The Pain of Picking
Friends, I started two different articles. Then, oh my goodness, what's this? We're going to have the reset happen today? And it will be hours within my next post, and anything that doesn't directly have to do with that will be ignored or unwanted?
I can use the notes I had for Thursday's article.
Today most of you are only thinking about one thing, and that is the soft reset and Season 2 rewards, and whether or not you should play ranked right now. Playing ranked is a double-edged sword. The placement matches will be huge, and with the compression going on, that means one game can put you with people who are at a much lower or higher rating (and skill level) than you are, and if you get one bad streak, you get end up starting the season off hundreds below what you think you should be. If you are competent enough, they say, then you have 9 chances for morons, and 4 of those 9 chances are your team, and 5 are the other team. That is no big encouragement to those of us who have had bad streaks or feel like we've had games that were unwinnable. My last game of season 3 I picked a champion that I haven't used in a while, Trundle, just for the heck of it, and to get used to him as I played him in Season 1 and hope to play him for real again in Season 3. I think it'll be nasty to combine his ult with Blade of the Ruined King! Er, anyway, had a duo queue, Amumu and Malzahar. They both went 0-4-0 within 10 minutes, every time getting baited into a double kill with Mundo and the enemy top/mid scoring. Our Draven dc'd (he didn't say anything, but I wouldn't doubt it was a ragequit). It was not an enjoyable game, nor one I could have won for my team. I want you to know that I've embedded a secret miniarticle in here. Can you guess the topic?
The most frustrating part of ranked is perhaps picks. It is here that you can excitedly get a glimpse into your team's future. You will see how the team comps work out, you will see how smart your team picks, and you will get to see how smart (or not) some of your teammates are by their comments and behavior. Sometimes the other team has Elise or Syndra or a bad/stupid support, and your own team looks like it wins and it will. Other times, there is a person who says very unintelligent things, then, after you've kept your mouth shut, that person proceeds to DO unintelligent things. The agony! Better dodge!
Sometimes, yes, a dodge is really your only option. You'd rather not, though, right?
The way to nip this in the bud and the best thing you can do is to dictate the pick process as strongly as you can from the get-go. Here's how to do that.
1: Know all the roles
One of the most important things you can do is to know all the roles so that you can handle yourself no matter what role you get handed. I've seen mid, top, and ad get put on a 5th pick who doesn't want them, all because he said nothing. Even top and ad get dumped on people who don't want them, I've found. You're much safer if you understand all the roles, especially jungle and support, which at lower elos are the least popular. Jungle is a great role to get to carry a game with, and you can get better at all roles by knowing how to jungle.
2: Be "that guy" if you don't
If you are silly enough to play knowing only one or two roles, or more commonly, all but support and/or jungle, then you're doing yourself a disservice and should play some normals. Seriously. And if you go anyway, simply typing "mid" is still the best thing to do. The reason this still happens is because it works! People are more likely to capitulate, people are more likely to acquiesce if you say that quickly. Saying "I can't _____" is all you can do when you're 5th, and is the most likely to draw out ire. If you can get people to do that, lucky you. If you can't, dodge and then play a normal. For the rest of us, do it. Also, see points 3 and 4 ahead.
3: Don't doublepick, and insist that it not happen to you either
The best way to form a solo queue team is to discuss it and be flexible. Then, you pick to complement your team and counter the other team. This happens at middle and high elos. At lower elos, some people do it, but most will just "call" roles, leaving much to chance. Someone says they'll go Teemo top no matter what. Then, a jungler picks Shaco. He still picks Teemo. Someone then picks Janna or Taric or something for support. Congrats: you have 0 meat on your team. You autolose at 30 unless you snowball and get fed within 15 minutes.
You don't want this to happen. Knowing a variety of roles and having a varied pool helps with this.
If you don't get your role, don't double pick it. You are much less likely to win if you do because you aren't a Vayne/Graves top metabreaker, and you will play worse as a team because people will resent you. To prevent being double picked, ask it. Have a copy paste ready. It should be firm, reasonable, and polite. You will get three responses. No one will say anything which is the best and most common; someone will say something reasonable and everyone will chip in; or you'll get someone who is crazy, stupid, or mean. This will tell you quickly who you are dealing with. I have experimented with plenty of phrases and I actually say this at the beginning of ranked, no matter my spot: There's a difference between a call and a preference. Pick in order like the Summoner's Code says. That's how I roll." If you are lower on the chain it's lovely, because they'll say "but you're 4th", and then you say "great, I won't doublepick, you won't either, right?"
If someone doublepicks, dodge. You can play dodge chicken, and you're more likely to win if you've been quiet, but it's your elo you're gambling.
4: Be careful when taking a role someone else asks for
If you take what someone asks for, you are creating pregame resentment. It is also likely the person's best role. Do you want an incompetent jungler or something else? You don't want this. So before doing this, think carefully. Sadly, it can still be the best decision. Before doing this, ask yourself the following questions:
--Would I pick one of my champs I have a good % with, and one I know well?
--Is it one of your better matchups, both theoretically and from your own experience?
--Is it a good pick vs. the other team and does it mix well with your own?
--Does the other person have bad stats in the role or champ they're asking for?
--Are you willing to get automatic team aggro if you give firstblood, lose your lane, or make any mistakes within the first ten minutes?
5: If someone really got to you, take out your anger in subtler ways
If you really can't handle the fact you got stuck with a certain role, dodge. If you play anyway, (or you already waited half an hour), you can't let it get to you or it will make you more likely to lose. An example: you want ad. Someone picks it anyway. So you take jungler. At lower elos, jungle is rarely asked for, and that's one of the best roles to have. If someone takes mid, top, or ad and you wanted it, and they are bad, you can have your revenge by jungling and feeding the people on your team that aren't stupid. At the end, you can say "good thing top and mid carried our bad ad. I was gonna go ad too...." then hit "Play Again!" like the boss you are.
6: What to do if they are duos
See points 4 and 5. If they ask for bott, I generally let them have it. If you take ad, your support will resent you. If you take a solo lane and they take jungle, their jungler will resent you. For me to reject a duos call, they have to ask for something other than ad and support and one of them has to be sponsored. If I am concerned enough, I will point it out. I actually have recently got the gumption to say "it's your job to carry your partner", and when I say that they actually usually agree! When the other two find out, they might dodge for you. They will also usually support you taking a role the 5th wanted. Don't let duos bully you--they don't get to cut in line for pick order. A Rioter, Kades, took a role that a 5th sponsored pick wanted. The 5th pick trolled and had the audacity to report the Rioter for picking what he called. Who do you think Player Support sided with?
7: Use normals for your practice
Don't try new champs in ranked. Don't play champs you haven't played in a while in ranked. Don't play matchups that you have not thought about in the slightest unless you know both champs well and can get in the habit of analyzing and understanding the matchup within two minutes. Don't try new crazy rune or item builds in ranked. Use normals to really practice. If you think anyone else is doing this, you know what to do.
8: Before insisting you be the one to carry, insist to yourself you won't be the reason you lose.
The only way to get to diamond or high platinum is to carry every game so hard that you win, to the point you have a high win percentage. Platinum and up is the top 2%. This won't be you for a while. You should learn to play at gold level first. And before you can get to gold, you should start realistically. You have to say to yourself, "I am not why we lost." It is okay to do this. Many of your wins come from this--in fact, most of them do. If one or two people on your team are doing well, it's fine to play conservatively. I've seen smart tops do this; I was trying to snowball a top once and had a kill and cs advantage. The guy didn't get baited, and let me hurt the tower even. He froze the lane and recalled and didn't trade much. I won the lane, but by the time I got my tower down and had roamed to mid a couple times, bottom lane and our jungler had already lost us the game. At the end he said "whew, didn't have to do anything or fight you." I could rage at him. But really, what I said was "smart man."
This applies to roles, too--supports can practically carry the game by preventing anything from happening at bottom to preventing anything happening elsewhere. If you don't get mid but you don't have to support it's not the end of the world. AD, Top, and Jungle can do plenty.
Good luck with getting your team to make a decent composition and recognizing their potential! ; )
Old Man Eyebrows
This week's eyebrows: