenomenon. Change that response and you will change your MMR. But do prepare yourself to play a LOT of games and manage your expectations accordingly.

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