Hey everyone! I’m trying to get myself off on the right foot with helping other players progress through ranked stages. I myself, like many other players, came to detest ranked gaming, not understanding why I wasn’t climbing – so I decided to change my view of the game and it changed the way I saw ranked forever.
If you are currently stuck in bronze, there are a few things I’d firstly suggest to get yourself out of there. The first of it being the most simple of all: stop typing. When I was stuck in bronze I found myself spending far too much time trying to direct my team and trying to tell them what to do. The reality is that you do not enter the game with any kind of status. Your team doesn’t have to listen to you, and the only way you can get through this is quite simple to keep playing. Do not stop. Just keep soaking lanes and putting pressure on your enemies.
I know, it’s stressful a lot of the time, but all you need is that 51% winrate to get yourself out of there. There will be days where you don’t win a single game, and other days where you don’t lose a single one. This is fine, because it’s part of the learning curve. Stick to the heroes you personally prefer, because if you feel comfortable with what you’re playing, you’ll tend to play better here. I’ve noticed a lot of my friends would be placed bronze in ranked and just give up on it altogether, but quick match isn’t going to help you improve in ranked. Quick match gives an unrealistic expectation of the comps you’re going to be put against in ranked, and you can’t just expect to play the 1 character you want to play. Be open minded, be calm, don’t type, don’t flame, don’t do anything but focus. You can pull through this.
Taking into account that you should hopefully have all of the above nailed down, it’s time to do some revision and experimentation. The way you draft by this point should be moderately diverse. You can play at least 2 or 3 roles fairly well, and you have a basic knowledge of what characters work well on specific maps – fantastic! You’re doing well. The next step here is to leave your comfort zone. If you’re not a huge lover of playing specialists for example, maybe try it on your lowest winrate map. I’m not a good tank by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was in Silver I decided to just screw my comfort zone of Jaina and Sylvanas and on my lowest winrate map, Dragon Shire, I went into a Dehaka pick as a solo tank.
Crazy, right? I never play tank, and I pick Dehaka on my lowest winrate map. But as it turns out – he’s not my highest winrate hero on Dragon Shire, and my winrate sparked from 20% up to 55% after I made some experimental picks. As well as that, sometimes picking against the enemy team can have just as much affect. You prefer to play Rehgar for heals, that’s cool. But maybe, just maybe, there’s an Illidan on the other team, and both Lili and Brightwing are available to pick. Do you dare pick just to spite their Illidan with a polymorph or a blind? Do it. Just throw yourself out there to diminish their team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you’ll come away from it with more knowledge than you went in with. Aside from drafting and playing outside your comfort zone, you should really be focusing on ignoring any negativity in the game. In my experience there are more flamers in silver than there was in bronze. If your teammates have a dig at you, just mute them. It’s no loss. Every second you spend typing back to flamers is a second you could be pushing lane for the exp advantage or a cheap gank.
Now things are looking good. The teams you’re going into games with are drafting better. Until you realize that the enemy are too. This is where you really need to know how to handle the team that they throw at you. You should by this point know that there are a fair few solid counters to a lot of heroes/teams and you need to use these to your advantage at all times. The games in gold are reliant significantly more on drafting than bronze and silver, so you need to get your head down and look into it. If you’re bored on a lunch break at work, watch Grubby play ranked on YouTube or a drafting guide. These things really help in the long run.
Another aspect of this rank that comes into play is positioning. You’ll have noticed by this point that teams get split up fairly often. This isn’t a problem… until you’re 20 minutes in and your teammate is ganked pushing a lane solo. Now you’re screwed. You should be roaming with your team at all times late-game, because the comeback mechanics at this rank come into play a lot more. You can dominate a game for the first 18 minutes and have it lost by 20 if you make a wrong move. Sometimes, a single gank on the enemy team before you back off is plenty enough to secure a game. You know this already, but so does the enemy. When you’re 2 levels down and you see someone out of position, that’s a golden ticket to a thrown game. tldr; stay with your team at all costs late-game. Past level 13 kills reward far more experience than minions.
Things are getting a bit more intense. Your team can draft well, you’re not scared to solo queue any more. The level of play has noticeably picked up. But how do I improve next? The answer to this one is simple, but harder to put into action than it seems: you need to play heroes that are unexpected. It’s all good having a strong team, but without utility you’re not going to get much done. People know how to play against Li Ming, Nova, Morales and others by this point. You need something that the enemy team won’t be expecting. Do they have 3 backline heroes? Lunara is your girl. Do they have a hard triple melee frontline? Why not Dehaka for that drag? These are the kinds of unexpected picks that you need to make sometimes. They’re safe picks, but your enemy doesn’t have a great deal of utility to deal with Lunara’s leap or Dehaka’s drag (as examples). You’re going to have to make the most out of your team’s utility to give yourself the upper hand here; be it globals, damage over time effects, stuns etc.
On top of this, you should not be fighting as much as before here. The pace of the game will pick up but the number of random teamfights will go down. Never fight a talent down, but also never fight a level up. Why risk it, when you can wait and fight for the objective much more safely? You’ll notice that teams that are needlessly engaging in fights will lose at this rank. If you have a level lead you’re gonna want to save it. If you fight and lose it, that’s your advantage gone at the next shrine/altar/immortal etc. Don’t throw your advantage away, you need to continue to soak and wait for the perfect time to use that level lead to your advantage.
Hopefully this helps everyone, I’ve tried my very hardest to help people climb ranks, recognize their mistakes, and generally improve at the game. In heroes it is very hard to recognize the mistakes you might be making, so with any luck, this will clarify some of the major issues people are having in these ranked divisions.