How to win Solo-Queue

Oct 14, 2015

When I started writing this article, I was going to write up a general guide on how to play HotS’ objective-oriented style as well as possible. After I finished up my first draft, I took a short break and played some QM. While getting pounded by an Abathur-Johanna combo, I suddenly realized: What I wrote is meaningless in solo-queue. I couldn’t coordinate with my team, we didn’t focus the targets we ideally should have, it was “just pub play”. So I decided to rework this whole thing into a guide on what you can do to improve your chances at winning in solo-queue.

I’d like to mention that this isn’t a rant against all the people I solo-queue with. I want to lay down a few guidelines on how to be a great teammate and how to salvage a shitty game.

 

But Ben, what can I do to improve the game on my own? It’s so team oriented!!

trilane

Especially in early-game, individual performance is really important. Until around level 10-13, it’s all about Exp, efficiency and pressure. An early lead can help you out tons and on some maps just results in an unstoppable snowball that’ll secure you an easy win.

In Solo-Queue, you can’t communicate that well with your teammates. Constantly chatting leaves you and potentially your allies vulnerable, and tends to annoy a lot of players. But keep in mind: Your enemies probably aren’t communicating either. The lack of a ping alarming your allies that an enemy player is missing means that a lot of people don’t report roaming characters, or do it when it’s already too late. Use this to create some pressure, make people back off and miss some Exp or just flat out kill them. Of course this only fits a certain roster of characters. Here are some questions you can check during the first ten levels on every hero:

  • Is somebody soaking each lane?
  • Are you needed in your lane?
  • Is there a lane that needs your help?
  • Is there an ally that needs your help?
  • Can you somehow prepare for the objective?
  • Is there a merc-camp you could be taking right now?

Rotate through these questions every few minutes to make sure you’re doing whatever you can to make the early game as smooth as possible for your team.

 

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But Ben, my team is filled with muted noobs that keep feeding

That’s unfortunate. But what if I tell you that a few kills aren’t really relevant? A kill awards you with Herolvl x 100 (Ignoring Bonuses like First Blood and Underdog) Exp. This means that until Level 4, a wave of creeps, which is worth 452 Exp, easily compensates for that kill. Just make sure you’re soaking, ideally rotate to get that exp your dead teammate would be missing. Having a rough lane? Ask if somebody with a more reliable escape or that’s tankier than you could switch lanes. Or use their aggression against them by starting to make them take tower-hits while diving for you, so your roamer can come and pick up that easy double.

That actually helped, we’re ahead now 🙂

Cool. Let’s solidify that lead. You can now start forcing unfavorable (for the enemy team mind you) fights, or even considering splitting off from your team to quickly sneak a merc-camp. Most importantly though:

//

DO NOT DIE!!

Heroes has a mechanic called the underdog bonus. This is an exp-bonus on every kill the team that’s behind gets. This makes comebacks possible at any point in the game and throws a bitter reality. Be careful, play safe and the game should be yours.

 

Didn’t work man, we’re behind and they keep killing us and it’s horrible, help! 🙁

Don’t worry. The biggest problem of playing from behind is that it’s not that intuitive.  General consensus is that you should go for objectives and fight for them. That is not always the smartest option. Here are some points where I’d recommend not going for objective:

  • You cannot secure the objective. If you are 3 men down, there is no use running in for an objective. Get a camp instead or pressure a fort. If you get exp instead of giving away some, you helped your team more than if you went and suicided to steal 3 or 4 skulls.
  • The enemy core is exposed and you can actually finish. This is the most important thing to understand on Haunted mines. If their core is exposed and they’re down there getting a 100 Skull Golem, just go for the finish. Core is all that matters in the end. If you see an opening where you can finish what the Map-Objective can’t, do it. The longer the game takes, the more time the enemy team has for a big play which can put them ahead.

In general, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize and not give up. The underdog-bonus I mentioned in the previous paragraph becomes your best friend now. Try finding pickoffs to slowly negate their Exp. lead, take fights you know you can win and don’t be afraid to simply back off if you can. A heroic used to run away is better used than a heroic used in a needless fight. Abilities like Void-Prison, Blessed Shield, Stormhammer or Skeletal Swing turn from a chase / engage tool into a solid panic-button whenever the enemy team collapses on you.

But Ben, my team isnt following my instructions / is feeding horribly / is making horrid decisions / is just a bunch of stupid newbs!!!!1!

Join them. Of course there are more ideal steps, but how big is your chance of taking the boss alone while your team is contesting the tribute? The professional Dota 2 / HoN player N0Tail has a perfect quote for this situation:

 True wisdom from an experienced Player

True wisdom from an experienced Player

I cannot count the games I won because I just went with a crazy strat, joined my team in a silly teamfight or just picked some otherwise suboptimal talent to augment a silly strat my team was obviously pulling. Go with the flow, enjoy the ride, maybe you’ll even learn something. And if everything fails, remember the old mantra: GG, go next

//

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How do you contribute to your games? Let us know in the comments 🙂

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