Do people that are Master & Challenger have to start over each season?

Here is my question, it's probably a stupid one. Do really high rank people start out on the same playing field as other players each new season? Meaning they have to work their way up from low elo all the way back up to Master/Challenger? Or do they get placed really high automatically because of their previous rank history?
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We're testing a new feature that gives the option to view discussion comments in chronological order. Some testers have pointed out situations in which they feel a linear view could be helpful, so we'd like see how you guys make use of it.

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