Now that I have some 500 ranked games under my belt I thought I would detail some thoughts about ELO Hell, general strategies I think helped, and talk about randomness vs. skill and expected values. Last night I finally won my promotion series to silver V and so now I feel entitled to pass on what I've learned.
First, I want to thank my mentor, Kal El who has taken the time to do some 1v1 laning to improve mechanics and build orders:
Second, there are a number of other mentors over at ELO Heaven that have spectated matches to discuss build order, strats, objective/teamfighting decisions. I recommend you join and check out their raidcall channel. Don't expect anyone to think your good, everyone is their to critique your play to help you improve:
So I wanted to talk about one issue that has really dominated my thoughts since I began ranked play: ELO Hell. I think the reason there exists such a strong diversity of opinions about this is because of statistics and distribution curves. The reality is that the ELO (MMR) system is imperfect in the regard that it is using a fairly small sample of results to rate your skill. The truth is that the rating system is fairly accurate over a large sample of games over a large sample of players, so the system "works". However, it is also a mathematical certainty some players are falling into 3 or 4 standard deviations away from their true ELO due to "bad luck" or "randomness". I would guess there are probably 1-3% of the player base is literally hundreds of points away from their true ELO because their sample of games are not large enough or they have encountered a string of unlucky events/games etc.
I finally realized this was the case for me during a major ELO downswing I experienced when I had 13 AFKs on my team in about 40 ranked games. I was able to win two 4v5s but I also had zero AFKs on the enemy team during that same time. It took nearly 100 games to recover my ELO from that string of randomness (I was winning approximately 55-60% of my games at that time). What is also important to recognize about this random unluckiness, is that it may never "even out" or perhaps it will. Yes, we all know flipping a coin 100 times should result in 50/50 on average, but average has nothing to do with results. If I get 60 heads and 40 tails, I should not expect the next 100 flips to be 40 heads and 60 tails. The reason I am talking about this is because I think it is important to realize that bad or good luck can happen to you, recognize and accept it, but focus on what you can control, not what you can't.
What you can control:
1) Your play and your ability to adjust to your teamate's play. It is your job to be a team player so try to fill whatever lane needs to be filled. Know when your team needs a tanky jungle/support or an initiator. Know when you're behind or ahead, buy defensive or offensive items accordingly. Know when you're far enough ahead in your lane, to take down your turret and *gasp* help your bad/losing teammate to win his lane. Help secure an early dragon. Know your lane match-ups. If you have a Vayne and she is against a Caitlin, you need to help your bot lane unless your Vayne is massively more skilled then Caitlin. If you have a Tryndamere top and your jungler feeds him 2 kills, your top laner is going to lose his lane, its not his fault! Help him! If your team is fighting over roles or clearly has a troll, suck it up and DODGE. You are never going to carry this team. Finally, some games, are unwinnable. That is right. Some games your midlaner is going to go 0-0-6 at level 5 and your jungler doesn't know to help and the other 2 lanes are not decisively winning, it is GG. Accept it and try not to rage, there is another game to play, move on.
2) High K/D/A is not necessarily an indication of ELO skill, but rather game mechanics skill. They are not the same thing. If you are 10-0 and did not snowball your lane, then midlane, then get 2 dragons and snowball the rest of the team. You are not good. Period. Being good means knowing what to do with your advantage and where to apply pressure.
3) Losing your lane does not mean you cannot outplay the person who just beat you in lane. If you are down 3-0, your behind on CS, your level 10, and you can no longer sustain your turret, because you have a jungler who is unaware and a midlaner who's got his hands full, its time to gamble. Leave your lane, gank mid or bot or help the jungler steal the dragon. Trying to hold this turret just ensures you will get poked down by your opponent and eventually a turret dive, which just feeds them more, and more than likely you aren't able to farm anymore anyway. There is a good chance the guy who beat you in lane, does not know what to do with his advantage, and leaving lane will allow him to squander his lead and for you to catch up!
4) Jungling is in my opinion the best way to influence the early game. You get to decide who to help, who to give buffs too, who to harass, when to counter jungle etc. Before you gank, look at the creep wave, look at your allies health and mana, and also know if their stun/knock ups are on cooldown or not. If you do not do this, you are a bad jungler. If your bot lane gets ganked and you cannot get there in time to counter gank, you MUST apply pressure on another lane- or at a minimum counter jungle him. If you do not do this, you are a bad jungler. Around levels 7-10 you should help bot lane or your mid steal the first dragon, but you need vision of your enemies to do this and you must learn to smite steal and smite secure. If you don't know the damage at every level or you jungle without smite, you're a bad jungler . Finally, sometimes ganking is bad. If your laner is decisively winning, he may be setting up an all in on his opponent that is certain to succeed. If you come to gank, it may be warded and you may have inadvertently ruined a carefully setup play. Try to assess your laner's skill level by knowing the matchup and checking their CS scores and k/d on the lane. If you realize your laner is 50 cs and 2 kills ahead. Leave him alone and help the other lanes or farm your jungle. Also, if a lane is snowballing like that, expect him to get camped by a good enemy jungler, setup for a counter gank by helping ward the enemy jungler's likely ganking position.
5) Recognize the skill of your teammates and adjust accordingly. If they do noob things in champ select like say "solo top" or they run weird summoner spell combos they are probably bad. Risk a dodge or at best expect that lane to lose/feed and get their as soon as you can to help them before it spins out of control. On the flip side, if you see your teammate has 300 ranked wins, he probably knows what he is doing in the laning phase but don't assume that they play well past the 20 minute mark. The reason they probably have 300 wins in ranked but are still at high bronze/low silver is they don't know how to turn teamfight wins into objective secures. Be a leader and ping where you are going, and what objectives to get. Also, if someone else is trying to be the team leader, even if they make bad calls it is best to just go with it, because its better than the team fighting with each other and engaging 3v5 and then 2v5 immediately after because two different objectives are being pinged. One bad decision as a team is better than a split team and two teamleaders.
6) Know your lane match-ups. Know when you have the advantage on your lane, by checking items, watching health, poking when they go to CS. If they are level 2 first or 3 first, give up a few CS, don't risk getting all-ined. Know if they've gone wraiths/golems by checking their health and inventory when they get to lane. Watch for redpots and barrier, do not get baited. If they have armor plus 5 pots top lane, chances are the lane is going to be a farm lane, use that knowledge to gain an advantage. Tell your jungler, no ward top lane.
7) I will say this again. Fill the position needed. Indicate your preferences, but be willing to support because guess what? That guy that took top lane from you, who is losing his lane, and you keep thinking to yourself "I should have just forced him to support". Think about how BAD he would be at support if he is that bad at top, assuming he is one of those "top or feed" type players. The truth is you have given yourself the best chance to win by filling, and allowing that bad player to play his best position. Also, make sure you actually do your job as support, do not start building AP Lux or Nid, you are not helping your team. Build Aegis, locket, sightstone and keep the baron, dragon, and jungle entrances warded. Ping when you see the enemy out of position because of your OP ward placement!
8) I think you should know 2-3 champions per lane well. This gives you the opportunity to counterpick but also be skilled. Counterpicking and using a champ you are not familiar with is worse than countering yourself and using your favorite champ- especially when the laning phase ends. Do not use champs that have low team utility, IE shaco and teemo.
9) Always scan items, especially their fed players. Then you will know who to focus and who is the most important to catch out of position to gain an advantage lategame for major objectives such as inhibs or baron. Do NOT get caught lategame because you got greedy for that wolves camp or the minion wave and force your team to fight 4v5 over a major objective. This is throwing and will make your team rage at you and most players will give up mentally at this point.
I will come back and add more later as I think of it. Thanks and good luck!
I have been using the team info app on elophant.com to help our team pick best positions... i also then run lolnexus while game loads to see who we are against to identify possible issues.
Since I jungle i always check to see if I am against a jungler... depending on their skill i adjust my game play accordingly. That being said I always try to assume they are okay until they do something to break that thought.
Of course I still have a long way to go but I am trying to follow your guidelines.
I have a feeling you're over-exaggerating your AFK to opponent team's AFK ratio :P But anyway, I agree with most of your post.
1) I don't agree with what you say about match-ups. Until higher levels any champ can beat any other champ. And if midlane is 0/6 it's not the jungler's fault. It's never the jungler's fault if someone is feeding. This is a stupid low level mentality that drives me nuts. If you're in lane and feeding it's YOUR fault. I can't tell you how many times I've been blamed for not ganking a lane and they love to say "I've already been ganked twice by enemy jungler hrrdrrr." This is what wards are for, not pushing to their tri, etc. A jungler can only be in so many places, while securing red/blues.
2) What's the difference between elo skill and mechanics skill?
3) Once again you're blaming the jungler for someone being down 0-3. It isn't the jungler's fault someone is down 0-3. It's their fault. Now is it the jungler's fault that lane hasn't gotten easy kills due to great gank opportunities? Maybe, but just because you aren't getting kills it doesn't mean you need to give up kills.
4) Dang, from the way you talk about jungling I get the feeling either I shouldn't be in silver V or you shouldn't be because I sure as hell don't do all those things.
5) Judging someone based on their summoner spells is a common mistake I see noobs make. Don't be that person. I don't need exhaust as support if I'm playing someone like Lulu or Nami who can shut-down their AD with a stun/poly. That said, I usually take exhaust anyway since a lot of scrubs around my rank get all *****y if I don't take it, but with certain champs there's better summoners.
6) Poking during enemy CS is probably the best piece of advice ya could give to someone. I was watching a video that talked about cs poke and that's drastically improved my bottom lane play, both as support and AD. And yeah, calling ward or no ward is a good habit to get into, but I wouldn't expect someone in bronze to be making that call unless you have a billion games under your belt. One thing I've gotten into the habit of doing when I'm supporting bot is to call wards, call where their jungler is, call buffs, ward buffs, etc.
7) I definitely agree with filling. And it's a shame so many people refuse to learn support. As you mentioned, that crappy top laner would have been better as support.
8) I think counter-picking really is just a higher level thing. I've seen many, many, many players around my level beat their supposed "counter" because they just out-play the lane. It drives me nuts when people complain about their counters during champ selection.
Actually I'm not exaggerating at all. I almost quit the game because of it. Seven in a single day out of 12 games. And it was 13 AFKs in total, somewhere between 35-45 games. I was playing about 10 games a day at that time, and knew I had 13 DCs in 4 days of gaming. Since then I would say about 1/10 games has an afk, more recently the afks have been on the enemy team. In all fairness this has helped my ELO unfairly.
1) Yes, you just get games where people feed endlessly for no reason and they just won't stop doing it because of rage at low ELOs. I was just jungler with a 1/14 kogmaw. I was 6/5/3 jungler. I sat bot lane the entire game after kogmaw's first death. He just kept suiciding the enemy vayne who was actually mechanically very skilled and took advantage of his rage.
2) Mechanics= meaning your ability to use skills in combos, auto attacking in between skills, kiting in general. Your ability to use the controls well is what I mean. Your ELO reflects your game knowledge AND your mechanics.
3) Yes if you are down 3-0 on your lane, your jungler is not doing their job or you are terribly out matched. Since I don't lose my lane often (but I do lose sometimes of course!), if I end up in that position, its because I've maybe made one mistake (lost my first trade and now they are using that advantage to zone me on cs by using their gold and level advantage) and maybe I've gotten tower dove 2x by their jungler/mid. Which is part my fault, but hugely the fault of your mid/jungler for not helping when you're constantly fighting 1v2 at your tower. The tower dives usually come after you've been pushed to your turret for like 3-4 minutes and your wards are dead, but you can't leave lane or the turret drops etc. This kind of pressure can only happen when your mid and jungler are bad. If the roles are reversed, and I am jungler or mid, I love to see the enemy team play this recklessly, I can pick up a kill or a double kill, and maybe a turret.
4) You can be good at one role and mediocre at others, in all fairness right? I never said I was a good Mid, but I try to fill if I have too, so I'm sure I make mistakes at mid that guys who play it a lot would not make.
5) I still think you should always have exhaust as support. Maybe someone of higher skill level than us can comment.
6) 7) 8) thanks agreed.
Sorry, and I hope you don't take this too personally. I think with 30 ranked games, your true ELO is not really known, so you may be much less or much more skilled than you know. But I would have to say with certainty, my 500 games of experience trumps your 30 ranked games experience when it comes to overall game knowledge because I play all roles and because I've asked higher ELO players what to do when confronted with certain situations. As far as mechanics, you may very well be better than me or others in your division, but your lack of knowledge is apparent when you tell me that its my fault if I'm getting tower dives after one death and no assistance. You are wrong about this. ;-/ Its a team awareness issue and low ELO players have bad awareness. If you want to learn anything from my experiences you can take it or leave it. But my opinion is that you can't just be good at clicking, you need to be aware of the situations that your teamates cannot overcome on their own and help them. That is a difference between high and low level skilled play.
I was a master league 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, in 6 seasons of SC2. So I know how to apply what I learn. Not sure why you think you can one up me here in my post. It just comes off as rude, I'm simply trying to explain what I've learned to others who might be struggling.
But seriously, if you don't like what I have to say and you think I suck, then ignore it and move on to another post.
"1) I don't agree with what you say about match-ups. Until higher levels any champ can beat any other champ."
This is absolutely true, usually if I or another higher elo player plays in say silver/bronze....they can pretty much beat a person with any champ or counter. Not that I'm high (Gold 1) but, from personal experience and playing with other higher elo players...you can pretty much stomp a bronze player with anything lol. It's a Mechanics issue, people aren't mechanically skilled yet with the champion or items.
So yea, step 1 is practice mechanics and your champion, you can easily beat any normal bronze/silver elo player if you're as good as you think you are. Next you learn what to do with that advantage to win the GAME.
There are as OP said 2 skills. Mechanics skill, and game sense skill IE when to take turrets, when to push a wave, when to take a dragom, when to defend a turret or take one instead. Lower elo's dont have skill in multiple roles and dont have game sense.
I am Gold 1, and I can only play toplane ONE champ very well. The other roles I am only average. But when I picked up alot of game sense, how to push, when to dragon, when to take turrets I jumped from Gold 5 to Gold 2.
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