What is A Speed Runner Mindset?
A while back, I heard LS discussing how to climb up the ranks in League. He suggested adopting the mindset of a speed runner.
When this discussion took place, I was a weak, lowly silver player, barely scraping through the ranks with little idea of why I was doing so well some games and being the single reason my team lost in others. I considered myself fairly versed in pro play, I watched lots of games and VOD reviews and yet the advice LS gave was the most valuable I had received.
Initially when looking up a speed runner mindset, I found limited results. It was almost as if the concept isn’t widely recognised so therefore, I decided to make this video which aims to explore mindset in League of Legends.
After rooting around the internet for a while I came across a YouTube video, by a Titanfall 2 speed runner called ‘Sway Louie’ who is a veteran of the game with over 1200 hours played. Sway consistently places as a top 5 runner in the game.
In the video Sway Louie highlights that he needed to develop a ‘speed runner mindset’ because his thought process was holding him back. Sway explained that he was stuck in a mental trap, constantly telling himself that he’s nowhere near as good as the first-place speed runner. He also considered himself to only be “mediocre” at the game. In the video Sway discusses the idea of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy with this mindset, “I can’t believe I choked, to I suck when the pressures on to, I suck today to, I suck at this game, to I suck.”
The thought processes Sway possessed is something which also plagues many League players. Tying in self-worth to your ability in a video game can lead to that little seed of self-doubt growing out of control, causing it can infect every aspect of your gameplay. A deeply embedded example of self-doubt was present in TSM’s 2020 Worlds documentary, where from the get-go players and staff a like didn’t seem hopeful, going as far as saying “we could go zero six in groups”. This isn’t the mindset of a winning team. High ranking chess players, athletes, card game players, and all successful competitors must possess a winning, growth mindset.
In League of Legends, nobody starts at a high level in the same way that speed runners don’t start with the fastest times. Even G2 Caps said he hung around silver and gold for a while before hitting platinum! A speed runner improves slowly, reading guides and watching others so that they can gradually improve at the game. Speed runners don’t suddenly go for world first times when they first start playing the game, they break their run into parts, mastering each individually. The reason people improve at speed running is because they believe in themselves to improve. You’ll see speed runners say things like “Ahh if I had jumped earlier, I’d have saved two seconds there,” they constantly seek ways of improving their time. We can carry this mindset over to League of Legends.
If we think about the game of chess briefly, brand new players don’t start by learning end game traps and how to check mate, they begin by learning how the pieces move. After they understand that then they move on to an easy opening. Comparing this to League of Legends, it would be the same as trying to learn to invade the opponent as a jungler when you don’t even understand how to sequence your own camps properly. Perhaps it can also be compared to learning to freeze waves under your turret before you’ve even mastered last hitting the minions. By taking on so much information and trying to apply it to your own game, you’re simply holding yourself back. A chess player doesn’t suddenly spike in performance, more often than not, improvement is a gradual, career long process.
Concepts and Goal Setting
Furthermore, watching others, trial and error, repetition and believing in yourself is the key to success in League. There is not a one size fits all ‘trick’ to improve at the game, you simply need to find what works for you. Take UltramanT1ga for example, a Challenger Ekko player on the Korean server. Every game no matter what happens, UltramanT1ga runs the same rune page, he takes the same summoner spells, and follows the same build path. Likewise, every game he recalls at 650 gold to buy a dark seal as well as boots, from there he teleports to lane if need be. He does this because after spending countless times trying different things, he has discovered what works for him.
What you can do
Consider Pornstar Zillean for a second, a player who hit Rank 1 by spamming Karthus bot lane. He played every match as though it was a speed run. He found what worked for him and exploited it, why wouldn’t he? And what’s stopping you? Imagine a Bloodborn speed runner discovering that there’s a more efficient way of way of killing a boss. Of course, the runner would take that advantage and exploit it for all its worth! You should be looking to do the same. If you tilt easily, mute people, they might not learn what they’re doing wrong but its not your job to help them climb, let them stagnate in their elo while you sprint past them. If you’re looking at your jungler thinking “this guy is terrible” every game, then realise he’s the same elo as you for a reason! If you’re able to spot his mistakes, maybe you should try your hand at jungling.
Continue setting goals for yourself, if you want to play control mages then put all your attention into CSing until your capable of doing it with out thought, then focus on trading. Then once you’ve mastered those aspects of the game you can include fancy wards and roaming into your play style. Set goals that are easily attainable and quantifiable, CS numbers, turret plates secured, death number and objectives taken are all good examples. These goals are things that you can accomplish without help from any other player in the game.
Your improvement as a laner will be extremely limited if you’re trying new concepts each game. Set a goal and work towards it. Its fine if you lose so long as you believe you are learning and can improve.
Summing Up Speed Running
From the research I’ve conducted, the ideal way of improving at the game is by doing exactly what LS suggested. Prioritize focusing on attainable goals you’ve set for yourself and reach them before moving on to the next thing. Take the game in bite size pieces, you truly don’t need to out play or outthink your opponent at every turn.
If each game you focus on meeting the attainable goal you’ve set, you are removing things that can go wrong in the game. Goals should breed concepts; a concept is something which should help you reach your goal. If your goal is to die less than twice in lane, perhaps instill a concept of basing early for magic resist or armor and a pink ward where necessary.