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Coming from experience, it is significantly harder to reach a specific rank than it is to maintain it. A Bronze I/II player struggling to reach Silver can probably compete just fine in a game full of 9 other Silver players. The problem with ranking up is that it’s not about whether you can compete with higher-ranked players, it’s about whether you can utterly demolish hard enough in your games that you can break out of that 50% win-rate most people find themselves stuck in. With this in mind, these 5 general rules should help you on your quest to the top!

1. Don’t Queue AD Carry and Definitely Never Go Support

You’ve probably heard this somewhere else, but I will say it again to eliminate any doubt in your mind – climbing as support is nearly impossible and definitely not the most optimal strategy. However, you might also be surprised to hear that despite the name, it’s much harder to carry the game as an AD “carry” than it is as either top, mid, or jungle. This is true for the following reasons:

  • How successful you are in lane as an ADC is very much dependent on the support who’s laning with you. You could choose to duo queue with a support, but that person might not be around in all your games.

  • Counter-picking as ADC gives a much smaller advantage compared to other roles. It is also harder to do because it is a 2v2 lane. Being unable to effectively counter-pick as an ADC means you are simply unable to capitalize on this element of the game to gain an strategic advantage. This is unlike mid and top, where there can be very hard counters that players take advantage of if they have a diverse enough champion pool.

  • ADC’s don’t determine the pace of the game – the junglers and the mid laners do. This is because ADC’s farm slower than mid laners for most of the game and are also lower level because they are sharing experience with their lane partner. Being higher-leveled and generally peeking in strength before AD carries, the jungler and other laners are the ones that create early game leads.

  • Being unable to gain an advantage through champion-select as an ADC and having limited strategical decisions because of the reasons described above, the only way you can distinguish yourself from the enemy ADC is mechanics. This is often times the hardest thing to do.

2. Don’t Pick Tanks

Simply don’t do it if you want to climb fast. In order to climb as a mid or top laner, you are going to have to solo kill your opponent, and then from there, out-roam your opponent and take control of the map. As a jungler, you want a champion that clears the jungle quickly so you can gank as often as possible and accumulate that gold for yourself, using it to continue controlling the map. As a tank, all of this is much harder to do. Tanks farm the lane minions slower and clear the jungle camps slower. This means less roaming and less ganking, so despite the important role that tanks may have in a team composition, they are too team-oriented and have far less carrying potential . Also keep in mind that the importance of team composition in low elo is generally overrated.

Another noteworthy thing to mention is that playing tanks might hinder your growth as a player. League of Legends is a game that often requires a lot of split-second decision-making, and playing tanks somewhat bypasses the need to develop and hone those skills.

3. Play High Skill-Capped Champions

Achieving high win-rates and climbing is all about separating yourself from the pack. Riot takes into account many factors when balancing champions, but you can be sure that they want to keep all the champion win-rates at around 50%. On a very skill-oriented champion, players new to the champ should have very low win rates but be rewarded after many games after they’ve gained skills that most players playing the champ don’t have. On the other hand, lower skill-capped champions like Warwick and Xin Zhao would be much closer to having a 50% win rate across the board, regardless of how much you practice the champion.

Below are two graphics to depict this concept. Notice that after 100+ games, the green line is hovering at 62% win-rate, which is where we want to be. Put in the time towards mastering a high skill-capped champion and you hopefully you can reach these high potential win-rates. This is why I am consistently seeing so many Yasuo, Riven, and Nidalee mains just dominate Solo Queue even in the high diamonds with over 60% win-rates.

4. Always be on the Lookout to Dodge Champion Select

Your first dodge within a 16-hour window will only cost you only 3 LP, and no MMR is lost when dodging. Players definitely don’t dodge enough and need to start realizing that it’s always worth taking the first dodge penalty in order to avoid a loss. I always recommend dodging if your teammates are arguing in champion select. Always look up how experienced your teammates are with the champions they have locked in  and dodge accordingly. You can always dodge too if you were auto-filled into a role you can’t play or faced with a lane match up you almost always lose. The exact dodging rules and penalties can be found here

5. Stick to at most 4 champions

Stop playing a different champion every game and expecting to miraculously climb because common sense and all statistical evidence show otherwise. With Riot’s implementation of queuing for two roles, simply learn two champions per role that you can focus on and start improving with. In fact, some of the most successful solo queue climbers are  the one-trick-ponies that play the same champion over and over again. Many players often in their own heads justify picking a champion they’ve never played before because it counters what the opposing team picked. This, however, almost never works out.