I play the majority of my games in this queue. The random factor of playing with 2 strangers ensures a different game every time. This can be fun but also it can be very frustrating. Fun, when you get to see new ideas and competent play by a team mate. Frustrating when you wind up with those who are maturely challenged, totally selfish and lacking in very basic common sense.
Hopefully, this list will help you be a better player and maybe even give you some ideas to share with the aforementioned strangers who might wind up on your friend list. IF you help them, you help yourself and you can maximize your fun while minimising your frustration.
1. Make Peace then War.
Say hello to your team mates during champion selection. Set the tone for good communication and cooperation throughout the game. All too often a flame fest can start right at the beginning. Especially if you try to tell a team mate what champ to play or vice versa. "NOOOO, Don't take Kayle, she sucks!!!". Hey folks there's 66 champs to play and all of them are playable. Sure, Rammus, Cho and certain others own in 3 v 3 but so what? The point is to have fun and even if you know that your going to be at a large disadvantage at game start because your mate took Heimerdinger, you can look at it as an opportunity to learn more about how to interract with that champ or what that champ can do to you. It's the solo normal queue (semi-competitive) and this queue is where a lot of players are going to try out new ideas. Work with them.
Moreover, As the game progresses hopefully you'll be gelling nicely. To keep up the love, make sure to send nice comments to your mates. Simplie things like "thanks for the save", "good push" and "nicely done" dramatically improve the morale and performance of your mates. Believe it or not, a quick "awesome team fight." will make your mates play better for the rest of the game. People love praise. Give up some hugs FTW.
2. Know thy Enemy (and your Friends).
Obviously, understanding what a champ can and can't do prior to the game starting, and how they are going to come at you if the enemy or support you if on your side, is extremely important. For example, for the longest time, I did not know that Yi's Ult made him immune to slows. I never played Yi and I only read quickly his champ profile. I always thought his ridiculous ability to escape was due to his Speed Boost and Ghostblade. So, I wasted countless exhausts on Yi's before I got suspicious one day and reread his profile. Didn't I feel silly?
While waiting for the game to load make sure you memorize or write down the summoner spells of each of your opponents and team mates. It's a good chance your team mates won't bother. Personal frustration occurs when one of your team mates ends up dead and spews on chat "Bloody Ignite!". Help your team mates here by sending a msg such as "Be wary of their double ignites" or "did you notice they all have heals?" Similarly, if you know your Shaco is locked and loaded with an ignite and an exhaust, you know he has a pure killer/gank mentality. If you send him a msg such as "Hey Shaco, ill initiate and you finish" not only will he like that, he be a little more patient and less likely to over commit at the wrong time.You can also check this information in game by using the Tab Key but this may not be practical if you are in the middle of a fight and you don't remember if they have a heal in their mix.
Finally, Keep on top of what your opponents are building during the game. Is that Nunu going AP or AD? You can even do this while in the cooler so long as they are in sight range of one of your team. If an enemy finishes a particularly nice piece of equipment it can sometimes be helpful to advise your team. "Hey Guys, Warwick just got Bloodrazor". Yes, your mates should be doing this themselves, but maybe they will maybe they won't. Either way a heads up is always a good thing.
3. Know when to GO or NO GO on the Bottom Bush Gank Party (BBGP)
This is your first in game big decision. Let's say your opponents are Eve, Sion and Pantheon and your team is Yi, Olaf and Fiddlesticks. Simply put, don't rush to your death at the bottom middle bush. This should be obvious. A simple "No Gank" msg at the start, will make sure you don't give your opponents a big head start. The BBGP is a high risk/high reward play and you should only attempt it if your team composition has the advantage in both offensive summoner spells and stun skills. As an option, you can suggest a Top Gank, hoping one of them will wander off alone and you can catch him unawares. OR, just relax by a turret until your minions arrive and use the time to suggest priority champ targeting for the game.
4. Choose your Champ, Not Your Lane.
All to often you'll find one of your team mates blare out "I call top solo" before his champ is even selected. This is silly. The response you should give is this. "Well, that depends on who they put top don't you think?" Similarly, don't selfishly claim the top unless your opponents put a good match up for you. Pick the lane where there is a champ you can own, top or bottom. I also suggest that if you have a team mate that is a real jerk, and says something like "I get top or I quit'" Ah, well, you are going to have a problem all game but I suggest that you say something like. "Fine until (if) you die" This will make him more cautious and that's good for the team. Also say "Top player buys wards for the middle do you agree?". Then make sure he keeps his promise. Speaking of wards ...
5. Wards Win.
Short but critical topic. We've all heard this before and in a premade game, the team members will take turns keeping a ward up. In Solo Queue, no one wants to do this. Wards are critical and if you want to win, you have to buy them. I suggest leading by example here, buying the first ward as soon as you can or get wriggles. Then, say "I bought the first ward, you get the next." Be the quarterback for ward placement and you'll always be a step ahead of the opposing team.
6. Watch your mate's backs and Use the Pinger Wisely.
I'm sure its happened to you that your mate is surprised in his lane and dies only to scream at you "thank's for the MIA, you noob!" He probably wasn't aware that you were in a high concentration back and forth dance with a Zin and taking your eyes off him for a second would get you in his charge range, ignited and dead. Or maybe you're pushing bottom lane and you get jumped by the top lanes solo and you're gutted in .2 seconds. Ouch! Your first thought is going to be to place blame on your mate for not giving you warning.
But let me tell you , it's totally and only your fault. First, the TT map is FAST. Even if he calls MIA, chances are its going to be late. Second, use the mini map. IF you cant see their YI, neither can your mate. That's your MIA right there. Yi and many other champs can be on you so quick your only option is to track them at all times (see rule 5). But really keeping tabs on all enemy champs is just common sense. If you have time, yes of course, call MIA, it's polite, but if the game is just too fast, send a msg to your mates "Assume MIA at all times". This at least will stop your mate from raging at you if he does get ambushed and had to cool at base for half a minute.
The pinger can also be a good tool, but Multi Pinging is one of my biggest pet peeves. You know, the team mate that mashes the pinger 10 times in the same spot and follows it up with "get over here noob!". No matter how hard I try to be patient that "PING, PING, PING, PING, PING, PING, PING!" puts me in a very bad mood. So, to avoid this happening to you, at your earliest opportunity, I would advise a quick message to your team to set up a very basic Ping protocol say "One ping for looking/be careful and Two pings for move to/attack." This will solve most if not all of your pinging problems.
7. Adapt and be Flexible.
One very unfortunate thing about the current solo queue is that you might get on team with 3 strangers and many times (too many in my opinion) your facing a team that is premade or is 2 buddies with a third. Usually, this is going to be a loss for you. You can tell your up against 2 buddies when they go everywhere together and I mean everywhere (even recalls to base). Well, you've got to adapt here. Knowing you are at a HUGE communication disadvantage, take the time to tell your mates what you are planning to do. I.e. "im going to solo the dragon, pls don't push" or "I think they are premade, don't chase and don't rush bushes" etc.
Stubborn builds is another sure way to lose. If you have decided before the game even starts and before you see your who the opposing teams champs are. how you are going to build, you're putting your team at a huge disadvantage. For example, if the other team has Rammus and you are taking Katarina or Akali and you decided to build for Attack Damage instead of Spell Damage, you might as well drive a spike into your own brain. Rammus will equip thorns, you wont be abie to kill him and you'll just die. By your build choice, you have turned their team's tank into a killer and your teams killer (you) into breakfast, lunch and dinner. if you play a champ, learn all the builds and choose the best one for the situation.
I could write a whole guide on "adapting" in game and it's easier to say than do. So I think just advising that you brush up on counter x champ guides are much as you do build guides is very important for increasing your win ratio.
8. There is no such thing as Kill Stealing.
Well, now i've done it. Here is a topic that's sure to cause some backlash on me. Never the less, I have to get this out there. There is no such thing as Kill Stealing in a team game! Period. Ok one exception, your mate stands around picking his nose 2 steps away from you while you are sweating out a 1 on 1 with an enemy. At the LAST SECOND just before you get in the final blow, he throws a 300 point spell at him and gets the kill. I agree, not cool. BUT other than that, if same team mate is rushing to help you and arrives to throw a combo at your 1/4 hp opponent, maybe he gets the kill, maybe you get it. IT DOES NOT MATTER. He was helping you. that's it. Next time, maybe you get the kill. IF you then shout at your mate "Kill Stealer!!! FU!!!". All I can say is, GROW UP.
I find the whole Kill Stealing myth to often be a staple belief when Im playing with a Zin or a Yi and other champs of this ilk. Why? Well, at the risk of being "ageist" generally, I think younger players, tend to pick these easy to play killer types and being younger, tend to look at LoL more as a video action game then they do a tactical strategic game. They love to jump in, mix it up, mash buttons and pat themselves on the back for an awesome "combo attack"
So Herein lies a huge problem for both me and you my dear reader. I mean, I find particular joy when I "hang back" to let one of my younger, eager mates finish their kill, but oops they die! Now, I'm the victim of a slew of teenage verbal abuse.- "Thanks for the help, &^%*#$!. But then, If I do jump in to help them out I risk the other side of it by accidentally delivering a 600 point critical .1 seconds too late and wind up with the kill instead of an assist. Now I am a "kill stealing, Mother Efer. In the eyes of the young or just all around immature player (regardless of age) being a kill stealing Mother Efer is worse then being a useless, do nothing Mother Efer.
The solution to this problem is this. Swallow it. I know, the concept sucks for me too. But you have to ask yourself, are you playing to win or playing to play? If the answer is to win then I suggest you say "sorry, my bad". Yeah, your own pride is calling you a spineless wimp for letting a kid talk to you like that, but you are an older, wiser and better human being - a fact that you only need to prove to yourself.
Another great concept was suggested in this post by Seajaydub. In his post he describes the huge BENEFIT that your team gets by "allowing" kill steals. That said "allowing" a kill steal, really is "Kill Sharing". By Sharing your kills, you actually help your team in a very large way and that is because of the extra gold you and your mates get when you cooperate. Wow, Kill Sharing? Could it actually ever happen in the 3 v 3 solo queue? Time till tell.
You'll know this to be true after you win the game despite your selfish, immature, verbally abusive and almost entirely incompetent Assassin with a 6/12/2 sends you a friend request at game end. Sure, that was fun, let's buddy up!
9. Not Dying is more important than getting Kills.
DON'T DIE. You're actually helping your team more by going 0 and 0 then you are going 10 and 10. WHAT??? you might be thinking. "Don't try to Kill the enemy??!!!" This is not what I am suggesting. Of course you want to kill the enemy. Its just not the priority. The priority is and should always be to not get killed. This is sooo critical to understand when entering combat in Twisted Treeline.
Ill say it again. DON'T DIE! Consider this, You are playing Yi and you are at 10 kills and 10 deaths Have you helped your team or hurt them? This will probably depend a bit on when and how those kills/deaths occured, but usually going 10 and 10 vs. let's say 1/1 HURTS your team. Sure, you are now a superstar equipped Yi and ready to pound your opponents, but by sucking dirt 10 times, you've also frighteningly buffed the other team. This can make the whole game very difficult (and not much fun) for your mates. Your 2 and 1 Tanker who is trying to damage soak but their Ryze has a fresh new Rod of Ages and is killing him in 1.5 seconds. Worse, your 3/2 caster is getting ganked everytime time she leaves turret range or doesn't follow you around all game for protection.
Your team is going to have to totally rely on you to win the game and they are relegated to minor support and harrasment and, god forbid, they start dying on you. Because now you will be spewing ''**** team, can't do %^&*$!" Truth is, your selfishness caused the problem and you have to seriously rethink your play style.
To clarify, I am not talking about those times when you just wind up with bad players who feed the other team, I am talking about when you feed the other team with lots of deaths to up your kill total. Lots of kills does not make up for lots of deaths (NOT EVEN CLOSE). At the very least, if you dont have a 3 kills to every 2 deaths ratio (once you have passed 5 in each), you're slowly but surely losing the game for your team.
Thus, Build and play with the intention of going 5/2/10 and not 10/10/1. Attack with caution. Don't chase into bushes to finish a kill and get ambushed. Maybe you get the kill, maybe you don't but if they are waiting for you, for sure you will die. Remember, slicing your opponent down to 1/10th his health and forcing them back to base to heal is ALMOST as good as a kill. Staying near full health yourself means you can go back to a lane eat up 5 or 6 minions without harrassment and get 150 gold for your hard effort.
Winning is not about about getting kills, its about staying alive and counter attacking. Let your opponents overcommit and then educate them on the foolishness of their ways. Do this 2 or 3 times and you'll have them back on their heals, you'll have run of the map and it's gg with a plus win for you.
10. Play your best, no matter the odds.
The final test of your Inner strength. Let's be honest. Sometimes, in the solo queue, your going be to saddled with, being polite, players who are still "learning" or worse player that will never learn And you know, within the first minute, it's going to be ugly. Press on! Even if you realize with a sinking feeling that their Jax is going to have his Rageblade at level 4 and it's over before it begins, think of this as your "Sparta Moment".
Dig in, plan and find some sort of satisfaction knowing you killed said Jax, at least once, when he was 4 levels above you, relentlessly and arrogantly bashing in your skull right next to your turret, with his shiny new rageblade and all you had to parry with was a rusty long sword. and a health potion.
Some of you may know me as a Poppy player and as such I am often underfunded, outgunned, outleveled alone and surounded by all three opponents CCing me into oblivion and Ill still manage to take one down with me. These are actually my favourite moments in the game. Perhaps I enjoy pain, i'm not sure i'll sort that out with my therapist, but the Glorious Death, is what my Poppy was born for.
The other reason to always play your best is to sharpen your skills. Stay focused and learn as much as you can. If you play lazy or just "give up", you are hurting your chances of winning the next game and subsequent games thereafter. You might even develop a habit of doing this so much so that you just "LEAVE" which is of course the WORST thing you can do - yes - even if your team mates are totally blowing the game and don't deserve to have you stick around, you should always be a good sport and play to the bitter end.. I have a less than 1% leave game ratio and all of those were internet burps, I challenge you to achieve the same and I applaud you if you do.
That's all for my guide. I plan to update and revise as time and ideas permit. Thank you for reading!
P.S. If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement with much or all of this guide, Win or lose, I promise to save you a seat in Valhalla, order the first round and we can trade stories about our "against all odds" battles!