The Summoner's Guidebook: Staying positive in League of Legends

Patrick Mackey
P. Mackey|02.27.14

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Staying positive in League of Legends
This is the last issue of the Summoner's Guidebook for the time being. I hate to leave, but unfortunately things are out of everyone's hands. So before I go, I will give you my final lesson: the way to be the best League of Legends players you can be.

I played my first game of Hexakill last week, and it was terrible. I was jungle Shyvana, and we had a duo top plus otherwise standard lanes. All of my lanes lost. Our Ryze went 0 and 6 against the enemy Syndra. The enemy Riven had something like 11 kills in the midgame with over 26 by the end. I was the only one not behind; our bottom lane was losing, but not terribly. We won that game.

Some of that victory comes from the enemy screwing up. I will fully admit that if the enemy had played properly in the midgame, we would have lost. However, even with the enemy's mistakes, we were tens of thousands of gold and several towers behind. How is a comeback like that even possible? Here's how: Stay positive and always look for the silver lining.

An impossible game

Right from the beginning of the game, I noted that the enemy team had a lot of wombo combos (Orianna, Riven, Darius, Syndra, Caitlyn, Shaco). Our team was a more fight-oriented comp (Jax, Wukong, Teemo, Ryze, Caitlyn, Shyvana), and I let my team know that if we managed to live through the early game, we would probably win. This was before Riven and Syndra got fed, but I kept my chin up. I'd been able to roam a bit, our bottom lane was doing OK, and more importantly, we kept up map control.

I bought a Sightstone early as a defensive measure and emphasized ward placement. Jax helped out a lot with wards too, keeping his lane covered to stop the bleeding. While top lane was basically a lost cause, Jax's wards helped keep it from getting a lot worse.

Between teamwork and communication, we stuck together and persevered. We took dragons, enemy buffs, and aggressively counterganked. While Riven was so fed no one could fight her 1v1, we just fought back with 4-man roams and split pushing. Slowly but surely, we pulled ahead, giving our single strongest asset (Caitlyn) the cover she needed to tear through the enemy team. With a concentrated focus on keeping Riven from her, we pulled it out.

The actual lesson

Right from the start, be positive. In team select, don't be a jerk if you don't get your role. Be nice! Ask people what they want from you. Before the laning phase starts, be chatty! Those two moments are the only real moments when your focus won't be on the game, so use them to build rapport.

For a jungler this really helps because people start trusting you more if you are nice. I always apologize if I get the kill during a gank, even if the kill was better in my hands than the person I was ganking for. I try to communicate where I can and cannot be, and I try to give warnings about where I think the enemy jungler is. I might be wrong, but it still lets folks know I'm thinking about them.

As an ADC, I always try to let my support know how capable I am at going in on things. I ask my support to expect little of me because jungle is my main role. I thank my support when she makes good plays, and I apologize when I screw up, even in little ways.

As support, I ping my target when I'm going to go in. I let my ADC know when I'm going to leave the lane to ward. I sometimes go up and try to ward for the mid lane too, and I let my mid lane know I'm doing it. If I go deep into the enemy bottom jungle to ward, I let people know where and what I'm doing. If I don't want someone to go in when I'm harassing, I use a retreat ping so people know I'm only poking.

As any lane, I congratulate teammates when they do well. Frequently this comes in the form of "Geez, Ezreal, stop doing so well; it makes the rest of us look bad." I try not to appear as a suck-up while still doing my best to brownnose anyone who does anything remotely skillful. If someone on the enemy team is being rude, I discourage my team from trashtalking back, saying, "It doesn't matter; you're doing fine, so don't let them get to you," and similar types of things.

What happens when you play nice

The most obvious thing that happens when you are nice is that people are not jerks. I get a genuinely rude person on my team probably one in 10 games. I get a rude opponent roughly one in three games. I understand that people are more likely to trash their team than talk trash in all chat, but it doesn't happen on my team very often. Why?

I am not magically more skilled than the people in my MMR. I get teamed with the same bad teammates as everyone else. I make mistakes like anyone else, and I lose just as many games as anyone else. However, my team is rarely mean about it. Sometimes we'll be down during a loss, but that's understandable. The reason my team rarely trashtalks is because I make an effort to be nice.

I see comments here, there, and everywhere about how toxic the LoL community is. It can be, but the problem sometimes is the complainer himself. If you're polite, people are more polite to you.

Consider this situation: Everyone on your team is mostly quiet. Maybe some buff timers, pings, and normal solo queue team communication comes about. Then all of a sudden your midlane gets ganked. That's fine, whatever. Then he gets aggressive in his lane and dies. Then he dies again two minutes later. He's getting camped now by the enemy jungler, who sees him as a free kill. What's going on in your head? He's a bad player, a feeder? He should go back to bot matches? He should stop making such stupid mistakes? You may say nothing, but you think it.

Now consider the same person, only he is really nice and chatty. He gets caught by the jungler and apologizes, and then he apologizes again when he goes all-in and fails. He starts getting stomped on and says that he can't do anything now, that he's too far behind and he could really use some help. While you might still think harshly of him, you're way more likely to see where he's coming from. After all, we all have bad matchups or bad days playing. Isn't that right?

Be the better person, not just because it wins more games but because being the better person is its own reward. If you're interested in following what I'll be doing in the future in LoL and beyond, feel free to follow me on Twitter @mackeypb. Hope to see all of you out there on the Fields of Justice.

We understand what it's like to climb the skill ladder in League of Legends. The Summoner's Guidebook teaches you the tools you need to get a competitive edge. Whether you're climbing the ranked ladder, playing Draft Dominion, or getting crushed by intermediate bots, every enemy has a weakness. And every Thursday, Patrick Mackey shows how you can improve improve on yours.
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