How I Consistently Hit Top 1% in Team Games as a Solo Support

Seek Value
4 min readJan 21, 2024


I’m no pro, but I have a decent track record as a solo support player in team games.

  • League of Legends — Diamond 1, Sona/Janna
  • HotS (Heroes of the Storm) — Master/Grandmaster, Brightwing/Johanna
  • Overwatch — Master, Zenyatta/Lucio

This article is my attempt to explain the non-technical side of team gaming: the ethereal, the human psychology, and maintenance of the flame that is your team’s ego.

In team gaming, it is quite clear that you can alchemize a game by plucking the strings of the egos that are within it.

Just as I had my fingers on the strings of Sona’s musical weapon, I also had my fingers on the strings of the ego’s that accompanied me.

You probably already know this, but I’m going to say it since it’s often underappreciated:

  • Bad Touch — You can tell someone they are garbage, and boom suddenly they want to live up to that expectation by trolling and grieving.
  • Good Touch — You can tell someone they are great and just the same, they will want to live up to that expectation for the rest of the game.

Subtle Comforts

You don’t always need to say anything either. Actions often speak louder then words.

In League of Legends — if I felt the flame dying in the heart of the midlaner, I might go make the journey to place a ward, so that he can feel valuable. In the most dire games of ego rot, I may even go all the way to the top lane to place wards, to protect and empower their ego.

As a support player, I often found that maintaining the ego of my team to be more important than maximizing perfection. Players can easily underappreciate how fed their own bottom lane players are if they are suffering.

It’s critical that everyone stays on a psychological level where they are ready to join team objectives and protect the team’s payload/carry.

Disrupt and refocus

Ego battles are inevitable. Some of the simplest tactics I used to get the team back on the rails:

  • Call an objective — Team bickering? Announce an important objective, for example: “Dragon in 2 minutes, warding the pit to prepare”
  • Take ownership — Nothing will disarm an offensive teammate like taking ownership. I highly recommend reading Jocko Willink’s book on “Extreme Ownership” for this.
  • Announce how YOU will improve the situation — Similar to taking ownership, declaring that you will improve the situation helps others refocus back onto how THEY will improve as well.
  • The Last Resort — Try something like reminding them that they have had comebacks from the pits of hell before and that is the pride of the Grandmaster. “We” just need to refocus on objective.

As a support I often had the job of debuffing the enemy carry. Thus one of my goto statements was my intent to nerf the carry in the next fight. I’d describe how it will spiral the enemy into conflict and bickering if we win just 1 fight. I’ve rescued the team’s ego from a doomloop countless times with this simple statement.

Stay Ahead of Conflict with Empathy and Communication

Understanding the psychological impact and stress a player is undergoing in the current situation can help us heal their mind before they enter keyboard warrior mode.

Pinging — Pinging was very important for me in climbing the ladder. Whether it be objectives, announcing a gank, or retreating from a fight. However it’s important to sacrifice this role at times if it’s agitating your team.

Disrupt and Refocus — Going back to the section above, we can utilize these tactics when our empathy suspects that the storms of drama are boiling, before it spills over.

Ideals vs Reality — The ultimate test.

In a dream world, we take ownership for every mistake and the other players forgive you and refocus on themselves.

Other times they’re gonna parade you through the street and nail you to a cross. Deal with it. Keep making attempts with Disrupt and Refocus.

Why didn’t I become a Grandmaster?

Here are some things I saw in Grandmaster’s that I didn’t have.

Humor/Humility — Humor and light hearted attitudes was a trait that I observed almost exclusively in Grandmaster.

One time in Overwatch, I had a Grandmaster Winston singing into the mic for most of the game. Having fun is important. It keeps the team out of toxic spirits, so long as the game isn’t going off the rails.

I’ve also observed them cracking jokes when things got heated to diffuse tension. They do it in a way that comes off as humble, instead of dismissive to the severity of the situation, which is quite admirable.

My disrupt and refocus tactics were often heavy and egotistical in it’s force. Coming off as light hearted may give the team confidence in your confidence/calm demeanor. As with everything, it’s important to read the room.

Discipline — I did not spend time in practice mode, I didn’t study all the stats of characters. This is more a shortfall on the technical side however, which is not really the point of this article.

Books I wish I had read

I wish I read these 2 books before I spent 2000 games of LoL in Silver league:

  • Extreme Ownership — The power of sacrificing your ego. Don’t preach the philosophy, be the philosophy and it will spread to your team.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People — This is a cult classic and a wonderful lesson on White Hat Machiavellianism. Make your team feel valuable and they will play with value.