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How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Climbing the Legends of Runeterra Ladder by Smithel

Hey all! Our latest Mobalytics Partner spotlight comes from Smithel, an awesome Legends of Runeterra coach who is the former founder of the Weakly Poro Report podcast. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter as well as Twitch where he streams Thursday and Saturday evenings around 8:30 PM Eastern time.

5 Tips to Help You Avoid Mistakes When Playing Ranked in LoR

Hello, I’m Smithel, a self-proclaimed gaming “boomer”, Mobalytics Partner, and Legends of Runeterra coach.

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Let’s paint a scene here. It’s a beautiful day, the birds are chirping, you’ve got a nice cup of coffee in hand, and you are ready to take on the world and finally make the push to a new rank on the ladder.

You get into a game….and lose….try another…another loss…and another….and another…suddenly you look up the sun has set and you’ve realized you have spent all day making what seemed to be an easy push to the next rank and suddenly you are at a lower LP and rank than when you started?

How is this possible? Yesterday you were getting opponents to surrender left and right…what went wrong?!

We’ve all been in situations like this before, sure maybe not as extreme, but you get the idea. I’ve been in these types of situations more times than I care to admit.

braum level 2 splash

I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I have gone from Platinum 1 to Platinum 4 over the course of a few hours. Am I proud of those days? No. Do I learn from them? Yes!

I’m hoping that by the end of this article you can take away a few general strategies to help take some of the lessons I learned when climbing the Legends of Runeterra ladder to make your climb not as bumpy as it was for me.

1. Set Achievable Goals

Let’s make this clear first. There are VERY FEW individuals who have the capability to pick up this game, or any really, and go from beginner to expert overnight. It takes a lot of time, energy, commitment, practice, and patience to master this game.

Saying “I’m going to go from Iron to Masters before the season is over” sounds great, but can often lead to you feeling demoralized or beat down when you fall short. Saying “I’m Iron, but I want to hit Silver this patch” feels a lot better.

poro splash

Sure, Master rank may be your ultimate goal, but setting small achievable milestone goals that you can hit and celebrate will keep your motivation up on your journey.

If you are making improvement every day/week/patch/etc. that is key. As they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Focus on day to day improvements first but…

2. Keep A Positive Mindset

Keeping a positive mindset is SUPER important. Getting on for a gaming session only to face back to back losses can be discouraging, but is not the end of the world. When you feel yourself getting tilted or angry take a break!

Go walk down your street, grab lunch, watch an episode of a TV show, do ANYTHING else but play. If you are like the majority of people, playing when “tilted” significantly decreases your chances of winning a match.

In games like Legends of Runeterra, being able to get into the mind of your opponent and get them tilted by making them feel like they are powerless no matter what they put on board (I’m looking at you Yasuo stun-lock decks!) is a huge advantage.

yasuo leveled up

So don’t increase your opponent’s chance at that by playing tilted. Stay positive knowing you CAN win any match. Sure, it may be harder in some matchups but not impossible, and always try to play when calm and collected.

3. Keep Up With The Current Meta

Keeping up with the current meta doesn’t mean just “net decking” the most popular decks and playing them. It means taking the time to read patch notes, finding a content creator you enjoy and keeping up with them, understanding what cards are typically found in each deck, etc.

While tools like the “Meta Stats” tab by Mobalytics are great, just going in and copying the deck with the highest win rate that day will not equal success. You have to understand how that deck works, what are the win conditions, what are the favorable matchups and why, what is the mulligan strategy against each match up, etc. to find success.

mobalytics meta stats

Also, understand when I say to “keep up with the meta” I DO NOT mean to keep up with the Master’s ladder meta. The Master’s ladder is a VERY different world than Gold rank. Understand what decks are being played at your rank and learn what counters them.

Getting a deck from a site like Mobalytics is a great starting point, but take a look at the cards in the deck and adjust as necessary to improve your odds against what you are actually facing.

4. Pick a Deck and Stick With It

It may be tempting to take a look at what a major streamer is playing on any given day and want to play it yourself on ladder thinking, “Wow, if they are playing it and winning a lot it must be broken. I’m going to play it too!”. That is terrible thinking.

Chances are, you are not in a position like that streamer where they can commit MULTIPLE hours every day to understand the deep mechanics of the game and craft/experiment with decks and have relative success playing almost any archetype.

Noxus - Captain Farron splash

Find a deck type you enjoy playing and stick with it. Do you enjoy burning an opponent’s health down and winning by turn 4 or 5? Or are you the type of player that likes slower games where you control the pace and go for a big late game finish with large units?

Find a style/deck that you enjoy playing and stick with it.

This is for multiple reasons:

1) If you are having fun and enjoying the deck, you are more likely to want to play more games…more games mean more chances to climb.

2) If you pick a deck and stick with it you will eventually master it. You will understand how to play into any type of match up and be in a much better spot than somebody who saw a streamer playing it earlier and are trying it out for the first time.

If you want to experiment or try something else, run it in unranked matches or against a friend.

sleight of hand card

Then when you feel like you 100% understand how to win with it in any situation, bring it to ladder but try your best to avoid swapping decks the second you hit a few losses (remember point #2 and the dangers of playing when tilted!)

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help and Learn to Take Criticism

The Legends of Runeterra community is AMAZING! Don’t be afraid to lean on that community for support. Joining a Discord community is a great way to start. My personal favorite Discord community at the moment would have to be from Legends of Runeterra streamer and Youtube content creator Luden Kuma.

If you are looking for a place to talk about the game and somebody who puts out amazing content, I would 100% recommend starting with the material that Luden Kuma puts together. Here are the links to his Twitch and Youtube channel.

inspiring mentor splash

In these active communities, you will often find members that are willing to scrim, test some homebrew decks, or just talk about the game. The more you surround yourself with people talking about the game and the more content you take in, the more you will improve.

If you find yourself 100% hard stuck and can’t figure out where you are going wrong, consider looking for a reputable coach to watch recordings of your matches. During the heat of a game we often aren’t aware of our misplays, but with somebody else watching it, you are much more likely to identify rounds that you could have played differently.

Playing with somebody live is a great tool as well. Many times, the people I coach know what the right moves are but just having somebody on a call with them so they can talk about their thinking is a huge help instead of just “reacting”.

Again, the community for Legends of Runeterra is great, there are resources out there for any situation you are facing. Do not be afraid to utilize them.

smithel twisted fate level 1 splash

While I could go on for 100 more different tips for various situations, I’m hoping that the five above will give you a good place to start to help escape “elo hell”.

Remember at the end of the day this is a game, you should be having fun with it. Don’t let “ladder anxiety” prevent you from playing it for fear of dropping rank. Is it cool to reach Masters? Sure…at the end of the day does it mean anything? For about 90% of us…not really. It just gives us (at the time of writing this) a different icon to show off.

If you want to climb and reach a higher rank, AWESOME GO FOR IT, but have fun with the game. Don’t let people tell you that you are doing it wrong, or that you are wrong for liking a certain deck, or that only Diamond level or higher players know what they are talking about.

If you want to improve, do it for you and at a pace that you are comfortable with and have time to commit to.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for making it this far into the article. If you have any specific questions for me about the game or ways you could improve, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter. Or, if you feel like you need some personal attention in regards to your gameplay as stated earlier I am available for coaching (again, reach out to me via Twitter and we can discuss).

Thanks again everybody and good luck with the remainder of your climb this season and every season to come!