LoL Ranking System → All Ranks Explained

By Alex Cabal | updated On Nov 30, 2023, 11:23 AM UTC


Do you want to dominate the League of Legends ranked ladder? Sure you do, why else would you be here? Dreaming of reaching the top and showcasing your skills to the world? Well, understanding the intricate ranking system in League of Legends is your key to success. The LOL ranking system is not just a mere collection of tiers and divisions; it's a competitive environment that determines your skill level and places you among other dedicated players.

Setting goals and tracking progress becomes crucial when navigating through the ranks. The LOL ranking system provides you with a clear indication of where you stand and what milestones you need to achieve. Whether you're hardstuck in Silver or aspiring to reach the pinnacle of Challenger, knowing how this system works is essential.

The matchmaking rating (MMR) lies at the core of the LOL ranking system, calculating your skill level based on wins, losses, and performance. Each rank represents a different tier, from Iron all the way up to Challenger. Climbing up this ladder requires determination, strategic gameplay, and continuous improvement.

So get ready to embark on an exciting journey through the LOL ranks. Buckle up as we explore each division, unveil tips for climbing, and discover how this system shapes your competitive gaming experience.

How Does the LOL Ranking System Work?

League of Legends (LoL) has a diverse ranking system that spans from Iron to Challenger, each representing different skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting out, understanding the various ranks and player distribution can give you valuable insights into the competitive landscape of this popular game.

The Range of Ranks in League of Legends

In LoL, players strive to climb the ranked ladder and achieve higher ranks. The ranking system starts with Iron, followed by Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Master, Grandmaster, and finally Challenger. Each rank signifies a certain level of skill and expertise within the game.

At the lower end of the spectrum are Iron and Bronze ranks. These ranks often consist of newer or less experienced players who are still learning the ropes of the game. As players improve their skills and knowledge, they progress towards higher ranks like Silver and Gold.

Silver and Gold are considered average ranks in LoL's ranked league. Many players fall within these categories as they make up a significant portion of the player base. These ranks provide a good balance between skilled players looking for competition while still allowing room for improvement.

Moving up further in the rankings brings us to Platinum and Diamond. Players at these ranks demonstrate more advanced gameplay mechanics and strategic thinking. They have likely spent considerable time honing their skills to reach this level, but players in these ranks still make huge mistakes to capitalize on!

Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger represent the upper echelons of LoL's ranking system. These ranks are reserved for highly skilled players who have mastered intricate strategies and possess exceptional mechanical abilities. Climbing to these top tiers requires dedication, practice, and an in-depth understanding of the game's mechanics.

Understanding Player Distribution Across Ranks

The distribution of players across different ranks in LoL follows a bell curve pattern commonly observed in many competitive games. This means that there are fewer players at both extreme ends (Iron and Challenger) and a higher concentration of players in the middle ranks (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum).

  • Iron: 7.8%
  • Emerald: 11%
  • Bronze: 18.95%
  • Diamond: 2.7%
  • Silver: 21%
  • Master: 0.46%
  • Gold: 22%
  • GrandMaster: 0.06%
  • Platinum: 16%
  • Challenger: 0.03%

The majority of LoL players fall within the average ranks, such as Silver or Gold. These ranks act as a battleground where players can test their skills against opponents of similar abilities. It is here that many players strive to climb the ladder and improve their rankings.

On the other hand, reaching higher ranks like Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger requires exceptional skill and dedication. These ranks are more exclusive due to the smaller number of skilled players who have managed to reach them. Players at these ranks often compete against each other for recognition and prestige as well as a shot at stardom by getting picked up by an esports team.

It's important to note that player distribution across ranks can also vary depending on factors like region and game mode. For example, certain regions may have a larger concentration of highly skilled players compared to others (looking at you, Korea). Different game modes within LoL, such as ranked solo/duo or flex queue, may attract different types of players resulting in varying distributions.

Earning and Losing LP (League Points)

In the world of League of Legends, climbing the ranks is no easy feat. Players earn or lose LP (League Points) based on their performance in Ranked games. LP serves as a measure of progress within the ranked system. Winning a game will grant you LP, while losing will cause you to lose some.

The number of LP gained or lost depends on various factors, such as the skill level of your opponents and teammates, as well as your own individual performance. If you defeat players with higher MMR (Matchmaking Rating), you'll receive more LP compared to defeating opponents with lower MMR. Conversely, losing against players with lower MMR will result in a greater loss of LP.

Influence of MMR on LP Gains/Losses

MMR (Matchmaking Rating) plays an essential role in determining how many League Points you gain or lose after each match. It represents your hidden skill rating behind the scenes and influences matchmaking by pairing you with players of similar MMR.

When your MMR is higher than the average for your current division, you'll gain more LP for victories and lose less for defeats. This indicates that the system believes you belong in a higher division and is trying to accelerate your climb. Conversely, if your MMR is lower than expected, winning games will grant fewer LP while losses will deduct more.

The influence of MMR on LP gains/losses aims to align your visible rank with your actual skill level. If you consistently perform well against opponents with higher MMR, it suggests that you are ready to move up the ladder.

Promotion and Demotion between Divisions

LP not only reflects your progress but also determines whether you are eligible for promotion or at risk of demotion between divisions within a tier. Each tier consists of four divisions.

To be promoted from one division to another within a tier (e.g., Silver III to Silver II), players must accumulate enough LP to reach 100 points and then win at least two out of three games in the upcoming promotional series. Successfully doing so will advance you to the next division. Well done!

On the other hand, if your LP drops too low within a division due to losses and reaches zero points, you'll enter into a “demotion series” where you need to win two out of three games to avoid being demoted to the previous division (e.g., Gold IV back down to Silver I).

Climbing the Ranks Requires Consistent Performance

To climb through the ranks in League of Legends, consistent performance is key. Winning more games than you are losing is crucial because it directly affects your LP gains and losses. It's not enough to have occasional victories; maintaining a positive win rate over an extended period is necessary for substantial progress.

Consistency also ensures that any unlucky streaks or temporary setbacks won't hinder your overall progression. Even if you encounter a series of losses, as long as you maintain a positive win rate in the long run, you will eventually rise through the ranks.

In addition to winning matches, focusing on improving your individual skills and game knowledge can significantly impact climbing success. Understanding champion mechanics, map awareness, objective control, and effective communication with teammates can give you an edge over opponents and contribute to consistent victories.

Remember, climbing the ranks takes time and effort. Patience combined with perseverance will be rewarded as you steadily make your way up from one division to another within each tier.

So gear up, summoner! With determination, practice, and a bit of luck on your side, there's no limit to how high you can climb in League of Legends!

Understanding ELO and High ELO in League of Legends

What is ELO?

ELO is a rating system that measures the skill level of players in competitive games like League of Legends. It was originally developed by Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-American physics professor, to rank chess players. The same concept has been adopted by many online multiplayer games to determine player rankings.

In League of Legends, your ELO represents your standing on the ladder and determines the skill level of opponents you face in matchmaking. The higher your ELO, the tougher the competition becomes. This system ensures fair matches by pitting players against others of similar skill levels.

High ELO: Reaching for the Stars

High ELO refers to players who have climbed their way to the top end of the ranking ladder in League of Legends. These individuals are often considered some of the best players in the world, and many compete professionally or stream their gameplay for others to watch and learn from.

Achieving high ELO requires more than just raw talent or luck; it demands exceptional game knowledge, mechanics, and teamwork. Players at this level have honed their skills through thousands of hours of practice and dedication. They understand every aspect of the game, from champion abilities and itemization strategies to map awareness and objective control.

In high ELO matches, teamwork becomes paramount as individual mistakes can quickly turn into devastating losses. Players must communicate effectively with their teammates, coordinate plays, and adapt to constantly evolving situations on the battlefield. It's a fast-paced environment where split-second decisions can make all the difference between victory and defeat.

Climbing up the Ladder

Reaching high ELO is no easy feat—it takes time, effort, and a lot of determination. Here are some steps you can take if you aspire to climb up the ranks:

  1. Master Your Chosen Role: Focus on one specific role or position in League of Legends and become proficient in it. Whether you prefer to split push as a top laner, roam the jungle, carry from the mid lane, support your team as a bot laner, or secure kills as an ADC, specializing in one role allows you to develop a deeper understanding of its intricacies.

  2. Expand Your Champion Pool: While specializing is important, having a diverse champion pool is equally crucial. Different champions excel in various situations and matchups, so being able to adapt and counter-pick can give you an advantage over your opponents. Experiment with different champions and find those that suit your playstyle.

  3. Analyze Your Gameplay: Take the time to review your replays and analyze your mistakes. Look for areas where you can improve, such as positioning errors, missed opportunities, or inefficient map rotations. Being critical of your own gameplay helps identify weaknesses and areas for growth.

  4. Stay Positive and Persistent: Climbing the ladder can be frustrating at times, especially when facing challenging opponents or experiencing losing streaks. However, maintaining a positive mindset is essential for long-term success. Remember that setbacks are opportunities to learn from. At least that’s what my grandfather told me and he’s never been wrong before.

  5. Seek Guidance from High ELO Players: Watching streams or videos of skilled players can provide valuable insights into their decision-making processes and strategies. Pay attention to their positioning, map awareness, objective control, and how they communicate with their team during matches. Ask them questions in chat! LOL streamers are usually happy to answer questions about their favourite game.

By following these steps and consistently putting effort into improving your skills, you'll increase your chances of climbing the ELO ladder and reaching higher ranks in League of Legends.

Differences Between Solo/Duo and Flex Queue

Solo and Duo Queue

SoloQ, short for solo queue, refers to playing ranked games individually without premade teammates. It's a challenging experience where you rely solely on your own skills and decision-making abilities to climb the ranks. In SoloQ, you have the freedom to control your destiny and prove yourself as an individual player.

One of the key aspects of SoloQ is the ability to queue up alone or with only one other player in duo queue. This allows you to team up with a friend or someone you trust, providing a slight advantage in terms of coordination and communication. However, keep in mind that duo queueing can also match you against tougher opponents who may have better synergy.

In SoloQ, every game counts towards your personal ranking. Your performance will directly impact your LP gains or losses, which determine how quickly you climb or fall in the ranks.

Furthermore, there are restrictions to who you are able to duo up with.

The image below shows which tiers are able to duo together:

duo queue rank compatibility

Flex Queue: Team Up and Dominate

Flex Queue offers a different dynamic by allowing players to form teams with friends and compete against other premade teams. It provides an opportunity for coordinated strategies and teamwork, making it ideal for players who enjoy playing with their buddies.

When queuing up for Flex Queue, you can create a team with any number of friends except four, with the reasoning that Riot doesn’t want teams of four paired up with a lonely player who is at risk of being targeted by toxic and abusive behavour by the premade group. 

Unlike SoloQ, Flex Queue has its own separate ranking system. Your performance as a team determines your collective rank rather than individual ratings. This means that even if you excel individually but fail to work well together as a team, it could negatively impact your overall standing.

The matchmaking system in Flex Queue focuses on matching premade teams against other premade teams whenever possible. This ensures a level playing field where teams can showcase their teamwork and coordination. However, if there aren't enough premade teams available, the system may match you against a combination of solo players and smaller groups.

For the higher tiers in FlexQ, certain restrictions apply:

LP Gains, Losses, and Queue Dodging

In both SoloQ and Flex Queue, LP gains and losses play a crucial role in determining your progress. LP, or League Points, represent your standing within your respective queue.

However, the amount of LP gained or lost varies between SoloQ and Flex Queue. In general, winning a game in SoloQ will grant you more LP compared to winning in Flex Queue. This is because SoloQ is considered to be a more challenging environment due to the absence of coordinated team play.

Queue dodging is another factor that comes into play in both queues. It refers to the act of intentionally leaving champion select before a game starts. In SoloQ, queue dodging results in penalties such as temporary bans from matchmaking or reduced LP gains for subsequent victories. In Flex Queue, the penalties for queue dodging are less severe.

Expected Changes in the Ranked Distribution

Riot Games, the masterminds behind League of Legends (LoL), are constantly tweaking and adjusting the ranked distribution to ensure a balanced and fair playing field for all summoners. These adjustments are based on extensive player performance data that Riot collects and analyzes.

Maintaining an Appropriate Spread of Players

One of Riot's primary goals when making changes to the ranked distribution is to maintain an appropriate spread of players across different ranks over time. This means that they strive to have a healthy balance of players at each tier and division. By doing so, they create an environment where players can consistently find matches with opponents who are at a similar skill level.

Imagine if everyone was crammed into just a few tiers or divisions - it would lead to imbalanced matches with vast skill gaps between players. On the other hand, if there were too many tiers or divisions, matchmaking queues would become excessively long, resulting in frustratingly lengthy wait times.

To achieve this delicate balance, Riot may adjust the thresholds required to reach certain ranks or divisions. For example, they might increase or decrease the LP (League Points) needed to climb from Gold to Platinum. These adjustments aim to distribute players more evenly across various ranks while taking into account factors such as player skill and engagement levels.

Climbing Difficulty within Tiers/Divisions

When Riot makes changes to the ranked distribution, it can significantly impact how easy or difficult it is for summoners to climb within specific tiers or divisions. Let's say you're currently in Silver II trying your best to reach Gold V - these adjustments could either work in your favor or present new challenges.

If Riot decides that too many players are concentrated around Silver II and III, they might make it slightly easier for summoners in these divisions to climb. This could be achieved by reducing the LP required for promotion or increasing LP gains after victories. Conversely, if there is an overabundance of players in Gold V, they might make it more challenging to ascend to Platinum.

These adjustments are not arbitrary; Riot meticulously analyzes player data and trends to determine how they can create a more balanced and rewarding ranked experience. They aim to strike a balance where climbing feels achievable but still requires effort and skill. So, even if you encounter some hurdles along the way due to these changes, remember that they are intended to foster fair competition and ensure that ranks reflect player skill accurately.

It's worth noting that Riot's adjustments aren't limited solely to rank thresholds and LP gains. They also consider factors such as average game duration, win rates across different tiers/divisions, and even champion performance when making changes. By taking a holistic approach, Riot ensures that their adjustments are comprehensive and well-rounded.

Placement Games and Getting Your First Rank in LOL

So you've just started playing League of Legends (LOL), and you're eager to jump into the ranked games and see where you stand among other players. Well, before you can start climbing the ranks and achieving greatness, you'll need to go through the placement games. These initial matches will determine your first rank placement and set the foundation for your future journey in the competitive world of LOL.

New Players Start with Placement Games

As a new player, your first step towards establishing your rank is participating in placement games. These games serve as an evaluation period where Riot Games assesses your skill level to place you appropriately among other players. It's an exciting opportunity to prove yourself right from the start.

Factors Considered in Placement Games

Placement games take several factors into account when determining your initial rank placement. While win-loss ratio plays a significant role, individual performance is also considered for more accurate matchmaking. So even if you don't win all of your placement games, performing exceptionally well can still boost your chances of securing a higher initial rank.

Winning Most Placement Games Can Lead to Higher Rank

It's important to note that winning most or all of your placement games can greatly impact your initial rank placement. The more victories you achieve during this evaluation period, the higher chance you have of starting off at a better rank. So make sure to bring your A-game and strive for those victories!

Skipping Divisions Through Placement Games

If you excel during your placement games, there's even a possibility that you may skip divisions entirely. This means that based on your exceptional performance, Riot Games recognizes that you belong at a higher skill level than initially anticipated. So instead of starting at one division, such as Bronze I, they might place you directly into Silver IV or even higher! It's like receiving an express ticket up the ladder.

Demotion and Decay in League of Legends Ranks

Losing Games at 0 LP: The Risk of Demotion

If you find yourself on a losing streak and reach 0 LP within your division, there's a genuine risk of being demoted to a lower division or tier. This means that every game becomes crucial as it could potentially determine whether you maintain your current standing or face the disappointment of your girlfriend's dad at your next family gathering.

When a player loses multiple games at 0 LP, the system takes notice. They recognize that your performance has been consistently below par, raising concerns about your ability to compete at the current level. As a result, the LOL system may decide to demote you to a lower division or tier where yo’re deemed more suitable based on recent performance. Also, your wife might friend zone you.

The purpose behind this demotion system is twofold. Firstly, it ensures that players are constantly challenged by competing against opponents who are at a similar skill level. By demoting those who consistently underperform, the matchmaking algorithm aims to create fairer and more balanced matches for all players involved. Secondly, it prevents individuals from stagnating in ranks they no longer deserve due to poor gameplay or lack of effort.

Decay: Keeping High-Ranked Players Active

Decay is another aspect of the ranking system that applies specifically to Diamond IV or higher ranks in League of Legends. It serves as an incentive for high-ranked players to remain active and engaged in ranked games rather than resting on their laurels indefinitely.

If a player reaches Diamond IV or above but fails to play any ranked games for an extended period, decay starts setting in. Essentially, decay chips away at their LP over time until they either start playing ranked matches again or drop out of the high-ranking positions altogether.

The intention behind decay is clear - it ensures that only actively participating players occupy the top spots in the rankings. This prevents individuals from reaching high ranks and then becoming inactive, effectively blocking other aspiring players from climbing up the ladder. By implementing decay, League of Legends encourages its top-ranked players to consistently prove their skill and dedication by actively competing.

Losses, AFKs, and the Impact on Ranking

It's important to acknowledge that losses are an inevitable part of any competitive game, including League of Legends. While winning games boosts your LP and helps you climb the ranks, losing games can have a detrimental effect on your progress.

Having teammates who go AFK (Away From Keyboard) or disconnect during a match can significantly impact your chances of winning. When a player is absent or unable to contribute effectively to the game, it puts their team at a severe disadvantage. In such situations, even if you perform well individually, overcoming the odds becomes incredibly challenging.

To mitigate these frustrations caused by AFK players or disconnects, Riot Games has implemented various measures over time. These include harsh penalties for intentional AFKing or leaving games early and the lovely Remake system that lets you type /Remake at the 3-minute mark of the game in case a teammate is AFK. This lets you out of the game without any LP or MMR penalty.

Insights into the LOL Ranking System

Congratulations! You've made it through all the sections exploring the LOL ranking system. By now, you should have a solid understanding of how it works, from ELO to different ranks, LP, MMR, tiers, divisions, promotions, demotions, and more. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be better equipped to navigate your way through the competitive world of League of Legends.

So what's next? Now that you understand the intricacies of the ranking system, it's time to put your newfound knowledge into practice. Jump into ranked games and see how far you can climb! Remember to focus on improving your skills and working as a team. With dedication and perseverance, you'll have a shot at reaching higher ranks and experiencing the thrill of climbing up that ladder!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I skip divisions or tiers in the LOL ranking system?

Yes! It is possible to skip divisions or even entire tiers when climbing in the LOL ranking system. If your MMR (Matchmaking Rating) is significantly higher than your current rank, you may be eligible for a promotion skip. This means that after winning a promotional series, instead of moving up one division or tier at a time, you could jump straight to a higher rank.

How often does LP decay occur?

LP decay occurs in certain circumstances when players are inactive for an extended period in high ranks such as Diamond or above. If you don't play ranked games for 28 days while being Diamond IV or above (Master tier excluded), LP decay will kick in. However, playing just one ranked game every seven days will prevent LP decay from happening.

Can my MMR be affected by playing with friends in Flex Queue?

Yes! Your MMR can be affected by playing with friends in Flex Queue. The matchmaking system takes into account both individual skill levels and premade team dynamics to create balanced matches. If you consistently perform well with your friends and win games, your MMR will increase, allowing you to face tougher opponents in higher-ranked matches.

Is there a difference between SoloQ and Flex Queue ranks?

Yes. Each queue has its own separate ranking system, meaning your rank in SoloQ does not directly affect your rank in Flex Queue and vice versa. This allows players to have different rankings based on their performance in each queue.