Good Morning, Everyone!
So the Season 6 Ladder is in full swing for League of Legends. Boy, I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t know it would be THIS difficult. I finished my placement matches in Bronze 1. I figured this would be the case, since I ended last season at Silver 3, and everyone was starting this season about 1 tier down. I have been playing ADC and Top as my preferred lanes. I actually think I’ve been playing well, and I zoomed up to 90 LP very quickly. Unfortunately, I ended up crashing just as fast. Since then, I haven’t really put much time into Ranked. The only option right now is “Dynamic Queue” which mean I could end up in games with 2-4 man pre-mades, and against 2-4 man pre-mades, and get crushed over and over. They are supposed to be implementing a “Solo Queue” which would alleviate the 3-4 man groups. Also as time goes on, I am expecting all the people rushing the Ladder to have reached their goals, and not be stuck in Bronze and Silver. For example, in one of my Bronze games, I was matched against a Silver ADC who was Platinum the previous Season. He absolutely massacred me, it was quite the sight, as he was clearly not a Silver player. I don’t want to catch these people on their way up game after game. So I took a break from ranked.
My ultimate goal is to get better. I want to be a better ADC. Now consequently, I also have to learn another role for ranked, and Top hasn’t been great to me. For climbing the Ladder, I am probably much better off playing Mid or Jungle, but that would require me to completely relearn those roles. It’s not beyond doable, but I’d need to do it in Normals. We also have a ton of Junglers on our “team”, so that would relegate me to mid. Which I don’t hate at all, but the time investment is something to consider.
But as far as ADC goes, I know what I need to do to get better and I know what I should work on. It’s really just putting in the time now. So lets take a look at my game plan so to speak:
Step 1: Stop Caring About Your Rank
This is seriously the most important thing, in my opinion. There is almost nothing I can control in each game. I cannot control who my teammates are, I cannot control who my opponents are, I cannot control what champions are picked or banned, and I cannot control the plays any other player makes, be they good or bad plays. This is going to lead to a lot of losses (and some wins) that I had almost nothing to do with. Due to this, stressing out about these losses will only make me play worse. I can only control what I do. So what does this mean for me? Well I have to learn to let go and not tilt when my opponents are throwing. If I am playing well, I need to be proud of my performance, and be sure to keep that good play rolling into the next game. If I play consistently well enough every game, over the course of enough games I will start to win more often than I lose.
Caring about your rank will only stress you out. You are going to lose games and LP. There is nothing you can do about it. So just play to the best of your ability each game and be proud of your play.
Step Two: Recognize Where YOU Messed Up
The first step is not to make it sound like I am flawless; I am far from it. The key is to avoid always placing blame on your teammates for a loss. You were on that team as well. I guarantee you there is always something you can do BETTER. It may not change the result of the game, but being able to recognize where you made mistakes is key to fixing them and ultimate turning losses into wins. Streaming has helped with this because all of my games are recorded. I can go back and view my mistakes. For me it’s little things like improving my CS, my positioning, mechanics, and my decision making.
1.) For ADCs, “CS-ing” is the most important thing you can be good at. (CS stands for Creep Score, and its what you get for last hitting minions) Farming gets you money and allows you to buy the big items that win you the game. The better you are at farming, the faster you can get those items and become stronger than your opponent. Each kill is worth roughly 12-15 CS, so if you’re head by 45 CS, you essentially have three kills over your lane opponent. THAT’S HUGE! Practice your farm skills, know how much damage your champion deals so you don’t time it incorrectly. Practice farming under turret so when the enemy is pushing, you miss as few CS as possible.
When you are at the 5:45 minute mark, the total possible CS is 50. Make note of what yours is each game. They say you should be hitting 46/50 consistently. 92% is hard to do, especially when the enemies are trying to kill you. This is still a good goal to strive for, the better your farm, the better off you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to take some jungle creeps on your way back to lane, the Frog and Golems give like 100 gold, and if you hit them up each time you come back to lane, that adds up quickly. (Just be sure not to take too much damage from them)
2.) For positioning; don’t get caught! Nothing feels worse than an easily avoidable death because you over extended and didn’t have flash or an escape route. Don’t get too close to the team fights. You can’t make plays if you die because you thought Lucian was a good front line champion. Let your tanks and support peel for you and kill anyone that gets in your way. You won’t always be able to get to their squishies and carries. In these cases you have to kill what you can, even if that means their tanks, who are currently up front. You are no good dead, and you don’t want to die while trying to run through their front line because “I HAVE TO KILL TEH CARRIEZ!! DUH!”
3.) With mechanics we’re talking champion control. Kiting is a very important skill to learn. Normally, when you are JUST auto attacking from max range, you fire your attack, then you need to catch up, then you fire again if/when you get in range. Kiting allows you to stay in range of the enemy and fire off more autos since you don’t need to waste time catching up; you’re just staying in range the whole time.
You do this by moving between each auto, even going so far as to stop your attack early while still dealing damage to the enemy champion. You can find examples and guide of this tactic on YouTube.
This works even better if your attacks apply a slow (like Red Buff). If you’re good enough at kiting, opposing enemy melees may never be able to close enough distance to attack you back, and you can kill them without getting a scratch.
4.) Trading in lane. This is an amalgamation of everything above. You need to get as much farm as possible while preventing your opponent from doing the same. You can attack them to force them to back off from the minion wave and render them unable to last hit. This is called harassing. You have to pick and chose the right moments to harass so you are dealing more damage than you are taking. If you go to harass and end up losing more life than you took, you are now in an unfavorable position and can be forced to back off or be killed. This would be a lost trade.
I like to think of it like this: When playing Lucian, I have to use mana to cast my spells. It’s limited, so when I cast a spell I have to think what I’m getting out of it. If I Q, and I kill 3 minions and then the Passive double shot kills another, that’s about 100 gold for 45 mana. Not bad. If I use an ability and miss all the CS, I wasted mana which is not efficient. You’re essentially trading mana for the chance to make something happen. So if I use mana to dash at the enemy, auto them, Q and then auto to burst them down, they may Flash or Heal, or give me a kill. All three of those outcomes will put me ahead. I trade my mana for their summoner spells which will make them less likely to get away in the future during a gank.
Any trade you come out ahead is a good one. So pick your timing, positioning, and openings carefully so the enemy doesn’t have a chance to turn it around, and cause you to blow your Flash or Heal.
5.) Finally, decision making. You just got done a big team fight, 4 of the enemy champs are dead, do you push towers, kill dragon or kill baron? Well that’s a great question and there is never going to be one right answer. The key is learning which objectives are most important at what parts of the game. Towers give team gold, Dragon doesn’t. Dragon and Baron give important buffs, Towers do not. You need to recognize and improve upon your decision making skills so you aren’t wasting time doing nothing while the enemy waits to re-spawn. Every second you wait is a second closer your opponents are to defending. You don’t want to rush Baron when you have enough time to actually push the nexus and just win. Too many games are thrown away by Baron-ing at the wrong time.
So how do you improve upon these things? When going into a game, I try to repeat them to myself. Be in the mind set to remember all of these little details until they become second nature. For CS, if my lane opponents have too much sustain to harass, I will focus solely on CS and make sure to never miss one. As I am walking to or from lane, I check the jungle quick, and see where my Jungler is, make sure I am not stealing his CS before I kill a jungle mob or two.
As ADC, I am constantly warding the river and trying to keep my eye on Dragon for control of the map. If Dragon is down, I make sure to help my Jungler call out when it will be up by watching the timer. I practice my kiting every chance I get so it becomes second nature. When a team fight is going to erupt I try to put myself in a position where I will be able to deal a lot of damage without getting instantly deleted.
As far as decision making goes, I need to work on that the most. When we play 4 or 5 mans, I let someone else do the shot calling, because I am much better at following directions than giving them. I know it’s something I am not great at, so I let someone who is strong do it. In solo-queue this is different because you are playing with 4 other randoms, so you need to do the best you can. The better you are at recognizing bad calls, will help you avoid terrible situations and warn the group. Just remember you cannot make your teammates do anything, you can only tell them what you think the team should do. Don’t get hung up on it and just make the best decisions you can for you and the team.
Step Three: Emotion and Playing From Behind
This falls under “not tilting,” but I have seen too many people literally give up and rage quit when the score is 0-3, the other team winning. This is obviously an extreme scenario, but even if the score is 12-20, people seem to get easily discouraged and quit when a game is still very much in reach. We all get emotional because of course we care about the game. We wouldn’t play Ranked if we didn’t care and didn’t want to win.
Also, everyone has bad games. If this is you, and you have died 3 times in a row, you have to learn to play from behind aka “learn to get carried”. This involves playing extra safe, getting as much CS as you can, even if that means missing a bunch to avoid dying. You are not going to carry every game. Sometimes you can’t play to win, and you have to play to NOT LOSE. Let someone else carry the team to victory. You do this by not getting in the way and don’t make it more difficult for someone else to carry. It’s hard to be humble and not get frustrated in these situations, but the more relaxed and safe you can play, the better.
As I play more and more, I am continuing to learn these things and cements them in my brain. I want it to become second nature. The less I have to think about the correct plays the more consistently I can execute them. Once this is the case, it just becomes finding the 2-4 champions you want to play and play them to death. Then put in the time and play as many ranked games as possible. As I said early in the article, I am most likely waiting for Solo Queue to be released before I jump back into ranked, but I am using this time to learn some of the top tier ADC and really work on my basics. When Solo Queue finally is released, I’ll be ready to climb.
And always remember the League of Legends Serenity Prayer:
“League of Legends Gods, grant me the serenity to accept my teammates that I cannot change, the courage to kite the opponents I can, and the wisdom to know how to carry. In Infinity Edge’s name we pray, Amen.”
Thanks for reading and, as always, you can email me comments and questions at ModernGentlemenGaming@gmail.com. Click “Follow” over on the right side to follow the blog and never miss an update. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheGreat_Andini for stream times and posts. Thanks, everyone!