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How Many Champions Do I Need to Play Ranked in League of Legends?

Hey friend! If you‘re new to League of Legends, you may be wondering: how many champions do I need to unlock before I can start playing ranked games?

Well, let me walk you through the requirements and some tips to get you ready for ranked as quickly as possible.

The Short Answer

You need at least 20 unlocked champions in order to queue up for ranked. This number allows you to have solid options for drafting your champion based on your team‘s needs and the opponent‘s bans.

Why 20 Champions?

Riot‘s ranked requirement of 20 minimum champions serves a couple purposes:

  • Draft flexibility – With 20+ champs available, you can pick for your main role or fill if autofilled. More options = more drafting power.
  • Low chance of getting banned out – There are 157 champions in League as of 2023. With each team banning 5 champions in draft, the odds of ALL your champs getting banned is extremely unlikely with 20+ picks.
  • Prevents one-tricking – Having access to multiple champions prevents abuse cases where players could one-trick a single overpowered champ to inflate their rank.
  • Lets you counterpick – A deeper champ pool gives you more counterpicks for specific matchups if needed.

According to Riot‘s ranked data, the most common number of champions owned by ranked players is around 60. But owning extras beyond 20 is not mandatory by any means.

Quickest Ways to Unlock Champions as a New Player

Here are some tips to expand your champion collection so you can jump into ranked as soon as possible:

1. Use Your Free Champion Rotations

  • Every week, Riot makes 14 champions completely free to play.
  • The rotation contains picks from all roles like mid, jungle, support.
  • You can use the free champs in normal games to test them out.
  • They help you learn champion abilities for when you face them in ranked.

2. Earn Blue Essence and Buy Champions

  • Play matches daily and complete missions to earn Blue Essence (BE).
  • Use BE to permanently unlock champions you want to main.
  • Focus on simple, strong meta picks that will always be viable.

3. Level Up Your Account

  • You gain a champion capsule every time you gain an account level.
  • Capsules contain champion shards that disenchant into BE.
  • Leveling up is the fastest way to gain BE as a new player.

4. Complete New Player Challenges

  • There are dedicated missions that reward champion shards and BE.
  • Completing these will give you a big boost when starting out.

5. Play Special Events

  • Events like Lunar Revel and Project give out free champion shards.
  • Disenchant any shards you don‘t want for more BE.

How Many Champions for Each Role?

To make sure you can fill any position, I recommend having:

  • 2-3 champions for your main role
  • 2 champions for your secondary role
  • 1-2 champions for the other roles if autofilled

Here‘s a quick table to give you an idea:

Role # of Champions Examples
Top lane 2-3 Garen, Darius, Malphite
Jungle 2-3 Master Yi, Xin Zhao, Vi
Mid lane 2-3 Annie, Lux, Ahri
ADC 2-3 Ashe, Jinx, Sivir
Support 2-3 Soraka, Blitzcrank, Leona

This gives you 10-15 champions which covers the basics. The remaining slots can be niche counterpicks or additional options for your main role.

Tips to Build Your Optimal Champion Pool

Below are some tips to help build a well-rounded champion pool that lets you excel in ranked:

  • Focus on fundamentals first – Master easier champions like Annie or Garen before complex ones.
  • Limit your picks – Stick to 2-3 mains per role maximum. This allows you to deeply learn matchups.
  • Mix damage types – Have an AD and AP option for roles like midlane to open up draft options.
  • Identify your playstyle – Do you like tanky initiators? Burst mages? Long range ADCs? Choose champions that match your natural tendencies.
  • Strong in current meta – Consider champions that are tier A or S-tier in the current patch for easy wins.
  • Covers team needs – For example, include tanks for engage or enchanters for healing/peel.
  • Low ban rates – Champions with <10% ban rates ensure you can reliably lock them in.

Final Tips to Reach Ranked Fast

Here are a few final tips to unlock ranked as quickly as possible:

  • Stick to easier bots games at first to rack up faster wins. This speeds up leveling.
  • Find an experienced friend to play with. They can gift you champions and teach you faster.
  • Use exp boosts wisely to maximize leveling when you play.
  • Watch educational videos to rapidly improve your skills and knowledge.
  • Focus on consistent practice rather than grinding for 10 hours straight. Take breaks to stay focused.

If you follow these tips, you‘ll unlock ranked mode and climb in no time! Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck on the Rift, my friend!