Admittedly, tossing together a ranked team in League of Legends is a pretty simple task – virtually any idiot can do it. Actually taking that team somewhere, though? Recruiting a cadre of players and pushing your way up the ladder? That’s something not everyone can do. If you’re looking to be among those who actually climb, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Also, I’m going to pre-emptively say that yes, I’m aware all of this stuff is basic knowledge to many. That doesn’t mean it’s still not worth writing for those who don’t quite understand how ranked works. There are plenty of folks like that out there, and the only way they’re going to get better is by learning (a process which generally doesn’t involve profanity and threats of violence).
This is probably the most important one. On any well-rounded ranked team, there needs to be at least one player who mains each of the primary roles. You need a capable mid-laner, a highly skilled jungler, a decent top, and an ad carry and support who can work well together. Without someone specialized in each of these roles, you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into trouble as you play. Of course, that said, everyone on your team should be able to skilfully play at least a few roles other than their main, as well. Take myself, for example. I’m a fairly skilled mid-laner, very confident in top lane, and halfway decent as an AD Carry. I can play jungle, but I’m not entirely comfortable in the role, while support is, without a doubt, my weakest. What this basically means is that in any situation where a lane swap has to occur, I can generally hold my own.
This is another big one that not a lot of people think about when putting together a team (or maybe they think about it and simply don’t care). Is there a huge gap in skill, rating, or MMR between several players? Is one of your teammates Diamond I while you’re stuck in Bronze V? If so, you might run into a bit of trouble along the way – you’re going to likely as not be matched up against a team with a player at least as skilled as your best…meaning that if you don’t have the mechanics necessary to survive in that player’s league, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Now, I’m not saying high MMR players shouldn’t form ranked teams with low MMR players…just that both parties need to be cautious when queuing together. Otherwise…well, you do the math.
I said that each player needs to have a set of specialized roles, but that’s not necessarily enough for a team to thrive. Each player needs to have one or more champions that they’re skilled at playing, and at least one of those champions has to be one that isn’t ordinarily banned. Further, players on a ranked team require a diverse selection of champions for first-picks. I’ll give you folks an example. Let’s say that, for some reason, neither team decides to ban Kassadin. Naturally, the top player on your team insta-locks him, even though he doesn’t ordinarily play mid. You already know what he wants, of course – on your turn, you quickly lock in Jinx, and the two of you trade.
Without a diverse champion pool to draw from (and knowledge of a number of different champions you can play in your primary lane), moves like that wouldn’t be possible. What’s more, not all champions work with all team compositions. For this reason, you need to have at least a few champions you’ve gotten good with – or even mastered.
You could have all your roles perfectly lined up, you could all have awesome, diverse champion pools and similar MMR, but at the end of the day, none of this actually matters if your schedules don’t line up with one another. The point of a ranked team is that you’re playing together with your teammates. If your mid lane is at work and your ad-carry is sleeping when all the rest of you are raring to go (and this is a regular occurrence), that’s a sure-fire sign that your team might not work out. Basically, before you commit to tossing together a ranked team, make sure you guys can actually play together.
Let’s face it – communication through in-game chat is infinitely inferior compared to voice chat. You’re typing when you could be playing the game, and making plays becomes far, far more difficult in light of the fact that you basically have to stop what you’re doing every time you want to explain something. That’s where voice chat comes in. There’s a whole host of chat clients available for you to use – Mumble, Skype, Ventrilo, and Teamspeak; to name a few – it’s just a matter of working out which your teammates would rather run with. Trust me: you want voice chat, one way or another.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to work out what your team’s aiming for…and more importantly, how it’s going to get there. That said, you need to be sure you set realistic goals. Don’t just toss together a team primarily composed of Bronze players and aim to place in Platinum. Instead, take things step-by step. If you’re bronze, aim for silver. If you’re silver, aim for gold. If you’re gold, aim for platinum. The worst you can do is end up at the top of your league, right?
Any other team-building advice I missed? Drop me a line in the comments!