League of Legends: A Duo Queue Guide featuring DIG Soligo and FakeGod
Sat 23rd Jan 2021 - 3:08pm
We’ve discussed the intricacies of the Solo Queue ladder in League of Legends through guides in the past, but one thing that is often enjoyed, complained about and abused in equal measure is the Duo component of this Ranked Ladder. After our recent interview with Soligo and FakeGod, however, we decided to ask this perfect pair about their individual experiences with Duo Queue so that we could break it down for you as simply as possible!
Are Two Heads Really Better Than One?
The Ranked Solo/Duo Ladder is a perilous place for the unprepared. Many a Summoner has had a disappointing session brought on by newly matched teammates with… disagreeable attitudes. There is a glaringly obvious solution to this problem; if you’re unhappy with having 4 randomly grouped teammates, bring in a partner to knock that number down to 3! “But RealZesty,” you may say, “if it were this easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?” Simply put, there are a number of positive and negative factors that come with playing as a lone wolf as compared to a dynamic duo. Interestingly enough, Soligo and FakeGod have differing opinions on the nature of partnering up in Ranked so before we dive into more analysis, let’s look at their take on solo vs. duo:
FakeGod: I actually prefer duo queue. For me, it’s more enjoyable that way; also, if you’re duoing with someone you’re on a team with or want to develop synergy with, it’s a great way to build on that, especially if you’re queuing up in roles that work with each other more (e.g. ADC and Support, Mid and Jungle, etc.).
Soligo: For me, it entirely depends on my focus. If I want to just grind Ranked and climb as high as I can, I prefer solo queuing. If I’m trying to learn a certain champion or I just want to be casual, it’s definitely better to duo.
So let’s dive into the key differences between the solo and duo experiences. The first and most basic observation concerns the restrictions placed on partners hoping to queue up together; if you were Platinum and hoping to queue up with your Iron friend, so you could play with Iron players while still climbing the ladder, think again! There are rank restrictions on who can play with who, to ensure you’re matched with people at or around your skill level at all times. These restrictions are shown below, sourced from the Ranked FAQs under “Solo Queue Limitations”:
This is the most obvious point to take note of, and arguably also the simplest. Looking back on the previous question of why everyone doesn’t just go in with a partner, the answers start to become a little more complicated. The most basic answer is this: matchmaking balance. Playing with a pal is clearly, in theory, the stronger alternative, as the two of you gain a powerful edge over their opposition. In reality, there are systems in place to ensure that edge isn’t unfairly keen.
Soligo: From my experience with duo queuing, particularly in lower elos, it will make your teammates significantly worse and the enemy teammates way too good for you. The advantage you get from being able to communicate with your duo is often not worth some of the teammates you get put with.
FakeGod: Well, I haven’t been in low elo for quite a while so I actually wouldn’t know…
Soligo: Alright bro, no need to flex… *laughing*
While FakeGod might not be able to relate, this is the matchmaking system attempting to prevent a predetermined imbalance between two teams. The other technical matchmaking solution to a duo playing in solo queue is that duos are more likely to find other duos when searching for a game. This is not always the case, but you are considerably more likely to be matched with an enemy duo if you have one on your own team, whether you’re a part of it or not.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Now that we understand the technical side of duo queue, it’s time to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of bringing a friend on to the Rift. Beginning with the strengths, playing with someone that you’ve known for a while (a good friend, a teammate, etc.) gives you the strength of synergy. The guaranteed chemistry that you have with the right partner is especially powerful when you’d otherwise have to get familiar with a whole new team every time you queue up, and is the biggest advantage of playing with a friend. Synergy is one of the most important aspects of any team game, and League of Legends is no exception; callouts, knowing your teammates’ playstyle, pings and split-second decision making are all elements of the game that are enhanced by a greater understanding of your allies.
FakeGod: When you’re duoing with someone you know, there’s a lot of expectations that you can have about the game based on who you’re playing with. If they’re good, you can assume they’ll win lane and so you can focus more on other lanes and prioritise getting them ahead if you’re worried that they’re not going to perform.
Additionally, you can decide mechanical synergies and wombo combos in champ select with greater ease when you play with a duo. Both of you can discuss your strengths, pocket picks and preferred bans so that you can begin to form the foundation for a team composition between the pair of you. If your team is lacking CC (Crowd Control), missing some damage or looking extra squishy, the two of you can opt for that to round out the team and bring balance to your side of the Rift.
When it comes to weaknesses, we’ve already discussed that you’re likely to face an empowered enemy team when duoing with a partner, but there are a few more subtle weaknesses that are associated with duo queue too. These subtle weaknesses revolve around the extra added pressures of playing with a teammate you already know, and how that can change your gameplay.
Soligo: When you’re duoing, I feel like there’s almost an implicit agreement where you kind of have to help your duo. Say you’re playing Jungle, and you’re duo with your Top Laner; if you’re not ganking your Top Laner, he’s probably going to get mad in comms, and even though it might not be ideal to gank them in certain situations you’ll still feel pressured to (even though you shouldn’t be).
This additional pressure can shake up your decision making and cause you to act sub-optimally as you pander to the needs and requests of your partner. Connected with this is the extra stress of feeling as though you need to perform in front of your duo, so that you can show off and impress more than you usually would if just playing solo. If this is playing on your mind, it’s hard to play your natural game and you can put yourself at risk of tilting or burning out, since you’re playing harder than normal.
FakeGod: I suppose that could be considered a strength as well, actually. If you’re one that thrives when the pressure is on you might enjoy this more, but usually it just ends up with you feeling flat after losing or frustrated with your partner.
Finally, let’s talk about game plans. If you play the way you do as a solo player when you’re with a friend, there’s a chance you’re throwing away some of your advantage by not utilising that link more effectively. The clear strategy is to prioritise your efforts on and around your partner, so that the two of you succeed together and can decide how the gold is spent, eliminating the potential harm of a troll with a huge economy. Outside of this, you can bring an element of trickery to the game, by hyping up your ally in team chat in front of the rest of your teammates after a good play. This positive reinforcement can set the tone for your team and give the other 3 members of your team a morale boost, which can change the tides of a game if one of them is feeling tilted or deflated.
Choosing roles that work well together is a great way to translate your chemistry into success more conveniently. Soligo breaks this down for you below:
Soligo: Obviously, the obvious pairing in duo queue is ADC and Support. These two roles are very heavily reliant on each other and if you take them with your partner then you’re eliminating the chance that two people with very different playstyles have to lane together. You can also choose Jungle and pretty much any other role as well, as a proactive Jungler can have a really big impact all across the map.
There are clear champion choices that conveniently click too; an obvious example being Malphite and Yasuo, as their ultimate abilities combine with deadly effect. In ADC and Support, different pairings will be in flavour based on the meta, so ensure you stay up to date with Patch Notes and tier lists so that you can best use the meta to your advantage. FakeGod brought his own insights to the matter:
FakeGod: Oh man, Rengar and Ivern is so annoying. It can be seen in Mid or Top, and it’s super strong in solo queue. The brush jumping is the biggest part of the synergy, as Rengar is a very powerful skirmisher when he can play around the brushes… but Ivern just brings them right to him.
That wraps up our tips and tricks for duo queue in League of Legends! We’d like to extend our thanks to Soligo and FakeGod for offering their advice on the matter and wish them the very best of luck when Dignitas returns in the North American LCS. GLHF!