League of Legends’ 2020 season is not over yet, but Riot Games has already shown off some of its plans heading into the new year. One big change that the developer is making is removing duo queue for players above Master rank during the 2021 preseason.
“Some problems that keep coming up are integrity around duos vs non-duos, autofill by role, and disparity between ranks,” Riot said. “For preseason, we want to take a stab at really solidifying the statement that players at this level are the best individuals on the server, and we aim to make the playing field as balanced as possible.”
A big complaint that many players higher in the ranked ladder have had over these past few years is the prevalence of players climbing to high ranks with a duo partner. Since there is a significantly smaller amount of people above Masters, people are matched with more duos partners.
As a result, these matches aren’t completely fair for the solo players trying to climb by themselves. People playing with a partner will have a better time trying to win since they have better synergy and are usually speaking to each other via a third-party voice communication program. These give them a significant—and unfair—advantage over their opponents.
“We understand that for a portion of Apex players, climbing with a buddy is their preferred way to play,” Riot said. “But at the top of the ladder where folks tend to start knowing and recognizing each other across matches, there’s a big difference between getting that solo bot lane pair versus a professional bot lane.”
By removing duo queue for players above Masters, this guarantees that each match is balanced with five solo players that must rely on their game knowledge and mechanical skill, rather than having a teammate they’ve been grinding with over the season.
Don’t worry, though—if you still want to pair up with a friend and climb the ranked ladder, duos are still available to play in the flex queue. This is a great chance with players complaining to Riot to remove this possibility for years. The highest level in solo queue became a duo meta with players focusing on finding a partner to climb the standings. Multiple people got very high due to using either mid/jungle duo or bottom lane duo, which makes it unfun for opponents. In most cases, games would end being a stomp so this change is highly welcome.