"The results of the survey seem to validate what others have been saying for some time now: video games are actually a positive force in the world or, at the very least, don’t do any real harm."
Adventures in Silver V!
Last me left… me, I had placed into Silver IV in my first foray into competitive League of Legends. I was unsure whether I’d keep playing this season given that I didn’t have enough time to climb out of Silver anyway. Even at 100% win rate. In the end, I decided to see what I could do because the practice would benefit me later on.
I rather quickly lost enough games in a row to drop down to Silver V. I was playing support, my strongest role, and encountered a consistent problem: I could not rely on my team to capitalize on any advantage I provided.
- Created a ward advantage and established vision control? No one could roam and the jungler was busy in other lanes (where they had vision of him/her).
- Lost vision control due to a better bottom lane opposition? Jungler or mid roams to try to help, gives up a double kill.
- Marksman/woman can’t last hit and trades poorly? I get kills and end up with ineffective gold due to playing utility champions.
After doing some research, talking to some friends in Gold, Diamond, etc., I came up with a solution!
Don’t Play Support!
I know someone has to play support. Just make sure it’s not you. The only way out of Bronze/Silver is to train yourself to carry your entire team. Supports cannot do this, currently, due to their gold handicap. At least not reliably. If the team refuses to run a support and you end up duo bot, play a carry champ and quickly determine if your marksman has any hope of carrying you. If not, take over.
So far, I’ve had my best luck on top lane Nidalee. Bruiser with good damage, sustain in lane, highly mobile, great outplay potential and limited vision without gold invested. I’ve had some mixed results with Nocturne in the jungle and Varus in the mid and bottom lane. The mixed results mostly owing to a fantastic laning phase with no deaths, possibly some kills, a huge CS lead and then the team shitting the bed in the team fight stage.
My plan now is to continue with Nidalee and try out mixing Ezreal and Zed into my kit. They both seem like skill champs that are forgiving, have good escapes, don’t have really bad matchups and can carry and split push like fiends.
Elo Hell is
Other People You
That said, I’m definitely not talented enough and consistent enough to climb out. I haven’t earned it. Every time I win two games in a row, I lose the next two. Often, I lose one of those games despite winning lane, a positive KDA and completely solid play. My team doesn’t play on my level. But I’ve also learned that the only sensible approach to this situation is to recognize that it’s my fault.
In gold and above, every player is there because they can nearly single-handedly defeat a team of silver players. The only people who deserve to be in gold (didn’t luck out or buy an account and are stuck in gold V ruining other people’s lives) are people who can 1v3 a silver team and come out with a clean triple. Not because you have to be godlike to be in gold. You just have to be the person in silver who is that much better than the other people in silver.
You are everyone else’s elo hell unless you can carry your entire team.
But, Season 4?!
Despite this lightning bolt of clarity around my solo queue strategy, I anticipate that Season 4 will make non-utility, carry supports a real possibility. Therefore, I plan to revert to my preferred support role and try to carry from that. If I can have enough gold and items to impact laning and team fights while also having better vision focus than my average opponent, that may be even more advantageous than a snowballing but squishy champ.
That said, I anticipate that support will become way more popular. At least in the beginning, while people try out all the changes. So it may take a while to settle down. My instincts tell me that at low elo, carry junglers will be hyper-contested, so the role of a tank support may become necessary to get out alive.
"I know all you young developers are brash libertarians who believe in a just, deterministic universe. So feel free to get angry at me for this part: Unless times are really good, you need luck for your business to succeed. You need the rare sort of good times where there’s a ton of demand and very little product. A time like the period that is now ending."
Looking for LoL DuoQ Partners
I’m looking for more people to duoq with for League of Legends!
- Primarily play on weekends, due to work/family/girlfriend schedule.
- EST (GMT-5)
- Placed into Silver IV, currently in Silver V
- Decent champ pool, full runes/masteries
- IGN: EdgarAllan Throw
- Main support, willing to play anything that works
- Support comfort champs: Leona, Lulu
- ADC comfort champs: Quinn
- Mid comfort champs: LeBlanc, Fizz
- Jungle comfort champs: Elise, Rammus
- Top comfort champs: Nasus, Vladimir
- Learning: Riven, Nocturne, Caitlyn
- Favorite teams: C9, Coast
What I’m Looking For:
- Semi-competitive: it’s a game, have fun, but definitely need to be trying to win, improve and gain LP. Target for S4 is *at least* Gold but definitely not high Diamond/Challenger due to real life.
- Although best at support, looking for any of these partnerships: support/jungler, support/mid (roaming), adc/mid (roaming), adc/jungler, duo bot. May change w/ Season 4, however.
- No casual (or professional?!) racism, homophobia, etc.
- Skype preferred, TeamSpeak also an option.
- Would consider a team setting, but unlikely to be able to sustain a competitive practice schedule.
I’m trying to get into a soloq/duoq mentality, deprogram my mindset from LCS strategies and learn a few champions that can carry for every role. I’ve had trouble playing “good champions” that are team-oriented and had trouble carrying from a support role. I would prefer support or at least bot lane or jungling with players in those roles that can coordinate ganks, vision, objectives. In other words, probably not top lane/bot lane duo.
Let me know if you’re interested, either by message on here, Twitter or in-game.
My Placement Series
I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out ranked League of Legends play for a while. No, let me start over.
I’ve been talking myself out of ranked League of Legends play for a while because I was afraid to see truly bad at the game I am. I conveniently managed to stall until the season was almost over, thereby making it pointless to start until S4.
Then Riot ganked me and extended the season into early November.
I know when I’ve been outplayed, so I decided this weekend to rip the band-aid off and play my placement series. I planned to duo quo most of it with my friend Jason. However, once I got going, I tunneled a bit and played a majority of the series solo. I wanted to keep going so I had no “got rusty” or “forgot the lessons from yesterday” excuses.
Here’s how it went:
I end up getting the top lane role. I do not have much experience with top lane or a good bruiser champion pool (more on this later). I decide to play Quinn, on whom I am mechanically comfortable. I end up laning against Darius. I don’t have much practice against him, although I know that he is an early burst snowballer. I play quite safe but die twice in lane. I kill him once, but that’s to his advantage.
What I should have done, other than skip BoRK and build Bloodthirster, was simply turret farm and only poke him if he missed his hook. That way, he’d have no way to kill me outside of a gank (which I avoided all game by using Quinn’s W reveal).
That said, despite the kills, I held the turret and got his down first. Sadly, our other lanes lost and his ult chains rolled all over us for the rest of the game.
Immediate lesson: Respect Darius twice as hard.
Reflective lesson: fix Quinn’s item build, don’t pick her into unknown top lane.
Jinx/Leona bot lane. I feed Jinx a total of five kills in lane, taking one myself and returning zero deaths. We start to get heavy jungler focus along the way, but our jungler counter-ganks. The team surrenders shortly after 20 minutes and a team fight where I get a four-man Sword stun and we clean up. I get big kudos in chat and Jinx calls me pro. Blursh.
Immediate lesson: play more Leona, on whom I am VERY mechanically comfortable.
Vayne/Leona bot lane. Vayne misses her first 5 or 6 last hits, takes free harass and charges turrets to her doom. I realize what’s going on and start setting myself up to get kills, rather than let her miss them. We lose all three lanes at once, the enemy team starts focusing me at the start of the fight and we get cleaned up after a long game that was close considering we started out 0-3 in outer turrets. The real MVP was their top lane Zed, who outplayed everyone and did the split push thing which was almost impossible to deal with.
Immediate lesson: If the ADC is clearly way outgunned in lane and can’t get kills even in favorable situations, consider leaving lane, asking her to ward and turret farm, then focusing mid lane.
Thresh is not picked or banned, so I select 100% wifesteal. It’s a Thresh/Jinx lane. I get Hook/Flay and Hook/Flay/Box combos on their support over and over, feeding Jinx. She says nice things about me in chat. I die a lot in the late game getting focused in team fights, which Jinx cleans up.
Immediate lesson: if Thresh is open, take Thresh.
Another ADC who can’t last hit, takes a ton of minion damage by going out of position and generally makes my job impossible. I position poorly in the late game and initiate for a team too scared to fight, which was a bad mistake. I should run away with everyone else. Supporting in my placement series is proving to be kind of obnoxious.
Immediate lesson: the thing I just said, and also try to remember the lesson from game 3, idiot.
Thresh gets through again and I have early pick, so I hook him (har har!). Unfortunately, this game my ADC is okay, but their bot lane is quite good. I land a fair few hooks, but we can’t do anything them and they disengage well. Their jungler focuses us, our jungler focuses top lane and we end up pretty shut down.
Immediate lesson: this game, Leona would have done a better job of everything I was trying to do with Thresh. Despite the shininess of Thresh’s OPness getting through picks and bans, I should have played Leona.
Someone calls support, I get stuck with ADC and I go with Quinn. I actually go even in lane kills and outfarm the enemy ADC. However, late game our composition has no CC, theirs has a lot, and I get blown up early in every team fight despite building a Zephyr. As a result, we lose them and lose the game.
Immediate lesson: do not play a short range champion in a game with a huge CC imbalance.
Reflective lesson: BoRK should have been Bloodthirster again. Was a bit too light on raw damage.
I am now 2-5 in the series and basically resigned to my Bronze V fate. I get support again and decide to grab Zyra, wanting early damage in case my ADC is sketchy. I’m fairly comfortable with Zyra. She’s probably in my top 3 supports behind Leona and Lulu.
I expect a sketchy ADC at 2-5. My ADC is okay, their support is sketchy and we get fed. I sit on Philosopher’s Stone, Kage’s Lucky Pick, 3 GP/10 Quints and 4 GP/10 Seals for a LONG time. I build mobility and Twin Shadows to counter their AP-heavy comp, with good CDR and we wreck face late game with team fights in which I’m the only death.
Now I’m 3-5. Maybe I can start higher up in Bronze!
Immediate lesson: We’re in YOLO mode now, so might as well go for carry supports and just hope the ADC can pull their weight.
I get support again and decide to bust out Annie. My ADC runs Ignite, so I run Exhaust and my AP mid runes and masteries. It looks like a kill lane, and we’re on blue side with them being late to lane on the leash for their jungler. So I make the executive decision to start Doran’s Ring and Potions. I take W first and charge it a few times on the fountain. This is Sparta.
Long story short, I do a bunch of damage, stun the support and ADC several times and feed my ADC. I build another Doran’s and Sorceror’s Shoes for pure damage. Once I hit six, I bust out a clutch Tibbers and we get a kill and the tower. I use the gold to build Sightstone and transition to a more supporting roaming phase. A few more Tibbers’ later and we take out a fast nexus, with my inventory containing an unused Oracle’s Elixir.
Immediate lesson: support Annie is the real deal, fun to play and is a strong blue side bully in the early game, controlling the brush without buying wards. I would be more cautious with this approach on purple side, unless the jungler starts red buff.
Alright, we’re 4-5 and one game left. I really want to win this one and end up with an even score. This would make me feel like a competent player, given that I was in a tough role to carry from for most of my games. I look forward to busting out support Annie again.
Well, shit. Every role gets called except ADC, so I just have to try not to throw. I lock in Quinn, my comfort ADC, and hope I get to play against Vayne or Graves.
As it turns out, I’m facing off against Sivir. My support is decent, although she doesn’t ward at all. I have to spend some mana on my W to watch for ganks around level 3 and 4. That said, I out-farm Sivir, never shoot a spell into her spell shield and win the lane despite neither of us getting kills in the bottom lane. We get the turret first. Meanwhile, our mid lane Pantheon snowballs hard. I build BoRK again, sadly, but I use it to peel for Pantheon in the late game. The rest of the time, I split push like a dirty bastard and only die when they send two or more people to deal with me. The split + Mantheon combo is too much and we roll them over.
Alright, 5-5. At least I’m not a loser (strictly speaking). I hit the button over the ruined Nexus to see what Bronze division I will land in. I’m presented on the Victory screen with a nice surprise: Silver IV!
After the series, I reviewed some of my opponent teams and tried to determine how I made the cut into Silver. Here’s what I pieced together:
- Most of the games I lost appeared to be against higher-ranked teams, overall. Some had multiple silvers, to our bronzes and no-ranks, for example.
- It seems as if the matchmaker, around 7 games, figured out the level at which I should probably be playing somewhere in Bronze. Winning three games in a row (in different roles, with different champs?!) at the end of the series probably pushed me a division with each win, from something like Bronze 1 or 2 into Silver country. That seems better than winning in the beginning and losing because the system sees you “where you should be” and then sees you play above that, consistently, for the rest of the series. Going above the bar progressively is less of a fluke than doing well and then falling back over and over, I suppose.
- Although I doubt this factors in, my average win times were faster than my average loss times. I feel like this might indicate that I played well consistently, making the wins easier and the losses tougher.
- My focus on vision control was pathological and that made a huge difference in games we won. Several games, I popped a mid game Oracle’s only to discover that the enemy team had no wards anywhere.
- My support results were heavily dependent on my ADC results. This suggests that duo placement with a competent ADC was probably a plan I should have stuck with through my impatience.
- Taking the approach of filling rather than fighting for roles was a good approach. I got to play support most of the time, but whenever someone was more comfortable with that, I trusted myself in a weaker role more than I trusted them and did my best with it.
- My ADC champion pool needs a lot of work. I’m mechanically competent on Quinn, but she is not a good pick into an unknown ADC opponent, which came up.
- I actually have a top lane pool that is better than Quinn, but I haven’t practiced top since it’s the most popular lane and I never get that role in normals or ranked. I need to practice top lane in normal 5v5s somehow, so that I’m not the weak link when it does happen. Plan B is to just assume that someone will always want it and never try to get that role. But I’d rather be well-rounded just in case.
- If supporting, play a support on which you can soft-carry.
- Vision control is just as OP as it is in competitive play. However, if you only control vision, you can’t rely on your team to take advantage of it, so see #1 above.
- Stick to your comfortable roles and champs. Games where your team is competent and you are, you will win on a comfort champ, but could lose on a powerful, non-comfort champ. Games where the team is barely competent or barely connected, you’ll lose either way.
- Getting ahead and then split-pushing with a split-powered champion is a very strong way to secure a game. In the entire series, anyone who could get into split push mode always won without the game being very close. I hope Season 4 does something about this because it’s frustrating, boring and non-interactive. That said, might as well use it if it works.
So, What Now?
The season is about three weeks longer. The number of games I would have to play between now and then to even have a shot at climbing into Gold is basically not feasible with my lifestyle (kids, job, girlfriend). Given that there are less than 28 days left, I’m locked into Silver rewards and don’t even necessarily need to play ranked anymore this season to maintain that tier.
But I will. Because I want to get better. I enjoyed the competitive environment more than I expected. I’m looking forward to Season 4, with buffs to the support role’s gold flow and game impact, and I’d like to try to get into Gold and stay in gold for Season 4. Or go even higher, though I think this would be unlikely with my time constraints.
For now, I’ll enjoy that summoner icon, ward skin and loading screen trim that says “Hey, Justin, you’re actually semi-decent at this game.”
The beast that slayed my mother will die with me."
Abe Sargent, discussing on the Deck Tease podcast his decision not to have children and pass on Huntington’s Disease