General Guide by AllAboutAkali
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Step 1: Find Your Team
You need at least 5 people to play in ranked 5 teams, so gather up your most skilled friends and figure out a team name. If you're like me and my friends, we didn't initially have enough people to play ranked 5 games.
So what you do is you go recruiting. Whatever positions you need filled on your team, you don't play those positions. Say you need a support... make sure one of you fills the AD carry role so you can see how the support of this game handles themselves. If they're adept, you simply see if they'll accept a friend request and go from there.
You don't want ragers, you don't want people who are prone to getting cocky or impulsive, and you don't want someone on your team that your existing players will clash with. Just because Joe Blow is a great ADC doesn't mean he's going to get along with your current support. You have to take play styles into account, as well as attitude.
Remember: Nothing loses a game faster than a drop in morale.
Step 2: Find Yourself a VoIP Client
There are literally hundreds to choose from but only a few "tried and true" applications.
Google any of the 5 following apps and you should be able to find the downloads for them.
Nothing is more important in competitive team play than good communication. This is a simple truth anywhere. Football, Paintball, E-sports... anywhere. You shouldn't have someone on your team who you can't talk to.
Step 3: Decide a Team Captain
Who keeps the most level head in game? Usually it's the guy that nobody would ever nominate as a team captain that makes the best team captain. The guy that's always quiet and just doing what he's doing despite Joe Blow getting cocky, Red Herring raging because he's getting beaten badly, and Glorious Glen calling shots so rapidly that nobody can even keep up because he thinks he's the King of Runeterra. Meanwhile you have that shy player in the corner that's not being influenced by the moment smartly doing each and everything he should be.
THAT'S your captain.
I have told my team over and over and over again that I will never be a team captain. I get too hot-headed and cocky too easily (Akali is my main, what do you expect?)
Make it very clear that if your captain makes a call, the team follows it without argument or they're kicked off the team. Perhaps employ a 3-strike rule. The last thing you want in the heat of a teamfight is a stubborn douchebag going "No, that's a dumb call, I'm not doing it." and the ensuing chaos.
If it's a bad call, do it anyway. Discuss it after the game. Don't let it bother you, don't let it change the game's energy. BAD MORALE LOSES GAMES.
The Captain should have the following responsibilities:
Replay studying (download lolreplay or use twitch.tv to record games)
Watching recorded games is a great way to realize what you're doing wrong or what your team is doing wrong. You need to coach your players and correct bad habits. For instance, I tend to wander away from my team consistently to get a bead on where the enemy is if they aren't showing on the map. It's a panic switch for me.
...If 3 or more are missing, I go looking for them. This is because our support doesn't ward as much as they should. Both of those are mistakes which result in me getting caught out and my team ending up in a 4v5 teamfight.
The solution was that our support ward more, and I carry wards with me as well in case I see a spot I feel like I need to see that our support didn't ward. I get caught out much less frequently now. Our captain saw the pattern by watching recorded games and corrected it.
Step 4: Decide Your Roles
Just because Joe Blow makes an amazing AD carry doesn't mean that's where he should be playing. Is there a weak link on your team? One player that's not quite as good as the rest? Maybe they should be ADC, since they'll be in lane with a support who can protect and help them. Billy Bob is great at jungling and so is Davie Dogood.
They end up fighting over it- Dig deeper and you find out Billy bob makes a great tanky jungler while Davie Dogood makes a great early ganking jungler. Two different styles. Employ the style that's going to do best against the team you're facing. If the enemy team picks champions who have a great early game, you need the early ganks to shut them down. A tanky jungler does no good against an already fed team, so Billy Bob is just going to have to get over it.
Step 5: Know your team's capabilities versus the enemy's
Everyone knows how to counter-pick, everyone knows mechanics pretty well, everyone knows what champs have what qualities and characteristics... or at least they should if they're playing ranked. If you don't, don't play ranked until you do.
Once your last player is ready to lock their champion, milk the clock a bit. Don't lock right away, let the timer tick down with your final champion selected, and have your captain punch your team into this website:
It will tell you your team's strengths and weaknesses. Use that knowledge. You can also enter the enemy team.
For instance, a team with Akali, Lux, Caitlyn, Hecarim, and Jayce versus a team with Ahri, Darius, Nasus, Blitzcrank, and Ezreal... Akali's team has much more soft CC, more poke, more gap closers, and better AOE offense. Ahri's team has better buffs, more debuffs, better zoning, more hard CC... see how useful that is?
Now I know that we need to wait for them to initiate a fight and burn some CC, put up our shields, run our AOE abilities, and use our gap closers to catch stragglers. I also know that we can be more offensive early because we have more gap closers than they do. Gap closers can be used to disengage as well as engage, so if we throw a lot of damage on them early, we should also be able to get out easier. Knowing what I know by looking at this...
...However, you have to use common sense. Because if I used what is listed above and nothing else, we would feed hard early. Akali has no gap closer before level 6. Neither does hecarim, really, unless he brings exhaust- because once he's in, he can't get out. You need to mix this knowledge with the knowledge you already have as a seasoned summoner to get the best results.
Next, at the loading screen, your team captain should have a search on their own name bookmarked at lolteam.net.
This will show you a history on the entire enemy team. What runes and masteries are they running? Is this their best champion? What division are they? It can really help you decide who the biggest threats on their team will be and what to really watch out for.
There is no knowledge that is not power.
Step 6: Know What You'll Do In Any Situation
Make sure your team knows what to do in any situation. I recommend creating a Microsoft Word file and sharing it on a team dropbox at www.dropbox.com
Add to it as you encounter situations that catch your team off guard. Include a "what we did" and "what we should do next time" section.
For instance... say top calls MIA and top lane never shows up at middle lane as they were anticipated to, and suddenly shows up in the bottom lane WITH the jungler so as to create a 4v2 lane against you.
What we did... was top lane immediately began to swing down and so did the jungler. Middle lane got pushed hard and killed and we lost middle tower. The ambush in the bottom lane was successful because our top lane had much too far to travel to make any difference and our jungler creating a 3v4 wasn't enough and the bottom lane wiped and we lost bottom tower.
What we know to do now... Top lane pushes hard and heads middle. Middle lane pushes out and heads bottom, jungler meets mid lane bottom, the ambush is stopped- if not capitalized on. If the ambush is turned against the enemy, jungler and middle lane catch the enemy top laner on the way back up if he dropped down and kill him. If the top laner didn't come down, they gank mid on the way back up. Top laner returns top after possibly getting an assist off of a 3-man gank in the middle lane.
Correct your mistakes and keep the knowledge logged for anyone to see any time. You'll be amazed how quickly your database grows if all of your team has access to it.
Even better would be to assign everyone on your team a font color, so you can always see who made what changes. NEVER DELETE anything from the document unless it's voted by the entire team to be archived knowledge. It helps you see things in the past if the past is still there. Simply add corrections with an asterisk and set the old information to a "changed" designated font color.
Including a key at the top is probably helpful. Make SURE your team is regularly reading the information.
Step 7: Skirmish
You need to challenge yourselves and keep yourselves in check. The best way to do this is to skirmish with your own team. That way, when Nasus gets destroyed trying to gank bottom lane against Ezreal and Sona, they can then tell Nasus why his gank didn't work, and what to do differently next time.
Make sure everyone playing is in the same VoIP channel and there's open communication. Keep the trash talking to a minimum and keep the blame at a comfortable ZERO. You're in it to learn, not to make your team feel like idiots and cause tension and problems.
Step 8: Work On Communication, Get It Down To a Science
Set your pings to hotkeys you can reach and use without hindering yourselves. My "On My Way" ping is on "C" and it's the best thing I've ever done. My team ALWAYS knows where I'm going, and can even say "No, don't go there because XYZ."
My "MIA" ping is on my middle mouse button, and if I don't see my lane opponent for more than 5 seconds, I ping it. So does everyone else on my team. Nobody leaves a lane unnoticed, period. I literally count one one thousand, two one thousand... and ping at 5. My jungler TYPES and SAYS the timers on our dragons, buffs, and baron so that it's logged and the entire team is watching the timer in case ANYONE drops the ball.
We downloaded mobadroid, I recommend you do as well.
We also have LOLbuilder, and send builds to eachother if we discover something works well.
Step 9: Warm Up
Do you ever do something horribly physically strenuous without stretching? No. And if you do, you should probably start stretching- that's terrible for you.
Play AT LEAST two draft pick non-ranked games before you queue up for ranked on any given day or night. If you played in the morning and again at night, play a non-ranked game again just to make sure you're all in the right mindset in a non-ranked setting with less pressure. It's very important. My friend is a mathlete and while I don't know how true it is, he says it raises our win rate by about 22% when we warm up versus when we don't.
Step 10: Never Go Into a Game With a Bad Attitude
If you lost badly enough to where attitudes are running rampant and players are blaming each other and talking trash to their own team mates, DO NOT go into another ranked game. You lose games when morale is low. Play non-ranked until morale improves and you're all in a good place mentally again.
This is very important. Too many people lose ranked games because they entered into the match with the wrong attitude. Do yourself a favor and cut your loss percentage down by taking a step back from the situation and letting clearer heads prevail.
I'm terrible with coding and all that sort of thing. So if anyone wants to collaborate on this or do some coding, let me know. If there's any information you feel like contributing, feel free to inbox me or add it in the comments.
Tips, tactics, and two cents always welcome.