How to Succeed in Solo Queue: A short guide

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Booterang

Senior Member

03-16-2011

Hi, my summoner name is Booterang and I recently hit 1500. I am by no means the best player, but I used to be down around 1150 and I felt it would be nice to share how I managed to reach 1500. The following is just a few tips and tricks that can help you reach your goal of leaving 'ELO hell'.

Point 1: It's all You. The most common complaint I hear about Solo Queue is "____ lost because of bad teammates." Well yeah, its low ELO, your teammates are probably going to be worse at this game. But consider: Matchmaking is balanced in that you have an equal chance of getting bad players as the other team does. Chances are you won a bunch of your games for the same reason you lost a bunch: Bad teammates. It evens out. If you play consistently this will cease to be a problem.

Its like a game of poker, players who play consistently well over a long period of time will have a net gain in cash earned. They might lose one game because of a bad beat, or luc wasn't with them, but they will win more then they lose. ELO is just like poker because both are negative sum games.

Point 2: Make sure you are in the mindset to play ranked games. If you just lost 2 or 3 games in a row, you should probably go take a break, go outside and get some air. Its unhealthy to play that much at once at one thing (though I am guilty) and it will allow you to relax for some more games. This helps you to play consistently.

Point 3: Champion select is just as important as the acutal game afterwards. These three minutes of picking and banning champions can already decide the game. Try to talk to your team in every game. Say who you can play, ask who they can play, and come up with a comp from that. Be positive and encouraging.

Point 4: This relates to point 3: Play more then one champion, and more then one role. It is frustrating to have a nice teamcomp setup, and then the inevitable happens:
"Hey bottom pick, can you jungle"
"No I only play Katarina"
"Oh"
That action right there probably cost you guys a good chance of winning the game. Play at least 2 tanks, 2 support champions, 2 junglers, 2 ranged carries, 2 intiators (tanky dps) and 2 mages. Yeah that sounds like alot, but it's only 12 choices. Ten, since tanky dps are a hybrid role. This means you can pick the right character for your team, and increase their chances of winning. It also allows you to emphathize with teammates. Understanding how jungling works means you can avoid ganks better, and understanding how proper team intiation works is key to learning how to position your character in a teamfight.

Point 5: Be a good teammate. I am guilty of it, and most people are as well. When you do badly, or someone else does, you tend to get negative and bring the team down as a whole. Maintain a postive attitude. Instead of yelling at your solo top for getting ganked by the jungler, just go buy a ward and put it in his bush near river. Then say "_____ could you please be careful, I warded your bush, so it should help you a little bit. Try to keep watching for ganks." Helping others means they will listen to you, and play better. Do this even if someone is trolling you. Chances are they are frustrated and want to win badly and will start to treat you better.

Point 6: Learn to co-ordinate teamfights and tactics. So often I see this fallacy played out in low ELO: Team 1 has 4 players mid, and team 2 has 5 players mid. Team 1's physical dps (Yi, TF, w/e) is pushing a sidelane tower. A good player would realize that Team 1 has a better position because they have a free shot at a tower. A bad player will yell at that Yi to go mid so they can teamfight, and engage in a 4v5 that was completely unnecessary. The objective of LoL is to break the nexus, killing heroes is just a side product of doing that. Therefore it is important to fight for objectives such as dragon, baron, and turrets.

It frustrates me in low ELO when I see a jungler like warwick who pulls off a nice gank on a solo lane, then immediately leaves rather then pushing the tower with his ally. By pushing the tower he is ending the game earlier, and forcing the enemy jungler to respond to him, which means that the other jungler can't gank. Warwick probably had to use his ult to secure a kill anyway, so it's not like hes going to gank for another minute and a half. Try to think beyond mindless hero kills is the point I am trying to make.

Another great example of this is when a team is 4v3 against a mid tower. Good players will break the tower, and catch stragglers if they can. Bad players will dive the opponent. If these players can't quite kill the target they will chase past the tower. This is stupid for several reasons: The player is breaking position and has a good chance of dying to a respawning character, and the tower still remains up. I have had countless low ELO games where the team I was on could just take a tower, but decided to dive the heroes underneath, took heavy losses and could not push as a result. My point is that heroes respawn, and towers don't

Point 7: Be nice at the end of the game. I am guity of not following this sometimes, but if you reach high enough, chances are you might see the same people again. It pays to be polite.

Point 8:
Duo queue. By Duo queuing, you are now responsible for 2/5 of the players on your team. This means you are less likely to get bad teammates. It also helps to pick characters that complement each other, whether you are lucky enough to run Shen Janna bottom, or one of you picks shaco and feeds the akali in top lane.

I duo queue with a guy who plays an amazing Ezreal. I usually play an initator, tank or jungler so that I can make sure that I am starting fights where he can be in the best position. This teamworks results in us both winning more games then we usually would alone.

Skill based tips: So far I have only give pointers on tactics and strategies that should be used. There are some things that you can do in game that will improve your winning chances dramatically however.

Tip 1: learn to last hit. 13 Last hits equal one hero kill. Yup. Thats all. And the difference between last hits and hero kills: Last hits are consistent because all minions are noobs. They like.. just sit there and die. Comon, learn to punish those scrubs and earn some hard yellow cash.

Start tracking your gold per minute. Set goals for yourself as to what items you want at what times. When I play a tanky dps for example at solo top lane, My goal is to afford a pair of boots and a wriggles lantern when I return to spawn. I will return to spawn early enough so that I have a ward ready for my river bush. When I play a tanky dps, I take armor seals, magic resist glyphs, and start either cloth 5 pot, or 24 mr 2 pot based on my opponent. I will have high enough defence and effective health that most characters are effectively wasting their time by harassing me. Once I grab a wriggles, I become impossible to harass and can farm merrily.

If you notice players like BigFatJiji, they tend to avoid buying doran's items for this reason. They get rejuvenation beads and 6 health potions. This is so they can keep farming! They stack philo stones and hearts of gold, so they can keep farming! 6 minion kills wil justify the cost of those pots. Consumables are your early game friend, learn to use them.

Tip 2: Be smart, but also be aggressive. You don't need to poke the other player constantly. Try to interrupt their last hits, but don't actively chase them unless you are absolutely sure you will score a kill. Besides, zoning an opponent is usually far more important then killing them. I'd rather fight a level 5 when I am level 6 then fight a level 6 with a kill under my belt. That being said, for certain characters (Jarvan and Caitlyn come to mind due to high range) you can use skillshots as a great deterrent to prevent last hits. Instead of running after your opponent to use a skillshot on them, just use it as they come up to last hit a minion. It's guarenteed to hit because you know exactly where they will be. Either you hit them, or they don't get that last hit.

That being said, be ready to go absolute ape**** on your opponent when an opportunity presents itself. Be able to transition from a passive farmer into a 'Holy **** he just did 500 damage to me in 1 second flat and now the jungler has ganked me'. Make a decision and commit to it. That being said, you should almost NEVER tower dive. You could walk under the tower to finish a player off, but don't ever start a fight under a tower. It's not even close to worth it. You could just shoot the tower instead and force the hero to come to you.

Tip 3: Map awareness is important. For example: Realize that most junglers finish their rotation between 3:45-4:30 and are probably going to be gunning for your idiot butt if you are past the river at that point. Characters like shaco can go as early as 3 minutes. Every time I hear the excuse 'But you didn't call mia' I tend to laugh because that player should have already known that the character in question was missing. I can't count the number of times I started chasing my opponent in a solo or duo lane because they had 20 hitpoints, only to have a Rammus slam into me and get a kill because he just finished his jungle rotation. Chasing is generally a bad idea unless you can account for every single enemy team member. Same with pushing.

Map awareness is my biggest problem at this moment, and its probably why I am still 1500. Wards are key, you need one in your river bush, possibly the other adjacent bush, and by dragon and baron. Keep a couple in your inventory. I tend to buy Wriggles on my physical dps characters just because I hate purchasing wards so much.

Tip 4: Your build needs to be flexible: If you are fighting a fed kassadin or karthus, you should probably have a banshee's veil. If your getting pwnt by a carry, some armor might be in order. You want to fix that pesky rammus/ low mana tank: Get a wit's end on a high AS character. Understand what all the characters in the game can do and plan accordingly. Build your character according to his role as well. While you may feel like a superstar as Dps Warwick, hes much better built as a tanky intiator with items like Banshee's veil to make sure he doesn't get stunned while ulting. (Wits end is also epic on him ).

Well thats all the points I have to make for now. Its not a short list, but If you realize these key concepts, and keep practicing, you should be able to get out of ELO hell into the bracket that you deserve.


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Doriantv

Member

03-16-2011

You mean that people don't play WW as a Tanky DPS? Rofl.

Anyways, nice guide.

Also, Wit's End on a high AS character isn't that helpful vs. Rammus. Think about it: Rammus wants to Taunt you, and by autoattacking him, you're just saying "let me help you with that bro".


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Booterang

Senior Member

03-16-2011

I meant that comment as more of a exaggeration. Also, I've found wit's end to be very effective on rammus since his ability to tank is based entirely upon his mana pool. I would rather target a squishy then rammus, but I find when he is in game that you reach the point mid way through a teamfight where rammus will kill your carry and there is nothing you can do about it. At that point you need to drain his mana to prevent him from taunting and ball curling.


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Cappysam

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Master Recruiter

03-16-2011

Good tips. I support all of the above.

Most important and helpful I think is being polite even to trolls. I do this and often times a troll will stop trolling once they realize they can't get a reaction out of me and that I am just going to be nice and helpful no matter what.


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prophet of toast

Senior Member

03-16-2011

This is all really, really solid advice. Like, really solid. Like. Everyone should read this.


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Argo

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Recruiter

03-16-2011

Can I add something? Understand the psychology that occurs in these types of games. For instance: Did you know that if you merely expect to win, your chances of losing increase? Interestingly enough, if you expect to lose, your chances of losing increase as well. The reason for this is you begin to play as if you already won, as in, not seriously. The same for as if you already lost. In many cases people give up for either reason, before the game is already decided, and subconsciously throw games. Always be aware of your own psychology in the game if you want to slightly improve your chances of winning games, and remind team mates appropriately of this.


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JedimasterDarren

Senior Member

03-16-2011

Very well thought out and solid. Thanks for contributing.


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TheCowGoes

Senior Member

03-16-2011

I <3 guides like this that promote team cohesion, cost-effective tactics and psychology: I don't care who you, 5 guys working together as a team playing sub-par characters 80% of the time absolutely pwn a bunch of "op" characters working chaotically.


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Bobbysalz

Member

03-16-2011

Congrats on hitting 1500.

This is my favorite part of your post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booterang View Post
Team 1 has 4 players mid, and team 2 has 5 players mid. Team 1's physical dps (Yi, TF, w/e) is pushing a sidelane tower. A good player would realize that Team 1 has a better position because they have a free shot at a tower. A bad player will yell at that Yi to go mid so they can teamfight, and engage in a 4v5 that was completely unnecessary.
Mostly on these forums we get general rules; here, however, you address a special circumstance with applied reasoning, where there is a right response and wrong one, which is great.


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Morsigil

Senior Member

03-16-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketball View Post
You mean that people don't play WW as a Tanky DPS? Rofl.

Anyways, nice guide.

Also, Wit's End on a high AS character isn't that helpful vs. Rammus. Think about it: Rammus wants to Taunt you, and by autoattacking him, you're just saying "let me help you with that bro".
Rammus needs mana to be effective, and unless you get him some he doesn't have much. That's why wits end may be an effective counter to Rammus. Also, that damage is done as magic damage I believe, which a good Rammus will have defenses for, but a bad one will not and thus be all the more boned.


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