Tilting the Tilt

There really is nothing like coming back to something with a fresh set of eyes.

I retired from competitive League of Legends sometime in May/June 2019. League and I have a very hate-hate relationship. I take the game very seriously and I find it almost impossible to play casual games. I probably have a small case of the “I Just Like Winning That Much” bug. Unfortunately, I found that League really took a lot of good things out of me.

You know you have a problem when you take the anger you have from a game out on the people around you. I found that I was just an angry, salty person all the time. Salty Nehneh, toxic Nehneh, troll Nehneh… these were some of the names that people in the community called me.

So, when I felt that I had reached the peak in my competitive career, I decided to hang the boots up and quit while I was still ahead (and by boots, I mean mouse). I really found that taking an extended break from League of Legends did my mental health a lot of good. I was enjoying other games.

At the beginning of the year, I was met with some unfortunate health issues. I won’t bore with the details, but I lost all sensory feeling in my right hand. My mouse hand. Now let me just say that playing games when you can’t even feel if you are clicking is Less Than Ideal.

All I do to unwind at the end of a long day at work is come home and enjoy some games. Now, I couldn’t do that anymore. The pain in my hand was excruciating, missing the buttons on my mouse was frustrating and I felt that I was just bad. It was a couple of pretty unfun weeks.

That’s when I decided to dust off the ol’ League and see if my Less Then Functional hand was able to deal with a fairly simple MOBA that I have been playing for the better part of 10 years. It was like a whole new game. Eight months passed and the whole UI changed. 10000 new champs got released. League of Runterra was released. What was I getting myself into? I sat down to do my promo ranked games (because again, I take this game too seriously, even after an 8 month hiatus) and man did I lose the plot.

I got placed in Iron 4. The lowest of the lowest of the low. I was BEYOND furious. I was so furious that I went on a very long, very extravagant losing streak playing so many games trying to get back to my former glory days.

Which is when I realised.
I. Am. Tilted.

So, I decided to share my favorite ways to untilt. (its been 1 month of ranked and I am currently in S3 at the time of writing this, because untilting is good for your win-loss ratio).

A picture of my broken keyboard after I slammed it when I was on tilt

Be Aware

It’s really important to be mindful and accepting when you are on tilt. Tilt looks different in everyone. In me, it looks like flaming team chat for every mistake that gets made. It’s getting out of game and feeling like wanting to smash something. It’s shouting A LOT of profanities at the fibre lines in the roof.

Take Frequent Breaks

I found that when I start tilting, the muscles in my back and neck become tense, causing pain. What I find helps is to get up and stretch, check my phone, get a snack and come back to it after 5-10 minutes.

Continue When You’re Ahead, Stop When You’re Down

I have a rule. If I win, I keep playing, if I lose, I play one more and if that is also a loss, I call it for that session. Obviously, rules were meant to be broken, and it is obviously dependent on how the games go. If I found that the games I lost were really close and of no fault of feeders, afks or trolls, then I’m usually good to keep going. Otherwise, I stop for an extended time and come back to it a bit later, or the next day. Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from competitive play by playing casual or with friends (although, this is not my go-to).

Check Your Mindset

If your goal is “I want to rank up faster” or “I want more LP/MMR” then you’re losing the plot. The goal for competitive play should always be “I want to improve as a player,” because then, instead of blaming others, you critically look at your own gameplay and style, and look for ways that you, as an individual can be better for your team. When I was still in the peak of my competitive career, I used to record all my games, and watch them to see how I can improve myself. When you have this kind of mindset, I find that tilting is less frequent.

Set Small But Managable Goals For Yourself

Tilting generally happens when you feel frustrated with your progress. Sometimes, I would sit down and say “today, I want to rank up,” but that is often not very achievable in terms of goals. Instead, set small goals that are easy to reach. Something like, “I want to gain 20LP today” is easier to manage, and when you reach that, you feel accomplished.

Tilting is different for everyone, and detilting is also different for everyone. It is important to find what works for you. Mental fortitude in competitive play is imperative for improving and climbing.