How Does “Autofill Protected” Really Work?

If you have been playing Ranked Games for both Solo/Duo Queue and Flex Queue in League of Legends for quite a while now, there is a chance that you might not get the roles that you have selected because you have been “Autofilled” by the matchmaking system.

After playing a match with a role that you’ve recently “filled” for, played the Support role, or maybe if you are in a Promotion/Series games, you will get protection from being “Autofilled”. 

Even though some of the game’s playerbase hates this type of functionality, Riot has a pretty good explanation as to why the Autofill function exists in the current matchmaking system.

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Why “Autofill”?

Back in 2016, Riot made a revamp on the Ranked Match-Making system which included a change in how players can queue up for ranked by introducing the Position Preference wherein players can select the roles that they want to play in Ranked before queueing up. This feature reduced the need for players to adjust their champion selection and provided a “sense of comfort” because the players know how to play the role that they are familiar with. 

Long Queue Times

After the Ranked Match-Making System revamped was released, there was an issue that was mostly encountered by high-elo players where their queue times reached more than 10 minutes. Even worse, some waited for hours just to get into a match. 

When Autofill came into picture, it somehow lessened the time to get into a match because players would eventually play a role that they did not select in Position Preference. Commonly, the Support role will be assigned to the player whether they like it or not.

Not enough players queued for a role

Because of Positional Shortage, players are usually autofilled at random. This means that if there are not enough players that selected a certain role (for example, a Support), they will be assigned to that role instead. Therefore, it reduces the time it would take to find a match and finally play the game. 

Players will always eventually get autofilled

Whether you like it or not, there is no way to get around the Autofill functionality. Even after playing a game where you are “Autofill Protected”, the Autofill functionality will still be activated.

The Autofill functionality automatically activates depending on the game server’s traffic and if Positional Shortage is detected. So, it’s not a global thing where the Autofill functionality activates on all servers. 

For example, if you are playing in the EUW region in the wee hours of the morning, you will probably notice that you are assigned to the roles that you have selected since no Positional Shortage is observed.

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How Can I get “Autofill Protected”?

If you have been playing for a while and are about to queue up and select the roles that you prefer for your next match, you may notice that you will have the status of “Autofill Protected”. What this means is that you are guaranteed to play a game where you will be assigned to the roles that you have selected before queuing up.

To gain this status, there are prerequisites in order to get protection from being autofilled. Once meeting the criterias, you will be guaranteed that you will be granted the “Autofill Protected” status.

Played an Autofilled Role

The more you play games in an autofilled role, you are less likely to be autofilled on your next few games. 

What happens is that the system compares all of the possible position assignments for all players that are currently in-queue, taking into account your secondary choice of role and how recently you filled it, and then selects the best candidate based on those factors.

Playing Support or Fill

If you play as Support or Fill for a couple of games, it will greatly reduce your chance of being autofilled, even after the autofill protection wears off. 

So if you are looking into playing a role that you prefer in the next few days, try and consider playing as a Support or Fill. That way, you are in control of your position preference.

“Tricking” the matchmaking system

It doesn’t happen 100% of the time but, some players have figured out a way to get the roles that you have selected even if the Autofill functionality is activated. 

The trick is to never accept or decline a game when the queue timer exceeds the estimated time that says when you will get into a match. Although they claim that it works, you are probably going to have to pay the price of longer queue times, especially if you are in high elo.

Riot has not yet made statements about this claim but they would have probably already fixed this “exploit” secretly or maybe in the near future.

Take Note: Dodging a champion select lobby doesn’t remove the “Autofill” status

If you are thinking of dodging champion select because you did not prefer the role that was assigned to you by the matchmaking system, it would not work. You will only get a queue penalty and a slightly reduced LP. Whether you like it or not, you will still get autofilled on your next game. 

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While Autofill Protection is a forgiving way for players to play the roles that they truly prefer, the next best thing that players can do is to take their fate into their own hands and learn how to actually play other roles, even Support.

Each time you play in an autofilled role, you are lightening the burden on all players and even reducing the chances of being autofilled. Think of it as a way that you are doing your part for the “betterment” of the community. 

By playing as an autofill, you reduce the time it takes for everyone to get into a match. Just… don’t play Disco Nunu with Ghost and Cleanse and rage afterwards if no one agrees to swap positions with you. Play the Poro Way!

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