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Yet another guide to escaping Bronze. Or Silver. Or Gold.

Escaping elo hell, by a guy who's experienced more than enough of it.

Now, I know there are millions of guides floating out there that promise to get you out of bronze or silver tier and into gold. They all offer a variety of different tips and tricks for you to use that will help you climb out of whichever elo you're at, and they do work! But only to a certain extent. We're all different people and there is no sure-fire way for you to improve your gameplay. 

I know this because I used to surf the interwebs, looking for articles or videos that might help me become a better League of Legends player about an year ago, back when I was still stuck in silver division 5. While I did find some of the general advice such as "Always buy wards!" or "Play what you're comfortable on, not what's the flavor of the month!" helpful, it ultimately wasn't enough for me to rise up the ladders at a fast enough pace. I was a bit too ambitious, I wanted that diamond border! 

Season 4 ended with me achieving my goal and right now I'm sitting back in diamond 5, pretty content with where I am. But I didn't get up here by listening to the general advice, instead finding out certain things about the game which improved my performance exponentially. So without further ado, let me share all that I learnt on my journey up the ranks in the hopes that you will benefit from some of the things I've learnt as well!

Forget about being a jack-of-all-trades

I'm pretty sure this is a rather common piece of advice given to players wanting to climb up the ranks, but I feel this piece of advice in particular is not taken as seriously as it should be.

Any veteran League of Legends player will tell you that every role and lane in the game is different from the other. The middle lane is typically taken by a bursty mage or assassin, the top lane by a tanky bruiser, bottom lane by a marksman and his/her support, while the jungler is commonly a tanky initiator. That is the most basic meta you could think of although there are exceptions to this 'rule' of sorts in that sometimes a bursty mage can go top or an assassin might jungle among other things. 

I'm getting a little sidetracked here, but back to the main point; Pick the lane you are most comfortable in. How you go about doing that is by asking yourself what sort of a player you are. Do you like being that heavy damage dealer who's roaming around the map, looking to snowball your leads and carry your team to victory? Middle lane is for you. Do you like being that glass canon who could singlehandedly carry your team to victory through shredding down your enemies health one by one? Marksman is for you. I could go on and on. 

Pick the lane you are most comfortable in

You can be exceptionally good at those two....You could even be really good in three out of the five roles in this game. But it's simply not possible to master all five of the main roles in League of Legends. Why? Because some of these roles differ so completely from one another that it requires a completely different playstyle in order to play it efficiently. 

For example, compare a top lane bruiser and a marksman. Your jobs are the polar opposites of each other; On one hand you are the front line for your team who shouldn't be afraid of getting hurt while dealing damage, forcing the enemy to either peel you off of their own marksman, opening your team up to shred their health down without too much trouble. On the other you have to avoid enemy champions like a plague, kiting away from them while melting their faces or else you're probably going to die within a few seconds and lose the fight for your team as a whole.  

Experience has taught me that once I get into the mindset of one role, that takes me closer to 'mastering' it. I noticed that when I was stuck in the lower divisions. I enjoyed playing the top lane a lot because I liked dealing damage and being a nuisance to the enemy team while soaking up a ton of damage as well. I tried to play marksman as well but with every game I played, I only proved to myself that I'm absolute pants at it. I loved dealing damage and killing my opponents too much to play the role of a calm, collected marksman whose happy to stay behind lines, whittling away at my enemy's health. 

There are exceptions to the rule of course. A lot. And like I said, we're all different. Perhaps there are top/marksman mains out there who do extremely well in both that I haven't seen yet. I'm sure higher elo people can attest to this; The higher up in ranks you go, the more 'one trick ponies' you find.

I'm only saying you cannot master all roles. Doesn't mean you can't master at least two...three if you're serious about getting yourself up the ranks. I only showed an example of two roles that think are so different in terms of how they're played that you should probably just pick one of them and tailor the other two roles accordingly. 

I'm only saying you cannot master all roles. Doesn't mean you can't master at least two...

Say you pick the top lane since your playstyle is basically to 'deal damage, annoy enemy team, scare the living daylights out of the enemy marksman/mid laner/anyone that's carrying them'. I'd recommend you start learning the ins and outs of the middle lane and jungle as well.

For one, the middle lane isn't too different (just deal damage, scare enemy team, etc). Also, the middle lane is perhaps one of the most flexible lanes in the game, allowing you to play virtually anything in it and doing well (if you're good with your chosen champion that is...). 

The other I'd recommend would be learning (and hopefully mastering) the role of the jungler. I actually think the jungle is a role that every single person who plays League of Legends and is serious about upping their game should at least be familiar with to the extent that they know what they're doing if they ever had to play it. More on that later, but for now, why I say this is that it will show you how to coordinate with your jungler better and/or laners on the flip side.

If you go the latter route and decide being a marksman is more your style, definitely pick up and start learning the support role. You have to learn to play with your support, no better way to do that than putting yourself in their shoes. The bottom lane is a two person lane for a reason.

Middle lane is again a good choice. You both have the task of dealing damage, the middle lane just offers you more choices than being a glass canon. 

Lastly, jungling again. (I did say jungling is a role everyone should know). Reasons pretty much come down to coordination, but there's more to it. That is a topic on it's own.

Bottom line, try to master at least three roles. Get really good at them. But don't ignore the other two. Know to play them since at some point you will find yourself having to play one of the roles you aren't so comfortabe in, but don't be sad if you don't do too well on it. Everyone has strenghts and weaknesses, the roles League of Legends offers have enough variety in them that you will find yourself being weak in one or the other.

Instead of pushing against the weakness, amplify your strengths by picking the roles that you feel at home in.

Buuut...

LEARN HOW TO JUNGLE. 

Yep.

Love it, hate it, you need know how to play the role of the jungler.

It's difficult...perhaps the most complicated role in the game. As a jungler you pretty much decide the fate of your team through the early and middle stages of the game, sometimes stretching towards the late game as well. You are also the one who will be made a scapegoat in case the game goes badly so...may god have mercy on your soul.

Sounds daunting? It should. But you shouldn't not know this role. You are allowed to be woefully inadequate in any of the other roles but not this one. Not if you want to climb up to the higher elos without wasting years in this game.

The reason why is, the jungler is pretty much the chessmaster of the game. You're often the person who initiates fights, secures objectives on the map and works behind the scenes in pushing your team towards advantages.

Unfortunately, you as the jungler need your team...and you as a laner need the jungler. You and your team need to be coordinated whenever the jungler come in to gank or secure objectives. Easiest way for that is to put yourself in the jungler's shoes. 

The other reason is, as a jungler the amount of control you have over a game is insane. A good jungler will secure objectives and help teammates get kills. A great jungler will decimate enemy champions, seize every single objective off the map, paralyze the enemy jungler, and completely dominate the game.

great jungler will decimate enemy champions, seize every single objective off the map, paralyze the enemy jungler, and completely dominate the game

The difference in who's the better jungler is almost always clear in games. You determine the flow of the game, how aggresively the enemy champions will play in lane...hell, a well played jungler could render the enemy team scared of venturing anywhere past the halfway mark of their lane at any moments you're off the map. That kind of control is simply too good to pass up.

Bottom line, learn how to jungle! Too many advantages in learning this role to pass up. Plus the role is flexible and you can take the champion that fits your personal playstyle best in (please don't be that person who does Sona jungle or something though...logic does have to come in at some point). 

Push each and every advantage

Alright so...you're playing in the middle lane. You killed your opposing laner and got a bunch of gold. From here on out you play a key role in determining how easy the game will be for you and your team hear on out.

I will judge you as a 'mediocre' or 'good' player on account of what you do next. 

A mediocre player would recall back to base straight away, spend their gold  on some damage items and come back. They're obviously stronger than the lane opponent and proceeds to kill him/her over and over again.  

A good player would look to see if the minion wave is pushing to their side of the tower. If the coast is clear he/she will proceed to clear out the minion wave and recall, buy items, kill the opposing laner again and/or roam the map, pressuring the other enemy laners as well. 

The mediocre player gives their opponent plenty of chances to catch back up and eliminate their mistakes. The mediocre player didn't check to see where the minion wave was and ended up backing and missing a wave or two of cs (creep score) which translate to gold and experience while their opposing laner got their share, reducing the gap. The game is now left to chance where the opposing laner either plays carelessly enough that the mediocre player runs away with his/her lead or plays carefully enough that he/she claws their way back up and into the game, winning the game in the end.

The good player removed a lot of ways the opposing laner could've caught up. He/she denied experience and gold, something the opponent desperately needs. The good player then roamed the map, pushing his lead even further by helping his/her teammates and thus further securing a victory. 

There are many different advantages that can be pushed and we'd be here for a long, long time if I were to discuss every single scenario...but you get the general idea. No matter what role you're playing, you will always be in the position to further your advantage. But that doesn't mean you should be careless in pushing your advantage either. 

Back to my earlier example, if the good player didn't check where the enemy jungler was or if he/she didn't notice other enemy laners missing while he was scrambling to push the minion wave towards their opponent's tower and dies as a result, the leverage goes back towards the enemy team. 

But that doesn't mean you should be careless in pushing your advantage either

Not many lower elo players know how to push their advantges. I've seen people go on about how they win their lanes all the time but lose the game afterwards since their teammates are so bad. The only thing I ask them is; "So what did you do after 'winning' your lane? Did you stay in lane, killing your opponent over and over again until the gold they grant you is worthless while you ignored the rest of your team who could've used your help?" 

That's a line I use a lot on one of my friends who is still 'stuck' in the lower ranks. I started the game an year later than him as well...

Let's just say he hates my guts. 

Play what you're good at. Not what is expected of you.

We've all been in that situation. "Hey look! -Insert this month's OP champion here- is open! You should pick it or else they'll pick it and we'll lose'." 

How about the other side of the coin? "Why the #$@! did you pick Galio (or any other champion that's not in the current meta)? He's so bad...gg, we lost." 

Familiar yes?

Playing flavor of the month champions is fine. Hell, I encourage you to play them if you want to climb ranks fast. But please don't play them if you have little to no idea on how they work. Take time, practice them anywhere other than ranked mode and once you're comfortable enough with that champion, do whatever you want. 

Say you find yourself attracted to a certain champion who isn't so popular though...like Galio for example (I love this champion). You like him so much you practice a lot with him and find yourself winning games more with him.

An expert with a slingshot can outperform a complete novice on a bow and arrow

In lower elos I've seen firsthand what happens if you pick something that isn't in the current 'meta'. But that should not discourage you. Tell your team as calmly as you can that you're good on your chosen champion. Then let your gameplay speak for itself. 

Champions individually have areas where they're strong at. Certain champions are not in the meta since they're just not as strong as the other choices available to you. 

But an expert with a slingshot can outperform a complete novice with a bow and arrow. Remember that. 

Finally...

Don't be toxic

This is something that's been suggested at least once to you if you ever read or watched a video on getting better at this game. 

Don't be a negative person who sucks all hope out of your teammates by constantly trying to make them feel bad. Yes, they may be commiting stupid mistakes and costing you the game but in the end what does insulting them on chat do for you other than perhaps flagging your account for negativity? 

Toxic environments just breed more toxicity. Insult someone, they get defensive. They lash back to you egging you on. It's an endless circle. It's rare that teams bickering among one another win versus a more positive team.

In the end the only thing you can personally change in this game is yourself. The only mistakes you can fix for future games are your own. Even when your team is screwing up, look at what you could've done better. I know it sounds like I'm telling you to blame yourself...I'm not, but you are the only factor you control, so if there's anything you can take away from an impending loss, its the chance to improve yourself. 

Oh, and accept that you will lose. A lot. Even if you are some kind of a superhuman who's on point in your games to a hundred percent, there are just some games you'll never win. But if you stay focused on your goal, accept your own mistakes and improve yourself, I'll guarantee that you won't be facing those 'unwinnable' games as much. 

This ties in with one last point I'd like to make;

Avoid Tilting

Easier said than done. The thing with tilting is that you don't notice yourself doing bad. 

Ever noticed that? When you go on losing streaks you always see how bad your teammates are. What you don't notice is that you just might be making about the same amount of mistakes they are, if not more. Your emotions are just clouding your judgement, blinding you to the only factor you can control; yourself. 

A good rule of thumb is to just quit when you've lost about two or three games in a row. I know it's hard, but just do it. Go outside, watch something, surf the web, play any other game (Hearthstone ftw), anything!

That's it! There's so much more general tips and advice I glossed over (please do buy wards) but the advice I've outline right here are what helped me rise up the ranks within just over an year of playing this game. I just hope you can take something away from this and hopefully improve your own gameplay! 

Have a great day (or night) on the Rift! 

 

 

 

Published Aug. 14th 2015

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