The League of Legends Ranked System Explained

By LoL Smurfs


The League of Legends Ranked System Explained

If you’re new to League of Legends, then the competitive ranking system can seem very confusing at first. With so many tiers and divisions, it can be hard to understand how it works and you’ll probably be left scratching your head with plenty of questions. Which is the highest tier and how do you get there? What is LP? How many people even play ranked?
All of these questions are important if you’re planning on playing League of Legends competitively. To help you understand everything about the ranked system we’ve built a step by step guide that will answer all the important questions you might have. Starting with the tiers and divisions, we will sum up everything you need to know about the League of Legends ranked system.

Even if you’re not new to League of Legends, the chances are you’ll still learn something new from reading our guide. By the time you’re done, you’ll understand all the important points about the ranked system, such as how it works, how much LP you lose per dodge, and how you can use that to your advantage.

What is a Ranked game in League of Legends?

A ranked game in League of Legends is a competitive game against other players, only available to summoners who are level 30 and have at least 16 champions. At the start of every season, the ranked ladder is reset and players are required to play 10 “placement” games which determine their initial rank. The same thing applies to any new players who want to start playing competitively during the season.

Once these matches are complete, the player will be placed in a particular tier, which every player can view. By continuously winning games, players advanced up the ranked ladder until they reach the highest tier which is currently Challenger. If a player is inactive for a certain amount of time or loses several games, then slowly they will be demoted to a lower tier.

lol tiers

The current tiers in order from lowest to highest are as follows:

  • Unranked
  • Iron
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond
  • Master
  • Grandmaster
  • Challenger

Each tier has 4 divisions – aside from unranked, Master, and Challenger, which are limited to 1. The divisions are represented in Roman Numerals in descending order from 4 to 1. There used to be a fifth division in each tier, but to help make players feel like they were progressing faster, Riot removed it. To help you understand the division tiers, here they are from lowest to highest.

  • IV (4)
  • III (3)
  • II (2)
  • I (1)

To advance to the next tier e.g. from Gold to Platinum, a player must reach Division I and win their placement matches before they can progress to the next tier.

Now you have a basic understanding of how the ranked system works in League of Legends, let’s take a look at why the ranked system is necessary and how many people play competitively.

How Many People Play Leagues of Legends Ranked?

League of Legends is a very popular game with millions of active monthly players. Currently, the game has around 100 million players that log on every month to play the game. But exactly how many of those 100 million players play competitively?

From looking at the real-time updated statistics from it’s possible to work out how many players are actively playing ranked games. We’ve gone through all the different available server regions and added up all the players from every tier and division. Here’s what we found.

  • EUW: 3,189,400
  • JP: 97,990
  • EUNE: 1,586,542
  • BR: 1,177,290
  • LAN: 522,252
  • TR: 735,104
  • KOR: 3,370,184
  • NA: 1,966,386
  • OCE: 234,282
  • LAS: 525,179
  • RU: 192,907

By adding up all the numbers above the 11 different server regions, we come to a grand total of 13,597,516 who currently play ranked. Considering there are around 100 million monthly active players, who play League of Legends this is around 13.5% of the total player base.

lol infographic


Overview of the Tiers

Now you know how many players play League of Legends competitively it’s important to understand how these players are divided up over the different tiers. The results can give you some valuable information about players in general. According to the statistics available from here is the distribution of players over all tiers.

  • Iron – 1.6%
  • Bronze – 11.83%
  • Silver – 44.46%
  • Gold – 30.39%
  • Platinum – 9.27%
  • Diamond – 2.35%
  • Master – 0.3%
  • Grandmaster – 0.4%
  • Challenger – 0.1%

As you can see, there is a lot of important information we can take away from these statistics. The first thing to note is that over 80% of all players who play ranked are between Iron and Gold. As the tiers get higher and higher, you can see how the number of players decreases rapidly.

An important thing to note is that the Challenger tier is an elite tier that allows 200 people. It’s considered the best of the best and is only open to a select few that can prove themselves. The other tiers can host an unlimited number of people, which is why most people are in Iron – Gold.

Why is the Ranked System Important?

The ranked system is League of Legends might not sound important, but it’s actually a massive part of the game. Without it, the game would lack competitive play which a large portion of the player base would dislike. The ability to battle other players and progress through the ranking system is one of the main reasons why League of Legends is such a popular game.

Other MOBA games such as DOTA 2 don’t have a clearly defined ranking system and all ranks are merely based on a number. The higher the number the better you are. Of course, there are other reasons as to why League of Legends has more players than DOTA 2 but the ranking system has to be one of them.

What is “MMR” in League of Legends?

MMR stands for Match Making Rating and is a hidden number that represents a player’s skill. Although this number is technically hidden there are numerous websites and calculators that try to determine a player’s MMR.

This hidden number is different from your actual ranking and a lot of the time remains unchanged – despite your LP or division changing. Riot uses this MMR as a way to determine several things in the game, such as how much LP you should gain or lose and who you should be playing against.

What is “LP”?

In League of Legends, LP stands for League Points. Every time you win a ranked match you will win LP and every time you lose a match you will lose LP. If you happen to be in Platinum tier or above, you will also lose LP if you are inactive or if you haven’t played a ranked game in 28 days. If you are in Master, Grandmaster or Challenger tier, then you must play a game within 10 days to avoid the inactivity penalty.

For Platinum tier the LP penalty is 35 points, for Diamond, the penalty is 50 points, while Master and Challenger is 250 points. Unlike LP your hidden MMR doesn’t decay if you don’t play any games.

How Much LP do you Win and Lose per game

The amount of LP you win or lose per game is determined by your hidden MMR which we previously mentioned. If you win a game and your team’s average MMR is lower than your enemies, then you will receive more LP. If your team’s MMR average is higher then you will win less. The same rule applies for losing LP.

Unfortunately, we can’t give out fixed numbers on how much you win or lose as the in-game formula is secret. Even if we did have the formula, without knowing everyone’s MMR it would be useless anyway. All you really need to determine is what skill level everyone is on your team and how do they compare to the other team.

How Much LP do you Lose for a Dodge?

If for some reason you can sense the odds are not in your favour, then it might be better off for you to dodge a game. This is an effective strategy for many players and although you do lose LP, your hidden MMR will be unaffected.

If for example, you only really play 2 champions in game and both of them have been banned, then it might be an idea to dodge. The chances are you’ll have to pick another champion which you are not familiar with. This only increases the chance that you’ll lose the game. Instead, you can lose a small amount of LP and not have your MMR affected if you dodge.

For the first dodge in game, you’ll receive a 3 LP penalty, for any additional game you will be given a 10 LP penalty. Be sure to only dodge games when it’s 100% necessary as those penalties can quickly add up.

How Do the Promotion Matches Work?

When you reach 100 LP in your division, you will start your promotion matches. This means that the next 3 ranked games that you play will determine if you are promoted to a higher division or not. If you win 2 out of the 3 promotion matches, then you will be promoted to the next division higher up.

Upon entering the new division, your LP will be reset to 0. If you happen to lose your promotion matches, then you will then you remain in the current division and the LP loss will be calculated normally.

Once you reach 100LP in Division I of any tier you will begin your tier promotion matches. These matches require you to win 3 out of the 5 games in total to be promoted to a higher tier. If you win 3 out of the 5 then you’ll be promoted, this means going from Gold tier to Platinum for example. If you lose your tier promotion matches then you’ll stay in the same tier but will be awarded a free game for next time.

This means the next time you have to do your tier promotion matches you will only be required to win 2 out of the 5 games to get the promotion.

How do you Decrease a Division in League of Legends?

Now we’ve covered how promotions work in the League of Legends ranking system it’s also important to understand how demotions work. Demotions happen when your LP reaches 0. Whether this is through losing matches or inactivity penalties, the result is the same. Once you reach 0 LP, you will be demoted to a division below your current one. Once in this new division, you will start off with 75 LP.

Now you Understand the Ranking System: Dominate It

Now you know everything there is about the League of Legends ranking system it’s time to climb the ladder. If you have a good strategy and know your champions inside out then you’re already halfway to destroying the opposition.

Sometimes no matter how well you know the game and how hard you try, it can be hard and time consuming to climb the ranks. Most of us are busy with jobs and studying so we don’t have that much time to commit to climbing the ladder.

Luckily there is a faster way to jump up the ranks. With League of Legends boosting you can pay experienced players to play ranked games with you. Not only does this increase your chances of winning the match but you can also learn a lot from the experienced player. With prices starting from as little as a few dollars if you’re serious about League of Legends and want to be the very best the boosting is the easiest way.

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