The topic of Elo Hell has been beaten to death, revived and then murdered again...repeatedly. Still I enjoy talking about it with most people. There is no doubt in my mind that a form of Elo Hell does exist but not in the way most people seem to popularize this infamous idea.
The most common idea about Elo Hell is the idea that you're stuck in some crappy elo because of how bad your teammates are. That no matter how good you are - you can't seem to rise out of the pits of hell because your teammates are so bad they keep you down. In short "It's not my fault I'm not high elo."
Well for starters I think that idea is only half right. The other half is pure bullshit. My idea of Elo Hell is that there are different sections of it much like Dante's Inferno. I'll explain them below in a bit. Anyways - I am a believer of these types of Elo Hell and it is one of the bigger reasons as to why I avoid playing ranked during some days.
I believe there are different levels of Elo Hell and the most notorious has to be what I dub "lower" Elo Hell. This is in the pits elo where new players are joining the ranked scene or where truly bad players exists. Here I do believe the "my teammates are so bad I can't win" thing partially applies. Matchmaking, even in higher elos, does have somewhat of a luck factor and that factor is basically multiplied here. There are good players down here who are stuck because of bad teammates however it is also their fault they're stuck here.
One can't possibly think that everything that works in a "better" setting would work in the pits of elo. This is how I can see some good players end up in that pit after a streak of bad luck. These "good" players are usually those who play support roles or "softer" roles that don't do a lot of murdering and carrying. Yes it is their fault for not accepting that they have to abandon all forms of common decency and tell their teammates to go screw themselves and just go "I'm mid - go burn in hell," but not everyone has the personality to do so. They're too nice I would say so they screw themselves and keep themselves in the pits.
I've seen some of their games. They take forever to finish and they're honestly some of the most ghastly and infuriating things to even watch. Some players there (their teammates) are an abomination of gameplay that you wonder if they're playing with a Rock Band drum set and using the guitar to bash the drums. They're so bad. But then I see my friends (or at least associates) continuously play stuff like Soraka and Janna as support and it's basically making impossible for themselves to win. You just can't expect anything good from the pits.
This is what lower Elo Hell is. It is where your teammates are so bad that you cannot expect anything good from them. You have to play in those games expecting failure from your teammates and opponents and be willing to use tactics that exploit the crap out of it. If you can't or are unwilling - then you'll be stuck there.
The other Elo Hell is dubbed "higher" Elo Hell (real creative huh). Basically this is the one where a lot of people, in my opinion, wrongfully place themselves in. See this is where a lot of 1500~ elo players argue they are in but honestly they're deluded. Higher Elo Hell, again in my opinion, is where your teams range from good to bad but most of the time you have to WORK to win. If you're good enough at this game, you will eventually get to higher elos and settle in the elo you truly belong. However, the idea of higher Elo Hell is that doing so is a god damn grind.
More often than not, players will go on a winning streak or a losing streak in the middle elo brackets. It is very random but the good players are rather evident amongst the mobs of players. They will eventually get themselves out of this bracket but they will have to work hard for it. Sometimes this grinding gets to the point where playing the damn games are no longer fun. It is torment sometimes but admittedly the highest of elos are where the fun starts so it can be worth it in the end.
In short, higher Elo Hell is basically when matchmaking throws the most haphazard teams onto you and makes the game feel more like a chore than actually fun. The good players will eventually grind themselves out of there but many of them will be made cynical or easily frustrated because of it.
Then the final section of Elo Hell, a sort of City of Dis, is around the 1800+ elo bracket. Most of the players in this elo are actually skilled individually but have other problems that keep them from rising. This is the bracket where everything just seems to be a dick waving contest and egos clash. Players won't cooperate, stupid shit happens everywhere, the biggest throws because of gun ho assheads, trash talking and just general bad behavior rules this bracket.
As I said - there are legitimately strong players here but some of these strong players just have poor team work or toxic behaviors that they end up sinking their own teams. The City of Dis is sort of like where people who weren't exactly the best people but not as bad as everyone else (in terms of sins) and that's how I feel this bracket is. It's not fully a hell, it's not fully a heaven, it's Mexico.
What can you take from this though? The best players will eventually carry themselves because they understand the crap they have to deal with and how they have to adapt to it either gameplay wise or behavior wise. If you are good, you will rise. You just have to have patience and the willingness to march through the fires of the Elo Hells.
"Every Elo is Elo Hell" - everyone who has played this game