I see lots of posts with players looking for “real” tips beyond the recycled “have a good attitude”, “play to improve”, etc. The following are my real and immediate changes you can make to your game to help escape Bronze / Silver.
A little background on my experience. I finished Bronze 3 last season and placed Silver 4 out of my placements for Season 4. During the course of this season I’ve slowly climbed to Gold 2 playing Annie almost exclusively (300+ ranked games with a 56% win rate). I spent over 200 games in Silver this season and nearly as many in Gold. These tips come from my own personal experience, watching / reading other guides, and a number of Diamond mentors (many who I met on Summoner School) who have helped guide my success.
1. Smart Casting – start using it. In a game where every fraction of a second counts using smart casting can help you immediately shave a large portion of time off all of your actions. Enabling smart casting helped me make the jump from S3 to S1 almost over night. It only takes around 20 games to get really comfortable with it (believe me, it was painful at first for me too). I started with around a handful of bot games, mostly using it while practicing CS, then brought it to normal for 15-12 games, and then right back to ranked. One of the best changes I’ve made with LOL.
2. /mute all – we all get frustrated at times playing, many players express these frustrations in chat. At the very least these message distract you from more pressing concerns, at worst they send you on tilt. The risk vs. reward of chat just isn’t there. I don’t need to see the “…” or “wow…” after I make a mistake. I know I made the mistake without a teammate pointing it out. These types of interactions aren’t helpful, so save yourself the tilt and maybe the loss with /mute all.
3. Practice CS’ing – higher CS is one of the most correlated and simple improvements you can make to your game. Higher CS scores = higher league tiers. As a warm-up to your ranked games take 5 minutes and play a bot game and see how many CS you can get. Perfect CS at 5 minutes is 38. If you can hit 36+ you’re in a good place. Check out this infographic guide for more:
4. Don’t chat, pings only – players in every tier, but especially in Bronze/Silver are on edge. The slightest insult or quip could cause them to go on tilt. That “…” that you just couldn’t resist putting in chat could be the breaking point that causes them to feed and troll the rest of the game. There is nothing to gain from chatting that cannot be achieved with pings. You risk distracting yourself, your teammates, causing players to tilt, etc.
5. Buy a pink ward – it’s 100g and it doesn’t disappear until it’s actually killed by an enemy. Without question the best 100g you can spend in a game. Even in high Gold/Plat games I find that my 1st pink ward often lasts 15-25 minutes. The amount of vision gained for that length of duration for that amount of gold is just absurd. If you don’t buy a single other ward, at least buy 1 pink. Place it near your blue / red buff bush, tri-bush, or in the bush nearest the river on your side towards mid.
6. Don’t try to counterpick – always pick the champion you have the most experience with and have the most fun with. These attributes are much more likely to lead to a win than simply picking a counter, especially if it’s a champion you haven’t played much. In lower ELO especially (and I’d still consider G2 to be low) it’s much more important to play what you play well. The skill difference between your experienced champions and un-experienced is massive. So much so that counter picking is rarely worth it.
7. Sweeper Switch – switch your trinket to the sweeper by the time you enter the team fight stage. At this point you can and should be purchasing wards more regularly, but in any regard it’s more important to deny vision, setup baits, and ensure that bush you are standing in isn’t warded. The sweeper allows you to achieve these goals and can be used to setup clean and safe picks.
8. Play your best champions – this is a bit of an extension to “don’t try to counterpick”, but with the focus on making sure you are playing the 1-3 champions you perform the best with. Take a look at your win rates with champion on op.gg or another stat site. Looking at the top 1-3 champions by win rate (so long as you’ve played a decent number of games with them, say 20+). Compare this to your overall win rate. Chances are your best champions have higher win rate than your total win rate. Now, imagine instead of playing a variety of champions that you’re mediocre with, you only played the champions you crush it with. Your 48% total win rate vs. your top champion win rate of 55% turns into a huge number of wins and ELO. One of my silver friends (who actually just hit Gold last night) has played over 500 ranked games this season with a win record of around 50%. However, his Veigar win rate (60+ games) is 65%. That’s a gap of 75 wins if he had been playing all his ranked games with his best champion. Even at a conservative LP of 16 per win, that’s 1,200 LP he has missed out on this season. That’s effectively an entire tier! Had he been playing Veigar he would have hit gold a long time ago and perhaps even plat.
TLDR: Learn to use smart cast, mute everyone and don’t speak in chat, focus on improving your CS, always try to have a pink ward up, focus on your best champs and never on counterpicking, and finally get a sweeper trinket after 20 minutes.
More Tips by Caouette1994
This is my first guide. I am no master or challenger player, I am a player that came here to improve and just did that, and have a few reliable and quite simple tips that will get you out of bronze/silver for real. A lot of you are often asking for a “secret tip” that will instantly get them out of “elo hell”. Those do not really exist, but something close to it do. A few tips that will change drastically the outcome of your laning phase. True, I said laning phase not match. Because carrying from there is harder, requires more macro knowledge and depend on other people.
But I can definitely tell you how to win almost every lane. If you don’t want to be told that by a low ELO player though, I suggest you leave it here because no matter how well I argue you won’t trust me. Those tips are not new and I invented nothing, I just gathered them here and I’ll explain how they worked with me, so if it works with me (I am genuinely winning almost every lane, granted I played less than 100 ranked this season and less than 200 last season, and play a lot more normal so I could be ranked lower than my actual skill but that is what made me improve anyways) there’s no reason it won’t with you guys.
There are a lot of other things to know other than what I’ll just list here to become a true great player, but it’s just the 80/20 rule (or pareto principle, check Wikipedia). It just means in short that those are the most important things, and that those alone will have the greatest effect on your games.
– 1 : Learning CS : I know you see it every day here, so I won’t talk a lot about it. But it’s the single most important thing in the game. You have 2 ways of beating your enemy. The first is to play better than him on even grounds, and it requires a lot of knowledge and skill (we will discuss this later on though), the second is simply out powering them by having more stats, and stats come from gold. You can be 2/0/0 in lane after 9 minutes and thinking you’re winning, if you have 32cs and the enemy has 70 he has more gold than you. That has been repeated several time, but just learning how to farm will get you out of bronze alone. Just practice in custom. Until it feels natural. There’s not much to say about it. I’ll just add that farming under tower is also something you should be able to do, and that people seem to forget when they are practicing. Because sometimes your opponent will push harder than you and you will have to keep outfarming him. A melee minion dies after 2 tower shots and then 1 AA from you. A ranged minion still needs 2 AA after one tower shot, so you can go AA>tower>AA or use a spell after the tower shot if you don’t have the time to do it. Using spells to secure minions is rarely a bad decision overall. Try to keep a 7-8 CS per minute and you will simply be the richest motherfucker in all your games until way higher than bronze.
– 2 : Do NOT die : No, it’s not worth it. Yes, there are times where it is worth it, but knowing when is an art, it could be explained in a guide even longer than this one. So as a rule of thumb, a 1 for 1 is NOT WORTH IT. When people in lower ELO ask to check their op.gg there is always the same conclusion : you die too many times. Yes, maybe you’ve taken a kill, but what have you lost for it ? Gold from your farm, XP from your farm, your tower, meaning more global gold for the enemy team ? Dying is the single worst thing in this game. Yes, this is a really big generalization, but remember we’re using the 80/20 rules. The good opportunities you’ll miss by NOT trading kills are not worth the lot of bad decisions greed would make you take. ALWAYS SURVIVE.
– 3 : Pick some main champions : You’ve spent months training for this important Tennis tournament, you feel strong and ready, and when the day finally comes, you’re told that they changed the rules and it’s now a soccer tournament. Will your tennis practice help you here ? Barely. It’s the same thing when you change champions in LoL. All midlaners does not have the same strength, must not roam the same way, must not position the same. Matchups are all different, which means you will have to learn to play against every other midlaner again ? It’s really not worth it. Trust me, improving is much easier when you play the same few champions a lot, you’re making your muscle memory work, allowing you to focus on other things like the map, you’re learning all the matchups with this champ, you come to know exactly the amount of damage you’re able to do at any point of the game, allowing you to take much better decisions, etc…
This is something that should be discussed way longer in a self-post too, but at this point just trust me you can’t improve very fast with several champions. Just watch LCS players : “X is not as good now because he cannot play that champion that is FotM”. You hear that all the time. Just look at Xpeke’s Azir compared to Febiven’s. Look at Huni’s GP compared to S0az’s… If they can’t master a champion it in a few games, you certainly won’t. Accept it, invest your time and efforts wisely.
– 4 : Try every champion : As opposed to what I’ve said above, playing once or twice every champion you could be facing is a must. Or at least read about them. You must know every spell in the game. You must have an idea of their cooldowns. And for your lane matchups you should know which spell is maxed first. There is really no other way around. If you’re still saying thinks like “WTF that passive” or “How can he regen that much” (just 2 common examples), you are the one at fault. You should know what champions can or cannot do. If you’re diving an Anivia with her passive up, first you already forgot about my n°2 tip, and second you should not dive an Anivia with her ult because you should. not. dive. an. Anivia. with. her. ult. up. period.
The number of bad decisions taken because people just forget what champions can do is amazing. The number of people diving me under tower when I’m playing Ahri, just asking to be charmed, the number of people throwing all their spells at me at the same time when I’m playing Fizz and my E is available, just asking to be killed because they have NOTHING left after that… You should not be those players. Know your enemy.
– 5 : Always be anticipating : This is the last thing that allowed me to perceive the game differently, and the mindset that really, really, changed everything for me. You should never be surprised by anything in this game. Now you know your champ like your pocket, and you know exactly what your enemy can do. You know if their summoner spells are up or not. You know if you’re seeing the jungler and the other laners or not. Then, you cannot be put on the back foot, you should be expecting anything they throw at you. You are the one with the initiative. You can play what’s likely to happen in your head before it happens.
Being forced to react is always a bad thing, because even with the shortest reaction time in the world, you still have to take a good decision after the information is processed. It’s not the same saying “Ok, as soon as he does that, I’ll react by doing that and I should win the trade” rather than “Oh shit he’s done that, I should probably do that now”. Chances are it’s too late already. It’s easy to bait people to do what you want them to do. Before the game starts, don’t go to op.gg or things like that. Watch the enemy comp, think about what you will buy to play against that team, think about how the trades with your enemy laner will unfold, how you must react to win those trades, can you get an early kill, what will happen if you are able to get level 2,3, or 6 before them, common mistakes by that champion you can exploit, etc…
I win all those lanes in my head before winning them in the game. Ok, I’m fizz against a Lux, her E is her most damaging spell, it has a long cooldown, I dunno exactly but something like 10 seconds at least, so if I am able to avoid it or if she use it to push, I can go straight to her. I will stay away from my minions to bait her to use her Q , I will E the spell and try to land on her because I’m maxing E first so I need the damage to get the kill, I can even E+flash if I think I can get the kill, then she only has her shield left, I will AA her with my W active and I keep my Q for the moment she flashes, to finish her of, to get away if the jungler comes at this time, to go through her if the trade is longer than I thought and she tries to use her E on me. Most of the time, what I’m playing in my head happens, because I force it this way.
Being able to react and take the best decision very fast is harder, and will have less immediate effect, it’s still following the 80/20 rule. If you’re able to do that, maybe you still have 80% to learn, but it will get you out of bronze/silver in no time, the most advanced tips are worth learning if you want to climb higher.