It’s the Climb – Tilt and Dive


Tilt and Dive

Tilt (verb)

To act irrationally after suffering a setback.

You die at level one in Top lane after going all in. Flashes were exchanged, skill shots were missed, but your enemy is packing Ignite and you came with Teleport. Thanks to some unlucky minion aggro, you die and she lived. What do you do next? Obviously, the best idea is to Teleport straight to a minion and fight her again. And die.

This is tilt.

At times when we suffer a loss we make awful decisions to try to get that advantage back. We know what the right play is. But we feel we need to turn things around.

It is this feeling that leads to a lot of LP loss. I am not going to try to be some psychologist and try to give a definitive answer as to why we tilt. I have a pretty good idea though.

In League of Legends, everyone wants to be the best. If you are someone who just plays rank to “prove yourself” and that you “don’t care what Tier I end up in” you are probably lying to yourself.

If this was true, then you wouldn’t play Rank. You would just style on opponents in Normals. But you don’t. We all want to see just how high we can climb that solo queue ladder. And, to an extent, we feel entitled to make it to the top. When you feel entitled, that’s what leads to tilt.

“The person who killed me didn’t deserve the kill.”

I was supposed to win that exchange. ”

That, right there, is tilted thinking. And it will cost you the game.


Recognizing When You Are Tilting

The vague story at the beginning is a good example of what tilt does to us. It also shows the consequences of being on tilt. But, how do you know you are tilting before you make a dumb mistake? Can you recognize that you are tilting before the damage is done?

There are two answers to this these questions.

Yes and No.

When you make a costly mistake, one of two things probably goes through your mind. You either think to yourself how could things have gone so wrong. Or you think to yourself what can you do to prevent it from happening again. Now, yes, the first line of thought can lead to the other and we’ll get to that.

If you go with the first line of thinking, you may end up chasing the white rabbit. You’ll think about the factors that went into making that misplay and how everything leading up to it was going so well. Things should have gone the right way.

That is where the tilting begins. That last sentence there. Because this is where the road diverts. You either focus on the mistake, realizing you are now behind, and you tunnel in on how to get back the loss of advantage. Or you realize that an error was made and it’s time to focus on the next objective like Dragon or a tower or joining a team fight.

This is why I said “yes and no.” Because it depends on where your line of thought takes you. I am not going to lie. It is pretty hard to recognize something has gone awry with our thought process. Heck, in some sense, nothing has gone awry. That is why tilt is dangerous. It replaces our rational line of thought with irrational thought.

Okay, I’m Tilting. Now What?

So, you Teleported back to the Top lane and died again. There is a good chance that now, if it wasn’t true before, the tilt is real. You just died to someone twice and the second time they had 30% health. How is that even possible? They didn’t even break a sweat.

Well, you didn’t just die to someone with 30% health. You died to someone who had at least a one level advantage on you. A level isn’t just another spell. A level is more health, more mana, more AP and AD, more armor, more everything. You lost to someone who just had more than you and that was bound to happen.

The first death is fine. The thought process for the Teleport is the tilt talking. And then the second death is where I see people go full tilt. You have your teammates calling you an idiot. The enemy team is typing “get rekt” in all chat. You’ve lost standing. You are now the team feeder. A grade A baddie.

The reason you’re tilting is because you felt the need to go from -1 to at least 0. The thing is, your first death didn’t put you at -1. When you think about it calmly, you realize that she used Ignite. She is down two summoner spells to your one. She probably stayed in lane and used all of her pots. If you had walked to lane and focused on CSing, the gold would have been made up.

When you are aware that you are tilting, you need to take a deep breath. If taking a deep breath doesn’t do it for you, get up and walk to the bathroom. Splash some cold water on your face and then walk back to your setup. If you’re listening to music, switch the mood. Anything to break up the vibe. Killing the surrounding vibe allows you to take control of your mindset again.

From there it becomes a battle of damage control.

If you’re behind in CS, ask your team to avoid team fights so you can catch up on farm. If your tower is gone, go help the team push an objective to make up for the loss of global gold. Depending on how behind you are compared to the rest of your team, consider the item path you need to take. If your team as a whole is behind, consider becoming the team tank. Coming out of the Top lane, this shouldn’t be too hard. If you’re the only one behind, go full nuke. This will allow you to be have a greater impact in team fights. Just think about what you can do to help your team.

Removing your ego will allow you to talk control of your tilt and turn it back into positivity.


 How To Prevent Tilt

Preventing tilt is easy when you change the way you think about the game. If you think about doing the best you can in each situation, you’ll find yourself tilting less. Remember, tilt comes from feeling the need to regain lost advantage. If you view each situation as a separate entity from the game as a whole then advantage can’t be lost.

To put that into simpler terms let’s go back to the early level one death. When I play the game, I try to think about it in 5 minute intervals. By doing this anything good or bad is reset every 5 minutes. The reason for this is simple. If I break down the game into these intervals, I am able to focus on the game as it is. I can’t risk thinking about that the double kill I got 15 minutes ago. That won’t help me do better in a team fight. In fact, it will probably make me do worse.

The same is true of my mistakes. By only focusing on the present, I can worry about the mistakes I’ve made once the game is done. There is nothing wrong with analyzing your mistakes. It will make you a better player in the long term. But, like my coaches always told me, you focus on what needs to be done first. What has been done can come later.

Another key way to prevent tilt and also get rid of it is when you have a bad game or loss to just walk away. I mean it. Get up from your chair and leave the room. Go watch some TV or go for a walk. If you don’t want to walk away, do something else. Play something else. Just don’t queue up for Rank again. Nothing good will come of it.


Final Thoughts

Tilt is some dangerous stuff. It’s how people lose money in poker. It’s how people fall from Diamond 3 to Gold 5. Not recognizing that I was tilting caused me to go from Bronze 1 with 85 LP all the way down to Bronze 4 with 0 LP. At the end of the day, you got to remember it’s just a game. There is nothing wrong with walking away and taking a break. The climb will happen if you are patient. I repeat. Rushing it will cause you to lose a butt load of LP.

Usually, I tell you all to

Don't Quit


This time however, I think a better ending to this article is

Keep Calm and Good Games