From the slums of Zaun to the peak of Targon, Runeterra holds a tremendous gradient of people and places. And in a lot of ways, League is no different! Whether you're a weekend warrior or dial in daily, there's a place for you on the Rift.
But that still begs the question: where exactly do you fall on that spectrum? To find out, you'll have to learn about tiers and divisions!
Tiers & Divisions
Fairness and progression are the heart of competitive play. So in order to ensure fair matches and provide goals for ambitious players, we created a system that translates the chaos of individual league matches into a more structured path—a path consisting of tiers and divisions.
Instead of a single towering summit, it’s helpful to visualize the many tiers of Ranked as a sprawling mountain range. Each peak conquered is a triumph!
Ranked players are divided into nine tiers, shown above in ascending order. Each one houses players of similar skill levels and follows a simple rule: the more you win, the higher you'll climb!
But tiers can only tell you so much. After all, the player who just broke out of Silver probably won't be on the same level as the one on the cusp of Diamond glory, so how do you tell the difference between a couple of Golds?
Divisions, that's how!
Each tier is more than a destination—it's a journey, and divisions are your stops along the way.
Tiers Iron through Diamond each have four divisions. You must complete one division to reach the next, and will usually start in the lowest division upon reaching a new tier. If you're in Silver III, for example, you'll have to climb through Silver II and Silver I before breaking through to Gold IV!
Should you have the misfortune of dropping a tier (it happens to the best of us!), then you'll start in the highest division of the next tier down. In the example above, perhaps you've hit a cold streak after hitting Gold IV. Lose enough games, and you'll drop to Silver I.
There are, of course, plenty of exceptions and extra complexity to how this climb works, which you can read up on by visiting our article on placements, promos, and more!
Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger
If you've hit Master, whoa. Nice work! You're in the top .2% of players worldwide, and that's no small feat!
But that also means you're climbing with a special set of rules created to accommodate the heightened stakes of top-tier play, which you can find on our page about Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger!
Ranked is divided into two different queues, each with its own purpose and set of restrictions.
If your motto is “win lane, win game," then this is the queue for you. Whether you jump in alone or with a friend, Solo/Duo is the best place to test your mechanics, game sense, and on-the-fly communication with like-minded individuals. Nobody you meet in Solo/Duo queue will be grouped with more than one other person, so each game is an opportunity to coordinate with fresh allies against a new batch of foes.
Your rank in Solo/Duo queue is totally independent of your rank in Flex, and you’ll earn rewards unique to your Solo tier at the end of the season.
Since Solo/Duo is more focused on individual performance, there are limitations on who you can queue with.
Most players can queue with friends within one tier of their rank, but these restrictions start a little loose at lower ranks and get tighter the higher you go. For example, Iron players can queue with players up to two tiers their senior! But ascend to Diamond, and your buddy must be within two divisions to join your party.
Reaching Master tier is a tremendous accomplishment, but it's also the start of a whole new journey where only the best can ascend. That's why players in Master or higher must queue alone. There's only room for one at the top!
If Solo/Duo queue is all about personal progression, Flex is the soul of teamwork. It's the best place to try out unconventional comps, practice team fights, and prepare for Clash.
Your rank in Flex queue is totally independent of your rank in Solo, and you’ll earn rewards unique to your Flex tier at the end of the season.
Like its name, Flex bends the rank restrictions quite a bit more than Solo/Duo. In fact, there are no Flex rank restrictions for Diamond and below! If you want to play with Masters and up, however, you'll have to be at least Platinum.
Additionally, the restrictions on party size are a little different.
Flex is meant to foster an atmosphere of teamwork, and creating scenarios where a single player is the odd man out interferes with that mission. So while you can queue for Flex in groups of 1, 2, 3, and 5, parties of 4 will have to stick to unranked matches.
We should also note that creating parties with large rank disparities (eg. an Iron player grouping with a Diamond player) may result in more difficult matchups as the system attempts to balance out the difference in skill levels. Flex restrictions may be more lax, but the competition is just as fierce!
Other Ranked Resources
Have questions about other aspects of Ranked? Find the answers in our Ranked FAQ!