League of Legends analysis: how helpful is it to one-trick?

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Riven. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Today, we look at all the top ten players in terms of games played on each champion in League of Legends to answer the question: is one-tricking really the best way to climb?

One-tricking a champion is one of the most basic and often repeated pieces of advice regarding improving and climbing in League of Legends. Pick a champion, learn its kit inside and out, play them enough games that you’ll know all the little nuances, play every conceivable matchup many times over, and eventually your understanding of how to play this champion will pay dividends.

It makes sense, as well, that specializing and learning how to do one thing near-perfectly is going to be more beneficial than learning how to do a few things well. That’s why the adage “jack of all trades, master of none” is sort of a back-handed compliment.

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In addition, according to this theory, focusing purely on one champion repeatedly will free your mental capacity up to focus on more integral, nuanced aspects of the game. After a large enough volume of games, players won’t have to focus as much on the mechanics of their champion, thinking about which skills to take or which items to build. Instead, they’ll direct that mental energy towards more subtle skills like positioning, rotating, or team fighting.

The argument for one-tricking makes intuitive sense. But does it actually enable players to climb?

I have tracked the current ranks of the 10 players with the most ranked games played on each champion worldwide (per LeagueofGraphs). By taking the average rank of the ten most-experienced mains of each champion, we can get a rough idea of how much players are benefitting from one-tricking, and if one-tricking certain champions is more beneficial than others.