Tilting is the bane of all players and teams grinding ranked queue. It quite often leads to rant posts on forums about the matchmaker and stories about dropping from X tier to Y tier. Understanding what tilt is, the difference between tilt and losing, and how to prevent and escape tilt should be skills all good soloQ players and teams that grind to climb skill tiers have in their arsenal.
What Is Tilt?
Tilt: noun \’ tɪlt\: Irregular play in ranked queue, often onset by large losing streaks or demoralising previous game(s). Players generally acquire a mind-set that negatively impacts game play and win rate. Players tend to perform overly aggressive or passive and actions that they would generally not attempt. Similarly, players may underperform in situations they would have previously performed well in.
However, players can be on a losing streak but may not be on tilt. This often occurs if their opponents are simply better than them.
To help identify whether you are on tilt or simply losing to better opponents, you should be able to or fully understand the following:
- You MUST be able to carry at your tier level in whichever role you main. If you cannot carry matches then you will most likely be losing to better opponents.
- You MUST understand your own play-style, what you do well and what you don’t do well. You need to be consistent in your decision making whether you are an aggressive or passive player/team. If you do not fully understand your own play-style then there is little chance you will be consistent when situations change and will most likely lose to better opponents.
- You should be able to move with the change in tide. If you can’t adapt when situations in game change then you will most likely lose to a better enemy.
Signs of Tilt:
Losing the same way over and over again
Have you been trying to invade the enemy jungle so that you could snowball the match the past 4 matches in a row unsuccessfully and losing the match because of this? Maybe it is time to stop trying and attempt another strategy.
Focusing on the negatives (trolls, AFKs and mistakes)
Believe it or not, you’re not the only one with trolls and AFKs in your game. Similarly, you or your teammates are not the only ones who make match losing mistakes. The only thing you can do is ignore the negatives and stay consistent with your play-style and decision making.
Focusing hard on the last match
You just lost lane hard with a SAW on your team. The next match’s draft would fit SAW perfectly but you don’t want to pick him because of the last match or you are unhappy with your teammate picking SAW.
Playing outside of your play-style
Players on tilt often play more aggressively (reaching for kills or forcing objectives) or playing overly passive (drafting an early game comp but not aggressing early game).
Acting better than your skill tier
When players are on tilt and have lost a lot of VST they may begin to think that they’re better than their tier they’re in and they will quickly climb back to their previous highest tier. Don’t take your highest skill tier for granted. It is entirely possible that you may have lucked there in the first place, either with good teammates or bad enemies.
Stop Loss system
Treat the time you have spent climbing tiers as an investment. You should have an amount of VST you are willing to lose before you stop playing ranked matches and take a break. For me it’s (a) 3 losses in a row, (b) 1 lose if I am 1 win away from the next tier or (c) 2 losses to drop to the next colour (e.g., gold to silver).
Focus on what you do well
If you can carry matches as Ardan with epic gauntlets but are not great at saving your allies with your Vanguard, hyper focus on landing your gauntlets rather than getting frustrated about a dead ally that you might have saved with you’re A.
Find the best time to play
Experiment ranking at different times in the day; typically stay away from ranking late into the night as your cognitive skills will not be optimal around this time. Also stay away from ranking after a stressful day at work or school, as this stress can carry on into your matches.
Don’t try hard with trolls and AFKs
If you have trolls or AFKs in your match then it is best to not try hard as this would waste energy that you could use in other matches. Instead use this match to practise your mechanics or a different build.
Learn to carry and find your play-style
If you can carry matches (regardless if you play roam, jungle or lane) you will win more matches than you will lose. I like to describe my play-style as ‘tactically aggressive’. I know I can carry matches as a jungler or roamer when I play around objectives early game and constant team fights mid-late game. I try to stay consistent with this only making small changes when needed.
It’s simple as that.
Take a break
Either play some casual or BR matches, or play a different game entirely. This will take your mind off of the combativeness and stress of ranked queue. When you return (in a couple of hours or in couple of days) you will feel fresh and ready to wreck the Halcyon Fold.
Also stick to your Stop Loss system. This will prevent any more loss in VST that may increase your frustration and lack of consistent decision making.
Analyse your previous match
Take notes on what went well and what could have been improved on. If you can record your matches, this will immensely support you in identifying what you can do better in the next match.
Watch pro VODs
If you’re struggling with escaping your tilt, watching your favorite pro player play competitively or watching montages of heroes you want to improve on will help with your motivation. It may also lead to new tricks you could apply in the next match.
Listen to music
Listening to your favorite artist or genre is a great way to calm your anxiety. Depending on the type of music you’re listening to, this method can give you a buzz and a sense of focus. Similarly, music is very rhythmic which can help with your tapping and stutter-stepping.
Find new ways to have fun
You need to remember that your enjoyment in competitive play is a key factor in preventing and escaping tilt.
Dropping more than two VST colours should be a thing of the past. Your next steps should be to find out your play-style, which heroes you can carry on and what you do well with each of those heroes. Always keep it fun and relaxed even in competitive play and if you’re still having a bad time follow this simple rhyme and everything should be fine: “If my wins begin to wilt, it must be tilt.”
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