I. Striving to Improve (My Story)
II. General Advice
III. Mindset Advice
I. Striving to Improve (My Story)
Looking for an Answer
I still remember the days when I was stuck in platinum 5 and gold 1. I would hectically browse the interwebs looking for a solution to my problem. Everywhere I searched I would find the same answers.
- Get the objectives.
- Roam and kill everyone.
- Learn the flavor of the month.
- Play a single champion.
I tried doing all of these thing and it felt like I was doing them right. But for some reason I still was not winning games consistently.
I would go hopping from stream to stream looking for advice. Asking the same questions in every stream and receiving the same answers. None of it helped. All of the advices were identical and I just could not find that one nugget of information that would make my ELO spike up.
Searching for Mistakes
I would play game after game looking for the mistakes I was making, and eventually I stopped being able to find them. It just did not make sense to me. If I could not find any more mistakes, then why was I losing my games? Was it because of my teams? Was it just bad luck? Was I cursed? Just what in the world was I doing wrong?
It took a lot of games to start figuring out mistakes; a lot more than I would care to admit.
I would find a mistake in one game and have no idea what I was doing wrong for the next 10. I thought that maybe this was it. Maybe I reached my limit and would never break the skill barrier that stood before me. I just was not talented enough to make it higher up the ladder.
But I just could not accept that.
A Powerful Pride
Regardless of the numbers of games I played while stuck, I had a burning desire to become a stronger player. Maybe I just had a strong sense of pride, but I wanted to be one of the best. In my mind I was thinking that I was better than where I was. I was sick of hovering around the gold 1 – plat 5 area, I wanted to be diamond. I wanted to gain the respect of lower elo players, the respect of my friends, and most of all, a respect for myself.
And so I played, and I played, and I played…
After hundreds of games something started to click in my head. The magical “AH-HA!” moment that helps nobody other than me took place and I started to analyze games better than I was before. As my analyses improved I started finding mistakes that were hidden before. I started figuring out extra things I could be doing to go that extra mile and propel my team to victory. I found more things to fix and I improved as a player. As I changed I rose in rating, all the way to the place I am now. (Which I cover in How I got to Diamond in 3 months.)
Self improvement is hard. It is hard in real life and just as difficult in League of Legends. The hardest part about it is not the improving, but finding the things you need to improve on. What is more difficult is when you can not find things to improve on. At this point you need to create things to improve on, which is extra work that many do not wish to do.
There is no immediate solution for self improvement. If I move to Korea and read a random book from a Korean library I will not magically become the next Madlife. There is not a secret piece of advice I can give other people to make them skyrocket in rating. Improving is a process that might be hard for some and easy for others. However, as long as you spend the time and effort to reflect and figure out your mistakes and errors, you will surely manage to improve as a player.
II. General Advice
Ask Yourself “Why?”
There is always a reason that you lost a game. One of the first steps to determining what you need to improve on is figuring out why you lose the games you lose. Was it because you fed? Was it because someone else got fed? Did your team make dumb calls? If you can find a concrete answer as to why you lost the game, you can quickly find things to improve on, whether it be mechanical play, decision making, or overall abillity.
If you have trouble figuring out why you lost then work backwards from the very end. Why did you lose? Well it was most likely because your nexus was destroyed. Now why was it destroyed? Maybe it was because your team lost the last teamfight since their team was so far ahead. Now why were they so far ahead? Maybe they just got a lot more objectives than your team and got a lot more global gold.
There’s your answer: you lost the game because you let the enemy team take too many objectives and snowball ahead. Next game try not to let that happen!
Whenever you can figure out why you lost, try to make up a solution that would have fixed the problem.
A common problem is “someone fed champion X and he carried the game”. Now ask yourself, how could you have prevented it? Maybe you could have camped X’s lane before he/she got too big? Maybe you could have gotten a carry of your own fed to combat champion X? Maybe you could have just beat champion X at his own game, whether it be the jungle or the lanes?
When you create a solution to the problem, you can now ask yourself why that solution did not happen. What could you have done to make it work? Maybe all you needed in order to kill champion X was items. In that case, you needed to either get more kills, get more objectives, or get more cs in order to obtain the money you needed. Maybe all you needed to kill champion X was get your marksman fed. In that case, you needed to either gank more often, gank more successfully, or make it safer for your marksman to farm in general.
By creating and inventing solutions to your problems you can effectively figure out what you needed to do to go that extra mile to carry your team. If your solutions don’t work, then you need to create more solutions and put those into practice instead.
At the end of the day, this process keeps you thinking and constantly trying to adjust and tweak your own playstyle to figure out exactly what you need to do to win your games.
You Can Always Do More
There are always those games where you do not make any mistakes. You may have done everything right, but you still wind up losing. In games like these, looking for your mistakes is pointless simply because you made none. In situations like this, you should try to be looking for what more you could have done to turn the game into your favor.
One example is going even in a lane. If you go even in lane and the rest of your team feeds, what could you have done? Simple, you could have won your lane. If you won your lane, your jungler would have had more time to camp the other lanes because yours was all set. On top of that, if you shut down your opponent hard enough he/she might wind up being useless and the remainder of the game could virtually be a 5v4. You winning your lane might have also given you that extra gold boost to buy the items you needed to kill the enemies that were fed.
If you want to rise in ELO doing alright is not an option, you need to do exceptionally.
The System Decides Your ELO
Just because you or a friend thinks you are a higher level player does not mean you are a higher level player. You nor your friends decide your ELO, the one deciding your ELO is the ranking system that RIOT has put into place. Getting annoyed at how inferior your teammates are compared to you is not the way to improve your play. Accepting your status as whatever you are ranked is one of the first steps to improvement. I mean, if you really were so much better than your teammates as you say you are, why do you have the same rating?
Believing that you are a stronger player than you actually are makes it harder to figure out the things you need to improve on. Playing with a mindset that you are superior to your peers leaves you in a state where you effectively deny most of your mistakes. In the games where you do not make mistakes, it gives you the ability to deny the extra things you could have done to give your team the edge. Sure, although you could have done a lot more in order to give your team the win, you lost because your team was bad… right?
III. Mindset Advice
Do Not Play to Win
Playing the game with the sole purpose of victory is a trap within itself. While focusing on winning is not necessarily a bad thing, being too obsessed with pulling in wins can be detrimental to gameplay. While winning when you are trying to win is certainly positive, when you lose it tends to backfire. Especially when you lose multiple games in a row.
When you try extremely hard to win in games, the losses are extremely frustrating. Along with the frustration will come tunnel vision and rash decision making. In addition to these two, the word “rage” certainly will bare its fangs.
Getting too frustrated about the game helps absolutely nobody. When you play frustrated, not only will you play worse, but you will have a higher tendency to take it out on your teammates. By figuring out ways to minimize the frustration of losing, you will have a clearer mind to reflect on the decisions and mechanical play that was done throughout the game. With this not only will losing games feel more constructive, but they will also be more enjoyable because they will not be as irritating to play.
Look Toward the Future, Stay Positive
Stupid things happen throughout every game. People feed, people disconnect, and people make stupid decisions that lead to numerous deaths. Dwelling over these dumb occurences is something you should try to avoid at all costs. Look towards the future.
Just because your team has a bad start does not mean the game is set in stone. The only times the game is a guaranteed loss is when your own team decides it. When your team constantly blames someone for feeding or making a stupid call, your team becomes more focused on arguing than actually playing the game. In addition, your teammates now have an effective scapegoat to deny the fact they did not want to try to win. Your teammates can always just blame the feeder; after all, the loss was entirely his fault right?
Although this is a scenario you will not be able to avoid in games, the most you can try to do is defuse the situation. Try your best to keep your team focused on playing and not arguing. While the methods of doing this vary, the most important thing is that you do not also harass your teammates. I, for one, stop trying to actually win if I start getting harassed too much.
Who wants to see jerks win games anyways?