Since you clicked on this guide, you very likely want to climb the rankings. That is exactly what I will try to help you with. Well, who am I to teach you this, you might ask? My name is Soothing Rain, I've been playing League of Legends since season 1, and have reached diamond after a long road. I believe that everyone who puts the time and effort in, can get to diamond, and even higher.
I will not teach you how to play the game, I will teach you how to improve yourself, so you can get yourself to a higher league. So what can you expect, and not expect, from this guide?
[+] Being realistic
[+] Choosing between being a one-trick pony or a meta pony
[+] Figuring out what runes, masteries & builds to use
[+] Focusing on the game
[+] Creating a game plan and executing it
[+] Avoiding tilt and losing streaks
[+] Dealing with feeders and flamers
[+] Learning from your mistakes
[-] Champion tier lists
[-] Mechanical guidance
Getting rid of your ego
Ego? What ego?
The first step to becoming a better player, is losing your ego. Now, what exactly is an ego?
"Egotism is the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one's personal features and importance. It often includes intellectual, physical, social and other overestimations."
So TLDR; having an ego means you have a favorable view of yourself. It makes you overestimate yourself. Why does this hinder us in our ability to climb the ladder? It makes you think you played perfectly, while in reality, you didn't. Nobody plays perfectly, not even Faker (though he's damn close). There are always better decisions you can make, whether that be mechanically or strategically.
You make mistakes constantly
Every time you do something suboptimal, you make a mistake. You have to realise that, because the only way to improve, is learning from these mistakes. If you think it's okay to have 5 cs/minute, you won't try to get 10 cs/minute. Don't be content with doing okay, you have to perform as best as possible.
Be hard on yourself, it's the best way to get better. You are in the league you are because that's where your skill level is, not because of feeders & AFKers. You are bronze (or whichever league you are) because you play at that level. I'm not saying this to bash on you, I'm saying this because it's the truth, and the first step to becoming better is facing the reality. If you were playing on a challenger level, you'd be challenger, the league system is made that way.
What could I have done better?
This is the question you should constantly ask yourself, what the answer is is for you to figure out. Make sure you always look at yourself. What could you have done better? Don't blame your teammates, it makes you ignore your own mistakes. You might have something in mind that sounds like a better idea, but you have to follow whatever your team is doing. It's better to commit to a 'stupid idea' as a 5 man team, than to let them do it as 4 people.
Yesterday I played a ranked game where I was killing a completely uncontested dragon as , while wanted to fight with package (they were 4v5 mid). The gold was even, so whoever won that fight would take a giant lead, and possibly end the game. I ended up being hesitant, getting drake to half health, stopping it because I saw my team fighting, then fighting when one of my teammates had already died. We got aced and they ended the game.
At first, I blamed Corki (and the rest of the team) for fighting 4v5 because I wasn't there. Drake was free, and involved no risk. They just had to wait a good 10 seconds for me, but they didn't. Then I asked myself "What would drake have done for us?". Close to nothing, it was only our 2nd or 3rd. Then I realised that I can't stop what they are doing. I can ping all I want, but if my team wants to fight, they will fight. I should have been there, we would've had a chance on winning then.
To finish this chapter, I'd like to share this amazing video Foxdrop made on why your pride is keeping you back from improving as a player.
'Elohell' part 1
No. Just; no.
Elohell does not exist. Good, we got that out of the way.
I'm sure you know what elohell is, but I'm still going to define it so you see where this concept fails.
"Elohell is a term describing that once you hit low ELO in ranked games, it's very hard or even impossible to get out of this ELO because of feeders, blamers and leavers."
Why do people believe in elohell?
This has a lot to do with what the previous chapter of this guide was about; ego. People blame others for not being able to win a game. "Yea dude I got this feeding Teemo top who went 0/5 and he was so bad. I went 10/0 but you know, I couldn't carry. You know, elohell."
Ego is holding these players back from looking at their own mistakes. If you were actually 10/0, why didn't you transition your lead to other lanes? Why didn't you group with your team, and carry them in teamfights? The answer to this question is simple: they don't see that they're making mistakes, they are too busy looking at the feeding top Teemo.
Why does elohell not exist?
Individual performance can solely carry a game. Have you ever thought "Wow, this game would be such an easy win, but their Jax is 15/0 and just destroying us 1v5." ? This means that Jax had such a good individual performance, that he could carry his team, even though he might have had a feeding botlane. Now ask yourself, why are you not Jax? Why are you not 15/0?
Their Jax might have just outplayed your toplaner, and have snowballed that lead. Now what does that teach us? No, it doesn't mean that our Teemo is a feeder and we should blame him, it means we have a few things to learn from our friend Jax.
- Jax outplayed Teemo in the early game
- Jax snowballed his lead in lane, so he could get further ahead by getting more kills, cs and turrets
- Jax didn't die or give away his lead by getting too greedy
- Jax carried his lead over onto his other teammates; maybe he grouped to siege mid, maybe he made a TP play bot
Be smart. Be . Sorry for the meme.
'Elohell' part 2 - feeders and AFKers
The statistical approach
Let's create a hypothesis here: 'a feeder or AFKer directly leads to a loss'. This is of course not true, but let's just say it is true. There is a chance you'll have a feeder/AFKer on your team, but there's also a chance there is one on the enemy team. This means that if you never feed or AFK, and you soloqueue, there are 4 possible feeders/AFKers in your team. On the other hand, there are 5 possible feeders on your enemy team. This means that there is a lower chance of having a feeder on your team, thus a higher chance of your team winning.
This graph shows how impactful you are as a player, even though League of Legends is a 5v5 game. You have a 56% chance of winning the game in 'elohell' if you don't feed. This is why the theory of 'I can't win because of feeders and AFKers' makes zero sense. If feeders and AFKers were such a big problem in your elo, then you would actually have a winrate above 50%. And let's be honest, if you had a winrate above 50%, you wouldn't be stuck at your elo.
Now what would happen if you actually carried the game? The win percentage would skyrocket way above 56%. This is our goal. This is why challenger players can reach diamond on an unranked account in just 24 hours. They don't just get lucky, they have an enormous impact on the game by themselves, which leads to absurd win percentages of 90% or higher.
Two more notes on teammates
First note: you can't change your teammates. You are not in control of their performance (the only thing you can do is be nice to them, which I talk about in the chapter 'being a positive player'). Why would you get frustrated about something you can't change? Just don't. You can only improve yourself. Do that.
Second note: you're not going to win every game. Sometimes you will have a player on your team that performs very poorly ('feeds'), or you will get a disconnected player on your team. Don't give up as soon as you see a DC/feeder. You can still win, I've won several 4v5 games just because our team performed so much better than theirs, that it didn't matter that we were short a player.
If you do end up losing, just think of the fact that in a few games, the same will happen to your enemy team, they will get a DC, and you will get a free win. You can't win every game. Don't let it drag you down. Don't focus on that one loss, there's hundreds of games left to be played.
And to finish this chapter about elohell, here is an informative, but even more so entertaining video from Sky Williams on 4 reasons why you're stuck in 'elo hell'.
I'm going to keep this chapter short, but I just want to point out that you're not going to become a diamond level player tomorrow. It takes a lot of experience, and therefore a lot of games played, so a lot of time, to get better at League. The game has so many aspects and has such a high skillcap, that it takes years for players to become this good. This is why competitive League of Legends is a thing. If it were easy and everyone could perform at the same level, there wouldn't be a pro scene.
Something else I'd like to note is that you won't climb after playing 11 games. You might, but you'll probably win 6 games and lose 5. You need to play a lot of games in order to climb. Having a winrate just a few percent over 50%, is good enough to climb, but it takes a lot of games. Don't get frustrated when you can't get a 80% winratio. If you have a winrate above 50%, and keep on improving, you'll keep on having the 50%+ winrate when you're climbing, which means you will never get stuck at a certain elo.
I have played about 3500 games (normals & ranked combined) over 5 years. Most challenger and professional players have more than 10 000 games played.
So I just have to play a bunch and I'll become challenger?
No, not really. You need to play a lot, but generally, how you spend that time is more important than how much time you spend. You can play 10 000 games, and be as bad as a player as you were when you first played, just because you didn't learn from your mistakes and improved. Let's have a quick look at the Wasted on LoL website, and check the current top 3.
So the three people who supposedly have the most amount of time spent playing the game (on one account, that is) are gold, bronze and gold. This means that they are playing for fun, or are not improving as much as as a player as all of the pro players are. How focused you play, and how much you learn from each game, is what makes the difference.
Being a one-trick pony or following the meta
In general, there's two types of people: people who play the meta champions, and people who main one champion. A good example of this is when you watch the LCS, whichever champion is banned/pick the most, is considered meta.
On the other hand there's one-trick ponies, good examples of such players are :
- Boxbox (Riven)
- Trick2G (Udyr)
- Fatefalls (Fizz)
- Annie Bot (Annie, who would've thought?!)
- Heisend0ng (Heimerdinger)
- Gripex (Lee Sin)
- Shaclone (Shaco)
- Gross Gore (Twisted Fate)
So what should I do?
I highly suggest you become a one-trick pony up until diamond. This seems to be the consensus amongst almost all high ranked player. But, why exactly should you not play a new champion every game?
When you play a new champion, you have to get used to every aspect of the champion. This means that you will have to get used to farming with your auto attack, how much damage you can do, how much damage you can take, cooldowns of all your spells, range of all your spells, certain combo's. You will have to think of all these small things "Can I hit him with this Lux binding from this range? Can I blow him up if I land my Q E R combo? Will my shield save me from his ignite?". You will have no confidence in your ability to outplay your opponent, you will miss a lot of opportunities.
Why maining a champion is a good idea
Maining a champion combats all the listed problems. You will know how to farm correctly, how to play your lane out, when to trade, when to go all in for a kill, when to roam, etc. This also means that you will be able to win lanes versus counters of your champion. You shouldn't be winning, but because of pure knowledge and skill, you are. The confidence you get when you play your main champion is something you need in order to carry soloqueue. You can't just farm up and hope that your other lanes don't feed.
If you can't stand playing one champion constantly, play a few champions, but try and make your champion pool as small as possible. You're not in the LCS, you don't need a massive champion pool to pull out different team compositions. The new ranked system of season 6 makes it so you can pick 2 roles, if you can play 2 champions in both roles, you'll be able to master 4 champions. In my opinion this is perfect, even if they pick/ban one of your champions, you can pick the other one, and still perform.
Runes, masteries, item builds and skill order
As said in the introduction of this guide, I won't be telling you what the best runes/masteries/build is for x champion. I want you to think about what you end up using, and more importantly, why. The first tip I can give you is: learn from the best. The best way to do this is, is going to Pro Builds, and just enter the name of the champion you'd like to research.
Let's say we want to play some . Just enter Lux in the bar, and click on the Lux icon that pops up (there's a bug where pressing enter doesn't do anything). Then pick a player that you think is good (they're all diamond 1+, so they're obviously all excellent players), and look at his runes/masteries/item builds/skill order, and ask yourself why he used those. As an example, I picked a match that Bjergsen played on Lux. Let's break some aspects of the match down.
Exhaust on midlaners isn't very common, so why did he pick it then, and should you do the same in your game? Let's have a look at his opposing team, and laner.
Suddenly, the exhaust makes a lot more sense. He laned versus either a Pantheon or a Riven, both which have a lot of burst once they get onto you. Barrier or heal (which are the usual summoners on long range casters like Lux) wouldn't save him from the insane amount of incoming damage. A well-timed exhaust however, can shut these melees down very effectively. Good choice Bjerg!
This doesn't mean you should use exhaust in your next ranked game on Lux just because he did it. He had good reason to use exhaust instead of barrier/heal, you should ask yourself if you're in the same situation. If your opposing midlaner is a Xerath, heal suddenly makes a lot more sense. Xerath almost never runs ignite, and Xerath won't even be in range of you to exhaust if you're trying to survive his ult after he hit all his other spells. Don't just copy pro players without understanding why they do it.
The most interesting thing to look at here are the scaling CDR runes. Why did he go scaling CDR runes on Lux instead of the regular flat MR runes? He's versus a full AD team, so MR is useless. That's pretty important, but it's not the only reason.
Scaling CDR runes make you have an additional 15% CDR at level 18, which makes it so that you don't have to buy a morello/athenes for the additional CDR. If you add all the CDR up in his build, you get
This adds up to 35% CDR. Add a blue buff and you get 40% CDR (even before level 18, because of the fact blue buff gives 10% CDR, not 5%). This makes him able to get Luden's Echo as 2nd item, and still have a good amount of CDR. This makes his mid-game way stronger than if he were to buy an Athene's Unholy Grail.
Other aspects to consider
I didn't cover skill order, build order and masteries because they're pretty straight forward in this example, but you should definitely look at those as well. Always ask yourself 'why did he do this?'. Do as I did in the given examples, Understand when you should build which item, what runes you should use and what masteries you should use. After some time you will look at your opposing team during champ select, and pick the most optimal runes/masteries/summoner spells, then build accordingly during the game.
This may seem very obvious, but you have to try to win if you want to climb. There's more to it than just trying your best. You have to keep a balance between trying and keeping your cool, you don't want to have a mental breakdown when you lose a game. It's a game after all. Allow me to demonstrate some of my tryhard techniques.
Out of the game
1) Put your Skype to DND, Facebook notifications off (or just close it)
2) If you listen to music while playing, put on your playlist before the game starts
3) If you're queueing with multiple people in dynamic queue and are planning on using Skype/TS/..., start the call before the game starts
Don't troll or underestimate the enemy team when your team is up 20 kills. It's soloqueue, you can always lose by throwing the game by not playing seriously. I have made this mistake in the past, and it hurts so much to lose a game where you're hitting the nexus, but then decide to dive the fountain, get aced, they get baron, and you can't recover and you end up losing the game. Not only do you lose a won game (so eg. instead of gaining 25 LP you lose 25 LP, so that's a 50 LP difference), it also makes you tilted for obvious reasons. This carries on to your next game if you don't reset yourself, and that's how losing streaks come about.
Another example of this is getting bored and becoming cocky during a game. You're 10/0, your team is destroying them, you just got baron, the siege is going well, then you decide it's a good idea to dive in versus a Kalista/Alistar/Viktor combo and die. Your team follows up on your stupid decision, you get aced, lose baron, they get 5 shutdowns, and suddenly the game is even again. Don't give the enemy team a chance to come back, play the game by the rules, get baron, get turrets, but don't take unnecessary risks.
Creating a game plan
Alright, so you've decided to play as an adc. Now, what are you going to do? Play the lane and hope for the best? No. You want to think what you're going to do before you execute it. Don't just do things and pray they will work. Think before you do. Let's say your support is who is using Ignite and Thunderlord's Decree . Your opposing lane is & .
In case you don't know how this lane is supposed to work out: Lucian has a very strong early game, while Ezreal's early game is kind of bad, especially when he's going blue Ezreal and he's building a tear. Thresh is a playmaking support, and combined with a Lucian by his side, very deadly when you land a hook.
You have the upper hand as this lane, Ezreal/Janna has a better lategame, but up until that point you should take advantage of your stronger early game. Play agressive, push the wave a little bit so you're able to get level 2 earlier, and move up so that if your Thresh lands his hook, they're dead. You should know you're stronger, and play agressive, because of experience. This is one of the reasons that maining a champion is a good idea, you will know if you're supposed to win or lose lane.
Carrying over your advantage to the rest of your team
So you're up 30 CS over the enemy Ezreal, you got a double kill bot and you got the bot turret. Call your jungler to take drake and 3 man it (4 if mid wants to come), since their bot is dead and they can't defend it. Finish your Essence Reaver and look at the map. Don't go bot again just to farm. Go mid and push the turret as a 3 or 4 man unit (mid, support, you and jungler if he wants to come). Carry your lead to other lanes. Once mid turret is down, go farm bot if their bot has pushed the wave in. If they're trying to take the turret, try to punish them for overextending and kill them. When you got some more farm, and the gold from the mid turret and maybe a kill, go back to buy.
Pushing your advantage further
So your team took 2 turrets down, and you are ahead of Ezreal by a lot. You just finished your 2nd item, let's say Rapid Firecannon. Go top to push the turret if it's not down yet, if there's a fight you should be able to win because you're insanely strong at this point, and the other members of your team should have a gold/stat advantage because of the 2 turrets and dragon. Get vision in their top side jungle, and see what is left on the map to take. You can farm bot if the wave is pushed towards you, because well, free gold is free gold, but don't stay there for 10 minutes just to farm. Look at opportunities, if your mid is pushing the wave into their mids 2nd turret, group and counter their engage (they should try to punish the overextension of your midlaner).
Whenever you kill someone, try to push turrets. If you're very far ahead, or you just have a ton of damage, get vision in their top side jungle and go for baron. Make sure your team sweeps the baron and get some pinks down. When you do get that baron, back to buy your third item, and just push mid. Siege, don't relentlessly towerdive unless you have like an / combo to tank, or you get a pick. If your Lux gets a Q E R on a good target, then go for it, but don't overdo it. As said in the previous chapter, don't take big risks when you don't have to. You will get the turret eventually when you have baron, there's no need to take the risk and possibly throw the game.
"But I got behind, I didn't destroy my lane :/"
That's fine, you won't always win lane. Try to be patient and not give away any more kills. Farm safely, get gold and exp, and try to scale up. After you've farmed up and went to buy your item(s), try to group with your team and get a few kills. You will probably still be behind compared to your opposing laner, but when you look at your team, the gold deficit will not be that big (eg. you lost lane bot but your mid solokilled the enemy mid).
"But I play top, not adc!"
The principles are still the same. If you just won lane, get the top turret, and group mid, or make a TP play bot. (Unless you're , then you can just 1v5 and take down the Nexus by splitpushing.)
If you're ahead, make it so that you carry your team. Don't just sit in your lane and farm, and hope your team magically groups, or starts to win their lane. This is soloqueue, you have to carry, you can't just go 5/0, then lay back and blame your team. This is why a lot of people are stuck at their elo.
Tilt and rage
What is tilt?
"When you're so pissed off from losing multiple games that you play worse and worse until you're so pissed you begin leaning over your keyboard screaming over every little mistake you make and complaining about game imbalances."
Everyone treats games differently and therefore reacts differently. But I'm convinced everyone has tilted in the past, you make a mistake, someone lives with 1 health left after ignite, and you get annoyed. Some people will scream in front of their monitor, which please, don't do this if you're on Skype with me. Others will seem calm, but still play worse because they're upset. I belong to the second group.
Tilt is inevitable, and you'll have to accept that. Sometimes the most bullsh*t stuff happens, that's how games - and even life works. Rage and tilt go along very well, so whichever tips I will give work for both stopping the tilt and stop getting mad.
Don't rage at others
There's no reason to wish people cancer just because you're having a bad game. No discussion. Even if you don't actually mean it, just saying it is a bad thing to do. You wouldn't call someone a f*cking waste of life if you were losing in a game of Monopoly, right? Then why do it online? Because you can't actually see or hear the person? That's a very poor excuse.
You're playing with 9 other human beings, some are more skilled than others, and some are having a better game than others. Accept the fact that not everyone is on the same page, you might want to dive but your jungler doesn't feel it. Don't blame him. You're the one that dove, not him. This fits perfectly with the first chapter of this guide: lose your ego, accept the fact that you made a mistake.
It's just a game
This is going to be my first tip: accept the fact League of Legends is just a game. Yes, you're trying hard to climb the ladder, and of course you care about winning. It's only a game, don't pretend like it's the end of your life. You're probably going to wake up tomorrow morning, go to school/work and have completely forgotten about that game.
Take a break
Probably one of the best decisions you can make when you're tilted. Don't keep on playing until you've actually 'reset' yourself. Go for a walk outside, watch an episode of a serie, tell your mom you love her, do something where you can't fail. If you're going to play another game, you're probably going to try and overcompensate with the thought "Well I just lost this League game, but I'm better at this game, so I will dominate in this!". You'll probably play too agressive in that game, because you're trying to make up for the League game you lost, and end up tilting even more. My advice: don't play any games.
I can hear you thinking, "What do you mean forget time? You're one vague human being!". Well thanks. Anyways.
One of the reasons you're probably getting upset, is because you really wanted to win your series today and get promoted, and you failed at that. If you stop setting these deadlines for yourself, you will feel much better. Play to learn, not to win. Every loss should feel like a knowledge win, yes you've made a mistake, but you learnt from it and won't make the same mistake again. This means you will play better in your future games, which means you'll climb eventually.
A loss where you've learnt something is better than a win where you've learnt nothing. The knowledge you gained from that loss will probably lead to multiple wins, which means that in the long run, you'll have more total games won.
It's okay to make mistakes
It is. People make mistakes all the time, I'm not just talking about League, I'm talking about real life as well. People f*ck up. I f*ck up. That's what humans do. The difference between people is that some learn from their mistakes, and some don't. Always remember that it's okay to make mistakes. I told you that being hard on yourself is one of the best ways to improve, and while that is true, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. Don't get mad at yourself for missing a cs, missing a kill, or getting caught. It happens, don't let it get to you. Try to not let it happen again, and you're good to go!
Dealing with flamers
First of all: don't be one. This is what my previous chapter was for. Just like with feeding and AFKing, if you don't flame, there's only 4 possible flamers left on your team, and 5 on the enemy team.
If someone does flame you or someone on your team, think about the fact that they do it because they made a mistake. Their ego is too big to admit that, and so they try to find someone else to blame. Realise that that person flaming is led by irrational emotions, he's not thinking clear. When you understand how people and their behaviour work, you will be able to more easily cope with it.
Never react to flame by flaming
This makes things way worse. A flamer flames someone, then that person reacts to it by flaming the flamer, then he responds with flame of course, and you can already see that this never ends. This can single-handedly lose you a game. There are only two good ways to react to flame, which actually come down to the same thing:
- Ignore what the person says
- Mute the person
If you can't stand the flame and you notice his flame is pissing you off, just mute him immediately. You don't want to tilt because of him. Some people mute everyone at the start of the game, but I don't enjoy this at all, since not everyone is a flamer and sometimes you can have fun in chat.
Being a positive player
So I told you not to be a flamer, which is very important. This stops you from losing won games. Now, how do you make sure you win? Be nice to your teammates.
"But this is League, you're not supposed to act nice!" No, you're wrong. Just be nice, god d*mn it!
Tell them it's okay they made a mistake. Tell them 'wp!' when your support lands a clutch hook which makes you get a double kill bot. These small things really add up; it lets your teammates know that you're a nice person. They will try harder and be nice to you as well when you make a mistake yourself. Not only does this make the game way more enjoyable for everyone involved, but it also makes it so that you will win more games.
People will try harder and are less likely to flame. Honestly, when someone tells you you made a nice play, are you going to then just tell them they're a ******* piece of **** trash when they make a mistake? No. And if you are going to say that, just leave this planet.
If you'd like to know more about this, Sky made a very nice video explaining this phenomenon. You might have a laugh while you're at it.
Wow, that was a lot of info.
I agree, it's a lot to learn. You won't just magically climb after reading this (it was a scam all along!). Try to remember the important things, and apply what you've read step by step. For example, focus on being a nice person in the next game you play. If you failed to do that, try again in the next game. If you succeeded, do it again in the next game, but focus on creating your game plan during champ select and loading screen.
Repeat for everything you think is useful in this guide, keep on adding things to focus on, while the first few things you focussed on, have already become habits. Eventually, all of the things I mentioned in this guide will become habits, and you'll notice that all the puzzle pieces fit.
"I want to know more!"
There are a lot of great content creators on Youtube that I personally have learnt from. Not only do I want to give credit where due, but I also want to give multiple links to the these video's so you can learn from them. I obviously wrote this guide in my own words, but sometimes hearing the same things, said by someone else in a different manner, will make you understand it better.
And if you don't want to take my word from it, maybe you will from other higher rated players, or players you may know. All of these are general how-to videos, I've already linked the more specific videos from other content creators in my chapters themselves.
Gbay's video on climbing the LoL ladder
Phylol's videos on how to climb solo queue quickly, part 1 and part 2
Redmercy's video on 15 tips to getting higher elo
Thank you for reading my guide! If you have any comments/suggestions/questions, please do leave them! I will read and reply to every question asked asap.