How to Get Gold Before Season 4

With Worlds fast approaching, and Season Three coming to a close, I’m sure a lot of people in Bronze and Silver are trying their hardest to achieve the gold league milestone so highly sought after. You get a prestigious gold border for season 4 as well as Victorious Elise skin.

Most players will blame their team if they will not achieve gold in solo queue. This mentality is counterproductive and explained in a video by UberGiantsBro on why you’re stuck in silver. So if you accept the fact that “it’s all up to you” then the next question is “how do I do it?”

The easiest way to explain how to single handily carry a solo queue match is through the concept of resource. When I refer to resource I refer to a culmination of CS and kills of all players on each side. So for five players on a team, your resource is spread across five players. The ideal distribution of resource can be seen below. As you can see, each of your allies should be equal with the enemy but you should aim to equal two enemies (not including your lane opponent).

Ideal distribution of resource in solo queue

The problem in bronze and silver solo queue, is that resource advantage seldom matters. This is because unskilled players who are fed do not push their advantage. It can also be assumed that your team mates will lose skirmishes vs opponents of equal resource. It is for these reasons that it is up to you to attract a majority of the enemies resource, and waste it.

To do this there first needs to be a large deficit in your lane opponent’s resource compared to yours. This means zoning them from CS and killing them. Early-game, the most dynamic resource is the jungler. Junglers can single-handily create a resource imbalance. The opposing jungler can counter-gank which then creates a neutral balance in resource.

To carry a solo queue match you need the enemy jungler to gank your lane and your allied jungler to do anything EXCEPT gank your lane. This is vastly different to most people’s mindset of crying for a gank. It allows for two things to happen:

  1. A resource advantage for your team mates. When the enemy jungler ganks you, he is not ganking your allies. They have a higher chance of not dying and your allied jungler can counter jungle, take dragon, or gank another lane.
  2. This gives you an opportunity to either trade a kill or waste the enemy jungler’s time. Great players can even get a double kill.

The next step is to help your team mates further. This can be done by taking an early tower, roaming to another lane, taking an objective. The most important thing at this point is to never stop the pressure. Go back to your lane and push hard. The resource deficit between you and your lane opponent will mean their jungle HAS to come to you – and if you’re lucky (not unlucky!) so will another laner. It is also usually beneficial to type over team chat: “push when I push”. From here one of two things happen:

  1. They will send more resource to stop your pushing.
  2. They will send more resource to gank your allies.

In the first situation, you again need to trade or waste their time. For the second situation, kill your lane opponent and push as hard as you can.

The fundamental principle of this style of carry is you do not rely heavily on your allies. Your contribution to the team is fairly subtle through reducing the enemies’ available resource and acquiring global gold.

The biggest factor that the game will hang on is YOU. Your map awareness, mechanics, and decision making determine your win or loss. All concepts are explained in detail here at Summoner School.

For an example of the concepts discussed in this article please watch this Silver match I played earlier:

Below is the resultant resource distribution. As you can see, if they wanted to match my resource they would need to allocate at least three players to me. If I had gone equal in lane to Cho’Gath, we would of lost.

Example resource distribution

Another thing to note from this example is that it is not enough to hold a large amount of resource. Almost as equally important is pressure. A majority of that game I put pressure on their team by pushing towers, they chose to fight the rest of my team and ultimately paid for it.

This style of play alone will not guarantee you a gold ranking, but coupled with solid mechanics and decision making, there is no stopping you. Go get your rewards.

Goodluck,

Daniel ‘Kingpin’ King

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How to Form a Team That Will Challenge the Top

Since my involvement in the E-sports scene in Australia, I have played for the top League of Legends team (now known as Team Immunity) for two years. At the beginning of this year I took a step back from a player role and now am the manager, coach, and team analyst for Team Exile5 Eclipse.

During my experiences I noticed many trends between the top teams and conversely between the teams that crash and burn. Here they are.

Traits of the top teams:

1. At least one hyper-carry style player. Either through mechanics, decision making, or both, every team needs a player who consistently does well.

The term hyper-carry should not be confused with a player who plays to a high level. High level players can carry once they are fed, but hyper-carries, will influence a game in such a way that they can carry a game even when playing from behind. When you try to think of someone who can do this, who comes to mind? Perhaps Doublelift?

2. Objective-orientated play. This is where a lot of teams fall down. Since the most common form of practise is solo queue, objectives are often underrated. Weak teams only play well in the laning phase. A lead during laning phase is good but quite irrelevant without direction into the mid-game.

Top teams maintain impeccable ward coverage to protect objectives. The first dragon/tower is theirs. They’re patient and timely in pushing their advantages.

3. Synergy between the players. Synergy is perhaps the most ambiguous term that is most commonly used to describe team play. Players from top level teams seem to be on the exact same wavelength. Skills, movement, and decisions happen with fluidity.

How many times have you heard a caster say “must have been a lack of communication” when two players overlap stuns or engage at different times? A majority of the time it is down to synergy. During split second plays there is no time to communicate with your team and you have to rely on past experience to identify when your team mate is going to engage or if they are going to lead with their stun. Synergy is a skill unique to every team you play on and is only obtained through practise with your members.

Traits of failed teams:

1. Low-to-average solo queue rating. No matter what argument you put forth, you cannot deny the average individual solo queue rating of top teams. They’re all within the top 1%. I have seen a lot of teams form of gold and plat players who believe team work will prevail above all else but that is like believing that a Ferrari can be made out of wood. It is in your best interest to become the best player you can be individually before seeking a competitive team. Summoner School helps you achieve this.

2. They do not regularly practise together. Any professional sports team has a practice schedule and places importance on team practice. Even in the little leagues of soccer, cricket, or basketball, there was a dedicated day and time for team practice. If you couldn’t make it, you let your coach know and gave a reason. A lot of failing teams do not have the discipline to turn up to team prac regularly. They often will not give a reason which snowballs on other team members (“if he didn’t show up, why should I?”)

3. Expecting too much too soon. If you form a team of diamond players from scratch and throw yourself up against a team that has been together for a year or more, how do you think you’ll fair? You might win the laning phase, but you can never undervalue the experience of a well-established team. It should take at least six months of consistent 3-4 days a week of prac before you even expect to challenge first place. A lot of teams never get to this stage and disband after losing.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.Thomas Edison

This concept is explored in depth in one of my previous articles.

With the release of the OCE servers and the Oceanic Season 3 Championship, I have seen a handful of promising teams form as well as a number of highly talented individuals revealed by the ranking system. The Australian E-sports scene has geared up to allow for a thriving industry to unfold. If you are serious about making a career in professional gaming in the future, I implore you to have patience and not to give up easily. It is a hard road and nothing will happen quickly. Persistence is key. If you work hard enough, the outcome will be very rewarding.

Good luck,
Daniel “Kingpin” King

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Do You Make These In-Game League of Legends Mistakes?

League of Legends is like any other skill from a scientific perspective. Each time we learn a new skill, we create new neural pathways through our brain to our central nervous system then muscles. And like a muscle, this pathway can be strengthened. If worked on enough, this pathway becomes so strong that the skill happens instantaneously without conscious thought.

Have you ever become so good at something that you don’t think about it? You have.

Walking is a prime example of a skill the majority of people can do without thought. Sure you think “I’m going to get a drink”, stand up and walk to the fridge. What you don’t think is “I’m going to straighten my legs, bend my right knee slightly… etc etc”.

So how does this apply to League of Legends?

Every little thing you do in-game strengthens various pathways. Whether it be movement, last hitting, using an ability, etc.

These pathways are dedicated to your mechanics and like your fingers on the keys of a piano, should flow easily through your unconscious mind as you play. To consistently weave character movement with ability combos, summoner abilities, and camera control without thought is something all players should strive towards before looking into the meta-game or playing for a serious team.

If you find yourself panicking, losing track of your character, or stutter stepping then you need more practise. You need consistent mechanics through all situations if you want to play at a high level.

Concepts like positioning and decision-making are no different. Like all skills, you have to think about them as you initially do them. This is process is slow. You will feel noob at first. To determine what the right decision is and where exactly “out -of-position” is, you need to make mistakes. Furthermore, once you determine the correct way something is done, you think hard about doing it the first 50 or so times. This process of skill competence is elegantly illustrated by Noel Burch and can be found in UberGiantsBro’s guide found here.

Every game is about you.

Get the correct mentality during a game to focus strengthening your skills. Due to the social nature of LoL there are many distractions that cause you to deviate from personal growth. Every game is about you. View everyone else in the game as champions with four abilities and two summoners.

If you’re in low rating then you can instantly assume your allied champions cannot be depended upon and that your enemies are of equal or greater skill than your own. If someone berates you, ignore them immediately – time spent arguing in chat is time wasted. This is not to say don’t communicate with your team, but rather only communicate through a professional manner using pings and stating objective timers, enemy summoners etc.

I see many people focus on their team as players labelling them as trolls or complaining that they are the cause of their loss. While their observations may be true, they’re not bettering themselves in the process and often spend more time typing than analysing their own play. If you truly had a perfect game and played to a high level but still lost, you should be content. If you died to a fed enemy player who is at fault? Your ally for feeding them? Or you for not factoring a fed enemy into your play-style?

Create a notepad document. Open it up every game you play then read it over before the game starts. Every time you make a mistake, write down what you can do to avoid repeating this mistake.

One problem you may encounter is that you cannot identify your mistakes. This is natural; if you haven’t been exposed to high level play then how can you know? One way is to look at your deaths. It is extremely hard to get less than 3 deaths on average per game. This is really the benchmark that you should set as an individual. Anything over 5 deaths in a game and you should seriously be revising what you do wrong.

Below I’ve listed a few key things many players do not do. Run through them. If they’re all ticks then you’re in a good place:

• Always orb walk – yes even when CSing.
• Weave movement and abilities.
• Get 95% of last hits in lane and under tower.
• Control the lane dynamics by pushing/resetting/freezing the minion wave.
• Trade with enemy opponents properly and punish them if they over-extend.
• Juke skill-shots.
• Know when to disengage and escape on 1 bar of health.
• Bait opponents with a fake disengage.
• Track enemy wards, jungler, objective timers, and summoner abilities.
• Combo abilities using 1 second queue timer to effectively cast 2 spells at the same time.
• Reset auto-attack swing timer with abilities for extra damage.
• Know how to get an early advantage in lane against any lane opponent.
• Use your ally’s mistakes to get kills/objectives.
• Know the most damage efficient builds of every situation.

Identifying the correct way to execute these skills is each a topic in itself. You learn all these skills in Summoner School.

Ultimately, at the top level of play, everything is automatic. From the start of the game, you buy all items you need for level 1 based on your opponents revealed during champion select then walk straight to the area best suited for invasion or protection. From there, everything you do is a product of past experiences. You know what the 6 abilities your lane opponent has, what order they will do them in, and how much damage they do. If you’re saying things like “omg they do so much damage”, “if they didn’t do that, I would of got the kill”, “I’m only losing because of jungler camping me” then you’re still at an early stage.

The only surprises you should encounter are the ones developed by top players to get the better of those on equal footing. This process is one of the ways the game evolves. Eg. The Koreans invented teleport support fiddle with distortion boots. Having tried it in solo queue myself, I managed to surprise many people with plays they hadn’t seen when I climbed through Platinum rating this season. Video can be found here (press HD).

The great thing about playing League of Legends with this mindset is that you don’t have to care if you win or lose. The only thing you have to focus on is whether you successfully executed specific skills correctly or not. When you come across new surprises, it feels good to write them down so you’re prepared the next time around.

I used to have a problem with predicting Sona’s ultimate and often died to it during laning phase. I have fond memories of trying to overcome this by focusing on baiting then flash dodging her ulti in subsequent games.

In a game with such a high skill cap as League of Legends, expect to never stop learning. Every new skill you master bumps you above the rest who do not display that skill. The most valuable skill I have come across is the one that makes all others possible: a self-focused in-game mind.

Good Luck,
Kingpin

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3 Hidden Killers of Becoming a Good League Player

Following on from my previous article , the three vices that will hold you back from growing as a player include: pride, greed and anger. The act of identifying that you express these traits, as a result of playing League of Legends, will make your growth a lot easier.

Pride

Pride is an interesting concept, it is not necessarily bad in moderation but when it prevents you from realising the truth it will quickly become your worst enemy. The only person that can tell you that you’re bad is yourself. The very first time I supported Doublelift in solo queue he told me I was bad. He died twice in lane and I got the kills after he died and he told me I’m bad. Immediately without even a thought I let my pride get the better of me. I basically told myself “I’m not bad, he’s wrong. He’s not even good”. The first time I played with TheOddOne he told me I threw after he got caught and we got aced 4v5. How do you think I reacted? “WTF IM NOT BAD! YOU GOT CAUGHT!”

It took me a long time to realise, “you know what? I am actually bad”. When I look back at those two cases: Doublelift died because I wasn’t in position trade tanking the enemy ADC’s damage. TheOddOne died because I hadn’t warded the right places for him to maintain jungle control. But it doesn’t take a star player’s word for you to realise you’re bad. Despite many people saying otherwise, the LoL ranking system IS a good indication of skill. It is safe to say if you are not in challenger tier, you are at least some degree of bad.

Greed

Greed will make you play this game for the wrong reasons. Riot has marketed this game in such a way that the things you do give you a great sense of reward. The biggest ones being winning and kills. How much more satisfying is a double kill in lane than killing dragon or a tower. How good do you feel when you get that last win before you go to bed? There are problems with both of these short term rewards. Objectives should always take priority over kills. Kills allow you to take objectives and if you’re chasing an enemy Nidalee for 5 minutes after a team fight then you’re doing it wrong.

If you trade wins for losses in a 1:1 ratio then chances are you don’t care. You get a reward equally as much as you don’t and you’ve probably learnt to not care about losing. This gives rise to the “surrender at 20 I want to start the next game already” mentality. The top players can get to diamond I with as little as 16 losses in 100. That’s a 6.25:1 win:loss ratio therefore approx. 85% of games are winnable (see below)!

Screenshot from Wildturtle’s smurf “Wildturtl”.

Anger

Anger is the most obvious and most limiting trait that you can express. It is well known that people think irrationally when angry. Rage has a common place in competitive play. If you try your hardest and lose, you will get angry. The sad thing about this is that many players channel their rage to their team mates or opponents and create a toxic community. The best thing you can do and should ALWAYS do when you’re angry is detach from the source, cool off, and re-approach it when you’ve calmed down.

If you truly understand the cause of your loss there is little room for anger and it will be very short lived. So when you look back at your last loss, why did you lose? The answer is not “because of my team mates”. The answer is because “You did not carry”. Many mistake carrying as a good K/D/A, although important, it is only a piece of the pie. A more in-depth article can be found here. But believe it or not, 4v5s are absolutely winnable.

Throughout your League of Legends career you will constantly be tested by trolls and players with higher skill than your own. If you remain mindful of these three vices your growth as a player has less chance of stagnation and ultimately your rewards will be much greater.

 

Good luck,

Daniel “Kingpin” King

 

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How Persistence Will Make You A Top Player

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not;
the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination are omnipotent.
The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Calvin Coolidge

How exactly can the concept of persistence be applied to League of Legends? Apart from the obvious “never give up” attitude, persistence must be applied towards a specific goal and seen with a perspective that motivates us rather than dishearten.

After playing for Australia’s top team for two and a half years and after undertaking a management role for the last six months I have seen countless people in bronze division add me. The routine is the same every time “I’m a top player, give me a chance in your team if I don’t do well I’m a fast learner”. I reply with the same thing every time, “if you truly are a good player and a fast learner your LoL profile will be a reflection of this”. Sadly, I have never seen the same player approach me again with a diamond profile. Which I believe is due to one thing, persistence.

Let me give you an analogy:

Elo mountain

Your goal is to hike up a mountain that you’ve never climbed before. This mountain can be compared to solo queue or whatever goal you set yourself. Before you start, do you compare yourself to those already on the trail? Of course not! This challenge is about you and you alone. The only true measure of your progress is to compare yourself to yourself before you started the journey. This is difficult in a game such as League of Legends because you are constantly matched up against players and there is a constant comparison between you and another player. This leads to the adoption of vices such as pride, greed and anger. All of which stunts the growth of a player and is another topic entirely.

At a certain point in hiking this mountain you will come to a sheer rock face. You have to learn a new skill if you want to proceed — climbing.

In general there are three distinct routes one can take:

  1. A majority of people would give up. Their attitude would be “learning a new skill takes too long and too much time”. This is where the first notion of persistence comes into play. Everyone has 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. How much time you decide to dedicate to learning a new skill is one factor that will determine your rate of progression. But even one hour a day, one day a week will triumph over someone who has given up.
  2. Sadly, a lot of people ignore the rock face and choose to believe that hiking up and down the path that got them to the rock face is the mountain. This creates the delusion that they’re great at hiking because they’ve never even exposed themselves to the prospect of climbing. A more in-depth explanation of this can be found in UberGiantBro’s 5 reasons why you’re stuck in silver league.
  3. Overcoming the path ahead of you. Unless you are re-inventing the wheel, chances are that the correct techniques and ultimately the most efficient way to obtaining your goal is already known. This is why schooling, coaching, instructors, tutoring and guides all exist. Imagine trying to learn how to rock-climb with four other people who have no knowledge of how to climb themselves. This is exactly what unranked/bronze tier is like. Would you rather spend an eternity trying to discover the correct grip techniques, the most efficient use of your muscles and the easiest route to the top? Or would you like one of the worlds top climbers to guide you with his understanding of climbing? This is exactly the reason Summoner School has been created and why it is so important for the growth of each individual League of Legends player.

So if you decided to persist and choose option 3, the immediate factor that contributes to your rate of progression are your past skills and experiences. If you have three years climbing experience there is no doubt you will shoot up this rock face no worries.

This is why DotA players have so much success in League of Legends. Originally, when beta came out, DotA players dominated the front page of the rankings. They weren’t anywhere near as good as the front page players today but they possessed the necessary skills from previous experiences to get to the top. Now, LoL has been out for long enough for players that do not have a MOBA background to be top players.

Similarly, but a less obvious factor, is your rate of learning. Believe it or not, learning is a skill. Someone who is practiced in learning different skills or learns on a daily basis will memorise content and pick things up more quickly. Regardless of your rate of learning, those who have a teacher will always progress faster than those without.

Persistence is the only virtue you need to succeed in League of Legends. In order to persist you must acknowledge there is a rock face ahead of you. Three factors will influence your rate of progression: Time allocation, past experience, and your rate of learning.

From this it is clear, there is no guarantee that you will ever be the top player. If someone has started on the path before you and progresses at the same or faster rate the only chance of you achieving #1 is for them to give up or stagnate. But if you only compare yourself to yourself before you started then this won’t stop you.

Good luck,

Daniel “Kingpin” King

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