So you’ve decided to play in your very first Red Bull Solo Q qualifier. A tough road lies ahead, as you'll compete against not only the best League of Legends players in your own territory, but also against the best in the world as you progress.
While some players might jump in with their main without any sort of preparation and still do well, we’re here to give you a little more of a head start. Coming in prepared will not only help you with your gameplay, but also with your nerves, since you know that you’ve done everything you could possibly have done in order to win.
With the help of previous Red Bull Solo Q winners, we’ll bring you up to speed on the most important tips and things you should do before your very first game.
Decide on your champion pool
In our 1v1 champion guide article, we went over the kinds of champions that work for one versus one. Now it’s time to pick something that you’re comfortable with. If you’re still not sure who you’d like to pick, Dark Wings, winner of the USA Qualifier and League of Legends All-Stars representative for North America, says that champions like Lucian, Kalista, Irelia, Syndra are all very good choices: “They have consistent damage, good wave control and tools to outplay the opponent.”
If you like to all-in your opponent and go for the throat, then Ravenno, winner of the EUNE international Qualifier 2020 and League of Legends All-Stars representative for Europe, suggests you should pick Olaf, as: “He can smash nearly anyone in 1vs1. His skill set allows him for the best trades, provided you catch your enemy first.”
Sticking to your main is, of course, also a good option, however, remember that players have the chance to search your summoner name online and find out what you play – and ban it away. It’s good to have a few extra champions in your back pocket, just in case your main gets the banhammer from your opponent.
Understanding your win conditions
Not every champion has kill pressure in lane (provided that your opponent doesn’t blindly tower dive you, or makes another big mistake). Understanding your win condition and when you’re at your strongest is one of the most important things that you have to consider before diving into your first qualifier. Reptilezero, the winner of the first international EUW Qualifier 2020, says that while he will always play aggressively, he won’t immediately look for the kill.
He says: “The goal is to get control over the wave and take short, but good, trades. Playing like this will automatically mean that you get ahead in gold and creeps score.” If you’re ahead, there's pressure on the opponent to make things happen, which means that there's a big chance that you'll force a mistake.
Every winner that we spoke to said they focused more on farming than on killing their opponent. Getting that early lead will help you snowball the later the game goes. If you have more gold than your opponent, you’ll also be able to buy more items and deal more damage.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should play passively. Ravenno tells us that most of his games ended up with a kill from either side because: “people like a pure skill showdown, or are aware that their champion’s only win condition is scoring a kill.”
Many players in the qualifiers and in the main tournament will try to get an advantage over you by looking at what you regularly play. For example, if you’re a one-trick (you only play one champion), there's a big chance that your champion of choice will be banned. Scouting can be as simple as looking up your opponent’s name online to see what they play and what rank they are. Ravenno tells us: “Studying your enemy allows you to either ban some of the champs you don't feel comfortable against or even trap your enemy into picking something you can easily counter.”
However, don’t purely rely on your scouting to pick a champion, as trying to blind counter your opponent might end poorly. Reptilezero had an opponent try to counter him, as he tells us: “An enemy got baited by my profile because I was a Jax one-trick and he picked a Jax counter (Poppy as far as I remember). Because of that, his champion was completely useless against my Lucian and he lost the round only because he studied which champions I play.” Relying on your own skill and being comfortable with your champion should always be your priority.
Before your Red Bull Solo Q qualifier, try to get a few normal or ranked games in with champions that you’d like to play – just as a warm-up. You can even go into the practice tool with a few champions and simply farm in the top lane if you’re not a top lane main. Get comfortable with the champions and the lane and know that you’ve done everything you could have done to prepare as you load into the Rift for your first official Red Bull Solo Q qualifier! Make sure to sign up for the qualifiers if you haven’t done so yet.