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This question has a few separate questions in one.

  1. What is a season of Starcraft II? At the end is there a definite winner?
  2. How long is each season?
  3. When a new season begins do you have to do placement matches again?
  4. Is there an "in-between" period between Seasons?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted
  1. A season is defined as the period between one ladder reset and another. There have been six to date, with Season Six having begun on February 14th, 2012. There is not a "winner", per se, but your character profile will receive badges if you are in the top 25, 16, or 8 (or #1, I believe) of your division. Grandmaster League standings are also kept for each season. Generally, new maps are added and old maps removed from the map pool for a new season, as well.
  2. Seasons vary in length. The longest season was Season 1, which lasted from July 27th, 2010 and March 29th, 2011 (245 days). Seasons 4 and 5 were both 56 days in length (October 25th, 2011 - December 20th, 2011 for Season 4 and December 20th, 2011 to February 14th, 2012 for Season 5), inferring that this may be Blizzard's desired season length.
  3. If you were ranked in a format (i.e. 1v1, 2v2, etc.), you only have to complete one placement match instead of the standard 5. Your Hidden Matchmaking Rating is carried over, depending on the system's confidence in it.
  4. There is a "lock" placed on the ladders two weeks before the season ends.
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Is the "lock" that you placement on ladder is locked or your division only? –  Blem Mar 23 '12 at 15:35
    
It's on the whole ladder, basically, IIRC. You can still burn up bonus pool, but you can't move around in ladder position. –  Rilgon Arcsinh Mar 23 '12 at 15:36
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You don't move during the two week lock, but your win/loss will still affect your ranking in the next season. –  Sorean Mar 23 '12 at 15:51
    
@RilgonArcsinh Thanks for the great answer! That pretty much summed up everything I was wondering! Thanks alot! –  Nick122 Mar 23 '12 at 17:18
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@RilgonArcsinh You can change ladder position during the lock, you just can't change leagues. –  Decency Mar 26 '12 at 3:51

In addition to answer of Rilgon Archsinh:

If you already qualified, in the new season beginning you should play 1 match to be qualified for season. if you didn't play a qualification match in the season, then next season you will need to play 5 matches and I believe your hidden match rank will be reset (though i don't have confirmation for this).

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No the hidden match rank will not be reset. I read that one on Starcraft Announcements. –  Nick122 Mar 29 '12 at 19:31

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