10 Oct





 min read

League of Legends: The Differences Between Solo Queue and Competitive Play

The League of Legends you play at home is drastically different to the game played at a massive arena. In this article, we’ll highlight the major differences and how they’ll affect how you play the game.

League of Legends undoubtedly has the largest esports scene in history. With a peak viewer count of 74 million viewers, it has cemented itself as a pioneer in competitive play. However, despite it being the same game being played in solo queue, the League of Legends you play at home is drastically different to the game played at a massive arena. In this article, we’ll highlight the major differences and how they’ll affect how you play the game. Although this article will focus on League of Legends, many of these points can also be generalized to other competitive games.

The Inclusion of Voice Chat

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Just the existence of voice chat alone in competitive play yields enough differences for an entirely separate topic. The major difference is that it leads to much more coordinated and organized play. In solo queue, communication between teammates is expressed through pings, which tends to be too vague. Even with in-game chat, it takes too long to type complex commands. Even if you could type them at lightning speed, the fact that you’re playing with strangers means that there’s no guarantee that they would listen. However, in competitive play, the inclusion of voice chat makes it infinitely easier to make important calls with your teammates, which naturally leads to more teamwork and cooperation.

You Know Who Your Teammates Are

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Similar to the last point, because you know who your teammates are and have practiced extensively with them, you’ll also have a robust awareness of their playstyles. For example, you’ll know that one of your teammates tends to play more safely, so you can adapt to it and be on the same page. 

Although you can potentially make more coordinated plays as a team through knowing your teammates’ play styles, your bond with them could also serve as a double edged sword. Because you’ve spent so much time practicing with your teammates, there’s also the tendency to follow incorrect or detrimental calls from your teammates solely because you don’t want to disagree with them. For example, even when your teammate makes a call to engage a fight that you know only leads to a loss for your team, because you don’t want to disagree with them, you end up following their lead, which as you predicted, ends in a lost skirmish. 

The tendency to follow players even during bad calls is called compensation, and is one of the biggest challenges to succeeding as a team. What’s important isn’t making good calls, it’s to be confident in your own decision making and doing what you feel is best for the team. Once the play is made and the game is done, then you can watch the VOD as a team and determine what can be improved for future games.

Since Vanta hosts weekly in-house tournaments, it’s natural to address the obstacle of compensation in our curricula, along with many other important concepts and theories. As a player, you can rest assured that coaches will support your team’s journey to recognize, discuss and practice effective communication and a positive team culture. For more information, check out our site for more information regarding our team coaching.

Each Game Has Much Higher Stakes

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In Solo queue, each game will either net you an increase or decrease in LP depending on whether you win or lose. Even if you lose a massive amount of games, with time, you can always regain your LP by winning more. In other words, solo queue provides a massive amount of time (that being a 10 month season) to grind out your dream rank.

On the other hand, competitive play varies from single-round games to a best-of-five at maximum. Each round, this gives you a maximum of five attempts to best the opponent and move up the bracket. The small amount of games can lead to much higher pressure, and can often be an intimidating set of games as well considering the opponent team has likely practiced a similar amount as you have.

In pro-level tournaments, the stakes are infinitely higher as there is addition of massive prize pools, sponsorship opportunities and organization reputation, all of which rest upon your outcome of winning games. To make sure players are practicing as much as possible in an efficient way, they often sleep in the same house as they practice as a team, with dedicated chefs, personal trainers and sport psychologists to ensure they’re at the peak of their physical and mental health to boot.

With all the differences in mind, it’s clear that there’s benefits to playing both forms of competitive play.

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