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How To Improve Your Rating in League of Legends
Get out of Elo hell
Welcome, summoner! This lens will provide you with my favorite and proven tips and techniques that will help you increase Elo and improve your skills in League of Legends. If you dream of dominating other players consistently and some day reach your goals, I'm confident my advice will be helpful.
It doesn't matter if you're trying to reach silver, gold or platinum rating, more than often your individual skill and behavior can determine the outcome of the game. That's why it's important to realize that no matter how well you think you play, there is always room for improvement.
Below (in no particular order) you can read some of the best advice I can provide after more than 3,000 matches played in League of Legends. I hope you find it useful!
What is Elo?
Feel free to skip this if you're familiar with the system
Elo is a rating system devised by a chess played named Arpad Elo over 50 years ago, and today it's used not only for chess but also football and baseball, and of course League of Legends. In the elo rating system every player is assigned a numerical rating, which can either increase or decrease based on the performance against other players. A higher rating basically means a better, more skilled player.
Depending on whether the opponents are considered better or worse, more or less points are gained or lost, but both players lose or gain the same amount. If a lower-rated player defeats a higher rated one, he will gain more points. Over a number of matches if one player wins more than expected his rating will increase.
The point of the Elo system is to eventually get all players to a rating where they will win 50% of matches, or in other words perfectly balance the players. Of course as with all systems it has its flaws, but generally in my opinion in League of Legends it works fairly well.
What Elo are you at?
No judging, just a question. I'm just trying to figure out what Elo rating (tier and division) are a majority of players that end up here so I can improve the content by writing tips that are better aimed at beginner or advanced players.
Completely anonymous of course, so please be honest. It'll help me a lot :)
(note: tiers and divisions are approximate and depend on server/region and other stuff)
What's your Elo rating?
Does Elo hell really exist?
Ah yes, THE question! Every high(er) rated player will tell you that Elo hell is a myth, and every low rated player will tell you he's stuck in elo hell. So where's the truth?
Personally I like to think that both is true. If you're truly a good player, you will be able to crawl out of Elo hell and achieve your deserved rating, but many players just don't realize how bad they really play and simply blame it on Elo hell. While it is true that you can drop to rating far below your "expected" rating, you really should do your best to objectively assess how well you played and figure out if you deserve to be rated as low as you are.
Once you do drop to lower elo it can be even harder to increase it due to the fact you get lower-rated team mates. However, that also holds true for the opposing team: if you're good enough, you shouldn't have any trouble carrying games and winning.
Regardless of whether you or I think Elo hell exists or not, it's completely irrelevant, and that's the first thing you must learn! If you came here looking for excuses then you came to the wrong place. The point of this page is to help you improve your LoL skill, knowledge, decision making and mechanics, but most importantly your mindset.
Stop making excuses for your low elo and do something about it!
What are your thoughts about elo hell? Does it exist or not? You can just vote in the poll, but also add your opinions below!
Do you believe in Elo hell?
It's YOU That Needs Improving
You can't influence your team mates much in a game, so the best thing you can do is objectively review your own gameplay and try to improve YOURSELF. That's the secret on how we're going to get you out of Elo hell, and that's what this page is all about.
Every match of League of Legends you ever lost has only one thing in common: you. Work on improving your own mechanics and knowledge about the game rather than always blame your teammates.
You Do Not Know Everything
Really, you don't.
In the thousands of matches I played, there's always some know-it-all telling everyone how they should play and pointing out their mistakes. In a majority of the cases, this doesn't lead to the team doing any better. People don't like smart-asses in real life, and they sure don't like them in League of Legends.
Offering helpful and constructive advice is good, but you need to be able to receive it as well. I don't know everything about this game, and I never will. With over 100 champions, a ton of items, abilities etc. it's impossible to keep track of everything, especially when it gets changed through the frequent patches.
No matter if you have 200, 500 or 2000 matches played, you need to realize LoL is a continuous learning process, and with every single match you'll get better and pick up something new.
Playing angry and flaming your team doesn't help.
If a teammate tells you to build item X on champion Y, don't call him a retard. Either consider building it, or explain to them politely why it's not best for your item build or champion. Always be open to new things: just because you saw something in a pro player stream or read a guide for a champion, it doesn't mean your item build is the best.
Try this for a change: if you're doing good but your teammates keep dying and feeding kills, instead of insulting them try telling them to just try to passively farm and wait for team fights. Pointing out how badly they're doing is not going to help them in any way, I'm sure they already know it. And they're just as unhappy about it as you are.
Being impolite to players and calling them names is the best way to ensure a swift defeat. Try reminding your teammate how well everyone else is doing in the match, and that you have a good chance to win if you just farm and group up.
It's also important that you don't play when you're angry and frustrated. We all have those matches that completely throw us off the tracks, and I personally start playing worse and worse with every defeat. Quit ranked for a day and continue tomorrow when you're well rested and fresh.
Remember to Have Fun
League of Legends is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. If you constantly get stressed and frustrated perhaps you should consider sticking with normal games.
Also, there's always bots waiting to be crushed if you really need to get that daily IP bonus.
And by that I don't mean your goldfish.
I'm not sure who or even if imparted this knowledge to me, but it's how I tend to play all my games. My number one goal in every match is to avoid dying as much as possible, even if it means missing a few kills on your opponent. It doesn't mean you can never make any risky plays, but keep them to a minimum and don't play recklessly.
Think about how many games you lost even though you were fed. Sure it helps to get kills in your lane and dominate your opponent, but if the risk is too great don't go for it. Instead, focus on farming, map objectives and team fights.
That also includes unnecessary chasing, aka greed. By all means, if possible you should always finish off an opponent, but almost never if it means you'll die yourself or lose some other important objective. Don't run after opponents through their own jungle for ages, the other team isn't stupid and will take advantage of you overextending alone. Don't blow your escape abilities to catch someone if you know you can't get out of the situation alive. Don't tower dive if you're not getting out alive.
Every time you force your opponents to waste summoner spells or go back to base and heal, you gained an advantage. You can freely farm and do damage to a turret, and you denied your enemy gold and experience. Even small victories are helpful, and every advantage you can get is helpful, and it all adds up.
Learn All Roles
Kama Sutra for League.
If you intend to instalock a particular champion regardless of what your team needs, then you might as well not even play ranked matches. You should learn at least 2-3 champions for every role: AD carry, AP carry, jungle, top lane and support. Yes, support! I know everyone hates playing supports, but they are crucial to winning games, for reasons I shouldn't have to explain (but most importantly, wards). More on that below.
As I mentioned, learning more than one champion for each role is absolutely necessary so you can be sure you can pick one you know how to play. If they end up getting banned or picked by the other team, you need to have alternatives. Also, the last thing you want to do is counter-pick yourself and make your laning even harder.
Even if your best role is for example AD carry, you might want to let someone else play it in case they ask. Unfortunately not everyone can play every role, and if someone's forced to play a jungler and they almost never do it, you can't expect them to play well. Next time you're in champion select, try saying "I prefer mid" rather than "I'm mid": communicating with your team and letting them play what they're best at is often the best way to ensure they do well.
A good rule of thumb is to let everyone play what they're best at, and if you're a decent player you'll be able to do well and fill any role your team requires. You can even carry yourself by mainly playing support.
What role is your favorite one: tell the world in this short poll. Please vote, it'll only take a second!
What's Your Preferred Champion Role?
Learn To Play Support
You might even like it.
The most underestimated role in any team is undoubtedly the support. While their impact in teamfights can be less crucial compared to other roles, having a skilled and knowledgeable support player can mean all the difference. Best of all, they are in my opinion easiest to play (before you start with the hate, I mainly play support role).
There's two things you need to do as a support player: buy wards, and don't die. Everything else is secondary: obviously you'll help your team with abilities, attacks and items, but those are the most important ones. Don't take CS from your teammates, make sure jungle paths and map objectives are warded properly, and for god sakes don't die in lane. Your job is to help others do their job, and if you can't handle it go back to normal games and either practice or play something random.
Yes, sometimes your AD carry is playing badly and you feel bad about supporting them. Hell, maybe your entire team is feeding kills and you can't do anything about it. But at least you know it's not your fault, right? Well, sometimes it can be, but it's most commonly because of wards. Just remember that map vision is more important than your items. In teamfights, make sure to protect your AD carry primarily whenever possible, don't be afraid to use your spells AND autoattacks, and do your best not to die.
As with any role there's tons of little details and tricks which you pick up by playing them often, but I'll leave that for another time. Supports may be the easiest to play, but it still takes practice to do it properly. Just remember, buy wards and don't die!
Poll: Is Support your least favorite role?
If you can't play your main role and all that remains is support and one other, do you pick support?
Is Support your least favorite role?
There's even an iPhone app for that.
Knowing the respawn timers of buffs and other map objectives is very important if you intend to contest them. Giving your team a heads up can often lead to getting that blue buff or dragon before the other team is in position for it, so make sure you learn the respawn times, whenever possible type them into chat and remind your teammates about them.
- Ancient Golem (blue) and Elder Lizard (red) buffs spawn at 1:55 and respawn 5 minutes after they are killed. If you know or guess where the opposing jungler started, you can contest their buffs at roughly 7:10, or 12:15 on the second or third spawn.
- Dragon respawns every 6 minutes. Unless you have a significant advantage over the other team you don't want to do it before 7 minutes into the game.
- Baron Nashor spawns at 15 minutes, and its respawn timer is 7 minutes. Here's a little trick as well: the baron buff lasts 4 minutes, so if you didn't get the exact time of death it'll spawn 3 minutes after the buff disappears from champions.
Ping Targets In Team Fights
Hitting "G" makes it GG.
Marking targets in team fights is a great way to ensure everyone stays focused on a particular target. More than often teamfights can be chaotic with everyone choosing their own target, and later blaming everyone for focusing the wrong ones.
It sounds too simple, but pinging works extremely well. Quite frequently it doesn't even matter who you focus: if the entire team throws their spells at that Skarner trying to initiate the fight he might die before he even gets the chance to use his ulti, or that Maokai who pulled himself in your entire team can often get bursted before the opposing team has a chance to react.
If you see your team focusing the wrong targets, make sure to remind them in chat who the priority is. But also make sure to ping the target during teamfights when he gets too close: it's a great habit to pick up, and you should really try it and see that it works. Why whine to your team afterwards about it, when you could easily do something about it.
Call MIA / SS
Or at least follow them.
A topic of frequent controversy, whether or not you should call your lane MIA (missing in action). In my opinion you definitely should, every single time. In a perfect world everyone would always pay attention to the minimap and have godlike map awareness, but in practice that's obviously not the case.
I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that EVERYONE sooner or later gets ganked and frustrated when a champion from another lane kills them, even you. If you notice your opponent gone, say it in chat: it takes half a second and it may save your team mates life.
Just think about all the times you were perfectly fine in your lane until someone forgot to call an MIA and you got ganked. A simple "ss" in chat would suffice and you wouldn't go for that kill or tower dive, or maybe you'd just play more defensively. And this goes both ways: you can't expect everyone to have amazing map awareness when you don't have it yourself.
Nobody can nor will ever have perfect focus and attention to the minimap and you can't expect them to. You're trying to win games here, right? Making sure your teammates know when a gank is coming is definitely one way to help them get ahead, or at the very least not fall behind.
Learn To Farm
13 minion kills is roughly worth 1 player kill.
Carrying yourself out of elo hell doesn't mean you need to dominate your opponent and get fed every single match. You can just as easily out-farm most people, leading to a significant gold advantage, which in turn makes it easier to get those kills.
Every fight you decide to do with your opponent carries a certain risk to it: perhaps the jungler or some other lane is waiting to gank you, or perhaps you'll simply end up dying 1v1 because you misjudged the situation. Whatever the case, farming minions is much safer and it provides an easy and steady gold income.
You should set some reasonable but decent CS (creep score; minion kills) goals for yourself and try to achieve them in every match. You don't need to go all Froggen-like and have 400 minion kills before the 30 minute mark, but reasonable goals can easily be achieved by just about anyone:
- try getting to 75 minion kills at 10 minutes (10:00)
- next, try to have at least 100 cs at 15:00
- and finally 160 minion kills at 20:00
(needless to say anything higher is way better)
These are very realistic but easily achievable goals. Maximum number of minions you can kill at 10:00 is 114, at 15:00 it's 177, and at 20:00 it's 240. Even with my recommended numbers above you still don't have to get a lot of minions, and that doesn't even include potential jungle creeps. Most players below 1500 rating won't have this many CS, so if you decide to go with the numbers above you should have no problem outfarming anyone. If you consistently manage to have that many minion kills, I assure you your elo will increase.
As you can see from the subtitle above, every 13-14 minion kills you have is the gold equivalent of one kill on a champion. If you manage to have say 50 cs more than your opponent in lane by 20 minutes, it's like having 4:0, so you see it's not all about kills.
Here's some simple math for you as well, just in case you still don't fully embrace the concept of farming: at 10 minutes if you have 50 minion kills you gained 1000 gold from them, and if you have 75 you gained 1500. That's an extra Doran's Blade, or something similar, which might be just enough to give you an edge in lane to either kill your opponent or force him to go back and heal, thus making him miss even more minions.
Either way, you never want to fall behind in CS. If you constantly get out-farmed, you're not in elo hell, you just need to practice more. No excuses, remember?
Note: attached image has gold gains from Season 2. In Season 3 the gold gain values have been slightly reduced.
When trying to last-hit minions or kiting your opponents, every click matters. Having a quality gaming mouse can help you increase your creep scores every match and make sure those skillshots go exactly where you want them to.
Razer Deathadder is one of the most popular gaming mice among professional players.
I used to use G400, it was perfect but it broke (after 3 years, mind you) so I went for Razer Mamba.
Looks great, but didn't personally try it.
A bit more expensive than your average mouse, but worth every cent in my opinion.
Learn To Freeze Lanes
Proper lane control is essential.
Freezing your lane is one of the basic things you should learn. It's mostly used in top lane, both when you have an advantage over your opponent and when you don't.
Freezing minions/lane basically means you want to keep them just outside your turret range, where you can easily last-hit every minion, and your opponent either has to get into turret range to get CS, or miss out on it. It's especially effective against melee champions without any ranged abilities, as they basically have no way to kill minions then.
The benefits are obvious: you're denying gold to your opponent, while at the same time farming at a safe place, ensuring you're much harder to gank for the opposing jungler. Since the opponent is basically at your turret the entire time, he's also easy pickings for your own jungler to gank.
The downsides of lane freezing exist too. You're not pushing the enemy turret, and the opposing champion can dive you under the tower with the help of mid/jungle if you're not careful. Furthermore, you need to ensure that your opponent doesn't roam the map and get kills or help his team with map objectives. I recommend you still keep the river/tribrush warded at all times to keep track of their jungler and your top lane opponent trying to roam.
Lastly, if you see your enemy went mid or back to base, make sure you "shove" his lane: it's essentially the opposite of freezing. You want to push minions to your opponents tower so they die to it, thus making him lose both gold and experience.
[Video] How to Freeze Your Lanes Tutorial
It's much easier to understand what lane freezing is when you see someone actually doing it, so the following video will show you exactly what it is and how to do it.
Map awareness and vision are imperative, and there's never a good excuse for not buying wards!
And not only when you're support.
Possibly one of the easiest ways to win a game is to make sure you have map vision. I don't even remember when was the last game I played where I didn't buy any wards, but I sure do still see people every single day that don't.
Knowing where enemies are and when objectives are taken is simply invaluable. Wards help keep you safe from ganks in lane, and when the jungler does come and try you can ensure you waste as much of his time as possible. Additionally, your other lanes are safer knowing the location of the jungler.
Make sure you always ward the most popular ganking paths or routes. It's a 75 gold investment. If you die you'll not only lose more gold than that (and experience), but also give 300 gold to your opponent, and another 150 to the jungler assuming he assists.
Also keep the dragon warded at all times. It's usually the support's job, but if you're in the area do it yourself. You'll be able to contest the dragon if the opposing team tries to kill it, and maybe even get some kills in the meantime. Even if you can't fight for it, at least you'll know the timer, making sure you can be ready for the next spawn. After 20 minutes, Baron Nashor should also be warded at all times.
Even if the enemy team has Oracle's Elixir and keeps destroying your wards, that's no reason to stop buying them! 75 gold is a small investment, and you can often bait someone with wards, catch them alone and turn the game around.
I won't really go into the ins and outs of warding as there are other resources for that, but I'll say this: if you never buy wards, you shouldn't be above 1200 rating in my opinion, simple as that. No excuses.
Get Oracle's Elixir Too
If you're doing well consider investing 400 gold into Oracle's even when you're not support, especially if the opposing team is warding constantly. Think about this: you only need to destroy 4 wards to make it worthwhile (4 wards cost 300g, and you gain 25g per kill). Denying vision is a bonus!
Learn To Adapt Your Item Builds
Monkey see, monkey do.
You should always buy items depending on your needs. A surprising majority of players always builds the same regardless of their opponents or how the laning phase goes. Item builds for support and AD carry players are generally the same (although consider rushing Shurelia's Reverie or Last Whisper if needed), mid lane doesn't often require specific deviations (perhaps build Athene's Unholy Grail or Abyssal first if you need extra magic resist), and junglers can rarely afford to build something out of the ordinary.
That leaves us with top laners. You should always build according to your opponent and team: if the opposing team is predominantly physical damage, you'll want to skip that second DPS item or Abyssal Scepter and go for some armor. If you're having trouble in lane, either go for sustain, regen or defense.
Also watch out for players on the opposing team who are fed or very farmed, therefore the biggest threat to you. And note your role in teamfights: if your job is to go straight for the AD carry and zone him out, you'll want to have some armor on you.
You should ALWAYS adapt to the match, and in a lot of games your item builds should be different. Guides you read on Solomid or Lolpro are good starting points, but they aren't universally good. Learn to adapt.
Stop Saying Killsteal
This isn't Call of Duty.
Seriously, that just shows how little you know about the game. It's 100% irrelevant who gets the kill, as long as one happens. League of Legends is a team game and your success is tied with your team's success, so whoever gets the gold will help you win anyway.
Despite apparently almost everyone thinking otherwise, even if the support gets a kill it's not the end of the world: they'll invest it into wards or aura items that will help everyone on your team.
Just in case you don't know, the player who gets the kill gets 100% of the gold, and additional 58% is shared among those who assist with the kill. Therefore, it's always better to let someone else assist with the kill in order to maximize your gold gain, even if that means you're not the person to finish a player.
The only thing you should care about is winning the game, and not worry about your score. Even if you finish the game with a 0:10 score, who cares if you won?
Learn To Play Passively
Aggression isn't always the best choice.
You don't always need to get first blood, or destroy the first tower. I've laned against countless players who are constantly overly aggressive for no reason, and end up either dying to jungler ganks, or surprised when my Cho's combo takes them down.
As we already established kills don't necessarily win games. Have you ever lost a game where you were 6-0 in lane? I bet you did. I also bet that you didn't win many where you were 0-6, right? Trading damage with someone and trying to get a kill is always risky. After a few dozen matches with a particular champion and especially against the same champion you get the feel and intuition of what kind of damage you can do, but unless you're like 90% sure you can get a kill it's not worth dying for.
If you get a kill in lane, good job buddy! If you trade 1-for-1 it's rarely worth it (unless your team gets an assist, or for killing spree bonuses). You always need to factor in that your opponent is in most cases not stupid and thinks he can kill you as well: maybe it's his Ignite you forgot about, or perhaps his jungler is just lying in wait for you to make a move.
If you farm minions and keep up in CS with your opponent, you are not falling behind. By doing a risky play and dying because of it, you are not helping anyone but your opponent.
Stay With Your Team
4v5 fights never end well.
For my next 10 matches if I had a team that stayed together all the time and nobody ever got caught for no reason, I bet I'd win every single one of those games. Most games are lost not because of the laning phase, but because people keep getting caught alone or chase endlessly into the enemy jungle with no vision.
Wards help immensely as they give you vision of the opposing team, so if you see movement and think a fight is about to happen, don't go farming those wolves or split-push the bot lane. No matter how strong your team is they will have a hard time in a 4v5 fight. If your team is behind they probably can't 4v5 even under a turret, and if they're ahead why take the risk?
Staying grouped up and catching opponents off-guard or in inferior numbers is the way to win games. If you really, really must go defend a tower from an onslaught of minions or need to go place that ward at baron, make sure you tell your team to be careful in the meantime. My teams always have a knack for starting fights regardless of numbers, or they'll "unexpectedly" get caught by that Skarner ult. But if I'm not there to help them, in a lot of cases it's my fault and not theirs.
If you see the enemy team grouping up, you should group with your team as well.
Note on Split-Pushing
Split-pushing lanes may work in high-level play or when you're confident your team can handle or won't engage 4v5 fights, but in solo queue it's hard to communicate with your team and tell them to be careful. It's best to always stay with your team, and keep pressure and push while grouped.
More important than kills.
In most cases you should prioritize taking various map objectives rather than kills. That's actually a bit vague as it depends on the situation, but dragon, baron and towers are typically worth more in the long run than a kill or two.
If you're trying to take down a turret, don't dive your opponents for no reason, especially when you're ahead. Far too often teams poke each other and someone just decides to randomly dive the enemy, which is almost always risky no matter how far ahead you are. Learn to take it slow and be patient: extend your advantage by taking towers one by one, taking dragon, enemy jungle and especially buffs, and of course Baron.
When you do get a kill on your opponent in a majority of the cases you should take some kind of additional advantage: in early game you'll want to either take down the turret or at least shove minions. You can also try taking the enemy buffs if you think it's safe and your jungler is around, or you can group up for dragon, especially if the kills happened in bot lane. In later stages of the game you'll almost always want to either take down a turret or baron buff.
The point is when you get a good pick on an opposing player, don't go farming Wolves or Wraiths: if possible get a more significant objective. You win games not by increasing your kill score, but by extending your gold lead over the opposing team and taking down their turrets and inhibitors.
Note on Baron Buff
Considering the stats you gain from having Baron Buff, it's roughly the equivalent of your entire team having an extra 20,000 gold in items. The most important stat Baron's buff gives you however is the regeneration, enabling you to push down turrets. Baron buff does NOT make you invincible.
Don't Give Up
Stop spamming those surrender votes.
Honestly, I tend to give up early sometimes as well, but it's usually not because I think we can't win but rather because I don't want to play that particular match anymore. When I see players making an enormous amount of mistakes over and over in a match it just gets me down and the only thing I want to do is get it over with.
However, a lot of players give up for no reason whatsoever. Just last week I had a match where my team wanted to surrender at the 20 minute mark. All our lanes were getting pushed hard, and our top turret was lost. It felt like we're getting crushed, but a quick look at the scoreboard said otherwise: the kill score was 12:10 for the other team, and we were behind only by 1 turret and 1 dragon.
My bot was farming at the turret constantly, but surprisingly kept up in CS. Mid was more or less even, and despite all appearances I didn't lose top lane: even though my turret was down I was 60 minion kills ahead of my opponent. Whenever the enemy team got a kill it was usually a trade 1-for-1 so we still kept even in gold. When teamfights started, we completely crushed the other team, and three 5v5 fights later we ended up winning the game.
Sometimes you can fall behind that far that there's simply no way to get back into the game. I've had my inhibitors down as early as 12 minutes, it happens. But a lot of games can be won regardless of a small lead the enemy team has at that point. Sometimes your opponents just have a team comp that doesn't work for whatever reason, and despite your disadvantage in gold you win every single teamfight against them. I'm sure you had that happen to you before.
When it looks grim, try grouping up and see if your team does better in a 5v5 fight. It's not the time to be split-pushing alone. And for the love of Teemo, but those wards: they are even more important when you're behind, as they enable you to get easy picks on lone enemy champions in your jungle.
And if your team doesn't want to surrender, you don't have to keep spamming /ff every 2 minutes. Apparently someone thinks you can win so perhaps they'll stop getting caught all the time and try to play safely. And no matter how bad the game is going and what your team is doing, there is NO EXCUSE for AFKing or ragequitting the match. That's the worst kind of scumbaggery.
Many players have the wrong perception on how far behind in terms of gold or levels they are, if at all. Spectating random games or watching tournament streams may help you see that comebacks are possible even when you're way behind in gold.
If you don't help your jungler with leash or when he gets invaded, why expect his help in your lane?
Help Your Jungler
Leashing and scouting.
I've always had trouble playing jungle. It's not the jungling part that's hard, but I can never seem to gank in the right time or be at the right place when needed. All I have to do is watch TheOddOne or Saintvicious or any other top jungler and I know how much I suck at this game. It takes an enormous amount of practice to learn the champions, routes, builds, counterjungling, and most importantly ganking.
Recently I've seen someone compile statistics after a major tournament that included this little nugget: about 80% of matches where your jungler gets invaded and the opposing team gets a kill results in a victory for the invaders. As a comparison, about 55% of matches are won if the opposing team only gets the buff without a kill. Always protect your jungler at level 1 and make sure you watch out for enemies incoming. What else do you have to do seriously, idle under the turret in your lane?
Additionally make sure you always help your jungler with damage at level 1 as well, and help with damage on other minions (Wolves for example) if necessary. That 100-200 damage less that your jungler will take if you help kill his Blue or Red buff is one less potion he'll have to drink, he won't have to go back to base and may hit a level sooner because of it, resulting in him ganking earlier for you or someone else, or he might survive that Shyvana trying to kill him in the jungle. How many times did you jungler arrive in your lane just one second too late to get a kill or prevent you from dying?
Additionally make sure to always help your jungler if he gets ganked in the jungle post-level 1. Often the enemy team won't go for the first buff, but might be waiting for him at red if he started at blue. Those few minions you'll lose in lane are worth far less than your jungler dying and losing buffs.
Don't Blame Your Jungler
Easiest to blame.
It's not your jungler's fault you lost your lane. Admit it, you were careless and probably overextended, and you didn't even have a ward. Honestly, if you need jungler's help not to lose your lane you're doing something wrong. Granted your champion can get countered or perhaps you're getting camped by the enemy jungler, but that's why I mentioned wards and lane freezing earlier. No matter how hard you're countered you should always be able to keep up in farm.
That being said, there are some really bad junglers out there, I'm sure we can all agree on that. I'm really sad when the enemy champion is constantly pushing minions to my tower and overextending without wards, and my jungler just ignores it. Sometimes they'll rather try 5 fail ganks in a row for their duo-queue partner or go for reckless invades rather than help you, but it's all part of the game. Think of jungler ganks as a gift, and don't depend on them.
You also need to understand that your jungler has to help other lanes as well. Any decent player at Elo he deserves should have no trouble laning against other players: of course you can fall behind if you die or perhaps their jungler is applying constant pressure and eventually they push your turret, but you can't also expect your jungler to babysit you all the time.
Think about it this way: if you're a decent player you shouldn't need help in your lane (in at least 80% of your games), and wouldn't you rather have your jungler help other lanes in that case? Now that's just my opinion and most players would probably disagree with me, but junglers job is not necessarily to help you get kills, but to help everyone so they don't fall behind.
Point being, learn to accept responsibility and don't blame others for your mistakes.
Always Go Heal
Well, almost always.
I see this time and time again. You just won a teamfight, downed a turret, got greedy and wanted another one: enemy team just respawned and you got crushed. Maybe you just felt really good about yourself for killing their jungler at red buff and tried to take his wraiths too... and you overstayed your welcome. Or maybe taking dragon after that inhibitor was a bad call, because you were too low to stop enemies from taking baron.
Whatever the case, you should always be mindful of the enemy location and respawn timers. It's definitely good to take objectives after scoring a kill(s), but make sure you go back to base in time, get that health up, finish the item you wanted and be ready to fight again. If the enemy team sees you low they can easily counterpush or go for baron or another objective.
Additionally, and this is really important: if you get a kill in your lane, you are met with several options, and very frequently people choose the wrong ones. In a vast majority of cases it's just best to shove minions to your opponent's tower and go back to base to heal and buy items. Too many players try to push the tower and end up staying long enough for the opponent to get back. Now he's the one shoving minions to your turret, and you're stuck with low health/mana trying to fight him back.
One important thing to be aware of in that case is that despite you getting a kill on your lane opponent, you're not necessarily stronger than him even if your health and mana are full. He just went to base and bought items: a couple of Doran Blades may be more than enough for him to finish you off.
If you gain an advantage in any stage of the game, make sure you keep it. Never give your opponent free objectives or a chance to get back into the game.
Don't Use Locked Screen
Why would you?
I read several reddit threads so far about this issue, and I must admit I'm stunned by the number of players who use a locked camera. I have absolutely no clue how you're supposed to hit long-range skillshots or even worse, dodge them. Given that interface takes a bit of screen real estate in the bottom area of your screen, I dare not think how these players play AD carry in bot lane when on purple side.
Seriously, you may think you play better (or at least the same) with a locked screen, but I assure you that's not the case. You simply can't have the same overview, vision and ... oh my, positioning. In teamfights if you're playing an AD carry positioning properly is everything, I get goose bumps just thinking about how you could possibly do that with a locked camera.
If you need to center your screen on your champion (which I often do by the way), use the SPACE bar; you can probably bind it to something else if you must, but I find it very convenient and easy. This all just feels to me like the discussions from a few years back about key binding in World of Warcraft, where people tried to convince me that you can play just as well by clicking spells with your mouse. Dear lord, I hope you don't do that in League of Legends as well...
Perhaps I'm missing something really important here, but I don't see any benefit you could possibly get by playing with a locked camera. If you have a good reason though I'd love to hear it, so shoot your opinions below.
To Lock Or Not To Lock?
I honestly want to know, what is your preferred way to play, and what do you think is better? If you play with a locked camera setting, what are your reasons?
What's better, locked or unlocked camera?
Especially big tournament matches.
Sometimes it feels like I watched more games than played, but I don't think that's even possible given my 3500ish matches. I'd be lying if I said watching streams helps you more than actually playing, but they are incredibly helpful, especially for players who don't have a ton of experience with the game.
Generally you can find plenty of professional LoL players stream their solo queue matches all day long, but honestly a majority of that is useless to watch except for the entertainment value. If you want to learn something concrete, you should either find streamers who comment on what's happening in their matches, or better yet watch tournaments.
Some of the casters you'll hear aren't too knowledgeable about the game either, but most major tournaments feature more experienced casters who constantly provide commentary into the decisions the players make in the matches. If you're relatively new to the game or ranked play, their analysis and other commentary will help you understand a lot of the things I tried my best to explain on this page, such as farming, map objectives, item builds, champion picks, etc.
You might ask yourself why watch someone play the game when you can play it yourself, but some things are more easily learned when you watch others, especially when you see the mistakes they make. Yes, pro players do make mistakes, just not as often as the rest of us mortals do. You can't learn how to CS properly by watching someone else do it, some things you just have to practice yourself. But you can learn how to position yourself in team fights, how to play defensively, why and when take map objectives and more.
Twitch.tv is the most popular game streaming website, and any League of Legends player you want to watch will be there. I recommend you give it a try.
Watch Your Own Games
You might also consider watching your own games, either by recording them with Fraps or some other application or by saving replays of your matches. They may help you analyze your own but also your team's decisions later on and figure out what the best course of action was.
No math involved, I promise.
Years ago when I just started playing LoL, I remember thinking how insanely OP (overpowered) Tryndamere was. I saw him in nearly every single game I played and just didn't know what the hell to do against him. It felt like no amount of armor I built would help against his damage.
Right now I can't remember the last time I saw Tryndamere in my games, ranked or normal. He's not necessarily a bad champion but he's easily countered by several other champions, and especially crowd control and Exhaust. But you probably know that already. With over 100 champions in the game and a ton of different items and summoner spells, everything has a counter.
Let's take Kassadin for example. He's a pretty good champion that frequently dominates in normal games and low-elo, but you'll probably never see him above 1400 elo. You simply take someone who can survive his constant harass with sustain, or just trade back equal amount of damage. Also, if you can constantly push minions to his tower you'll force him to waste mana/cooldowns on keeping up with minions kills, as well as prevent him from roaming the map and get kills elsewhere.
You don't need to know every single champion in the game and what their counter-picks are, but at the very least you'll want to know what counters the champions that you play. Earlier in this already far too long article when we discussed the champions you play and how you need to have more than one pick for every lane, this is one of the reasons.
For example, say your opponent picks Olaf, a very strong and good pick for top lane. You need to go up against him, and you have only 3 champions to choose from: Warwick, Yorick and Malphite (picked because they are one of the easiest top laners to learn for beginner players). As it happens, Warwick gets beaten by Olaf, and Olaf is also quite a rock solid pick against Malphite (couldn't help myself with the pun...). Yorick is quite good versus Olaf as his sustain can easily keep up with Olaf's constant harass, so that's your preferred pick right there.
There are several websites out there that can tell you what the counterpicks for every champion are, so if you don't have a lot of knowledge or experience with matchups be sure to utilize those tools: Championselect.net & Lolcounter.com. Why not make your lane easier?
Top Lane Counters
Jayce, Irelia, Jax and Darius are great picks if you're looking to dominate top lane, and every other champion can be countered by one of these four.
Learn Your Team's Strengths
Synergy is helpful, but not mandatory.
Team comps (compositions) are a bit more advanced area, and are more important for ranked teams as rarely anyone will put any thought about it in solo queue. But you're not supposed to be rarely anyone, so let's go over some basics.
Some champions are simply put better in laning phase, and might have poor teamfight potential. Some are also better in early game (typically due to higher base stats or ability damage), while some reach their peak at late game (perhaps lower base stats but higher AP ratios for example). As an example, Pantheon is a very strong early game pick that really wrecks a lot of champions in any lane (strong harass), but unless he gets really fed he's near useless in late game fights due to no sustained damage. On the opposite side of the fence is for example Jax, which simply put becomes a beast once he gets a couple of items.
If Pantheon is your pick for top lane, then my previous advice about no aggression in lane is pretty much useless, as you'll want to get kills early while you have a default advantage over most opponents. I recommend you always take champions which are equally strong in early, mid and late game, who have a strong lane presence but also aren't useless in teamfights. Champion tier lists might actually help you here if you're looking for strong picks that aren't easily countered and fit most team comps.
As far as teams go, there are thousands of possible combinations you can make with over 100 champions available, so any kind of example would be nearly pointless as you'll probably never see the same comp twice. Generally though some teams are better at AoE (area of effect) damage, some are better at poking (long-range abilities that slowly take your opponents health; think Nidalee spear) and sustain, while some teams are just poker style go-all-in.
You don't need to have a tank in your team, this guide isn't written for normal games. What you want to have is either good engage (such as Skarner ulti or Blitzcrank hook) or perhaps counter the other team with disengage abilities (Janna Q/R, Gragas ulti). You also always want to have some sort of CC - crowd control. A team without a reliable CC will have trouble locking down targets in team fights, especially against champions with higher mobility or disengage.
In most cases you'll simply want to counter your lane opponent and play what you're best at, but if you have multiple options than you should also look at the big picture.
Poking and AoE Comps
Team comps aimed for poking and AoE don't work that well in solo queue, as they require a lot of coordination and knowing when and how to properly engage the enemy team. Best advice I can give you is to play what you're best at.
There are a total of 108 champions in League of Legends (at the time of writing this). This means there are 111,469,176 possible different ways to set up a 5-man team. And a total of 12,425,377,198,118,976 (yeah that's in the quadrillions) possible different 5v5 matches. The average number of games played per day is 864000. So, it would take 39.4 million years at this rate to go through every combination.
Play Well Consistently
This is THE secret.
My final piece of advice, and perhaps the most important one. I have a friend who's constantly whining about being in elo hell (he's 1180 at the moment), and in his own opinion he should be 1600. Every time I spectate his matches he plays terribly. He mains AD carry and his positioning and mechanics are terrible, he doesn't know how to trade damage in lane, and half the time he falls behind in CS. Even when he doesn't, he has barely 100 minions at the 20 minute mark, which is far too low.
Just because your opponents are doing worse than you, doesn't mean you're doing good. Let this sink in, then set yourself reasonable CS goals as mentioned previously in this guide.
Every once in a while you'll play poorly but your team will do well and carry you, but it will happen very rarely. You can't raise your Elo by playing good one match, then getting frustrated and play badly in the next one. You need to start playing good consistently match after match, and don't expect your team to carry you. I can't stress that enough.
If you're a good player and stuck below your true elo, you should have no problem playing well in a majority of your matches. Don't blame your team, and don't make needless excuses.
Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes in League of Legends, and so do you. Learn to work with your team, train on a smaller pool of champions, practice your mechanics, admit and learn from your mistakes, and be nice. Even if you only take half the advice I wrote here, I'm confident you'll get out of whatever Elo hell you (think you) are in.
Also, remember that not everyone is cut out for gaming. Some people are just better at gaming than others, so you might need to accept that fact you'll never be a professional player. Unless you're Korean, apparently you already have it in your genes or something.
But seriously, playing games on a professional level and making a career out of it takes hard work and dedication, but more importantly skill and talent. I know I'll never be able to compete in a tournament, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the game.
I also know that in Platinum tier I'm in a significant minority of the population. Even though it may not seem like much of an accomplishment to some of you and you might not want to take advice from someone who didn't even reach Diamond, know that I worked hard to reach it just like anyone else. Now scroll up and read the first advice I wrote on this page.
I just hope you find it helpful.
Your opinions and experiences matter here! Tell me and everyone else what's your secret or tip for getting out of elo hell?
Support League of Legends
Show everyone how much you like this game.
Your wall will thank you.
Razer Naga's Godlike precision makes lasthitting minions easier.
If you wan't to make me angry, here's how.
1. Players who brag in all chat that they see the enemy jungler attempting to gank them. Never ever tip them off: make sure they waste as much time as possible. Even if they are camping you and waiting for 2 minutes, they aren't farming or ganking anyone else during that time.
2. Whining in all chat. Seriously, the other team doesn't care if you think your team sucks or not. Spend your time doing something more constructive.
3. GG Easy. Seriously, maybe you just dominated the other team and stomped them in 20 minutes, but you'll probably lose a match the same way in the next few days. Don't be cocky.
4. Players who keep telling AD carries not to focus tanks. If your ADC is dead he won't be focusing anyone: help get the bruisers and tanks off of him. If you're the ADC, focus whoever is closest and highest threat if you have no other choice, even if they are tanks.
5. Junglers without smite. Maybe your champion doesn't need it to jungle, but if you don't take Smite you can't secure your own buffs, and more importantly dragon or baron.
6. Players who get caught alone all the time, or who think they can 3v1.
7. Ezreals who use their ultimate to farm 3 minions in other lane for no reason, preferably just as we're about to engage a teamfight.
9. Junglers who fail a gank and proceed to push my lane and take my farm.
10. Teams that engage fights at our turret half a second after it was destroyed. Just the same, teams who dive the enemy when their turret just needs a couple of hits to drop.
11. Amumus and Malphites who wait for someone else to initiate a fight.
12. Players who die without using their ultimates.
13. Top laners that die multiple times and never buy any wards.