Ranked matches are a competitive component of Iron Harvest. Before a match, players can spend a certain amount of points to spawn units. Based on their handicap, better players get to spend fewer points. Therefore, they are at a disadvantage and have to fight harder.
Whenever a unit dies in a multiplayer match, players will get back some of the resource cost of the unit. The amount of the "refund" depends on the players' and their opponents' skill levels (handicap system), as well as the match phase. At the beginning of a match players might get 100% back, so a lost unit "only" means lost time. Later on, they might get 50% back and at some point 0% (to ramp up the pressure and to make sure games won’t take forever).
In many maps, players will have to conquer flag-poles to earn victory points. Naturally, the more of the three flags that are in possession, the harder it is to defend all of them.
When players hold a victory point (flag), they earn points steadily, but slowly. When they conquer a point from an enemy, they'll get a big one-time payment. Thus, if the enemy possesses all three victory points on a map, there is a huge potential for players to earn a lot of points quickly by taking them over.