Myths and Facts About Elo Hell And The Proper Climbing Mentality



Wed 11th Jan 2017 - 10:32am

"Elo Hell" is commonly referred to as the idea where an individual, too frequently gets bad teammates in their games, which causes them to lose too often to the point where they are unable to climb the ladder. While it is certainly true that a number of games are undeniable unwinnable and reasonably frustrating, the larger truth to that a player's ranking is either their own accomplishment or their own fault. In this piece we are going to discuss some myths and facts surrounding solo queue and hopefully equip you with the do-it-yourself tools you will need to climb the ladder.


Myth: Elo Hell exists

Fact: Elo Hell does not exist

The main thing to recognize is that Elo Hell is just an idea. It does not exist in a physical form and therefore is only something whose definition is subjective and can be manipulated just by changing how you look at it. The reality about League of Legends is that it is a hard game, and you are not going to consistently have an easy time. The idea of the elo rating is that it keeps track of your supposed skill rating over the course of a long period of time. If you are inconsistent then that will show in your inability to climb. Contrary to popular belief, if you are at the level of a gold player, but are currently in silver, then all of your games are not going to be one-sided stomps where you go 10-0 every lane phase until you finally reach gold. You will have to display resilience and show that sometimes you lose lane but know how to support your team, or that you are not easily tilted by trolls and teams that massively underperform. Yes, it is true that you will have games where you are objectively the best player on your team but cannot carry by yourself- but if you consistently play at that high performance in all of your games you will climb and in the long-haul should not be an issue. At the same time, if you have been at the same elo for a long time but insist that you are not making any mistakes then you are lying to yourself. The sooner you are able to focus on your own mistakes then the quicker you'll be climbing the ladder.


Myth: Only certain champions will allow you to climb

Fact: While some champions are objectively better than others in certain categories of the game, it is ultimately up to the skill level of the player to climb

This fact becomes increasingly less applicable the higher up the ladder you go, but the overall point is universal - regardless of the champions used, the better player or team will always more likely to win. The game is quite literally balanced in a way so that you can experiment and use different builds on the same champion, or use different in-game macro strategies to win. Every game of League of Legends is going to be different from the next and therefore will require different plays and builds to win the game. Think to the stereotypical storylines where someone looks up a champion counter, picks what is supposedly the best possible counter to their lane opponent, but then loses anyways. This loss occurred because they are not as good on their played champion as their opponent were. When we look at the meta, it is specifically analyzed by the highest level of analysts of teams so that they can determine what is the most effective method of taking down an enemy nexus, on the assumption that they are playing on the highest possible level of play where all of the players are aware of strengths and weaknesses of both themselves and their teams. Solo queue is definitely an entirely different animal however, since you do not have a predetermined gameplan with your team to begin with and more often than not you will not know much about your enemy's strengths and weaknesses until you actually play with them. Solo queue truly is a test of your own ability of not just your own mechanical skill, but your ability to cooperate with others. Some players climb through sheer mechanics while others climb through their macro strategy and general game knowledge.

Myth: If I die trying to save a teammate that has been caught out, they baited me.

Fact: You baited yourself.

It is honestly as simple yet complicated as that. A part of League of Legends is that people get caught out of position, and while it's honourable to try to save that teammates' life, you have to recognize that sometimes it is simply not in your best interest to. If you are close enough to an a teammate that gets caught out, and you are outnumbered, then you were both out of position to begin with. A 4v5 can help push a team off dragon, baron or a tower, while a 3v5 means you just have to back off and let them take it.


Myth: Statistics is the most objective way to view someone's performance

Fact: Numbers mean nothing without context.

While there will be objective times where you might be 2-0 while your team is collectively somewhere along the lines of 2-15, those numbers don't always tell the whole story. If you are genuinely playing the game with the desire to put your team's needs ahead of yours and win, then your numbers across all statistics will just be the side effect and not what you should be playing to pat. Having the most damage dealt on your team means very little if you just frequently win in and chose a bunch of awful fights to begin with. Your damage taken stat being low doesn't mean you had the greatest positioning if you weren't involved in most fights on the map. While there are always semantics to be played when we discuss statistics and their implications on the game, the overall point that needs to be acknowledged is that while numbers don't lie, they also don't tell the whole truth.

Myth: The more you play, the better you will get

Fact: If you do not recognize what your mistakes are, you are going to keep making them.

In some way or another, a good 99% of your deaths can be traced back to something that you did wrong. Likewise, the spectrum of mistakes you made is quite big as it ranges from micro to macro. Whether you whiffed a crucial ability in a fight, picked a bad moment to fight or simply were just on the wrong side of the map to begin with, it is petty to pin a good amount of deaths on your teammates. The only summoner you can control on the map is yourself, and that includes controlling your own self-improvement. Progression does not just come naturally, you have to actually put the work in or else at that point you are just playing for fun.


Bonus Fact: Your experiences, morals and conduct are not universal. Therefore you will be playing with teammates with varying amounts of stress, sensitivity and tolerance.

It is not uncommon to be witness to a situation where one person is genuinely just trying to tell their teammates to not make a certain mistake again, or trying to give them tips and then the person they are talking to flips out on them and calls them toxic. While there can be a whole lot of truth in telling that person to just not be overly sensitive or to just listen with an open mind since you're typing and playing the game at the same time and have to rush your wording, the reality is that you probably are not going to be playing with this person again unless you are already in master or challenger level. At this point, it might just be as simple as saying "sorry" and just getting on with the game, forgetting the exchange ever happened. Some people just do not want help, or are not ready for it. Likewise, if someone communicates any advice or tips to you, just be polite about it whether you agree or not. Everyone has different viewpoints on how the game should be played, everything is ultimately your own decision but do try your best to recognize the merit behind someone else's analysis, they might know something that you don't which might end up being fun to experiment with.


With the 2017 ranked season now underway, it is a good time to evaluate yourself and your own approach to the game in your ultimate quest to be the absolute very best player you will be. Some will make it further than others, but do not let the detract you from your own development as both as player and a person. Best of luck on the rift, Summoner.

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