I don’t believe in ELO Hell. There isn’t a MMR where the other players completely compromise your progress, but other players can make some games unwinnable. When you stop climbing, it’s because your mindset is frozen or your abilities are at the same level as everyone else in your bracket.
Regardless if you are stuck because of your ‘garbage’ teammates or if you are holding yourself back, understanding one basic principle can help you climb out of wherever you’re stuck.
A Game of Numbers
The most obvious concept of League of Legends is that of kills and deaths. At the end of each match, which ever team has more kills and less deaths most likely won the match. There are comeback and close-game exceptions.
At lower ELOs, a death is a huge hindrance to your team. A death gives the enemies gold, experience and time to wander around the map. They might even secure Baron if they aren’t too busy chasing your team’s support or stealing your team’s raptors.
The truth is, you cannot control whether or not your allies get kills. You can land some CC and set up kills but you have no control over their ability to land a skill shot or to auto attack the enemy.
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Step 1: Control Your Own Deaths
The first step to securing more wins and climbing out of ELO hell is to stop dying. A one-for one-is never ‘worth.’ In fact, avoiding all conflict to farm an additional creep wave is almost always the right answer. Even better, letting that cannon minion die is better than leaving a tower without knowing where your opponents are.
Take a minute to look at your stats at na.op.gg and look at your most played. If your death average is higher than 5, then you are part of the problem and likely belong in the bracket you’re in. Don’t play the risk game when the safe route often provides a higher payout. Tower gold is worth far more than a one-for-one under their tower.
Step 2: Control Your Teammates’ Deaths
This is the unsexy part of climbing the ladder. Controlling your teammates deaths often includes buying excessive wards or playing support.
Unfortunately, you can’t take your teammates mouse and keyboard from them and do everything for them, but you can make everything as fool-proof as possible for them. This begins with buying a Sightstone and pink wards. Make sure that your mid lane and jungler have all the time in the world to see that they’re in danger. Even preventing one death denies a handful of gold and experience. Also, you will not be thanked for warding… Ever.
What has truly carried me out of low ranks in the past are well timed Morgana Black Shields and Lulu ultimates. These two abilities alone have won me several games and are the sole reason why I have been able to climb in the past. The best part is, these two abilities are point and click – you can’t miss!
Your teammates are always going to be out of position and these abilities give them a second chance to survive their mistakes. It’s not going to save them 100% of the time. Sometimes you will save a teammate and they’ll head right back in to die anyways. But, in the off chance you save them, you just denied the other team gold, experience and bought your ally more time to farm.
As a disclaimer, I am no pro. In season four I placed into Bronze IV and managed to climb to Gold 5. The following season I placed into Bronze again and climbed to Platinum 3 and this season I peaked at Platinum 3 before decaying to Gold 1.