Chapter 1: YOLO
Here we are, first pick in ranked, “Your turn to Ban” flashing before your eyes. What do you ban? Well the answer to that question doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may think. When we discuss solo queue mentality, you need to set yourself up for success; you need to put yourself in position to carry right from the start. That all starts in the Pick and Ban phase.
Banning is generally the easiest part of this whole process. What’s carrying all the games you’ve been playing lately? What has the highest win rate? What do YOU know? For the sake of this article eventually being outdated, I will preface that this is being written during patch 5.16, the Juggernaut Patch. We still have strong devourer junglers, a wave of carry top laners as we move away from the tank meta, and new juggernaut champions to square it all off. Where do you even start?! Well, what do you understand? Personally, I have played a decent amount of Shyvana, so I know what she is capable of, and I know what her win conditions are. This is an example of something you understand you can play around. Probably won’t ban her. However, I think I’ve played two ARAMS total with Mordekaiser, and that was pre-patch 5.16, meaning it wasn’t even the juggernaut Morde that seems to be rising in both popularity and win rate. I don’t fully understand his damage, what he needs, nor his win conditions. If I don’t understand the champion, then I don’t know how to play around it. Ban. Apply this to the typical flavour of the month champions that pop up due to the pro scene and reworks, and you should find yourself being a little less frustrated now that you won’t have a Mordekaiser hitting level 6 and blowing up your level 4 bot lane.
What to pick is something that’s a little different when you think about solo queue versus when you play a 5v5 with teammates you know (such as in SKL), so it has to be treated very differently. In solo queue, you’re going to want to play whatever you’re comfortable on. If that’s the flavor of the month, so be it. If that’s a top lane Aatrox that no one has seen since EU LCS Spring Split of 2014, so be it. Play what you want to play and don’t let your teammates talk you into a champion that you don’t know just because “it’s OP, dood”. Playing something you know will always be better because you will know that champion’s limits, strengths, weaknesses, and spikes. Solo queue should be about enabling yourself and putting yourself in the carry role. This applies all across the board, whether you’re top, mid, jungle, ADC, or support. Now, some people like to change it up in solo queue and play a ton of different roles, and some people find one champ they have success on and play hundreds of games with it and don’t care what their duo partner says (but TRUST ME CRAFTY BUCKEYE, NAUTILUS WILL CARRY US). That’s completely fine as well. The overall message of picking your champion is to stay true to yourself, by knowing your limits and knowing your strengths.
Stay tuned for Chapter 2, tentatively titled “gg report my noob team”, where I will discuss pick and ban in a more team-based fashion, focusing on pick and ban coordination for 5v5 settings.
All my love,