Are you having trouble climbing in solo queue? Failing your promos to Silver, Gold or Platinum for the fifth time can have you feeling hopeless. Everyone's had those days where playing all day has gotten them nowhere and maybe even negative LP. If so, here are some general tips I've learned over the years to help me climb solo queue and hopefully you'll remember them too before you dive into Summoner's Rift.
Riot lets you pick your primary and secondary role, so don’t troll and pick Jungle or ADC when you primarily play Middle and Top. Playing a role that you’re good at increases the chances of you winning your lane and becoming the carry for that game. Keep practicing the lanes you play until you become a master of knowing what to expect in lane and how other champions in this lane work.
Didn’t get the role you signed up for? Try asking your teammates to switch roles, which will work most of the time because they don’t want to lose either. This usually works in ranked games if you ask nicely during champion select early on. If you do not end up getting the role you chose, at least pick a champion you're familiar with and play safely until laning phase is over.
Lastly, learn a champion for each role just in case you’re ever in the position of auto filling for a role you don’t necessarily play. This also helps you understand each role and how each lane works. It’ll give you a sense of what your other teammates are going through in their lane and what you can do to aid them. There is a lot to learn from each role because they're all played differently.
For example, ADC and Support in bottom lane are dependent on each other and experience from creeps are shared. You have to learn that what you do as a Support really affects your ADC and vice versa. For this reason I think these two roles are at the bottom of the list for carrying and climbing in solo queue. Keep in mind playing roles other than Support will be easier to climb with because Support players stats are generally lower with a smaller income. You also spend most of your income on items that support your team such as Wards, Redemption, Knight's Vow, etc. If you compare this role to Middle, it is drastically different because Middle players get solo experience, more gold, roaming advantage and items that increase their stats greatly. For this role, you are the least dependent on your teammates, but it's up to you to go for big plays such as roaming Top or Bot Lane to help them get an advantage over the enemy team. The second best role to climb solo queue with is Jungle because of the impact you have on every lane and objective, but this can be hard if your lanes don't respond to your ganks or commands. Top would be my third choice, since you still don't really rely on anyone, have solo experience, and can roam to Middle Lane. It also really depends what champion you pick as well because it is harder to carry as a tank Maokai vs a full damage Irelia. A tank such as Maokai aids their carries by taking the damage so their carries get the kills whereas a full damage Irelia will be the carry.
I think you guys get the point, each role is pretty unique and different. Just because I said Support is least likely to carry doesn't mean you can't climb as Support. There are carry supports such as Brand, Senna, Zyra, etc. It really depends how you play the champion and which champion you pick.
Now that you have gotten the role you signed up for, don’t forget to pick a champion you actually play and have mastered! Just because you’ve played Middle lane against a Fizz and got crushed doesn’t mean you know how to play him now. Instead pick the champion you have the highest win rate on and that you’re comfortable with. This means you know their kit well and have the confidence to beat your opponent. It’s okay to be a one trick if your goal is to climb in rank.
If you do end up losing more as you climb to a higher rank, learn from what you did wrong against the opponent instead of instantly queueing up for the next one. It is important when you're losing against a certain champion to ask yourself, "Do I know what this Champion's abilities do?". Learning a champion's abilities helps you know when you should engage in a fight or when you should back off. Also, it'll help you know when to use your abilities as well and make trading with the enemy a lot easier.
Keep in mind, learning new champions is important every now and then because the Meta is always changing and there are always new Champions being released. As of January 2020 there are 148 champions in League of Legends and Riot seems to be releasing a new champion more often than ever. That means there are a lot of different abilities to know about, it's never fun laning against a champion you're completely clueless about. If you already don't know what certain champions do and you see them regularly in games, just take a minute and read up on them to get a general idea of what they do. Start learning new champions in non-ranked games so you don’t have to worry about losing any LP.
Lastly, pay attention in Champion Select because it is important to know what your teammates are picking. For example, Middle is going Orianna, Jungle is going Elise, Support is going Brand and ADC is going Corki, what does this mean? It means your team is pretty AP heavy and you’ll want to pick an AD Top so the enemy team can’t counter your team as hard by building Magic Resist. A lot of teams make the mistake of going AP or AD heavy, which means you should try to win the game early or you'll fall off late games. It is way easier for an enemy team to build against an all AP or all AD team because they don't have to build for both AP and AD carries, which means they can spend their gold elsewhere.
You and your team have one common objective: winning the game. No one wants to lose their ranked games and fail their promotions. Remember communication is key so using pings and chat is essential. The four ping commands are: “Danger”, “Enemy Missing”, “Assist Me,” and “On My Way”. These pings are important because they help your teammates know where enemies are, when an enemy is missing from their lane, enemy cooldowns or your own cool downs, if you need assistance in your lane or if you’re on your way to help. Not using pings gives your enemy team an advantage against yours because it lets them execute their plays. Chat also works if a ping can’t provide what information you’re trying to convey. For example, when an enemy Flashes you can write the exact time they did so when your jungler ganks they don’t have to worry about the enemies flash. Timers are important to keep track of because they aid in ganks and going for objectives such as Baron and Dragon.
There’s more to Summoners Rift than winning your lane. Look around the map, there’s Rift Herald, Dragons, Baron and Buffs. Getting objectives in the game can give your team a huge lead which may even help your lane. The reason certain objectives are crucial are because they raise your team's stats as a whole giving you an advantage over the enemy team.
Dragon has evolved over the years in League of Legends but in the current state of League there are four different dragons: Cloud, Infernal, Mountainous, and Ocean Rift. Once a team obtains four dragons before the other does, an additional dragon soul buff is granted to that team. It is important you help your team obtain this buff or prevent the other team from gaining it because each one gives a team an enormous advantage. Each dragon soul has a unique buff it gives a team: Infernal gives massive damage, Cloud gives speed, Mountain gives a shield, and Ocean gives hp regen in combat. After a team kills their fourth dragon to grant them the soul, every dragon from then on will be an Elder Dragon. The team that kills the elder dragon will get a buff that will execute any enemy below 20% if they take any player damage, it's insanely powerful.
Aside from dragons there is Rift Heralds and Baron Nashor, which both spawn in the same pit. Rift Herald now spawns twice and upon killing this monster it drops the Eye of the Herald which spawns Rift Herald--but this time for the team that killed it! Once this is spawned it will automatically push down the closest lane which can help your team with their objectives and gain your team more gold. Baron Nashor spawns exactly 20 minutes into the game and if you’re able to take it down then it grants bonus attack damage, ability power, empowered recall and minion strength if you’re standing near them.
I think you get the idea of why objectives are important now, these buffs are crucial and gives whoever obtains them a huge advantage. It is always important to know when to go for them and keep them in mind no matter what role you play. For example, keep the Baron Pit warded when you can because this gives vision on whether or not the enemy team is doing it or not. Also knowing when to go for objectives is important, if their jungler is down and half their team is bottom side (far from Baron) but your jungler is up, make a call and go to Baron. Eventually, you’ll know when it's a smart time to go and when it’s not.
There are other small objectives such as Red or Blue Buff, which are still pretty important and can be stolen from the enemy team. If your buff does end up getting stolen remember to ward it because the enemy team now has a timer on it to know when it's up every time.
Don't give up if you've lost any of these objectives once, it's not the end because they respawn multiple times over the course of a game. Just remember to play the game slowly and farm up if you do end up an objective such as Baron. It is a huge disadvantage to your team to fight the enemy team when they have certain buffs over yours.
Taking a Break
Playing games for hours in a row is exhausting because it is mentally and physically demanding. Know when you’re not playing your best and take a break. This means get up and go get some fresh air outside. You’ll know when you need a break because you won't be playing your best and you’ll be losing more often than winning. Losing can set you further back than taking a break because you’ll have to gain the LP back that you lost. The game can be frustrating sometimes, and you’ll want to rage queue but think of how better you’ll play once you take a break. It is hard to learn from what you're doing wrong in your games if you don't take any breaks. This doesn't give you anytime to think back on your plays and what you should improve on.
Even though it is called “Solo” queue, this is still a team game. Each person has an impact on the game and that includes you. Remember there isn’t one great big formula you have to learn to win this game because every game you play in League of Legends will never be exactly the same. Learn to adapt and take all these tips into consideration when you play your next game.
Until next time, GL and HF, maybe I'll even catch you on the Rift.