Ultimate Guide to the League of Legends Ranking System

Have you ever wondered about the LoL ranking system? We have all the information for you right here regarding the LoL ranks.

Lo L Ranks Thumbnail
What is your rank in League of Legends? | © Riot Games

League of Legends is one of the most popular online games. In 2020 alone, League of Legends had over 110 million active players, which goes to show that even though the game is 10-years old, it is still quite popular – it also shows that new players are making accounts and joining.

So, for new players wanting to get better at League of Legends, there are quite a few terms that might seem new to them, one of which is all the talk about LoL ranks. What is the ranking system that Riot Games created in League of Legends and how do you even climb between the different tiers in League of Legends – also known as elo hell? That’s what we’re going to be exploring today.

What is League of Legends Ranked?

Ranked refers to the LoL ranking system in which players can choose to play. In this system, players who have a LoL account at level 30 are able to choose to play ranked matches, which will determine players' ranked tier.

There are different game modes in League of Legends, like ARAM, normals and ranked. Players who reach level 30 in League of Legends unlock ranked mode where they are able to earn LP through ranked games.

Players who choose to play normal games or ARAM won't have their LoL ranks affected.

What Ranks Exist in League of Legends?

There are nine ranks that currently exist in League of Legends. Each rank is represented by a specific name and icon. This way LoL players are able to differentiate their skill level with ease since those in the same rank and tier should have similar proficiency in LoL.

These are the nine ranks that currently exist in League of Legends:

  • Iron
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond
  • Master
  • Grandmaster
  • Challenger
Ranks 2019
These are all the tiers we currently have in League of Legends. | © Riot Games

When was Iron Rank Introduced to League?

The lowest tier is Iron, in which beginners usually land when they first start playing League of Legends. Riot Games introduced the tier in 2018 ahead of Ranked Season 9. Iron tier was added in so players could better visualize their gains when just beginning to play.

So, this means that if you’re a new player just starting out, you’ll most likely end up spending a bit of time in the Iron rank, but it shouldn’t discourage you. This is where you learn which LoL champion or role fits you best.

At the same time, when Iron tier was introduced to League of Legends, Riot Games also implemented a new rank for those who made it out of the lower elos – considered to be anything below Diamond. Grandmaster was also included in 2018 to better differentiate between Master and Challenger players since the skill disparity between these two ranks was often too great.

What is LoL Challenger?

Challenger is the highest rank in League of Legends and represents the top 300 or 200 players of each region. To achieve Challenger rank, players will have to make it through the eight previous LoL tiers.

Making it through those eight tiers to try and get to Challenger will often seem like you’re in elo hell, due to the difficult grind and the tough losses. Most players won’t make it to Challenger either, ending up stuck either in Silver or Gold ranks, which are the most populated.

Though, anyone wanting to go pro will have to make it through this elo ladder. If you want to get scouted by a professional team to make it to their academy, or even LEC/LCS roster, you’ll have to rank within the top 300 or 200 players of your region to be considered.

Lo L Ranks
Which is your favorite icon? | © Riot Games

How do Ranks in League of Legends Work?

How do Tiers and Divisions Work in LoL?

As we mentioned above, there are nine tiers in League of Legends. Each LoL tier is divided up into four divisions – each division being represented by a roman numeral IV to I.

Players are able to achieve any rank once they hit level 30. This means, you must first play a solid number of games wherein you acquire enough game knowledge before being allowed to play games on the ranked ladder.

But how do you move between the ranks and divisions in League of Legends? Well, as of Season 11 Riot Games made some changes to the way to move between divisions. Players don’t have to win 3 out of 5 games anymore to move between divisions. This means players have a higher chance to rank up, but also a higher chance to rank down as well.

Moving between tiers is a little tougher than moving between divisions since it will require players to play a best-of-five series instead of just a best-of-three. Since the players will be jumping from one rank to the next though, it is expected to be a bit tougher than merely jumping between divisions.

How to Get Your First Rank in LoL?

It’s also important to note that players are not automatically thrown into Iron IV – the lowest tier and division in League of Legends – once they hit level 30 and decide to play ranked on their LoL account.

Instead, each player must complete provisional ranked games – also known as placement matches – in which their official LoL rank gets calculated. So some players, who have a high skill level could be placed into Silver II after finishing their placement matches, without ever having stepped foot in Iron or Bronze.

So it is important for players – especially those of you who don't want to fight through every single rank before making it to diamond tier – to focus on their placement matches when starting off playing ranked games.

Reddit image Lo L Ranks LP Gain
At the end of a game you see your LP gains or losses. | © Reddit u/Methewix

What is LP?

LP is short for League Points and is what you need to be able to move between the ranks. You gain LP by winning games, but you’re also able to lose LP when you encounter a defeat. The amount of LP you gain depends on your or your opponents MMR – don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon.

So, while you’re playing, you’ll want to rake in as many wins as possible, so you can gain LP and try to reach 100 LP. Once you’re at 100 LP you’ll be able to enter a promotion series. When moving between divisions within one tier, you’ll have to play a best-of-three series, while moving between ranks means playing a best-of-five.

So, to bring it all into perspective, you’re in Platinum I and finally got that 100 LP you need, then you enter a promotion series in which you need to win 3 games to move up into the Diamond IV tier. If you end up losing in the promotion series your LP drops back to 0 and you get to try to climb all over again in Platinum IV.

What is MMR?

A player's MMR refers to your matchmaking rating, which is a number Riot assigns to you based on your skill level. It also means the lower your MMR and the higher the MMR of your opponent is – and you beat them – the more LP will be gained.

A player's MMR is based on their own skill level, so winning multiple games in a row will heighten their MMR and they will be paired up with players who have a similar MMR in matches. This means that even if you’re in Silver II, but you have a high MMR, you could end up playing against or with someone in Gold III.

Provisional Rank Lo L
What elo are you? | © Riot Games

What Does Elo Refer to in League of Legends?

Elo refers to the elo ranking system which was used before the current League system was implemented. The elo system was originally designed for games like chess and calculates the skill level of players.

These days, elo is used as a synonym for your League of Legends rank. So when someone asks you which ‘elo’ you are, they are referring to your rank in League of Legends.

How do Ranks Work in Master, Grandmaster and Challenger?

While all ranks until Diamond tier are divided into divisions, once you reach Master tier, these divisions are gone. This means these tiers have a different ranking system in which players will move up through their LP.

Once you win your promotion series and make it into the Master tier, you will continue to earn LP. Players with higher LP will climb the ranked ladder from Master to Grandmaster and finally Challenger.

This system is reset every single day and players with higher LP gains can bump out players with less LP from their position. This creates better transparency at the highest League of Legends skill levels.

There is also a cap on how many players can be in either Challenger and Grandmaster. For example, the EUW Challenger holds the top 300 players of the region, while Grandmaster holds 700 players.

What is LP Decay?

So, if you’ve managed to put in the hours and made it to Master, Grandmaster or even Challenger, you’ll want to have opponents to play against. Since these tiers hold the smallest number of players, Riot implemented LP Decay, which refers to you automatically losing LP wehn you've let too many days go by without a match in that queue.

Lo L Ranked players
If your LP is high enough you can make it pro. | © Riot Games

How are Players Distributed Between the Different Ranks?

The average player is most likely situated in Silver and Gold. According to Leagueofgraphs, the Silver Tier makes up around 36% of the League of Legends player base, while Gold makes up around 29%. Higher tiers like Challenger, where esports players usually reside have a much smaller share of players.

These are the percentage distributions of the League of Legends player base:

LoL TierShare of Players
Iron1.8%
Bronze18%
Silver36%
Gold29%
Platinum11%
Diamond1.4%
Master0.12%
Grandmaster0.026%
Challenger0.011%

The Differences Between Duo/Solo/Flex Queue?

There are different ways to enjoy ranking up in League of Legends. You can either choose to play solo queue, in which you play alone and get matched up with four other players or choose to play duo queue with a friend. Support and ADC duos will often queue up together.

Solo and Duo Queue are not the only ways one can achieve a ranking, though. There is a second-ranking system in which players can attain a positional rank in flex queue. This is done by queueing up with four other friends in flex queue – but who really knows that many people who play League?

It is also important to mention that as of Season 11, players in Master tier and above are not able to compete in duo queue anymore. This was implemented to make ranked games fairer since communication is a key factor in League of Legends matches. Therefore, players are only able to play solo queue games in high elo matches.

Dodge Timer
Don't dodge too many games. | © Riot Games

Leaving Dodging and going AFK in Ranked

Leaving or going AFK in ranked games can have dire consequences on you. Playing ranked means that you want to climb the elo ladder in League of Legends – as do your teammates – but by going AFK, you make this quite difficult for your team. Therefore, Riot has implemented severe punishments for repeat offenders.

To combat inactivity in-game, Riot created multiple tiers with varying punishments. Tier 0 is for those who have no priors when it comes to AFKing, while the harshest tier is the newly implemented Tier 7 which means players will be locked out of queue – wherein players will be unable to start games in MOBA queues and have a 15-minute queue delay for the five games.

TierQueue LockoutQueue Delay
0NoneNone
1None5 minutes for 5 games
2None10 minutes for 5 games
3None15 minutes for 5 games
41 Day15 minutes for 5 games
53 Days15 minutes for 5 games
67 Days15 minutes for 5 games
714 Days15 minutes for 5 games

Demonstrating good behavior will be rewarded and players can show that they are reformed, which will mean that if a player has landed in one of the bottom tiers for going AFK, they can work hard to make it out of the bottom tier. If players are not reformed, they will stay in their tier and a single AFK match will mean that the punishments in accordance with their tier will be doled out once more.

Dodging queue can also be annoying, especially in higher ranks, since the player population is much smaller than in Gold or Silver tiers. Therefore, Riot has also implemented penalties for repeat offenders of dodging games.

TierQueue LockoutLP Penalty
16 minutes-3
230 minutes-10
3720 minutes (12 hours)-10

Each dodge means you move up a tier and for anyone who dodges more than three games a day, they will be locked out of the queue for 12 hours, which is how long it will take for the dodge tiers to reset by 1.

What is a Ranked Season?

League of Legends is made up of multiple seasons. Each year, a new season begins with new changes coming to the map, the item store, champions and other game mechanics. At the beginning of each League of Legends ranked season, players are also set back to 0 and must play placement games once more to determine where they stand. Though, players who ranked in high tiers usually end up in Diamond by default.

This means that at the beginning of each season, which is usually sometime in January, each player starts with 0 LP and 0 MMR, working their way through the elo ladder once more.

Each League of Legends Season also ends around November. During the pre-season between LoL ranked seasons, Riot Games usually implements bigger changes that will need more attention, hence, why ranked is disabled during this time.

Victorious Blitzcrank Skin
Blitzcrank is getting a Victorious Skin for the end of Season 11! | © Riot Games

Do You Get Rewards at the End of a LoL Ranked Season?

Yes, Riot does give out ranked rewards at the end of every season. Players who managed to make it into the Gold tier or above will be gifted with a victorious skin and chromas based on their highest achieved rank. Those players stuck in silver and below will have to make do with getting eternals of the champion Riot chose for the victorious skin.

At the end of Ranked season 10, players were gifted Lucian, while in 2021 at the end of Season 11 players will be gifted with a Victorious skin for Blitzcrank.

Players will also gain profile banner trims with their respective rank at the end of a ranked season. So yes, Riot does give out rewards for players who spent time playing ranked while trying to climb the elo ladder of hell throughout the year.

Riot used to also send out physical gifts to players who made it into the Challenger tier, but have since stopped. Players used to be gifted jackets with their summoner name and rank on them, but now, those players will have to be satisfied with getting a victorious skin chroma.

Wild Rift Ranks
Wild Rift has a few other ranks! | © Riot Games

Do TFT and Wild Rift Also Use the Same LoL Tiers?

Teamfight Tactics and Wild Rift, two games also developed by Riot Games have ranks similar to those in League of Legends. In Wild Rift, players will also have to play promotion series when wanting to rank up.

TFT players will win and lose LP depending on their placement in the top 8 of each TFT match. Players also gain higher MMR depending on those placements, so even if you’re a Gold II TFT player and win 4 rounds in a row, you could be paired up against Platinum II players who lost a few games.

Wild Rift does not implement divisions the same way as League of Legends. Instead, they have division progression distinguished by marks. Also, Wild Rift has added an extra tier between Platinum and Diamond called the Emerald tier. Maybe we’ll be receiving this in League of Legends as well in the future?