Smurfs: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly - Q&A

This topic is aimed to regular players wanting to know more about smurfs, and more specifically to those having issues facing them. With one exception, all the profiles linked here have been anonymized, as it is not the purpose of this thread to have those users individually targeted nor denounced.

               SMURFS - The Good, the Bad & the Ugly - Q & A

                    What it is, and how to deal with it

Table of contents

I - Definitions - What is a smurf
II - How to recognize a smurf
III - How many smurfs are there
IV - Why is it bad - What are the consequences
V - Teamgames smurfing
VI - How to deal with it
VII - TL;DR (summary)

This topic was intended as a reference resource about smurfing in SC2, and as such became quite long. However I perfectly understand that most may not want to know everything about it, so the table of content is here to help you navigate directly to the parts you want to read :

Just CTRL+F twice, copy-paste the name of the chapter you want to read, and press enter. :ballot_box_with_check:


What is a smurf ?

To smurf is to play on an account which isn’t your main one.

  • High level players (M1 → pros) use this not to be spied upon (builds, moves) while laddering.
  • Regular users (M2 → gold) use this in conjunction to freelosing, deliberately lowering their MMR in order to play lower level users.


Why ? - What are the uses of smurfing, and why some of them are good, and others bad.

There is some confusion going there : some players do smurf to play anonymously, and some do freelose in order to play lesser users. Most people will call both smurfs, but the aim and the consequences are very different. Anyway, let’s break down the “why” behind those.

Progamers' smurfs

  • We’ll start with those to illustrate that there are legit uses of smurfing. Having a secondary account, which can’t easily be linked to you, is useful for high level users, as they do, like most of us, use the ladder as training grounds. Yet, as strategies are the heart of the game, they might wish to create new builds, or refine new strategies without their competitors spying on them. This, so they can’t be copied/countered until they have revealed their strategies in a tournament. Leading to the main legit use of smurfing : avoiding being spied/copied by others. That’s what high level/progamers do, and that’s also the primary use of barcodes. Those are what I would call, the good smurfs. :cowboy_hat_face:

The major difference with the other types of smurfs, is that they DO NOT freelose. They conceal their identity and that’s all. They’re not trolls, nor immature, nor frustrated. Or at least, not as often as the others. XD

  • The second legit use of smurf is much less common, it being the casters/tutorial makers doing Bronze to Masters series. If we put aside that executing a strategy with a master’s execution somewhat biases the results, those are used to demonstrate strategies applicable to the different levels of play, and will be useful to beginners searching for builds adapted to their developing skills. This requires a one time series of freeloses in order to reach bronze MMR, but once they’ve reached it they have no reason to continue doing so, and will not repeatedly play users of the same level. One might also add this is a very infrequent use, that most will never ever encounter.

Freelosers (common smurfs)

Those are what people commonly call smurfs, as their numbers are way higher than those of the high level players. Their main characteristic is that they freelose, in other words they do leave a game they didn’t lose, most commonly in the first 10 seconds. Hence lowering their MMR, and effectively playing users below their real skill. There a variety of reasons behind this :

  • Can’t stand frustration/defeat/ladder anxiety/stress. SC2 can be a frustrating game, and due to its hypercompetitive design, a great deal of effort can be required in order to effectively improve beyond one’s limits. Some users have gotten so invested that they can’t stand that frustration anymore. And so they want to win in a relaxed manner, or just don’t have the courage to play a fair game anymore.

And so, instead of accepting that a defeat is most of the time due to one’s own mistakes, they refuse it altogether. And so they do massively freelose, in order to reach a MMR where they’ll almost always win the games they invest themselves into.

Hence, reporting the frustration over the players they meet. Those are the majority of the smurfs that players of low to intermediate levels will encounter.

  • Can’t stand a specific MU : a variant freelosing only some match-ups, because they can’t stand the other race’s possibilities in that MU or have a style that does applies particularly badly in that case. They start by cheesing, and then, when they are irremediably convinced the MU is imbalanced, do freelose it altogether. Most end up only a few 100-300 under their real MMR however ; and will often be willing to admit it. Though minority, it’s more frequent than one would know. One could partly understand them, but for one they won’t improve if they don’t confront those difficulties, and for two the consequences for the gamers they do play against are the same than against other freelosers.

We could call those two types, The Bad. :cowboy_hat_face:

  • Enjoying in trolling, preying on weaker than you. Those are the ugly ones : experimented users who get bored/stagnate in their own leagues, and who kill time by winning their opponents in the most ridiculous/humiliating manners possible. That’s certainly an immature behavior (some even compared that to bullying colleagues at school), but hopefully they are minority.

We recently had a gold player from our community who boasted how easily he had trolled into complete panic a bronze player. Let me tell you our reaction wasn’t the one he expected.

But yeah, there are some users who not only feel contempt at destroying beginners, but also brag about it. One of them, a master 3 Z/P went as far as sending one of his replays vs a gold player to a well known caster, Lowko.

Here is the list of his accounts :

To users with a keen eye, there are multiple clues hinting the smurfing in this video. More about it on another thread. Since he wished to have his performance publicly displayed on Youtube, he will be the only user that I did not anonymize on that post.

Non freelosing smurfs

With SC2 going free to play, rose another type of smurfs, who don’t freelose regularly, but recreate new accounts, which are initially deliberately placed under their true level. And that gives you users with abnormally low career games for their leagues, and often abnormally high winrates as well.

Some of them then switch to unranked (thus ending up playing at their real level but with a displayed league way below it) ; others simply make sure to never get out of the provisional MMR state, or just start another account again if they do. A good proportion of those just transition to regular play afterwards though, specially if they made new contacts in teamgames with that account.


There are several clues that could hint that your opponent is indeed a smurf. Ingame skill put aside, a league past reached higher than the current one, unusually high APM with matching skill, an uncustomized account playing random, a high level of play with a low level of games played (for example D3 with 10 games played), etc.

In fact those are only hints. The most reliable way to confirm someone as a freelosing smurf, is to spot multiple freeloses in his profile’s history.

  • If you see several of those, then you can be sure your opponent is without doubt a smurf/freeloser.

If you don’t see them :

  • they could’ve happened in the past (beyond recent profile history), or you could be facing a non freelosing smurf. Others criteria are then required to affirm that : a total amount of career games abnormally low compared to the league (for example platinum with a 10 games career), a sustained abnormally high winrate, a displayed league abnormally low outside of provisional state (for example if a master 1 is being played by a silver league user), or if the players’ career summary informs you that he reached much higher leagues several times in the past with the same race (≥ 2 leagues at least).

  • Or your opponent after all isn’t a smurf. Facing a player that has only been one league above current, or more but with another race isn’t enough to consider him a smurf. A player with seemingly high APM could just be spamming. It’s time to look at your mistakes rather than the opponent’s feats.

More threads on the subject :
Smurfing ruins the game
Smurfing is super duper silly


It’s quite difficult to assess precisely. I hadn’t the means to do a randomized sampling at first, so I began by simply reporting the proportion of smurfs I met at my MMR (P1-D3). But with good advice, and a bit of help, that changed, so I will separate my purely observational player-experience report, and the fully randomized sampling I’m currently doing.


That’s how many smurfs I met directly, as a player. It has the double bias of being applied only at one limited MMR range, and of not being independent from my gaming habits. However it’s quite precise regarding freelosing detection, as I have access to an up to 80 games history, with their exact duration and early events description.

With those limits in mind, here are the proportions of smurfs I encountered in my own region, at P2-D3 MMR :

Weeks 18 & 19 2020 : 15.56% of confirmed smurfs, 84.44% of regular players (including 12.22 undefined).

Weeks 20 & 21-2020 : 17.50% of confirmed smurfs (freelosers), 82.5% of regular players (including 18.75% undefined).

Weeks 22 & 23-2020 : 22.39% of confirmed smurfs (19.40% of freelosing + 2.99% of non freelosing) ; 77.61% of regular players.

Weeks 24-> 26 2020 : 22.81% of confirmed smurfs (21.05% of freelosers + 1.66% of non freelosing) ; 77.19% of regular players.

Weeks 27-> 29 2020 : 24.73% of confirmed smurfs (22.58% of freelosers + 2.15% of non freelosing) ; 75.27% of regular players.

Weeks 30-> 32 2020 : 20.90% of smurfs (14.93% of freelosers + 5.97 of non freelosing) ; 79.10% of regular players.

Global :

  • 20.64% of confirmed smurfs (all categories) over a 511 players sample.

About the method used :

  • Matchmaking used as randomizer.
  • Users with ≥ 3 recent freeloses considered as confirmed freelosing smurfs (≥ 2 freeloses prior to week 24-2020).
  • Users with ≤ 3 freeloses in recent games history, but with major profile inconsistencies
    ◦ Total career games too low for MMR ( < 50 for platinum, < 100 for diamond)
    ◦ ≥ 2 leagues ≥ 2 times with the same race.
    ◦ ≤ 2 leagues of his opponent outside of provisional MMR.
    ◦ ≥ 75% global 1v1 winrate with ≥ 20 games played.
    considered as confirmed non-freelosing smurfs.
  • Users without freeloses nor significant inconsistencies considered as regular players.
  • Users who couldn’t be confirmed as smurfs, but with significant profile inconsistencies considered as undefined.
  • MU smurf : % of confirmed smurfs freelosing only specific match-ups.


Those are fully randomized reports, where I do randomize the MMRs of EU 1v1 ladder players within the range of the league studied, and then pick at random players at that same MMR to find the one I will inspect. From there, I look at their profile and games history, via SC2 API or via the ingame menus. The detailed procedure is described here.

This method provides the advantages of :
— being nearly free of selection biases, as the players selected are now completely independent from me as a player.
— Being applicable to the whole MMR range (and not only to my league).

However it’s less sensitive when it comes to freeloses detection ; and the size of my samples is currently quite limited. With those limits in mind, here are the results, sorted by league :


Gold league — Weeks 31-32 2020 : 23.81% of confirmed smurfs (11.43% of freelosers + 12.38% of non freelosing) ; 76.19% of regular players, over a 105 users sample.


Silver league – Weeks 33->35 2020 : 20.95% of confirmed smurfs (13.33% of freelosers + 7.62% of non freelosing) ; 79.05% of regular players over a 105 users sample.


Bronze league – Weeks 36->38 2020 : 28.57% of confirmed smurfs (22,86% of freelosers + 5.71% of non freelosing) ; 71.43% of regular players over a 105 users sample. Corrected estimates for population : 19.74% of confirmed smurfs ; 80.26% of regular players

Global :

  • 21.5% of confirmed smurfs (all categories) over a 315 players sample (corrected estimate).

About the method used :

  • Randomized MMR sampling within one league tier.

  • Randomized player selection in rankedFTW at the MMR sampled.

  • Players with ≥ 3 freeloses in their games history considered as freelosing smurfs.

  • Users with ≤ 3 freeloses but major profile inconsistencies considered as non freelosing smurfs.

    Career games < 40 gold, < 80 plat, < 160 diam (MMR reached)
    More than 70,0% ratio with ≥ 20 games played
    ≥ 2 leagues compared to current ≥ 2 times with same race
    ≤ 2 leagues of opponents with ≥ 25 games played (≈ equivalent of provisional placement)

  • Users with minor profile inconsistencies or unexplained freeloses considered as undefined.

  • Users without significant freeloses nor profile inconsistencies considered as regular players.


What are the consequences ?

  • Increased frustration : SC2, by its competitive and demanding nature, can be a frustrating game. In order to keep players motivated to improve, the matchmaking does balance reward and frustration by placing players at a MMR where they will win approximately one game for each match they lost. Common smurfs do bypass that : to decrease the frustration of a single user, they will increase the one of all the players they did actually play. That frustration :
    ◦ at intermediate levels will sometimes get erroneously directed towards the balance ; and at a higher level towards unranked.
    ◦ at lower levels will possibly discourage users to go further.

  • Increased MMR shifts
    ◦ Directly : One could say “hey Trias, if freelosers do freelose at every game won, they would give back the points taken, so it’s a zero sum game, right ?”.
    That is true only once they have reached the MMR they wanted, and if they do freelose regularly. Yet, to reach that MMR, they will give points to the players above that level, and then take those from players at the level they do smurf at.
    ◦ Indirectly : more smurfs means more accounts into intermediate to low leagues, inducing more MMR league tiers adjustments in order to maintain the desired proportions of players.

  • Increased matchmaking randomness :
    ◦ Directly : if you do stumble against a smurf which freeloses right away, your MMR will be overestimated. If he does play, your MMR will likely be underestimated. Since the primary aim of a matchmaking is to be matched against players of comparable level, and since their numbers increased since F2P, the problem is growing. There are even some hours (late at night) where the proportion of smurfs can create temporary shifts in effective MMR, with smurfs ending up playing other smurfs.
    ◦ Indirectly : if a significant amount of players of some high league are smurfing, while they are doing so there will be an equal amount of players unavailable for matchmaking in said league. And so the system will widen its matchmaking range, ending up matching players of farther respective MMRs than if not.

  • Longer queue times :
    ◦ At intermediate to low levels : even if you’re past being mad at users bypassing the matchmaking, it’s still somewhat irritating to requeue a game after 10s + loading time just because your opponent decided to freelose in your face.
    ◦ At higher levels : while the user is smurfing, that will make one less player to be matched against in his original league. And in leagues where there already are fewer players, effectively decreasing the available pool will induce longer waiting times before a game can be launched.

  • Can this be solved ? Easily, provided the system detects when one user freeloses (which happens mostly by leaving in the first seconds of a game). Some players have suggested pretty good fixes I think, at least better than the ones I first came with :


It has been brought to my attention that there also were smurfs issues in teamgames. But contrary to 1v1, smurfing in teamgames could take different forms.

1 - Freelosing

  • Similar to 1v1 freelosing smurfs, the user simply leaves a game in its first seconds.
  • Easiest form to spot.
  • However it’s not as efficient in teamgames than it is in 1v1, as leaving a game does not ensures defeat. Even more since the system balances random teams with both users MMR, and so the lower your MMR in random team, the more likely your partner will be to have a higher one. And so if you’ve been matched with a master as a 2v2 partner, and that the opponents are two golds, it is entirely possible for him to win the game despite being left alone. And so your MMR wouldn’t decrease…

2 - AFKing

  • This method is more original : it also consists in not playing a game, but by not doing any input during a certain time instead of leaving it right away. This is commonly referred to as being AFK « away from keyboard ».
  • The aim is in fact to make sure not only that your partners are being left alone, but also that your resources won’t be shared with them, contrary to what would happen if you had freelost. In other words, it is a way to increase your chances of lowering your MMR with each game queued.
  • However, contrary to the freeloses, this also affects all the partners of the team ; who would not only have to deal with outnumbering opponents, but also quite likely see their own random team MMR forcefully lowered.
  • Since the main drawback is the time consumption, the most desperate smurfs do use bots set to queue the games in their stead, and to then automatically leave at a set timer. They can be recognized as the games are almost always left at the same duration (at ± 5 minerals mined each), and as abnormally large quantities of games are played in a row (often ≥ 24H long sessions ). This is a form of hack referred to as botting, more about it here. It is of course strictly forbidden by the code of conduct.

3 - Teamkills

  • This one is of course specific to teamgames : the user simply attacks his teammates (=teamkilling), most often by worker-rushing them in the first seconds of a game.
  • This is not always related to smurfing, as it is not infrequent that this is done as an act of hate or frustration, after being for example matched with a partner they dislike, or having trouble setting for a common gameplan. This can also happen if an indelicate or thoughtless partner happens to have full-walled the base, and leaves it closed, effectively locking-in his teammate (though in that case, the walling player is at fault).
  • This method is an even more efficient way than AFKing to make sure the MMR indeed decreases, as it leaves the regular players not only alone but also severely impaired.
  • It’s also quite time consuming, and so, as in other toxicity examples, there has been reports of users probably botting to do so in an automated way. Similar to the AFK-botting hackers, they can be recognized by their abnormally long sessions (for example ≥ 24H).

Can this be solved ?

If there was a will from the devs, freeloses could be detected and punished in a similar way the solutions proposed for 1v1 in part IV.

AFKing and teamkills could be strongly reduced with a simple interface option :

I’d like to advocate for a variant where blocking a player prevents him from being in your team.


I have guessed/confirmed in the past that my opponent is a smurf/freeloser. What should I do ?

  • Well, play the game ! Specially if this is ranked, don’t let your points get stolen without resistance ! ^^ Take this as some kind of benchmark, a chance to test your strategies against a higher league metagame. If you get defeated (and if you weren’t against the Ugly/troll types =p), analyze why, and you’ll have gained valuable information. Though if you have guessed/remembered your opponent is a smurf, you have the advantage of him ignoring that you know. So you do know you will have to take strategic risks in order to win : cheese him, mindgame him, allin-him, deny him the information. Though the odds are against you, you can win if you play smart. And believe me, if they couldn’t handle the frustration of losing against their peers, losing against someone 400+ MMR below theirs will be infinitely more humiliating to them than to you.

  • DO NOT insult them, specially after the game, even if you confirmed that they were smurfs. At one hand, Battlenet’s charts disallow that, and at another hand it will show that you have been overrun by your rage, and as we said some of them do play precisely to trigger their opponents’ rage. Plus it serves no purpose (and more than half of them will have already disabled communications with users not on their friendlist anyway). If you have confirmed that your opponent was a smurf, keep that information for you : it’ll be useful if you face him again in the future.

  • They call me a noob/L2P/Gitgud/insult me, etc. Well as we have said, if they were mature they wouldn’t be smurfing/freelosing in the first place. Hence, some trashtalk is to be expected. As a matter of fact, most smurfs aren’t even that good (D1-M3 and below for most of them), as high level players (M1+) are busy actually trying to improve. Ask them their league, and remind them that compared to the league above, they also are noobs. Yet unlike them, you do have the balls to play against opponents of similar (or higher) skills. If you have been really insulted though, you have a valid motive of reporting them through the interface. Smurfing is currently allowed by the system, but insulting isn’t.

  • In teamgames, just don’t go for random teams. Play in fixed teams with a partner you know : it will spare you from having both AFK smurfs and team-killers in your team, and will allow you to work on refining your sync, communication and synergy (with prepared gameplans) within your team in a way impossible to achieve in random teams.

  • Talk about it. Provided you do anonymize your shots (so that the users do not get targeted), you will get more data about it. This game is built upon players. If there were none but the very best player, he wouldn’t have anyone to play against. Hence, everyone, even those who don’t play to surpass themselves, even those who play casually or who are just discovering the game have the right to have their ladder as it was intended to. If enough people are talking of it, the devs might do something about it.

  • Do “GG” at the end of the game, even if they are smurfs, even if they played a match-up you consider favored. And that because it will show that you have accepted that defeat as result of your own mistakes. And by that, you will : at one hand show them that you are not raging (and this will save you lots of trashtalk from those who want to trigger you) ; and at another hand, admit that there was a mistake of yours. Hence, something that you could correct or work upon. Hence, a way to improve. :slight_smile:

More GG, more skill - White-Ra


  • To smurf is to play under another account than your main one.
  • There are some good consequences/uses, and a lot of bad ones.
  • You can recognize a smurf by searching for freeloses or inconsistencies into his profile.
  • There are about 20% of smurfs in the metal-leagues.
  • The devs could easily reduce smurfing, would they be willing to.
    You can deal with it :
    • by playing smart in 1v1 against opponents you think are smurfs ;
    • and by playing teamgames only in fixed teams.

I disagree with this. The so called “smurfs” are actually good for the league they are “smurfing”, gives players an idea of what’s ahead in the ladder and that game may teach you more than a couple of things. I love playing against stronger oponnents.

The real negative part is when they face opponets of their real ladder. Let’s say a Master League “smurf” plays on a plat account, and after a lot of wins the system will face them against someone of a higher league. I don’t have to tell what happens to that Master MMR when is defeated by a simple plat. So bottom line, the league they are really hurting is their real league… Sure they can leave the game, but then we get back to the first part of this post.

1 Like

Very good thread. Please make sticky.
Also, i got smurfed by a really nice guy, asked him for tips, and he have actually coached me three times (for hours). He is a canadian M1 zerg whom shall remain nameless. If you are reading this, i love you man. Smokes lets go <3

First, they aren’t “so called”, a smurf is a technical term related to Starcraft since SC1 (cf. first post).

Anyway, your are right, there can be some good consequences for the opponents : confront ones’ strategies to a higher league metagame, observe the reactions in case of cheese, observe the execution, realize the gap in mechanics.

Yet, to have a shot at getting all of those benefits, you have to have full control over your frustration, and analyze your losses with a cool head. And… regular users are no better than smurfs at this. Think about it : if some of the smurfs themselves couldn’t handle the frustration of playing a fair game, how much more frustrating could it get for someone who understand he’s been played an user who bypassed the matchmaking to bash noobs, and who will earn L2P noob trashtalk after the game if not during ?

I’ve played competitive games without matchmaking. Let me tell you that when you double perfect someone in a fighting game, rage is most of the time the only reaction you will earn. The truth is that the very reason for a matchmaking system to exist, is to be matched against opponents of comparable level (a bit stronger, or a bit weaker) so you can train efficiently. If GMs were to face 4 bronzes before having the opportunity to face another GM, it wouldn’t be good either for the high leaguers (inefficient training), nor for the low leaguers.
If one does want to bypass the matchmaking, he can do so on a custom game.

As someone said on the other thread :

That can indeed happen, though in fact is also often related to Provisionnal MMR mechanics, where your MMR fluctuates heavily and your displayed league is way inferior to your current one.

Yet, there are some users who enjoy into defeating their peers while having the frame of a lesser league displayed. I’ve seen one named ***Bandit (I won’t provide his full gamer tag for the sake of him not getting targeted), who had freelost to rank himself in bronze, and then climbed all the way back to his M1-GM league while playing unranked. Hence winning GMs while officially being a bronze leaguer.

The few tools I provided in the first post can help identify those of them who choose to stay at a level lesser than their real one. And so cool one’s mind by knowing if you can say for sure that you’ve been really smurfed. :thinking:

You’ve had a good reaction (asking for tips = admitting mistakes), and were matched against a nice opponent. Sadly, most of the time, being smurfed will only create rage (by users who won’t even try to confirm whether their claim is true or not), and most smurfs will be entertained by that rage (some will even try to trigger it, sometimes even ingame).

So what you lived was an exception. Yet the aim of this thread was to highlight that while the most common uses are bad for the system, there are also some legit uses. And that some players could still get good consequences from the less legit ones. You’ve reacted well, so that’s your case. Good for you. :slight_smile:

Yet most of us won’t get chill guys like that (more like the exact opposite in fact ^^), a lot of smurfs even do disable communications aside of their friendlist. So I can only advice joining a clan/community, and talking with higher level users in the ingame clan channels. That’s one of the most practical ways of getting coached, professional coaching put aside. :cowboy_hat_face:

As for making the thread sticky, I am flattered but it’s not up to me. Give a like if you think it’s worth it, and maybe it’ll get noticed.

They are so called “smurfs” to me because I’m not a english native and no one called them that way with my language, that name makes no sense to me. Is just an english thing, but sure the neglish speakers are all that matters in the world right?

If you are not a pro gramer and you get emotionally crushed by a video game, then the ladder is the least of your problems. You lost, so what, stop crying.

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Then it’s a “so called english” language issue, right ? I’m not natively english speaking as well. Yet, if you want to have a shot at integrating yourself ; learning the appropriate words, and the appropriate way to formulate, in what is an english forum, held from an U.S enterprise, on a U.S server… seems the way to go for me. Feel free to apply the contrary if you deem it wise.

That’s exactly the contrary, if you’re anyone BUT a progamer you can allow yourself to be emotional, non professional about games. Mental is one of the key elements that has to be acquired by the professionals. Ragequitting, calling the imbalance, smashing your desk… indulge into any of that instead on searching your own mistakes, and chances are you won’t reach what you could have otherwise.

If you’re a casual, then you can have casual reactions. And that includes being overrun by rage for some people. What I’m trying to achieve with this thread includes a way for them to identify when they CAN’T say for sure if they’ve been smurfed (and so could be raging over nothing), and the ways to deal with it if they have confirmed to have played a smurf. Crying and raging is human, but useless. Dealing with it is the way to go.

Yet if you think about it, you’ll realize that the user who can’t feel right if he doesn’t get this _ … actually has more issues than the others.

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No, a progamer, caster etc depends on it for money, they are far attached to the game so they really have the excuse to get mad and emotional. The real problem are the cry babies, not the “smurfs”. Tell them to grow a pair instead of feeding into their weak emotional psykhe.

Exactly, this is what needs to be addressed. Crying over a video game when you don’t really depend on it is even more useless. I understand your points and arguments, but still I’m not convinced is such the big issue as you present it to be.

Yeah, i got lucky that one time. The other fifty times, not so much. Had this one guy that kept flaming my decision making ingame while crushing me. Had others that retained me on three bases till i ran dry and saying the “git gud noob” etc. Not fun experiences. So yeah, even though i got lucky that one time, smurfing ruins the game.


Ironically, you sound really tilted about the topic

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This is a misunderstanding of the MMR system. The long term average MMR of any player is the only thing that matters and that number will not really be affected by a few smurfs, and there is no evidence that there is a significant amount of smurfs.

This is a completely made up number with no factual basis. Me and other high level players have made the climb from bronze to masters several times (very recently as well) and we come across a smurf much less than 1/20 games.

But what’s a freelosing smurf but another cry baby ? With the exception of the trolling types, why, why… would he be freelosing so much that he doesn’t have to face opponents of his true size anymore ?

As for progamers, you won’t see them crying and raging all day long over the imbalances on the forums. And those who do, will most probably end up notorious for their throws and ragequits, such as IdrA and FireCake. While on the contrary, the ability most Koreans have to gg with a poker face, even when they’ve just been cheesed, never ceases to amaze me. But let’s close the off topic on that matter.

It’s not a big issue, is an issue. Bypassing the matchmaking system results in it not working the way it was intended to. I am merely offering solutions to regular players in the case where this would remain unaddressed.

Good point. ^^

Those as the usual ones. I have been dealing with those since… a very long time, and so I can guess with a reasonable accuracy they are smurfs before even confirming it into their profiles. So that’s the moment where I do practice my cheeses/allins. And what often happens is that I do surprise them, kill their B3, severely weaken their economy, but do not kill them. And then I get some " wow"… 'wow" as they comment on my own economy, or why they are still alive. And as they come-back… and as I lose. :sweat_smile:

Sometimes though, and increasingly often I say, I do win them. And then most of the time it’s ragequit into replay. :kissing_smiling_eyes:

A few is the important word here.
Do you know how many smurfs there currently are ?
Do you know what game change had the most impact on smurfs demographics ?

And how would you spot a platinum smurfing in gold if you’re a master ?

Anyway, it happens that there is a way to have factual data about smurfs, and that is by checking for multiple freeloses their ingame history. This method still underestimates their numbers a bit, as if a freelosing smurf did his freeloses prior to what’s displayed in his profiles, he won’t get registered. But it’s specific.
From there you just calculate the ratio of confirmed smurfs over the regular users you played… and boom : factual data about current MMR smurf ratio. :slight_smile:

What was the reason over you doing those multiple bronze to master runs, if I may inquire ? :slight_smile:

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JimRising was doing that and some one asked him if it was not wrong to crush noobs and he replied “no, if they are all smurfs”. In his next game the guy he played against was clearly not silver

Its much much easier to tell someone’s actual skill level the higher you are.

The problem with a lot of players your level is that they only look at the end result instead of the entire course of the game. Most times the critical window where the game is decided is early on in the game, but the game doesn’t end there, the player who has the advantage keeps getting more and more ahead and by the time the end game it feels completely one sided when in reality one player barely eeked out an advantage.

This is a biased non-random sample, in other words its a completely trash method at estimating the true percentage of smurfs. Source: Masters in Statistics.

People also have a large number of reasons to leave, for example I will leave mirror matchups the vast majority of the time, and sometimes i get a lot of them in a row. I’m not smurfing, I just dont play that matchup and it doesn’t really change the caliber of player im facing.

  1. I’m a random player that often times plays only one race for a while
  2. I have a couple of different accounts across various regions
  3. I take long breaks from playing

These conditions result in me having to play placement matches quite a lot and its often times puts me way lower than I should be.

I also still coach people every once in a while and one of my favorite methods is to stream a bronze—> diamond run to show people how you can win off solely macro.

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As I previously explained, its very hard for lower leagues to actually judge how skilled their opponent is, for the reason I mentioned here

And we also have to factor in that a lot of people on ladder are one build wonders. A good example of this is zergs, as a random player I often times have 80%+ winrates against zergs going early pool because they blindly go hatch first every single game. Sometimes these players are significantly better than me, but I happen to win because they play ridiculously greedy.

Cheesers are also another good example of this. Cheesers tend to win extremely one-sided against people who are greedy, but they tend to lose pretty hard against people who play safe. Their MMR is perfectly stable, but you would never be able to tell from their games.

There are a lot of other examples on ladder, especially in the lower leagues where people complain about smurfs because games are one sided but its not that at all.

I know very well what a silvers game looked like now the difference between silver and diamond 3 is almost non-existent

Just switch to protoss, and cannon rush every game. I guarantee you, that no one will ever defeat you, not even 7000 k mmr players.

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You didn’t answer the question. What was your method to confirm smurfs ?

Pro tip for your source then :

  • If P = 1/x is the probability for a regular player to meet a smurf
  • Then the probability of two smurfs meeting isn’t P, but P x P, in other words (1/x) x (1/x)

What you did there with the highly factual “I know 'cause I’m higher level” completely non standardized biased method, wasn’t in fact evaluating the probability of playing a smurf, but the probability of a smurf playing another smurf.

Which means the probability for a regular player of meeting a smurf is much higher. If we take your highly non biased standardized master statistics of 1/20, then if

  • 1/20 = (1/x) x (1/x)
  • then 1/20 = 1/x²
  • then x = √20 = 4,47
    Which means P = 1/4.47 = 0.22 = 22%

Which is even more than what I said.

As for having the sample randomized, it is as I don’t choose the opponents I am matched against. Plus my method to confirm smurfs is replicable, and objective. If you had to make constructive criticism, it would rather be on the limits of the studied MMR.

Now if you want to submit a new and improved double blind randomized smurf trial on a population sized sample, you’re welcome to post it here. But currently, I am under the impression that your method is even less commendable than mine. :slight_smile:

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Actually to a player who is of a determined level, small differences in skill compared to his will be more keenly felt than to others. If your silver 3 is struggling to reach gold, and has never made it past silver 2, then playing a silver 1 or a gold 3 will be quite challenging for him.

Now if your player is a master 1, chances is are he won’t notice the difference between a silver 2 and a gold 3. More over if he cheeses and both fall rapidly due to inadequate micro/reactions.

This isn’t completely contradictory with what Cheezecake said though, as the more experienced a player will be the more he will know about skills acquisition through the levels of play. But he won’t feel as much difference when playing against two users of a level too inferior to his. Whereas the lower skill users won’t know about how the skill is acquired depending on the levels, but will feel more keenly when facing a stronger opponent.

The first part would apply best before they disabled MMR decay I think, so I’m a bit more convinced by the last reasons given if the starting point is bronze. Anyway, Thanks for having answered ; I am ever curious about the motivations behind it ; and with more and more smurfs disabling communication there aren’t that many opportunity to analyze those.

The only problem is if you lose to low league smurf that is smurfs in upper leagues by unforseen balance circumstances