10 Tips to Improve Your Elo (+$25 RP Contest!)
It's been a while since I (or anyone else at Reign of Gaming) has made a tip list, so I thought we'd return to this classic format in today's edition of #VVinning. In League of Legends, you can win through skill or through the intangibles. Actual ingame skills like reaction times, positioning, and last hitting are key, but there are also non-skill factors; good champion selection and a level head will exponentially increase your chance to have a good game.
Today's list of tips take into account both of these things. Enjoy, and remember to read through the end of today's article for a chance to win $25 in Riot Points!
Tip #1: Don't rage (and keep a thick skin!)
The first tip of the day is rather simple. We've all seen the loading screen tips: if you flame one of your teammates after a mistake, you're more likely to lose. If you want to win the game, do not lower the morale of your team by arguing or making fun of their mistakes, no matter how bad they are. Even harmless comments can be taken offensively by someone who may already be angry from dying, and commenting on other players' mistakes is probably the worst thing you can do if you want to improve your rating. People have feelings, and if you hurt those feelings you are less likely to take home a win.
The converse is also true: if someone is verbally abusing you, the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut and not respond to the ragers. Even if you cannot keep a level head, responding to verbal abuse will increase the likelihood of future negative comments. Don't blow off steam on other players. Instead, ignore or mute, and keep the emotions inside.
Remember, actions speak louder than words. If you make good plays later on the game, people will probably stop harassing you. Keep morale up: don't rage, don't respond to rage, and ignore negative comments. Do all of these things, and increase your chances of winning.
Tip #2: Improve your last hitting
A key term that many League of Legends players fail to understand is the ability to 'last hit.' Most people think of last hitting as the ability to kill creeps in a 1v1 or 2v2 situation with the benchmark target of 75-80 creeps by the 10 minute mark. What I define as last hitting is the ability to maintain creep score throughout the game, not just during the laning phase. Being able to autoattack creeps to death is all fine and dandy, but having 80 cs at 10 minutes is useless if you have 100 cs at 20 minutes.
If you're a solo lane, take advantage of your wraith camp when your jungler is busy. If your teams are poking each other ARAM-style and you can't help make a large impact before the teamfight, take the opportunity to take a nearby camp. If you're at low health in lane, consider killing the minigolems before you go back to shop. It's all the little things that count, and even the tiniest gold advantages may give you the advantage to win 10 minutes down the road. Every creep that dies to enemy creeps is a creep that you could have gotten. There are only a finite number of minions that spawn every 30 seconds, and team gold is not being optimized unless every one of those creeps is killed by a champion. Kill every minion you see on the map and you'll launch yourself on a pathway to success.
Tip #3: Win the game, not the lane
Even if you die in your lane, it isn't the worst thing you can happen. So what, you're behind a few hundred gold. Just last hit, and remember: if you're being camped by the enemy jungler, that means the other two lanes are free to farm without jungler interference. Remember, it's a team game, and you don't necessarily have to win your lane in order to win the game. As long as you keep pressure on objectives and fulfill your role, there is plenty of time to bounce back from a disadvantage.
On the other hand, understand the macrogame. It doesn't matter how fed you get in lane because you can't 1v5 the enemy team. In order to take advantage of your winning lane (or minimize the losses from your lane) you should push lanes and teamfights in optimal circumstances. Conventional wisdom says "win lane, win game." I disagree. If you lose your lane, you can still distract the other team by pressuring objectives before and after teamfights. Sometimes, it's actually better to follow your team into a bad teamfight and make a minor impact, rather than staying out and getting 4v5 aced. At the same time, you need to recognize when somebody is going to die, because if you get caught while saving a dead teammate, you're making the situation worse. A team that keeps their lanes properly will minimize losses after a bad teamfight and maximize their chances to make a comeback.
Tip #4: Learn to support and jungle
Respect the damn pick order. If you are last pick, you shouldn't call mid and expect to actually get it. Chances are that you're going to end up either as a support or as a jungler. This is much more likely in the bronze and silver ranges where there aren't actually jungle and support mains, so you might as well learn these two roles. Not everybody can be the hard carry on their team, and somebody has to support.
Not knowing how to support is detrimental to your Elo as it will mean that 20% of your games will be automatic losses. If you learn how to support, you will become much more versatile in your gameplay and gain map and macrogame awareness. The same goes for the jungle role: if you learn how to control the flow of the early game and the mentality of a jungler, it will also increase your awareness and skill in lane.
Every role is specific and has a different playstyle. Being familiar with every single role is key, and just because junglers and supports do less damage doesn't mean they aren't as important as the carries. Learn every position, and you win more games.
Tip 5: Stop dying so much
If you're dying a lot in ranked games, you're probably not winning too much. Dying, even to get a kill, isn't always worth it. If you are ganked by the enemy jungler and you take one person down before dying, it still isn't worth it because the other team profits from assist gold. A 1 for 1 trade isn't always worth it, but a 1 for 0 trade always is. Pick fights that you can win without dying, and don't go 1v3 hero mode on the other team.
Try to play safely. Remember, one kill is worth 13 creeps, and if you can take a 13 creep advantage over your enemy, it's basically the same thing as killing them (minus experience gains/losses). If you're still dying too much, examine your decision making: Are you following caught allies into certain death? Are you split pushing without wards? Are you counterjungling the enemy without knowing where anybody is? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider adjusting your playstyle to reduce deaths.
Remember, the enemy team gets at least 300 gold every time you die. If you die 4 times a game instead of 5, you're giving your team a 300 gold advantage. Understand your mistakes, fix them, and carry your team to victory.
Tip #6: Know your champion, and know your role
Don't just play something because its overpowered. You have to understand why its overpowered. Don't play something you've never played in ranked just because somebody forgot to ban it out. Just because a certain champion has a 55% chance to win a game doesn't mean that YOU have a 55% chance of winning a game with that champion. Some champions are simply incompatible with certain players, and the sooner you recognize this fact, the sooner you will get better at the game.
When picking a champion in champion select, you should always try to pick a counterpick that you are skilled at. Playing a champion with a natural advantage in lane is an easy way to swing the odds of a game in your favor. At the same time, you have to know WHY your champion counters another, and the same goes for your item build. Rushing a armor doesn't do very much if there are 3 AP champions on the other team; instead, consider building a Hexdrinker to increase your marginal health against magic damage.
The more you play the game, the more you understand the intuitive counter picks and counter items against certain champions and team compositions. Since there are an infinite number of team and item compositions, you have to carefully consider each and every decision you make, as well as understand why you are making them.
Tip #7: Understand that you can't win every game
Some games, things just won't go your way. Giving up first blood greatly reduces your chance to win the game, and getting heavily countered in lane will further reduce those chances. Sometimes, every lane (and the jungle) will lose except for you, and there's not much you can do to make up the gold loss. Recognize that a jungler can't be in all three lanes at once. Junglers can usually only help out one lane, and even camping two lanes will punish their own ability to farm. If multiple lanes are losing, there are only so many things a team can do to orchestrate a comeback in individual lanes short of grouping. Recognize when your lanes are lost, and try to group and push towers to regain a gold advantage.
Comebacks are always possible, but the chance to win decreases every time someone on your team dies. In the grand scheme of things losing one game because of your teammates won't heavily affect your chances to rise in rating, especially in the long run. You have to recognize that some games are not winnable at a certain point and move on to the next ranked game.
Tip #8: Ward up
I'm sure this is something that you've heard over and over again over your League of Legends career: Buy a ward, save a life. Wards are key to making it out of the laning phase alive, and prevent you from getting caught in the end game. You'll need wards to prevent deaths by overextension in your lane, and you'll need even more wards when you decide to split push behind a tower as Singed.
Be smart, spend 75 gold, and pay attention to the map to prevent an untimely death.
Tip #9: Don't waste your summoner skills
This is simple: don't ignite if you can't get a kill with it. Exhaust only if you think you will prevent a death. Flash only if you think you can save yourself or if you can get a kill with it. Summoner spells are some of the most important skills in the game because they can both cause and prevent damage. If you blow your Flash when you cannot escape, you are only gimping yourself for the next 5 minutes of gameplay. Summoner skills are something you should preserve and only use in cases of extreme emergency especially as you enter the later parts of the game.
Tip #10: Have fun and don't worry about your Elo!
Remember, it's only a game. One game doesn't make a huge difference in the long run, and it's more important that you have fun playing the game. After all, why would you play League of Legends if you don't enjoy it? Don't worry about your mistakes (but recognize when they happen!), don't worry about your teammates mistakes; just concentrate on having as much fun as possible while playing the game. Your mentality is key while playing: have fun and you will perform better.
Most games aren't about how hard you stomped the other team. Matchmaking is set up so you are just as likely to get stomped as you are to stomp another team. Just be a humble winner and gracious loser and you will have fun. Even if it's your final loss in a promotion series, don't sweat it. You'll get back eventually. Just back sure you have fun playing the game as you climb in rating.
Don't play League of Legends for ratings and milestones; use the game as a way to have relieve stress and enjoy yourself. The game isn't worth playing if you're not having fun.
~~ VVinrar's Super Awesome $25 RP Giveaway Contest ~~
You must do both of these things in order to win. Contest winner will be randomly selected at 11:59pm, April 10, 2013 and notified via private message. If I (arbitrarily) judge that there are enough contest entrants, I may throw in an additional $10 RP card as a second place prize.
For more of my work:
- #VVinning (RoG blogs): reignofgaming.net/tag/vvinrar
- Item Efficiency Spreadsheet: bit.ly/s3items
- ADC Damage Interactive Model: bit.ly/VVinrarADC
To contact me, come to the "A DIFFerent View" chatroom (NA) or drop a line at VVinrar@ReignOfGaming.net