Five days ago I was totally content to stick with my silver ranked rating. I had silver in both 3v3 Team and 5v5 Solo, which meant I had a little extra leeway to try my hand at a gold rating. I thought it was impossible. I mean that. I’m not trying to say I did something amazing, just that I was so used to losing because of things outside my control. My teammates would feed or get caught way out of position or ignore teamfights. It’s a mess I usually avoid because the combination of trying to rank up and watching a team fall apart ends nowhere good.
I couldn’t help thinking, though, that I would like to get that Gold rating. There’s not really a reason. I don’t play Jarvan. I don’t post on the forums much, if at all, so the rewards don’t really hold anything for me. I think I was just happy to have a goal in the game, a benchmark with some sort of associated reward (more on this in a post later today). In a game that I thought would be a tough match, my team steamrolled to the final victory that put me over into gold.
Most of my wins happened because I focused on the following four things. They didn’t work in every game, but they were key to most of my victories. If you’re trying to rank up in Solo 5v5, these are four things that can help.
Planning in the Pre-Game Lobby
I know. I know this one is nearly impossible. I know this is extremely frustrating. I know. But try to keep your cool when you queue up. There are enough people shooting for rewards that most of them will try to cooperate. Some of them might even pick for you and trade. I started entering games and immediately saying what I do best – jungle/AP carry/AD carry. Those are my strengths and I know it. I play a decent support, but plenty of people are better than me, so I’m willing to let them take a shot.
Playing Aggressive Junglers
Ever since my Champ of the Week with Lee Sin I’ve been in love with the guy. He can come out of the jungle incredibly early with enough damage to snag a first blood or force the use of Flash from an opponent. If you want to rank up fast, play an aggressive jungler. From what I’ve seen, players above the 1300 mark mostly know what they should be doing, they just tend not to do it. They overextend. They don’t ward or they ward too little. They don’t know jungle routes well enough to CV you or know when you might be ganking.
Aggressive junglers – Lee Sin, Udyr, Xin Zhao, Fiddle and even Nocturne – can come out of the jungle before level six with tools to secure a kill. If you can support your team with ganks, you can help them win the early game, even against champions like Singed and Mordekaiser, which can often win the game.
Buy an Oracle’s Elixir
Vision is everything. Being able to see and predict what the enemy team is doing makes your team’s job much easier. You’ll know where to gank, when an enemy is overextended, when they’re trying to secure dragon, and what sort of items they’re buying. Taking that advantage away from the enemy team is just as good as having it yourself, and often secures your own wards by preventing vision to the enemy of where your wards are placed. Buying an Oracle’s early in the game, especially with one of the aggressive junglers, can help you secure dragon, giving your team a healthy gold advantage along with the vision advantage.
It should go without saying that you’ll need to play a little safer than usual when you’re wearing an Oracle. Losing 400g early in the game won’t do you any good.
Baron as Early as Possible
There’s no way to deny this one simple fact: you won’t always have good teammates. Sometimes you’ll have bad ones. Sometimes you’ll have very bad ones. Those games are still winnable, but you need absolutely every single advantage you can get. Baron is a massive advantage, not just for the buff but for the gold it will provide your team. If you can organize all five of your teammates around Baron, he’s relatively easy to take down, even early in the game. You’ll want to do it when the enemy team is elsewhere, though. A contested Baron fight early in the game is almost always a sure death for the team trying to take Baron. If you can take Baron early, it could give your team the edge they need to beat a better skilled or better composed opponent.
It can be done. It will probably be frustrating. It will probably be slow going unless you get incredibly lucky on the teammate front. But seriously, it can be done. I climbed from the mid 1300s to the mid 1500s over the course of a couple weeks. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had in the game, but it was cool to have a goal and try to find ways to reach that goal. Now I just might have to start playing some Jarvan or posting on the forums. You know, strut my stuff a little bit.