Before I set out to play and document a year of League of Legends ranked solo queue I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t actually take these games seriously, that I was just playing ranked matches as research for this blog. Now I realize that isn’t the case. LoL solo queue and one’s ranking are very important.
So what changed? For one, my competitive nature has resurfaced but there’s more to it than that. The 6 ranked games I’ve played so far have been some of the most enjoyable LoL games I’ve ever played.
I’m 4-2 in my 6 ranked game but the gratification I’ve felt in these games has little to do with my win-loss record. It has to do with the level of competition. For the most part these games have been close, even the one-sided affairs were hard fought. Everyone is good (except for me) and everyone knows how to play the game the right way. LoL is a team game and should be played accordingly. The team that stays together, slays together.
In the unranked matches I used to exclusively play, teams rarely stay together or coordinate attacks. Everyone does their own thing. That doesn’t work in LoL. The skill gap between players in unranked matches is often immense. Competent players stomp the incompetent ones, that’s the narrative in 90% of the unranked matches I’ve ever played. It’s also why 90% of the time unranked wins feel hollow and unranked losses aren’t lessons to learn from but giant wastes of time.
And now, let’s get to today’s match, here’s champion select.
The result was a resounding defeat. I think the record will show that I made a few mistakes in the mid lane.
Those skulls on the map represent places where I died during the match. It’s a trail of tears.
After the match I asked two players from the other team that remained in the postgame lobby if they were ranked gold last season. One of them said he had a cup of coffee in gold and spent the rest of the year in silver. The other player said he was “higher ranked” silver. I’m also pretty sure my team had at least one gold and one silver ranked player from last season, based on the borders surrounding the champion icons during the loading screen.
Check out the gold border around Cassiopeia and the silver one around Brolaf. My point is, for some reason or other I’m being placed in matches with players that are more skilled than me. And I like it. I now have the drive to get better at LoL so I can continue to play with these better players because the better the competition, the better the competition.
The first order of business in the improvement department should probably be getting more proficient on Hecarim. And just so you guys and gals don’t start thinking I’m the worst Hecarim NA, here’s my stats from an unranked match I played with Hecarim today.
I’m not going to beat myself up about the mistakes I’ve made on Hecarim in my ranked games because it turns out that even LoL’s developers sometimes make them.
At least I’m assuming “Frostbutt Irelia” is a mistake, otherwise that’s a champion’s lore that I’m interested in reading.
Additional match details below.