Riot Games preseason ranked changes

Riot to remove divisional promotion series, high ELO duo queue

Ranked queues will see some significant changes in the upcoming preseason, such as the removal of duo queue in high ranks and inter-division promotion games. 

In the most recent Riot Games dev post, competitive gameplay manager Cody “Codebear” Germain presented the upcoming ranked changes for the preseason. The gameplay team will be looking to change the promotion system in the ranked queue, while players at the highest ranks won’t be able to duo queue with each other anymore. 

Riot is also looking to improve the ranked experience by adjusting matchmaking to pair teams that are as close as possible when it comes to division, LP, and MMR. 

Riot will remove inter-division promotion series in ranked

A change that will affect every ranked tier is the removal of the inter-division promotion series. This means that players no longer have to win a promotion series to get to the next division within the different ranked tiers. An example would be promoting from Gold 4 to Gold 3. That jump will no longer require any promotional games or series. Promoting from one tier to another will still require players to win a promotion series. 

Riot will also be removing the inter-division demotion protection for players who are at zero LP. On top of that, Riot ensures that leftover LP on promotion will roll over into the next division. 

Introducing ranked informed matchmaking to the preseason

Riot has been trying to make ranked matchmaking more balanced throughout the year and the next step will be the introduction of ranked informed matchmaking. From the preseason, Riot will ensure that teams are more balanced from an LP and division perspective. 

Teams will still be balanced around MMR as usual, but this will add a few more dimensions to the ranked team balance. According to Riot, these changes will prevent players from being matched if they are more than one ranked tier apart. 

Riot is also working on ranked seeding, which will help place ranked newcomers in the right games. Most importantly, the system will put smurf accounts against each other when the system is complete. 

Duo queue in Master tier and above will be removed

For highly ranked players, this change will be the most impactful of them all. Riot will remove duo queue for all players at Master tier and above during the preseason. The reason is to make sure that the highest ranked players are the most individually skilled on the server and not people who have been carried by a duo partner. 

It has been hard to balance high-ranked games around duo queue, because the number of players to choose from at that level is comparatively low. This means that there are very few duos to pair with each other, resulting in either long queue times or games in which only one team has a duo. 

Alongside these changes, Riot will be unlocking Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger tier at the start of the ranked season. This change is made to prevent high-elo players from receiving a higher ranking than they should at the start of each season. 

Players will now promote into the highest tiers by hitting the following minimum LP requirements. 

  • Unlocked immediately; Master
  • 200 LP for Grand Master
  • 500 LP for Challenger

All of these changes will be implemented in the 2021 preseason, but it’s not certain that every change will carry on into the upcoming season 11.