Sunday, 19 May 2013

How To Prepare Yourself for Solo Queue; Mechanically & Mentally

Hello ladies & gentlemen, my name is LOD.  You may know me from a variety of things that I've done over the past 3 years in LoL.  That is all unimportant for now, as my goal is to help you, the reader.  If you are curious as to my elo, I've been platinum season 1, diamond season 2, and challenger season 3.  I have multiple accounts above diamond 5.  My main is ElOhDe currently.

Almost everyone has hit a brick wall at some point in solo queue.  A point which seems impossible to get past, whether it be due to teammates.  In my opinion, this is the most important part of your entire solo queue career, as most people take everything for granted before they hit this wall.  They take any natural skill they have for granted.  I know I did, as I was stuck at 1600 for over four months in season one.  I didn't understand how to break past this line, as I didn't actually understand things I could do to get better.  Before I hit that line, I just played the game and the elo came naturally.

Everything has been so easy up until this wall, what can you possibly do to break it down and get past it?

There are actually a variety of small improvements you can make that will make you much better in the long run, but although they may seem small in the grand scheme of things, the changes could be quite drastic for you to adjust to, but will give you results.

1.  Disable Mouse Pointer Precision (Mouse acceleration)

If you've ever wondered how someone like Doublelift (or myself) can be so accurate and have such great mechanics, this, along with attack move (which will lead us to our next subject), is what makes him able to do so.

I'm going to make this short and sweet:

1. Press the windows start button, type "Mouse", and click on your Mouse settings.

2. Go to the tab that says Pointer Options

3. Disable "Enhance Pointer Precision" (quite ironic, since it does quite the opposite)

4. Adjust the slider to the 6th notch

5. Go into league and make sure your mouse speed slider is set to the exact middle.
(More precise way of doing this: What you do is go into Riot Games > League of Legends > Config > Game.cfg

Edit the file with notepad

Find GameMouseSpeed=X

Replace X (will be a number) with 10.)

You have now successfully disabled the most useless feature of Windows.  If you feel like your mouse is too slow, rather than adjusting ingame or in your Mouse Properties, opt to download your mouses driver and change the DPI (Mine is set to 1800)! This makes it so that your mouse movement ratio is 1:1 as in, if you move your mouse super fast, it will move at the same speed as if you were moving your mouse super slow.

What this means is that you can get used to the speed of the mouse, it's movement isn't sporadic and unpredictable.  It will make you more accurate at everything you do, and although it may take time to adjust to, it will be 100% worth it.  The other upside is that since not everyone has time to be playing League all the time, this allows you to get better at the game without playing it!  Just aiming for the right bookmark in google chrome 100 times a day or seeing how fast you can get to the X or minimize button will translate over to your gameplay in League!  Crazy, right?

If you would like to read further into this, check this link!

Edit: A very clear explanation by Reddit user thepursuitofwhat

The Windows Mouse Pointer Precision is a fancy term for mouse acceleration. Enabling this feature would change the distance your mouse goes from Point A to Point B depending on how fast you move your mouse to point A to Point B. Disabling this feature lets your muscle memory develop over time because you know where your mouse will go when you move X amount EVERY TIME.
Also, keeping your mouse speed setting to 6/11 keeps your mouse movement consistent because anything that's not 6/11 has either negative or positive acceleration.

2. Use of Attack Move

Attack moving, by default, is set to A+Left Click or Shift+Right Click.  The former is the standard use of the skill, while the latter is the smartcasted version.  A+Clicking will give you a target reticle far more accurate than the pointer, while shift+right click is much faster to use.  A lot of top players will make use of both, but not all.  It doesn't matter which one you use, or both, but I highly suggest you at least try to use one of them.

What does it do exactly?

Attack move will hit the closest possible target in range of you, not the closest target to where you click, but the closest target around your character.  If you are in range of an enemy, you will not be able to move your character with this function, ONLY attack.  A couple other things you should know about it is the way it functions with stealth, and jungle camps. It does not automatically hit jungle camps if they are not already aggro'd, and if you are stealthed (this is the most annoying for vayne tumble while ulted) it will not automatically attack the nearest target.

What is the point?

The point of attack moving is so that even when you miss a creep or a champion by a small little bit and hit the terrain, you will not force yourself out of position, you will remain where you are.  Autoattacking the wrong target is much better than running into 5 people and dying, or walking into the support+AD when you didn't mean to.  Attack move gives you a safety net against the faults of your own brain.  Everyone misclicks at times, its up to you to press shift before you attack to prevent those misclicks from having a real negative impact on your gameplay!

3. Whether or Not to Use Smartcast

I don't know where the trend formed where everyone decided to start keybinding everything to smartcast, but personally I don't like it.  There was a point where every pro endorsed smartcasting and how amazing it is, so people thought "Wow, if the pros use it, so should I!"  But the downsides of it must be recognized.

Why would smartcasting possibly be a bad thing?

Smartcasting, although great for using skills in quick succession, it can be terribly inaccurate when compared to regular casting.  The aiming reticle, whether you use the circle or the line-display, really allows your brain to process exactly where the skillshot will go.

A great example of a hero who can benefit from both smartcasting and regular-casting would be Lux.  In order to effectively burst heroes down, she wants to be able to use her skills very quickly.  But at the same time, she needs to make the catch in the first place in order to initiate the combo!  So you can start out with a normal, more accurate cast of Q, into a smartcast of E & R.

Where is the medium, how can I use both?

Well, you can always use shift+Q/W/E/R/D/F to smartcast.  That is personally what works for me, but what about for the people who genuinely enjoy smartcasting almost all the time? Surely they wouldn't want to leave their pinky on shift all the time.  Well, I smartcast about 50% of the time and it works perfectly for me, but there is an alternative for the people who smartcast the majority of the time.  Re-bind your normal casts, put them to use.  Not sure when it was added, but you can now bind normal casts to Shift+Q/W/E/R/D/F, enabling you to use normal casting when you really need it.  This will be extremely useful to you if you are a player who really did benefit from the rebinding of keys to all smartcast, but find yourself inaccurate in certain situations.

I'm already completely comfortable with my accuracy!

I don't care, some situations require normal casts, at least rebind your normal cast as I've shown above.  I guarantee you'll see improvement.

4. Disabling Nameplates

Choking is something that happens to even the best of players, and although this won't apply to the majority, people get stuck in high elo too!  You can prevent yourself from choking by tricking your own brain.  Shift+K gets rid of nameplates, so you will no longer be reminded that you're playing against the mighty HotshotnidaleeGG every time you go in for a CS.

5. Appreciate the Importance of Physical Excerise

Have you ever felt like cold hands have held you back from playing better or reacting a little faster? I sure as hell have, and when I do, I know its time to go get some god damn exercise.

Not only is getting exercise a great way to release stress and anger from solo queue and other various things in real life, but it will make you feel healthier and more positive about yourself; and then on top of that, it increases your blood flow.  Increased blood flow equals two hands and arms that move a lot faster than they did before! Warming up your hands is crucial to being able to CS well and react quickly.  Your brain may be thinking a mile a minute, but if your hands cannot keep up what good is it? That leads us to my next tip.

6. Constantly move your mouse around and right click

Constantly clicking in circles around your character or slightly up and down as you are moving towards a location really helps to get your hands ready for the next big teamfight, the next 10 minutes of CSing, or the next 1v5 pentakill you're about to get.  This is something that most people should utilize, at it is extremely simple, and if you are truly focused on the game, there is no reason not to do it.

To add to this, constantly move around while in lane.  If you are hiding behind a creep wave moving back and forth, and all the sudden you edge yourself out just a tiny bit outside of the creep line, then back in immediately, it can sometimes bait people into wasting skillshots on you.  Or, if they have a skillshot that goes through the creepwave, try to move in an arc motion behind the creepline.

7. How to be a safe, reliable player

May seem very obvious or basic, but is something that people can take for granted.  This is actually one of the hardest things you will accomplish in this game.  Think about everything you do.  When you are just about to CS a creep, think "Can I get this? Will I get this? What position do I need to maneuver into to get this safely? Attack now! Got it"  All of these thoughts must flow through your head for everything you do, and they must be processed lightning fast, until it is just reflex.  This way you are actively thinking about the game at hand, and not on your bad day at work yesterday.  Again, as an example, when you are going to CS a wave at 30 minutes, you might be thinking "Who's on the map? 4 People? Where could Ezreal be? What are his items? If he comes how can I approach this 1v1?  Will I win?"  People like doublelift don't just magically 1v2 because they know what to do no matter what, they are thinking about the game at hand constantly.  Also, consider if everything was or will be worth it in your head.  This will eventually turn you into a safer, better, more reliable player, and is something I think EVERYONE can do.  Being aggressive for no reason should not be your basic go-to playstyle, you start out playing like a pansy, and when they make a mistake you can capitalize on it.

8. Appreciate the importance of differentiating someone elses mistake from your own, while keeping it out of team and all chat

When I play, I am constantly analyzing everyones play.  When someone around me makes a mistake, I think wow that guy completely messed up.  But before I go to type a paragraph about how bad he is and how I can probably 1v1 him and I wouldve done better if I got his role, I think "You know what?  He probably knows that he made a mistake, and feels bad about it."  And if he doesn't?  Who the hell named me the judicator.  If he's not smart enough to see what he did wrong, he's definitely not smart enough to engage in conversation with.  If you saw someone on the street licking the pavement, would you walk up to them and say "Sir, are you aware that your tongue is scraping against the dirty pavement?  People walk on here!"  Hell no, you'd be like "Damn this guy is crazy, lets get the hell out of here."  How about you take that attitude and throw it into your solo queue game.  Stop giving a flying f*** what other people do, merely recognize what they do.

As for your own mistakes?  It's okay to be caught up in the moment and think damn I could've had that if you didn't fuck it all up nerd!  But a few seconds later, reflect on the situation.  What could I have done better in that situation?  A great example was earlier, I was playing Orianna.  I threw a ball onto my friendly Hecarim, and he E'd into the enemy Twisted Fate in midlane.  It was rather close to the tower, and he decided to back out.  I wanted to get the kill, I wasted my ult while the ball was on top of Hecarim.  Hecarim had turned around just as I ulted.  Would this be a great time for me to rage at this Hecarim for being a giant panzy? Yeah, but instead I can recognize the fact that I wasted a skill I didn't need to, not my teammate.  It did take me about 3 minutes to go back and say, man I really did waste my ult, what a stupid move, we couldn't have even gotten that kill!  But the point was that I did.  Ever stop to consider that while other people can be bad at the game, when they do something unfavourable, something in their brain made them think it was the right thing to do?  They might not always be right, but theres always a chance, right?  When you tell them what they did wrong or how bad it was, you are questioning their intelligence.  Not everyone takes that lightly.

9. Accept the responsibility that comes with ranked, or don't play it at all

You think playing a quick ranked game will relieve some stress?  Unless you have a very strong mind, think again mate.  Something as small as a screwed up invade could give a kill to the wrong person and instantly lose you a game, forcing you to sit through 20 minutes of agony, ever consider that?  Ranked games are not going to relieve your stress, they are expected to be taken seriously.  All the ragequits and AFK's you see are from people who have taken their stress from real life and applied it into the game, causing an even more stressful environment for not only themselves but the people on their team.  Either that, or they are just too young to comprehend what they are even doing, and think they are clever.  I started playing the game when I had just turned 13, and I thought it was funny to run around as Twitch with 6 sunfires slowly burning the enemy team, and that my team should take the game more lightly.  Damn, I was wrong.

10. Be overly polite

This one is the simplest and yet can sometimes seem the hardest.  If you truly think you belong at a higher elo than where you are, then why would you bother stooping down to this elo's level of rudeness and disrespect?    Being polite and ignoring insults/harassment shows mental superiority, a trait of a leader.  Ever wonder why when you try to talk to a famous streamer or pro in all chat, they just choose to ignore you?  They're damn well reading everything you write, but they're pretending that you are so unimportant to them, that they won't even acknowledge it.  This may seem like the opposite of being polite (and ignoring fans is rude!), but in solo queue, everything changes.  Filtering out all the disrespectful shit and replacing it with your own "Good job man, thanks!" really adds a positive atmosphere to the team, and will make your team desperate to impress you.  When they fail, they might even feel bad for letting you down.  You let them into your circle, you acknowledged their success, you made them feel good.  Now guess what? They want more than just themselves to get this juicy elo, they want you to join them in their conquest for solo queue dominance.  They might even ask them to duo queue with you, but I wouldn't bother.  Honour them instead!  When they see that +1 Teamwork popup, they know damn well that it was you.  And they feel good about it.  Hell, you might even pass on this contagious behaviour of being polite, and in turn you are making the world a better place.  Give yourself a pat on the shoulder, soldier.

Well, that's it for now, thanks for reading, and if you've read this far, I hope you enjoyed it.  There will be more to come in the future!  I will go into more specific topics later on, but this is a general solo queue survival guide.


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  1. I just read this and it is amazing how you explain everything, but one part, one about being polite is somehow wrong and hard to accomplish, most of the time when you try to be nice your team completely ignores you and continues to rage.

    1. Do they sometimes continue to rage? Absolutely, however, there are two benefits to being polite to a rager.

      1. One guy raging is significantly better for team moral then two or more people raging, and being polite to ragers significantly reduce the chances that other people join in (25% minimum).

      2. It is freaking hilarious! If one guy is raging and throwing the game, chances are being polite is going to make him rage harder, and you get many delicious tears of rage while you keep your cool and look like the good guy, it's like trolling minus the bad rep, and that's worst case! If they have an iota of self control, they will likely act positively to your politeness, and stop raging and do better. Bonus points if you give advice in a helpful, non-condescending manner.

    2. Well, I agree that it's fun to reply to rager as a Sir and see how they rage even more, but sometimes there's a problem.

      1. There's not only 1 but lets say that 3 persons of your team are raging hard, that's immediately another scenario.

      2. Person raging is really immature, lets say under 15 years of age and then your Sir tactic wont work because they wont simply understand what you mean and there is no chance to calm them down.

    3. "This one is the simplest and yet can sometimes seem the hardest."

      Gatis, instead of arguing for why you should be allowed to rage at people (or mention scenarios where being polite has no effect), re-read the paragraph on the issue and decide; are you a going to be a team leader or just another troll?

      He didn't say it was going to be easy, and this kind of behaviour separates the men from the boys so to speak.

  2. I need to start doing number 7. And maybe 5.

    Helpful tips.

  3. Thanks for the post :D,
    but if i remember correctly weren't you an AD main?
    Any general thoughts/tips of that :D.

    1. Yes of course, this is basically my most general piece that I will write, with more in-depth writeups in the future.

  4. I really do need to get better at raging. I don't often rage at my team in game, but IRL I am screaming at my screen and scaring my friends.
    Other than that, on the smartcasting thing. I recognize that it's not for everyone, but a third option is to enable smartcast indicators in the options menu. This causes a targeting indicator to be displayed when you press the button, and the skill is cast when you release it. The cast can be canceled by right clicking before releasing the button (this took me a while to figure out)

    1. I'd say if you're leaving the rage out of game, you're doing a mostly fine job. Your friends might not think so, but taking the rage OUT of the game is the BEST thing you can do. I rage on stream sometimes, but the point is that it is not-so-serious and it's not affecting my teammates.

  5. Beautiful read, esspecially the 10th chapter "be overly polite". Thanks LOD.

  6. that's absolute bullshit. You haven't been to silver lately. todays 10 games, 5 of them 3 v 5, the other 5 more than 3 people with 1/11 over the course of a 20 mins game. No, I will not be polite, I will tell them how I will break their useless fingers and will shove them up their useless asses

    1. You obviously don't understand the point of this amazing article and you deserve to sit in Silver forever.

    2. This is why you are stuck in silver.

  7. This was so enjoyable and useful to read, I found myself at this so called "wall" currently on Diamond V league, thank you very much for this blog i'll follow you from now on!

    Hope you give more useful advices on this kind of things that improve mechanics like point 1, 2 and 3!

    In point 1 you mention about mouse accuracy and stuff, how does pro players go and play lcs in other computers, do they configure them or what?

    1. They get on the computer, go to mouse, set it to 6 and turn off point precision, then they play. No further adjustments required except for maybe downloading mouse drivers.

  8. I dislike the idea number 1, when I set to 5 it's too slow to move cursor to the borders to scroll the map and when I set it higher it's too fast to last hit precisely and generally autoattacking and moving.

    1. I had the same problem and I found that its because my mouse has a low dpi, you might want to get a better mouse to disable mouse precision, if you want to disable it anyway you might want to adjust the precision bar to 7 tho it will not be 1:1 movement ratio anymore.

    2. Well I found out how to change, but I can only change it to 200 DPI max, wtf is this...

  9. I've got two questions.
    How about Blitzcrank? In some situations I grab really spontaneous if the enemys can see me and move fast with many direction changes to make a grab unexpected (grab right after a change, so the enemys may change direction a get hit by the flying grab). Would you use smart cast or not on this?
    I do but I'd like to hear your opinion.

    And what about the range indicators? Do you prefer the circle which gives you an impression about the skilshots lenght all around you or the line which shows the width and lenght in the direction you aim?

    Thanks a lot, I really like your work!

    P.S.: I'm wondering how a circle for Nidalee's spears looks loke or if there's one shown for the ice arrow or true shot barrage :D

  10. I'm stuck at the bottom of Platinum. Do you have any tips? I've read this article and found these tips already really helpful. But in your opinion, what specifically gets a plat player to the diamond level? I'm already trying to work on the mechanics more, like csing etc. But are there more specific/personal tips of yours? Thanks in advance!

  11. I bind Attack Move Click to LMB and therefore can't normal cast properly due to being unable to left click my spells and having to use a different button

    what do :V

  12. Wow I'm so stunned. Would love to have such a great community <'3

    I really take gaming seriously and I thank you so much for this.

    You opened my eyes.

    Farewell :)

  13. Hi there, awesome read. I will sure be using a lot of these tips. Just a question, shouldn't point 6 be "left-click" instead of "right-click"?

  14. thanks for all the tips. especially the mouse speed i think will help me imrpove a lot!.

    can you put up a screenshot of your in game settings please. i want to see your map scroll speed.

  15. Hey LoD I just wanted to say this blog was extremely useful, and it may be a placebo effect, but I feel like after only a few days of attack move and tip 1, my mechanics are improving. Thank You and I look forward to more Blogs

  16. Which champion is "best" largely depends on how prepared you are for your opponent. For example, Teemo is very good against Singed, but Yorick is very good against Teemo. Playing draft pick can give you the opportunity to see which top lane champion your opponent is choosing and you can counter-pick them accordingly. To find counters to champions, you should try Elohell.

    If you're playing blind pick, I suggest playing whatever champion you're best at or playing what you team needs most. If your team has no tank, Singed or Malphite might be a good choice, etc. It's very circumstantial and depends on whom you're playing against and what your team needs. Good luck!

  17. Decision making for Plat is definately not 4/5 people are not as good as people think

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