Riot adding a second, separate ranked ladder this season to League of Legends is an interesting development, especially because the new ladder allows for people to queue up with up to 4 others. Personally my wife and I use that ladder to play ranked games together, which is nice because it keeps our individual progress on the solo/duo ladder separate.
It’s been a season or two since I’ve really been serious about climbing ranks in LoL, where I topped out at just under diamond (if I remember correctly, I was in a promo or two to diamond, but was never able to complete one successfully). That doesn’t mean I don’t try to win every game I play, or that I completely stop caring about getting better. I’ve just accepted the reality that since I don’t track all patch changes or meta shifts, nor playing enough games to stay sharp with as many champions, my ability to climb is more limited, and right now it seems mid/lower plat is where I’m at.
My wife, also playing less, is at upper gold, though she did finish last season in plat. The skill gap isn’t huge, but it does exist, which previously made playing together in ranked games… not ideal for our marriage long-term. The old adage of ‘friends don’t let friends play ranked games together’ is all too true about LoL. But with a second queue, one we both treat as less important, that is no longer the case. We still try to win each game, and we don’t pick joke champs or ‘fun comps’, but where we rank isn’t really important, so immediately after a game we both move on win or lose. It’s actually pretty great.
What is also hilarious is that after her 10 placement games, my wife is in Silver V on that ladder (going 5/10. I’m in gold 2 after going 6/10). After some merciless teasing about being down with the mutants, and warning her about embracing her inner bronzy, another fun reality set in: When we queue up, we are playing with people generally below plat. Sometimes far below plat, which is… interesting. Having been in plat for years now, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not have someone leash at the start of a game, or never roam from a lane, or to just generally have such poor mechanics or game fundamentals.
In that queue I play mid or jungle, so I’m less reliant on my team early (though having a gank go sideways because a teammate is far worse than you expect and doesn’t understand chaining CC is a pain), but my wife plays support, and it’s a wild ride. Because of the larger range of skill levels, and also because it’s still early in the season, game to game you never know if your adc is good, terrible, or average. You also don’t know if on the other side their two players are a duo with a diamond smurf, or two silver-level players still learning the game. This makes playing ‘correctly’ very hard. If you have a good adc vs a weaker two, you should play aggressive, but it takes some time to identify if that is indeed the case. Sometimes the adc seems competent, and completely freezes and botches things in a major engagement.
My wife is really good about keeping her cool and playing steady, and as she mostly plays Sona, it also means she can ‘babysit’ an adc well if they are bad, while also being able to play a more punishing style in a favorable matchup. When I play support (solo queue), it’s either with Braum or Leona, who unlike Sona are far more ‘all-in’ style champs. If my adc is good, we crush the lane. If they aren’t, it’s either a frustrating ‘do nothing’ lane, or the deaths pile up and things go south real fast.
Overall though I really like the new setup for ranked, and it’s working really well for us. We play one game a night when we can, and can easily step away without any blowback once the game is done. I’m also very curious to see where we shake out in terms of rank. If I had to guess, I’d say upper gold, but we will see.