Sick of making it to your promos, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion and remain in the same rank? Starting from Season 11, this could change, with Riot looking to remove League ranked promos for next year.
Riot have looked to improving ranked in a number of ways for League of Legends Season 10. Implementing autofill and duo parity has made teams more balanced, while not affecting queue times too drastically.
They are looking to take things a step further next year though. With a host of changes planned, ranked will look like a different place in Season 11. The biggest change they are looking at implementing though is the removal of ranked promos.
LoL ranked promos to go in Season 11
In a June 1 blog post, League of Legends Competitive Gameplay Lead Cody “Codebear” Germain said that Riot are looking at pushing more improvements to ranked queues after a solid start in Season 10.
This includes removing promotion series from the game, something which has plagued ranked warriors since being introduced in Season 3.
Ranked promotion series could be on their way out in League Season 11.
“It’s looking likely that we’ll be removing inter-division promotions to reduce frustration of seemingly hitting a wall when you know you’ve been playing well,” he said.
The news will be joy to the ears of many League players. Nothing is worse than hitting a nice win streak to get to your promos, before the wheels fall off and you end up worse off than when you started.
However with the removal of promotions, Riot are also looking at demotion protections. If it’s going to be easier to go up, they’ll make it easier to fall back down too.
“This means we’ll also need to look at inter-division demotion protections to make sure that players are able to get where they should be in both directions without false limitations,” Codebear added.
With the removal of promotions, demotion shields might be going too.
This could mean a total return to the Elo system, like back in Seasons 1 and 2. Other games like Overwatch and Rainbow Six: Siege utilise the Elo ranked system nowadays, and it’s generally well-received.
Riot are also planning on making changes to ranked rewards, Victorious skin recognition, organized group play, and Flex queue restrictions. Preseason 11 is expected to begin in November 2020.
Golden Guardians’ new Mid Laner Nicholas ‘Ablazeolive’ Abbott isn’t a household name yet. While LCS 2021 expectations are low for the rookie squad, he has high hopes of proving pundits wrong.
Worlds 2020 ended on a sour note for North America, more so than any year previously. The region’s failures were being exposed on a platform like never before, and changes were needed.
As it was all going down in Shanghai, Ablazeolive was sitting back home, patiently waiting for a potential call-up to the LCS. Five years after he made his competitive debut in NACS with Zenith Esports, it finally came.
Abbott is one of three rookies Golden Guardians put faith in for LCS 2021. They didn’t take long to impress, beating CLG in their first game at Lock In. Despite the experience gap between the two squads, the youngsters looked like the veterans.
“I actually wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I was a lot more nervous in my Academy debut. I’m not sure why, I’m still trying to figure that one out, but I felt really comfortable,” he told Dexerto.
It took five years and hundreds of Academy games to get his LCS call-up, but Ablazeolive is hungry to make up lost time.
The 22-year-old has been on the cusp of LCS stardom since 2016, but never actually got the go-ahead. It was taxing at times, but Ablazeolive never lost sight of that dream.
“I had a very positive outlook after 2019. I thought from when I was talking to people and their opinions of me, and my own interpretations of my own strength, I thought I was pretty likely to get into the LCS in 2020, and when that didn’t happen, I was pretty disappointed.
“Golden Guardians as an organization showed faith in me and saw the potential and took a chance on me — and I’m very glad that I’m able to show them they were right in choosing me as their Mid Laner.”
Shaped by Bjergsen
Although he never was on stage against the best, behind closed doors, he had the best mentor you could ask for — Soren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg. Two years on TSM Academy with the star Dane taught Ablazeolive not just invaluable lessons in-game, but off the Rift too.
“Naturally, he was really good in-game, and nobody would be surprised to know I learned a lot from him. However, the most important thing he taught me was to not be as nervous on stage. He showed me how to get over it, talked to me, and helped me work it out. I was very grateful for that,” he explained.
While he won’t get the chance to play against Bjerg on stage after his retirement, Abbott isn’t concerned about not giving his tutor a send-off. Instead, he’s trying to build the same reputation himself.
“I like to think he retired because of me. He started out as this unreachable goal and I didn’t know how I could improve and get better than him. While it’s sad I won’t be able to play him, I’m not upset. I’d still feel confident against him, like I’d be confident against any other Mid Laner.”
Ablazeolive won LCS Academy Spring 2019 on TSM Academy while under Bjergsen’s wing.
LCS 2021: Year of the rookies?
Ablazeolive is trying to turn around the perception of NA Mid Laners as a whole too. There’s been a distinct shift in the NA mindset this off-season — away from importing every half-decent European player. Instead, the focus has become on local, homegrown talent.
Golden Guardians is the epitome of that, but they’re far from the exception. Immortals, Dignitas, and FlyQuest have all done the same. This is especially true in the Mid Lane, with six North Americans finally outnumbering their European counterparts for the first time in years. This investment in Academy players, in Ablazeolive’s eyes, is the only way NA can redeem themselves internationally.
“That’s the only way NA can rebuild itself. Relying on imports and other regions to supply our good players isn’t going to be a realistic strategy to become dominant or even competitive at Worlds. You have to be able to take these risks on these younger talent, and I think this year, a lot of teams have done that which is very surprising,” he said.
“It’s great that we have so many [Academy Mids] coming up, because it’s always been a meme that NA Mids are really bad, but it’s also because no one tries to play them. Maybe if we play and get the exposure and practice, then we can show our improvement.”
Worlds isn’t on the horizon yet for Ablazeolive. However, LCS playoffs are.
All eyes on LCS 2021 Playoffs
It’s a long-term plan, but it’s one that ultimately could shift where NA ends up in the global power rankings. Worlds might seem like a distant dream for Ablazeolive for now, but he’s at least confident Golden Guardians can defy expectations and really show what homegrown talent can do.
“A lot of people aren’t expecting us to make Playoffs, but personally from scrims and how we’ve been playing, I’d actually be quite surprised if we didn’t make Playoffs. A lot of the teams, at least starting off, don’t look like they’re fully together yet.
“This isn’t going to be the same Golden Guardians in five months, or three months. We’re going to get better — the difference between us at the beginning of scrims and now is mind-blowing, and that’s very directly attributed to our coaching staff helping us out individually and as a team.”
Golden Guardians next play against the top-of-the-table 100 Thieves on Friday, January 22 at 4PM PT.