How to get out of ELO hell

Learn how to improve your rank in League of Legends without blaming everyone.

In League of Legends, ELO hell is the idea that players can become stuck in lower divisions because everyone else is terrible. Players in ELO hell argue that their teammate's poor performance makes games impossible to win, thus preventing any chances to reach higher divisions. Unfortunately, this way of thinking encourages players to blame others, rather than looking at and critiquing their own gameplay.

Since ELO hell promotes toxic attitudes, I want to to make one thing clear before proceeding: ELO hell is a myth, and the only reason players fail to improve their rank is because of their own performance. 

With that being said, there are plenty of ways to improve your own gameplay so you can break through to higher divisions. Here are some tips that helped me achieve Diamond division (peaking at D1) for several seasons.

1. Learn your roles and practice with a small champion pool

Riot is pushing players to learn at least two positions in the new match-making system because specializing in a few positions will increase your chances at winning. Having a primary and secondary role will scale down your champion pool and take some pressure off during the pregame lobby. Also, limiting your roles with ensure you are playing your best roles every game. 

However, go even further by limiting which champions to play.

Aim for two or three main champions to play for each role. Limiting your champion pool will let you practice those champions more often, which gives you an edge over your opponent in lane, or in the jungle. For example, I main jungle and play Gragas, Rammus, Jarvan IV frequently so I am comfortable playing them at all times. Being comfortable lets me outperform junglers who know their champion less than I know mine, and that increases my team's chances of winning.

2. Understand champion selection

While it is important to play your best champions, you also have to know which champion is best for your team composition. So many games are lost at champ select because players instantly lock in their favorite without considering synergies within their team, or counters to the enemies' team. Adjusting your pick to meet your team's requirement will boost your win rate

Here a few questions to ask yourself before locking in.

  • Does my team have a dedicated tank? If not, will our team still be able to control objectives or win team fights?
  • Do we have ways to clear minion waves quickly?
  • Does our team need more AD or AP?
  • Does X champion hard-counter me?
  • Is our team lacking crowd-control? 
  • What champion compliments my team's abilities?

While there is more to cover, those questions will be enough to create a good team composition for Solo Queue. The image below shows two well-made team comps (although the one on the left will win because Gangplank always wins).

3. Ward your lane

Failure to ward your lane is one of the easiest ways to lose a game. Without wards, enemy junglers can appear without warning, resulting in a kill, losing a tower, or more. Just dying once to a gank can ruin your lane, or even the game. So place a ward down in the river or bush as soon as you start pushing. Also, try placing pink wards in areas that the enemy is unlikely to go. This will help you and your team stay informed, longer. Alternatively, if you are jungling, place wards for your lanes and try your best remind them of possible ganks. The following image is a nice reference for placing wards.

The following image is a nice reference for placing wards.

4. Know when to cut your losses

You know what's worse than losing a teammate? Losing your entire team because the rest jumped into a bad team fight trying to save them. It is okay to lose one member and back off. Most of the time you can recover and still defend objectives like Dragon, Baron, or Inner Turrets. 

The same goes for jungle ganks

Just because your jungler overcommits to a dive or chases too far, doesn't mean you should too. They might rage at you for not following up, but it is better than giving away unnecessary kills. Keep a level head while playing and don't get too greedy.

5. Reflect on your mistakes

Games can turn bad pretty quickly. Teammates will get caught out of position, feed enemy carries, or play champions they are not familiar with. There will also be times where you will feed or get caught out. During these moments, avoid blaming others. Look at your own performance instead because most of the time there will always be something you could have done better. Maybe killing your lane more would have brought attention from the enemy jungler, which would then prevent your bottom lane from dying to ganks. Reflecting on mistakes will make you a better player as well.

Plus, being nice to your teammates will make to game more enjoyable for everyone.

With these tips, keep in mind that not all games are winnable.

There will be games where every lane loses within the first 5-10 minutes, and there is nothing you can. The urge to lash out at the matchmaking gods and curse your fate will be tempting. Remember, many games are winnable if you carry hard enough, but even the pros don't win every single game. Be patient, keep practicing, and remember to have fun!

Published Mar. 8th 2016
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