Hello fellow summoners!
First of all, forgive me for any grammar mistakes. This is my second language and my English isn't perfect, so feel free to correct me if im wrong.
I'm writing this guide because I consider that most people think that the reason they are in Elo Hell is because of either bad luck with team mates or noobs feeding, etc. In my opinion the team being bad or the noobs feeding is only a part of the explanation.
If you want to know my take on this subjetct please read this guide and if you have any insights dont hesitate on sharing them with the comunity. I would be very happy to recive any constructive criticism to improve this guide.
Step 1 - Discover The Problem
Everyone that has played Ranked League of Legends know at least one of the following situations:
1) Someone on your team throws really hard, chasing into the enemy team for a kill (and he never gets it). Then everyone starts flaming, you included. You get killed while typing "OMG you noob, stop feeding". Then the feeder says "Says the 1/5 -insert champion name-" or "OMG you guys never go in", etc.
2) Someone goes afk, refuses to play their role, troll, disconect, choose a champion in the wrong lane, etc.
This leads me to my point: You can't control this things, yet you put all your energy and focus on them. This leads to frustration, anger, blame games, etc. None of this things fix the problem.
There is a fact that you need to accept before you are ready to leave Elo Hell. Facts and statistics tell us that all the good players got out of Elo Hell. What this means is that there must be something they did right and something that you are doing wrong.
The first step out from Elo Hell is accepting that you need to work and understand this things in order to become a better LOL player. Don't get me wrong, im not saying you are bad if you are in Elo Hell, but rather that you are focusing your enegies in the wrong things.
In the next chapter I will adress those common mistakes and how to improve. The key to open the gates of Elo Hell and get out is called "Consistency". Improving consistency will be our main focus. Keep in mind that in order to see the benefits of being consistent you need to play a lot of ranked games!
So, just to reiterate: The reason you are in Elo Hell is because you have low consistency in your gameplay. In the great scheme of things, every team will have noobs, feeders, trolls, etc. This includes the enemy team. But games are won through consistency, not miracles. You will lose games, because some games are beyond saving, the important thing is that you capitalize on the rest.
What all comes down to is having a solid control of your game so you become a rock in the sea where all the drifting noobs can be spared.
Step 2 - Change Your Mindset
There are 2 basic and most common mindsets in this game. One leads to individualistic gratification and the other one leads to a higher chance of winning games. I will describe them both.
1) Individualistic Gratification: This is the mindset you have when you are always focused on who can you kill next. You smell the blood of the weak and you want a piece of the trophy. Most Elo Hell players have this mindset. This is what leads people to chasing, having low CS (creep score), forgeting about dragon, baron and buffs, etc. This is great to do in normal matches, because lets be honest, killing champions is a lot of fun! This is a terrible mindset to have in a ranked game.
2) Playing the Objective: This is the mindset the game is designed for. This is a tower game, and most people forget that the main goal is to destroy the enemy Nexus wich is protected by towers and champions. If you play the objective the only reason to go for a kill is to get an edge to destroy towers/nexus or get ahead in resources so you can eventually overrun their base. The safest way to get ahead is outfarming your oponent, pushing undefended lanes and getting the jungle buffs, dragon, and baron nashor. When you play the objective map vision becomes a much bigger asset for your team.
If you want to increase your Consistency, win ratio and performance in ranked games, you need to play the objective first. This means you wont be chasing champions unless it helps you win the game and you wont be joining team fights you are likely to lose, etc. Dont ever lose focus of your goal.
Since most Elo Hell players have the first mindset, use that to your advantage. While everyone is moving in circles in mid hoping for someone to mess up and get a kill (stalemate) you can be warding and pushing safely. If you have a strong team you might want to stay close to pick up some kills or assists to get ahead.
Step 3 - Improve Your Meta Game
League of Legends is one of those games you can win 50% of the battle in the champion selection screen. This means that the knowledge of counters, team compositions, summoner spells, runes and masteries have a huge impact on the game outcome.
If you want to improve your consistency in ranked games, you absolutely need to read a lot and know a lot of how the game works in paper before you go into the actual game. I can't provide all the information you need, but I can point out where to look.
1) Go to Enigma Blade site and download Enigma Item Changer so you can set up your main ranked champions with the builds you want. This is an endorsed app, so Riot has no problem with you using this. You can also get the other apps if you want.
2) Have a page of Champion Select open to check for counters quickly. Choose your champion or suggest picks accordingly. Don't stray to far though, it's better to play a champion you really know well than playing one you don't simply because it's a counter. Remember that counters are only a slight edge you get over your oponent because of the mechanic interactions of their skill set.
3) Focus on mastering 2 champions per lane and jungle. Keep your list minimal and varied. Try to have a diferent Primary and Secondary choice for each lane so you can have a strong counter for the most played champions or at least a lower chance to counterpick yourself. Study this and take your time. After you have your selection you should get the most optimal rune page and masteries for each one of them (having a bad rune page will lower your chances of success). I recomend you to pick based both on your play style and effective champions. I will discuss this item later.
4) Study and watch videos of other champions and play them yourself to get a better idea of their cooldown timings, strenghts and weaknesses. This is a huge factor to consider when you want to improve your consistency. This will give you a better sense of what champions you can't really fight one on one and how to abuse your advantage with the ones you can.
5) Ask better players for advice or training. You can learn a lot by playing with better players while they talk to you about what you are doing in real time. This is an unvaluable learning experience. Learn from the best!
Step 4 - Select Your Champions
Having a good champion selection is one of the most time consuming parts of your path out of Elo Hell. The first difficulty is that you need to own those champions, so this might take some time. The second block in the road is the amount of testing and reaserch you need to make a good selection. I will speed things up for you by giving you some things to look for in your champions.
1) Favor champions that fit your playstyle. You should feel confortable once you master them but most champions will feel somewhat weird at first.
2) Favor champions with carrying potential. Most people think that only carries can carry a game. This is not true, so learn what champions scale well to late game and favor those. Example: Nocturne, Akali, Katarina, Olaf, Jax, Darius, Jayce, any natural ap or ad carry, etc.
3) Favor champions with at least one form of CC (crowd control) or an escape and initiate mechanism such as stealth, jump, dash, teleport, speed, etc. The reason for this is that both cc and escape mechanisms help you and your team to fix other people mistakes and also makes the initiation for team fights easier. You can't afford having a team with no initiate capabilities. If you play smart and consistent you can really chance the course of a battle with your cc, specially in low elo games. Example: Jax, Kennen, Talon, Singed, Twisted Fate, Riven, etc.
4) Favor champions with inherent strength. In LOL there are champions that are consider strong picks because they tend to scale well and have a well rounded skill set. You can check the current meta to learn which champions are the strongest. They are also strong because they work well in many team compositions. They are also the most banned champions so be careful and don't choose 2 of these for your selection. Example: Amummu, Shen, Morgana, Blitzcrank, Katarina, Rumble, Zyra, etc. Keep in mind that some underplayed champions hide enormous potential if you master them, specially at low elo because people dont really know how to play against them.
5) Favor champions that can push and farm effectively and destroy towers fast. Some champions excel when it comes to destroy structures and others are really bad at it (usually involves champions that can use abilities on structures). Consider this when you pick because if you can get fed you will be able to trample their defenses with ease. Example: Jax, Rengar, Xin Zhao, Yorick, Malzahar, etc.
Step 5 - Accept Time Limitations
Accepting limitations doesn't mean that you should be dicouraged or stop trying to change things. It actually serves the oposite purpose of giving you a realistic sense of what can you expect to achieve in a given amount of time.
This guide could be described as a bad habit replacement guide because on the core of everything I'm saying I consider one fact that can't be overlooked:
Your brain needs time and practice to change, like any muscle. This is why change is so hard, in any situation.
Here’s why: the brain cells that fire together wire together. Meaning, having run in a certain sequence, they are more likely to run that sequence again until it becomes a habit. It’s one of the ways the brain conserves energy. By now, you’ve got a deeply grooved pathway to doing what you’ve always done. That’s why change is hard; you’ve got to practice enough to create a new pathway that is strong enough to compete with the old one.
Having said this you should expect to notice substantial improvement after at least 3 weeks of practice. Some people may be faster, and some slower, but this is an average estimate for you to have. Muscle memory related changes have a diferent learning process than theory and conceptual understanding of things. Remember to do you practice when you feel rested and don't over do it, your brain can only absorb one or two things at a time. Be patient.
Don't forget, practice makes the master. If you give up before the minimum 3 weeks all the new pathways you where building will be lost and you will be feeling even worse because you will have the theory down and the same old habits ruining it for you. So, never surrender!!!
Step 6 - Set Your Own Milestones
As i said in the previous chapters, even though this is a team game, in ranked you need to tip the balance in your team favor by having a solid game yourself. Improving is not easy mainly because most people are all over the place trying new things every game or they havn't worked on their fundamentals (previous steps).
So now comes the fun part. Establishing personal goals or markers in your training. I will give you a few ideas on how to aproach practice without being discouraged by ranked games results. Set your own milestones and check your game replays to see how did you do, then adjust your numbers to something a little bit over your real average numbers.
Download LOL Replay to record your games without using too much space in your computer and then leave it on every time you play, so you can watch your games for things to improve.
1) Set a máximum of deaths allowed. This simple rule will make you think twice when engaging, you will end up playing safe and you wont contribute to any feeding on your team. Personally I like to set my goal to 1 death for 8 minutes of gameplay. This means that I shouldn't die more than 6 times in a 48 minute game (which is a farily long game).
2) Set a creep score goal at specific times. I like to get 75 cs at the 10 minute mark. This is not a pro creep score rate but it is very competitive. At the 20 minute mark I want to aim for at least 150 cs. Just so you know, minions spawn at 1:30 and keep spawning every 30 seconds. Every third wave will spawn a Siege minion so the max amount of creeps you can kill in lane by 10 minutes is 114. If you want to see the maximum cs you can get each minute check this table. Besides the specific numbers you get, always try to beat your lane in cs because the total cs you can get is determined by how agresive is your oponent.
3) Set a warding goal. Personally I like to buy wards all game, since many people don't favor vision over items you have to compensate. My goal is to buy at least 1 ward everytime I go back and most importantly use it. Don't be fooled by thinking that finishing an item or getting more stuff will be more beneficial than a simple well placed ward. I will discuss this issue later because it has to do with how most people misjudge the game pace.
4) Set combo's and specific plays goals. If you have a champion that relies heavily on performing a combination of moves, try to incorporate some of those in your gameplay. You will have to take the risk of failing many times before the moves become a second nature to you, where you don't need to think. If you acomplish this with your champion selection your overall dominance in lane will skyrocket. This is where real confidence lies. Try to keep your combo or special move list minimal though, you want to focus on one thing at a time. One thing I do a lot when I learn a new champion is playing on Proving Grounds 1v1 with my buddy to try the combo's and tactics. It's also a lot of fun and you discover many many details and subtleties you may overlook in a high preassure game.
Step 7 - Improve Your Performance
We already established that you need to worry about your performance and nothing else! You also have to play with the right mindset! In order to do this I need you to incorporate the following habits to your gameplay. I will explain why.
1) Do not worry about anyone else performance but yours. Only use the chat to point out targets, game objectives and compliment other people when they do well. Avoid any negative remarks. I would even suggest not giving advice in game either because most people won't be able to wing it. Give your advice after the game if you need to.
2) Glance at your minimap often. Every time you are performing a non micro intensive task such as killing mobs in jungle, planting a ward, moving to a target location, waiting for mobs to come, recalling, etc. The idea is to maximize your map awareness, wich is one of the most valuable resources in the game! You should try looking more at the minimap than the actual screen. The minimap is the bigger picture! This will naturally provide proper dragon and baron timings, adecuate pushing timings, etc.
3) Let people escape. Don't chase for the kill unless you saw the minimap first and you know there is no one around to save them. In other words don't chase unless it's safe to do so. Doing more damage than you take is already a win. It means they have to play defensive or go back to heal wich provides your team with higher chances of destroying towers and farming safely.
4) Don't go back unless you need to. Some people go back because they want to get an item or they need mana. I would only suggest going back if you are dangerously low on health (like one shotable). Otherwise, stay and use the first mindset that people have to force mistakes from them. If you dont have mana, play passive for a while. If you have a lot of gold, keep the preasure in lane, that is worth more than the item you would get (unless you are support and its a Gp10 item).
As a general rule, if you lose map vision while pushing, and you can't see at least 4 of the enemy players, go back (chances are they are pinging and smelling your blood already). If your laning enemy player goes back you have to choose to either outfarm him or if you are already ahead get a better item to gain an edge later on. Consider the fact that if you stay in lane you can see the items they get before you do, so you can counter their builds easier.
5) Use your pings wisely. Help your team focus by pinging the adc or apc (attack damage or ability power carry)so they know they should prioritize them when engaging. Be specially clear with your retreat ping when you see your team going to a certain death, but do not die with them unless you are confident that the outcome will favor your team. Also ping for dragon, baron, buffs, coverage, invades, etc.
I hope you enjoyed this guide and hopefully you found a few things you can use to improve and get out of Elo Hell.
I'm planning on making video examples with analisis for common mistakes and how to solve them. Let me know if you would like to see the videos or any other helpfull things I can add to the guide.
I'm looking forward to see your comments!