Racking up your player level and unlocking a bunch of champions only gets so satisfying before it gets monotonous.
If you feel like you’re ready for more of a challenge, maybe it’s time to climb LoL’s ranked mode.
Since being new to ranked can be confusing, this article is a deep dive into everything you need to know about that arduous, but gratifying, ladder-climb to the top.
What Is Ranked?
Ranked is League of Legends’ game setting where a team of 5 players are pitted against another team. It’s like the Summoner Rift normal mode, but much more competitive.
In League of Legends’ ranked mode, LoL puts players in certain ranks and categories to ensure fair matchmaking at players’ current levels.
This way, each player can increase their skill level at a more realistic rate based on play performance.
How Do I Start Playing Ranked?
You need to have a player level of 30 and at least 20 different champions to start playing ranked.
Players must then play 10 ‘placement matches’ to determine their provisional rank. The many LP (League Points) that you win for each match largely determines where you’ll be placed.
Fortunately, gamers can’t lose LP during placement matches and provisional ranks will only go up with each placement game you play.
Playing Solo/Duo Queue vs. Flex Queue
League of Legends recognizes that users may have a preferred playing style when it comes to games.
Playing solo queue is great for individuals who like to venture out on their own skill level, while duo queue is best if you have a friend you’re already comfortable playing tag-team with.
Meanwhile, you can queue up as one player or with a team of 2, 3, or 5 in flex queue if you’ve already nailed a specific game strategy with some teammates.
Rankings in solo/due queue differ from those in flex queue, so keep your playing style in mind before you start your placement games.
Tiers and Divisions
There are a total of 9 tiers in LoL with four divisions in each, except for the final 3 tiers (Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger). Rankings are based on players’ LP.
Divisions range from I-IV, with I being the highest division you can achieve within one tier.
League of Legends follows a strict gaming season where a ranked season typically spans a year. Seasons begin in January and end in November or December.
Before each new season begins, League of Legends’ Riot Games releases a list based on the latest LP of all players from the most recent ranked season.
The tiers and global distribution of League of Legends’ latest player base are as follows:
- Iron – 2.8%
- Bronze – 23%
- Silver – 39%
- Gold – 24%
- Platinum – 7.9%
- Diamond – 1.8%
- Master – 0.12%
- Grandmaster – 0.03%
- Challenger – 0.01%
With over 115 million players worldwide, you can see how difficult it is to move up just one rung on LoL’s ranking system.
Many players fall between the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, & Diamond divisions. After that, the number of players dramatically drops come Master tier; and more still from Master to Grandmaster & Challenger.
Per Riot Games, Inc. LoL sees about 8 million players a day. That means only 1,500 players across the world are skilled enough to be in the top tier of the league each season!
Promotions, Demotions, and Decay
A player is up for division promotion after achieving 100 LP in their current division, with any additional league points being rolled over into the next rank.
LoL’s ranking system used to require players to win at least 2 out of 3 games in a ‘promotion series’ before moving up within divisions.
However, changes were made by Riot Games in 2021, and gamers moving within divisions do not have to go through the promotion series anymore.
Note that if a game loss causes a player’s LP to drop down to 0, the player automatically gets demoted a division down according to the ranking system (ex. Gold III to Gold IV).
When moving up to the next rank, Riot confirmed that players must still go through the promotion series and will need to win at least 3 games out of 5 against each other.
The promo series also acts as a safety net that provides a demotion shield between tiers.
Generally, demotion shields last for about 10 games after advancing a tier, except for Master tier onwards where the shield is only good for around 3 games in the league.
Players who have reached the Master to Challenger tiers now compete for total LP. Every 24 hours, gamers ranked as Master and above have the opportunity to move into the next rank if they surpass the next person in LP.
Decay happens when you don’t play a ranked game after a certain number of days. Since demotion can happen when a player reaches 0 LP, decay can be a cause of LP loss.
While decay only applies to gamers in Platinum rank and above, it makes it all the more devastating since there are no divisions in the final 3 tiers.
Decay sets in after 28 days for Platinum players and 10 days for Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger-tier players. To safeguard LP, don’t wait for more than 28 days to play a ranked game!
How Quitting, Dodging, or AFK Affects LP and LP Mitigation
Sometimes gamers leave the game lobby before the champion selection phase begins (dodging). LoL ‘s system automatically tallies that match as a loss which negatively affects your LP.
Being AFK (Away From Keyboard) also causes players to lose LP, but recent changes have been made by Riot Games for LP Mitigation to be stronger for the leaver in team plays. LP mitigation also helps decrease the amount of LP lost to the remaining team members.
MMR (Match Making Rating) is League of Legends’ automated system that estimates how good a player is based on wins and losses.
MMR changes how much LP you gain per win or lose per defeat, and is independent of a player’s division or tier (ex. Platinum IV-division MMR with a Gold II-division rank).
The higher your matchmaking rating, the greater your LP gains and vice versa.
This is why MMR is used when matching ranked players against other people to ensure everyone has a similar skill-level opponent, giving both sides a 50-50 chance of winning.
Unfortunately, MMR is hidden and there’s no one way to actually figure out your current standing.
The best way to estimate your matchmaking rating is to use our MMR Checker at GooseSmurfs.
The Rewards of Ranked Play
While you don’t have to drown yourself in Red Bull to reach Challenger levels in your LoL journey, climbing up the ranked ladder each season definitely has its perks.
Individuals who placed in Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster & Challenger tiers receive end-of-season rewards. Prizes range from simple icons to limited-edition Victorious skin.
At the end of the day, ranked play gives you the opportunity to meet players of similar skill levels and helps you learn from the more advanced gamers in each match.
If you’re ready to turn possible losses into learnings, then definitely give ranked play a shot on one of our League Ranked Ready Accounts.