#**The mindset with which you approach ranked is likely holding you back.**
_**Disclaimer:** We’re speaking in generalisations here, so they won’t apply completely to everyone, instead of dismissing something as “that’s not me” consider why I’m talking about it and see if there maybe is somewhere that they apply to you._
First of all, it’s important to understand that not every game is winnable. You’re going to lose games, and you need to know how to make that loss a positive.
THE most important thing to remember is that [rank is a reflection of your skill](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect) (a reflection might be a little blurry or imperfect, but it’s still you in it) and if you want to improve your rank, you have to improve your skill. Winning does not = climbing. Improving = climbing and the wins will come with it. Everyone has to start somewhere, and no-one starts in Gold.
It’s also important to note this means improving your skill in all areas of the game, including teamwork (yes that is an actual skill that you have to practice, not just some nebulous concept). Remembering that you are part of a team, rather than one person with a team of 4 attached to you is important in developing the right mindset.
> "I'm playing really well and getting S+ every single game but I can’t carry my trash teams”
> "Low elo is full of trolls/feeders/afks/baddies and they’re stopping me from climbing”
Is not going to help you improve. There’s no point doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, maybe it’s time to try something different.
_So many people that I have spoken to have told me that their biggest gains in ranked have come after they stop believing their team is the reason they are stuck, and start thinking critically of themselves. So many people come onto the boards to complain about potato teams and Riot’s matchmaking and obviously, they aren’t the people that are going to climb successfully. They have an “I must carry” or “I deserve x” mentality. There are very few people in high elo that I know have that way of thinking. Those who do, practice their mechanical skills for hours on end and climb anyway. Not many people can do that though, and it can be very easy to plateau if this is what you are going to do_
_The majority of high elo players that I know, play to improve themselves. They enjoy actively participating and evolving their theories of how they should play to cover their teammates weaknesses and boost their strengths. This kind of thinking goes a long way, and allows you to fit seamlessly into any team because it is the basis of great synergy which is not only great for solo q, but will also translate through every level of play as a skill you can and should keep developing that will take you a long way towards winning more games._
You are the only constant in your games, therefore you are the variable you can improve, and must improve if you want to climb. You’ll get bad teammates, you’ll get people who are so tilted they’re horizontal, and you’ll get those S+ losses, but you’ll get them whatever rank you are. Blaming your rank on that is essentially throwing yourself against a brick wall Bronze to Challenger thick and is only going to cause you serious injury.
Let’s clear something up. Riot’s matchmaking isn’t against you, and it isn’t the reason you aren’t climbing. Trolls, afks, intent feeders and bad players exist at every single level of play. Even Challenger. As much as you want to believe it, you aren’t special in this regard. You aren’t the only one who is encountering these players, and if others can climb with them or in spite of them then so can you. [It’s largely about perspective](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias) and knowing how to deal with what comes your way. Adaptability is important in both attitude and in gameplay.
One of the most common mistakes is shifting blame. Maybe it IS your team’s fault, but the fact is that you are a part of that team too.
# **“People in my game are feeding.”**
There is a big difference between “feeding” and “having a bad game”.
Maybe you had an intent feeder and couldn’t do anything about it, in which case it’s best to just leave it and move on, but what if it was just someone having a bad game? Did you do what you could to help them bounce back or at least not give any more kills? Or did you just dismiss them as a feeder and wait for the surrender vote?
It’s pretty obvious which one will help you win, and which one will near guarantee you the loss. Start focusing on what you can do to help your teammates, instead of on what they’ve done wrong. Helping that player be less behind will win you many more games than abandoning them completely and trying to win a 4v5.
As for intentional feeders, yeah they really suck, and there isn’t anything you can do about them. Play the game out and report them after the game, and take some solace in the fact that it only takes a couple of intent feeding games to net them a 14 day or permanent suspension. They aren’t nearly as common as people think, and if you do encounter one and really feel like people don’t get banned, just take a look at the Player Behaviour board.
# **“Smurfs are stomping my games.”**
Smurfs definitely can be frustrating, but they don’t only exist in low elo. A lot of my games are in low-mid diamond, and these games are also full of smurfs. Again, if others can climb in spite of these players, so can you.
The best way to deal with smurfs is to just ride it out. Sometimes it will be a blessing, others a curse, but in the long run (while they may be frustrating) they will balance themselves out.
You're basically just as likely to get a smurf on your team as the enemy is. If you wouldn't complain about having a smurf on your team, why complain about there being one on your opponents'?
# **“Riot’s matchmaking is bad in general and all my games are feeling like stomps because of it.”**
Below plat 3, the people you are matched with are about the same skill level as you, as determined by your [hidden matchmaking rating (MMR)](https://support.riotgames.com/hc/en-us/articles/201752954-Matchmaking-Guide#q1). Plat 3+ (especially on OCE) matchmaking gets a little wonky because of the much lower population. Anywhere else and matchmaking is appropriate/accurate a _vast_ majority of games.
The first thing to remember is that rank takes a while to catch up to actual skill, just because someone is ranked much higher or lower than you doesn’t mean they’re actual skill is all that different from yours. If they are matched with you, it’s because their MMR, which reflects their actual skill much faster than rank is similar to yours.
# “But how does this help me?”
MMR is a reflection of your _average_ skill, not your skill in any one game. The lower rank you’re in the less reliable/consistent skill is. Especially in low ranks, players will swing from playing really well to really badly from day to day, or even from game to game. It’s the degree of game knowledge and awareness that develops that consistency and reliability that becomes ever more present and complete the higher you climb
What this means is that high Silver > Plat games are usually pretty evenly matched, in skill and consistency, but Bronze > low Silver games will typically swing very noticeably one way or another. Scores in lower ranks are often very polarising, and this is why most games in those ranks will be stomps one way or the other.
This isn’t a flaw with Riot’s MMR specifically, as any matchmaking rating can only be indicative of your average skill, not your skill in any one game.
**tl;dr on matchmaking:** In lower ranks it feels unreliable because player skill is unreliable, this is a result of the environment and not because MMR is inaccurate. In higher ranks it is unreliable because the active population is too small.
So if it isn’t Riot’s fault or matchmaking screwing me over, **[how do I climb?](http://boards.oce.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/gameplay-strategy/xeKp58HJ-playing-like-a-god-but-still-cant-climb-part-2)**