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- Rule Number 1: Leave your ego behind
- Don't try to be a pro
- Pick your battles
- Learn not to panic
- Counters don't exist in the lower tiers
- Run with momentum
- Simplify your runes
- Learn proper lane positioning
- Always ward. Always.
- Avoid getting hit for free
- Baron Nashor is not an easy win button
- Don't sweat ELO hell, just don't give up
As with most other online multiplayer games, League of Legends has its own challenges and obstacles towards achieving higher tiers of skill and progress. As it’s perhaps the most game in the world right now with millions of players in different countries, there is a lot to dig into in order to get good.
Most players are stuck in Bronze or Silver tier, and many of them get visibly frustrated about it. If you wish to break free from the shackles of the lower tiers, then perhaps it’s time to do something about it.
A lot of the tips here are similar to that of the Dota 2 guide on improvement, but this one has more tips due to the massive popularity of LoL and the sheer number of people playing it, most of whom are in the low tiers and are getting more and more frustrated as they try to inch their way upwards.
You want to know what makes people say mean things at other people, both in LoL and in real life?
A big part of that is ego and what it can do for the human psyche, and it’s also relevant in gaming. Those horror stories about gamers flipping and going crazy with rage are mostly due to what too much ego can do to players of all levels, whether you’re in Bronze or Diamond.
Ego is the biggest deterrent to the ongoing learning process in anything, including League of Legends. If you’re a low-tier player who is looking to get into the higher tiers, then it means that you have much to learn and improve on. There’s absolute nothing wrong in admitting one’s faults and losing repeatedly if you are able to learn from them and do better later on.
This also extends to making excuses, like your teammates being horrible or your internet connection being horrible. You can’t make those and expect to get better in any way since that can become a crutch that you’ll become accustomed to lean on every time you lose. You can only blame yourself, and you can only learn from it in order to grow.
This goes in line with the previous tip. Let’s say that you’ve been watching a lot of streams with top players in them and you’ve been tuning in to every League Championship Series (LCS) game. You have a good idea of what pro LoL players do in their games, and you wish to implement those same things.
That’s well and good, but don’t think that just because you recognize those neat things that pros do that it makes you a pro. Unless you are able to pull those things off competently in actual games though, then you’re still not pro level at all, even if you think you are. There’s a lot more involved in being that good other than just “knowing”.
This is perhaps where things start to get more contentious, and this guide is not actively trying to offend readers at all by pointing this out. But if you have observed Bronze and Silver tier players getting hot under the collar for having teammates that do things and pointing out what could be done right, as if they would have done better in the same position, then you know where this is coming from.
As previously discussed in the Dota 2 guide, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is prevalent in cases like these. It’s a cognitive bias that has individuals of lesser skill see themselves as better than most due to perceiving their knowledge as superior. Fight the urge to underestimate others and know that there’s a lot more that needs to be done before you can call yourself a “pro level” player.
Also, if you try to do those advanced things in your games while not having the pre-requisite skill to pull them off, then you’re only going to make mistakes. Before attempting to apply those techniques and tactics, you should practice the things that lead up to those first, and also be able to communicate to teammates your desire to learn them.
This is perhaps the golden rule in any MOBA, especially in League of Legends. It’s not a hard rule to follow; just don’t engage fights that you obviously can’t win since that can put you and your teammates at risk.
Know when to back off during team fights, especially when you see that your team is losing. When your teammates start going “we’re getting smashed, go back”, then do so. As long as you’re sure that you’re not abandoning teammates unnecessarily, then there’s no shame in doing so since one or two teammates dead is still better than all of you being dead.
Your team can’t risk getting into losing fights, especially in the late game, so make sure that you’re sure of what you’re getting yourself into.
Along with being able to pick your battles, learning to not spam ulti, Flash, Barrier, Smite, or so on by reflex just because you get into a bit of trouble. Stay calm and assess the situation carefully before you do something as you may only exhaust your options that would be useful if you actually do get into some trouble.
Champion picks are important indeed, and whatever you end up with can have an impact on what comes next. However, it’s mostly true if the players are of a high caliber and are able to draw out the full potential of their champions.
It’s less true in lower tier games, wherein mistakes happen more often and players are unable to make the most of their champions in every single situation. So don’t worry about counters for now and just focus on getting better with your champion, no matter what your opponents pick.
If your team has the advantage, don’t be afraid to run with it. League of Legends is a game that’s built on momentum, so go for that push or gank if you obviously have the advantage.
This is where communication within your team is crucial as everyone needs to know what to do in order to press on as soon as the opportunity is there. All team members must rally together, and that’s only possible with good communication.
It’s easy to get caught in overthinking about your runes and how to optimize your build, which is natural for something that has much complexity and intricacy as League of Legends. However, runes are something that do more as a supplement to get the last few percentages of advantage that does matter in high-level play.
If you’re in the lower tiers, they don’t matter as much as you’d think. Much of what you should be paying attention to is your grasp on the fundamentals, so sweating too much about runes may not be that smart. Keep your runes simple by focusing on two stats at most.
For example, if you’re playing AD carry, then you should take damage and magic resistance runes. If you’re playing tank, then take armor and gold runes. If you’re playing top against carry, then take damage and armor runes. Keep it simple and it should help you quite a bit.
This is perhaps the most fundamental part of the game. League of Legends is all about positioning, and getting caught in a bad position is almost akin to something like fumbling in American football or dribbling on your own foot in basketball. In fact, getting killed by a turret just because of bad positioning is like kicking the ball into your own goal in soccer.
The balance of keeping a safe distance and farming more effectively is a tightrope that every player must learn to walk carefully. Getting closer to farm better also means that you can get harassed and get hit by a nearby turret. That’s where the delicate but useful art of letting your enemies push while you last-hit comes in.
Take care if an enemy in your lane has ranged attack and if it can or cannot penetrate minions. If it can’t, then you can get to safety by going behind your minions and using them as shields. If it can, then you’ll have to maintain a safe distance while moving constantly in order to not get caught. Also be aware of enemies in the bush. Pay constant attention to enemies whenever they go into the bush and make sure that you’re at a safe distance away from it.
Only push with your minions past the midway point if you’ve to hit an enemy or rushing a turret. If you do, make sure to not push too hard early on as it will leave you exposed and ready to be ganked. Farming is much harder once you’re on the enemy side, so be more wary of getting harassed or ambushed.
This isn’t even up for any argument at all. Having wards in the right places all the time is key to victory, end of story. You need to know when enemies are closing in on you, so having wards is like insurance so that you don’t get ambushed or taken from the back.
With that in mind, you must also have good map awareness to make good use of your wards. They’re no good if you’re not watching the minimap anyway, so take a glance every once in a while to keep tabs on your position and whatever incoming threats may be there.
There are some particular things you need to remember, like not going into the river blind or not taking an objective when the entire enemy team is missing. No amount of skill can make up for getting caught in a bad spot by surprise; the element of surprise is a huge force multiplier. Getting caught by surprise is avoidable, so ward always.
A big part of learning how to lane is being able to avoid getting damaged “for free”. Like the Lannisters in Game of Thrones, you should be able to pay all your debts all the time, so make sure that you don’t get into a spot wherein you can’t give back what you’ve received.
This goes back to proper lane positioning since getting caught out of position will see you getting damaged for no good reason other than being out of position. Every bit of damage against you is an opening for more damage that can lead to your death, so make sure that they can’t hit you unless you can hit them back, preferably much harder.
If you think that killing Baron Nashor will make your team be able to kill everything and win instantaneously, then you may want to review how the game is played.
It’s true that the big buff is great indeed and is a game-changer, but it wouldn’t matter if your team isn’t strong in the first place and if not everyone is in every part of the action.
The bigger keys to victory are teamwork and synergy, and killing Baron is only good if those requirements are met.
Being stuck in ELO hell is not the end of the world at all, and there are still ways to get past it. This is the final tip that you’ll find in guides like this so consistently that it’s quite cliche, but that’s for good reason — it’s true.
Getting good at anything requires persistence and perseverance, and League of Legends is no different. If you’re serious about enjoying and getting good in this game, then do remember that anything good in the world takes effort.