Solo queue is notoriously frustrating. If you are brave enough to dip your toes into its murky waters, you are at some point likely to encounter a cliché mixture of trolls, afkers and feeders. However, while solo queue success may at times seem to be impossible, there are ways to overcome its negative aspects, and climb up the ladder ‘s slippery rungs. Next time you enter the rift, take these tips into account:
Don’t expect anything from your teammates
Seriously. If you expect anything from your teammates, you’re bound to be disappointed. I like to view my teammates as bots – not like the pathetic, Riot-created bots, but rather as other characters in a single-player game. Of course, you still need to communicate with them, but at the end of the day, it is purely down to you to take whatever situation the game presents you, and forge a win out of it. Perhaps your Kog’Maw should not have flashed into their entire team, but that is one of the random obstacles that the game has allocated to you. Deal with it.
Not every game is winnable
Some games are just too difficult for you to carry alone. Even if you are the most talented player in the match, you may struggle to carry a game in which your solo-laners are both 0-5 at 10 minutes. If you lose, don’t get angry. Just move on.
Faker, the Korean solo-queue god, has only won 56% of his matches on his main account this season. Yes, you read that correctly. Even our lord Faker loses solo queue games. You will lose games too. Solo queue is a long-term endeavour; play enough matches and, if you are significantly better than your rank, you will climb out of it over time.
But, you may argue, I have played over 100 games and haven’t climbed at all! If this is the case, you need to look at your own performances. If you are not climbing over an extended period of time, it is because you are not performing significantly better than those with whom you are being matched. You may win your lane in the majority of your games, but if you are not converting this into victories, you are doing something wrong.
A common mistake is excessive passivity. Farm is important, but if you are playing very passively and simply outfarming you opponent every game, you are not being proactive enough to reliably expect to win games for your team. Solo queue is largely about snowballing. If you are better than your opponent, you need to make it count. If you outfarm your mid lane opponent by 40 CS at 20 minutes (without accruing any kills) and their top laner has killed your top laner 5 times, their top laner has contributed more to their team than you have to yours*. He deserves to carry his team to victory more than you deserve to carry yours.
*as a general rule. There are exceptions that prove the rule, such as Ryze and Nasus.
Don’t expect ganks
Ganks are great. They allow winning lanes to snowball, and losing lanes to survive. In solo queue, you must see ganks as a luxury. There are three lanes to gank, and a jungle for the jungler to clear. He can’t deal with all four of these things at the same time.
Of course, there are more efficient ways for a jungler to play the game. Perhaps, in certain scenarios, this would involve ganking your lane. However, if we revert back to the first point of this article, it is not up to you to control how your teammates play. Instead, make do with what you get. If you cannot play your lane out efficiently without gank pressure, you are not playing better than your opponent. If you are not playing better than your opponent, you cannot complain if you do not win the game.
If you ever find yourself complaining about a lack of ganks, stop and ask yourself: “Why am I so desperate for ganks?” A lot of the time, you will find that you are complaining because you are losing lane. You losing lane is not your jungler’s fault, and it is often not efficient for him to gank your losing lane.
Learn to be carried
You are not superman. Unless you are smurfing, it is highly unlikely that you will win your lane every game. As much as it may pain you to admit it, you are almost certainly not the best player in your rank.
If you lose lane, accept your failure. If you play with the mentality: “I’m better than this noob, he just got lucky,’ you are likely to feed more. Perhaps you are better than him. Perhaps he was lucky to kill you the first time. But once he has the advantage, you need to pay him the respect he deserves.
If your opponent is in control of the lane, your primary job is to ensure that he does not snowball out of control. Rather forgo some farm than allow him more opportunities to kill you. If another lane of yours is winning, allow them to get stronger than your lane opponent by denying your opponent the opportunity to snowball. It is a skill in itself to orchestrate such a situation into an overall lead, and ultimately a victory, for your team.
Lastly, remember to have fun. Don’t forget that LoL is a game. If you are in a good mood, you are less likely to tilt. Solo queue is a game mode that lends itself to comebacks. As long as your spirits are high, you always have a chance of pulling a win out of the hat, and there are few things in LoL quite as rewarding as snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.