In my earlier post I used this image:

Figure with text

The last sentence reads: "Bem-vindo ao ELO hell" -> translated -> "Welcome to ELO hell".

What is the ELO hell?

  • 2
    An excuse given by bronzies to justify their lack of skill.
    – Zaenille
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 7:04
  • 1
    It's a fair (?) name for low-score users' bulk in every ranking system. You can say 'Glicko hell', or 'TrueSkill hell', or 'rankade hell', or whatever. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 8:05

5 Answers 5


Some people pretend that Elo-Hell is a place you can't escape, because you always play with bad people. It's very hard and frustrating to get out of because of continuous feeders, AFKers and leavers.

I say it does not exist, because there is Elo-Boosting. If those people can climb the ladder, you can do it too! You just need to improve and the fact, that the chances are higher that the enemy team has the troll are higher debunks this argument.

This sounds mean, but Elo-Hell is just a excuse for people that play bad.

If you have a win rate >50% you will climb. If you climb, you will be matched against and with better players (normally... but there are few exceptions). If you want to climb even more, you will need to improve because you must play better against those people.

  • Because in LoL you can always try to carry your team, if you concentrate. I encountered it otherwise in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: In "ELO Hell" you can't escape because some guys just randomly shoot their team mates or use the text chat to help the opponents.
    – Trollwut
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:15
  • 4
    @same applies to CS:GO .... the chances that the trolls are on the opposing team is higher than on your own team Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:20
  • 5
    it's hard to win a 3v5. YES! BUT: the chances that you are on the team with the adavantage are much higher! Commented May 13, 2015 at 14:22
  • 2
    @Omega That's my point. You are more likely to be on the team of 5 players rather than 3. The trolls and ragers are also more likely to be on the other team and not your own team unless you yourself are in fact a rager/troll.
    – dphil
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:06
  • 2
    This answer is more about criticizing people using the term as opposed to actually providing a decent explanation of what it means. And this is also blatantly wrong. It's statistics 101 - you'll get to where you belong eventually, sure, but that doesn't mean you won't be stuck somewhere else for the next 100 billion games (unlikely, sure, but possible). Also, some roles have greater potential for one-man-army-ing - if you're really good at something that isn't, you may very well be stuck somewhere you don't belong.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 21:12

Origin of the word "Elo Hell":

In Season 1, there weren't LP (League Points) like today. You were measured by a value called elo, which was borrowed from chess. The starting value was 1200, if you won a game, you gained elo, if you lost, you lost elo. Obviously, bad players gathered around 800 Elo and below (which was compareable to Bronze today).

Since League of Legends is a teamgame, you always have to rely on teammates, it's almost impossible to carry a game 1 vs 5 (I think i did it 4 times where i actually solo'd the entire enemy team, and i got almost over 6k games now, so you can imagine the chance of doing that) and also, it's easier to blame your own mistakes on them. And suddenly, the "Elo Hell" was born, a place for kids who think they play a lot better than they actually do.

Typical for someone who says he's in Elo Hell is:

  • He's a mechanical WCS (Worst-Case-Scenario)
  • Never heard of something like wards or vision
  • Tends to rage in allchat
  • Always blames other people, even though he goofed it up himself
  • Typically played 75% of all champs - none of them good
  • Horrible W/L Ratio (45% or below)

Of course, all of that is nonsense. Once you're good enough, you will climb automatically. Yes, if you sit at such a bad elo, it will take you a while until you get a decent amount of LP and doesn't lose that much anymore if you lose. But you will climb if you are above 50% - that's a rule.

  • 1
    so.. my main is supp/tank and i dont like to buy sightstone. that makes me an "Elo Hell" player? :P Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:38
  • 8
    A support without wards is pretty useless.
    – dyesdyes
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:40
  • 5
    I don't know if you're an elo hell player. But if you main supp and don't buy a sightstone, I'd say you're in your elo for a reason. Commented May 13, 2015 at 11:40
  • 2
    So basically LoL IS in fact ELO Hell? :D Nice answer.
    – Trollwut
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:18
  • 1
    You will climb automatically eventually, but that doesn't mean it will happen any time soon. It's entirely possible (although unlikely) to be stuck where you don't belong for years. Also, nice origin story, but your second paragraph doesn't link it well with it or provide a nice explanation of what it actually means.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 22:20

Warning, Wall-O-Text, TL;DR below

A slightly different point of view on "ELO Hell" - I do think it exists, and it's personalized for everyone :) I am however a Dota player, so bear with me on the terms (most should be easily clarified in Google).

My view is that it's (apart from ragers who blame their team for every loss, period) because different rating levels have different meta.

To illustrate (meta examples from before the May patch):

  • I play 4k MMR and the standing meta is 3-1-1, i.e. one triple lane, solo mid and solo off or safe lane. This works best and most pro teams (at 5.5k+) use it to great effect.

  • One of my RL friends plays lower 3k. The meta is still the same, although with less communication and worse map awareness, the carry typically can't use the early advantage that well. The result - junglers are a lot more common, although the play style is still the same.

  • Another friend plays mid-2k MMR. Here's where things get different - 3-1-1 is almost never played. The most common meta is, in fact, 2-1-2. Standing a side lane solo is considered suicide, and, as a strange consequence - the players on that level can't effectively use a tri-lane to gain an early advantage. They just never had the experience.

  • I've only seen a couple sub-2k MMR games, but that's where wards are misplaced and couriers get forgotten. The notion of "support" starts to be fuzzy as well.

The thing about all this is that if you go sharply down in MMR due to a losing streak, you little brother finding out your PC password, a major patch or just not playing in a while, you find yourself in a completely different environment.

If I tried playing in a 2k MMR game right now I'd likely lose. Not because I'm bad, or paid for my account, but rather because I don't know how to play that meta. It would be a shock to find that a fast-bottle Meepo doesn't really work when there is no courier to get that fast bottle. Likewise, a hard-farming AM won't do the team any good if no one helps stack the forest. Trying to use any of the higher rated meta will fail completely - there's no use to brilliantly stand out a solo hardlane, if your team can't zone out and suppress the safelane. Creating space for your carry is futile if your team thinks it's time to push.

There are 2 main ways out:

  1. Solo carry the team.
  2. Understand the meta.

The first is common, and essentially leaves things to chance. No one hero can just straight-up win the game, from start to finish (Up to debate really, but for the sake of the argument I'll leave it like this). You can dominate early or mid game, but late will have to be as a team. That same team that you were ignoring for most of the game. Will you get enough of an advantage so that the lack of teamplay stops being an issue? Who knows...

The second is the right way, but is immeasurably more difficult. It's always a lot easier to flame your support for putting a ward a couple of pixels off, than to learn to play with imperfect warding and teach teammates how to do it better. It's always easier to say "I know better when to push and when to farm", than it is to communicate with the team, especially when you disagree on the timing of so many things. Taking Roshan is moronic unless you've killed one or two opponents and have vision of the area (and have dewarded) in higher MMR. In lower - it's less of a risk, because there are less wards, less communication, so it might be worth it. Likewise with other decisions like farm spots, pushing, defending or letting towers fall, etc.

It's not about anyone's skill. It's about change of perspective - if you fall low enough and quickly enough that the metagame changes, the challenge moves from skill and teamplay with a known strategy to re-learning the game and its tactics. Most people are really bad at learning, and hate it with all their hearts.

  • 2
    I don't really think that really describes ELO hell at all, rather almost a different game. You aren't going to lose because of what your teammates are doing at that lower meta since that's what they play at. ELO hell is the concept that you can't win because of too many trolls/ragers where you are at (which in fact does not exist like others have explained).
    – dphil
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:03
  • @dphil Playing a different meta to your team often induces raging or trolling. Besides, even if the wide understanding of "ELO Hell" is "A place where trolls dwell", there is another one - an MMR so low, that you can't climb out, even if you used to be a lot higher. After all, the question as stated is: "What is ELO Hell?", not "Does there exist a place where you can't win because of trolls?"
    – Ordous
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:22
  • If it causes raging then it's your fault. If your team doesn't know how to play the meta why would you force it on them? That would more likely fall under the category of you trolling if you are trying to force your team to do stuff they don't know how to do. Your second definition of ELO hell, is really just an effect of the first. The reason people can't climb out of lower ELOs is because they blame their team for feeding/trolling and such. It's not really a new definition of it.
    – dphil
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:28
  • Explaining that ELO doesn't exist is really part of the definition. When you describe things, you don't leave important parts out. ELO not actually existing is part of the definition.
    – dphil
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:31
  • @dphil If you've played a year in a particular style, and then suddenly fell in MMR, would you really change it instantly? Within a day? Pro players take weeks to months to adjust to a major patch. It's natural to continue playing in your current style while learning a new one, and highly frustrating to be forced into it by your team (who btw are lower mmr than you)
    – Ordous
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:34

ELO-hell is supposed to be a ranking below which your actions have no effect on the outcome. No matter what you do you can never get out of that ranking. Wins and losses will be mostly based on luck rather than your skill.

Is this true?
Theoretically no and it can be proven with math.

(Note: there are some oversimplified concepts and examples below, but the conclusion is correct)

In each game you have 4 allies, and 5 enemies.

Suppose that every player affects the game the same way (which is usually not true, since a smurf at bronze can carry easily as an assassin, but might even lose if forced to support). In other words, your role and your skill difference from the rest of the players affects your chances of winning.

That means that ideally 10% of your games depend on you (everyone's skill lvl is about the same, every role affects the game equally, etc). There is a 90% that will be totally random. 45% of it will be losses, and 45% will be wins.

Therefor, on average your win ratio will be 55% if you are consistently better than the rest of the players in your game.

No matter how many trolls, afkers, bad players you get on your team, the enemy team will have more of those on average (assuming you aren't a troll/feeder). Eventually you will climb.

The problem comes from how long it would take.

Suppose that you need 20 more wins than losses to get from platinum III to platinum II. The closer your win ratio to 50% the more games it takes to climb.

Here are some ways to climb:

  1. Losing 100 and winning 120, total games 220, win ratio 54%
  2. Losing 40 and winning 60, total games 100, win ratio 60%
  3. Losing 1 and winning 20, total games 21, win ratio 95%

Because of the statistical nature of it, there will be some deviations (that is, it might take way to long for some players to get where they deserve, but this is rather rare). And this is what causes the illusion of ELO hell.

  • No matter how many trolls, afkers, bad players you get on your team, the enemy team will have more. i think you should rephrase that... my team can have a feeder and they don't. I know what oyu mean. but this sentence is misleading. Commented May 13, 2015 at 15:43
  • @DropDeadSander-EUW I meant on average. Edited the answer. Let me know how it looks now.
    – user6209
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 15:48
  • @DropDeadSander-EUW what means oyu? Commented May 13, 2015 at 15:52
  • 5
    @msm.oliveira He typo'd the word "you"
    – firedraco
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 16:11

Many players believe that they unfairly belong to their league while their in-game performance show matches a higher league, usually one above. (bronze=>silver, silver=>gold etc).

There are many reasons for that:

  • Memory space: it's proved that bad life experience takes less space in our memory than a good one. We remember much better games when we perfomed well than games where we were bad. Thus players often focus only on games where team mates played awful. This leads to an opinion that you should be on much higher league and that you are only part of your current, much lower league because of bad luck with teammates.
  • People used to underestimate the amount of players in low leagues. About 90% of players belong to "ELO HELL" leagues: bronze and silver. So or most part of players are in elo hell or it is just an excuse people use for their own bad performance.

This information came from here, where there are other things I didn't cover in my answer.

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