Thursday, April 26, 2012

You're not in ELO Hell, your mechanics just suck.

This is my first post, so I'll preface the entire blog with this one statement: 90% of every post will be me ranting. I usually rant on Skype to whoever will pretend to listen well enough to appease me, but the main problem is I'll wake up the next morning and have no idea what I actually said. Blog posts are just my way of ranting while having the added bonus of it being archives for future use. 

So, on to the good stuff.

For me, streams replace television. It is as simple as that, my love for e-sports (specifically RTS/ARTS) cannot be sated by simply playing because dealing with people within games exhausts me too much after 6+ hours. So when I'm not playing I'm talking about playing or talking about someone else playing. That is me specifically, I play as much as I can before I am at the point of mental exhaustion and then take a break by watching instead. I think that is the best way to better yourself as a player, but I am obviously biased. Don't take what I say at face value, let me explain why. 

I highlight the way I watch streams because it segues at least semi-decently into my next point - people who only watch streams and barely play. I know lots of people who do this, and their reasoning varies but always circles back to having no drive to play. I shouldn't care what other people do, but alas I do. A big pet peeve of mine is ELO Hell complaints. I think we are all sick and tired of that term to the point where it is only used as a joke unless, ironically, you want to be laughed at. But people being bad at a game is fine, people are bad at games there is nothing new about that. What irks the shit out of me is complaining that their ELO is not rising, when it shouldn't be.

I know far too many people who watch streams all day and then lose the two games they actually play and ragequit back to their favorite stream. You see, the people I am referring to will watch streams in order to learn more about the game which sounds like a great way to improve. You know what is a better way to improve? Playing. Lots of these avid stream watchers can probably recite the best matchups/bans/picks and maybe even ways to beat all the champions in their lane of choice, if they have the memory for it, but they still suck.  They don't just suck because they got counterpicked, but they suck because they can't control their champion. 

But Mr. Sqsing, what are you talking about? 

I'm glad you ask. I am talking about mechanics. Mechanics in gaming, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is essentially your ability to make the game do what you want. Mechanics are your speed, your precision, and pretty much anything that isn't the strategy aspect of the game. Some specific examples of very basic mechanics are creep scores, landing abilities, use of summoner abilities and more. In short: mechanics, or there lack of, are why most people suck.

Have you ever seen a high-ELO player smurf? I'm sure you have, it is hilarious to watch. Do you know why they win? I can tell you right now, and almost every top player would agree, solo queue is not the place for strategy. When SV is playing at 1200 ELO with a KDA of 20:0 he isn't applying the theorycrafting him and his team have spent weeks coming up with for the upcoming LAN event, he just lands everything. Every. Fucking. Thing. He controls his champion exactly the way he wants to. He knows his opponents ability to react sucks, so he capitalizes on it. 

I'd like to step back for a moment away from LoL and compare the community to StarCraft 2. I do this a lot, some people think it is impossible to compare an RTS to an ARTS but they are wrong. The thing about SC2 is the amount of people who complain about their placement on the ladder is minimal in comparison to LoL. That comes down to two primary factors: when you lose in SC2 it is your fault and your fault alone and  anyone below Diamond (and some might argue higher) are there because of their mechanics. SC2 is a game of mechanics first and foremost just like LoL, so it is very easy to know how to improve at the game. Play the game. If I have perfect mechanics I can make almost any attacking unit, have no idea what counters what, and beat an opponent with bad mechanics simply because I will outproduce, outmicro, and overall outplay them. The same goes for LoL. Counterpicking and other 'meta' concepts matter very little at low-ELO, it helps but not as much as people think. If you don't land your abilities, and dodge none of theirs you will lose your lane. If your creep score sucks, guess what? You're going to lose your lane. There is a phrase that almost always follows up the sentence "x champion beats y" and that is "depending on how you play". The reason for that is simple, you can be outplayed by any champion if the disparity between mechanics is high enough. 

To recap, I feel the overall community focus on solo queue is too much on the strategy side of things. Everyone below roughly 1900 to 2000 ELO is arguably there because their mechanics are not up to par with their goal ELO. People's reasons for sucking will vary, but 9 times out 10 it will come back to mechanics. So just play the goddamn game a lot, develop insane muscle memory and reflexes at the same time as worshiping the "amazing new counter pick table that will make me never lose my lane".


  1. I think it should also be pointed out how the elo distribution works... 1250 ELO = already top 25% of league players. There are 35 million league players, people think of ELO in groups of 100, but going from 1250-1350 = getting ranked higher than several million people. So when I hear people in like 1.2k elo say "oh I deserve to be in 1500+ elo easily." What they are really saying is "I'm in the top 4-5% of players in the world yeah."

    I'm 1800 elo, I didn't start getting there by complaining about ELO hell. I lost games, and I ALWAYS blamed myself. By not blaming others and by acceping that you need to get better mechanics and just improve as a player, you can increase your ELO. Most people with bad mechanics tend to just play agressive, then they "get fed" while losing 50% of their CS. Then they blame their team when 50 CS but 3-0 vayne can't carry.

    Overall the article is accurate, a lot of it is mechanics, and that's the easiest way to carry games. On average 12.5 CS = 300g and yet in low ELO, you're lucky to see an AD carry get 60 CS at 10 minutes, when there is the potential for 107 CS.

    Practice in customs, seriously, you can't simulate the harassment of a player and zoning, and forced trades (unless you have a friend that will help you practice). However, its a good goal to reach perfect CS in a custom game with any laner that you want to get good at (I do this with solotops, ap mids and AD carries while I learn them). If you can hit perfect CS even against no opponent, you're mechanics on that champ will improve overall. Even better if you can practice getting very high cs against a friend that will harass you in lane and force trades, thats even better.

    Pro players average between 70-90 CS (90 being the high side) in competitive games against pro opponents. You should try to match that number against opponents that should be weaker than you.

    1. Sounds like solid advice! Thanks :)

    2. that how i going to help myself right now. so stupid to blame others if you cs also low in game. many people try to find weak point of teammates and focus on it than how control game better. with ranked game, all people seem think they are the best in team and sometime it make more bored to talk to them.

    3. I like to practice my last-hitting skills in custom games with a bot on the opposing side. obviously go to his lane xP Try NOT to kill him, though, or you will snowball horribly and it will make no sense. Bots are generally extremely aggressive, more then your average player, and it's easy to punish them for that aggressiveness. However, if you choose not to, you find urself laning against a very aggressive opponent that will take each and every opportunity of you stepping into his range to harrass the hell out of you. Just like in a PvP environment... That really helps ;)

    4. Just want to note that there are 35 million registered accounts, and that does not necessarily reflect the amount of actual active players--and I add on, ones that play rank.

  2. i love roflstomping noobs on my smurf so I can vouch for this. Me and my friend like to troll bot lane with champs such as veiger + twitch and we are already sure of our victory because we are just mechanically better than all the players below 1600.

  3. I don't play match rank matches cause i don't care about elo I'm just there to have fun.

    I have had some solo ranked and so far 4 wins 4 loses.
    Anyway most of the time i play premades with my friends on normal.

    here i can practice champs and CS.

    Things i work on are last hitting "really important", and map awareness.
    lately i have been playing bot with Cait and i on average beat the lane in CS and even tho i havent gotten as many kills as some of the other champions i have still rolled them cause I've farmed more.

    Also practicing using smart cast more :P

  4. As someone who is still sub30 (playing with redditors who are ranked around 1400-1600 sometimes and FEELING the skill difference as well as the knowledge difference from my hidden elo), this....this x100.

    I played sc2 for a long time and became way too stressed out by the amount of micro my particular race received and how fast your top-level mechanics disintegrate if you're not playing often. Same goes for league but it seems to atrophy at a lesser rate. Sometimes when I'm AP mid and get caught by a few ganks and look like 0:2:0 at 20-25 minutes my team says "I fed" when I have anywhere from 130-170 CS under my belt (compared to everyone's sub 100). All of a sudden I can burst down an enemy AP carry to let me passively regain level and take the middle tower, then begin to roam for more pressure on towers.

    Maybe mechanics are a lot harder to grasp in low levels since kills get more "face time" in-game and give a glut of gold, each wave or so gives a kill worth of gold if you farm it all... So I won't be the one saying "I should be higher" unless I'm truly in the AFKing, Feeding, ELO hell and can't hyper carry.

  5. I agree with you 100%. Knowing your theory, although necessary, is not enough to be a "high" ELO player, you have to be on point with your mechanics. Some of these high ELO players have been playing this game since beta so for them their character's skills and movements are second nature,same with last hitting and even the timings.

    Really liked your post man. Hope you provide us with more content.

  6. I completely agree, and I've had a couple examples where I realized that I was one of the people with bad mechanics compared to everyone else I was playing against, the first time I hit 1600 (EARLY season 1) I got there by maining Garen top, Amumu top, and Annie mid, I had never watched streams but I had been playing since early beta so I felt confident, but once i started watching streams I realized how terrible my last hitting was , I had never even considered minions a priority, I would be the typical Garen top player and sit in the bush XP zoning, not even taking my CS, I fixed that and was able to get to about 1900 by the end of Season 1.

    Another huge example for me was Starcraft 2, I would eat sleep and breathe that game for months watching Day9 dailies everyday and downloading all the replays from my favorite players, however this was the first RTS game I ever played so since I didn't know good resource managment, I played Random and would do a very early all in every game, it got me to about 800 diamond, which to be honest wasn't great, but I was excited to get diamond. Then I started doing practice matches against my friend, and since I didn't want to cheese my friend I would try to play seriously and depspite him being low platinum he would crush me 4 out of 5 games. So I picked a race (protoss) and stopped all inning and only played Macro toss, I fell so far I almost went into gold but I was able to get back all the way up to 2.1k diamond when the top players were 2.6k (before masters and grandmasters). However once I got there I had no where near the skill in unit control or map awareness to keep up with players of that quality, talking to most of them, they had been playing the first Starcraft for 10 years or so, and I just couldn't keep up mechanically.

  7. hey guys,

    I'm one of those guys under 1200 elo. I'd like to have some advice. I think I'm an ok player, but in most of my games there are leavers (most of them leave at level 1). How do you carry a game 4v5 or 3v5 ?
    Even when I have afks in my team, I win about 90% of my lanes.
    Any answer ?

    PS : "you won't have afks in all your games" isn't an answer. I can show you a list of my 40 last games.

    1. You play more games... There are less games with leavers than without them, and this means if you play enough games the law of averages will kick in, and you'll be able to rise in ELO. People complaining about stuff like this simply haven't played enough games, or are not good enough to raise their ELO, plain and simple.

    2. law of averages and statistics only mean so much, while its true that it may apply to some people it is also true that they will just fuck over that 1 unlucky person

      in the past 9 times ive tried to solo q i had 2 people in each game (for a total of 18 trolls) pick eve twitch revive promote and say trolling, thanks to that i lost 50 elo (4 people kindly q dodged for me in 4 of them)

      why is it that i should lose elo because of trolls, i either dodge and lose 10 or play the game and either

      a. hope they were joking (doesnt matter anyhow, im stuck with 2 useless teammembers)

      or b. they or someone else dodges

    3. John,
      Don't lose faith. My brother played about 20 ranked games and started to throw in the towel because he couldn't get back over 1200 because of leavers and trolls. Now, as part of my stream, every Wednesday I play from 12:00-4:00 PM MST on his account in ranked queue. I show him that with sound mechanics (far from perfect) and smart play I can win 90% of games, even with a leaver or a troll. No, literally, one time a Trundle on my team stole the other teams buffs and then would die to the other team's carries to feed them the buffs. Still managed to win. Want the secret?
      Play the champion you're the best with. Mine is Soraka. I have a 75% W/L with her. Granted, I wouldn't play her below 1200 ELO normally unless I was taking her mid. Ranged AD or AP mid, and don't worry about kills unless they're coming easily. Focus more on creeps. Your ELO will climb, just don't lose hope.
      Best of luck,

  8. obviously ther's some truth to this, and regardlet if one of your teammates throws the game, keep in mind that other people have to deal with theese people in games aswell, so ELO is still a good way to measure your ability of carrying your own game.

  9. I can vouch for this post massively, elo hell is what i'd call bull****. I've been as low as 600 elo in previous months and now over about 4 weeks i've finally hit back upto 1200 again.

    So yeah Well said.

  10. well i dont agree with you. Not in 100%. I see that i could have won easily 25% more games but im not Wickd or other Snoopeh to carry whole game.i am normal person which should have around 1300-1400 elo but cause of everygame troll like "top or afk" or feeeding on mid 0-20 in 15 minuts(its hard to believe but i have this type of teams every game) just normal person with 900 elo but it is 100% my fault.Sorry if you couldn't understand me well-i am not native

  11. I 100% agree with you on everything execpt for the one thing that is unique to league. Trolls/Leavers. If your unlucky [or on the revese side of the coin lucky] one could be stuck in a "hell" of sorts. [Unless of course your a 2500 player who can carry a 4v5.]

  12. I 100% agree with you on everything execpt for the one thing that is unique to league. Trolls/Leavers. If your unlucky [or on the revese side of the coin lucky] one could be stuck in a "hell" of sorts. [Unless of course your a 2500 player who can carry a 4v5.]

  13. I liked this blog post quite a bit, the importance of mechanics is not as high as in Brood War, per se, but strategy and game sense is just as key if not more important, especially in coordinated play

    I do enjoy about LoL that once mechanics are strong enough (they rarely are, anyone below 1900 probably still has work to do mechanically especially considering how prevalent it is in solo queue compared to premade) the game turns into more strategy

    High level premade play places a large emphasis on teamwork and strategy, tactics, etc, and I think contrarily solo queue places very little REAL burden on that, it's just mild coordination and mechanical skills.

  14. Im not sure why but I agree with you to a certain degree. This a well thought out rant aha, I congrat you on that.

    But unlike RTS games, the whole point of LoL is what? Teamwork. It seems that when people make dumb decisions, it usually costs the game lol. Such as deciding to farm jungle creeps when theres a teamfight starting in mid. Or rather, they decide to push out bottom when fully it was an opportunity to baron.

    I would love to agree that mechanics win lanes, but winning lane is just 1/2 of the game aha. (; Well kudos to you though. The mentality of "Elo Hell" rots this community.

  15. BULLSHIT. Better yet I will pay $60 USD so you can choose between GUILDWARS 2 or Diablo 3 if you get my account 800 Elo to 1800. If there is no such thing as "low elo" then going from zero to hero should not be a problem. In fact it should be easy to own the low level noobs. More information contact me theamazingtarkus at gmail dot com. Try to disprove the ELO-HELL with actions not words.

  16. BULLSHIT. Better yet I will pay $60 USD so you can choose between GUILDWARS 2 or Diablo 3 if you get my account 800 Elo to 1800. If there is no such thing as "low elo" then going from zero to hero should not be a problem. In fact it should be easy to own the low level noobs. More information contact me theamazingtarkus at gmail dot com. Try to disprove the ELO-HELL with actions not words.

    1. You realize that at an average of +13 elo a game it would take 77 games to get from 800 to 1800. Assuming the game's average out at 30mins and the person wins every single game that's 38.5 hours.

      Therefore you're offering someone $1.5 dollars/hour to level up your account, good luck....

  17. i always cs the highest in my games when i play ad carry (which i used to main until i got a nice streak of 40+ games as last pick :/) now i play support

    back when i played ad id always (and i mean always) get at least 70 cs by 10 minutes and usually ill be ahead of my lane opponent giving me the advantage and i usually take advantage of that and score a kill or two from time to time in lane before taking the tower

    now i lost a shit ton of games when i was ad carry (and i recorded them all and rewatched them all to see what i could have done better) now while what you say may be true and you shouldnt blame others and focus more on what you can improve on, its also false to say you should only blame yourself and not others as well

    sure i made a mistake or two, but are you saying i cant blame the 0/10 top lane or the 0/15 mid lane? it must be my fault for them being trolls right? no, its not
    and no matter how good my mechanics are i cannot change the outcome set by the team as a whole

    1. I feel you -- I used to main ranged AD carries. I've since learned that ranged AD arguably falls in last place regarding how early in the game you can affect teamfights; unless the game rolls on long enough without your team going too full retard, you're not going to be able to change the flow very much.

      Mid and top can snowball very hard, but even so, that snowball effect can only make an impact once they're free to leave lane.

      On the contrary, the jungler and even the support can guide the flow of the game very early on. The jungler's effect is both high risk and high reward obviously. A good support will recognize when it is safe to leave his partner, and even let the ranged AD have solo experience in addition to all the farm -- leaving lane to indirectly support other lanes with wards/oracles, or even possibly direct support via ganks.

      I suggest specializing in jungle/support next, especially with what your games sound like. Added bonus of learning to play support well is that you should already have a good foundation regarding the importance of positioning for a squishy, from playing ranged AD, and you know exactly how your partner ranged AD's work.

      Good luck.

      -- A former ranged AD player who now mains supports, and has supported himself out of "ELO hell".

  18. My only issue with climbing the Elo ladder is the fact that i'm good at AP carries on Mid and not so great at the other roles. Unfortunately I often get into ranked queues where someone else picks Mid first and as a result I don't do as well as the games where I play Mid.

    I followed some advice I read a while back suggesting you should focus on getting good at one lane to gain Elo but they forgot to mention it's hard to get the lane you want everytime!

    1. You should have read the multiple other posts that also said to have a feel for all other roles. And the saying isn't get good at the lane you are at, but the champion. As a rule of thumb, I try to main top lane because a lot of the top lane champs can effectively jungle as well. However, jungling is my worst role. But since I know the champs well enough, I can do well enough to win the game.

  19. Or like me, you can just not be assed to play...dropped to 700 elo by queue dodging before i noticed it made me loose elo! Now after 5-6 months I've gotten back to 1200...however I call that elo hell cause the games are just not pleasant, I win 9/10 games so if I were to play ranked all day I would have gotten out in less than 2-3 days! Yet it took me a couple months for the unique reason that these games are truly HELL (it's like you are trying to get kindergarten kids to build a cards castle, the one with ADHD on both teams keeps throwing his toys at it in order to break it down and it's really nerve wracking)!

    The reason it's hell is not that you cannot get out if you don't belong there...if you can't increase your elo then you are exactly where u belong. It's hell cause if you don't belong there it takes too many SHITTY games to get out!

  20. To add to my last comment, basically I rarely play ranked as those games are just not challenging or enjoyable (once every 1-2 weeks).

    I usually only play normals draft pick. Back when you could check your unranked elo, mine was at 1600...not to mention my unranked games are much more fun than 700-1200 elo ranked games!

  21. Well 1200 isnt elo hell at all as its like top 30% at least. Well below 1000 would be semi bad

  22. I had a friend who kept whining about elo hell and how there is so many bad players in ranked, he had played 4 ranked games.