League of Legends ranks explained – how the LoL ranking system and rewards work

League of Legends ranks explained – how the LoL ranking system and rewards work
Antony Terence Updated on by

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Wondering about League of Legends ranks?

Regardless of your skill level, you can take part in ranked matches and climb the ladder in League of Legends. Some of it can be confusing if you’ve just started so we’ve broken down the key mechanics here.

Check out how many champions are in League of Legends to get a better picture of what you’ll be working with. We’ve also got the latest LoLdle answers if you’re into word games.

League of Legends ranking system explained

Earn League Points (LP) by winning ranked matches to climb the ladder in League of Legends. You can start playing ranked matches when you reach level 30 in LoL. Placement matches will determine your starting rank. Don’t worry about starting small since you’ll be able to climb the ranks with good performance.

The new LP system showed up in 2013 with Season 3 and replaced the Elo rating system. Reach 100 LP and you’ll reach the next division or tier. Win more matches and your Matchmaking Rating (MMR) improves. Lose and this value will drop. This value is used to determine how skilled a player is so that they are matched with similarly skilled teammates and opponents. 

Ranked queues explained in League of Legends

There are two ways to rank up in League of Legends – solo/duo queues and flex queues. The former lets you go solo or with another player in the queue. This makes it harder to communicate as you’ll be paired with strangers. As for flex queue, you can bring your friends along for the ride, even if they’re on different ranks. The game will automatically pick opponents that will balance out these differences.

Learn about the different tiers in League of Legends. Image from Riot Games.
Learn about the different tiers in League of Legends. Image from Riot Games.

All ranks in League of Legends

Here’s a list of all the ranks in League of Legends:

  • Iron
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Emerald
  • Diamond
  • Master
  • Grandmaster
  • Challenger

Tiers from Iron to Diamond have four divisions while the highers ranks do not have any divisions. Drop a tier and you will reach the highest division of the previous tier. Right from Season 13 Split 2, Riot Games introduced Emerald between the Platinum and Diamond ranks. This was because the skill gap between these two ranks increased to the point where a new rank was necessary. And more ranks are an attempt to get a more even distribution of players. Iron tier showed up in 2018 before Ranked Season 9. As for the Grandmaster rank, it was added in 2018 to bridge the gap between Master and Challenger ranks. 

If you’re a numbers person, the top three ranks count for the top 0.2% of the game’s players. They have special restrictions applied on them that encourage constant play. These ranks will fluctuate more than the others on the list.

Apex ranks in League of Legends explained

The top three ranks – Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger, are known as apex ranks in League of Legends. Active play is encouraged here, with rank decay occurring if you aren’t playing League of Legends often. You’ll lose -75 LP a day and slide back to Diamond II if you aren’t careful. But you can get banked days to prevent this. Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger players bank 1 day per 1 game played and can bank a maximum of 14 days at a time.

These three ranks also have limitations when it comes to solo queue and flex queue. In the former, you have to join a queue alone. As for flex queue, you cannot queue with any player ranked below Emerald.

Rank decay means that you’ll have to play atleast one match a day at higher ranks

Use banked days to preserve your rank if you go on vacation or are simply unable to play League of Legends.

Player distribution between ranks in League of Legends

While we don’t have official information on how players sit along the ranked ladder, op.gg has some insights here. Based on their latest data, each region has a slightly different ranked distribution.

Here’s how the players are distributed in League of Legends in the EUNE region:

  • Challenger – 0.001%
  • Grandmaster – 0.008%
  • Master – 0.13%
  • Diamond – 3.70%
  • Emerald – 12.23%
  • Platinum – 20.11%
  • Gold – 20.56%
  • Silver – 18.64%
  • Bronze – 18.54%
  • Iron – 6.08%

Most players sit on Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze tiers. It’ll be an uphill battle to cross these ranks in League of Legends. But once you make it to Emerald (top 15%), things really begin to heat up. And if you persevere and make it to the apex ranks (Challenger, Grandmaster, and Master), you’ll need to play daily to maintain your prestigious rank.

An image of Victorious Lucian skins in League of Legends. Image from Riot Games.
An image of Victorious Lucian skins in League of Legends. Image from Riot Games.

How tough is it to reach Challenger rank in League of Legends

Challenger is the highest rank in League of Legends. It offers unmatched prestige to the very best but it’ll take a while for you to get there. They represent the top players in each region. Games can get really sweaty at this point, with every loss having a measurable impact on your rank.

Can you drop your rank in League of Legends

Yes, a losing streak can make you lower your rank in League of Legends. Drop a rank and you will end up at the highest division of the previous rank. Note that your MMR will be adjusted with every match, meaning that your subsequent matches will be more forgiving if you lose. Remember that joining the flex queue with friends of different ranks will change these metrics owing to your team’s enhanced communication.

Do ranks reset in League of Legends

Yes, ranks are reset near the beginning of every League of Legends season. This gives new players a chance to climb the ladder and claim the top spots. But remember that they’ll need to consistently win matches to stay in their positions or improve. And at the end of a season, you’ll bag sweet rewards based on your rank in that particular LoL season.

League of Legends ranked season rewards explained

The Victorious Tryndamere Skin will be granted to any player who has reached Gold or higher in Season 13 Split 2. Go above Iron and you will get Victorious Tryndamere chromas based on your rank. And in Season 13 Split 1, the Victorious Anivia skin was doled out as a reward. You also get crests and loading screen borders based on your current rank for the queue you’re in. Playing matches net you 10 Split points per win and 6 Split Points per loss. These can then be used to get rewards during each of the season’s two splits.

Here are the League of Legends Season 2023 Split One rewards:

  • 10 points – Hextech Chest
  • 40 points – Hextech Key
  • 80 points – Random Ward Skin Shard, Victorious Skin for Gold or higher
  • 120 points – Hextech Key
  • 160 points – Victorious Maokai Emote
  • 200 points – Hextech Key
  • 240 points – K’Sante Permanent
  • 280 points – Hextech Chest
  • 320 points – Victorious Maokai Icon
  • 400 points – Mystery Emote
  • 480 points – Hextech Chest
  • 600 points – 500 Orange Essence
  • 720 points – Random S1 Eternals Capsule 
  • 800 points – Masterwork Chest
  • 1000 points – Victorious Skin for Iron, Bronze, Silver
An image of Three Honors Akshan in League of Legends. Image from Riot Games.
An image of Three Honors Akshan in League of Legends. Image from Riot Games.

Honor rewards in League of Legends

Each player has a limited amount of Honor to give to teammates at the end of a match. This will then increase their Honor score, letting them gain access to rewards at the end of a LoL season. You can check your Honor level in your profile to see how far you’ve come. Clean games tend to give you the best shot at earning Honor.

Here are the three types of Honor you can grant a teammate in League of Legends:

  • Stayed Cool – Offer it to a player who gave you a positive gaming experience and stayed unfazed in a tough game.
  • Great Shotcalling – Bestow this on a leader who took charge and led your team to victory with solid decisions.
  • GG <3 – Give this to someone if you think they deserve it. That’s about it, actually.

Here are the Honor rewards you can expect when patch 14.2 drops on January 24, 2024:

  • Honor 3 Capsule (includes 1 random ward skin + 3 Key Shards)
  • Honor 4 Capsule (includes 1 random ward skin + 1 random emote permanent + 3 Key Shards)
  • Honor 5 Capsule (includes 1 random ward skin + 1 random emote permanent + 6 Key Shards)
  • Three Honors Akshan skin and Akshan Champion Permanent

Punishments for leaving or going AFK in League of Legends

Leave games and go AFK (away from keyboard) in League of Legends and you’ll rack up tiers that monitor inactivity. While you can improve your rank back to tier 0 (no penalties), it will take a while. And if you keep dodging matches, your queue delays and queue lockouts will increase. 

This isn’t the only penalty. Declining or missing the Ready Check too many times in a Ranked queue will result in a 6-minute ban from all queues and a loss of 5 LP. The penalty is bumped up to 15 LP for continuing to miss Ready Checks. Keep missing this and your LP will drop significantly.

Here’s a table that lists out the punishments you can expect from LoL ranked:

Queue1 Dodge2 Dodges3+ Dodges
Solo/Flex Ranked Queue6 minute queue penalty
-5 LP
30 minute queue penalty
-15 LP
720 minute (12 hours) queue penalty
-15 LP
Classic (Normal) Queue6 minute queue penalty30 minute queue penalty720 minute (12 hours) queue penalty
ARAM Queue15 minute queue penalty
Lose all used rerolls
30 minute queue penalty
Lose all used rerolls
720 minute (12 hours) queue penalty
Lose all used rerolls

That covers everything you need to know about League of Legends ranks. It’ll take a while to climb the ranked ladder as it requires a solid understanding of the game’s mechanics and current meta. If you’re considering playing it on a Mac, check if League of Legends has Mac support

League of Legends ranks FAQ

What is a respectable rank in League of Legends?

Gold and above mean that you’re better than 50% of LoL players.

What are ranks and LP in League of Legends?

Earn 100 LP (League Points) to proceed to the next rank or division by winning ranked matches.