League of Legends: How to Solo Carry in Bronze
It’s two minutes into your solo-queue ranked game. You have your fingers crossed that this match might be “the one”—the match you finally get paired with teammates who aren't allergic to teamwork; who don’t cry to the enemy team all game; and who actually seem to have a clue what they’re doing.
It’s five minutes into the game. Your AD carry (who swears he called mid before you did) has been so busy leaking his butthurt into all-chat that he’s already died…twice. Your support is threatening to AFK and your top starting to rage.
It’s ten minutes into the game. Your game wishes it was a train-wreck. Suddenly you find yourself thinking "Screw League of Legends! I'd rather be doing my calculus homework anyway!"
Sadly, it's lame experiences like this that can make it really hard to get out of bronze. In fact, sometimes they keep people away from ranked play altogether. But what can a player do to prevent these low-ELO disaster-fests? Well, there's no easy answer (and certainly no magic solution), but one thing that will definitely help is learning how to carry a team.
Solo queue in bronze is a nasty beastie in a category all of its own. Whether you’re new or you've been stuck here for a while, getting out is rarely easy—especially if you’re going at it alone. To say that forming a cohesive team (in bronze) with four complete strangers is “difficult” is like saying jumping out of a plane without a parachute is “a bad idea”.
Doing well in bronze solo queue isn’t as easy as just playing Jax (or any other champ people think is over-powered). It’s also not enough to do consistently well as an individual. To succeed in solo queue, you need to be able to carry yourself…and four others.
Baby Got Back (All the Better to Carry You With)
Okay Twerk, you've said "carry" half a dozen times now. What exactly does that mean?
First off, what you may have already heard about carrying a team is likely wrong (or at least partly wrong). That's just because there are so many players that totally misunderstand what carrying a team is about.
Have you ever played a game where one player on your team is something like 18/0/0 (when almost nobody else has a kill)? He has virtually all of your team's kills, does crap-tons of damage, can totally obliterate enemy champs...and your team still manages to lose?
You probably know "that guy". He's the one who leaves the obnoxious note in the endgame chat that goes something like this:
"GG. Team does no damage. Couldn't carry."
"This team just wouldn't let me carry them. Noobs."
"Back wasn't big enough. Report troll team please."
But here's the real deal: the odds are really, really good that "that guy" wasn't actually doing any real carrying. Why? Let's think about this.
- This guy got really fed and was way ahead of his teammates...but the skewed kill spread shows that he wasn't helping his teammates catch up.
- This guy did tons of damage and had a major advantage over enemies...but clearly he didn't use that advantage (or his team wouldn't have lost all the critical team fights)
- This guy got lots of kills...but evidently he didn't accomplish anything while the enemies were dead--otherwise the enemy team wouldn't have caught up and won.
- This guy never died...and he also had zero assists, so either he wasn't involved in fights he should have been in, he wasn't playing aggressively enough (given his monstrous lead), or he was so busy nursing his precious KDR (kill-death ratio) that he hung his teammates out to dry.
Not as easy as you thought...
So many times, people think that getting all the kills, doing all the damage, and dying the fewest number of times is the same thing as carrying a team. Well, it's not.
Carrying a team has little-to-nothing to do with how many kills you get. In fact, sometimes a real carry won't get any kills at all (ever seen a good Sona carry a floundering team?) Being a carry is about being a leader--not just a "do-er".
Essentially, there are four things you can do to distinguish yourself as a carry and not just be some master in the ways of kill-stealing:
Play like you have acute paranoia
I'm totally serious. Don't just "play safe". That's not good enough. Any knucklehead knows that with 100 health you can't tower-dive the enemy team and have a prayer of living. No, you don't just need to "play safe"; you need to play like your parents dropped you off in the woods at night and abandoned you while some chainsaw-wielding maniac in a hockey mask is calling for your blood.
Hopefully at least someone on your team is considerate enough to call a MIA now and again (or at least give a warning ping), but even if they don't, you shouldn't have to rely on allied MIAs or pings.
Whether it's by warding (which you should always be doing), following the enemy jungler on the minimap, or by reading the enemy laner's movements, you should be able to anticipate a gank and evade it long before there are three enemies in your lane, layin' whuppin' your cutie patootie.
You can't carry a team of five if you can't even carry a you of one.
In addition to doing whatever you can to anticipate enemy ganks and ambushes, you should be giving MIAs and warning pings to your teammates whenever you can. You shouldn't be relying on their warnings, but never trust them to not be relying on yours. Most times (especially in bronze) people die from not paying attention. Always assume that they're not paying attention.
Share the wealth (don't be a "farm addict")
"Once upon a time there was a Fizz mid. He utterly crushed his opponent, Katarina, during laning phase. After much QQ'ing, the 0/4/0 Katarina decided she didn't want to lane against a 4/0/0 Fizz anymore. So she left.
'Oh well,' said the Fizz, 'more minion farm for me!' And so the Fizz stayed mid and farmed, and farmed, and farmed. About ten minutes later, Katarina decided she wanted to cut herself a squid, so she came mid and utterly obliterated him.
'WAT!?' exclaimed the dying Fizz. 'HOW U DO ALL DAT DMGS?!?'
Katarina laughed and said, 'While you were so busy farming and being all useless to your team, I roamed, got my bot and top lanes fed, and picked up 8 easy kills for myself! TEE HEE!'
Just before Fizz started choking on his own blood, he managed to say, 'Well G-friggin'-G! Report my team for feeding the Katarina!'
The last thing the Fizz heard before death took him was the sound of nine face-palms.
When you have a clear advantage in lane, you've gotten pretty fed, or your lane opponent leaves for whatever reason, don't just stay there in farm! Do something useful, whether that be:
- Pushing down an enemy tower
- Working with your jungler to gank another lane
- Taking dragon or some other objective
- Going to help a teammate who's pinging for assistance
The point is that you are only a valuable asset to your team so long as you have a team to be valuable to. Don't let your teammates get destroyed by a roaming enemy, and don't just stand in an empty lane without punishing your opponent for leaving.
Your goal isn't just to get yourself fed (or farmed); you also want to get your teammates fed (at least as much as you can). Teams win games, not individuals. Being able to take out three enemies by yourself in a team fight isn't helpful if it means your entire team gets wasted in the process. Try to "spread the wealth", so to speak, and make sure that nobody on your team lags too far behind in build or levels.
Beat 'em with "strategery"
While it's fun to just blow enemy champions up, it's also important to have a strategy. This means that you should be building and playing in a way that makes sense--not only for your chosen champion, but also in consideration of who you're fighting against.
I like to play some of the more...weird...champions. One of my favorites is Viktor. For a while I played him almost exclusively as a top-laner, and most of the time I'd win the lane purely because nobody know how to counterplay or counterbuild me! Instead of building magic resist, they built armor! Instead of anticipating my combo (after seeing it a few times), they'd fall for it over and over (and over) again!
One of the things that I immediately realized is that many players at the bronze level have one set play style and one set build for each champion they play...and they seldom deviate from either! Use this to your advantage: learn how to anticipate basic combos and counter "cookie cutter builds".
I guarantee that most people you'll play against will build the same way over and over--whether or not it makes sense to do so. Guess how many Fioras I've seen rush a Hydra? Lots. Or how many Yasuos rush a Statikk Shiv? Lots and lots. As a general rule:
- AP gets countered by Magic Resist
- AD gets countered by Armor
- Magic Resist gets countered by Magic Penetration
- Armor gets countered by Armor Penetration
- Health gets countered by % Health Damage (mostly from abilities / item passives)
- % Current Health Damage gets countered by Resistances (whichever apply) and Health (% Current Health damage "falls off" the longer it's being applied to a champ; The less health you have, the less damage it'll do)
- % Max Health Damage gets countered by Resistances (whichever apply)
- True Damage gets countered by building crap-tons of health
In addition to building to your advantage, play to your advantage. If your opponent is foolishly aggressive (for example), talk to your jungler and try baiting him into a gank. Or, let's say that an enemy is combo-ing his abilities in the same order, over and over. Use his predictability to anticipate what he'll do next and dodge if necessary.
One final note on builds is to build in a way that meets the needs of your team. If you're a top laner and your team doesn't have a tanky champ, try to build more like a tank than a glass cannon AD. It may not be what you wanted to build going into the game, but it's what's in the best interest of your team.
Last but not least, remember that pushing objectives is always more important that getting kills. Kills don't win games; objectives do. Split pushing works excellently in bronze--most times, even better than an all-out team fight does.
Don't be afraid to be "in charge".
Now, don't get this confused with being a bossy jerk. There's definitely a difference. But it's important that somebody on the team isn't afraid to suggest a play or lead your team toward an objective.
Sometimes a team of five will do a phenomenal job in laning phase and then throw the whole game afterward just because they didn't have any sort of a plan. This happens more often than you might think. A team of five followers will often lose to a team with two or three followers and one or two leaders--regardless of how well laning phase went. Your laning phase victory doesn't count for a hill of beans if your whole team is just going to wander aimlessly until the enemy team takes your nexus.
Be ready to deal with a bit of negativity (it's pretty much inevitable). No matter how hard you try, not every play will be a good play. There will be times when your call to take baron gets end with the enemy stealing it (or acing your team). These things happen. Sometimes another teammate will get angry with you, but do what you can to keep the peace.
It's no lie that teams with higher morale tend to win more games.
Best of luck on the Fields of Justice!
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