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A Fresh Start: How to Prepare for the New Ranked Season

tysquash

tysquash

Thu 19th Nov 2020 - 4:00pm

Yesterday marked the end of the Season 10 ranked season, which means that League of Legends players around the world are entering hibernation until they can hop back on the grind come Season 11. While taking a break during the offseason is completely fine, here are some ways to improve and prepare over the next month so that you can shoot for a higher rank once the grind resumes.

Take a Break

I know I just said not to take a break, but hear me out. Taking a short break - only a few days to a week - gives you the mental reset that most league players need after grinding ranked for the entire year. Taking the chance to clear your head after a year of inters and tilting games lets you learn the new changes with a fresh mindset. Just take a few days off, you deserve it. 


Play During Preseason

Preseason starts basically as soon as the season ends, and it serves as a testing period for players to get acclimated to the major changes made before every new season. Despite being playable in the PBE (Public Beta Environment) for six weeks, the preseason allows everyone that has the game to learn how to play on the new patch for about a month or two.

Some people argue that since the patch is constantly changing and evolving, playing during preseason just isn't worth it. While it's true that there are often changes between the preseason patch and the official season 11.1 patch, most of the major changes are kept. Being comfortable on the patch gives you an instant advantage over the people that haven't been playing at all. 

Riot claimed a third of all items will be new, a third will change, and a third will stay the same.

Since the changes before next season are so huge, there's bound to be countless different build paths and off-meta picks that weren't as strong last season. Combining the new mythic items with pocket picks - that maybe you previously didn't pull out too often because you would get flamed for it - are now possibly viable. Now is the time to experiment with builds you want to try or that sound cool in your head. 

Once you're more comfortable with all the item changes, you can start theory-crafting what items would go well with what champions that you already play.

Take Ranked Seriously

Once you start playing preseason, it's probably a good idea to stick with draft mode for the first week or so. Even though everyone's ranks get reset before the new season, your MMR can still be affected, so it's not a smart idea to hop in before getting a grasp on how the new changes.

Different regions have different mindsets for ranked during the preseason, as it's common in North American or European servers for players to not take ranked very seriously, while in servers such as Korea or China, it's business as usual and preseason is just seen as another patch to play on.

People claim this is just one of the reasons solo-queue is so much more competitive in the Eastern regions, as ranked in general is seen as a more legitimate practice tool. While taking your personal ranked games isn't going to change the entire mindset of your region, it can help you if you're looking to improve at a faster rate than those around you. Nothing is wrong with chilling in Draft Queue with a five-stack, but playing at least some games of ranked can paint a clearer picture of what the meta might actually be like once Season 11 starts.

By taking ranked seriously, it can give you a better idea of what builds or strategies are legitimately good and can help you climb next season.


Research other Players 

With the major overhaul of the item system, even top players are going to take a while to fully grasp the changes. However, these high-ranked players are at the top level for a reason, and they're able to quickly understand which items are good for different scenarios. While experimenting on your own is also important, researching what different players build and do during their games can give you new ideas on how to improve your gameplay.

Often times all it takes is one person trying out a new build path on stream to revolutionize the whole meta, and by trying out things you see you have a higher chance of being ahead of the curve. Learning niche picks before they become popular, such as Runeglaive Ezreal or Morgana jungle, gives you a higher chance of being proficient with them before people who pick them up when everyone's playing them. Not only this but once they get popular they typically get banned in most games until they get eventually nerfed.

One of the best ways to learn what high-level players are thinking about the changes is to tune into their streams. Here, they often give their opinions on the changes, which can help you understand what's strong currently and what to stay away from. Some streams even brand themselves as "educational", and they help explain the changes if you're having trouble adapting to the patch.


Practice New Characters or Roles

For people that have been playing League for a long time, the itemization changes are going to take a while to get used to. For some, learning these changes is going to take up all the time they have before next season. If you find yourself understanding the new items but still want to improve further, it couldn't hurt to add some new champions to your lineup. 

Learning a new role is also possible, but including the item changes, it would require a lot of time to learn the position fully. For most people, the most efficient option would be to stick with the same role you played last season and just expand on the knowledge you already have regarding that position.

If you're worried that playing the same role for another year might be boring, that is definitely less true this season compared to previous seasons. That's because the entire item system is being changed, so the game is now vastly different than it was only last patch.

    

You can buy only one Mythic item each game.

For example, ADCs now have three hugely different Mythic items to choose from, each with a different way to approach the game. So now ADCs that perhaps struggled in the past due to low mobility, such as Ashe or Jinx, can buy the new item Galeforce to add a dash to their kit. If you're playing a champion such as Lucian that has trouble taking down tanks, you can buy the new item Behemoth Slayer that provides you with bonus true damage every third auto-attack. With all these new options for champion builds, I foresee major shifts in the meta compared to what we're used to seeing year after year.


Use Practice Tool

While League may not have the best practice tool of any competitive game out there, it can definitely help you improve in certain aspects of your gameplay. 

Everyone has at least one or two glaring holes in their gameplay, for example, poor CSing or inefficient pathing. Using the Practice Tool, you can help mend these holes through short sessions of focused practice on these weaknesses. If you find yourself falling behind every game to your enemy laner, try perfecting CSing so that even if you fall behind you have a source of income in-game. If you think your team fighting needs work you can practice kiting between multiple practice dummies. Whatever it is, the practice tool most likely has the resources to help improve. 

If you're unsure of what you need to improve on, all you need to do is play a couple of games with the sole intention of learning what that is. It shouldn't take too long to realize which areas of your gameplay could be better once you're paying attention to it. If possible, even look into recording your games so that you can go back and analyze your gameplay afterward. Looking at your gameplay like this lets you focus less on playing and more on simply finding what you're doing wrong. 

Even if you can't find something specific to improve upon, it never hurts to hop into Practice Tool to hone your mechanics with specific champions. Thinking of builds for champions and trying them out in Practice Tool helps you get more used to different item paths before actually jumping into a game with it. Especially with how different each mythic item is, the Practice Tool will be helpful in helping you find out what build you like best.


Summary

With the preseason now starting, it's the best time to try and improve before next season. Here are the best ways to improve before the next ranked season:

- Take a short break

- Play during the preseason and take ranked seriously

- Research high-level players and watch their content

- Practice new characters or roles

- Use the practice tool