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Elo Hell and You: Part 2 - Skills That Pay the Bills

Please read Part One before continuing, if you have not.

Skills That Pay the Bills

This will be building upon where Part 1 left off. The basic concept for part 2 is that there are many different skill sets required to be good in this game and that these skill sets have certain ‘values’ attached to them. The associated values attached to these skill sets are not constant across the many different Elo ranges. As you slide up or down on the ladder, you will find different metas at work within the game and these metas are what influence how valuable each skill set is. The other determining factor is the skill level of the other players at these Elo levels. I believe that this is why somebody can have one account at a specific Elo range and a completely different account in a totally different range. Luck can play a part in their initial placement, however, once they get passed the initial set of boosted point games it is ultimately up to the player to overcome this luck by playing enough games. Statistics will (almost) always trump luck when given a large enough sample size. These variations in skill values can prevent a player that would normally do well at a higher rating from moving from one meta to another and it is up to you to find out how to break through this “Impassable Barrier."

The skill sets

Texas Snyper Part2

Showing off more l33t MSPaint skillz.

Let’s take a look at what I mean by ‘skill sets’. There are many aspects to game play found in League of Legends. The best of the best players excel at most, if not all, of these and this is the reason why ‘Elo hell’ does not faze them at all. They are valuable at all levels but are more valuable at some Elo ranges than others. These skill sets can have sub aspects to them and include but are not limited to:

Variable values

  • Map Awareness
    • Providing map awareness: This is buying and using wards optimally, calling incoming ganks and mias, and the like. This is more valuable at Elos where people tend to not buy wards or pay attention to the mini map and less valuable (but still needed) at higher Elos where the burden is shared among multiple players.
    • Observational awareness: This is your awareness according to what’s going on in the game. This is more valuable at higher Elos where you’ll find mias being called, wards being used, etc and you need to be able to observe the pings and calls and act accordingly.
  • Positioning: Tanks can’t tank from the back lines and carries die at the front lines. Know where you need to be and where you need to not be. More valuable at the higher Elos where skilled players can capitalize on bad positioning and less valuable at lower Elos where they are less likely to.
  • Carrying your team: This does not mean playing the carry. This means taking the role of your team’s leader and leading them to victory. Being the tank that takes initiative, the one who calls for pushes or Baron kills at the right times. Calling retreats or stacking in a bush for a gank. If your team is good enough, they can make good decisions with minimal direction. If you find yourself among lesser skilled players, then you need to be able to try your best to "hold their hand" through the game.
  • Role X
    • Playing X role: Some roles are more valuable than others at any given range. Tanks are useless if the players at that range don’t know how to optimize a taunted/stunned carry. Support is useless if the players dive without the support. You may tank like an 1800 player, but if your teammates can’t use that then you’re dead weight. Play the roles that your team can use. Support is a force multiplier and is minimalized when the force applied by your teammates is weak.
    • Ability to play X role: You may be able to tank/support like an 1800 player but your carry/mage skills are of 1100 quality. This is not the fault of some mystical ‘Elo hell’ but the result of different metas due to differences in skills at different ranges. You can duo que up to where your best roles are usable, get better at the more valuable roles or brute force claw your way out.

Constant value skills

Compare those above to some skills that remain valuable at any Elo range. Again, these include but are not limited to:

  • The draft: Learning good picks and counter picks can determine the outcome of the game even before the game loads. If you see all squishies, pick an assassin. If you see a weak jungler, pick a strong counter-jungler and shut him out.
  • Last hitting/Lane control: No matter how good or bad the players around you are, having proper last hitting technique and lane control is very important. Knowing when and how to push or not push your lane can be the difference between getting a kill and dying. It can let you gank other lanes with minimal CS and XP loss or maximize the damage you do to their turret.

These are only some of the skill sets you need to play well. Your ability to optimize these skills according to your meta will determine how much you can influence the game (See Part 1) and, therefore, determines your success.

Sometimes, however, you are handed a game that you just simply have zero chances of winning. Period. Learn to take these losses and just keep on keeping on. No system is perfect and there are trolls everywhere. Starcraft 2, Halo, Call of Duty and many more all have trolls. Worry about what you do have control over and don’t worry about that which you do not. Realize that the MM system is not out to get you, Riot did not hard code your summoner name to always receive the trolls and feeders.

If you want to improve yourself and climb the ladder, then play according to where you are at and not where you want to be. Optimize your ability to influence the game, accept the losses, and realize you only have control over the parts of the game you have control over, YOU.

TL;DR: Skills are weighted in importance differently at varying Elo ranges. Adapt to the meta you are in and optimize your influence in the game.

NOTE: Please remember that I am taking the whole 'Elo hell' in parts so if I "didn't talk about (this) or (that)" that is probably because I will be addressing it in a subsequent post. Also, I have decided that for Part 3 I will be doing a Q&A type thing, so if you want any any specifics addressed, please leave a message here and I'll do my best to address as many as I can.

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