With the start of the new season comes the dreaded placement matches. A place where all your hopes and dreams get crushed... or will they? The following kit will give you the tools you need to survive the treacherous journey ahead. In this kit, you will find tips on optimizing for the win, champion selection and minimizing risk.
Optimizing for the Win
As humans, we have a limited amount of focus. Optimizing for the win means focusing on what will bring you the greatest chance of success. When we begin to focus on negative events, we OPTIMIZE for the loss. Do NOT confuse this with ignoring negative information. Such as, an on-coming gank or a tank focusing your adc. What follows, is where you decide to put your FOCUS. Do you focus on, “well, my adc sucks” or focus on HOLY SHIT my adc is getting slapped in the face and I need to go help him! Optimize for the positive outcome. Lingering on “what ifs” and “bad teammates” will only make you frustrated and cause you to make mistakes. Optimizing for the win means focusing on actions that will help you help your teammates do better.
Pff, that wasn't even close!
In order to avoid making mistakes in champion select, being prepared for most negative circumstances, and having a diverse champion pool is a must. Aim to be proficient in at least 2 champions for every role. This is the most IMPORTANT tool in your kit, without it, you will be very fragile to trolls, and other unfortunate circumstances.
Find a partner in crime. The buddy system is an effective way to overcome personal slumps and misgivings. Having a buddy to rely on to help each other up when the going gets tough will save you many a match. But the buddy system has much more to offer beyond minimizing your risk. It will make leading a team easier and open up opportunities for more complex and game changing plays.
Be WARNED, make sure you can rely on your partner. Simply because a friend is able to pubstomp in one game, does not mean he will do so for the remainder. Consistency is key and aim for those that make as few MISTAKES as possible. While also having an ability to either lead or follow the team. Make sure to find a reliable buddy before going on your ranked journey. Some criteria include;
How cool headed are they?
Do they take unnecessary risks?
Do they play the blame game?
Can they take criticism?
Can they follow or lead a team?
Do you enjoy playing with them?
An example of a duo's unlocked potential at leading teams:
While these tools won't guarantee better placements, they will help you play a better and more consistent game.
Being robust to change is key to overcoming the woes of Ranked play.
Rage causes loss of focus and careless mistakes. A great way to remove anger and increase your ability to perform as a gamer is through the removal of expectation. Removing this is not an easy task, but the following will give you the tools to succeed in learning this skill.
The Expectation Decoupling
Has there been a time when something didn't go as planned, when something didn't go as expected or a team that abided completely to the definition of noob? What I've come to learn is that expectations are the gateway to anger. They are tricky as it's second nature to have these thoughts. I believe where the real avoidance of anger lies is in the acceptance. This acceptance comes before and after the match. In that this acceptance is not born of defeat, but of clarity. By accepting this it frees up the mind of doubt, anger and frustration. Instead, this energy is used to focus on what to do in order to bring out the win. Getting to this stage of acceptance is something that comes with practice, consciously grounding the expectations so that it can't make a bad situation worse.
It than becomes a fight of reminding before and after the game that this is merely noise. Similarly to how a picture is made up of millions of dots that when looked at closely seemingly have no meaning. Much like farming or landing skill shots, this only comes with practice. I can't say exactly what will create this attitude of acceptance and clarity. More in that I'm not a mind reader and as I've said before, there's no a-b-down-right-a cheat code that... TA-DA instant acceptance. It's more that I can give a goal for anyone to work towards. Much like working toward having 80 farm at 10 minutes.
Why Accepting works
At the very core, it removes any illusions a person may have of their standing. We can think of this as a ground- up approach. If we think of ourselves higher than we actually are, and reality comes around and slaps us in the face, we are negatively affected. A person that is grounded cannot be affected by any external changes, be it from a stock market crash, to a 5 game losing streak. Similarly, it's about accepting that a 5 game winning streak does not mean you're unstoppable. Merely that fortune was smiling on you for those 5 games.
More On Fortune
Fortune is closely related to expectations, as this is what expectations are born from. It is an external affect that determines if one gets good or bad teammates. In that we can consider a poor person un-fortunate and a rich one fortunate. We can beat fortune through acceptance, it than becomes as if one is watching a video and commenting on it. It no longer is, "why the fuck did this happen to me?", but that of, "Oh this happened to me".
Expectations, Acceptance and Fortune
By accepting that fortune can be a bitch, one removes expectations from ones thoughts. As it no longer becomes a struggle to push those ideas away. In that it is now a funnel for improvement, problem solving and enjoyment.
While this approach isn't a guaranteed way to win, it's a robust way to not loose.
What Carrying Really Looks Like in The Real World
Let's say we have two ships. One is divided in to compartments, and the other is just a plain ship. The plain ship is more efficient as it can carry more cargo per voyage. The ship with compartments is less efficient due to the added walls as well as being much heavier.
Why The Slow Inefficient Win The Race
This is often characterized as a comical saying of a turtle in a race. There's actually a lot more truth to this. If we look at our 2 ships again, in a linear situation( going from point a to b along a straight path in clear deep water) the efficient ship will win hands down. Yet, the world and league of legends are no where near linear representations. They live in the extremes where things suddenly happen without any notice. Now let's imagine our ships in a race with obstacles they have to dodge in murky water. Our efficient friend will be fragile to any mistakes caused by the captain. But even the most experienced make mistakes and the sinking of this big ship is inevitable. A few leagues behind is our robust friend, due to more compartments pulling a more even weight, if one becomes damaged the ship can still make it through. All bet in a much uglier yet victorious way.
What Do These Ships Have To Do with LoL?
The focus when trying to rise the ladder is to essentially carry. Yet this is where the fallacy lies. Aiming to get as fed as possible(putting all the kills in to one person is more efficient as it requires very little team work). This way of carrying resembles our big ship, carrying all your teammates to victory. But what happens when the carrier makes a mistake? The team sinks, and sinks very rapidly.
Now imagine these same teammates, given each a compartment as well as yourself with relatively the same size. While one compartment or teammate failing is highly likely. There will still be relatively smooth sailing to a victorious end.
Share The Pie, Fatty
Aim for ASSISTS. Share the piece of the pie when ever you can. Which means setting yourself up in a position that allows you to help each teammate as much as possible.
Good Luck Climbing The Ladder!
Have negative/positive comments or suggestions? Feel free to wright them below.
Welcome to the country roads, the bumpy, dirty and secret side of gaming.
We'll be looking at why a barbell strategy is a robust way to approach ladder climbing.
My elo history from the last 2 months. A bumpy a road.
Mother of bumps!
From this we can see the barbell strategy at work. This is how I managed to keep my down side reasonable, and take full advantage of my upside. This shows a lot of volatility and how gaming is not something that has a relatively straight line, but many extremes that bounce back and forth. Beating the system means taking advantage of those positive extremes and mitigating the negative ones as much as possible.
This is how the barbell strategy works. I found champions that I can fall back on, a small set of champions that I can rely on whenever I'm experiencing a down side. Think of this as a solid, very hard to break foundation. Something that doesn't lose or win a lot. This will acts as a buffer and helps mitigate loss.
I also keep up to date with the changing meta as well as trying and experiencing new champions. This is how I take advantage of the up side. That big shot in the graph was not done by my regular champions, but by the ones I experimented with. These experimental champions are what gave me that huge boost.
Experiment in ranked, not normals. Yes, you read the right. This is a domain problem so many league players fall in that trap. Just because you're good with a champion in normals. Does not mean you're good with them in ranked. The two ladders are completely different beasts. On top of this learning in ranked is much more productive. Of course you'll have an initial 1 or two losses. But from those two games you learned more about that champion in solo ranked q. Than you would in x number of games in normals. After those initial losses I found I had a pure understanding of how the champion worked in solo q. Which allowed me to juice a lot of wins out of them. As vVv Anaxamander says below, a smurf account is a great way to learn champions in ranked, it allows you to experiment while not having to worry about the losses.
I realize now, that I fell into a trap. Instead of reducing the amount played with my experimental champions that got me all those wins. I kept on playing them hoping for the good old days to come back. Which is why you see those very big plunges at the end when I got into gold.
It's best to have a few solid champs to fall back on when the going gets tough. But to also have experimental champions that have the potential to generate a lot of wins. But don't fall in the trap of clinging to these experimental champions when you begin loosing with them. Instead fall back on to the solid champions you know how to play which will lessen your losses.
The ideas in this blog where birthed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, like antifragile and "barbell strategy" but the examples and expansions are my own.