LoL ranks: League of Legends ranking system explained

If the Rift is summoning your competitive nature, you'll need to get to grips with League of Legends' ranking system

League of Legends Pantheon

League of Legends is the undisputed biggest PC game of all time. The MOBA’s tactical gameplay and diverse selection of champions makes each game a unique challenge.

However, as in any game, you’ve got to separate the Challengers from the scrubs in competitive play. How do the best LoL players in the world prove their worth and, more importantly, stop getting matched with those pesky low-level players? The answer is the League of Legends ranking system, which places the millions of LoL players around the globe into a tier and division based on their ability and performances.

However, it can be a daunting prospect for newcomers to competitive LoL. Many have lingering questions, like: How many ranks are there, what are they called, which one will I start in, and how many people find themselves in the top rank? To make your transition into the world of competitive LoL a little simpler, we’ve put together some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the League of Legends ranking system.

How do ranks work in League of Legends?

The ranking system in League of Legends includes nine tiers, each split into four divisions, with four being the lowest in that tier and one being the highest.

You progress through each division and tier by earning League Points (LP) for games that your team win. The exact amount of points is determined by your Matchmaking Rating (MMR). If you’re victorious against a team with a higher MMR than yours, you will gain more LP than if you were to beat a team with a lower MMR than yours.

You can also lose LP for games that you fail to win or for games that you rage quit. Again, the amount of LP you lose depends on the MMR of you and your opponent.

Read more: Catch up with League of Legends Worlds 2020

At the end of each ranked season, your tier and division will be locked in as your official rank for that season.

You will then gain in-game rewards at the end of each season, such as special skins. The amount and quality of rewards you earn will increase depending on what tier you finished in.

The current ranked season, Season 11, kicked off on January 8, 2021. Seasons last nearly a year and is divided into three splits, which each last three months.

What are the ranks in League of Legends called?

The nine ranks in competitive League of Legends are:

Rank Symbol
Iron League of Legends Iron rank
Bronze League of Legends Bronze Rank
Silver League of Legends Iron rank
Gold League of Legends Gold rank
Platinum League of Legends Platinum rank
Diamond League of Legends Diamond rank
Master League of Legends Master rank
Grandmaster League of Legends Grandmaster rank
Challenger League of Legends Challenger rank

The nine tiers in ranked League of Legends span from Iron to Challenger. Each has four divisions within them with four being the lowest and one the highest. Once you hit 100 LP in division one of your tier, you will then be given the chance to move up to division four in the tier above by winning the majority of your games in a short promotion series.

The majority of the global playerbase find themselves in Silver or Gold, showing just how hard it is to progress in competitive LoL.

To start pushing to Platinum and beyond, you’ve got to become properly dedicated and hone your skills. Specialising in a small number of heroes and frequently checking patch notes for meta-changing nerfs and buffs are a good starting block to elevating your LoL game.

Tahm Kench

What is the League of Legends ranking distribution?

League of Legends has an enormous global playerbase which peaks at around eight million players every day, according to Riot. But what portion of LoL players can say they are in the top competitive tier and how many never made it out of Iron? Let’s take a look at the figures from the end of Season 10 across all regions.

Soloqueue Rank % of playerbase
Iron 4.5%
Bronze 21%
Silver 33%
Gold 27%
Platinum 10%
Diamond 2.3%
Master 0.034%
Grandmaster 0.028%
Challenger 0.012%

As you can see, the most populated tiers are Silver and Gold – the benchmark for anyone wanting to play a decent level of competitive LoL.

From Diamond onwards, there is a huge drop off in the number of players in the top tiers, with just 0.012% of players managing to reach – and most importantly, stay – at Challenger rank. Using Riot’s own figure of eight million daily players, we can work out that around just 1,500 players across the world are skilled enough to be in the top tier.

It’s also worth noting that from Platinum onwards, players lose LP over time for having inactive ranked accounts, so to keep your high ranking you’ve got to keep playing.

How do I unlock ranked League of Legends?

To be eligible for ranked play in League of Legends, there is some criteria you need to meet.

Firstly, you must have a player level of 30 or above. Secondly, you have to own 20 or more champions. Once you’ve ticked those boxes, you can begin your placement matches.

How well you do in your placement matches will determine which competitive tier you’ll start in. Lose the majority of your games and you’ll begin right down the bottom in an Iron division. A strong showing may see you placed in higher tiers like Bronze or Silver.

Once your placement matches are over and you’ve been dropped into an appropriate tier, you can begin your journey to Challenger.

League of Legends' Lucian

League of Legends Ranked Season 11 end date

League of Legends ranked Season 11 ended on November 15, 2021.

LEAGUE OF LEGENDS RANKED SEASON 12 start DATE

League of Legends season 12 is set to kick off sometime in early January 2022.

New LoL seasons tend to begin in the new year, after several weeks of preseason play. Season 11 began on January 8, 2021, so we can imagine LoL season 12 will begin around the same time.

League of Legends ranked Season 11 changes

League of Legends ranked Season 11 featured a slew of changes. Players new to LoL’s ranked mode were placed based on normal match performance. Meanwhile, ranked veterans could look forward to beginning their climb this season at a much closer position to their Season 10 rank once their provisional games had been played out.

Perhaps the most significant change was the removal of “inter-division” promotion series, which were a massive cause of frustration for ranked players. Players no longer had to play promos for inter-division promotions or demotions (e.g. Gold 3 to Gold 2), but still had to play them to progress to the next rank (e.g. Gold 1 to Diamond 4).

To ensure the extra LP that would be gained or lost from the absence of inter-division promos didn’t get out of control, Riot also reduced the amount of LP gained and lost across the board.

Another major cause of player stress stemmed from negative player interactions such as intentional feeding, going AFK, or leaving the game altogether. Riot emphasised that players who abandoned their teammates during ranked games would face greater LP losses as a result. For those players having to continue a player down, LP mitigation was also introduced, dampening the amount of LP lost due to leavers.

A final change which was made in season 11 is the unlocking of Master tier and above from day one. This was a major change from previous seasons where there was a timed delay between the ranked season’s beginning and its top tiers becoming available.

This created an exciting day one race to be the world’s first Challenger-ranked player for Season 11, which turned out to be 16-year-old Brazilian LoL streamer Jean Mago.

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