I’ve been an off and on player since the first day of beta “casually” playing ranked hovering between low plat and high plat. Recently I’ve hit Diamond 3 after starting in Gold 3/Plat 1 this act before deciding to take the game a bit more seriously and see how high I can actually reach on the ranked ladder.
For a little bit more context, I’m 19, I live on the west coast of Canada, and am currently taking summer off as a part-time student in college. I only queue solo on my main account, and occasionally play with friends for fun on alt accounts.
Here’s my advice if you are like me and decided to try climbing.
– Don’t burn yourself out, and know when to stop.
To keep it simple, if you feel out of it after the 2nd game of the day, just take a break for either the day, or maybe a couple hours. Don’t go into another game knowing you probably won’t play to your potential.
From experience, playing when burnt out is practically an automatic loss, and whether you like to admit it or not, it’s hard to keep yourself from playing even when you know you won’t perform, but as long as you have your goal set and you are serious about it, you will follow through and take breaks when needed.
– Set a flexible routine for yourself.
Personally I prefer to play at night as I have a puppy who needs looking after. So until he goes to sleep, I have little time to focus on the game. Throughout the day I’m able to aim train in aimlabs, in the practice range, or in deathmatches. Don’t tire yourself out aim training right before playing however. Do all of the intense aim training at least 20-30 minutes prior to queueing for a game. Intense aim training to me is mainly any aimlabs tasks. I like to do light aim training such as messing around in the range prior to queueing for a ranked game.
– Avoid playing on smurfs or unrated games.
Smurfing and unrated games are in my opinion very bad if you are trying to actually climb to a goal you’ve set. Unrated is filled with people who are just there for a good time, not looking for practice or to tryhard in the game. This will alter your ideas of how players in your ranked games will play and you may become more lazy when it comes to thinking about the game.
Same goes for playing on a smurf as lower elo players tend to do very weird plays, as well as be at a mechanical disadvantage compared to you. This will also alter the perspective you have going into your ranked games on your main.
– Play in the same seating position every time.
Personally I haven’t seen many people talk about this, but it’s very important. If you play in the same seating position every time you queue, aim train, or mess around in customs, you will build muscle memory much easier, and you will feel much more comfortable in your environment. Find the best seating position for you, but I wouldn’t recommend being too close or too far from the monitor, as being too close may damage your eyes and increase strain causing you to burn out faster, but sitting too far will cause you to miss things in the game, like head peaks, or maybe just an enemy you could have spotted faster if you had been closer forward.
– Use the time between rounds to think about the upcoming round or the previous round.
Now this doesn’t mean you should be thinking too much about how you whiffed on someone facing the other direction costing you the round. You should be thinking about what went wrong with your macro, rather than your mechanical errors. Positioning matters more than aim in this game to a certain extent. There are bound to be immortals and radiants who have worse aim than a plat, but higher elo players are always thinking about what went wrong, and how they could fix their errors for the next round. They don’t dwell on a lost round which could have easily been won.
– DON’T FILL BELOW PLAT 2 (My most controversial piece of advice)
This may come as a surprise, as many people say to learn new agents and play for the team, but if you are playing below diamond lobbies, you just can’t trust that your instalock jett, whether he mains jett or not will be able to play consistently well every single game. I was trying to fill before plat 2, and I’d just be coin flipping whether my instalock reyna and jett would carry or not. If you like to play an agent, and you are consistent and confident playing them, then do it. Don’t let some guy who decides to first time sova in your game grab him. Once you start getting into diamond lobbies, that’s where you start to play for your team. It’s still a coinflip, but one side is slightly heavier as they are starting to become more consistent players the higher up you get.
– Dodging is a tool, use it.
Example: I have an alt account I enjoy relieving some steam on. Yes I sometimes find myself to be toxic on alt accounts when playing with friends, so if you see someone named “main is banned” and they are suggesting they may throw the game, just don’t chance it. It literally makes no sense to play that game, whether you like your comp, whether you like the map, because you are risking them ruining the whole game for you. Don’t DODGE because someone took your jett, just play something simple and easy to understand like phoenix. Phoenix requires no lineups, only a little brain, and some aim.
Remember that Riot has been better about stopping you from dodging, so don’t dodge a lot. At most I dodge a couple times a week.
– Please use a mic.
If you aren’t using your microphone, I don’t know why you are trying to climb. I can’t count the number of players I get on my teams who either don’t have or aren’t using their mics. It doesn’t matter if you know callouts or not, just com any damage you’ve done, or maybe where someone is playing, or maybe even a strat you may have. Any positive form of communication benefits the team, so don’t be afraid to use your mic 🙂
– Don’t look at your rank.
When you lose a game and you drop a rank or a division, don’t worry about it. When you are trying to climb, you will always find yourself to get stuck at some point, but as long as you persist, you will climb out of the rut and feel much better as well as be much more confident going into your next games.
– Don’t worry about the scoreboard.
Focus on what you need to do that round in your role and position. If you are sage, make sure you are using your wall when it’s necessary any not wasting it on a dumb play. If you are Sova, do your best to get vision of enemies, and if you don’t, tell your teammates you didn’t see anyone on your dart. There is much more to this game than kills, and as long as you are playing your part, you will climb.
One exception is Reyna. Reyna primarily relies on killing people to get the most out of her abilities, so if you pick reyna, just make sure you are confident, and you are making good decisions rather than bad decisions. Personally I don’t recommend picking reyna when you can use phoenix who has an ultimate that can push enemies back allowing your team to take control of positions. Raze, who can use nades to force enemies out of spots, or boom bot to provide a bit of information on their positions. Any duelist other than Reyna has something they can do to win their team the round regardless of whether they get kills.
Whether you are trying to climb to gold, diamond, or radiant, at least a bit of this information may be useful to you, or at least give you something to think about. But if you want to climb seriously, follow this advice, and I assure you, you will hit nearly any goal you have in mind assuming it’s reasonable.