League of Legends: Seven Tips for Overcoming Ranked Anxiety

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
Fiddlesticks. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

A lot of players feel scared to jump into the ranked mode in League of Legends. We have the tips to help overcome that ranked anxiety.

For a lot of players, the idea of jumping into a ranked game of League of Legends is incredibly terrifying. They hear stories of teammates flaming, the risk of getting bad teammates or AFKers, or just worry that they’ll go 0-10 in placements and start the season in Iron IV. If you’re one of these players who gets ranked anxiety and wants help overcoming it, we have some tips to help.

For those who are unaware, ranked anxiety is a fear of playing solo queue (or even flex queue) for fear of losing LP and having a bad experience. Players’ fear might be due to internal or external pressures (either their own performance or their teammates), but if you want to challenge yourself to improve and rank up, this ranked anxiety is something you’ll have to overcome.

1. Mute all.

I’ve given this advice in numerous articles in the past, including my 50 tips to rank up in Season 10, but if you’re someone who has ranked anxiety I think this advice is paramount. Even if your fear is not from being flamed by teammates but your own performance, if you leave chat on there is every chance that your teammates’ comments will distract you and cause you to underperform. Don’t feel pressure to listen to enemies, just chill out and do whatever you have to do to focus on your own gameplay and staying calm.

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2. Remember the rules are still the same.

It’s a bit cliche but remember that this is still a game of League of Legends, just like the hundreds or thousands of regular games you’ve played in the past. The goal is still to destroy the Nexus, the champions and items are all the same.

Think of the game as a test that you’ve already done hundreds of practices for. You have all the answers. Don’t stress just because this game is going to give you a score at the end.

3. Imagine you’re playing with bots.

You might be intimidated by the players that you’re facing, fearing that they’ll be much more skilled than you are. Whether or not that is true, you need to go into each game with the mindset that you’re better than them. So just imagine the players you’re facing are very good bots and just play to win.

4. Set a small goal for you to achieve independent of winning.

I’m particularly hard on myself whenever my team loses in ranked. I’ll often blame myself for small things that I could do better and psych myself out of playing again. If you’re like this, one way that I’ve found to keep myself from tilting is to set one small goal before each game that is easily achievable.

It could be something as small as going positive or hitting 60 CS in the first ten minutes. It could just be to get comfortable on a champ or make sure you’re itemizing properly. Whatever the goal is, whether you win or lose after the game try to focus on how you did achieving that goal.

5. Remember that you might lose.

It’s a fact of League of Legends: everyone loses ranked games. Faker, Doublelift, Bjergsen, Caps, Jankos, Doinb, JackeyLove, every one of them has lost hundreds of ranked games. They’ve fed in hundreds of games as well, but they’re all still some of the best at this game.

The point is that you shouldn’t dwell on the losses you’ve suffered, or whether you might lose LP. The truth is, you probably will lose that next game, you might demote, you might feed your butt off. If you’re afraid to lose, don’t queue up.

6. Relish good sessions and move on from bad ones.

Poker player Daniel Negraneau had some advice for less-experienced players looking to make money by playing cards. His tip was to always set a time limit for yourself and never leave if you’re winning. He makes this point largely for one big reason: luck exists.

Some days, you will be rolling in good games. You’ll get great teammates, you’ll be playing great, you’ll run into inters or AFKers on the other team, whatever. In those scenarios, you should allow yourself to play longer than you normally would have because you’re on such a roll.

On the other hand, if you’re in the situation where you’re getting the bad teammates or just having an off game, it’s a good idea to have a set stopping point so you don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole to huge loss streaks. How many times have you tried to play just one more so you can recover all the LP you just lost? Those sessions, Negraneau warns, are the ones where your goal should be to limit your losses.

For someone with ranked anxiety, who is afraid to lose LP or demote, it can be helpful to have this framework in mind. The way I would set up a gaming session is to say “okay, I’m going to play three ranked games and if I win two I’ll keep playing. If not, I stop there.” This way, you feel in control and less nervous about having to hit a certain LP threshold.

7. Make sure you’re having fun!

I know this may seem obvious for the last point, but it’s honestly the biggest one. Every game, even a ranked game, should be about having fun first and foremost. Yes, it’s a competitive game and you should be trying your best to win, but if you aren’t going into the game with a smile on your face you’re better off just playing an ARAM or normal game.

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Go into every solo queue game with a smile on your face, ready to play that champion you’ve been winning with the past few weeks. Maybe you just watched a pro game and are feeling inspired to try and be like Faker, or the new Warriors video got you hyped up. No matter what the case, make sure you’re amped up and enjoying yourself next time you enter a ranked lobby.