The word “smurf” has become highly common in the league community. It refers to playing games in an elo to which you do not belong while you are competent enough to be at a higher rank.
There has been much debate about whether lol smurf accounts should be allowed in the game. We understand that it can be stressful or frustrating to play against a smurf because you are trying to play well and win the game with your team, but the smurf in the other team just dominates you and your team due to the skill gap between the two teams.
Even if you’re not pitted against them, they may have won by trampling their lane. Because these games are so short, you have little time to respond or make a comeback, even if you win your lane. Smurfs usually team up with other players of the same skill level to win games more swiftly and effectively.
Who are smurfs? There are various recognized and unfair reasons why they do it. Some use it to play or “assist” low elo friends, to dominate games against less competent opponents, to test out new champions without stress, etc., but the major motive is to boost accounts, level them up, or get high rankings to sell them, something the community and devs condemn.
Are There Repercussions for Smurfing?
It’s allowed since it doesn’t break the game’s regulations. Some high-elo and pro players do this openly, even on broadcasts with thousands of spectators, to have many Challenger accounts. Jesper Svenningsen, or “Zven,” was once rated #1 and second on two North American accounts.
TFBlade, who utilized many identities to reach Challenger on every server, is another example. On their road to Challenger, they do influence lower-ranked players, but they don’t do it deliberately, therefore Riot Games doesn’t penalize them. Since League is a free-to-play game, there’s no restriction on how many accounts you may have.
In streaming, obtaining an account from bronze to the highest possible rating for content is common, but they usually achieve it with constraints, such as using just one or two champions, playing a certain role, or maintaining an 85 to 90 percent win rate.
Smurfing is a common way for league players to have fun after achieving the top level. Many players quit up trying to climb when they are stuck, therefore they rank with multiple accounts to climb again without as much stress as with their main account.
To prevent smurfs, avoid rating towards the beginning and end of seasons, when more people do so. Players start the season lower than where they concluded the previous season. Depending on your placement matches, you may face opponents trying to fast climb the ladder and become the number 1 challenger. This is “normal” as it’s expected to happen at the start of the season.
When Riot unveils the season’s awards, many players rank up rapidly to get the loading screen border, triumphal skin chromas, and golden recall channel for Challenger. When elo boosting services are at their peak, smurfing is more likely.
Riot has been addressing this issue for years. While they can’t punish players who don’t have malicious intentions, they’ve improved their rank system, so it detects when players aren’t in the rank to which they belong based on win streaks, KDA, and other algorithms, allowing them to climb the ladder more quickly while affecting as few players as possible.
During a Q&A, they discussed smurfs.
“When your reputation is at risk, smurfing stinks. We’re working to combat smurfing in free-to-play games. We have a system for unranked and Iron-through-Diamond players. The latter analyzes a player’s performance and identifies outsized effects. Then, we progress them to harder matches and higher Competitive levels.”
What’s the community’s view? There are conflicting viewpoints on whether smurfing should be permitted. Some say smurfing doesn’t affect anybody, since gamers seeking to climb the rankings must go past yours. Many gamers feel smurfing hurts the game for low-elo or rookie players, since more experienced players crush them.
Yes, you could be banned if Riot Games determines that a toxic player is smurfing to ruin other players’ games. Therefore, if you ever feel the want to create a second account to smurf, you should be aware that doing so with malicious intent is punished, and spoiling another player’s experience is not a good idea.
Don’t know what to play? Read the comparison between LoL and Wild Rift if you don’t know which game to play: https://gamesrift.com/blog/wild-rift-vs-lol-which-one-to-choose/.