Is ELO HELL real or it does not exist?

Psychological and mathematical aspects of ELO hell.
Also we will share on field experience.
4 Mar 2015

Is League of Legends ELO Hell real or It does not exist?


During League of Legends ranked games on low ELO you сan often hear “ELO Hell” phrase from people who believe that their team let them down. The definition of ELO hell is that there are uncarryable low leagues (however you can hear ELO hell even at platinum or low diamond leagues) because they are full of trolls, AFKers, leavers, flamers and unskilled players. This idea continues with thought that even if your skill is above skill of people you are playing with, you have to be lucky to get out of those leagues and improve your position in ranked queue.

There are two opposite views on ELO HELL in League of Legends:

  • ELO HELL is real thus it is impossible to get out of it and you would keep losing due bad players in your games until you ride the wave of fortune and get a deserved win streak.
  • ELO HELL is just excuse for the players who can’t accept that the league they got stucked at for a long time is their real league.

 We will consider from different point of view and will prove why second thought is right.




Since outcome of the game depends not only on the player but his and enemy teams, we have to admit that there is luck factor in League of Legends. But according to discipline of mathematical statistics the more you play the less luck factor plays a role.

Let’s consider two positions:

  • Players current position: the position player currently occupies.
  • Players truly deserved position: the position which players belongs to by a skill. 

According to mathematical statistics the more you will play the closer you will be to you deserved position and doesn’t matter how far you can rise of fall at particular times.

It can be illustrated by coin tosses. Probability that you will get head by a toss is 50%, however until you make decent amount of tosses you can get numbers far from 50%. With each next toss percentage of heads will approach to 50%:

Coin toss as no elo hell example


Since there are only 4 slots for trolls in your team (considering If you yourself not a troll player) and 5 slots in opposite, existence of trolls, afkers and leavers affects your winrate positively!

elo hell trolls wow!

This doesn’t mean that trolls are good. It is obvious that they are ruining games, no matter which team they belong to. The main thought of this idea is that if you are good and fair player you will see trolls in opposite team more often than in yours. It can be easily counted: with totally 9 slots, chances are 4/9 = ~44% against 5/9 = ~56% for an enemy team. Twelve percent is a big diffence in your favor. It also can be calculated for 2 or 3 trolls, but the advantage is still on your side.

However according to psychology science humans are giving significantly more attention to bad things rather than good and that’s why often people think that they are unlucky because only they got hit by the trolls. We will discuss psychology aspect later in this article.


According to league distribution statistics there are nearly 90% of players occupy a position in the bronze or silver leagues and exactly those leagues are called ELO hell. Saying that absolute majority of players belong to leagues with the luck as the only chance to get out is just not rational.

DIvison chart statistics for ELO hell





Pattern recognition is one the strongest sides of human species, however problems are starting when we meet randomness. We are trying to find patterns even in the objective chaos (e.g. gambling) and often we are successful in that search. When we meet randomness, especially if we don’t like this randomness we are starting to look for patterns and connections. This why people are yelling: “Oh, god! Why me again?”, when troll is spoiled in their team. We can easily start to believe that reality is against us if we focus on our bad luck.

Gambling and randomness at League of Legends



We can’t remember everything. However stressful events are stored well in our memory. Usual wins or loses won’t stay long in memory, leaving only small satisfaction or dissapoitment while games where you have lost because of trolls, disconnect or due flame player take up significant part of your memory space and would be remembered much longer. Wins leave less trail in memory because most players start games expecting that they will win. In cases when they really win, it perceived as self-evident and don’t take much place in memory.



We like to think that we are more skilled than we really are. In this case, we are looking for reasons why league we occupy is lower than we want to. Shifting blame from ourselves to others is popular scenario. Thinking that your stuck at elo hell because of an unidentified group of people is big obstacle on your way to improve.



Lose streak is frustrating but win streak is deceiving. Win streak brings people to league which doesn’t match their skill and makes them feel that this is their real league. As well as lose streak, win streak doesn’t show your skill if it’s impossible to keep position after it.



There is reason why the lower division the lower cost is: the lower the division is the easier to carry games on that level of play. There are no uncarryable elo hell which can’t be beaten and it was proven numerous times. Moreover there are no leagues without trolls, afkers and flamers. This is part of human nature and it is spread everywhere.

Get out of elo hell example



There are many facts saying that ELO hell is a fiction. We considered it by looking from various angles: mathematical, psychological and on field experience. However this doesn’t mean that you can’t be hit by lose streak or get a harsh day full of trolls, but this shouldn’t stop you on your way to improve: watch yourself, notice there you have done mistake and do not repeat it in a future.


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  1. iRelapsed

    Yet, in his “proof” he didn’t go into a statistic showing how many games (say out of 10) you are liable to be suck with a trolls. He did mention the 44%<56% in your favor statistic. But I also am led to believe he didn't take into account of how much LP you lose compared to how much you win (the difference is considerable as games stack up). Elo hell is real, to some players elo isn't real because they are truly the more skilled player and are maybe able to carry their team 4/5 games. On the other hand, even the superbly skilled player, maybe, are simply not able to carry their team 1/5 games. I wont sit here and tell you I am some diamond level player. But I definitely do not deserve to be stuck in bronze 4, I have both climbed and plummeted.

    1. Boosteria

      Well, your MMR doesn’t affects your chance to get trolls in the team anyhow. The same way you consider example when your LP gain less than lose you can consider situation when your LP gain is more than your losses. Thus 56%/44% rule still works and not linked to your MMR anyhow.

    2. LOL

      Hi diamond 4player.
      If you are in BRONZE4 !!!!! you are probably extremly bad..
      I played from bronze to diamond and I have seen it all and it’s honestly just a matter of skill.
      For example I just lost 3 games but it’s because I’m close to my league right now, I had positive stats every game but couldn’t carry. Yes my team always lost their lanes in these games but it’s just a matter of how many games you play.
      I played a game on a friend bronze 5 acc for fun and I had to laugh so hard at how bad these players are haha it’s funny when I think about it ^^ So if you were anywhere skilled or above your league you could easy climb :)

  2. Meeh

    No the elo hell exists. The reason is that once you get reported several time you’ll get matched with people who also got reported alot. That means the chance is higher that they are unskilled, trolling or afk. I have made the experience though, that this doesn’t apply to the opponents. They may also be compilated of people who got reported, but it’s not a rule. How many times did I have a troll team for example two junglers and I had to fight against balanced opponent teams.

  3. GTO

    (I’m a Gold II player who just got a friend from Bronze III to Silver)

    I have to disagree with “ELO HELL DOES NOT EXIST”. What you got wrong is the definition of Elo Hell.
    Elo Hell doesn’t mean it’s imposible to get out of there, it means its really really hard even if you should be 5 or 10 ranks higher.

    I carried 10 games in a row (2 of them with afk on my team, 3 of them i made rage quit someone in the other team), then lost 3 games in a row cause i had afk on my team and wasn’t able to carry.
    For every lost game i lost double the points i won before (even though i was on a winning streak).

    Of course i can get out of there cause i’m 11 ranks higher than Bronze 3, the problem is you need to win at least 70% of games to get out of there. And thats easy for me, but a Silver 4 player stucked at Bronze 3 might need 150 games to reach his league, and thats what i call Elo Hell.

    1. Very BOOSSSS

      Well actually you need to win above 50% if you have usual MMR to go up. However if u win 51% of your games then in 1000 games you will have difference of 20 games in your side: 510/490. However if u win at least 60% which means you are really above current league then you will have 200 games difference and 200 additional wins 600/400. Or 10 wins more in 50 games: 30/20, and this is already big result and is enough to carry your ass out of “elo hell”

  4. elo hell DO EXISTS!

    elo hell DO exists, stop saying that’s not true because it is…and i’m gonna explain you why:
    first of all you got more loses than wins, you kept playing even when you should have gone for a relaxing break thinking “okay, i’m gonna balance the loses then i’m gonna stop” and this just didn’t happened for several reasons…now you got more loses than wins but you took your time anyway and now your ready for your deserved best placement…you play good in all aspects win the game and then you get like 15-16lp, you get a deserved 3 wins streak which awarded you for 45-50 points then you find in your way an uncarriable games where everyfucking one sucks so much you really can’t do shit because you are better than the average but not that godlike, next game you’re gonna dominate as always the lane phase and suddenly out of nowhere you get your team sucking everywhere in the map outscaled like fuck, beaten like mad because your tf is just shit compared to the other team one, so what happens now is that you lose more than you win even tho you win more than lose…this cycle keep repeating and you get mad everytime…this is actually ELO hell, i’m gonna explain my story for you curious people out there: i was stucked g5, playing ranked with friends who got a nice mmr paired with decent people i was always the one to carry the games or at least being one of the best, they were ranking like freaks and i was always stucked g5 with a terrible matchmaking, then one day tired of all this, i asked a friend to boost me to g3…after that boost i got plat in 2 weeks…so stop saying elo hell doesn’t exist, it does exist, it’s frustrating because to get out you have to put in sooooooooo much resources, and it takes so much time that your most likely get mad before actually being able to get out…it is possibile to get out tho its just a real hell that not everyone is psycologically able to overcome.


    This is the definition of cancer. Unless you are placed higher then Silver 3 or are a skilled Smurf there is no way you can carry from Bronze/Silver. I main Riven. Played her for some months and I beat pretty much any lane phase. Two things I wanna cover. ELO HELL EXIST. And at the same time it dosen’t. When I get fed with Riven. I’m talking 20/5-/10. I can carry IF my team listens to my calls which they usually do since I’m fed. Now if I’m NOT super fed. 6/4/0 no one listens. Why? Well It’s because they still think they are good. If someone gets fed they rely on that person to carry. If not then they’ll try with everything to carry. If they can’t they start flaming, feed and afk. I have NEVER seen that happend in Diamond+. I watch pro streamers etc. I’ve seen flamers, but that’s us humans. I wouldn’t see myself as a guy that desevers “challenjour” but I have played with people that wonders if I’m for an example Gold/low plat smurf. And no they aren’t silvers. They are usually G3+-D5. So IMO Elo hell is real and exist. People are selfish. “Oh I didn’t get my jungle lets just instalock anyways and ruin this guys promo.. OH WAIT. Why not feed and then afk at 20 minute mark so they can’t surrender?” This happens 8/10 of my games. I have been in my promos 4 times in 2 days. I get fed but my team mates just WONT listen to any calls. So fuck off y’all saying “elo hell isnt real just get good.”. =)

  6. Inelohell

    First of all, your math arguments are bs. In normal ranking systems players are spread according to gauss curve. Basicly it means most people are medium and only few are really bad or really good. We have 6 leagues in lol, so most people should be in silver 1/gold/low platinum. But in reality most people are stuck in the lowest leagues. Its totally unnatural. It means system is wrong and places people not according to their skill level. There are many reasons of this situation but worst imo is that you gain less point for win when your mmr is low. Think, if someone actually gets better at some point it doesn’t change anything. He can already have so bad mmr that making it better may take many months. In normal ranking system, whenever you get good you quickly go higher to place where you belong. But not in LoL, in lol you will be stuck for a long time in wrong league before (if ever) you get to right place.

    1. Boosteria

      “We have 6 leagues in lol, so most people should be in silver 1/gold/low platinum. But in reality most people are stuck in the lowest leagues. Its totally unnatural.”

      Nearly the same spreading system you will see any in competive game: (cs:go, hots, hearthstone or even chess). Actually even from Chess ELO system came to League of Legends. Moreover such pyramid system is everywhere in the human society: standards of living, education, sports, armies, corporations, even in competition between countries. You may don’t like (me either) but actually this is natural spreading since the beginning of time. Just because you don’t like it – it doesn’t mean that it’s not natural or even “totally unnatural”.

      To make players spread in the Gauss curve developers have to make special conditions for low elo players like bonus LP gain to push them up out of these leagues, but even then it won’t be gauss curve because new pyramid just will be started from the ELO they were pushed to. It’s not about developers. In the area with the same conditions and rules – it always will be like this.

    2. Discluded

      wat the retard LOL. It is a gauss curve, its just moved to the left or whatever lol. Elo hell does not exist for silver gold and bronze. It was a joke. If anything diamond 5 and plat 1 are elo hell because of the clamp in lp gains, which has a strong “mathematical” argument.

  7. 9 inch laphog

    I am bronze 3 and while I know there is much more room for improvememt, I do believe I should at least be silver. I know there are many flaws to my game such as not giving the proper vision all the time. I know even when I get fed there are mistakes that I probably make every game. But I do believe that elo hell is real because I rarely lose lane, never feed, and when I play my main champions and roles I do very well. For instance there have been several occasions when playing a farm reliant champion like my main, veigar, that by the time I gain kill potential and am able to push lanes, the top lane and not lane have several deaths and fed their team. I have had 10+ kill games with under 5 deaths that are losses because of flaming or lack of communication or even players not knowing they are picking into their counters and get dumpstered. I know it’s not all about kda I’m not saying that, that alone should win me the game. But if I’m consistently beating people of my skill level game after game then why am I still at this skill level? Bad luck? Maybe. Lack of skill? Maybe not enough skill to get me to hold but I believe I am stuck in some,sort of Elo hell.

  8. john

    I am gold V in both my main and my smurf and sorry but theres no elo hell people need to realize that just going even or mildly winning lane its not gonna make you win a game if you are as good as you say you are you must destroy your lane hard and then help your teams close games and not throw. Very rarely three lanes will win there are always a losing lane and if you are the carry you should win cause you are the better player. Believe me i was like you cause i was bronze IV and couldnt get out and said i was unlucky then i realized i was so bad i improved a lot and now i get out of silver almost effortlessly. Another of the reasons people lose games its because there are many winning games or close games that people lose because start doing dumb things like wanting to fight 1v5 or getting caught in the jungle.

  9. John

    While the argument is true in a general sense that doesn’t mean that there aren’t unlucky people out there who have a high rate of AFKers and such. There is still a small percentage of people who might play 100 games and get an AFK on their team in 10 games while there might be an AFK in the other team 3 times in that same span. Do the math figure it out that while things will even out eventually that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to suffer through long stretches of unfair team setups at times.

    I’m not even level 30 but I can see the flawed logic in the article already. Speaking in generalities doesn’t work when each person’s situation is specific. You don’t know what they’ve been through. Even if things will even out over the course of 1000 games, many players won’t ever play that many games.

    I’m not trying to make excuses for anyone, however, it seems pretty clear to me that whenever there is luck involved there is a chance for someone to be very unlucky.

  10. Talizar

    I cant get the fuck out of Bronve i tired so hard i worked so hard i practest for houres and houres and houres grinding i cant get out of it i keep getting plaved i would die just to be silver and not shit on for being bronve i am not a bad player i cant rank up playing support i dont farm i dont kill i onyl harass and ward and support thats it how the fuck am i suposted to get out yes my typing is terible i am litterly in tears i fucking hate this so much everyone i game with are terible people i try to be possitive and try to not even type just play i fucking hate every minute of this Fuck you siler for saying elo hell you dont know a fucking thing I uninstalled this peace of shit game Fuck you riot

  11. Pro Elo Hell

    The thing is that the statistic used are for big numbers and avarages for the ENTIRE league player base. All serious science know that the tendency of the group are not apliable to the individual, it only show the general tendency of the group… thats it…

    So saying that one eventually will get to correct rank is not true. Most people dont play 1000+ games during a year, but thats the number u need to get to if your assumption should be correct. To carry a game with shit players, trollers, flamers, afk’ers etc.. one must be a lot better. So if your just a bit better, you are stuck.

    Elo Hell is real, the question is the defenition of elo hell as someone else pointed out.

    It might be correct that elo hell is not of any consern when watching the TENDENCY OF THE GROUP (entire league community), but it is fault when watching the individual player. With the biggers player base of any game in the world, there are definitively enough ppl experiencing elo hell.

    Giving examples of diamonds carrying etc is just bad arguments.

    Elo Hell is real. Ppl that are not significantly better, but still deserve to be places in gold instead of silver, plat instead of gold etc,, for these ppl elo hell is real. Meaby at the end of the season one is where one should have started, but if placement matches had worked one would have been there in the first places, played with correct opponents and grown into a higher rank instead.

  12. Heewie

    I think that ELO HELL is not real because when you increase your skill level you are getting further, however there can be jumps upside or downside because of randomness, but this doesn’t mean that you are in elo hell

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