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Solo Queue: The Bronze Adventures of Care Level

Hi, my name is Care Level, and I'm a shit-tier Bronze player that mains ADC (look it up on lolking; Vayne is my most-played champ!). I like to think that I'm pretty good at it; I generally do well, personally, when I play that role.

When I can't ADC because of pick order (which I respect and endorse wholeheartedly, though a selective queueing system would be wonderful), I generally frequent Support. My support philosophy is a bit different; for starters, I generally prefer aggressive supports, with Leona, Lux, and Elise being my favorite picks, though I don't mind playing a Thresh or Nami every now and again. I like to go for AP-heavy build paths or, if I'm Thresh or Leona, the "tanky beast" build. I don't try to take kills, but I'm strongly against the mentality that "supports should never take kills": if someone's got a questionable amount of distance on us and their health is low, I'm not going to not Zenith Blade them. If they die, they die; 1 kills is always better than 0. Take your assist and shut up. Alternatively, if I'm playing Elise and we need damage right now damage damage damage or we're going to die, I'm not going to stop doing damage so they can go 1 for 1 instead of 1 for 0. If they die, they die. Elise's Q is good at that. Similar policy on CS: if no one's in a lane and the enemy minions are pushing, I'm going to push the wave back. You could argue that "you should leave the farm for a laner", but I'd argue that "a laner shouldn't have left that farm". Hell, I'll take my carry's farm if they're missing last hits (I have 30 AD and they have 70; if my auto kills it, it's because they messed up) or if they're out of lane and it's pushed. I've lost enough games from people not pushing lanes that your "boo hoo support has 70 CS" tears sustain me, and I'm not going to watch a tower eat farm that I could be taking. Wah.

Maybe you don't like my attitude; I'm okay with that. Maybe you think, "Hey, that's pretty reasonable", in which case I agree wholeheartedly! Whatever you think, all that's just to give you some context on who I am when you read the entries, here.

I'll do my best to include reports of all my matches an unbiased selection of my matches (I don't want to write after every game, turns out); I don't want to inflate my win rate by only recording victories, or sound whiny by putting a disproportionate emphasis on losses. That said, here are the stories of some games I've played:

Throwing in the Major League

  • Riven (Top): 0/4/0 (2/28/2, lol). Defeat (gasp!).

My score was entirely my fault; I got frustrated early on and kept making poor decisions because of it. Snowball frustration! I probably could've done respectably, but fuck that; I could be ragey, instead!

Started off wanting to get First Blood on Aatrox in one combo (very possible; results say so!); I was pretty excited about it, since I'd just crunched the numbers and determined that I ought to be able to 100-0 pretty much anything at level 1. I was fucking stoked to try it, but, one auto from death, Aatrox Flashed. I flashed after him, but I was a bit out of range for that last auto. Now, that's always bad enough on its own, missing a kill by one AA, but, in this case, it straight pissed me off because the whole reason I played this match (normals lol) was so I could test my level-one First Blood theory. I did the math, it worked as expected; where's my damn First Blood?! I deserved it! Of note, I even mention in that blog post that it's "first blood if the enemy doesn't feel like flashing"; he flashed, no FB, that's how I expected it to play out. Disappointing, nonetheless. I am not okay with being denied at level 1... even if I'm being denied the cheesiest first blood ever. Yeah.

After that, we went to laning as usual: since I was Riven (and he was already low, before chugging all of his pots), I completely pushed his shit in and he refused to trade with me (which is the appropriate course of action), so we both got to farm under his turret (by which I mean "I got to farm under his turret and his turret got to freefarm because he knew I would've killed the shit out of him had he tried to reengage at that point"). Like my own guide says (Tips and Tricks blog post), the ideal course of action is to roam when this happens, as it does quite often. I know that; however, because I was pissed at him stealing my well-fucking-deserved First Blood, I stuck around. He was going to die, dammit!

So, of course, as anyone would, his jungle ganked me through river and I died under my turret (that I managed to get to my turret with no boots against an Aatrox and Amumu is a testament to "Riven OP"). Now I'm 0/1. I didn't get my First Blood, and now I was down a kill in lane. Of course, I'm up enough CS that it doesn't really put me behind, since Aatrox had been getting denied under his own turret. I still got this, yo.

I went back to lane and, still not having an item disadvantage, proceeded to kick Aatrox's ass all over lane again. Back to his turret; I was still absolutely set on killing this Aatrox. You don't understand; I wanted blood. I didn't have Ignite (tried to kill Aatrox while I was being ganked, so burned that), but I had an ult, now: popped his passive under his turret. I was low after that, so I backed off a bit and continued to lane against him, a bit less aggressively (since he could've actually killed me if he landed a full combo), when "Yay! Tibbers!" out of river bush. Okay, so now mid is holding his hand, too. 0/2.

At this point, my team is stupid far behind. I stop caring about winning; it clearly wasn't going to happen, and it was too early to /ff. I go back to top lane because I can still win that, dammit. A couple of interesting things happened before I got there, though: one, while Aatrox was pushing my creep wave from under his turret, I saw Annie "sneak" past my creeps into top lane brush; two, I call her out on this; and, three, I expect her to go away after her gank was clearly foiled. Instead, I push the creep wave from under my turret a bit AND BOOM, MOTHERFUCKING FIREBEAR. Now-5/0-Annie has been sitting in my top bush for the better part of two minutes after I called her out on being there. Are you serious right now? 0/3.

Minions are pushing down our inner turret at mid. Annie's there, under our turret, pushing with the minions; she'd lingered a bit too long after that last teamfight, and I have flash/ignite/ult up. This little Aatrox-loving skank is going to die for her sins. I enter lane, hit a couple of creeps under turret, get a bit closerULT-FLASH-VALOR-BROKENWINGS-IGNITE-STUN-DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEoh I'm knocked up why is Aatrox here? Bear to the face; 0/4.

I res and go back top. 2 of us are AFK or dead; I didn't check. Ori blew all her gold put wards all over the map before jumping into their fountain; I push to their inhib turret, they push down our nexus.

That's what happens.

In spite of all that, though, I guess I did accomplish my goal: you can get First Blood in one combo (Aatrox even started Cloth5!). Just... if they Flash, let them go ahead and fuck off. Be happy with "Top no flash 2:05"; that's pretty boss, let's be honest. Otherwise, you go 2/28/2, true story.

So Ezreal's a Caster, Right?

  • Ezreal ("ADC" if you can even call it that): 15/6/20 (57/54/84). Well-deserved Victory!

First things first: blue build is goddamn ridiculous. I've played it a handful of times (like 3), and I've done outrageously well each time considering that I'm a rubbish Ezreal with any other build. I probably (by which I mean "definitely but I don't want to admit it") have better Ez stats than my Vayne and Riven stats, and I main those champs. Blue Ez is just too easy for its reward, period.

That being said, I didn't carry this game.

During champ select, I got regulated to ADC because I was last pick (and I respect pick order). I generally prefer not to play ADC in Normals because I play it so much in Ranked, and it's nice to get a break from the ordinary. But, since ADCing was what was left for me, I elected to go for something less conventional than the "right click and autoattack things to death" Vayne that I usually play. So I went Ezreal, because, let's be honest, he's barely and ADC.

I wanted to play Blue, and Blue has a crappy transition from very early to blossoming midgame. Tear doesn't help a ton in bot lane, nor do the components of Sheen, or a Spirit Stone. But you need them so you can grow up big and strong, right? Pantheon being all up in our shit all the time only exacerbated the problem: the match started 4v5 (our Kennen didn't load in, so we had no mid well into the game), so their Panth mid pushed down mid tower with no one to really stop him, then proceeded to roam and snowball bot lane and... kind of top. I say "kind of" because our Irelia was a monster; she went 26/12/17. When Panth and their jungler (j4) ganked top, Irelia walked away with a double kill; that was her first ridiculous play, and pretty much set the tone for the rest of the match: Irelia went someplace and she killed everything.

I'm okay with second-best next to that, especially because I didn't really earn it. Something just has to go horribly, horribly wrong for you to not succeed at BlEzreal.

In spite of Irelia's utter dominance, the match looked pretty grim for a while: we were down a person in every team fight, we couldn't spare people to deal with split push: all the problems that a 4v5 inherently causes. When Kennen loaded in, the match was already well underway, and a level-one Kennen isn't really an asset against level-thirteen their whole team.

But, of course, he didn't stay level one forever. While the match had been relatively even, before, with Kennen, it was a "clearly winning" game with his presence. Even if it was for nothing more than to CC people in his ult while Irelia killed everything, the scales were most certainly tipped.

We pushed them into base, Irelia and I duod Baron, and we won the game.

I'd've preferred to report on a more interesting match (and possibly one where I did less-well, since you guys seem to hate me talking about succeeding) (jerks!), but a reader was on the opposing team (Pantheon), so I said I'd write this one up for him/her!

Maybe I'll write about a Riven Mid match, next. Those tend to be fun.

Sunfire OP

  • Leona (Support): 7/7/16 (41/28/53 team). Victory, of course!

"Are we not going to talk about this Leona with more gold than our top, mid, and jungle?" is pretty par for the course, for me. I will secure every kill as support and I will push every lane because group projects have taught me one thing moreso than any others: trust no one. It's not that I'm trying to take kills or farm; I'm just not trying not to take kills or farm. As the adage goes, if you want something done, you've got to do it yourself!

We had a rocky laning phase because our ADC, a Tristana, didn't want to go in. Now, I'm not sure if you, reader, have played with/against a Leona before, but there are only two modes: all the way in and all the way out. There is no poke option: when you see Zenith Blade go off, shit is getting real. It took our Trist a while to come to terms with that, but, once she did, we did pretty well. I ended up with a couple of kills during laning because, well, everyone else was dead or gone. Happens; Tristana wasn't complaining because she was fed to hell and back by the time we were done laning (you're welcome!). The only other rough spot was jungle ganks: since we were blue side, it was easy to maintain coverage of their one jungle exit near bot lane, but Nunu kept coming out of our jungle. I got on Lux's case about that and she started warding river properly (y'know, the curved brush, not the one on the lane).

Now, this was a game where most of us did well. We had a 2/8/9 Singed, but that's not too bad when you look at our 13/5/10 Tristana, 12/5/6 Lee Sin (who carried the game pretty hard, if we're honest), and 7/3/12 Lux. I'll say we did alright for ourselves.

Near the end, as we were pushing their Nexus down, I picked up a triple kill because, come on, the game's over and I'm not just gonna watch them walk into their fountain. One kill that I couldn't really justify, though, was one that I took from Lee Sin, earlier: we'd caught Nunu in river, so I blew my CC on him and ran next to him so I could stun him again in case he somehow managed to try to open a gap. Unfortunately, my Sunfire Cape is quite fond of "running alongside the enemy", and so it picked up a kill for me. My bad, Lee Sin.

All-in-all, there's not much interesting to report -- people largely did well, so we won.

Better Nerf Hurricane

  • Varus (ADC): 13/9/6 (33/49/48 team). Victory (lol what)!

This was an... interesting match, starting with champ select.

Support asked to trade with me, so I picked Taric for me and asked for Vayne (my preferred ADC, by far); unfortunately, Vayne fell victim to a pick by the enemy team. I've no one but myself to blame for the way it played out after that: I was tabbed out of League, having already picked, and didn't notice that Vayne had been picked up. Our support asked me who I wanted; I didn't answer, so they picked Varus. I'm not an amazing Varus by any means, but I didn't really have a choice, at that point; perhaps making nachos or whatever I was doing wasn't quite as important as picking an ADC I'm actually good with ("good" being in contrast with my "fairly mediocre" skill with Varus).

I think that laning against Vayne was easier, because I play her so much. I think I know the situations that she excels in, so I did my best to deny her those opportunities to, well, be Vayne. Her Thresh was rubbish (we're talking "doesn't poke with AA"-tier rubbishness on Thresh) but, on the flip side, my Taric wasn't fantastic, either.

Vayne and I were relatively evenly-matched in trades, but I managed to stay ahead in CS (I finished the game with 349 to her 245, largely due to...); she made up the gold with assists on her Kha'Zix's kills (what are wards?!). I couldn't have been said to be truly winning lane until I finished a Runaan's Hurricane as my first item.

Now, you're probably thinking, "What? Why?", as my team certainly was (I can tell because they flamed me for it mercilessly), but let me explain. Vayne has a cripplingly short range for laning; Varus's isn't much better on its own, but Hurricane effectively extends a champ's AA range because it can hit targets behind the main target. In laning phase, it's really just unfair, and especially so with Varus: because Hurricane applies his W with full effectiveness, it acts as decent (free) poke on its own, and since it builds Blight stacks, it increases his damage potential in trades or with dedicated poke. Vayne wants to go hard on me, but that's a significantly less-appealing option when she's got Blight stacks on her, just waiting to explode.

At the same time, and this is a no-brainer, Hurricane pushes harder than most anything else most ADCs can build. Vayne can't push lanes, so Hurricane allowed me to force her to farm under tower, where I could still harass her with impunity while keeping the wave pushed. What's more, it allowed us to take bot tower relatively fast; I considered it a victory, not letting Vayne have her long laning phase. When all was said and done, I finished laning phase a bit ahead, but nothing to write home about. Nontheless, "Hurricane first item noob varus wtf" followed me all game.

Meanwhile, my team went horribly negative, which continued throughout the game. I don't think anyone's surprised, really; such is life in Bronze Solo Queue. I did a fairly decent job of stopping advances and pushing lanes; Hurricane is amazing in that capacity, and I was still glad to have it. Our team fights were weak because we had no real engage or tankiness, so teamfights largely consisted of someone getting picked off by Kha'Zix, then everyone else retreating to tower. "I'm Varus and I have no escape; please fight so I can do damage" didn't really hit home for anyone. When we did have full-blown fights, I did well (my gold was insane because of, you guessed it, Hurricane), with my presence overshadowing Vayne's in every fight. I finished the game (1) having dealt the most damage to champions, period, (2) having taken the second-least damage on our team (Taric took less than me, since he can be largely ignored in fights), and, of course, having the highest CS, most gold, and largest total damage by far (guess why: starts with "H"!). I finished 13/9/6; the next-highest on our team, Garen, finished 8/9/10. That's not rubbish until you look at the opposite team who finished 49/33/70, with the worst score being a 2/9/23 Thresh and their second-worst being a 10/7/7 Singed (which is better than our second-best). For reference, their best score ended up being 14/6/13 Vayne.

In the end, though, Hurricane won the game: in a final play, our team got divided, so they pushed our base. 5 of them plowed through a creep wave and took down our inhibitor turret while 3 of us and Hurricane pushed just as fast. They couldn't take our Nexus turrets fast enough with two defenders and a creep wave (with super minions) spilling out of the Nexus; Hurricane didn't care much for their minions. Or their towers. When their defenders arrived in base, a bit late, a final Chain of Corruption held them nicely in place while 70%-more-attack-speed-than-their-Vayne-icane went hyphy on their Nexus. It was close, for sure, and that's where we'll get our conclusions out:

When you're the only person positive on your team, when they're up 11 grand and a half (our 69,151 gold to their 80,676), the match shouldn't be "close". Hurricane OP; better nerf Hurricane.

Now, (shameless self-promotion) this fits nicely into the "MVP" theme. And, no, I'm not talking about me: their 14/6/13 Vayne and 12/6/15 Viegar and 11/5/12 Kha'Zix and 10/7/7 Singed and (maybe) 2/9/23 Thresh all had good games. If Vayne and Viegar came out MVP and Runner-Up (though, in actuality, Vayne and Kha'Zix had the best games) and recieved a reduced LP penalty, I'd say "That seems fair". As it stands, though, they get "gg" and some honor and a "Hey, sucks about your LP". I wouldn't mind improving their gameplay experience.

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