Before you ask why is this low-mid ELO player blogging on SoloMid among top ELO players, who obviously know hell of a lot more about LoL than I do, I can assure you that I’ve been in ELO hell a lot longer than they did (this I am not proud of). I’ve seen the changing meta and mindset of low-mid ELO from the start of season 1 until today. Therefore, when it comes to discussing the low-mid ELO environment, I believe that I am qualified to post here. Furthermore, many of the SoloMid viewers are in the low-mid ELO range, so I have a sizable audience.
First, I will talk a bit about my journey in ranked games. When I first started playing ranked games, I didn’t know about LoL streams (or who HotshotGG was, if he was a “somebody” back then) or any other forms of playing guides. All I knew was that if Amumu and Shen doesn’t get banned, someone is gona get f*ed over. All I had was my trusty pre-nerf Anivia, who carried me on her wings to the 1300 ELO. But the damn bird was always too lazy to carry me a bit further than that, so I stalled around the 1300 ELO mark. The common notion new ranked players had back then was, if a team had a nice mix of tank/AD/AP (not even support), assuming all the “game-breaking champions” were banned, it was instant “GG” at pick. If someone insta-locked a lesser known hero like Alistar, the player will be “reported” for being an asshole (not that anyone actually reports, people just say that in chat to release some rage). Only able to play one heavily situational champion with zero knowledge of strategy, I did not do very well. Eventually, the negativity of the LoL community in ranked games got the better of me, so I went on an indefinite hiatus. The reason I returned to LoL was for my Anivia guide. The sheer number of appreciations I’ve received from new Anivia players, who told me how they would have never picked up and sticked with Anivia if it wasn’t for my guide, rekindled my passion for writing guides, and perhaps, playing LoL.
Of course, somethings never change. To this day, players in low-mid ELO still follow the very simple rule of ban the OP champs, and pick a team consisting of Tank/AD/AP. Instead of banning Amumu and Shen as their first priority (but still very important), Evelyn and Alistar are now “must bans”. Other champions are also favorited. Corki? I hope he can’t carry. Irelia? Oh god OP! And of course, Mord es #1! I have now switched to Shaco as my main. And I get trolled every other game for playing Shaco. Of course, I ignored the haters cause I know what I can do. I’ve been playing ranked games long enough to know what wins a game and what doesn’t, at least in my ELO.
My point is this, there are some truly important factors for winning ranked games in low-mid ELO, while other factors are just a load of shit. I will list everything that I know. I hope by reading this, you will see ranked games differently. Again, this is for low-mid ELO mostly, but it may help any ELO players.
1. The team that creates the most early game pressure will go on to win the game
Early game pressure is created by 1. junglers 2. performance of each lane. Why did I put junglers first? Because junglers indirectly determine the performance of ALL LANES AND THE ENEMY JUNGLER. When I first started jungling as Shaco, I often QQ’ed at the solo-lanes that feed like mad without even getting ganked by the enemy jungler. I do gank the lanes a few times at level 4, so I don’t know what I did wrong. It was later on when I started ganking very early at level 2-3 did I realized my mistake as a jungler. Ganking creates pressure, but as each second passes by, the pressure created is reduced. Other than the fact that higher level champions can survive ganks a lot better than level 1s, it has a lot to do with player mindset and “comfort zones”. When you first start playing a match, you have to ease into the gaming environment, most of the time without you realizing it. Your brain is picking up the movement of your controlled champions, studying the playing field, your allies, and your enemies. During this very short warm-up phase, which is at around level 1-2, low-mid ELO players are very vulnerable to ganks because they are more worried about their laning opponents than a fast jungle gank. It is during this time that victories can be sealed. Of course, not all the junglers are like Shaco and can gank at level 2, 3 or 4.
Of course, ganking creates different amount of pressure depending on the lane. To put this very simply, you gank a lane when and where it needs to be pressured. For example, if you had a choice between ganking a carry like Twisted Fate, or ganking a tank lane who can just stack GP/5, and most of the time laugh at your fail ganking attempts, you would go for the obvious one. If your solo-mid Ryze is getting facerolled by a Corki (true story), then you should try to gank the Corki. Forcing him to use his summoners and play safer, so your Ryze won’t be exploited for his noob overextending mistakes. Of course, repeatedly getting double-kills in a tank lane gank will make the other team rage against each other, and if the other team start calling each other “noobs”, the game is a quarter-won.
Counter-jungling also creates tons of pressure. I absolutely love counter-jungling vs. champions with no escapes, and Olaf (oh god I love f*ing up Olaf). You don’t need to get a kill to be successful at counter-jungling. Taking the enemy jungler’s buffs and Wraiths is also great. Smiting the big Wraith and leave is “a good strategy” in higher ELOs; in lower ELOs, it is understood as “trolling”. If you successfully counter-jungle the enemy jungler, for example taking a Master Yi’s Red, then he can’t gank your lanes very effectively. The lesson is, jungler is arguably the most important role in a low-mid ELO team. And that’s why Shaco is perfectly viable at this ELO range, if not higher.
2. Amumu doesn’t mean instant win, but still ban that Evelyn!
As much as I like challenges as a jungler, I still don’t want to play against an Eve that stalks me 24/7, stun/ignite the second I am low on HP. Some champions need to banned in ranked games. Even if you can handle it, your teammates might not have a good time playing. The last thing I want to do is allow a roaming Alistar tearing my noob solo-lanes to shreds because they refuse buy wards. And as a jungling Shaco, I cannot protect my teammates all the time. Of course, a team with Evelyn doesn’t mean instant win, but from my experience, Evelyn wins a hell lot in this ELO. However, champions like Amumu are definitely not game sealers. This Amumu free week, for example, tons of players in ranked picked Amumu for the easy “press ‘R’ to win”. Unlike Eve, none of the Amumu teams won against me, but my team with an Amumu won very easily. Therefore, next time someone rage at you for not picking Amumu or Alistar as first pick (other than trading), even though you don’t play these champions, simply ignore them.
3. Team composition is secondary in this ELO
Believe it or not, I had absolute shit team comps that stomped the other team consisting of almost perfect picks because we are simply a lot better than they are. By shit comps, I mean all squishies carries and zero bulky champions or tanks. I also had perfect teams that got stomped by all squishie teams. In this ELO range, players’ skill levels vary drastically. You have the new level 30 ranked players who got lucky in their qualifying matches and players that fell off from 1500 ELO for whatever reason. If a team full of squishies feeds off the other team early, team composition means jack. But, a good jungler can pressure the lanes, thereby evening up the playing field for your noob teammates. That’s the reason I play a jungler.
4. You are a good player, but are you a good leader?
Players in this ELO range are clueless about overall strategies, even if they watch streams and read guides. This very, very sad. In order to help your team win, you need to lead by pinging and telling them what to do. If you have to scream in caps and spam ping, do it nicely with a smiley face =). I will list examples of leadership in some important scenarios:
a) The Dragon
We all know that warding dragon and getting dragon is important. But believe me, most players in this ELO checks the dragon every now and then, and shoves the responsibility to the jungler. They will be busy “winning” their lanes. If they see the other team doing dragon, they might go there. If there is no ward at dragon, then who the hell cares? As a jungler, I ward the dragon as quick as I can (when it spawns of course), and make sure no ward is being placed over there. I tell my team to look for ward placement in case I miss it. If there is a ward there, I wait until I know we can outnumber them at dragon so they can’t contest it, and then proceed to ping the dragon pit 100 times , so even the dumbest kid will get his ass over there (this worked for me, surprisingly with a decent amount of rage towards me). Remember, people won’t hate you for being persistent if you make good decisions, but if you f*k up, they won’t listen to you a second time. In low-mid ELO, most of the time, teams don’t contest dragon. They follow the first-come-first-serve rule. When they do contest, they go in one by one and get picked off like idiots. Of course, not all the time.
Players in all ELOs can be dumb when it comes to Baron (I watch high ELO streams). In low-mid ELOs, Barons are usually deemed impossible until a large team fight is won, or towers are pushed down in “mid-late game”. Other team is alive and on the other side of the map? Mid game Baron? Other team coming to us even though we can win a teamfight at Baron? HUEHUEHUE NO WE TOO SCARED KTHXBYE. Same with dragon, lead your team when the time is right, explain a bit if you have to.
c) Pushing towers
Most players in this ELO knows how to push towers, but they don’t know when is safe to do so. But this I mean they don’t look at the mini-map and process the data that happened in the previous 5 minutes in their brain. I’ve seen so many players that run away when they push a considerable distance into the enemy territory. It’s good to be cautious, but if you just saw the enemy team in other lanes and are busy doing things, they probably won’t map hack right beside you and gank you. This can be solved by pinging towers and explaining a bit.
d) Ending games
Most of the players in this ELO are clueless when it comes to ending games. They need a leader to tell them that, ok, you probably shouldn’t be doing Wraiths with your Baron buff when we can just end this game.
Oracles can detect invisible champions, but it can take out wards too! Wow, I never knew that! Most players that I met in this ELO range do not run oracles to counter wards. They know vision wards, but they never touch oracles. You can tell the tanks to buy oracles, but they may or may not listen to you. Oracles seal games. If you take out wards everywhere, you take out the one thing that protect zero-map awareness noobs from overextending. And you also get uncontested dragon and Baron! Beautiful thing, isn’t it? Buy it, you are the leader! Don’t die though, seriously.
5. Keep your opinions to yourself
This is an attitude problem. Players in this ELO talk too much. If one lane screws up, there will be trolls that post in /all chat “omg noob feeder report plox” non-stop. Even worse, some players express their discontent during champion picks because they believe a champion is not worth playing. Those players are often the baddies who ruins the team synergy and concentration. Please, for everyone’s sake, including yours, keep your opinions to yourself. An extra phrase of “you suck noob” might be the reason that you lost this game.
I hope this has been an interesting read for all of you. Treat ranked games seriously, and you will be rewarded for it.
I will see you next time.