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Are You Ready for League of Legends Ranked Play?

Updated on January 9, 2014
League of Legends, copyright Riot Games, Inc.
League of Legends, copyright Riot Games, Inc.

You have arrived!

Now that you have reached level thirty on your League of Legends account, you are eligible to take part in ranked play. If you choose to complete a series of placement games, you will be assigned a rank and be placed into a division within a larger tier. You’ll have the ability to move up or down within these divisions as you prove yourself in further ranked matches. But the big question is are you ready?

It’s important to make sure that you are prepared for ranked gameplay before you dive right in. Take it from me, someone who started before he was ready! Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to prepare and assess your readiness! These will help you ease your transition and give you an edge over others players.

League of Legends, copyright Riot Games, Inc.
League of Legends, copyright Riot Games, Inc.

1. Knowing what ranked play is about...

Ranked players are competitive, and rightly so! Obviously the object of any game is to win, but the whole point of ranked gameplay is to showcase team and individual skill. It’s important to have fun as well, but know that these players play for keeps!

Your teammates won’t be expecting you to play like a professional, but they will expect you to give your best. Shortchanging your team by playing champions and positions unfamiliar to you or by testing out new and bizarre builds is a great way to frustrate your teammates…and a team divided is all the more likely to lose!

Ranked games are great for learning teaming skills and for perfecting strategy, but they are not the place to be learning champions and builds. This should only be done in normal games.

2. It's a matter of experience.

One of the things I didn’t consider before playing ranked was my level of experience—at least, my experience in comparison to the people I’d be playing with (and against). I headed right into ranked as soon as I hit thirty, but I didn’t realize that League of Legends makes no distinction between those who have been level thirty for ten minutes and those who have been for months…or years.

Don’t feel like you’re being rushed into playing ranked games. I started playing ranked right after I hit level thirty and it was immediately apparent that several of the players I was queued with had lots more experience than I did. Take it easy and get what experience you can from normal games.

A good indicator that you’re ready to start playing ranked is your normal-game match history. If you tend to win matches, that’s a plus. What’s even better is that you’re able to maintain a good KDR (kill-death ratio) in your games…even in the ones you lose!

3. Knowing the ropes...

When I started playing ranked, top and mid were the only positions I could play well. As a top lane, I only played AD Kayle. In mid lane, I only knew about three champions well. I’m sure you could imagine the problems it caused my team when both top and mid were called by other players... and I had to play as ADC or support. In short, it was a disaster!

Many times I was hard-countered in lane just because I didn’t know how to play anyone else! While it’s true that it’s better to play a champion you know instead of an unfamiliar one which counters your enemy, you don’t want to back yourself into a corner and only have one option to fall back on (as I often did)!

As I said before, nobody is expecting you to play like a pro, but people will expect you to at least know the basics of every position well enough to play it. Also, you should be able to play at least two champions comfortably in each position. Your best roles might be top lane and ADC, but if for some reason you’re last pick and must jungle, you should be able to do so—and it’s best you have some champion options available to you!

Example Runes & Masteries, League of Legends Screenshot, copyright Riot Games, Inc.
Example Runes & Masteries, League of Legends Screenshot, copyright Riot Games, Inc. | Source

4. Have proper runes and masteries.

It’s not necessary to own a huge amount of rune pages to be successful in ranked play. It is important that you have good runes for your champions. Because you should be able to at least play each position, you will need a rune page for each position.

You will also need to have a plenty of options for masteries available to you. Mastery pages are free, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have plenty for champions in each position. For each of the champions I play frequently, I have at least two mastery pages.

Don’t be that guy that heads into jungle with Elise, fails because of his straight-AP runes and masteries, and has to apologize to his teammates “because he doesn’t have any jungle runes”. It’s happened before, and it’s an ugly mess. Be prepared for anything!

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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5. All for one, one for all!

Increasing your team’s chances of winning doesn’t begin with your personal skill, but actually starts from a mindset. You will need to acknowledge that this is a team game that is won, well, by teams. Five players, each doing his own thing, are not the same as a team. Even more important than getting enemy kills and towers is preserving teamwork and a positive atmosphere at all costs.

So what does it mean to be a team player? A team player is friendly, respectful, and encouraging of his teammates. It means building each other up and helping each other to do better...and not tearing a someone down because he did something poorly. Make sure you can follow the summoner's code.

In ranked games, it's not about how hard any single player can “carry four scrubs”. Your Akali can go 24/0, but that doesn’t mean a cohesive enemy team can’t beat you. It’s also not about blaming a player who’s having a bad game. Games with an absent player or even a feeding player can be won…and have been won! Don't be quick to adopt a defeatist attitude.

Ranked play is about what a gang of players can accomplish as one unit.

To be successful, you will need to separate yourself from this game emotionally. Players who can’t keep their feelings in check are shooting themselves in the foot by playing ranked games. You’ll also need to know how to give constructive criticism. Too often, a game goes sour because players offer up harsh accusations and insults to one another instead of friendly, respectful suggestions for improvement.

A positive atmosphere is like a bubble; sometimes all it takes is a single sharp (or insensitive) word to pop it. Words like “noob” should be deleted from your vocabulary.

In ranked play, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and your team is greater than any of its members. If you aren’t prepared to be a respectful, encouraging team player, you aren’t ready for ranked play.

Are you ready for ranked play?

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6. Go for it!

If you feel your match history paints a consistently good picture of your personal playing abilities, you have the basics down for each position, you have proper runes and masteries for each position, and you've left yourself with champion options, go for it!

Don't let your hesitation keep you from trying ranked games if you're ready! Placement games can be scary, but take a deep breath and try your best! Keep calm and have fun!

Best of luck on the Fields of Justice!

--TwerkZerker

© 2014 TwerkZerker

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