Finding the right spot on the ladder for every League of Legends player is a complicated affair. While we've done our best to boil it down to simple tiers and divisions, the question remains: how does the game determine which tier you belong in?
To understand the answer, we must look to the number that holds it all together: MMR.
Your Matchmaking Rating (MMR) is what Riot uses to determine your place on the ladder and match you up with similarly skilled players. Win, and it goes up! Lose, and it goes down. Which probably leaves you wondering...
What's My MMR?
Your MMR is...a secret!
MMR has been custom-tailored to work with the backend systems that help place you into fair games. Removing it from these systems strips away a lot of its context, making it less useful to players as a hard indicator of skill. That's why we've created another system to help translate your hidden MMR into a more relatable format: ranks.
MMR VS Rank
If MMR is your overall skill level, rank is a fluid representation of your current position on the path to fulfilling that potential. It helps contextualize where you are on the ladder relative to other players, and also offers meaningful progression in the form of tiers and divisions.
The interplay between your MMR and your rank may be hidden, but the results can be seen through another system that ranked players are intimately familiar with: LP
League Points (LP) are how you move through the ranks. They are rewarded for victory and deducted upon defeat. You generally need 100 LP to climb up each division, though there are other rules governing your progression that you can read about in our article on placements, promos, and more.
They're also how we bridge the gap between your MMR and your rank, which can result in big differences between how much LP you gain or lose each game.
About equal LP gains/losses : MMR = Rank
If you are winning about the same amount of LP in victory as you lose in defeat, that means your MMR and rank are just about even. In other words, the system has determined your current rank is an accurate reflection of your skill level.
Want to prove the system wrong? Then just keep winning more than you lose! Both your MMR and your rank will rise with each victory, ensuring a slow and steady climb. Just be cautious when using your overall win rate to assess your climbing potential! If you're at 55% win rate after a steady climb through a few hundred games but your LP gains are slowing down, that likely means you had a higher win rate earlier in your climb and something closer to 50% at your current position.
If you're looking for a quick ascent, then you're gonna have to turn up the heat.
Bigger LP gains, smaller LP losses : MMR > Rank
When your MMR is significantly higher than your rank, the system will attempt to push you up to your rightful position on the ladder with greater LP rewards upon victory and smaller deductions upon defeat. This will almost always happen at the start of each new ranked season, as you'll begin your climb at a lower rank than you ended it last season. Your MMR, however, remains at exactly the same spot, so winning will push you quickly through the ranks!
Once your MMR and rank have equalized, however, you'll begin to see smaller LP gains and bigger losses until the two are about the same. At that point, you'll need to win a ton of games in a row to signal to the system that you belong in a higher rank. Win enough, and you'll start getting bigger LP rewards to help you reach your true rank more quickly. This will continue until your wins and losses begin to even out, at which point the system determines you've hit the appropriate rank and LP gains/losses will equalize.
Smaller LP gains, bigger LP loses : MMR < Rank
Though we try our best to give both teams about a 50% chance of winning every game, your win record may not reflect that. And that's okay! There are lots of reasons you might find yourself on a cold streak. Maybe you've been trying a new champ or position, you're rusty after taking a long break, or it's just plain old bad luck.
Whatever the case, getting multiple losses in a row signals to our system that your rank and MMR are no longer in sync. In an effort to fix this disparity, you'll lose more LP each defeat until your winrate levels out.
If you find yourself in this situation, consider taking a break or switching to a more comfortable champion.
Consolation LP (AFK/Leaving Teammates)
Losing because one of your teammates goes AFK or leaves the game stinks. Not only does it feel bad, but it also alters your rank in a way that just isn't fair. That's why we may award consolation LP for players in this situation, provided the following conditions are met:
- You're on the losing team
- You lost LP (you won't be given Consolation LP if you're at 0 LP in division IV of your tier)
- Another player on your team is marked as a leaver or AFK
- The player marked AFK is NOT part of your premade group
- You're not in a promotion series (LP can be neither gained nor lost while you're in promos)
If you check all the above boxes, watch your LP animation after the game and you should see a little Consolation LP boost! Just note that you can only be awarded so much Consolation LP each week, so if you're experiencing an unusually bad streak of 4v5s, it might not hurt to consider taking a short break.
Other Reasons LP May Vary
There are a few other reasons your LP gains/losses may deviate from their standard numbers:
- A system-wide issue triggers loss-prevention, which also caps LP gains
- AFK/Leaver penalties can reduce your LP not only for the game you went AFK in, but also for the game after
- You have larger or smaller than average odds of winning a single game due to rank disparities on one or both teams or other advantages/disadvantages
No matter what the situation, we always aim to make the amount of LP you gain or lose feel fair.
Queues & Modes
In order to accurately reflect the unique expectations of each queue, you have a different MMR for Normal, Solo/Duo, and Flex. That means you don't have to worry about a rough streak of losses in Flex altering your Solo/Duo MMR, though your initial placement in Ranked will take your Normal MMR into consideration!.
Queuing with Friends
Forming a party and jumping into ranked with friends is a great way to test your skills along with your friendships, but it also changes the way matchmaking works. Queueing with somebody you know confers certain advantages that the system takes into account when creating your games, so you may see slightly more difficult opponents or reduced LP gains.
Other Ranked Resources
Have questions about other aspects of Ranked? Find the answers in our Ranked FAQ!