How to Make the Most Out of Your Ranked Placement Matches

1 year ago by Jan Custodio

Earlier, we talked about how to improve yourself to increase your chances of winning and climbing up the ranks in League of Legends. This time, we’re going to talk about starting your journey to the top: your ranked placement matches.

You have to remember that your placement matches are designed to “calibrate” your initial rank. Sure, winning all ten of them is great, but losing them all isn’t “wrong”, so to speak. The most important thing is that you end up in a rank that best matches your individual ability.

You only get ten placement matches… make sure all of those count.

Why Should You Avoid Teaming with a Smurf?

Queuing up with a far better player on a smurf account sounds good at first, but it actually does more harm than good. It’s the same as cheating when taking body measurements; queueing with a smurf is like padding yourself or standing on a box to make yourself look bigger and taller.

If you win most of your placement matches with the help of a smurf, you will end up in a ranked division higher than what you would normally have placed in. This means you will end up getting dominated or outplayed most of the time so it won’t be a fun experience. Back to the metaphor earlier, it’s like you get oversized clothes that are too awkward to wear.

Playing without a smurf or teaming with an equally-skilled player would probably cost you a few games, but at least you will end up being matched with people that are near your skill level. You get more opportunities to see mistakes and improve yourself while still having a good chance of winning your games.

Before You Play

If you want your ranked placements to be as accurate as possible, you have to play to the best of your abilities. You need to be as comfortable about your picks as much as possible so you need to double-check a few things before queueing up.

Picking Your Main and Secondary Role

Even the best players in the game tend to specialize when it comes to picking roles. This is mainly because each role requires you to have a specific mindset. For example, AD carries should focus on getting strong during the laning phase and dealing damage from the backline later on. On the other hand, junglers provide general map control, lane pressure, or both.

Queue with your main and secondary roles so you’ll rarely – if ever – be placed in a role you’re not comfy with

Make sure you master three to five champs so that you won’t run of options during the pick/ban phase. Having a secondary role will make sure that you’re still playing in your comfort zone just in case matchmaking puts you in a game where your main spot is already taken. I can’t stress the importance of having a secondary role enough; tons of players end up losing games just because someone else got their main role. Since you’re less likely to land in your secondary role, mastering two or three champs should be fine.

Doing Your Research

Once you already know what roles to play and which champs to pick, the next thing you should do is go online and find online guides written by high-level players. These guys have already made the climb, so they’re bound to know a few tricks that you haven’t figured out yet.

There are tons of guides online, but the good ones have most, if not all, of the following:

  • Author’s personal insight on the champ
  • Item/Rune build guides
  • Skill order
  • Champ-specific strategies
  • Team synergies, advantages, and counters
Our own statistics site can show you which champs win the most games, as well as the most effective skill order, item builds, and runes.

If you have the time, look for replays of high-level gameplay. Don’t settle for montages because those rarely show things that you should focus on. If you can, look for “player perspective” videos where you can also see where the champ is focusing at any point in the game.

Getting in the Game

You’ve brushed up on your game knowledge, you’re confident enough that your champion pool is good enough, and now you’re ready to start your placement matches. You’re now queued up and ready to go, so it’s time to get in the game!

Picks and Bans

The pick and ban phase is where the game truly starts. That being said, you have to prioritize picks and bans that will affect your game the most. Here’s how you should prioritize which champs to pick and/or ban.

  1. The current “Flavor of the Month” champs, usually the current patch version’s strongest champs that people almost always play in ranked games.
  2. Champs that counter said FotM champs.
  3. Champs that counter your own chosen champion.
  4. Champs that you know one of the other team is good at.
The Pick and Ban phase can mess up the enemy team’s plans even before the game starts.

Make sure you talk to your teammates about their preferred picks. You’d want to make sure your teammates get their best champs during this phase. If you’re getting the first pick, choose a champ that another teammate wants and ask that teammate to pick your main so you can swap later. Making picks and bans based solely on what you’re using could give the enemy team a chance to choose a highly-contested champ before your team can.

Focusing on Yourself

You have your role, you have your champ; it’s time to do your job. Don’t waste your time calling out teammates when they make mistakes. Play by making the safest decisions until your team is ahead enough that you can afford riskier tactics. Here’s a good example of how to focus on your actions.

You’re playing a marksman and your support is playing as Thresh. The enemy is almost dead but hiding under their tower. You have enough burst damage to kill them, but not enough mobility and HP to survive more than a couple of tower shots.

Unless you’re on voice comms, it’s better to assume that your Thresh won’t throw a lantern for you to avoid dying to tower shots. Sure, the enemy survives, but they’re still at a major disadvantage. If you tower dive and there’s no lantern to click afterward, you’ll die and throw away your lead.

If you’re the Thresh player, it’s better to assume that your marksman won’t play it safe so you should throw the lantern in case they do tower dive. if they go all in, you get a kill. Otherwise, the worst that could happen is that your lantern goes on cooldown.

Do you see where this is going? By focusing on your own game, you get to create opportunities for your team while minimizing the risks. Always play as if your team is counting on you, not the other way around. You will be surprised at how effective you’ll get with this particular mindset.

Maintaining Good Team Morale

The most effective teammates tend to be the ones that aren’t “tilted”. That being said, you have to do the best you can to keep them (and yourself) in good spirits. How exactly do you keep your team’s morale up the entire match? Making a habit out of these things should help:

  • Complimenting teammates for taking down enemies, securing an objective, or any other well-executed play.
  • Encouraging teammates that committed mistakes instead of calling them out.
  • Staying “chill” even when your team is behind and cheering them on when you have the lead

That may seem impossible if your chat is deactivated, but that’s not the case! Even a simple thumbs-up emote to show approval is enough to get the message across. You’re in it as a team and you’re willing to work with them to get the job done!

Related image
Too shy to chat? Emotes can get the point across.

After the Game

The game is done. Win or lose, it’s time to prepare for the next game… or not. Even after a grueling match, you have to consider a few things before you queue again.

Save Your Replays

Your replays will allow you to see the game from a fresh perspective so you will be able to spot mistakes that you can avoid next time. You will also get to see the things you actually did right so you can try to develop a habit of repeating those. If you can, take time to review those replays, perhaps even between each placement matches.

Your replays are also a good source of information for tracking your progress. Look at key figures like CS at 10 minutes, takedowns, gold at certain points of the game, and how soon you hit your power spikes and try to be consistent (or better) with those results in your next games.

Recording and watching your previous games will help you review your past performances and learn from them.

Win and Loss Streaks

If you have won several placement games in succession, it means you’re doing something right. Try to find out what exactly helps you win those games so you can use it to your advantage. Win streaks will greatly increase your MMR, so be prepared to face tougher opponents after three or more wins.

Lose streaks are a different matter. You may be committing the same mistakes or failing to adapt to the game. Even worse, a losing streak can take a toll on your morale, causing you to play even worse than before. If you see yourself losing one game after another, stop playing your placement matches and spend some time de-stressing. It would also be a good time to consider trying new strategies or refining your current ones.


That wraps up our discussion on getting the most out of your ranked placement matches. We hope that this has helped you use these matches as an accurate measurement of your rank so you can be a better player without the need to get carried! Check back soon for more League-related stuff in this blog, and feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Jan Custodio

Jan Custodio

Jan is an avid PC gamer and an FB Gaming streamer. His favorite titles include Starcraft, Doom, For Honor, and Warframe, but he also enjoys playing popular Esport titles including League of Legends and Rainbow Six:Siege. When not playing PC games, Jan watches professional wrestling, building gunpla, and riding his motorycle.

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