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League of Legends: Placement matches, the less painful way of doing them

Placement matches aren't so scary. You just have to tread lightly around them.

If you're reading this right now, then you're probably gearing up to face the League of Legends equivalent to hell-on-earth: placement matches. 

I've gone through this ordeal twice. Once at the beginning of season 4 as a bright-eyed, Silver-ranked newbie, and once at the beginning of season 5 as a tired veteran who'd somehow clawed his way to Diamond.

Despite these games being a few years apart, and my personal outlook as a player changing between the two, they still stand out in my memory due to the amount of grief I went through both times. While this particular feeling is not alien to anyone who ever played LeagueI'm sure we can all agree that the placement matches are guaranteed to be 10 of the most frustrating games of you'll ever have to play.

If you're at the high Diamond and above level, that may not be true. In that case, I don't know why you're reading this article. For the rest of us though, there are a few things you could do to make your placement matches less unpleasant.

Do not play ranked mode for the next few days

I know. But if you're really serious about having a better experience with your placement matches, I'd recommend staying away for a few weeks. 

This is the time when everyone is rushing into ranked, trying their hardest to get placed in the highest possible rank they can achieve. This means most of the people playing will not exactly be in the best mindset they could be, and you yourself are one of them.

Players who end a season with a rank they're satisfied with do everything humanly possible to get back in or shoot for a higher ranking

Think about it -- ranked mode has always been the 'try hard' queue. It's where people place their rank on the line. And as a result, it's where the majority of complaints about the game's so-called 'bad community' come from. They all have something to lose, and thus they care a lot more about the outcome of the game.

It's especially bad if a player is in their promotion series. The slightest mishap during the game will affect them much worse than normal, because they know that by losing the match, they're one step closer to failing their series. It's a slippery slope down the road to tilting. 

The placement matches are similar to the promotion series in ranked, in the sense that doing well on them could get you to the rank you want -- only it's not just you taking them. Everyone in the game with you is taking them, and chances are they're all in a charged mindset where the slightest thing will set them (and you) off. This just all adds up to a trainwreck waiting to happen. 

Wait until it all blows over. Wait until the over-eager people complete their promotions and finally, by the time you're taking that first placement match, you'll be playing with people who're a bit more calm.

Play your main champions

This may seem obvious, but it'd surprise you how often you need to be reminded of this. You have no excuses to be playing anything other than your main roles anymore, due to how the new draft pick system works. You don't even have an excuse to not be playing the champions you have the most experience with. 

*Edit - Apparently the new champion select mode a.k.a 'dynamic queue' is no longer available for the time being. You still should try to get the roles you're the most comfortable playing. If worst comes to worst, dodge. You do not lose mmr which is far more valuable than a few LP.  

Leave that new champion you've been playing in normals for later. You may feel like you've gotten the hang of it, but when you head into your placements you're not going to be as calm as you would've been in those other games. And that means you're probably more prone to mess up. 

Stick to the champions you know you can play without having to put too much of an effort in. You'll probably be able to concentrate on everything else better.

Avoid Tilting (Take a break)

'Tilt' is a term we're all familiar with by now. If not, for League of Legends at least, 'tilt' is the term used to describe the deterioration of the player's mentality after losing a few games. With every game lost, you get emotional, which can lead to you play worse -- which in turn leads to even more games lost. This just carries on and on, and it's the most common reason for loss streaks in this game.

The best way to break the streak is to simply log off the game and do something else for a while, or just vent it all out somewhere other than ranked mode, where you don't stand to lose anything. This is especially true when you're taking part in your placements. You have 10 full games to play and chances are you will be losing at least a few of them. When that happens, just take some time to cool off so you won't end up losing more of your placement matches than you win. 

Forget your current rank for now

This is perhaps the most important in the list. Finished Season 5 in Gold? Good for you. That doesn't necessarily mean you absolutely must get back in there to pick up where you left off in the new season, though.

This is the reason why placement matches are taken so seriously in this game. Players who end a season with a rank they're satisfied with do everything humanly possible to get back in or shoot for a higher ranking, so the games get taken way more seriously than they should. This contributes a lot to that charged mentality I mentioned earlier.

You might get placed into a rank beneath what you were. That's okay. It doesn't mean you have a long, uphill struggle waiting for you. If you ended this Season in Gold 2 and got placed in Silver 3 due to a few unlucky placement matches, you'll still climb your way back to where your season 5 ranked career ended. That is, if you actually belonged there (that's a whole other topic). 

So, don't be too worried about your placements in the end. You might find that the less stressed you are about them, the better you may perform.

Who knows, you might even end up higher than where you were! 

Published Jan. 20th 2016

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