Legend is a Lie

Legend is a lie.

When I started to write this I wanted to focus on the statistics behind legend, but the more I wrote, the more I hated legend. Not legend itself, but the ideas around it. I conducted a very not scientific poll on my own twitter and found that 33.3% of respondents thought ONLY legend players are “good at Hearthstone” and 26% ONLY counted top 200 legend as “good.” Is this true? Are only legend players good at Hearthstone? No. There. Article done. Don't believe me? Alright let's fucking go on this wild ride together.

In the thread, a great many people tried to explain what they thought the word “good” meant. Some claimed that if you didn't make error free plays you weren't good. I had to check my poll again. Did I accidentally ask for a "perfect player?" No I didn't. Even the best players in the world make mistakes in almost every game. C’mon, people! We need to stop being so fucking hard on ourselves.

Following a discussion with several community members, I tweeted at Iksar to see if he could post some updated stats for player rankings. He shared that, even with the inclusion of ranked floors, not much as changed for the overall stats from their original post in 2014. Only 0.3% of ALL Hearthstone players hit legend in November of 2019, and this is actually DOWN from December of 2014. According to Iksar, this is roughly consistent with other months. This tracks, since hitting requires such a combination of time, skill, and luck.

Ranks Distribution November 2019

Let’s compare these numbers to something I’m sure all Hearthstone players can personally relate to...college athletics. Did you know that only about 7% of high school athletes go on to play some sort of collegiate athletics? So if Rank 5 players aren’t good, then maybe college athletes aren’t “good,” either.

Let’s compare to another common topic: standardized tests. The top 6% of test-takers got 30s on the ACTs or 2100s on their SATs. That’s just shy from the average Ivy league requirements.

One last comparison. In Overwatch, if you were a top tier Diamond player or a low tier Master’s player you are around the same percentile as a rank 5 and up player. In order to reach Hearthstone’s legend percentile in Overwatch, you’d have to not only be in Overwatch’s Grandmaster rank, but at the highest tier of grand master. The fanatical devotion and gatekeeping the Hearthstone fan base seems to have for what is "good" is truly unrivaled.

On some level, I understand. It is easy to be at the top of the hill and look at the people climbing and think, "ohh those fools, if only they were as smart as I am." At the end of the day, though, that isn't healthy. Why can't someone who isn't perfect at a game still be “good” at it? Do you only tell your friends you're "good" at something if you're in the 99th percentile? If so, then why the fuck are we using the word "good" at all anymore?! Is a burger not "good" unless it's the best burger you've ever had? Are you saying In-N-Out isn’t good?! OUTRAGEOUS!

The high standard that players hold themselves to in Hearthstone is utterly absurd. You can be "good" at any rank. To say that you're only "good" at Hearthstone when you're in the top 1% of the 1% is like saying you're only "good" at school if you graduate Magna Cum Laude. So please, for all of us, let's calm the fuck down.

Allow me to propose what Iconsider to be a much more elegant solution so we can stop this absurd idea that only the best of the best and the flawless are good. Instead, consider this:

Rank 25-50=Playing the game on rare occasion/An enjoyer of Hearthstone

Rank 25-20= Playing a lot and just likes to fuck around/A Lord Gribas (shoutout to my former co-host)

Rank 20-15= Working to get better all the time/A student of Hearthstone

Rank 15-10= Good at Hearthstone/ A Hearthstone Fanatic

Rank 10-5= Excellent at Hearthstone/ A Hearthstone Scion

Rank 5-1= Superior at Hearthstone/ A Hearthstone Lover… in a sexual way

Legends= Buck wild amazeballs/ A Hearthstone Savant

High Legend= The Best of the very best/A Grandmaster!... what? That’s already taken? Fuck… umm okay okay I got this how about… A diamond league player?? No? Fuck it.

There. Are we happy? People of all ranks can be good. At the end of the day, be happy with your play. When you see people who are hitting legend, or even rank five, remember to just set goals for yourself. Legend takes a lot. You’re not bad because you “only” hit rank ten. You’re not bad if you “only” hit rank 15. If anyone tells you otherwise, remind them it’s only a children’s card game and you believe in the Heart of the Cards.


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