Solo Queue and You
As Gentleman Gustaf eloquently put it yesterday, it's not worth it to do math-filled articles if we are uncertain that our calculations will be relevant a month down the road. Instead, I want to take a break this week and go back to one of the favorite subjects of our readers: solo queue. This isn't a post about Elo hell per se as much as they are friendly solo queue tips to augment your skills without actually getting better. Before you apply skill, there are a multitude of factors that may impact the outcome of the game, from team morale to the reaction time of players to team compositions. The goal of today's article is to give a series of tips that will improve the external factors of the game so you can win more without playing more effectively.
Attitude and team morale is one of the most important hidden factors in any League of Legends game. If a teammate is angry at you they will be less willing to go all-out on a teamfight and risk adding a death to their account stats than if they are confident that you will do your part in a fight. And what is the easiest way to piss off someone? Simple. All you have to do is insult them in chat.
Now, you don't exactly want to annoy your teammates. Instead, you want to do the opposite: avoid talking in chat, even if it is friendly banter or helpful instruction. Even if your teammate is flaming you, don't respond to them at all. Talking back to a troll is an easy way to elicit even more flaming, while avoidance (or the ignore button) is the simplest way to tell your ally to 'deal with it.' Responding will create more toxic behavior not only from yourself and the troll but your allies as well; arguing destroys team morale and makes it even more likely that you will lose a game. Even innocuous words such as "lol" may be taken the wrong way by your allies if read at the wrong time; instead, consider using pings to communicate in-game commands and minimizing the amount of text communication you use. The less you talk, the lesser your chance of negatively changing your teammates' attitude.
Simply put, this means that you have to ignore the troll and ignore being a troll to keep morale high.
Rebind your keyboard to reduce human error
Using an optimal keyboard setup is the easiest way to increase your reaction time ingame without boosting your mental reaction, and the simplest way to do this is to use smartcast. For those who are not familiar with the concept, this means that instead of pressing a button and then left clicking on a champion to use a spell on them, you only have to press one button to cast the spell: in long chains of spells, this means you can cast a full combination of spells in .5 seconds instead of 1 second. This means faster damage output, slightly shorter cooldowns between combos, and less button mashing.
The logic here is pretty simple. If you're casting a flash-ult combo from Annie, you would normally click a minimum of 5 times and press 6 buttons in order to use all spells and summoners. If you smartcast, you're just mashing 6 buttons instead of alternately 11 different actions, reducing the chance of human error. Everybody has the potential to crumble under pressure, and it's a lot easier to hit 6 buttons with 4 fingers instead of alternating 11 actions between your left and right hands.
Even if you already smartcast all of your items and spells, one simple rebind many people often forget about is the 'A' or 'X' button, which is defaulted to attack move. As with smartcast, a simple solution to simplify your game is to rebind this button to "Attack move click," which does the exact same thing except it also clicks for you. If you have difficulty kiting your enemies as an AD carry, this easy rebind will allow you to use the combo A-Click-A-Click-A to kite an enemy rather than A-Click-Click-A-Click-Click as well as reduce the speed required to move your mouse when kiting. These two simple rebinds should increase the efficiency of your damage output during teamfights as well as help to keep you alive more. They may take a few games to get used to, but once you get the hang of it you'll become a much more effective LoL player.
Minimize risk; maximize damage
In the same way that keyboard rebinding will reduce physical error on a player, picking low skill-cap champions (aka champions with no skillshots or easy skillshots) will reduce mechanical errors especially if you play below a gold ranked level. The premise of this idea is simple: if you miss a skill, you've already missed out on 25% of your skill damage output. If you miss a full combo on a champion like Lux, you've suddenly become a walking 80 damage autoattack, and that's not very useful. Instead if you rely on 'dependable' champions such as Ryze, Kassadin, or Vladimir, you have a higher chance of putting out maximum damage output as it is much harder to fluff a full spell combo.
To maximize damage, not only do you have to hit all of your spells but you also have to make sure your damage is not reduced by other champions. This is done by one simple method: not dying. If you are winning your lane, make sure you do two important things: (1) don't overextend and (2) always ward. It is more efficient to keep your lane frozen near your tower or at the lane's midpoint especially if you are winning the lane because it will allow you to deny your opponent creeps and experience. In many cases, this may actually be more efficient that getting kills on your lane and letting them farm under your tower because it minimizes enemy gold while maximizing your own. In the best case scenario, this will allow you to deny the lane to your enemy completely. In cases where you cannot prevent overextension, ward your lane! If you see your enemy coming, your enemy cannot kill you. If you win a lane for 5 minutes, and then lose afterwards because of a jungle gank, it is not your jungler's fault. It is your fault for dying and getting behind in your lane. If you don't die to ganks, you should be able to go even in your lane and maximize your damage output through items. If you get items, you win. It's simple as that.
Don't be a solo queue hero
The champion select screen is vitally important to winning games in draft pick and ranked games. Even if you are outplayed during a game, you still have the potential to win by superior team composition in the champion select screen. To win in champ select, you need to do two simple things: get the role you want, and counterpick your enemy.
If you are a high pick on your team, you should try to pick a role and champion that is not easily countered, such as jungle or support. Consider trading with a lower pick if you want a solo lane. If you are picking a solo lane, do not first pick champions that can be easily countered, or pick a champion that can be played in multiple lanes, so you can switch roles if you are countered. Pick champions that are good for your team, not champions that are good for you. Even though it's solo queue, it's a lot easier to carry your teammates if you can make up for their faults than if you run in and are bursted down in 2 seconds.
If you are a lower pick on your team, you should respect the pick order but still pick the role that you are best at. At the same time, if you should counterpick your enemies: every role as the potential to pick champions that counter the enemy team. Even something as simple as support can change the flow of a game, so picking champions like Janna or Skarner can negate the enemy's lane advantage during the teamfight phase.
The goal of these tips if to minimize the amount of error you can make within a game. It's much easier to play the game when you have a smaller chance of f'ing up a spell combo because you had to press too many buttons in too short of a time. Even if you aren't the most skilled player mechanically at last hitting or trading damage in lane, reducing the potential for suboptimal damage output via rebinding and non-skillshot champions (especially if you have slow hands) will allow you to up your game. Giving allies the roles they are good at and not flaming them will dramatically increase your chances at winning. Pick wisely, play wisely, and minimize errors, and you will win the game!
Bonus Video: Baiting Fail
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