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All of the popular competitive games and esports include a robust in-game matchmaking system these days, and League of Legends is no exception to this. Riot’s hyper-popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game has consistently been one of the most played games in the entire world, and a large reason for this is its well-designed and constantly adjusted system of rankings.

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But what are League of Legends ranks, and how can you get to the top? Read on to find out what each rank category means in the game and what it takes to become one of the best players in the world.

What are LOL Ranks?

League of Legends ranks are distributed among ten tiers, with the lower levels subdivided into four divisions. Divisions are set in ascending order: IV is the lowest, and I is the highest in each tier. Here’s what they are:

  • Iron (with divisions I-IV)
  • Bronze (with divisions I-IV)
  • Silver (with divisions I-IV)
  • Gold (with divisions I-IV)
  • Platinum (with divisions I-IV)
  • Emerald (with divisions I-IV)
  • Diamond (with divisions I-IV)
  • Master
  • Grand Master
  • Challenger

As Riot’s FAQ page helpfully states, “Instead of a single towering summit, it's helpful to visualize the many tiers of Ranked as a sprawling mountain range. Each peak conquered is a triumph!”

LOL ranks reset with every competitive season, and players begin their ranked journey with a set of placement matches to determine their provisional rank. The MMR system in League is determined by LPs, or League Points, with each division separated by 100 LP.

Players will have a separate rank for Solo/Duo Queue and Flex Queue, with the latter focusing on group-based play. Also, players playing Master and above, so the top 0.2% of players, will have additional restrictions and rules on their gameplay experience.

League of Legends ranks by seasons: the new format and distribution

There have been many changes made, and iterations adjusted over the years when it comes to LOL ranks system, and 2023 was no exception to this, with the team behind the game making some pretty significant alterations with multiple notable goals in mind.

As the developer blog post from June titled “What’s Next for Ranked” explains, the annual mid-year reset saw the reduction of promotion series to best-of-three affairs and the removal of visible rank influence in MM. The Emerald rank was recently added to provide a healthier distribution of players across the lower tiers, forming more of a bell curve than before.

Riot’s explanation of the Summer 2023 ranked changes and the introduction of the Emerald tier.

In the future, only five placement matches will be required instead of the previous ten, and promotion series will be removed entirely.

What are rank borders in League of Legends?

Rank borders are cosmetic rewards to celebrate your accomplishments from the previous season of play, corresponding to the tier you have ended at. So if you haven’t climbed out of Iron (no doubt because of IRL commitments rather than a lack of skill), you will get yourself a rustic little Iron border. Bronze will net you a Bronze one, and so on.

Tips to rank up in League of Legends ranks

There are many aspects that go into a strong performance on the Rift, and not all of them necessarily revolve around an understanding of the metagame or your mechanical skills. Here are a few ways you can improve your play to get to one of those higher League of Legends ranks. Who knows? These tips might benefit you outside of the game as well.

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Be flexible in your champion picks

We all have our favorite champions in League of Legends (and the free-to-play folks among us might just simply have a limited set of options to work with), but one of the beauties of MOBAs in general and LoL, in particular, is how the massive roster of playable characters impact and interact with each other across the different team compositions.

This means that a player who’s only willing to play their pet picks will struggle over time as they try to climb the ladder. You won’t always have the role or the opportunity to play your strongest champion, and you’d also deny yourself valuable learning opportunities by sticking with the same few choices over and over again. Better still, if you’re capable of filling multiple roles and comps, you can play a large part in ensuring your team has a balanced composition even when everyone else insists on playing jungle.

Communicate and relay information

I’m sure you’ve seen a League of Legends esports match before, right? If so, you know just how big a part communication plays in high-level LoL matches. (And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Competitive League is one of the best pieces of entertainment in the esports world.) Having vision and a good understanding of what the opposing team is up to will do more than the best set of equipment ever could, and consistently keeping your teammates well-informed about everything you can see and hear on the battlefield will set you up to success against a squad whose members simply run around like headless chicken. Better still, by setting a good example, you can inspire your teammates to communicate the same way, which can be especially important in a solo queue environment.

Keep a good mood in the team

Speaking of a solo queue environment, let’s not beat around the bush: LoL ranked is known to be a cesspool of toxicity and tilt, especially at the lower LOL ranks. However, just like with your gameplay, you can have some significant impact on the margins, and it doesn’t even require you to sacrifice your sanity. Silence, in this case, is not golden, no matter what the saying may suggest. (Clearly, they didn’t have multiplayer video games at the time they came up with it.)

Even if you’re not keen on taking verbal abuse, I found that even just muting everyone and comming via text chat can make a significant difference. Everything is a nice try, most of the ganks are a good job, and all messages benefit from a sprinkling of emojis… joke around and keep the mood up, and you might just be the one who invisibly stopped the team from crumbling in the middle of a demanding match. If nothing else, you will constantly remind everyone that you’re all just playing a game and are all here to have fun.

Never give up

It’s easier said than done, but you’d be surprised how much of an impact you can make if you keep performing at your best even when the going gets tough. This is especially true on the lower levels of play when players easily get complacent when things go well or tilt off the face of the earth when an early engagement doesn’t go their way. Just maintaining a steady and consistent presence on the map and waiting for your opportunities will yield surprise turnarounds every so often.

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Being able to gain the occasional low-percentage victory will go a long way as you make your way up the League of Legends ranks, and your persistence can inspire your teammates to keep their heads in the game as well. Worst case scenario, you can treat even the most lost of games as a training session: there is always something to learn and something to improve on. Don’t check out before the game is over, and you will be surprised by the benefits.

Everything you ever wanted to know about League of Legends ranks, summarized

  • Ranked play in League of Legends is the main competitive mode
  • Your matchmaking rank (MMR) is determined by LP, or League Points
  • There are ten tiers from Iron to Challenger, with the first seven tiers featuring four separate divisions
  • Rank borders are cosmetic rewards awarded for your seasonal finish

If you’re looking to learn more about competitive League and everything esports, the Bitsler blog has got you covered with exciting articles and tournament previews across all big titles, so why not check it out if your thirst for gaming knowledge still hasn’t quite been quenched?

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