Ranked in League of Legends is a daunting and grueling experience. Unlike normal games – which are usually treated as the practice grounds for ranked – your enemies are putting their all into everything they do. It’s a fast-paced, stressful environment where mistakes don’t go unpunished. But the ranked climb doesn’t have to be daunting. Today, we’ll be covering how ranked queue works, the rewards on offer, and how to ace your first ranked game.
What Is Ranked Queue in League of Legends?
Ranked queue is essentially the competitive version of Draft Summoner’s Rift. Players face off against similarly-skilled players for a spot on the ranked ladder. There are two ranked game modes in League:
- Solo/Duo: Solo/duo is the main (and most respected) competitive game mode in League. Players can either play solo or team up with another player of similar Elo.
- Flex: Flex is the other competitive game mode, with the main difference being that it allows you to team up with two, three, or five other players. There’s also no rank restriction, meaning you can queue up with friends that are several ranks above or below you.
How Does the Ranked System Work In League of Legends?
The ranking system in League of Legends is split into several tiers. From worst to best, the tiers are iron, bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, master, grandmaster, and challenger. Around 85% of the LoL community are in bronze, silver, and gold, while only 0.010% of players are at the top. Every tier below master is broken into 4 divisions, with 1 being the highest division and 4 the lowest.
How Is My Rank Calculated in League of Legends?
Players must accumulate League Points (LP) to move up the ranked ladder. Winning ranked games grants you LP, while losing games deducts LP. The exact amount of LP gained or lost depends on your Matchmaking Rating (MMR), a hidden stat that determines your overall skill as a player. While Riot Games haven’t publicly released exactly how MMR is calculated, it’s safe to assume the more games you win, the better your MMR will become. Other factors that could potentially play a role in your MMR include kill participation, objective control, and K/D/A.
How Do I Unlock Ranked in League of Legends?
The ranked game modes unlock once you hit level 30 and own at least 20 champions. Your starting rank is calculated based on your performance in the first 10 ranked matches.
Can I Queue Dodge Ranked Games in League of Legends?
You can queue dodge a ranked game in League, though you will receive a penalty. The severity of the penalty depends on how many times you have dodged within a 24-hour window.
- First dodge in ranked: 6 minutes time penalty, -3 LP
- Second dodge: 30 minutes, -10 LP
- Third dodge: 720 minutes, -10 LP
Your ranked MMR isn’t affected, no matter how many times you dodge.
Ranked Rewards in League of Legends
Even if you don’t want a shiny border, there’s still a reason to grind it out in ranked: you get special in-game rewards. If you place gold or higher before the ranked season is over, you’ll even receive an exclusive Victorious skin.
The standard ranked rewards include:
- Ranked profile icon
- Ranked border
- Eternals permanent
Mastering Ranked in League of Legends
There are no shortcuts to mastering ranked in League of Legends. The only way to climb up the ladder is to improve as a player. So, we recommend working on the fundamental skills first: last hitting, map awareness, itemization, and vision control.
Practice Last Hitting
Last hitting is by far the most vital mechanic in League of Legends. If you can last hit better than your opponents, you’ll always be at a gold advantage. Of course, last hitting isn’t an easy feat. It requires impeccable timing, excellent mouse precision, and an understanding of damage output.
You can brush up on last-hitting by practicing for 10 minutes daily in the LoL client’s practice tool. Aim for at least 70 CS by the 10-minute mark. You should also familiarize yourself with the different minion types, how to farm under turret, and wave management. Another great way to improve mouse accuracy is by using training games like Kovaak 2.0, Aim Lab, and Osu.
Improve Map Awareness
Good map awareness helps you avoid ganks, make shot calls, and secure objectives. It even helps you keep track of the Jungler’s movements and catch out enemies.
There are several ways to improve map awareness in League of Legends, including:
- Check the mini-map: Make it a habit to check the mini map every few seconds, no matter the game state. If this is something you struggle to remember to do, use this mini-map audio cue until it becomes muscle memory. You can also enlarge the mini map’s size to make it stand out more. Go to “interface” in the client settings, then drag the “mini map scale” slider to max.
- Use unlocked screen: While an unlocked screen takes time to get used to, it drastically improves your awareness of ranked games. It allows you to see what’s happening across the entire map, not just what’s within your champion’s proximity. You can also check out your allies on the fly, meaning you can easily keep track of how their laning phases are going.
- Keep track of the scoreboard: The scoreboard offers a wealth of information about the game state, including objective timers, builds, and which players are ahead or falling behind. All this information helps you make informed decisions during ranked matches.
Limit Champion Pool
It’s good to be flexible, but a wide champion pool is only going to put you at a disadvantage in your ranked games. You won’t be able to sharpen your mechanics on the champions, nor know their limits and how they work into different matchups. It’ll also be harder to focus on the macro aspect of the game, as you won’t be able to play on muscle memory.
Stick to 3 to 5 champions, and make sure to have at least 2 champions in your pool that can be played in multiple roles.
For those not familiar with the term, itemization is the process of adapting your build based on your champion, your enemies, and the game state. Itemization can be challenging, especially if you’re a new player. You have to be familiar with items and their special bonuses and also know every champion’s goals, playstyles, and weaknesses.
Here are a few ways you can improve at itemization in League:
- Watch professional LoL streamers, ideally players that play the same champions as you. Make a note of how (and why) their build varies each game. Consider how they build into different matchups.
- Use third-party resources like Blitz.gg and op.gg. These websites document every champion’s highest win rate build.
- Memorize item buffs and effects. You don’t need to memorize the ins and outs of every item. But it’s good to have an understanding of the different types of buffs and effects in the game like magic resist, armor penetration, and ability haste. Some items even have unique effects that can grant new ways to play around your enemies.
While vision control is often associated with the support role, every role should know how to place wards and deal with enemy vision. It can make or break your ranked climb. Poor vision control can leave you vulnerable to ganks and restrict your team’s movements, while effective vision control can help you secure objectives and counter your opponents’ plans.
Vision control is complex because the “optimal” ward spots vary every match, depending on the game state. With that said, there are some spots where wards will virtually always be useful, like in high traffic areas and around objectives. Mobalytics have a fantastic, in-depth guide on vision control that’ll help you get the most out of your wards.
It’s easy to get frustrated in League of Legends, especially when you’re being flamed left, right, and center by allies that have all fed their lanes. But letting frustration consume you is just going to send you on a neverending loss streak. You’ll feel demotivated, your judgment will be clouded, and you won’t make optimal plays.
Whenever you start to feel tilted, close the client and take a break. Stretch out your body and listen to your favorite tunes. You can even go for a walk to clear your head.
Remember that while there are always going to be games that are out of your control, the majority are within your control. As long as you’re improving as a player, those loss streaks will soon turn to win streaks. Plus, staying positive is sure to boost the morale of your teammates.
The Next Step in Your Ranked Journey
Jumping into your first ranked game can feel daunting, but it’s an exhilarating experience that’ll help you grow as a player. If you’re feeling nervous about ranked, duo up with a friend or battle it out in flex to build your confidence.
Good luck in the Rift, and remember to stay positive! Once you’ve played a few games in ranked, you can analyze your replays to identify further areas where you need to improve.