I've been seeing a lot of redundant questions here about Ranked Battles, i.e. what ships to take, when does it start, such questions that pop up every season. Hopefully this will answer any questions you newer players have about ranked.
For you salty captains that have ranked out several times, this is not for you. However, if you continue then feel free to add your own experiences or correct anything I may get wrong.
This next season (Season 17) will be played at T8 including carriers on Domination mode. The season starts July 22. WG will publish more details the day before the season starts, where you can see exactly what rewards you will get for each rank.
I have ranked out four times since I've started playing, and it gets easier every season. The first season sucks though: you will go through a lot of bad teammates, bad RNG, and some bad play on your end too. But after you rank out in your first season, you then have a much better understanding of what it takes to win, which applies to Random and Clan Battles as well. For comparison, my first season I ranked out I played about 270 battles (which is a LOT) and the next season I ranked out after 94.
You will not rank out overnight. If you go on a losing streak, then stop and pick it up again later. The worst thing you can do is dig yourself deeper and deeper into a losing hole. My rule is I will stop if I lose three in a row, regardless of saving a star or not. Also, do not play games in parallel, meaning if you die and go back to port, you immediately start another game in a different ship. That never goes well and you end up losing stars.
Speaking of saving stars, do not go into a ranked battle with a 'star-saving' mentality, meaning you expect your team to die quickly so you just focus on farming damage. That is such a toxic mindset that will not help you or your team at all. Your mentality should be one of helping your team, but not depending on them.
Another thing I've been seeing is people asking which ships to take, which is baffling to me. Unlike Random or Clan Battles, there exists no meta that dictates what ships to take. Even the last season with the spam of Sinop, Belfast and Haida, I ranked out using mostly Helena. The ship you take into Ranked should be the ship you feel most comfortable in, and one where you can deal damage without getting killed in return.
Most Ranked Battles are decided by which team can deal more damage and get more kills. Rarely will you see Ranked Battles go until one team hits 1000 points. You should choose your ship accordingly. For that reason, my primary ship will be Cleveland this season since it has great DPM, good AA, radar and I feel comfortable using it.
Another thing to pay attention to is the atmosphere. Some days there will be lots of BBs, then lots of radar cruisers. When you see these patterns, it's a good idea to choose your ship based on the atmosphere to counter whatever ship class is being spammed. For example, last season when I saw lots of cruisers in the queue, I would switch away from playing a DD and play a BB to counter them.
SECURE KILLS. Do not let a low-HP ship get away assuming someone else will finish them off. A low-HP ship can pump out as much damage as a full-HP one. That low-HP Asashio that just got away could come back to devstrike your CV and your BBs creating a crossfire.
Finally, NEVER give up on a game. If you are losing, then you do your damn best to turn it around. If losing is inevitable, then pump out as much damage as you can to save your star (capping also gives great XP). If you are winning, don't start dicking around; finish the game and secure the win.
Hope this helps clear up some things. Let me know if I missed anything relevant. Good luck this season!
P.S. If the enemy has an Enterprise, God help you.
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