Quick story: I started playing this game a year ago with no prior MOBA experience whatsoever. In Season 2 I decided to play ranked mode and I got placed at Bronze 4. Bronze 4?!? I’d been playing with skilled friends for months and learned so many things, I was certainly better than Bronze! (Spoiler: I wasn’t). I was regularly salty and frustrated after HL games, often toxic in-game, blaming the losses on my ‘noob’ teammates, ranting about MMR hell… you get the picture.
Fastforward to the end of season I’m sitting in Gold 2, at 57% winrate and learned a great deal of things along the way which I think are a ticket out of Bronze and Silver for anyone willing to practice them. Without further ado…
You can make the difference,
unless you can’t.
Get rid of the concept that you can’t
carry a game make a big difference to a game, because it’s false. Not only you can make a huge difference to a game, but your performance is the only thing that’s in your power to control. I hear you – we’ve all had that face-planting Diablo who died 12 times on our team, but those are isolated cases. Your brain just remembers them more than it remembers a win. If you’re honest with yourself, most of the time you play no better than the people you’re blaming. Focus on how to improve your performance (see more below) and you will climb, I promise.
Every toxic chat exchange is a missed comeback.
That’s right. Being toxic and ranting in chat is downright stupid because it does nothing that brings you closer to victory. On the other hand it keeps you standing still, and being useless. One of the most common and annoying mistakes I’ve seen in Bronze is people GGing after the first objective is lost, or someone dies before the 5th minute mark. In this game you can play like shit for 19 minutes and then have one wipe at lvl 21, go core and win the game.
MMR hell is a myth.
Like the Bigfoot, the aliens at Area 51 and killing Samuro after he was just released. Believing in MMR hell is a defensive mechanism that your brain adopts in order for you not to feel like you suck. Just as when you play the blame game after a defeat and everyone is to blame – everyone but you. Sometimes people really hit an unlucky streak or find themselves matched with a really clueless teammate, but if you’re honest with yourself chances are last night you weren’t one of them. Stop believing in fairytales and start focusing on what you can do to improve.
Get killed, get better.
You should start seeing getting killed as an opportunity to think about your mistakes and rejoining the game determined not to commit the same mistakes. Were you overextended? Did you engage 1v3? Perhaps you were frontlining instead of the Muradin? Don’t do it again.
How to deal with the tilt.
While managing being tilted is a difficult subject, I offer this simple piece of advice that I found extremely beneficial: when you are tilted, don’t go anywhere near enemy heroes. Instead, try to cool down while clearing some minions or capturing a mercenary camp. Even if the objective is up, don’t go. You will most definitely hard engage and die, thus being completely useless. That camp or extra XP would’ve been of some use instead.
Drafting makes and breaks your chances of winning.
Too many people in Bronze and Silver (and even some in Gold) underestimate the importance of a good draft. In fact, drafting is so important that a truly terrible draft means literally 0 chances of winning that game. If you see a dive-heavy comp taking shape on the other side, you better draft stuns, roots and so on. They have too much poke? Draft divers who can close the gap and delete the mages. Use the chat for a good cause and explain these things to your teammates.
Forget about the meta.
While you shouldn’t completely ignore which heroes are the best-performing in the meta, you should always remember that you are temporarily playing at such a low level that meta hardly even matters. Gazlowe curb stomps Bronze games (second most winning hero ATM) because in that league people are clueless about how to play against him, but he’s in the lowest spots in Master league. Drafting the heroes you are most confident and skilled with will always result in greater chances at victory than drafting meta heroes you’re unable to play.
Waveclear, waveclear, waveclear and then waveclear some more.
Again another thing that most people in potato tiers ignore the importance of. Unless you’re playing a hero who’s supposed to actively roam (Zeratul, Nova…) you should be in lane clearing mobs at all times except when objective is up. Even ganks, broadly speaking, happen during rotations on your way to laning. Since people don’t lane properly in lower ranks, you doing so will likely result in an xp lead for your team — and xp leads win fights.
Never, ever engage outside teamfights at objectives.
This is linked to what I stated above. While chasing and fighting all the time is certainly amusing, most of the times it doesn’t win games. Unless you have a significant xp lead (especially if you got 10 or 20 and they don’t) you should never look to force a fight. You should instead play the map, doing the groundwork for the next teamfight.
Stick to your tank (and respect roles).
When in doubt, stick to your tank and never roam alone – especially late game. Tanks are meant to frontline, lead engagements, protect you in teamfights and peel when you’re retreating. As a rule of thumb, never extend more than your tank is extended, don’t split and make his job of protecting you harder, and don’t chase unless you know you are gonna kill the target, and kill it fast.
Master two heroes per class.
Jack of all trades, master of none. I suggest you specialize in no more than one/two heroes per extended class (Full tank, Bruiser, Melee DPS, Ranged DPS, Solo support… you get the idea), and use these heroes only as your HL roster.
Bruisers a good solo tank don’t make.
Extremely common mistake. While heroes like Artanis and Diablo are labeled as warriors, they are not the draft equivalent of Muradin, E.T.C. or Johanna. Don’t solo tank with a bruiser – if nobody wants to (or can) play one of the holy three, go for double bruiser.
Learn to play (and draft) against map-specific outliers.
Xul on Tomb of the Spider Queen, Sylvanas and Rexxar on Braxis, and so on. I believe I’ve never lost a game playing Xul on Tomb. You better ban these heroes or have a strategy in place as how to deal with them. (Against Xul on Tomb, for example, you could draft Zagara and bully him into uselessness while performing his role for your team).
Force yourself to look at the minimap every 3 seconds.
The simplest and most effective trick I’ve heard and practiced that improved my overall play.
Don’t be clueless about your immediate surroundings.
Especially in teamfights, train yourself to be able to look at every hero in sight, not just yours. Too many times I got obliterated because I entered tunnel vision and was only focused on my hero & my target, completely ignoring the Cromie that was about to oneshot me or the Tychus that had been shooting at me for three seconds straight.
Where is my team? Where is the enemy team? What is the enemy team doing?
I read this somewhere and my awareness skyrocketed as soon as I started practicing it. You should always have an educated guess about the answers to these questions, and the minimap is your best friend to guess right.
Don’t water down the soup.
If you are at lvl 21 and two people on the enemy team are dead, for heaven’s sake, GO CORE. After lvl 20 two heroes can solo the core, so please don’t waste time at the boss, at mercenaries or anywhere else. End the game.
Mechanical skill is the single most influencing factor to your MMR.
Mechanical skill is the only thing algorithms like TrueSkill can accurately measure. That’s why Koreans like Rich have obscene MMRs of over 7000. If you want to raise your MMR (and become a better player) I recommend watching Grandmasters playing and carefully studying the way the move, position, attack, stutter-step, body-block and so on. To my personal taste, McIntyre on YouTube has the best content for this.
That’s it. I hope this was helpful and I would love to hear opinions from better players than myself as to what’s missing here, and so on. GL and HF!