League of Legends: Preparing for Ranked Play

Jun 21, 2016

How can you prepare for ranked?

Learning how to play League of Legends as a new player is quite the undertaking. First you start off with a small group of “beginner friendly” champions and summoner spells to test out against bots on Summoner’s Rift. Eventually you will graduate to the free champion rotation of the week and real opponents, slowly unlocking new summoner spells, mastery points, and rune slots along the way.

Although the basic mechanics of League of Legends are very simple – click to move, click to auto-attack, use spells with keyboard – the game is largely based around decision making. The reason a Silver player is significantly better than a Bronze player is because he knows not only what his champion is capable of, but also his opponent’s. This game knowledge allows him to anticipate spells and outplay his opponent. Even if they are mechanical equivalents.

Game knowledge comes directly from experience. If you are approaching level 30 you should have a good amount of time invested into the game already. Ranked play is exciting. Players typically care about the outcome of ranked games much more than a normal game. Here’s an overview on how you can prepare for ranked play in League of Legends.

Knowledge is Power

league of katarina
There are a ton of variables in League of Legends that you need to know in order to make correct decisions. It will take time to learn about each champion. Photo via Riot Games.

We already touched on this a little bit above. Game knowledge is massively important in League of Legends. There are 120+ playable champions and well over 100 different items to buy for your chosen champion. That is a significant amount of information to take in. You should aim for a basic understanding of what each champion in the game is capable of.

You need to know that Rengar is an explosive assassin, Vayne is a hypercarry (and what that means), and how Syndra can one-shot you, even though you have 700HP. If you regularly find yourself questioning how you died, or what a specific champion’s ability does, you need more time in-game.

Looking up champion abilities every now and then is something I still do today, after 1,000+ games invested into the game. ALT-TAB’ing out in the loading screen to do your research is completely fine if you can stomach it. The bottom line is when the game starts you need to know what you and your opponent are capable of. Having a small champion pool helps with this.

Avoiding Tilt is a Skill

I was not prepared when I first started playing League of Legends seriously. My game before League was StarCraft 2; a 1v1 RTS which has very little banter between opponents because of how mechanically demanding the game is. Occasionally you get the early “gg” BM while being cannon rushed but most negativity came in the form of balance whine if it came at all.

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Avoiding tilt in League of Legends is a skill. If you, as a new player, are able to understand this before playing your first ranked game you will be miles ahead of your average player (me). No good comes from engaging with someone with bad intentions. As soon as anybody in your game (ally or enemy) says something toxic, mute them. Learning how to avoid tilt can save you many, many losses.

Your Rank Doesn’t Affect Your Play

Preparing for Ranked play in League of Legends
The ranking system in League of Legends goes Bronze -> Silver -> Gold -> Platinum -> Diamond -> Masters -> Challenger. Photo via lolwikia.

Many new players are scared they will land in Bronze after their initial placement matches but that doesn’t make sense. Your rank doesn’t determine your skills, your skills determine your rank. If you are a Bronze level player then you were already playing like a Bronze player before the game officially placed you there.

Don’t worry about the rank you get after placements. The more ranked games you play the more accurate of ranking you will receive. If you don’t deserve to be in a certain league for whatever reason, you won’t be there very long. Losing streaks and winning streaks only last so long. In the end time will average things out to where you belong.

It’s The Same Game

At the end of the day there is virtually no difference besides a normal game and a ranked game aside from how everyone perceives the importance of the game. It’s the same game. You can expect to do pretty much exactly as well in ranked as you’ve done in normal games. Match making is tighter in ranked, so you will play against players the system has deemed comparable. Aside from that, it’s the same game.

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Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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