How to climb up in rank in League of Legends

My climb out of Silver was short and full of S rankings, which wasn’t that surprising (was in plat 4 prior to the reset) but still interesting, as it has been years since I was that low. Here are some takeaway thoughts that might help you climb as well.

First lets address ELO hell. ELO hell exists, but it isn’t any specific overall range, but rather its a personal range. Say for instance your skill level is Gold 3. ELO hell won’t exist for you in silver, because you are so much better than silver players that you will progress rather quickly. Your ELO hell will be Gold 4-5, where you are still better, but not so much better to really swing the odds heavily in your favor. Winning 51% of your games is still good, but its slow progress. What that means is you are going to need to play a lot of games (grind) to advance, which can feel like hell if you are overly focused on moving up the ranks (vs just playing to have fun and getting better while also advancing).

The key to ELO hell however is actually being realistic with your abilities. To return to the above example, maybe you THINK you are a Gold 3 player, but in reality are actually closer to Gold 5. In that case, your real ELO hell will be upper silver, and should you get into Gold, your progress will halt until you personally improve. Fully knowing your real skill level can be tough, especially as the meta changes and your preferred champs go up or down on the power scale.

Another key to move up is understanding the entire game, not just your champ. On my climb I saw a lot of players who had high mechanically skills (high CS), but lacked the overall awareness of the game that better players posses. They would be slow to rotate, or late to objectives, or didn’t know when to push a lane vs when to freeze it.

Worse still is if you don’t understand the importance of learning that part of the game. Say you play ADC, and you think that so long as you have a good CS score and solid KDA, you are doing well. Your so focus on those two things that you ignore the rest of the game, especially during laning. In your mind when the jungler doesn’t do well, or another lane ‘feeds’, its not your fault, because look at your CS/KDA, but that might be very wrong. If the jungler came to your lane but you didn’t set the gank up correctly, you wasted his time. It’s no loss to your personally (you still last hit your minions and didn’t die), but you put the jungler behind. Those mistakes can snowball a game, or at least reduce your chances of actually winning the game.

On the flip side, if you are far below where you should be, you can help to carry your team not just with personal performance on your champ, but by playing team captain. Tell the team when to hit certain objectives, when to push/freeze, or general items to buy. Since you are a better player, you watch the mini-map more, so use the pings to help another lane when you see a gank coming. You will be surprised how much this helps (sure, you will get people who ignore the advice, but that’s also why they are stuck in those ranks, so just do your best and you will move past them eventually), and again snowballs your game to a victory. LoL is designed to make it very hard for one champion to fully carry a game 1v5, but you can do a lot of other things to ‘carry’ and tip your win rate above 50%.

Finally, its important to understand that even if you are far above your current ranking (when I was Silver as a Plat player), you aren’t going to win every game. Hell, you might not even win your lane every time, either because of a bad matchup or because the other player is also a high ranker still moving up. All you can do is to understand how you can influence the game the most, both via personal play (be aggressive in lane, roam as often as possible, buy high risk/reward items) and team coordination. The climb will happen, but its important to understand that it still won’t be perfectly smooth.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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