The next season of competitive League of Legends matches is officially underway, and with the new year comes a wave of new players hesitantly hovering over that "Ranked" button after hearing horror stories of toxicity and embarrassing placements. If that sounds familiar to you, or maybe you're just returning to ranked after leveling up a new account, we've got some tips to help you make it through your first few ranked matches.
But in order to obtain your rank, you'll first have to play 10 placement games to start the season. In League of Legends, playing 10 games can be quite the time investment, and it's quite true that your teammates will be expecting more of you with everyone's rank on the line in each game. While other games may let you hop into ranked matches from the get-go, the way that League gates the ranked queues until level 30 makes it seem like you're working up to some intimidating to-do – but it doesn't have to be that way.
That being said, here's a few things to keep in mind while you're waiting for that first ranked queue signal of 2018 to pop.
Become Comfortable with More than One Role and Champion
By the time that you play a ranked match, you first have to meet two requirements: Be level 30 and own at least 20 champions.
While some players might set their sights on ranked matches from the beginning and will only view these two requirements as obstacles to starting the ranked climb, they're there for a reason. Props to you if you can make it all the way to level 30 by playing only one role and a champion or two in solo queue, but that strategy won't work quite as well in ranked matches. There will absolutely be times that your role gets taken or your champion gets banned – perhaps even as soon as your placement matches – and champ select is not the time to have a wiki pulled up while reading up on a new-to-you champion's abilities.
Likewise, you're probably going to get filled to a position once or twice. Having at least one or more role that you feel comfortable in taking as a backup will go a long way, and your teammates will thank you. If nothing else, flex your supportive muscles and learn how to play Janna, Leona, or another support. Your ADC and your team will thank you when they get filled into the role and are confident that they'll feed.prevnext
Warm Up with a Non-Ranked Match
Though you might be a bright-eyed Level 30 excited about hopping into your first ranked games, it might be wise to play just one more normal game before you work your way up to Challenger.
Think of the game as a warmup match, a way to warm up your hands and put yourself in the mindset that you need to join the rest of the Summoners in a ranked match. No matter what your role is, there's something to be accomplished from practicing in one last game before ranked games commence. Focus on last-hitting, optimizing your jungle clear, or harassing your enemies while keeping your ADC safe in the bot lane.
If you don't want to put enough time into playing a full normal match, use the new practice tool or got into a bots game to get your warmup where you can either leave the match or end it whenever you're ready. This will help you get in the zone, reduce some of those ranked jitters, and you'll hopefully see some noticeable differences than you would if you skip the game. Even an ARAM match, while not the best place to focus on last-hitting and other elements, will put you in a teamfighting mindset and will be better than nothing.prevnext
Don't Be "That Guy" in Champion Select
This tip is one that closely ties into the importance of diversifying your champion and role options. If you've spent any time in solo queue, especially in blind pick, you've seen the instalocking Rivens, Yasuos, and Vaynes that join the lobby without saying anything and lock in their one-trick champion. Ranked is not the place to be "that guy."
You're going to get filled into an off-role more than once, and if that happens and you're truly uncomfortable in your position, all you have to do is politely ask a teammate if they're willing to swap. Chances are that they'd rather everyone on their team have a role that they can perform decently in since everyone's rank is on the line, so their responses may surprise you. Of course, they may just tell you where you can still your role swap, but you'll be ready for that because you've already diversified your champion pool and roles, right?
On the other hand, it's just as important to be flexible with your team's requests. Just like you want to swap out, there'll come a time when someone asks you to take their support or jungle position from them, so try to put yourself in their role and work with them a bit.prevnext
Turn Off "All Chat" and Other Tilters
Getting tilted, salty, or whatever else you want to call it is just a hazard that comes with League of Legends, and you're going to see a lot more of that in ranked matches where everyone's pride is worn as their rank. Because of that, tempers run hot and the flaming commences, but you can do your part to avoid it by defusing those tilting elements before they even have a chance to get to you.
Your job isn't to be a mediator for your team, your job is to perform in your role and climb ranks. To do that, it might be wise to remove any potential obstacles by turning off "all chat" when the game starts. There's rarely a reason where you actually need to talk to your enemies, and if they're talking to you, chances are it's not to compliment you on failing to Flash over a wall.
Outside of the "all chat" feature, there's a few other things to look out for. Muting your own teammates, while not optimal for strategy and communication, might be the way to go sometimes. That dispute you had in champ select is going to carry over to the game be it in the form of an "lol" or an "enemy missing" ping, but you can thankfully remove both of those tilters with ease. Just don't forget about those emotes, a new addition that'll quickly reignite that temper if the enemy dabs on you after killing you under turret.prevnext
If You Start Losing, Stop Playing
If you find yourself stuck in a losing streak, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is also one of the hardest: Stop playing.
That's not to say that you should abandon your ranked placement matches and never return to them. Rather, you should focus on overcoming that "just one more game" mentality in hopes that the next match will be the one that you carry your team to victory. Sometime the losses and frustrating teammates/enemies stick with you, and they'll carry over into the next match as well. If you notice that that's happening, it might be time to switch out of those ranked queues for a while.
Referring back to the previous point about the warmup game, even swapping back to a normal match or a casual ARAM brawl is better than tanking your placements and bringing your teammates down with you. Neither the ranked queue nor your unfinished placement matches are going anywhere if you take a break from the game mode or League itself for a day, so you'll always be able to return to them after you've had a few minutes to calm down.prevnext
Your Rank After Placements Isn't the End: It's the Beginning
So you've finished your tenth game and you feel pretty decent about how you did throughout your games. You finished your placements by winning six of the ten games one – not a bad score for your ranked matches – and you hold your breath as you transition into the post-game lobby only to be met with a low Silver or Bronze rank.
After seeing that and slumping down in your chair, disheartened after the 10-match binge, you'll be mad, frustrated, and probably in denial about what you'd consider an unfair placement. But it's important to keep in mind that ranked is all about the climb, not about where you start, and all that matters is where you end the season at.
It's also important to remember that there's only so much that you can do to determine your rank. Despite what your splitpushing Tryndamere said, League is a team game, and sometimes you get dealt a bad team. But by playing champions you're comfortable with and performing your own job well, you'll eventually work your way up to higher ranks as long as your constantly looking for ways to improve.
Besides teammates, there are other factors at work that are sometimes beyond your control. The newest ranked FAQ that Riot Games recently posted answered different ranked questions including one about a placement that's lower than one you expected.
"Almost everyone places lower on the ladder at the start of the season than they ended the previous season," the FAQ said. "Last season's rank, along with preseason matches, are taken into account when determining placement. Remember that your initial placement is only the start of your journey!"
Consult the FAQ itself if you've got other questions on ranked queues, and good luck on your climb to the top of the ranked ladder in League of Legends' Season 8.prev