How to Get Out of ELO Hell
The debate rages on even now about the existence of ELO Hell. As a player of this game for nearly 3 years now I can assure you it does exist. I can also assure you that raging on the forums about how you got screwed and do not deserve to be a member of the ELO Hell community is not going to help you redeem yourself. This being said DO NOT LOSE FAITH you can recover your account from ANY depth of ELO Hell.
So who am I? I am no great summoner, nor does my own ELO inspire jealously. I certainly donít claim to be an expert on the game but I feel I do have some worthwhile things to say about getting out of ELO Hell and low level game play. I float right around the 1200 ELO mark as of the beginning of Season 3.
Lets go back to Season 1 when I first started playing LoL. What was my elo in Season 1? At the highest 1290. At the lowest 524. At this point I blamed everyone else for my falling ELO and I was convinced that I was a good player. Truth be told, I sucked. I didnít ward, I didnít play any role extremely well, and certainly I made basic mistakes. From my lowest point in Season 1 I raised my ELO back up to 820 before the reset occurred by learning Mid Ryze.
Season 2 came around and I had finally found my calling in the jungle. I learned the role by reading dozens of guides and watching others jungle in the tournaments. My ELO Season 2 roamed between 1100 and 900. I was still convinced that I was not the problem even though towards the end of Season 2 I finally figured out that I needed to be the solution.
Season 3 began and I did poorly in my placement matches and dropped from 1215 ELO down to 1050. It was at this point that I accepted the fact that, I HAD A LOT TO LEARN! Please note that I still have A LOT TO LEARN. I was 11 games behind this season and as of today I have pulled my account back to even by following the advice below.
Solo Q: What makes this Ranked Solo Q thing so difficult?
Well the obvious; you are about to play with 4 other people who you most likely donít know, who very well might troll you, and may lack certain basic skills on the Fields of Justice. This being said you need to be aware that you also lack certain basic skills on the Fields of Justice or you would not be in ELO Hell. Sorry but the truth hurts fellow summoners. There is only one person who you control on the Fields of Justice and that is you. Keeping that in mind use your powers for good not evil. I am now going to take you through the progression of a typical game. Realize every game is unique and that your build and play style must adapt if you want to win.
When Should I play Ranked Q?
The answer here is very simple. Not all day everyday. If you want to improve you must practice as well in normal draft games. I would encourage not sitting down and playing 12 games of ranked back to back as you will become tired and most likely irritated after a few games. Also being extremely caffeinated and playing at 3 AM is most likely a path to failure. You must realize that the game is nationalized and hence most people will be close to your time zone. Which means that if they are online at 3 AM they might be drunk, high, or sleep starved. All of these are key factors in the outcome of the game. I would recommend separating the use of any drugs and playing ranked Q.
Step 1: You are put with a team in Champion Selection.
HERE IS WHERE MANY PROBLEMS BEGIN! Everyone starts calling out roles. Now two people have called the same roll. (Usually you are lucky if only a single roll is doubled!) Yikes! Here is where the on team fighting begins. One of these two people will often go to LoLKing.com and start pasting in that players previous stats and start the name calling. Here is where you need to be a bigger person. Yes I am talking to you. The only person controlling the fingers attached to your body. Calming ask everyone to be chill, then ask the two opposing parties if either of them are GOOD ENOUGH to play another role. Usually one person will say they can also play (insert a role). Perfect! Crisis adverted. Now, this also means that YOU, yes again I am speaking to YOU, will have to be more flexible. Be the guy that can fill any role. Have two champs that no matter what position you need to play that you can excel in that role. I previously said I love to play jungle. Most of my stats are for jungles. In fact it is the only role I truly love to play. This is where being a member of the team comes in effect. Even though I love to play jungle if someone else flat out says they cannot play any other role well, I will hand away my precious jungle to prevent the conflict.
Now I know you are thinking, but SweeneyTodd69, YOU ARE THE BEST JUNGLE NA! (Ok, so you were not really thinking that but I can dream) Yes I am a good jungle IN MY ELO, but TEAMWORK WILL WIN MORE MATCHES THAN ME IN THE JUNGLE. Let me say that again. NO MATTER HOW OP YOU ARE AT (INSERT YOUR FAVORITE CHAMP AND ROLE) TEAMWORK WILL WIN YOU MORE MATCHES! Individual skill is great but at some point in time you are going to have to become a contributing member of team during team fights and while capturing objectives. You might as well start this habit in champion selection.
Learning a new Champ: Here are my personal findings on this subject. For me personally I find I need to play 20-25 normal matches to get truly comfortable with a champion and figure out what the core of my build will be. To start this process I read a minimum of 3 pro guides. I note the differences in the builds, the comments in play style, and I especially love when they have a champ vs champ tip section. I then try out these builds and play styles. I figure out which one I like the best for my own play style and then save the page. I also always save the champ vs champ tip section page as that is very useful and great for review during the loading screen. Also before deciding to learn a new champion I view LoLKing to see how that champion is doing in my ELO. If that champion is losing 57% of their matches that tells me: 1) People donít know how to play them, 2) They donít fair well in the current Meta, 3) They might be under powered. None of these 3 are reasons to ignore this champion. You must however realize that every champ has their strengths and weaknesses. For example: Picking Kat into a team of stuns, suppresses, fears, and taunts would be unwise. Knowing your counterpick chart well or have it bookmarked! THIS CAN BE GAME ALTERING! Please note that playing the newest champion in Ranked without practicing first is a poor idea. Also note: just because a champion counters what your opponent selected doesnít mean you should play them for the first time today because they counter (insert champion). It is better IN MOST CASES to place yourself in a position of being countered than to play a champion that you do not know well! Keep a log of all matches you play with a champion during your normals (I have a notebook with a page for each champ I am learning and ones I main to track my progress) so you can chart your progress! This is extremely important. You have to document yourself carefully and set goals for yourself when learning a new champion. Be reasonable with your goals, you are not going to become pro overnight, but if you set up goals I have faith your elo can climb.
The Importance of Your Build Story Time- S3 I had with the help of my brother decided on a build for Hecarim and practiced with this build many times. I then read a Pro guide which built him much tankier than I had previously been doing. After trying out this build in several normals I decided I liked it and started to play it in ranked. This directly lead to a 5 game losing streak. I had lost my power to carry my team out of early game and make myself a viable threat into the late game. By keeping records and looking on Elo Buff we were able to see the difference that build choices can make in the outcome of games. Elo Buff showed that when I built Hecarim as an AD Bruiser I had a 62% win chance whereas when I built Hecarim as a True Tank I had a 52% win chance. Keep in mind there are many viable ways to build a champion and you need to explore them all thoroughly or you may pay in ELO. This does not mean the pro was wrong and I was right, it simply means that for me personally as a player I needed that extra carrying power to win games. Make sure however you build your champion that you make a significant contribution to the team in utility, sustain, or damage.
A final note about Champion Selection. We all know the two most common roles that are called, Top and Mid. This being said if I were you, I would not make either of those two roles my primary roles. Why? If you are still asking this question please reread Step 1 and repeat until you understand. Also note that counterpicking any lane is a VERY effective tactic so please use the trade feature and your brain before picking Top lane Yorick first only to be countered by Trundle.
Step 2: The Invade!
How many games have you been chilliní in your lane watching the minion line creep up daydreaming about (insert your favorite guy/girl) when all the sudden 45 pings go off at your blue or red and your jungle just became the victim of first blood? The answer of course is MANY TIMES especially in ELO Hell. The jungle invade is an extremely effective tactic when used against a highly buff dependant jungle such as Skarner, Amumu, Malphite, Shaco, etc etcÖ In addition to demoralizing your team this also greatly affects your jungles clear times and ability to gank quickly.
Preventing the invade. Well the obvious thing to say here is, protect your jungle... Ok, lets get a little further beyond the obvious. How? By warding the most likely path of invasion. DO NOT STAND ALONE IN THE MOST LIKELY PATH OF INVADE! I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen 1-2 members of the team face check a likely path of invade or stand in that same path. Usually the other team has set a time that ALL 5 of their team members will move towards the buff. This being said at lvl 1 a 2 v 5 fight is not going to assist you in winning the game I promise 2 v 5 is very rarely the answer.
Frequently a 5 v 5 fight is also not in your best interest even if you are all prepared for the invade. A lvl 1 team fight is determined by a few elements, 1) Repositioning abilities (ie Blitz, Naut), 2) Hard CC, 3) Soft CC, 4) Summoner Spells (Flash, Ignite, and Exhaust), and 5) The element of surprise. With all of these factors to consider you can very easily decide on the loading screen if an invade is likely or if it is in your best interest to invade. After messing this up about 20 times you will figure it out.
Ok Sweeney I hear your point and I want to defend my jungler but you are not telling me what I am suppose to do. Dear Summoner, I am glad you have seen the light and I would be thrilled to explain to you what I think you should do. Support players who should be buying wards at the start of the game I am now speaking to you (if you are not you might want to read a support guide asap plz). Normally (this is what I most often see and is not a fact) the support will buy the mana portion of the Philo Stone and 1 Vision Ward and 2 Sight Wards. As a support if I feel an invade is likely I will VERY quickly buy part of the Philo Stone and 4 SIGHT WARDS! I will then move my champion very quickly to the small patch of brush near the baron pit/dragon pit warding that bush. I feel this bush gives you are largest amount of sight on likely invade paths for your 75 GP and allows you ample time to gtfo if they are invading. Why 4 sight wards Sweeney that seems dumb?!? Yes this limits your junglers ability to gank bot from the river (bc you cannot remove their wards) I understand that but there is this great thing called a lane gank which can work wonders in warded lanes that require assistance. Please not that many times depending on which side you are on top or bot lane will defend your Red Buff. Final note: That 1 minute ward from the masteries is OP Junglers and Supports!.
Basically it comes down to these options when an invade is likely 1) Jungler ****ed over and may be first blood to enemy team, 2) We defended and had a 5 v 5 fight A) it went well FK YEAH!, B) FK WE ARE DOWN X # of KILLS, 3) We warded thus protecting our jungle but limiting our gank route options IF we require assistance in bot lane until the support returns to base/store. I think it is very obvious which one of these options presents the lowest downside, warding.
The rest of your team should still be nearby hiding in the BACK portion of the bush near the Wolves even if you have warded (this is if they have Blitz). Sometimes invades come quite late around the 2 min mark. If you donít see someone coming into your lane by 2:00-2:05 alert your jungle because they might be trying to catch him alone. If your support took my advice and warded the jungle should be just fine. If your jungle really needs that buff to jungle effectively I would urge you to assist them by traveling with them to the enemy buff and assist them via protection, pull, and/or damage on the buff. Remember to watch your mini map and you will be better able to decide when you need to leave their buff in order to safely return to your lane. I understand that you will miss some CS by assisting your jungler in this way, however 10-12 CS will never be as threatening as creating a 3 v 2 or 2 v 1 situation in lane. Final Note: This also prevents the jungler from trolling, raging, and complaining the whole game about their slow start.
Step 3: Laning
Here is where you get to see what your team members really play like as individuals. Often referred to as the laning phase this portion of the game is dominated by CSing, attempting to kill the enemies in your lane, and of course ganks. An all too common mistake so many young players make is becoming driven in lane to get the kill. You think by killing your lane 3-5 times you have now won that lane. Truth is that kills do help you win your lane however sometimes killing your lane is not the most effective way to win the lane. Out CSing your opponent I find is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to win a lane. Now I am not saying you should not try to zone your opponent out or that you should not kill them if the opportunity arises however CSing has the least risk and highest reward potential when done well.
Now you are in lane and all the sudden you opponent who has been playing fairly well to this point starts playing stupid and appears to be baiting you to engage themÖ Guess what? They are not a stupid as you think they are and just like chasing they are baiting you to your death. They know something you do not. An example: 1) Their jungle is ready to gank, 2)Their ulti just came off CD, 3) An ally with a global or semi-global ult is nearby, 4) Their summoner spell just came off of CD. These are just a few of the examples of why your opponentís gameplay might suddenly change. So if all the sudden your opponent begins to act like they took stupid pills you want to play it safe, back off to your turret and continue to farm safely. Never assume your opponent is stupid, I am sure we have all had our asses kicked by a 12 year old asian at some point while playing LoL.
This phase of the game is also usually when the worst of the trolling begins. Some lanes win and some lanes lose. Lets break it down mathematically. Each lane has a 50% chance to win or lose. There are 3 lanes and hence you according to the numbers should win 1.5 lanes per game. Now in an ideal world (ie NOT ELO Hell) this would actually happen. Of course sometimes you win all 3 lanes and sometimes you lose all 3 lanes. Now if one of your lanes is having trouble dealing with their lane partner and that lane is you, ASK FOR HELP. Donít be the guy that sits in lane and waits until the 15 minute mark when you are down 60 CS to say help me (insert champion name) is dominating me. At this point it is too late; even if you allies come to help you and kill your opponent giving you free farm for 90 seconds in that time you are not going to make up for that lost 60 CS in that time. So as soon as you find yourself falling behind raise the flag, rally the troops, scream like a little girl, and/or offer sexual favors in exchange for assistance with your lane. Side Note: If you are not buying at least one ward on each back to give vision to your team you should rethink that asap; yes I am talking to Mid lane and the ADC as well you are not special nor immune to ganks!
Now as I previously stated here is where the trolling begins. If a lane has not asked for help as I suggested (which will most likely be the case considering none of us want to be that guy/girl that raise their hand requiring assistance) and they have died you should assist them anyways. Trolling them and calling them noob, stupid, telling them L2P, etc etc will not better their attitude or their skills, in fact it has the opposite effect. I use to rage against my teammates and still do sometimes when I get in one of those nasty moods (this is when it is time to call it quits for awhile. It is ok 2 logout and come back later the game will be there when you return). Never once when I have raged at an ally or been raged at by my team has the action had the desired effect. In fact as soon as the raging begins the team begins to fall apart. True story time: My team was up 17 kills at the 20 minute mark when our Kogímaw decided his Nunu support had screwed him over resulting in his death in the previous team fight. True or not it did not matter, the Nunu responded by raging right back at the Kog and the next thing we knew our Nexus was blowing up and we had lost the game. I was quite certain then and am still quite certain the reason for that loss was the raging. This is just one of dozens of examples I could provide but I feel it illustrates the point effectively. Donít rage your teammate. Instead provide a quick tip. Hey Teemo I want to gank for you can you not push past here (ping the map). Hey Nunu that is an interesting build have you ever tried (insert item). DO NOT TELL THEM THEY ARE WRONG, ASK NICELY NO MATTER WHAT! The moment you place yourself above someone else OR treat them poorly their ears turn off, the walls go up, and reason is thrown out the window.
When assisting other summoners: I know the jungler provides most of the ganks, however if you just forced your opponent to back or killed them you may want to consider ganking another lane. Why? Well, because the junglerís champion and how they gank are common knowledge but when the jungle and the bot lane gank mid together that opponent that knew so well they were safe from the pesky Skarner jungle is now suddenly surprised and usually killed or forced out of lane by a massive 4 man gank. Moving between the lanes when your own lane is stagnate or pushed is a great way to make plays happen and spread the strength and advantage that you personally have gained to the rest of your team. This is what wins games. I previously stated being a good teammate is better than being a great player and this is one of the key factors I feel differentiates the two.
Final Notes on laning: Call for help if you need it but please also realize that your jungler is one man and cannot possibly gank only your lane if the other lanes need their assistance as well. If your jungler is busy and you are winning your lane assisting other lanes CAN BE GAME CHANGING! Make sure everyone is a part of the team and always give polite but clear instructions.
Step 4: Team fighting
The team fight has a ton to do with positioning and catching your opponent in a disadvantageous situation. Team fight 5 v 5 when you have lost laning phase would be a poor idea but is extremely common. If you lost laning phase you must become the patient turtle who carefully wards their jungle and contest buffs and objectives. Charging balls deep into a 5 v 5 where your team is behind by 11 kills is certainly not going to yield good results. This being said you cannot avoid the team fight forever.
When does laning phase end? Well this question can be answered in a several different ways. It is important to note that if they have a roaming assassin in mid (like eve, kass, ahri) that your laning phase is going to be anything but normal and is most likely going to be challenging. Basically a roaming assassin mid trades their turret for kills in the lanes bringing up the argument is this really a laning phase? I would say no because I associate laning with CSing. Now many times one team loses a turret and this is usually when most people will claim laning phase is over because in order for that lane to continuing CSing someone is going to have to be very overextended. The winner of that lane (the one who took the others turret) will now usually go and help their other lanes. At this point if you are the one who lose your lane you MUST inform your team your lane is now roaming. If you are playing in one of the other lanes when one of your turrets has fallen, play conservatively! They might have 4 or even 5 people in your lane waiting for you to play aggressive. As soon as you see your lane show up somewhere else STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, and GO HELP YOUR TEAMMATE. No one likes to 1 v 2 or 1 v 3and especially at low elo very few summoners have the skills to 1 v 2 or 1 v 3 for longer than a few creep waves. I have seen this a million times. Top or Bot loses their lane early and now they are standing in that lane CSing it meanwhile their lane partners are sitting in mid. This usually results in Mid being dove or them being forced to back surrendering another turret giving more global gold. You can very quickly see how this situation snowballs out of control and cost you the first ring of outer towers and eventually the game. So if you lose your lane I understand you are hurting for CS and kills but honestly you do more damage than good by sitting in your lost lane and forcing your teammates to fight alone.
Story time: I was playing MF with an Alistar support. This guy was super aggressive and I asked him kindly to sit back until lvl 3 and he didnt listen. Needless to say this resulted in an enemy double kill to Graves and Sona who have sick burst potential early game. Well from this point they snowballed and he died 6 more times in lane and I died once more. I decided it was better to surrender the turret than give anymore kills away. Now at this point he was trolling hard but was still playing and I went mid and farmed a little jungle and ran bot when it pushed killing 1 wave and then returning to mid. At mid we had a great 4 v 3 teamfight and I popped my ulti at the right time resulting in a double kill for me and a kill for our mid. We took mid turret and got the dragon with success. We still lost this game due to the Alistar leaving later in the game but the final score was 37/34 our favor. This is a good example of how aiding your team gives you a better chance to turn around a poor laning phase.
When should we team fight then Sweeney? Well whenever you find that you have an advantage. Lee Sin is solo pushing bot lane and you know he doesnít have TP and you just saw their AD run top to farm that minion wave pushing their inhib turret. NOW IS THE TIME OF ACTION! 5 v 3 your favor, chances of you losing this are slim unless you do something very foolish, like chase them for 35 seconds until their team has been reassembled and now it is 5 v 5 again. If you fail on the engage this is not a time for try try again. Put that baby into full reverse and book it because their teammates are most likely running to your previous location looking to soak the Fields of Justice with your blood. If you kill 2 of their teammates and now you who are so diligently watching your mini map see their allies closing in signal the retreat. The clean-up is an effective tactic and is seen quite frequently at low ELO because winning teams have a foolish tendency to separate leaving ample opportunities for the enemy to regain an advantage.
I cannot overstate the importance of wards at this phase of the game (and every phase of the game). I still hold by the rule that supports and jungles buy 3 each back and everyone else buys one. These wards allow you to safely solo push and give your team an advantage in knowing when to team fight. Oracles should be bought by your jungle or support depending on who has the gold and survivability.
Someone just got caught out of positionÖ Damn them, yes damn that MFer. I know that is what we all think when a teammate forces us into a 4 v 5 situation. Yes this is very bad, however please do not rush to the location of your fallen ally and further saturate the ground there with your blood as well. If someone is caught out of position by their whole team your best choice is to allow them to die. It is sad but many times rescue efforts fail dismally resulting in an Ace for the enemy team. Defending 4 v 5 is challenging but not impossible, however defending 0 v 5 is a tad more difficult. So before you rush head on in a fight to save a teammate first think about what you are actually able to do for them. Sometimes waving goodbye is the best option. Often I also like to dance under the turret while watching an out of position ally go down in flames. Remain lighthearted about these things as they will happen and they can drastically alter the progress of the game in a negative way IF YOU ALLOW THEM TO!.
Baron Nashor? Ah yes, the big buff which change the outcome of a game. Often times the underdog team which is inadequately warded attempts to do Baron resulting in an Ace for the enemy team and the loss of Baron. This being said there are certain times when Baron is advised. You just Aced the enemy teamÖ Now seems like a good time to Baron! WRONG! After an Ace you always push first taking turrets and inhibs. This ensures that when the enemy team revives that they will have their hands full defending the Nexus/Base and will not be able to contest your teams Baron attempt. This gives your team the maximum advantage and gold bonus usually resulting in a victory. There are several articles already out about battling Baron so I will leave you to discover those at a later time.
Contesting Baron is tricky however if your jungle is awesome they can sometimes flash and smite steal the Baron Buff. Unless the enemy is extremely low after taking Baron I do not recommend fighting them unless you have one of the advantages previously discussed above. The Baron Buff gives some pretty extreme stat increases and can lead you down a path of defeat if you do not give it the proper respect.
This is a VERY brief summary to basic game play/team fighting and it was not intended to teach you positioning or describe to you the roles each lane plays during the fight. There are many more qualified than I to teach these finer aspects of game play. I am simply looking to inform you of some of my basic findings in ELO Hell and to compress the vast amounts of information which I have acquired through reading many Pro pages. I also feel the need to credit these professionals and thank them for the time they have put into their guides which have educated me. Below is a listing of further readings which I feel have influenced my game play and are worth reading to absorb some of the finer aspects of LoL.
More General Information on ELO Hell:
TY to Celetial
TY to Reginald
TY to zignature
Warding (I don't give a sh*t if this seems obvious just read it):
TY to LiQuiD112
TY to Team Curse
TY to Team Curse
TY to Team Curse
TY to Tenebrae
TY to KatanaMordecai
Please remember that LoL is a game to be played for enjoyment and that the moment that you lose sight of having a good time you are greatly impairing your ability to win the match.
Always look to yourself to be the one who keeps your team upbeat and confident. Never blame others, always just think about what you could have done better in each match and you will continue to improve. Denying your mistakes doesn't mean they didn't happen, it just means you will never learn from them.
Please feel free to suggest revisions. Also to the Grammatical Police out there: I ask that you review for content not punctuation. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you feel you have gained from this summary.