Hey everyone, I want to share some tips that helped me out a lot when I started playing the game. For context, I started playing the game in season 3 and I made it to diamond 1 71 LP (no masters back then so pretty close to challenger) in one season. Then, I consistently kept challenger in s4-s5 until I had to take hiatuses due to family problems and personal issues. Currently I am trying to adapt to the current meta and Irelia’s state so I am only masters currently, but I figured since I am applying similar points that I did back when I was first starting my climb I thought I should share what I do to improve with everyone.
The main five points are:
1) Choosing to main one champion and preferably one that is not very mechanically demanding
2) Get as good as possible at last hitting and learning what other champions do in interaction with your champion.
3) Master that said champion
4) Learning proper lane control (i.e. if you play top you should learn all the little things that make a world of a difference)
5) Learning proper map movements
So now to get into detail for each of those points. They are basically the TLDR but they should be learned in that following order.
1) There is a very easy way to climb the game and that is by picking only one champion (kind of general advice). That may sound quite boring but I reason that winning more games is more fun than trying out a new champion. So, if you are like me and you want to win a lot of games pick a champion that you really enjoy playing. It is okay if the champion is mechanically hard but it is advised that you pick something that is not. For myself, I started playing Katarina first and learned her match ups and stuff which allowed me to focus more on the game itself and not worry about lane counters or match ups in general because I knew what to do in them. When I switched to top lane I did the same thing, it took me about 200+ games to get comfortable with most of Irelia’s match ups, albeit some remained hard given the meta back then. Once you are comfortable, it opens up a lot of room for you to focus on other things. So, once you start playing a champion that you wish to main, learning all the match ups and figuring out what runes/masteries to run should be your primary concern. Not so much with what to do early/mid/late game. Just learn the match ups first and then focus on other things.
2) Once you have done this, it is now time to focus on other things. A lot of people tunnel on comps and whatnot but those have minimal impact. I have had many games where I thought we had the inferior team composition but ended up crushing the enemy team composition in 5v5s. A part of this is due to knowing how my champion works against other champions and with the champions on my team. To bring up a simple example, Irelia and Orianna work extremely well to the point where they can carry a team fight alone. You do not even need to rely on the rest of your team. Irelia can dive the back line with Orianna’s ball easily and give her a good opportunity to land a good ultimate. The damage from oriannas ult and the speed/shields from the rest of her kit will enable Irelia to finish off the adc no matter how late into the game it is. So, when I am playing Irelia and I have an Orianna on my team, I already have an idea of what my job is in that game. Being aware of things like this translates over into how you should be playing during the early/mid/late game. This is because league of legends is a team game and it doesn’t matter if the enemy team comp has malphite top, cass mid, sej jungle and kog/lulu bot. It does not mean that they will automatically crush you if you are playing a champion like Irelia. If your team coherence is better than theirs as a result of your knowledge of how you should be playing the game with your champion, then your team will have the upper hand. Team compositions only really matter when all the players playing all of those champions know roughly what they are supposed to do which does not really happen often in solo queue.
3) Mastering said champion can take a while or it may not. For me it took me 1700 Irelia games to reach challenger for the first time. Even then I would say that I probably had not completely mastered Irelia. There were still things that would slip my mind about which all ins I win or whatnot but that is okay, we’re human after all. But after you get the fundamentals you have to focus on really drilling into all those hidden powerspikes of your champion against different champions. For example, Irelia’s powerspikes against gangplank are much different than Renekton. Whereas I can fight GP at lvl 1-3 there is absolutely no way I can fight renekton lvl 1-3. I do not always have to wait until level 7 or 9 to fight most of the match ups because I am aware of what my win conditions are in early levels. Sometimes I can kill a riven at lvl 3 when she misuses her abilities, but the main point is to figure out every little thing you can do in each match up. To do this you need to rely on your own judgment and not as much on what guides or what other people say. For example, wickd’s preferred method of dealing with jax is maxing E and bursting him down, while for me I prefer to let jax push me near the turret, freeze it so he cannot keep his passive up and look for trades/all ins while having the safety of my turret to back into. All of these are personal quirks you can develop if you try to master your champion on your own.
4) There are a lot of specific things to know about each lane. So, depending on what lane your champion goes to, you should definitely master everything you can about that lane. For example, I play Irelia and she goes top most of the time so I learned all the different ways of wave management for top side that don’t translate that well to other lanes. Freezing is very important when playing top while not so much when playing mid. Although to be fair it does translate well into bot lane where freezing is also important. There is also a lot more importance towards levels than other lanes. Apart from the general lvl 2 and lvl 6 powerspikes. In top lane if I am lvl 8 against a lvl 7 darius or jax I have a major advantage. A bigger advantage than I could ever get from items alone. I have to jump on that opportunity and try to force my opponent to all in before they are the same level as me. Learning little things like this and knowing how to abuse them will win you lane a good portion of the time regardless of match ups.
5) This is probably the most difficult thing and may even be impossible to master completely. It is something you can observe being done by anyone in high elo. The better they do this the higher rank they are. Being where they need to be and never wasting time wandering around. Just by doing this to an adequate level you can get to masters+. There are people that can have total map pressure and yet keep 10+ cs per minute. I am struggling to master this myself and the more I improved on it, the higher I climbed in season 7. I went from being stuck in diamond 3 after being at rank 19 in season 5 because I had forgotten how important being able to do this is. I started practicing and hit masters easily and now I am trying to improve even more on it to hit challenger. Watching faker do this is probably the best example and it is something that, once you know how to efficiently do will make your rank jump leaps and bounds.
Now the biggest thing that you might ask yourself is, how do I learn all of these things? This is a very hard question to answer because it is wholly dependent on the individual. For myself what really helped me was playing a lot of games to establish mechanics and playing customs with other OTPs on their champions to learn those match ups. I also watched my replays and tried to reason about the game and what I could have done differently in games I lost. Another thing that really helped me is taking a few minutes off after playing a game and rerunning the whole game in my head. I would make sure to do this as accurately as possible and imagine different scenarios play out if I had done x instead of y.
Anyways I hope this helps!