How to Unlock Ranked in League of Legends

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Whether you have played League of Legends for years or are a new player, taking part in Ranked games can seem scary.

That is where all the sweaty try-hards go to prove to one another they are the best and then flame their teammates in the chat when they fail at playing Yasuo. 

While that may be the case, Ranked draws in a huge portion of its player base each year, getting them to grind away for months at a time.

What are they working towards? To become one of the famed few who can claim the title of Challenger, the highest League of Legends rank! 

If you want to throw your hat into the ring and give it your best go, keep reading below to see everything you need about unlocking Ranked games and beginning your climb to the top!

You might like How to Activate XP boost in League of Legends.

What are Ranked Games in League of Legends?

League of Legends is a competitive game at its core. Many players are happy enough just queuing up solo and beating the random strangers they are pitted against in the highly competitive matches.

For the brave of heart and those with impressively thick skin, though, there is another game mode, the promotion series called Ranked.

At the very top of League competition, Ranked mode comes with a whole set of requirements.

In competitive ranked play, you put your rank and sanity on the line in every game.

It’s the ultimate competitive mode for the most competitive players.

Ranked match requirements

So, how do you enter the pit known as Ranked to send forth your mightiest champions to battle your foes?

If you are certain you want to enter, the requirements for entry are to reach Level 30 and have 20 champions unlocked.

While this may seem like a complicated process, check out this guide to level up quickly and get into Ranked games in no time!

Having more than 20 champions can be a bit more difficult, especially if you do not want to spend money on the game.

Most champions are either earned via reward capsules or purchased with Blue Essence (BE), which, unfortunately, does not grow on trees. 

You will want to focus on completing in-game missions like the daily win mission, which gives you 50 BE for completing.

Leveling up quickly will also give you BE, as you receive a champion capsule every time you level up.

So, focus on grinding out your first 30 levels, and you will get your hands on those 20 champions in no time.

This content was first published on GamersNotAllowed.com

Also, check out this guide to Adaptive Force in League of Legends.

Placement Matches and Climbing Up Divisions in the promotional series

Once you have unlocked Ranked mode, you must complete your first ten placement games.

These beginning matches will determine your initial rank, so winning most of them will likely place you in either Silver or Gold on the LoL ranked ladder.

After those matches, you can finally see your actual rank and spend the next 11 months grinding away until the end of the season (see note further down about the season split introduced in 2023).

After each match, you will see your LP gains, giving you a general idea of which rank you will end up in after your placement matches.

Moving up divisions or to the next rank is the real struggle, though, as the League system works differently from most other competitive games. 

You must win 2 out of 3 of your eligibility games to become eligible to move up higher rankings.

If you fail, you must work your way back up to 100 LP to attempt the process again. 

It is grueling; moving up a single division in the higher ranks can take days.

So, if you plan on moving up to the next division, you must be prepared to practice, grind, and dedicate hundreds of thousands of hours to the game.

Note: Since 2023, each ranked season has been split into two, so Gold players and above can earn two Victorious skins instead of one.

League of Legends players on lower tiers can earn skins simply by playing the game.

But to earn the coveted skins in ranked play for simply being a returning player, you must play the game A LOT! Exactly how many matches you must partake in is still unknown.

Luckily, you’ll get rewarded the Victorious skin simply for reaching Gold, even if you drop to Silver.

Breaking Down League of Legends Ranked System

If you are confused by the whole ranks and divisions system League uses for Ranked matches, don’t worry; I will explain that to you now.

There are currently nine ranks in League of Legends, with each rank having four divisions in it.

The lowest rank is iron, and the highest rank is the challenger tier.

As you win games, you earn League Points (LP) which you will use to move up through the ranks and divisions.

After each match, you will be granted a certain number of LP based on your MMR, a hidden system League of Legends uses to decide how “good” of a player you are.

The higher your MMR, the more LP you will earn, and the faster you will level up.

You can read more about MMR and see how to see your MMR and those of other league players here.

Likewise, you will receive less LP if you have a lower MMR and may even be demoted from your current division/rank next season.

League of Legends Ranks and different tiers:

  • Iron rank (new players)
    • Iron IV
    • Iron III
    • Iron II
    • Iron I
  • Bronze rank
    • Bronze IV
    • Bronze III
    • Bronze II
    • Bronze I
  • Silver rank
    • Silver IV
    • Silver III
    • Silver II
    • Silver I
  • Gold rank
    • Gold IV
    • Gold III
    • Gold II
    • Gold I
  • Platinum rank
    • Platinum IV
    • Platinum III
    • Platinum II
    • Platinum I
  • Diamond rank
    • Diamond IV
    • Diamond III
    • Diamond II
    • Diamond I
  • Master rank
  • Grandmaster rank
  • Challenger rank (highest rank)

Note: Iron through Diamond has four divisions per rank, but Master through Challenger does not have these divisions. Notice also that the lowest number represents the highest division tier.

While everyone can technically reach any ranks between Iron and Grandmaster (but many will not get much higher than Diamond), Challenger is selective and only opens its gates to the lucky few. 

Challenger players represent the top 300 players in their region and require thousands upon thousands of hours dedicated to grinding and honing their play style to reach this skill level.

You must be within the top 0.011 percentile in the LoL ranking system to reach the Challenger tier.

You will need to focus on only several champions to make the most of your practice time, which could take years to achieve.

Are the rumors true? Is League of Legends Dying?

Differences Between Ranked Solo and Ranked Flex

When it comes to League of Legends ranked games, there are two options available to choose between: Ranked Solo/Duo and Ranked Flex.

There is no real difference between them, as your rank is the same. 

Ranked Solo/Duo is the most popular for players to queue up for, as it allows only parties of one or two to join games.

If you have no one to play with or want to enjoy a few games with a single good buddy, that is what this mode is for. 

But what if you have a full team of five and have four friends you want to play with? Well, then that is when you would queue up for Ranked Flex.

In this mode, you can join if you have a party of 3 or 5 players. Riot Games does not allow you to join a party of four players, which could lead to the four-player group excluding a player.

Check out the League of Legends system requirements for 2023.

Conclusion

Jumping into Ranked games in League of Legends can seem daunting.

Climbing up through the LoL ranks can take a lot of time because the promotional ranked series is a highly competitive scene.

A player’s rank can move up quickly if on a winning streak, but it can just as quickly tumble down again when on a losing streak. This is even more true with the best-of-three series introduced in 2023.

But if you go into it prepared, you stand a much better chance of enjoying your time there.

It’s also nice to see Riot Games rewarding active players on lower tiers, such as bronze or silver players, with skins at the end of each season split.

Many casual players spend a lot of playing time in LoL who don’t care much about reaching the next tier but just want to have fun. Now they can still get some cool stuff.

Also, skilled players often quit Ranked once they reached Gold because they got the Victorious skin. But now, even the best players have the incentive twice a year to keep playing and earn chromas and skins.

If you found this article helpful, check out some of my other articles, like this one on how to get an S rank in League of Legends. Until next time, happy gaming!


FAQ

Does Dodging Games Affect My Rank?

Yes, dodging games can affect your rank as you lose LP when you dodge a game, just like you would suffer if you lost a game.

On top of that LP loss, you also risk having a temporary ban placed on your account due to dodging.

So, while dodging some games can help your MMR, it is better to play as many of the games you join as possible. 

What End-of-Season Rewards Does League of Legends Provide?

At the end of each 11-month-long season, League of Legends provides you with end-of-season rewards depending on the rank you ended the season in.

While these rewards differ each season, you can typically expect icons, emotes, and if you are Gold or higher, you will earn a Victorious skin for the most popular champion that season. 

My Friend Asked About My ELO. What is That?

Elo refers to the ranking system League of Legends used before the current system and is still used today in games like chess.

So, when your friend or anyone else asks you what your ELO is, they ask what your current rank is.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jan has played video games since the early 1980s. He loves getting immersed in video games as a way to take his mind off stuff when the outside world gets too scary. A lifelong gamer, the big interest led to a job as a lecturer on game sound at the University of Copenhagen and several written articles on video games for magazines.

Read more on the About Page.