How to Learn From a Loss in League of Legends



Sun 15th Nov 2020 - 5:02pm

Losing is not something people enjoy. Sometimes the game feels hopeless, and sometimes the game just comes down to one fight, but nevertheless, it still sucks. The most important thing you can do when you lose, is to learn from it.


If you really want to get better, you must learn from your mistakes. A big challenge people must overcome is figuring out how to identify their mistakes. Often, the most game-changing mistakes are the ones you don't realize you're making, and have become habit. If you're ever in a game and you cannot pinpoint why you've lost immediately after your nexus explodes, I implore you to review your game and try to figure it out. Before giving you a step-by-step approach to learning from your loss, I must first note that in order to learn from a loss, you must take full responsibility for the outcome of the game. Never tell yourself that your teammate just trolled or made all of the mistakes. Never tell yourself it was just a bad team composition, and lastly (and most importantly), never tell yourself that there was nothing you could have done.

Review Each Stage of the Game

First, break your game into 3 sections: early-game, mid-game, and late-game (if applicable). I would suggest working backwards because the issues become clearer since you see the consequences before seeing the mistake that caused them. In the late game ask yourself questions like: Why the enemy team got baron? Was your team in a position to contest? Why not? Continue this cycle of critical questioning and analysis until you find your answer, or you have to check the mid-game.

In the mid-game, ask yourself questions like:

Why does the enemy team need one more dragon for soul?
Why can't we match the enemy split pusher?
Why didn't we win fights?
Why didn't we win skirmishes?

The more questions you ask, the more you will encourage yourself to be critical and specific. You will start to find answers to these questions, such as:

We didn't have a good setup to contest dragons.
We don't have anyone that can safely match the split push.
We don’t fight well front-to-back but that is how we fought.
We didn't have good rotations to create advantages in the skirmishes.

With these answers, eventually you can probe further:

Did we have any setup, or was it just not good enough?
Why isn't it safe enough to match the split push?
Why didn't we dive the backline if that is what our composition is good at?
Why didn't we rotate fast enough, were we just slow, or did it seem like a bad idea to rotate, if so, why did it seem like a bad idea?

Although it is tedious work, the effort is worth the reward. Eventually, if done correctly, you will have a "Eureka!" moment and find a consistent, conclusive answer to these questions:

Little vision, hard to contest dragons.
Little vision, easy to get collapsed on in side lane, don't have champions with good enough escape.
Little vision, could not find a way to flank backline.
Seemed like a bad idea: Too risky, didn't have enough vision to see where enemies were.

In this example, the common denominator that effected the mid-game was vision.

Looking at the early-game, the majority of the questions you should be asking are based on the matchups that started the mid-game with leads. For example: Why did the enemy jungler and mid have such a large lead, etc.? From this you can check how the lead was created, was it a successful 2v2 skirmish? Why was it successful? Was the wave in a bad position for our mid laner, making them vulnerable to a gank? The more "black-and-white" you make the situation, the easier it is to find answers. Continue asking questions about these consequences, what decisions caused these consequences, and what circumstances caused those decisions. Finally, remember when analysing your games, always ask yourself what role you played in that situation, and what role you could have played to have made the situation better.

Taking a skirmish without adequate vision
Chasing without adequate vision

Chasing with adequate vision

Review Your Build

After analysing the stages of the game, it's important to determine if your build could have been better optimized. For example: If the enemy Soraka became an issue, did you build healing reduction, etc.? Doing this will help you establish reasoning behind your build path. It is fine to follow guides to get started, but you should ultimately be critical of builds if you want to be efficient and the best player you can be. If you're ever unsure if your build could have been better, jump into practice tool and test out both builds in the conditions you were in to find the right answer. The same reasoning also applies to your choice of runes, and summoner spells (although they often are quite generic).

Stacked Rageblade: 6 autos (3 crits) with PD/IE (50% crit chance) build on Vayne (3500hp, 250 Armor and MR Target Dummy) 

Stacked Rageblade: 6 autos with Wit's End/LDR (0% crit chance) build on Vayne (3500hp, 250 Armor and MR Target Dummy)

Review Your Communication

Next, think back to the game about how you communicated with your team. Did you say anything that may have tilted a teammate? Did they say anything that may have tilted you? Did your jungler tank the turret on a dive when you think you should have? Did the enemy Talon roam bot and get a double kill? Communication is vital to success in video games and must be respected accordingly. Think of what was communicated that shouldn't have been, and what wasn't communicated that should have been. Then determine what you should have done to correct those mistakes.

Are You Warning Your Teammates of Roaming Laner?

Review Your Mechanics

Finally, if you want to get a full review done, then briefly skim through the game to see if you could have mechanically played better. Although mechanics are important to success, they tend to improve over time and don't require as much review until you are really good at the game. If you are going to ask questions about your mechanics however, ask yourself if you chose the right combo given the situation. For example, if you needed to deal as much burst as possible, or if you needed to kite as much as possible, etc. These choices should end up becoming routine as a by-product of your play and can be most optimally fine-tuned through practicing them in controlled environments such as practice tool.


When all is said and done with your review, the final step is deciding what you will do next time to avoid these situations, and how you will practice to become the most proactive and effective player you can be.


Overall, the more you put into a review, the more you get out of it. So remember, "A successful person never loses… They either win or learn!" - John Calipari. Do your best, and keep asking questions. Good luck, Summoners!