The 40-40-20 Principle for Ranked in LoL

A theory designed to improve a player’s mentality about ranked inside of League of Legends.


The 40-40-20 Principle


In League of Legends, most players who play ranked solo que or ranked 5’s have come across times where they get extremely frustrated with the game they are currently playing for one reason or another. The bottom line is that even for the most positive and upbeat players, if you are trying to find solo queue as serious practice time and what to really improve and climb rating, chances are you will run into some major issues.

The fact of the matter is that no matter what elo you find yourself in, whether you are in bronze or diamond, there are always going to be players out who are out to cause you stress, feed intentionally, or more often than not just simply make poor decisions and think they are the best course of action. Once you begin to accept the fact that there are always going to be times where you lose a game and cannot do anything about, you begin to get less and less frustrated at ranked games overall. Understanding before the game even begins that sometimes things happen that you cannot control is essential to making sure you do not get burned out or angry while trying to grind the solo queue ladder.

What is the 40-40-20 Principle?

The 40-40-20 principle is not anything related directly to the game of League of Legends. This principle is more of a philosophy and a way to approach the game in your mind. By following on the principles of this theory, you will begin to look at ranked in a better way. This allows for honesty with yourself and gives you the tools to hold yourself accountable the next time your jungler does not gank your lane and just hard farms. The biggest mistake you can make in League of Legends is tilting yourself or the rest of your teammates. The more frustrated you get at this video game, the less clear and accurate your shot-calls and mechanical play will be. This will, in turn, bleed into the rest of the team and cause major communication breakdown as well as blaming others for your own mistakes.

Each number in this principle represents a percentage template of solo queue games. For example, if you would go into this season on a new account and play your 10 placement games, the ideal situation of this principle would be as follows: 40% wins, 40% losses, 20% contested games. By looking at ranked in this light, you spend less time focusing on the losses and wins and more time focusing on what you could be doing better in the next game to try and raise the percentage a bit higher than average. Always keep in mind that if you are playing ranked to climb the ladder, you don’t need to win every game. In fact, if you won 51% percent of your games and tracked your LP gain on a chart, although it would be a slow climb, you would always still be climbing elo. This principle helps put into perspective the mindset of a player and focuses more on facts and less on extreme obscured comments and thoughts that tend to happen when something goes wrong in game.

The Winning 40%

Ranked games in this category are for cases where you find unusual circumstances that cause your team to win. These games could vary in how you win, however generally it is due to the opposing team causing issues for themselves allowing an easy victory. Many games you might find an afk during the first 10 minutes or a no show after champion select for the enemy team. Sending the opposing team into a 4v5 situation before the game really even starts does not really make for a fair game, so this can be thought of in your mind as a “free” win. Even though your team still has to close this game out to ensure the victory, generally when it is a 4v5 or the enemy team is feeding, these wins are more “feel good” wins for you more so than a hard fought game.

Although these wins are helpful to run into, generally speaking they do not happen every game. When a win like this presents itself, the most important part about the mindset is to make sure that you do not get complacent with that victory. Sure you are allowed to enjoy the moment because in that game, whether it was an easy win or not, you are in the end the one gaining LP. However, the worst thing you can do mentality is get complacent and just assume that every game will be handed to you as a win. Every game you need to go in thinking like it is going to be a struggle and a good game that goes back and forth. When you get these “free” wins, enjoy them, but be sure to remember to get right back on track ready to go into the next game and work hard for the win.

The Losing 40%

When it comes to the losing 40%, generally speaking, the same instances apply to your team. Sometimes you find yourself in champion select arguing about who is going to what lane, particularly when a certain player on your team is stubborn when it comes to what lane they want to play. Other times, on your team there is an afk player or someone who intentionally feeds. When games like this happen, the worst thing that you can do is begin to tilt.

These games are harder to wrap your head around because it easy to enjoy the winnings that you are having in solo queue. So when you lose the games, generally speaking most players begin to blame others for the issues that were caused. A vast majority of players never look at their own mistakes in game and put the blame on bad performances of the team. However, this is actually the most important part of this principle to get down. It needs to be understood just like those “wins” are free when you get them, sometimes you just lose games. More often than not, players will begin to blame each other for the loss and are never able to look at the mistakes that they made. After you play one of these games where you lose in solo que, take a break. Come back later on and get the loss out of your head. Once you do that, you can come into the next game with a fresh mind, team, and outlook so that you are not held back by your past mistakes. Players do not like to lose games, but when you do, understand that there are hundreds of variables that occur in a League of Legends game. Rarely is it simply just one mistake that causes you to lose the game.

The Contested 20%

The final portion of this principle is the remaining 20% of games. These are what can be called “fair” games in League. This occurs when both teams are playing up to the potential that they are capable of and it is back and forth, exciting, and strategic match. These games involve all players with a good mentality and everyone is there attempting to perform their respective role to the highest possible ability that they can play at. These are the most enjoyable games because you can feel that everyone is fighting for the chance at that win. Games where you have a high influence on the outcome are slotted in this percentage for this reason.


This principle will help players understand that solo queue is not some scary far off world where nothing good happen. League of Legends is an extremely varied game with an enourmous amount of variables. These games are team games and generally, except in rare cases, cannot be carried by one player on one champion. With that mindset, it is easier to understand when you take one of those unfair loses. It allows you to look at the game in hindsight and realize that sometimes losses just happen and there is no reason to be upset. Solo queue teams are randomly generalized so the next game, you are sure to get a completely unique team that could be better than who you just played with or against.

It is better during the losses, as well as the wins, to look at your own individual play. By looking at your own play, you take the pressure off of climbing the ladder. For example, if you understand that if during those games where you get random wins and those where you lose and it was not your fault, there is still a lot that can be taken from a personal gameplay perspective. You can look at your own lane matchup and see how you did compared to the enemy laner. Even during losses, find things about your play that you did well to keep you upbeat and positive about going back in the next game and trying hard. Once again, if you wish to keep this conversation going, leave a comment below are tweet @DignitasZyrxa I will be sure to respond quickly.

The 40-40-20 Principle for Ranked in LoL
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