I have climbed into Master's twice this season from Plat 5. Once when the season started from placements, and once because I got disconnected four times due to internet issues and then played a long string of games with other master friends who were bored and decided to role switch (we lost a lot). A lot of changes happen in Diamond that make climbing through it more challenging. I've had the following observations and they may help you. These are habits that begin to fade as you climb towards master. They exist there as well, but less so.
1) Many Diamonds have specific play style and cannot adjust.
There are straight up one tricks (the novas, the valeeras). There are macro/map players (abathurs, azmodans). There are AFK split pushers (murkys, zagaras). A lot of these players made through plat honing their style and they are convinced it will carry them to master. They pick their heroes no matter what and after 300 games they are still sitting in the same rank all season. A very small portion of these players are actually good enough one tricks to make it to master, where eventually they will be target banned or forced to pick their hero so early they can be countered.
Their Innate belief: What I've been doing got me through plat so it will get me to master.
What they need to do: Realize that skill is still required, but situations and meta matter the closer you get to master.
How to play around them: Adjust your play style. They will not change so you must. Don't waste time "complaining". They are going to AFK splitpush zagara? Tell your team…"play safe and stall the objective so zagara gets value".
2) Many Diamond players give up when they're down.
These are players who draft late game heroes (think zuljin) and throw a fit at level two and say GG. When they get down they continue to compound to their losses to make it a full stomp. Down three levels? They feed instead of sit in a bush and safe soak. I have won at least 20 games this season with zero keeps while they enemy had all their structures. It always involved even talent tier at 20, one late game team fight win over an objective or boss and a push to core (timers are long enough you can usually straight to core at 20 even if the lane isn't opened yet.
Their Innate belief: Losing the first objective is game over and the enemy will continue to play flawlessly.
What they need to do: Realize that the enemy team will probably get over confident and all you need to do to climb is turn a few sure losses into wins. Its the difference between going 5-3 and 4-4.
How to play around them: Odds are the other 3 players on the team still want to win. Help them focus on small objectives. Say things like "Play for 20". "Soak safe". Celebrate any small victory.
3) Many Diamond players have not begun to practice heroes for a higher meta.
There are many heroes that are strong in Plat and Low Diamond that are not strong above that. You know when someone first picks Kaelthas or Azmodan that they are truly a plat player who got lucky enough to be placed in Diamond. A lot of players in Diamond don't understand the Meta or how their hero fits in. For example, when the enemy team first picks Zeratul (who should always be banned right now), then you must pick or ban Jaina. It's pretty simple. Master players will pick heroes so the enemy team can't have them. The higher you go, the more rules like this apply. Warning: This is very fine balancing act though because I've also seen many Diamonds pick heroes just because they think the meta hero is open. That's alright, if you intend to get good at that hero.
Their Innate belief: If I'm just good enough at my heroes I can carry no matter what.
What they need to do: Realize that they need to be practicing meta for higher levels before they "get there".
How to play around them: Always look one level of meta ahead. Ban meta heroes your team can't play. Get good at Meta heroes so you can play them and take them away.
4) Many Diamond players think they can win just through doing Macro.
This is a hard transition because people do not know how to macro consistently all the way through Diamond. But as you climb, eventually your dps/healer will know that they always get the hards on cooldown and push with it. Guess what, the other team knows that too. There are many games where Macro is about not losing rather than winning because both teams will do it well.
Their Innate belief: If I do Macro better we will win.
What they need to do: Realize that the enemy team will often be able to match that Macro the higher level of play you go and other skills are needed to win (forcing a fight when you have a cooldown advantage, safe soaking, playing with vision, driving your enemy out of minion soak range, setting up bush ganks).
How to play around them: Pick and play heroes that can macro as well as with game changing team fights.
5) Many Diamond players don't think cooldowns are a big deal.
This even happened to me just yesterday. We had used blessed shield, dragon arrow, and crushing jaws. The enemy team had mosh pit, wailing arrow, and divine shield up. Our D3 orphea said "Fight!!! You don't need to be scared of moshpit like sissies."
Their Innate belief: I can win no matter what.
What they need to realize: Um, no you can't. Your enemy would have to be straight up incompetent to lose a fight up five heroic abilities.
How to play around them: Call out cool downs. Don't get baited into fights you will lose. It's better to let one orphea die and learn a quick lesson and defend your keep than to all die and lose both keeps.
6) Many Diamond players don't know how to cut losses.
Let me paint a scenario. You're pushed out a bit top lane with your buddy. Your other three heroes are on the other side of the map. Out of the bush comes the enemy E.T.C and power slides your buddy with all four enemy heroes right behind. Unless you're anduin yanking kibbles out of the Lord of Terror's mouth, there is nothing you can do. Many diamond players don't recognize what I call the "Dead is Dead" scenario or unwinnable odds. You'll often see two players try to contest a boss after the enemy wiped three of them and still has five heroes up. Sure, there are youtube plays of such heroics working. But you can't climb with that strategy.
Their Innate belief: Maybe I can still win or I have to win this objective/boss at all costs.
What they need to realize: Losing any fight is fine if you walk away ready to minimize your losses. Dying also turns weak objectives/bosses into game winning scenarios.
How to play around them: Dead is dead. You might get screamed at for not "saving them". But if you can't turn the fight, you can't. You have no obligation to try.
There are a lot of other things but those were the biggest issues I saw and the greatest contrasts I see as you shift from D5 up into Master/GM. Hope it can be useful.
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© Post "Making the Transition from Low Diamond to Masters [Guide]" for game Heroes of the Storm.
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