Reflections on reaching Diamond

I made Diamond 3!  There are a lot of reasons in my head why I should maybe not be overly proud of that, but the truth is when that promotion came up I just grinned at the screen for a while; it felt great, and still does.

I'm so shiny.

What changed in my play? 

  • I spent some weeks off-racing, and noticing the difference in stress level when not "playing for keeps" on my main race helped me realize that I need to be a little more Zen about it.
  • That time off-racing improved my familiarity with Terran and Protoss.  I'm instinctively focusing medivacs against Terran now, for example, and that is coming from having been on the other side. The marines are like Pringles: crunch all you want, we'll make more.  Losing medivacs sucks in so many ways.  It's not like I'd never been told to focus medivacs, but now I don't need to be told.
  • A clan-mate suggested I try playing ladder with the sound off as a training exercise.  I was afraid to do it but then I did and it felt amazing.  I have so much more focus without an announcer in my ear crying about every little problem and development.  I'm looking at the mini-map more, which was the real intent of the exercise, and that is making my vision and map control better.  I'm more focused on the important things and less distracted by the little stuff.  I'd love to just keep playing this way but I probably do need to hear nuclear launch detected.
  • I've been playing some soothing music instead.  Between this and the sound being off I just don't get as panicked while playing when stuff is going south.  I see what's happening, I do what I can about it, and if that's good enough then great!  If not, well, I already did what I could, getting excited wouldn't have helped.
  • I got some informal coaching with better players, both in TAW and from a Zerg main who was off-racing Terran on ladder.  They'd smack me around and then we'd watch the replay together and I'd get some feedback.  It helped.  My gas timing has been really late and that is the fundamental reason why ZvT has felt so gross for so long.  

When I came back to ladder as Zerg, it felt completely different.  I was a modest but comfortable margin better than most of my opponents.  Where a wall had been, there was now an open door.

It's possible that it really *was* easier.  Maybe MMR inflation from F2P is really significant.  Maybe there are a bunch of Protoss taking MMR off of Terran with proxy oracle/robo and then handing it over to me.  Maybe the patch changes are pushing more Protoss into early aggressive playstyles that I feel comfortable against. Maybe D3 is just the new P1.  It's hard to say.  I wish I didn't have to question how much of this was my own improvement and how much of it was MMR chaos on the ladder.  At least I can say the difference wasn't infestor buff, because I haven't been building them.

I don't really have any advice for "getting to Diamond".  There are a thousand areas of possible improvement to your Starcraft game, you just pick a few and improve them.  Your MMR goes up and eventually you cross some arbitrary lines, but really it's not any different from achieving an MMR increase anywhere else on the spectrum.  You just get better at stuff.  That doesn't really drive clicks, but it's true.  Pick a thing and improve it.

Diamond 2, here I come.


  1. Congratulations!

    I think MMR inflation is huge at the moment. I used to play in HotS and I was high Gold, but never broke into Platinum. I came back a couple of weeks ago and I'm already platinum 1 and it feels like I'm gonna get to diamond soon.

    1. They moved the league boundaries in LotV so Bronze is much smaller and Diamond much bigger. This shifted everything down and being Platinum if you were previously in Gold is normal. But there may also be MMR inflation from F2P.


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