LoL Esports players are often seen as the highest standard for League of Legends gameplay in terms of skill and ability. However, we often see a lot of high ELO solo queue players criticize the esports competitors claiming how bad they are at a lot of aspects of the game. This has sparked the debate of whether or not professional League of Legends players are actually better than your average solo queue challenger.
The Intricacies of Solo Queue vs Pro Games
It’s actually hard to compare whether or not a solo queue challenger is better than a LoL esports player because solo queue is not the same as a professional League of Legends game. Solo Queue is often seen as a game of 1v5 while pro games are always 5v5 since communication and coordination play a huge part of winning as compared to the former where it’s entirely depending on each individual player doing good despite the lack of voice comms.
Despite the huge differences in game mode, we can still compare the individuals as themselves. Of course, there are a lot of LoL esports players who are also top solo queue challengers but is it always the case that they are at the top of the rankings? We often see them making the top of the ranks on social media but it doesn’t paint the bigger picture since they are always overtaken just a few hours after.
Why Don’t LoL Esports Players Always Rank at the Top?
The goal of an esports competitor is not to reach and maintain their spot as the top 1 challenger player on the server. The main reason is because they have to maintain a tight schedule of practicing with their team in scrims, attending team meetings with the coaches and staff, participating in any promotional events such as photo shoots and video recordings, and doing any physical and mental exercises daily.
Esports players still play a ridiculous amount of solo queue games every day to practice new champions, builds, and strategies. However, a dedicated solo queue challenger player will almost always play twice the number of games as an esports player on average. This is why we often see substitutes and academy players often reaching the top of the challenger rankings but still not being chosen to compete as a starting player.
Solo Queue Players vs Esports Players
Time to start comparing top challenger players versus LoL esports players. We’ll compare the average examples from each side instead of bringing up the top players. It’s unfair to compare players based on video examples since esports players have 100x more exposure than your average solo queue player. Let’s take a look at each skill in the game and how each side will compare to the other to make a better conclusion.
1. Individual Mechanical Skills
In terms of individual mechanical skills we’d say that esports players definitely rank above solo queue players on average since it’s extremely difficult be selected for a starting position in the main leagues when you don’t have a great resume. It’s extremely difficult to reach challenger rank as well but we’d have to say the esports selection program is a lot more grueling as compared to solo queue games.
Mechanical skill is one of the main things that teams often look at when selecting a player to be in their starting spot. Since esports players have to compete with other top teams, they will always need to develop a strong level of mechanical skills. Otherwise, they’d get instantly bodied by the enemy laner. Individual mechanical skills on challenger players are also extremely high since they are practically required to play the game as if it was always a 1v9.
2. Understanding of Game Mechanics
We still have to give this one to esports players. Despite a lot of popular streamers and challenger personalities on social media criticizing esports players on their rune choices and item builds, there are still way more clueless solo queue players who don’t know how to adapt to their situation. Also, proper itemization and rune choices aren’t the only game mechanics that define the quality of a player.
Esports players have entire staffs dedicate to helping them understand what they can do better. The top organizations have coaches for multiple aspects of the game so there is no shortage of people telling them about game mechanics to help them improve. Make no mistake, challenger players need to fully grasp the important game mechanics to reach the level they’re playing at but we would argue they are not at the same level as professional players who have it drilled into their heads.
3. Mastery over Gameplay
You probably guessed our answer already but we also believe that professional players also won this round making it a clean 3-0 sweep. The thing about this is that professional players are paid to play the game at a higher level and they do not take breaks like the average solo queue player. In some regions, pro players spend up to 18 hours daily for 7 days a week simply playing the game at a higher level. It doesn’t help that LoL esports careers are short.
When you do something as a job or career, you have very little freedom on how you can negotiate your time and ability to do other things. This means that professional players naturally have mastery over the game due to it being the one thing they are supposed to do while being an active esports competitor.
Are Professional Players Better than Solo Queue Challengers?
Everything points towards professional players being better at solo queue players at every aspect of the game. Since they are playing the game as their careers, it is only natural that they have a higher level of gameplay as compared to the average solo queue challenger player.