The game of League of Legends doesn't start in-game or on the loading screen. It starts immediately after you accept your queue during champion select. You know the game starts during picks and bans because we've all experienced the terror of champion select. "WTF I CALLED MID. WOW AND HE INSTALOCKS JUNGLE HEIMER. REPORTED". If you're on that team, you beg for somebody to dodge. If you're on the opposing team, you hope that no one dodges. We all go through at least 1 dodge per ranked queue and it's usually 2-3 dodges before your game actually starts. Why do all these players argue and dodge before the game even starts? Much of the answer to that question lies in team composition.
The current meta hosts six different types of roles in League of Legends: AP carry, AD carry, Support, Jungler, Tank/Bruiser, and Anti-carry/Assassin. Previously, it was standard for a team to have AP carry mid, AD carry and support bot, tank/bruiser top, and a jungler. It was a stable and predictable meta game for the past year or so. However, that has changed. With the start of season 3, we have witnessed more bruisers and assassins than ever before. Bruisers are hogging the top lane, jungle, mid lane, and even bot lane! Assassins have resurfaced from a rather stagnant metagame and have terrorized standard AP mids and its adjacent lanes. Teams are literally winning with 4 AD + support compositions at all ELOs.
Pro Tip #1: Anaylze your team and fight to your strength.
Are you a split pushing team? Are you a poking team? How much CC or AoE do you guys have? Are you guys great laners or great teamfighters? You must take into all accounts and mash it together during all phases of the game. This requires knowledge to analyze your team and leadership to rally your teammates behind your commands. Too many times has my team has gotten CRUSHED in lane phase only to come back later in the game. I knew that my team was stronger late game so I told my team to grind it out.
Here is a game where we simply stutter stepped to victory after getting beaten down early. We capitalized on our strengths because I was able to analyze the composition and told my teammates what we had to do.
In this high ELO game, we knew that they had a stronger lane phase but we had the stronger teamfight. Shaco and ChoGath terrorized the early game, took every dragon, and shoved all our outer and inner turrets by the 25 minute mark. But we were able to collect ourselves and push back by catching the enemy off guard and constantly forcing them to 5 v 5.
Playing in the 1900-2200 range, we were punished early but ground our way for a comeback.
Pro Tip #2: Dominating your lane will force the enemy jungler to pay attention to your lane, giving your other lanes an easier time
With great power comes great responsibility. This could not be more true for League of Legends. If you're dominating a lane, you WILL be camped. It's the logical thing to expect. Once the jungler is focused on your lane (assuming that you are destroying the enemy laner), your other two lanes should have increased breathing room to catch up or take the initiative. As long as you don't die to the enemy, this should put your team ahead.
With that said, the most dangerous time for a laner is when they are doing well. When you're up by 30 cs and a kill, it's very easy to get cocky. Don't forget that winning your lane is putting a huge bullseye on the back of your head. Either ward up your lane or maintain a passive/aggressive playstyle. Getting the enemy jungler to focus on your lane is a good thing. However, dying to his ganks are not. When you are significantly ahead or playing a counter lane, be wary of ganks.
Assembling the most advantageous team composition requires information about the game. Knowing who counters who and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different champions all require extensive experience and knowledge. This extends to actual gameplay itself. Farming, pushing, exchanging, trading, teamfighting, etc all call for your calculations and comprehension. It's hard to lead your team when you simply don't know what to do or how to deal with the situation at hand.
Pro Tip #3: If you understand what you need to do given a certain point and time, you will significantly increase your chances of winning.
In countless many games I've played, players tend to be more focused on kills than anything else. Getting kills are great, but getting an ace doesn't win you the game; destroying the Nexus wins you the game. Lack of understanding is especially transparent in lower ELOs and it becomes easy to systematically crush the enemy team.
Here's an example: It's 20 minutes in and you see the enemy jungler ganking top lane. As a jungler, you are in the mid lane coming from fountain. What should you do? The instinct of many players in this situation would be to head top. Instead, your immediate thought should be dragon. 190 global gold and experience for your team is much bigger than a single kill. You should look to force the 4 v 3 and transition to take bot turret.
With knowledge, you can even predict how the enemy will play. As a jungler for my previous team, I knew all jungle times and exactly where each champion was going to gank depending on how the game was going. When I don't have ganks available (wards, too pushed, low hp, etc), I immediately put myself in the enemy jungler's shoes. At this point and time, what would I do if I was him? If you can predict what the enemy can do, you can ping / type to your teammates and prevent possible ganks. Even better, you can prepare a counter gank and turn the tide of a battle.
Here is a (hilarious) clip of me playing Shaco. I time his blue spawn, ward the perimeter, and command my mid to tag along. I predict his escape (not sure why he didn't take the shorter route to turret) and predict his ult.
“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”- Sun Tzu
COMMON MYTH BUSTED
3. Solo queue ELO doesn't mean anything.
While solo queue ELO might not be 100% indicative of your skill, it is a very large factor in determining your skill level. It may not attest to your level of communication, leadership, or teamwork skills, but it factors in many other attributes. There is a reason why no professional League player is 1200 ELO. Many pros have multiple 2k+ accounts. Their mechanics and understanding of the game have been refined and mastered and their knowledge of the game surpasses ours. Don't be the guy that says, "Solo queue ELO is nothing. I'm 1200 because of my teammates and solo queue is broken." Solo queue is not perfect and it has its flaws, but ultimately, it's reflective of you.