How to Review a Replay in League of Legends
Reviewing your replays is the best way to improve and climb the ladder in League of Legends.
To review your replays you can either use the built-in replay system or download the Replays.lol client, which will record the game from your perspective, give you a timestamped breakdown of the game, and give you tips to help decide what you should have done in certain situations.
Ignore teammate’s mistakes, only fous on your own.
Create an action plan of areas you can work on.
Before analysing your own micro play, determine if a play was actually a good play to make.
Criticize every part of your own play, and figure out why you’re making the mistakes you are.
Study challenger replays to see if you’re playing early / lane / mid / late game correctly.
Share replays with friends / community to help you spot mistakes.
The most important thing to remember for self-improvement is to ignore your teammates' mistakes. At all ranks, you can guarantee that each player in a game has made lots of mistakes, but the only thing you have control over is fixing your own.
To rank up you need to consistently play better than people at your current rank, so don't disregard games "that could never be won", or refuse to review gameplay that you're convinced was unwinnable, every part of the game is an opportunity to identify your mistakes and look for improvement.
The harsh truth is if you played better you could be hitting 70/80%+ win rates, as proven by the fact challenger smurfs often see these rates when climbing, if you're not hitting these rates there is always room for improvement. If you’re stuck at a rank, you probably don’t deserve to be a higher rank unless you’re willing to accept you’re not perfect, and are willing to put effort into fixing your mistakes.
It's easy to say "I shouldn't have died" or "I should've hit that skillshot", but that's not going to help you improve in the future. You need to come up with ways to prevent mistakes from happening in the future, you need to find the root of the issues to tackle (eg if you're dying to ganks, you need to track the jungle better).
Using a notepad document, google sheet, or whatever your favorite tool can help you note what mistakes you're making and track whether you are fixing these issues in your gameplay. The Replays.lol client uses its AI technology to point out areas you need to improve and will summarise ways to fix those issues and help you track them over time.
Working on a small number of achievable action points is the key to improving. Don’t give yourself too many things to work on at once, or you’ll likely end up fixing none of them, and you need a clear plan on how to actually track and work on the issues you’re having.
Identifying if a play was a good idea
Before analyzing how you could've played better during a fight, the first thing to work out is whether the play was a good idea. If you're losing teamfights late game because your comp is much worse in a 5v5, then the issue wasn't your micro ability, but the fact you were in a position to fight the 5v5 instead of looking for alternative macro choices, or if you're being ganked and losing the 1v2, that's probably not a micro issue, but instead you should have attempted to avoid the gank.
Understanding if a play is correct or not comes from having a deep understanding of the game. This ranges from the most basic parts, such as how every champion's kit works to harder concepts, such as specific champion interactions, damage numbers, cooldowns, etc.
No one knows every damage number, and every cooldown in the game, but you can often get the feel of it as a game goes on, e.g. if you’ve lost 5 team fights in a row you’re likely going to lose the next one, or if you’re losing short 1v1 trades in lane, it’s probably going to keep happening until something big changes (items, levels, etc.).
When watching back replays, you can start to understand why you’re winning or losing plays by focusing on abilities, movements and attacks that you and your opponents are using. Understanding where your/their damage is coming from, where your/their tankiness is coming from will help you determine in future games whether or not a play is a good idea or not.
If you decide a play wasn't correct, the thing to take away from it is how next time you can identify it wasn't a good idea, and how to identify that it is about to happen and then how to prevent it from happening in the future. If you're consistently dying to ganks or roams, you need to work on your jungle tracking, look through the replay for ways you could have identified that a roam or gank was going to happen, if you're struggling with this you need to work on your vision control or jungle tracking.
Criticize Your Own Mistakes
During, before, or after a play there was almost certainly something you did wrong. Whether it was choosing the wrong target, being late to the fight, not dodging an ability, taking unnecessary damage, using your spells incorrectly, positioning incorrectly, or something else. Sometimes it’s hard to self-criticize so it may be better to share a replay with a friend and ask them to spot opportunities for improvement.
The next step is to work out how you'll avoid repeating mistakes in the future. Look for trends in what mistakes you are commonly making, and look to work on each one individually, using the Replays.lol client can help track this, or you can use a notepad, spreadsheet, or something similar. The key to improving is to be actively thinking about the thing you're trying to improve on during your future games, e.g. If positioning is the issue, before each fight in your next games you should be thinking about the potential threats, and what you should be looking out for before entering any fights. You need to be proactive, not reactive.
Can’t see what you’re doing wrong? Try watching replays form challengers / one tricks to see how they play similar situations. You can do this by looking up on YouTube “Jhin vs Vayne replay” and you’ll get hundreds of videos coming up from high ranked players on how they play this match up. Remember, they aren’t perfect so it’s possible not everything they’re doing should be copied, but they’re probably playing the majority of the game much better than you are.
Ask Friends / Community To Help Review
It can be hard to see your own mistakes, psychologically we all think we’re better than we are, convinced we play perfectly and that the only reason we lose is because of “team diff”. Someone else who is unbiased and has no prejudice about the game can probably spot mistakes a lot easier than you, or at least prompt you into trying to justify why you think your point of view is the righ tone.
To share your replay you can stream it on Discord, someone else can download it from your profile, or easily share it from the Replays.lol client.
If you want to rank up, you have to identify what mistakes you are consistently making from your replays, and come up with an action plan on how to tackle these mistakes. You need to drop any beliefs that you’re a perfect player and deserve to be a higher rank - every game, every team fight has opportunities to become a better player. You need to improve your overall game knowledge to a point where you can identify if a play is the right thing to do. If you’re struggling to criticize your own play, try sharing it with a friend or a member of the community. Watching one tricks or challengers play the match up is a great way to see the correct way to play it.