Climbing the competitive ladder in League of Legends can be difficult and often frustrating at times. We’ve all been in situations where ranked games feel like a lost cause, and the element of fun turns to despair and loathing. Going down divisions can be a daunting prospect, especially when you feel you tried your hardest, but sometimes you have to lose to win.
Just like any competitive game or sport, League of Legends requires a high level of skill, communication and most importantly perseverance. Athletes don’t become experts in their fields overnight, instead they look at ways of improving their abilities and performance. So what can you do to improve your Elo?
Mastery and mechanical awareness
In order to gain a competitive edge over your opponents you need to master a small pool of champions who you can reliably do well with. It’s much harder to be successful if you’re playing ten different champions at a time. Instead lower this number to a select few champs and ensure you have a champion you can play effectively for each role. The bigger the champion pool the harder it is to maintain the level of skill and mastery required for each individual. It might be fun to play a diverse amount of champs, but it will be in vain if you can’t actually win with them.
Once you’ve mastered a few champs you will always be able to perform well no matter what the meta dictates. Picking a champion purely because they’re a meta pick means nothing when faced with a player who has taken the time to learn and perfect their skills with their chosen champion. They know their strengths, weaknesses and what to do at each stage of the game, which not only makes them a formidable opponent it also allows them to focus on other core elements needed at high levels of play. In this case less really is more.
Whether you play League of Legends solo or with a premade five, communication is the key to success in any game. If you’re not using Skype or Discord make sure you use your pings or chat function when you need to communicate with those around you. A simple ping to alert your team that your laner is missing or stating that a champion's summoner spell is down can increase the amount of potential kills, as well as prevent them.
Don’t be afraid to tell people what you are thinking, let your team know exactly when and where you want to make certain plays. By telling your team when your ultimate is up or on cooldown, and stating whether you can and can’t commit to a team fight can greatly reduce any reckless behaviour. This level of basic communication can go a long way in defining your team's overall synergy and effectiveness.
Map awareness is one of things that instantly divides high Elo players from low Elo players. It’s a very easy aspect of the game to learn, but it always surprises me the amount of times players forget to report enemy movements or notice a jungler pass by a ward. Good map awareness is the difference between living and dying, so be sure to look at your minimap every few seconds. The minimap not only lets you prevent deaths, it also allows you to keep tabs on where the enemy is likely to be and what objectives they are trying to take. This simple tip remains important regardless of your Elo, so get used to checking your mini map and punish those who don’t.
Work on your weaknesses
Fixing your weaknesses is the easiest thing to improve your game. One of the best ways to find these weaknesses is to record your matches. Watching yourself play is a great way to point out glaring failures and shortcomings that you would otherwise miss in the heat of the moment. If you find yourself dying to enemy ganks then prioritise your vision, positioning and overall map awareness.
Maybe you find a particular champion tricky to deal with so watch others play them, look for chinks in their armour, play the champion yourself so you get a better understanding of their mechanics and cooldowns. By making it a habit to work on each individual weakness you will eventually turn these into strengths that you can use against players who don’t accept their in-game flaws. No matter your Elo, there is always something that can be improved.
Focus on yourself
League might be a team game, but first you need to focus on yourself and know what your team is capable of before you commit to certain plays or objectives. How you play is important and can help influence the overall quality of play from your teammates. Make a good example and your team will follow up with some amazing plays themselves, play badly and react negatively then expect a lukewarm performance from your teammates.
Learn from your teammate’s mistakes and don’t let it weigh you down, instead focus on how you can win the next team fight or how you can prevent further mistakes from happening in the future. Maybe you need to create more pressure in your own lane to put the eyes on you, maybe you could provide more vision or split push lanes. Blaming your team will not get you anywhere, but choosing to focus on what you can do to influence the game and your teammates will increase your chances of victory.
This is arguably one of the most important skills in League of Legends and can be the difference between getting an Inhibitor, Turret, Baron buff or split pushing lanes. Knowing when to prioritise these objectives is very important to your performance and can have detrimental effects on the outcome of the game. Being able to think several moves ahead of your opponent can make it difficult for them to read you and your team.
This decision making can allow you to bait the enemy team into an orchestrated play that makes them believe they have the upper hand, but in reality they are being pushed into a trap. You only get better at decision making by playing and studying your own games or watching pro players. By analysing these games you’ll see what options were available to you at the time and when and where you should be aiming for them.
No matter what game, sport or hobby you have, if you dedicate enough time to it you will likely see notable improvements. League of Legends is a difficult game to learn and even harder to master, especially at a competitive level. You may remember the first time you logged in and were instantly bombarded with a plethora of champions, items and masteries. The first few games were rough and while the learning curve may have been steep, you persevered.
If you transfer this time and dedication to constantly learning and improving your overall effectiveness in each role you will be rewarded. You’re going to have bad games, but each time you play and experiment with certain builds and roles you will also be improving. Eventually, you’re overall level of play will become consistent and your win rate will gradually start to increase.
Just because you have an option to surrender doesn’t always mean you should. The amount of throws and game changing team fights can make the surrender button ruin the chances of a possible win. Yes, it can be hard not to just give up when a game feels completely out of your control, but most games are winnable, even at higher Elo’s. If there is a consistent pattern that leads to your team losing engages or maybe you keep getting caught then it’s time rethink your options.
Most people who get fed in League become complacent with their new found power and will start making radical plays. Wait for your opponents to make mistakes and work together to capitalise off them. The enemy team will often become increasingly frustrated and anxious about making further mistakes, so keep your play consistent and try to turn the tide of the battle. Also, the more time you spend in game (even if for a loss) gives you further chances to improve your level of play, so don’t always take a loss to heart, instead see it as a way of improving yourself.
Abuse enemy tilt
This is a rather shady approach to winning, but it is proven to work. Before the game starts check your opponent’s stats either by heading over to LolKing or OP.GG, this will allow you to see which players are more prone to losing and feeding. Once you’ve found the players that are on a losing streak, get your jungler to camp their lanes and watch the tilt begin. This will ultimately remove them from the game out of pure frustration, making it easier for you to secure that all-important victory.
Of course, this tactic will likely be used against you too, so be aware that you could be a potential target. With this knowledge you can also prevent this tactic from affecting your overall performance and use it to your advantage. So if you’ve recently been on a losing streak make sure you play safe and ward your half of the map, also notify your team that the enemy jungler is likely to camp you so they can provide the appropriate support. This will prevent the tilt tactic from working against you and waste precious time for the opposing team.