My friend ‘Greebo’ and I have a friend who was just getting into League of Legends. Now, in no way are we elite challenger players, coaches, or professional gamers. With that said, we still wanted to do what we could to help our friend get started. We’re just two people who love the game and have played for a couple of years. Being excited to have our friend join in our games, we compiled a list of useful tips as a guide, and have ultimately decided to share it with you and anyone else who might need it. Please let us know about any additions or edits in the comments and we’ll be happy to update!
Welcome to a ‘timeless’ time-sink!
So, you started playing League of Legends. First of all, welcome! While the game does get some bad rep, there’s a reason why Greebo and I have been playing for a good 15 years between us. There’s no feeling like getting a clutch steal, a pentakill, and seeing that rank go up (and stay there for some of us).
There’s a good chunk of stuff I want to go over, so to make it easier on both of us, I’m going to split it into sections depending on what aspect of the gameplay it is related to. Full disclosure before we begin, these tips will be unavoidably biased towards our aggressive playstyle, as that is just how we play League of Legends.
Greebo has helpfully asked one of his friends, Jacob, to read over this document to avoid any errors in my own logic. A big part of League of Legends is learning all the champions, and that’s a necessary gate that no amount of tips can help you overcome, so do not expect this advice to make you better overnight.
Finally, League is a game, and the best way to improve is by playing. A lot of this will come naturally with time so don’t push yourself too hard, and take some time to enjoy the monumental climb that is scaling the learning cliff of LoL.
So, let’s get started! These are the fundamentals of LOL, the bread and butter ideas and concepts that apply to nearly every game on the rift.
Leveling and Experience
During the first 10 minutes of League of Legends, especially before both champions have backed, the most important resource in the game is experience. Being a single level up on your opponent can mean all of the difference between destroying your opponent or getting destroyed yourself. If you know the matchup and get a power spike level up on your opponent feel free to go for a fight as you are at a huge advantage. Conversely, avoid fighting at all costs if your opponent has these levels as they are defining. As a rule of thumb, the later the game goes the fewer levels matter, but the reverse is usually true for champions with big ultimates.
- Level 2 – Access to your second ability
- Level 3 – Same as level 2, but not as extreme
- Level 4 – Two points in your main ability. (Very champ specific)
- Level 6 – Ultimates, most champions get a game-changing ability that can turn the tides of a fight, or allow them to change the way their champions play. (Champion Specific)
- Level 9 – Max out the bread and butter skill (Champ specific again)
- Level 11 – Level 2 ult
- Level 16 – Level 3 ult
Some champions have unique power spikes based on their passives, Evelynn (Lvl 6 invisibility), Gangplank (Barrel Decay timers), Lucian (Level 2), and as you play different champions you will begin to understand these spikes, and when they occur.
- Stay in XP range at all times
- The money from minions is important, but getting that money is not always possible. Sometimes your opponent is just too strong for you to walk up, or perhaps the enemy jungler is chilling in a nearby bush, no matter what the case, you’re going to miss cs.
- Hover close enough to still get xp when the minions die. XP is everything in the lane, so don’t hamstring yourself by missing it and giving your opponent a level advantage on top of their gold one.
- For reference, XP range is roughly 12 champions in a line, but it’s something you’ll get a feel for.
- The money from minions is important, but getting that money is not always possible. Sometimes your opponent is just too strong for you to walk up, or perhaps the enemy jungler is chilling in a nearby bush, no matter what the case, you’re going to miss cs.
No, not the yellow ones, the minions are those little fellas you see rolling around 1 minute and 5 seconds after the game has started. They don’t seem to do a lot of damage, and killing them gives you gold, but killing minions or using them to your advantage is yet another facet of League of Legends.
Buying items to make your champion stronger is required in League, and the number 1 most consistent way to generate gold to buy said items is from killing minions, or CS-ing. Get the last hit on a minion to kill and, and you get a little bit of change in your pocket. Depending on the type of minion, the gold may vary, but kill enough of them and you will notice a fair bit of change in the bank. Everyone needs to know how to CS.
Killing the minions – CSing
- Admittedly, I am bad at this, but here are some tips and tricks we have picked up over the years.
- Be aware of your own minions’ auto attacks. You can see which one they’re attacking, and you’ll know when that damage is coming and it will let you time your attacks a little bit better. Plus, it will let you know which one to focus your attention on.
- Some champions have built-in abilities that help them cs
- Annie’s “Q” ability refunds mana on a minion kill, allowing her to use the ability to kill minions.
- Nasus is a top laner in the same breed, the need to stack his q by killing minions with it means you have an excuse to waste all your mana on the wave.
- Cannons are worth the most, melee the second and casters the third. Prioritize them in that order if you have to choose between them.
Roughly 15 cs is even in gold to a kill early game, so do not underestimate its importance. You can win games purely by out csing your opponent. Getting good at last hitting creeps in the laning phase can net you a large gold lead without even getting a single takedown. In lower levels, many players severely underestimate the importance of csing and are frankly quite bad at it. If you can consistently last hit minions you will find yourself bullying the enemy laner purely through your cs gold lead.
Minion wave damage
- It might not seem like it, but minions do an absurd amount of damage early game.
- Similar to towers, damaging an enemy champion with a targeted ability or auto-attack will automatically make all minions in range attack you. Caster minions do more damage but are squisher, melee minions do less damage but have more health, and cannons have the best of both worlds.
- If you go for an extended trade inside your opponent’s wave, especially if more than a few casters are present, this can very quickly add up, and it is not uncommon to see minions do upwards of half a hp bar pre 6. Play around this.
- If you can bait an enemy to fight you inside your wave where your minions have free range to hit them, you will be at a pretty big advantage. Conversely, try to wait until enemy minion waves are cleared unless you are confident you win anyway. Building up your minion wave or thinning the enemy minion wave before fighting are also both good strategies to win a trade or all in.
The big monster of the bottom lane. 5 minutes into the game, this dragon spawns in a small pit as one of four elemental types – Infernal, Cloud, Mountain, or Ocean.
- Once it is killed, after 5 minutes, a second drake spawns that is a different elemental type from the first
- Finally, after the second one is killed, an elemental type different from the first two dragons is selected, and the map will change.
- For example, if the first dragon was infernal, and the second was ocean, the element will have to be either mountain or cloud.
- Furthermore, the next dragons to spawn will always be the same element. No more changing of elements, you’re locked in.
- Killing the dragon provides small buffs to your champion depending on the dragon slain.
- Infernal – Greater Attack Damage and Ability Power
- Cloud – Greater Ultimate Haste (Faster cooldowns, allowing you to use your ultimate more)
- Mountain – Increased Armor and Magic Resistance
- Ocean – Health Regeneration
- The unique thing about the dragon comes when you kill your 4th dragon, in which you claim the Dragon Soul. Dragon Soul provides different buffs depending on which dragon was slain.
- Infernal Soul – Your attacks trigger an explosion, damaging enemies around you.
- Cloud Soul – You gain bonus movement speed, but when you cast your ultimate, a massive movement speed triggers.
- Mountain Soul – After not taking damage, gain a large shield.
- Ocean Soul – Dealing damage will heal you for a significant portion.
- Once the 4th dragon is killed, after 6 minutes, the Elder Dragon spawns.
- The Elder Dragon is a game-ender for most teams because of its buff. It gives players ‘Aspect of the Dragon’.
- Aspect of the Dragon – Damaging enemy champions below 20% health will instantly trigger this buff, executing them instantly.
- This buff doesn’t work too well on champions with immortality effects, but once those wear off, if you are dealing any semblance of damage to them, the Elder Buff will insta-kill them.
- The Elder Dragon is a game-ender for most teams because of its buff. It gives players ‘Aspect of the Dragon’.
- Needless to say, getting dragons are extremely important for you and your team. While the task of killing it often goes to the Jungler, it’s the teams responsibility to help them take it down as well. The benefits of taking down the Dragon will only grow if you’re able to take more.
- It’s not game over if you lose a single drake, but it certainly makes the game slightly more difficult for your team. Try your best to contest the drakes as the game goes on.
- The Elder Dragon Buff will last 150 seconds. If your enemy gets this buff, AVOID FIGHTING. The power of its buff can turn nearly all fights around.
The top lane’s answer to Dragon, this monster only spawns twice, but the value that Rift Herald brings can make or break a game.
- Spawning at 8 minutes into the game, the second Herald will spawn only if the first one is killed before 13:45 on the game timer.
- If you’re taking it, hit the eye in the back for massive damage. It’ll let you take the Herald much, much faster.
- Once you kill it, the Herald will drop their eye on the floor, enabling the team that took it out to pick it up for 20 seconds before it despawns.
- Anybody who picks it up gains ‘Eye of the Herald’. Recalling to base now takes 4 seconds, but the real buff comes once you use it.
- ‘Eye of the Herald’ takes up your trinket slot, and when you use it, your champion crushes it to summon the Rift Herald for your team.
- This time, the Rift Herald will stomp down the lane closest to where it was summoned and will attack anything in its way, be it minions or even champions.
- The unique part of Rift Herald comes when it meets a tower. It will lean back, wind up, and slam right into a tower, dealing a massive amount of damage to it.
- It will deal a significant amount of damage to the Herald as well, but as long as it is still alive, it will charge down the lane all the way to the nexus.
- Herald is a fantastic way to take down turrets in the early and mid-game, allowing your team to have much more pressure around the map due to the turret destroying power that Eye of the Herald can give you.
- While it does not carry much significance late game as it is replaced by Baron Nashor, getting Heralds can swing the early game quickly in your favour.
- It’s not game over if your opponent gets Herald, as you can take it out quickly by hitting the Heralds eye at the back of its head.
- Walk around, give it a good whack, and it should have a lot less health.
The OG Epic Monster of League of Legends, Baron Nashor. This big monster spawns in 20 minutes and will respawn every 6 minutes for the rest of the game. Killing Baron carries with it a variety of buffs that will benefit your entire team.
- Baron Nashor has a ton of passives, but all you need to know is that it does a lot of damage, and it will do a lot of damage to you and your team while you are killing it. A good rule of thumb is to be at least level 12 or 13 before you attempt killing Baron. Otherwise, you run the risk of dying to it, or not being able to kill it fast enough for the opposing team to come and cause trouble.
- Unlike herald and the elemental drakes, Baron should only be attempted by multiple members of a team, taking it down fast is your priority, as the opposing team could come and contest it, providing the risk of a Baron Steal.
- A good tip for Baron, and honestly for all objectives is to grab vision of enemies and know where they are before you try to nab these objectives. Knowing that you can take it unopposed is extremely valuable, and knowing that the enemy is coming can allow your team to prepare to fight, or prepare to get out.
- If you are able to slay Baron Nashor, you gain the ‘Hand of Baron’ for 180 seconds. The buffs are fantastic.
- Bonus Attack Damage and Ability Power
- Empowered Recall (4 seconds instead of 8 to return to base)
- Minions are boosted significantly – This is the big one.
- Minions who are in a lane with someone who has Baron Buff are empowered, gaining damage, speed, and slow resistance. These minions go from small and weak to absolute turret destroyers if they are given enough protection.
- It’s common for teams to split up once they have a Baron Buff, empowering all minions on the map to siege opposing turrets. The latent AD and AP bonuses make it hard for opponents to fight you, and those turrets should go down fast with empowered minions working with you.
- Baron often can blow games wide open, or close massive gaps thanks to its buffs. While it’s not a guaranteed win or loss, getting it often dictates the flow of the game for a good few minutes once it is taken, and should always be considered top-priority when it spawns.
Those huge structures around the map. Each team has 11 turrets, meant to be a deterrent for diving and a way to extend the game. They will target any enemy within its range, opening fire with a bolt of energy, which does a ton of damage at lower levels.
The only way to not take damage from the turrets is to push in with your minions, who will take priority over you unless you hit an enemy champion within range. Think of your turret as a protector in the early stages of the game. Use it to your advantage if an enemy gets a bit too zealous in trying to take you down. The same goes for the enemy turret. Respect the damage from the turret, but also understand that it isn’t going to insta-kill you. If you are confident in killing them within a few seconds, and getting out before that turret is going to kill you, go ahead.
- Every champion has two of them. They cost nothing, and can often help you in various ways due to their effects. I’ll list them below here, give a few nuances and the like for informational purposes
- Flash – Essentially a blink. You teleport in front of you in a flash of light, closing the distance or creating distance in an instant. This summoner spell can also be used to travel over walls as well. Nearly every single champion uses flash as one of their summoner spells, save a select few.
- Ignite – You’re setting an opponent on fire. It does ticks of true damage (which means that it is not mitigated by armor or magic resist), and reduces healing effects on that champion for a duration. This is used on lanes where you want to take the enemy out, or if their champion has a lot of healing built into their kit. Assassins like to pick this because it adds another level of damage onto their already high-damage kit.
- Heal – burst of healing to both you, and the ally that’s nearest to the cursor when you pressed the button. Furthermore, you get a short burst of movement speed. Often used by carries in the bottom lane, this spell can help you survive all-ins for just enough time to turn the tides of fights. That burst of movement speed can also give you the survivability to either escape, or take your opponent down.
- Exhaust – Makes the enemy slowed, and it also reduces their damage by a significant amount for a few seconds. This is fantastic against assassin’s or carries that output a great deal of damage in an instant. While it cannot reduce true damage, it’s a fantastic combat spell. Often used by supports, and I personally use it against Assassin mid-laners like Zed or Talon.
- Barrier – Large shield for yourself that runs out after a few seconds. Not much to it. Like exhaust, it’s good to use this against massive burst damage, or assassins. It’s fallen off with Heal’s utility, but Barrier is still used in some instances.
- Ghost – You move faster and pass through units on the map for a few seconds. Helps you escape or chase down enemy champions. Most champions who have difficulty sticking on their opponents will pick this. (i.e. Nasus, Darius)
- Teleport – Probably the most game-changing summoner spell. You teleport to either allied units (excluding champions), wards, or turrets. Has an extremely long cooldown, but teleporting at the right time can literally win you games.
- Smite – A mandatory summoner spell for junglers, Smite deals true damage to camps on a relatively short cooldown compared to other summoner spells. Against monsters in the jungle, Smiting the larger camps will heal you for a large amount of health. After enough times casting smite on Jungle monsters, your smite evolves to one of two different smites that can be used on Champions.
- Challenging Smite – Marks enemy champions, increasing your damage against them and reducing their damage against you.
- Chilling Smite – deals straight up damage to them, and slows them for a few seconds. This smite also increases your movement speed for a few seconds as well.
- Cleanse – Removes any sort of disable except for Suppress and Disable, giving you tenacity for a few seconds as well. Tenacity reduces the time of certain forms of crowd control, allowing you to control your champion faster than expected. Use this against a team that loves to use Crowd Control.
- Clarity – Restores Half your mana, and a quarter of any allied champions mana within a certain range. I would tell you not to go this, because it doesn’t have the same level of utility that other summoner spells can provide. I don’t think anybody uses this in regular games, but feel free to prove me wrong.
- In short, use Flash most of the time, and the second one depends on the game and your lane.
Player Versus Player (PVP)
Finally, after a few rounds of back on forth, hitting minions, and every now and then hitting each other, you have hit the point where it’s time to take your opponent down. There’s no rush like outplaying your opponent, and while every matchup and situation is different in League of Legends, there are always a few general things to keep in mind once you enter combat.
Know Your Enemy
- We talked about your own champion power spike, but one thing you also need to be aware of is the enemy champions power spike. There are a few champions you want to avoid from level 1 to 3, and there are a few champions you want to crush at level one to 3. As you continue to play the game, it will become more apparent which champions are weak or early.
- Getting a ‘feel’ of your opponent is crucial in understanding how the lane is going to play out. Did they walk about to you and start whacking at you from the moment they saw you? Are they playing behind their minions, avoiding combat and trying to play the lane as safe as possible?
- Throwing out skillshots to ‘test’ the waters might be useful in understanding whether your opponent is going to be a problem. If they can consistently dodge your abilities and hit you back, they may be in a tougher lane. If they are unable to dodge, or cannot return fire, you may be able to whittle them down for an all in.
- Almost all multiplayer games have the concept of ‘respect’ in it. You have to respect what your opponent can do, and the damage they can do, but if you respect them too much, nothing will be achieved in your lane.
- Keep a look out for their enemy summoner spells. They often can turn the tides of war in unexpected ways. All these spells have extremely long cooldowns, and champions without said spells are a lot more vulnerable.
- Knowing that an aggressive champ has lost their Ignite or that a passive one has lost their Barrier is important information that you need to keep in mind while in battle.
- A key component of PvP combat, especially in the early phases is trading.
- Essentially, trading occurs when both players hit each other with a few abilities, taking out a bit of health from each other.
- Winning the trade is an important part of going all-in, trying to kill the opposing laner.
- Certain champions excel at winning trades, poking their enemy to force them out of the lane.
- Others focus more on all-in brawling fights that only end when there’s one left standing.
- Think of health as a resource, one that you can spend to deplete the enemies resources.
- You want to try and maintain an equal amount of pressure.
You’ve traded a couple of blows, just hit level 6. It’s time to put your chips on the table and go for the kill.
- Keep in mind that sometimes, kills don’t happen, but if you can get them to burn summoner spells or their own ultimates, it’s an advantage that you can exploit in the future.
- Burning enemy flashes makes them vulnerable for a significant amount of time.
- Be aware of what abilities the opponent has. Will it prevent you from getting a kill? Will it kill you?
- A kill grants you a good amount of gold and experience, netting you some more pressure and leeway for the future. It does not, however, allow you to be complacent. The enemies can most likely still kill you, it’s just going to be a bit harder.
- The same applies for if you die yourself. It’s not the end of the world if you give up one kill. Stay calm, take a step back, and try to play the lane safer or request help from your jungler or other laners.
You’ve fought 1 person, now it’s time to fight the rest of them. Thankfully, you don’t have to fight them alone (most of the time). Teamfights are the crucible of League of Legends, and it is where the big plays and craziest moments happen. While teamfights are extremely chaotic, and it’s often impossible to have a one size fits all guide on how to teamfight, there are always a few tips that can be useful to keep in mind.
Types of teamfights – There are many different types of teamfights, ranging from 5v5 brawls to short dives with you and your jungler against a hapless laner. We’re going to try and talk about a few of them here.
- Diving – Attempting to kill enemies under their own turret.
- Say your opponent is low, and your junglers on their way. It is time to take an unfair fight and take them down underneath their turret.
- This should be an unfair fight in your advantage, but it carries risk as well. The tower does damage, and at lower levels will absolutely delete health bars. The longer your tower dive takes, the greater change that one or more of you will die taking your opponent down, turning it from a favourable trade, to a split.
- The best tip to remember about diving is to be fast, and to juggle tower aggression according to health.
- Spending too long gives time for opposing teammates to arrive, and the tower will only continue to damage you and your team.
- Juggling tower aggression will allow you and your team to stay as healthy as possible while you’re diving.
- Traditional (Objective-based, or just large skirmishes)
- These are the normal 5v5 teamfights. You will know when this happens, as everyone is either at one lane or has the ability to get to that lane within seconds. Tanks round each other at the forefront, ready to let loose with their ultimates. Carries are sitting in the back, looking at their abilities, ready to deal as much damage as possible
- Depending on the way your team is structured, there are a few ways your team could go about it.
- Front to Back
- Your tanks and supports will flow with the team carry and damage dealers, helping them deal with the opposing team tanks, before moving towards the rest of the team systematically. The tanks soak damage, supports heal them, and the carries stay safe, nuking whoever gets close as they slowly turn the fight into their favour
- This requires a lot of teamwork, as everyone needs to understand their roles very well, but is a good way to win most fights as your carry can consistently deal damage safely.
- This occurs quite often when you have assassins or burst mages in the team.
- Your team is going to try to get to the backline extremely quickly, destroying their carries before they have a chance to react.
- Carries in this situation most likely take advantage of the chaos, trying to deal damage to whatever is near.
- These teamfights are generally unfair, with assassins and burst mages quickly taking out targets of opportunity and picking people off quickly to end the fight before it even begins.
- The risk here comes if the assassins and mages are unable to take them out. With consistent damage output and protection from tanks and supports, the divers may wilt under the pressure.
- Fights like this occur when your team has abilities that don’t exactly begin fights. However, they are obnoxiously annoying and prevent the enemy tanks or assassin’s from starting fights or turning the tides of one.
- Janna is a champion that’s well known for her ability to disengage from fights, with her whirlwinds and shielding ability.
- The strength of disengaging lies in never actually allowing the enemy to gain a real foothold in the fight, ensuring that if they even try to start a teamfight, they would lose.
- This style of team fighting, however, relies greatly on the disengage champions landing their keep away abilities. If they falter or die, the rest of the team might be caught like Lillia in headlights.
- Front to Back
- Figuring out who to target in a teamfight can be the difference between victory and defeat.
- Depending on your own champion and the situation, you will have to make decisions based on your abilities and the skill and power of your opponents.
- It’s generally good form to strike at the strongest (damage-dealing) opponents in order to remove them from the board.
- Most tanks in League have abilities to increase their survivability and disrupt teamfights to force champions to focus on tanks instead.
- However, if you are provided clear sight to provide one-sided damage to their carries, in most situations, get after them.
- If you are the damage-dealer of your team, it’s good to literally just fire away at whoever is in front of you in most situations. Until you get to more advanced target selection, firing away at the people trying to take you out is always a good choice, especially if your team is moving back with you, protecting you as you dish out the damage
- If you’re the support, you don’t want to do so much damage as to either Stun or immobilize enemies, or peel for your damage dealers.
- Peeling and protection
- If you’re a support or happen to be playing a champion that is great at keeping opposing champions away, your job in teamfights is to keep your damage dealers and tanks alive.
- In that sense, focusing on your own team to look at priority targets for protection becomes the most important thing to do. Who is getting the most damage focused on them right now? Who looks like they’re about to get jumped on by an assassin, which member of your team needs the most help? All these are questions you need to ask yourself during teamfights in order to keep members alive and to turn a teamfight into a victory.
- All that gold you’re accumulating should be spent on something. Items. They make your characters stronger. They’ll hit harder, move faster, and are generally harder to kill.
- Many champions have a core build path of 2-3 items that they build almost every game regardless of matchup. When starting out it is safe to follow guides on sites like u.gg or op.gg for itemization, but once you get more comfortable with the item system you can experiment more and learn to itemize into specific matchups and team comps. Every champion builds a Mythic Item, a powerful item commonly first in your buildpath that empowers additional items you build with bonus stats. Some champions have a few mythic items to choose from, although the one that you end up building is probably more meta dependent than matchup dependent.
- The starting items for every character save for supports are mostly one of these 6 items.
- Doran’s Blade – Bit of Health, bit of Attack Damage, and omnivamp (which heals you based on the damage done by your abilities) – Commonly picked by fighters, Ranged AD champions, assassin’s.
- Doran’s Shield – Health, but has a passive that allows for health regeneration once you’re hit by an opposing champions ability – commonly selected by tanks, or lanes in which you know you’re going to get damaged a heck of a lot.
- Doran’s Ring – Health, and Ability Power – Commonly picked by mages, and people who deal magic damage.
- Dark Seal – A more aggressive doran’s ring- built for characters who are trying to snowball and get kills quickly as it grows in power with every takedown. – built either if you’re trying to snowball quickly as a burst mage, or as a safe mage who knows that they can passively grow Dark Seals power without risk of death.
- Cull – A defensive type of Doran’s blade, built for gold generation through killing minions, but not good for combat. – built by champions trying to farm up and scale for later in the game.
- Corrupting Potion – A more unique buy option, this item provides no stats but provides a great deal of health and mana healing. Additionally, while the potion is healing you, the damage you deal has additional burn damage. This item is good for champions that want to sustain themselves in lane, or built by aggressive champions who want to use the burn damage to force you out of lane.
- Greebo has helpfully covered the support starting items in the support role section.
Elevator Pitch on Macro
Just as a disclaimer, Greebo and I are not fantastic at this, but the basics are relatively simple. What you do in the laning phase and early game is the micro. However, there are a few relatively simple tips to keep in mind that will be beneficial for all your games
- League of Legends at its core is not about kills but taking down turrets until you can take down the nexus. You could be down 60 kills, yet if your team takes out the nexus before they do, you’ll have won the game.
- Taking down turrets requires either strength or space. What I mean is that you either need to be strong enough to intimidate or outright take out your opponents guarding the tower, or you need to be smart enough to take turrets while your opponents are focused on other issues.
- This ties into shoving lanes in the mid-game, which is a piece of advice that never really fails. Many times in the mid-game, teams will take Baron only to find that their minion waves are all dead, and waste valuable buff time clearing the minions crowding around their turrets.
- Shoving your wave in the mid-game (this means killing waves and allowing your minions to stack up) can allow you to build pressure on the map that forces your opponents to deal with said waves.
- From that, your team is given space. They can see the opposing champion clearing the wave, and thus know that if they engage in a full-on team fight, that laner will not be in the fight for a certain period of time.
- Furthermore, vision control is exceptionally important in League as well. Knowing enemy locations allow you to take turrets on the opposite side of the map. If they rotate to you and you can see them, your teammates on that side can now push that side of the map.
- You gain vision control by placing vision wards around the map. That’s the trinket that you get when you start the game, and you can purchase red ones for 75 Gold that both give vision, and can disable wards in its vicinity.
- Essentially, vision and objectives are the macro game, and playing the game with those in mind can be a fantastic bath to victory.
- The island of League of Legends, top lane players often find themselves alone, fighting against their opponent in all out, no holds barred, slug fest. Top lamers who win lane often can use that lead to dominate other lanes, as typical champions tend to have crazy strength in the early-mid game. As the game gets later and later, their role can move towards disruption, going towards the carries and soaking up damage while dishing respectable amounts back.
- Laning Phases
- Early Laning
- Depending on your champion, either last hit minions, and stay relatively safe, or go and try your best to take your opponent down. If your jungler is coming top to try and help you take your opponent out, position in a way that fools the enemy into either thinking you’re playing scared and pounce on him with your CC abilities when you are both ready to go.
- If you die early, all is not lost, but it is going to be difficult to exert that similar amount of pressure. Best option is to stay underneath your tower, keep your health high, and try to limit your losses. Remember, League is a team game. There is nothing wrong with playing safe. and letting your teammates do the work.
- Time to leave the island. Your turret, or the enemy turret might be down, and champions are starting to get out of control. If you’re fed, it’s a good time to start joining the fight and exerting your dominance on other lakers. This pressure will result in some lost pressure top, but if you’re able to get your own team going, and are able to get a few towers down, it can be an acceptable trade. Furthermore, as dragons continue to spawn, you may be needed to come down and help your teammates. Either way, Top lane is no longer isolated, and it’s time to look around the map to see places at which your presence could improve your team’s chances of winning. That, or if staying in your lane and forcing pressure might be the best decision.
- For most characters in top-lane, your strength no longer lies in damage, but in your ability to take damage. Be it engaging the enemy, protecting your teammates, or being an all around nuisance, your role now is to be as much of a pain as possible. Get all your damage out there in teamfights, try to force your opponents to burn spells, utility, everything. You probably won’t survive, but as long as your carries can take the rest of them down, you’ve won the game
- For certain characters though, you are now the carry, and it’s your responsibility to stay alive enough to let your damage overwhelm your opponents. It is thankfully similar to other carry roles. Stay back, try to take out everything that moves, or take out the biggest threat if you think that’ll win you the engagement.
- Early Laning
- Summoner Spells
- Teleport: Crazy strong if used to its fullest power –
- Ignite: One kill is all it takes. That is more true in top then any other lane. Top is far and away the most skirmish heavy lane out there, and more so than any other lane, many top laners are designed to get a lead and push it to excruciating levels, and ignite is great at helping you get that lead.
- Ghost: Ghost is a significantly underrated summoner spell. Ghost is flexible, much like flash, and the speedup can be utilized to chase down an opponent or flee a doomed situation. It’s low cooldown ensures it’s up almost every time you need it. Similar to ignite, its main drawback is that it’s not tp, but give it a try sometime.
- Types of subroles
- Split-Pusher – These people have monstrous 1v1 duelling power, but don’t exactly contribute much to teamfights. Tryndamere and Fiora are good examples of split-pushers. If you play these champions, you want to snowball your lane, and hard. You want to exert pressure on the map by shoving your lane all the way down, taking as many turrets as possible and forcing people to leave their lanes to try and deal with you. There are some fighter that excel at split pushing i.e. Yorick, but they are few and far between.
- Tank – Big, burly, these guys want to be in the middle of teamfights, soaking up as much damage and attention as possible. By forcing opponents to spend valuable time, resources, and abilities trying to whittle you down, tanks give their team the opportunity to take the upper hand in a skirmish or a teamfight. With high enough base damages to scare damage dealers from early to mid game, tanks want to get into huge teamfights. Champions like Ornn, Maokai, Shen, are all fantastic tanks.
- Fighters – A great mix of both split-pushers and tanks, fighters are great at both taking damage, and soaking damage. While this might seem like the best of both worlds, their inability to truly master one or two roles can sometimes lead to problems if they lack the damage to kill carries, or lack the tankiness to survive against them. You can separate fighters into two roles: Divers, or Juggernauts
- Divers – Mobile, fast, deal high amounts of damage but can’t take as much damage as tanks or juggernauts. Divers in the top lane would be Camille, Rengar, Irelia, etc. Go in, deal extreme damage, and try not to die. Champions like these are big threats if left unchecked, but will often falter under extreme team pressure.
- Juggernauts – My personal favourite (William). These champions don’t have that much mobility, but are strong at dealing and taking damage. Most of these champions have healing in their kit, and if played correctly can win games by themselves. Bullies by nature, play these champions if you want to stomp your lane, and use that dominance to win the game near single handedly. However, if you find yourself behind, or are unable to get to the enemy due to strong disengage, Juggernauts will quickly find themselves in trouble. Champions representing this role are : Aatrox, Darius, Mordekaiser, Volibear, Sett, etc.
- Common difficult matchups
- Darius – The Hand of Noxus
- Big bully with an axe. People have had trouble with the “Hand of Noxus” ever since he was released more than 8 years ago. His damage, bleed stacks, and ultimate have even given professionals a run for their money. The key to beating Darius lies in either superb teamfighting, or having excellent knowledge of both you, and Darius’s abilities. I don’t want to get too in-depth, but the huge thing to be afraid of for Darius is that he thrives in extended skirmishes. Drawn out brawls allow him to stack his passive bleeds, which can also allow his ultimate do to incredible amounts of damage. Thus, keeping Darius back, or backing off once he wades into a fight is your best option. Another option to consider is to kite him with your carries and mages. As fast as he could be with items and summoner spells, proper disengage can shut this juggernaut down before he even gets going.
- Vayne – The Night Hunter
- This is an unorthodox pick that has been growing in popularity for quite some time. Where top lane was once a classy affair with melee battles, someone decided to throw a tank-killed ranged carry into the mix. Her range is frustrating, and her ‘condemn’ (E ability) can push opponents back, preventing you from getting onto her and retaliating that damage you’ve lost. The best way of dealing with her is to try and get some early help from your jungler, or to try and capitalize on her weaknesses. While she is ranged, she’s extremely squishy, and burst damage can very quickly take her out of the equation.
- Darius – The Hand of Noxus
- Midlane is one of the most influential roles in the game, second only to the jungler. Good synergy between midlaners and junglers can dominate games. A good mid laner will look to help the jungler, shove waves, influence other lanes, and of course duel their enemy mid laner. It is also VERY important to keep track of the enemy mid laner as best you can, letting your teammates know if your opponent is gone. Most mid-laners can have incredible power if they are given kills or farm, and they are not to be underestimated at any point in the game.
- Laning phase
- Early laning
- During the early levels (pre lvl 6) your primary focus should be last hitting minions and poking the enemy laner with autos/some spells. Be careful not to spam spells before your first back/base if your champion uses mana because you will quickly run out of mana and not be able to use spells to cs and defend yourself from the enemy laner. Getting a gold lead over the enemy mid can help you dominate the game even harder.
- Level powerspikes vary based on your champion, but nearly every champion has a fairly large power spike at level 6 when they gain their ultimate ability. Certain champions need their ultimates more than others, but overall your ultimate will unlock your champions whole potential. Continue last-hitting minions and trading with the enemy laner, and don’t be afraid to make aggressive plays and try to solo-kill them if you are ahead. Some team fights might break out in the midgame, especially around the dragon. Your goal in a teamfight is very champion dependent, but typically a midlaner will either be an assassin whose goal is to kill the opponent’s AD Carry, or a mage whose job is to cast spells and generally deal consistent damage while safely positioning behind their tanks. When fighting around dragon be sure that you and your team don’t get poked too hard by the dragon itself, the damage will add up quickly and put you at a huge disadvantage. Overall in teamfights it is important to position yourself so that you can deal damage and not be killed by the enemy carries.
- Your goal in the lategame is pretty similar to midgame. You still want to make sure that you are outputting damage in teamfights while staying behind your frontline, as well as shoving in waves whenever possible. Taking out the first tower in midlane can help open up the map for your team, allowing you to gain vision control of their jungle and generally apply more pressure. The mid turret may have already dropped by this point but if it hasn’t, make that your #1 goal. Ultimately the goal in League is to destroy the enemy nexus, and taking out towers is the first step towards this goal.
- Early laning
- Summoner Spells:
- Ignite: Many midlaners take ignite as it gives you the best chance to land a solo-kill or secure a kill from a gank if the enemy laner flashes away. It also applies anti-heal, not relevant for most midlaners but some will be incredibly crippled by this (Sylas W).
- Teleport: Safer midlaners who are looking to farm through the laning phase without being aggressive may take TP to have more map presence and ensure that if they get bullied out of lane they can TP back to their tower and not miss too many minions. Typically control mages will opt for teleport (Orianna, Malzahar).
- Barrier: Spell for safe laning phase/avoiding deaths from bursty champions. Usually taken by mages, especially immobile ones such as Lux. Barrier is used to negate burst damage from an all-in with the shield and respond with spells or simply disengage.
- Cleanse: Very situational spell, but can be a lifesaver into certain champions (Zoe) who heavily rely on their cc ability to do most of their damage. Zoe does significantly increased damage if she hits her Q ability on a target affected by her E (sleep), so having cleanse can quite literally save your life, catch the enemy off guard and let you respond quickly. Generally if you are playing into a laner that is heavily reliant on cc (crowd control) abilities cleanse can be a very good call. It’s also worth checking what the other enemies, especially the jungler, have that is cleansable, as that can make the difference in dodging a gank or avoiding getting picked late game. Note that certain types of cc cannot be cleansed, such as Malzahar ultimate (suppression) and Yasuo Q (airborne).
- Artillery Mages: Ziggs, Lux, Xerath, etc.
- These champions excel at doing a lot of damage from a very long distance. They like to stay as far away from their opponent as possible, and get damage in without any risk of a counterattack. They struggle more than anyone else when an enemy gets on top of them however, as they often have very little to no tools in the way of repositioning themselves, and missing their limited self peel ability can mean certain death.
- Control Mages: Syndra, Malzahar, Orianna, etc.
- These mages are all about teamfights. They usually come with the ability to lock entire teams down with their abilities, and have more cc than any other type of mage, while typically packing some utility to boot. This often comes in the form of a game changing ultimate or ability combo. They are often very reliant on their ultimate and can be easy pickings without it. In addition, like artillery mages, a lack of mobility is a serious weakness with these champions, and positioning is extremely important as a result.
- Burst Mages: Annie, Leblanc, Zoe, etc.
- Burst mages are all about one thing. Damage. These champions provide the ability to 100 to 0 any squishy player on the map, and when piloted well, can feel downright oppressive to play against. When burst mages are on the map, the existence of the enemy ADC is a crime, one burst mages seek to rectify at all times. Burst mages rely on creative positioning and ambush tactics to get on top of their target and delete them from the video game, putting the team in an advantageous position in a 4 v 5, or even trading with a pivotal enemy setting up a 4v4. However, All of them are sitting ducks if caught out with cooldowns down.
- Assassins: Zed, Talon, Ekko, etc.
- Assassins share a very similar philosophy to burst mages, but bring one extra addition to the table, mobility. They sacrifice their range, and oftentimes swap to physical damage in exchange for multiple abilities that allow them to dash around and outplay their opponents. Due to the squishy nature of assassins, and the all in nature of their kit, they rely on this mobility to keep them alive, allowing them to weave their way through fights, and keep the enemy guessing where they’re going to go next. Either that, or they hope to burst their opponent down before they have the opportunity to fight back. It is this squishiness that is their greatest weakness however, as if they jump in and get locked down by some form of CC, it’s all over for them. They don’t have the tankiness to live through the sustained focus of a team, and as such can find themselves struggling as the game goes on and the enemy starts grouping.
- DPS Mages: Cassiopea, Azir, Ryze, etc.
- Specializing in consistent high DPS at a range, these laners often possess an ability that they can spam in some form in a similar way to an ADC. As such, when they come online, there is very little that can match them in the DPS department, as they never really have to worry about cooldowns, and, if unhindered by the enemy, can instead focus on putting out consistently high damage, DPS mages greatest strength is also their greatest weaknesses, they deal consistent damage. Unless they are ahead, DPS mages do not deal a lot of burst damage. Their other weakness is that they are almost universally weak early game, relying on a few items to truly come online and start dealing scary amounts of damage.
- Artillery Mages: Ziggs, Lux, Xerath, etc.
- Commonly Difficult Matchups:
- Yasuo – The Unforgiven
- If you play mid lane you will inevitably face some rather annoying and hard to deal with laners, none more so than Yasuo. Yasuo is a notoriously hated champion that feels horrible to play against if you don’t know how he works. His E ability allows him to dash through minions and has no cooldown, but he cannot dash through the same target twice for a longer duration. His Q is like an auto attack whose speed and cooldown depends on his attack speed, and once he hits it twice he will get his Q3, throwing a tornado in a straight line in whatever direction he casts, knocking up all enemies it hits. This allows him to use his R, which requires enemies to be airborne, holding them airborne for a few more seconds and dealing damage. His W is his most oppressive ability, it is a wind wall that blocks all projectiles that hit it, meaning it shuts down a lot of mid lane mages. The main thing to know about Yasuo is that his W has a very long cooldown, around 25 seconds. If you can bait out this ability you can safely cast projectile abilities without fear of them being deleted. His passive ability can also be slightly annoying. He builds up a passive bar by walking around and when fully stacked he gains a shield the next time he takes damage. The best way to deal with this is to consistently auto attack him in lane, ensuring that his passive always gets popped whenever it’s available, allowing you to kill him more easily if you have the means to do so.
- Zed – The Master of Shadows
- Zed is another champion that excels at shutting down mages in lane and can be extremely hard to deal with due to his high mobility and outplay potential. He is designed around his W ability that creates a shadow clone of himself. The clone cannot move, but casts abilities whenever Zed does. His Q throws a shuriken and his E slashes in a short radius around him and slows the opponent. Zeds often throw their shadow clone in very close proximity to their opponent and quickly spam their E and Q abilities to do massive damage. He becomes really scary at level 6 with his R, which applies a deathmark to you, puts him behind you and leaves a shadow clone at the spot he cast it from. After a short duration all of the damage that he does to you during the deathmark is amplified based on the ability’s level in one final hit. Zed’s all in with his R can easily catch squishy mages off guard and net Zed a free kill. The way to counter him as a mage is to play safe and do your best to keep moving so he has a harder time landing combos. His W has a long cooldown, especially during laning phase so you can capitalize on this as well, although be careful when approaching him when his shadow clone is still on the field as he can W again to switch places with his clone to get in your face. You can also buy Seekers Armguard, a fairly cheap item that gives you some extra armor, and Stopwatch which allows you to make your champion invulnerable to damage for a short duration in exchange for being stationary during this duration. Using Stopwatch when Zeds R is about to pop can avoid early death and not allow him to snowball off his early lane pressure.
- Yasuo – The Unforgiven
A role that has a ton of pressure, but also has a ton of agency and freedom in how to influence games to their favour. However, there’s a lot to learn about Jungling, and it is a unique role unlike any other in League of Legends.
- The Jungle – Overview
- Unlike the regular lanes, Junglers do not kill minions in order to level up. Instead, Junglers take out neutral camps located around the map. Their role in League of Legends is not to win their lane, as they don’t have one but is to help their teammates win theirs through pressure and ganking. (which is to come to a teammates lane to try and either kill or at least force their opponent back)
- In the Jungle, the main monsters other than the epic monsters are the Red and Blue Buff monsters.
- Red Buff – medium-sized monster that does respectable damage, but killing it grants you a buff that gives health regen and allows your basic-attacks to slow and deal a true-damage burn over dime.
- Blue Buff– Another medium monster, killing this one gives you increased Mana regen as well as ability haste (which allows you to cast your abilities more)
- There are a variety of other monsters out there that give EXP but no buffs.
- Scuttle Crab – This is a bit more important as it’s a neutral camp that spawns in the middle of the river, allowing for early skirmishes to happen. It also gives a large amount of experience and gold to the slayer.
- Blue and Red Smite
- After smiting 5 large camps, your smite will transform into blue or red smite, different depending on what you bought back when the game first spawned.
- At this point, your smite can now be used on enemy champions. See the above summoner spell sections to understand what Red and Blue smite will do.
- Which one to take? That depends on your champion. A good rule of thumb is to google what smite is commonly taken by the champion you’re taking into the Jungle. OP.GG is a good site that can help you figure out which Smite to take.
- Ganking and Taking Objectives
- Your role as a Jungler boils down to controlling neutral objectives like Dragon, Rift Herald, Baron Nashor, and Scuttle Crab.
- Your other role also comes as assisting lanes in pushing for leads or staving off possibly losing lanes.
- The plans sound simple, but the execution is incredibly difficult. Ganking lanes requires good communication with your laners, and if the enemy is playing safe and warding effectively, your role becomes doubly harder.
- The jungle role greatly varies depending on the situation, because if your laners are winning, your job might be to simply take objectives, letting your laners dominance help you control the neutral game of League of Legends. If your lanes are losing, your job might transition to protecting your laners, trying to turn the odds back into your favour.
- Early Game
- Take your camps, and get ready for the Scuttle Crab to spawn at 3:15. This is a neutral objective that provides a significant amount of experience and gold. Two of them will spawn on the map, and oftentimes Junglers will split the two. However, in some situations, you’re going to clash with the jungle over the same scuttle crab.
- If that situation happens, check your champion vs theirs to understand if you would win in a straight on 1v1. If you are not at all confident, give up, rotate immediately to the next scuttle and try to take it. If you really need the scuttle, you can also request your laners come to help, but they may not be available.
- Depending on your character, you’ll either be power farming, pushing to hit level 6 so you can start ganking, or you’ll have already started to think about ganking other lanes.
- Farming laners have a pretty clear cut path ahead of them, but ganking junglers now can take a look around the 3 lanes. Which lanes are pushed up? (opposing laners are past the river, which means ganking is easier), are my teammates low? (might mean that the opponent may try to dive them)
- Sometimes though, the easiest way to go about it is to go to your closest lane and let them know you’re ganking. Follow up on their engagement, or engage first so that your laner can follow up, and then it’s up to mechanics from there.
- The first Dragon should be taken soon, either by you or the opponent. In lower rank and levelled games, junglers may avoid the Dragon and focus on kills. In that situation, get to a point where you’re able to take the dragon by yourself, and sneak it past the enemy.
- Same deal as normal, but you’re going to start thinking about Baron, and Dragon Soul. Furthermore, your smite now becomes more crucial as opposing damage becomes stronger. You have to have pinpoint smiting in order to guarantee objectives, but gaining these objectives will give you the upper hand in controlling the game.
- The same plan as mid-game, but your smite is now extremely important, as Baron and the Elder Dragon, potentially game-ending objectives will be up. Other than that, execute your role according to your champion archetype, and make sure to remind your team of important objectives.
- There is no summoner spell section here, as junglers MUST take smite, no exceptions. Flash is also nearly mandatory, save a few specific junglers.
- Common Jungle Terrors
- Olaf – The Berserker. This Viking has extreme duelling power and loves to charge into enemy junglers and fight them for control of their own objectives. His ultimate renders him immune to all forms of crowd control, making it extremely difficult to deal with if he gets ahead. It can be a bit frustrating to deal with his damage and chasing power early game, but he can be shut down effectively with team pressure. Furthermore, his lack of hard CC can be exploited with effective kiting, and CC of your own. When his ultimate is used, don’t bother CC’ing him, and either burst him down or try to get away from him. Olaf loves the fight, but nothing will frustrate the Berserker more than kiting him and sending him to an early Valhalla.
- Master Yi – The Wuju Bladesman. The (once) last practitioner of an ancient sword style, Master Yi has mastered the art of completely destroying your team if he gets fed enough. With abilities that heal, make him untargetable, and an ultimate that makes him extremely fast and immune to slows, he can overwhelm a team in mere seconds. With most carries like him though, shutting him down lies in strong teamwork and crowd control. Even stopping his attacks for a second can give your team the window to take him down. Furthermore, teams that counter auto-attacking champions like Malphite or Rammus would salivate at fighting Master Yi, as they innately counter the swordsman.
Unloved, underappreciated, but by god are Supports influential, this role can carry just as hard as any other lane in the game. While it may not seem like it, supports can influence games through strong vision control, crowd control, and protection of their teammates.
- Warding: While this task should be delegated to everyone, supports typically well get an item that allows them to place wards around the map, providing vision of enemies as they pass through the vision of the ward. this may not seem like much, but this is literally one the most important things in the game. Knowing where your opponent is and isn’t can allow your team to take objectives or fights without fear of being surprised with an ambush. Supports have more wards than everybody else, and thus you’re generally expected to place wards around the map in high traffic areas, giving you an understanding of your enemies movements and actions.
- Support Items: As a support, you’re expected to be able to function with significantly less than other roles. Because of this, every piece of gold, matters just that much more to you. These are your entire income system as support. Utilizing these things well is the most essential thing to start with if you want to get some items. In addition to that, once you get 500 gold, these bad boys turn into ward items, and then at 1000, upgrade again. Be aware that once they do, you will no longer get gold from their unique requirements (kill minions, hit enemies).
- Shoulderguards and Relic Shield: You should do your best to never have more than one of those blue boys that spin around you at a time. These bad boys give both you and your nearest ally the kill gold when you last hit a minion. To help with this they execute any minion you auto-attack under 50% hp. When you have more than one, your first priority, save the enemy engaging, is getting a minion kill on a melee minion. The reason you save one is because before 20 minutes, every third wave is bringing with it a piggy bank. The cannon minion. You have all rights to that cannon minion, and it is expected from both you and your ADC that you will get it. They give by far the most gold of any minion, and that’s what you want to save the final orb for. With Relic Shield you can only share minion gold. Jungle monsters, wards and character summons will not share gold, nor consume a proc.
- Spellthief’s and Umbral Glaive: These are spicy. You get 20 gold every time you hit someone while a stack is up. It gains 1 stack every 10 seconds, and can hold up to 3. Depending on the matchup this might be harder to do. It’s best utilized by ranged supports into enemy melee supports, as they’re easy procs every time they go for a minion. Be aware of what the enemy can do to you in return, however, because people don’t like getting hit very much, and some supports can punish you big time for stepping a bit out of line.
- This is very dependent on who you are playing, who you are playing with, and who you are playing against, but should the opportunity arise, typically when you have pushed the enemy under their tower, you can leave your lane and roam. There are two major objectives when roaming, vision control and ganking. If you know where the jungler is so that you can avoid them, or have an escape route, a ward in the enemy jungle is the most valuable ward you can place early game. In addition, if midlane, or in some circumstances top lane, is pushed up, you can work with your laner and jungler to set up a 3v1, almost guaranteeing a kill or flash if you play it right. Try to time these with an objective, typically dragon for mid, or herald for top in order to capitalize off the pressure and turn it into said objective. Be aware, you are still a support, and you are sharing xp with your laner, meaning you are naturally weaker than most other champions, so if no teammates are nearby, be very careful about engaging an enemy.
- Summoner Spells
- Ignite – The choice for aggressive supports. Pick this if you’re trying to get kills in lane, and want to dominate and be aggressive
- Exhaust – The choice for more passive supports. Select this if your opponents want to go aggressive, and this spell will slow them down, and make it hard for them to kill you.
- Types of subroles
- There are a lot of supports in league, and due to the overlap it is impossible to accurately summarize everyone into one of these four roles, but as an intro this a good way to think about what different league supports want to do, and how they play. Including their strengths and weaknesses. Just know that for every category there are exceptions, and that there are champions that fit into multiple or none of these subroles.
- Engage: Leona, Alistar, Rell, etc.
- These are the big bulky boys. Almost always melee, and almost always tanky. These champions come packed with cc and typically have one or more mobility spells to ensure they can get on top of an enemy and keep them there. They also do well to keep enemies off a target, locking them down if they get in range. While they are strong, their options are often very committal, and you won’t have much in the way of escape once you jump on an enemy. They also struggle with being poked down in lane, before they become tanky enough to shrug it off.
- Burst: Brand, Pyke, Zyra, etc.
- These champions have multiple long range abilities that do a lot of damage. While they fill a similar role to enchanter mages in lane, using their abilities to slowly whittle down the enemies every time they step up for cs, where burst mages truly shine is in the late game or when they get a lead. Because while normal supports are never going to be the major damage source of a team, burst supports trade utility for pure damage, gaining the ability to absolutely remove a champion from the game. Sometimes even whole teams (Looking at you Brand). Where this falters however, is that because you are reliant on damage, you are reliant on items. If you fall behind in lane, or even just struggle to get a lead, you can very quickly see your damage reduced to slivers. Where enchanter supports can offer utility to the team, burst supports live and die by how much damage they can do.
- Enchanters: Sona, Seraphine, Janna, etc.
- Enchanters take the core ideal of support and stretch it out to its limits. They dedicate their lives to not only helping their carry survive but also to make them an unstoppable wrecking ball of destruction. These champions usually have an ability to poke the enemy in lane, alongside two abilities to boost and heal/shield their allies. On top of this, they typically have the most game-changing ultimates of any support. Through all this utility, and proper itemization, enchanters can elevate their teammates beyond what is normally achievable, and win games all without people ever realizing what they’ve done. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows however, due to this buffing ability, enchanters are 100% reliant on their teammates. While an engage support can rely on sheer bulk, a burst support on damage and a protective support on mobility, if an enchanter is caught out, all they have is their ultimate. This makes Enchanters deceptively difficult to pilot effectively, and a pretty common beginner trap.
- Protectors: Braum, Tahm Kench, Taric, etc.
- These champions excel at keeping important teammates alive in the face of overwhelming odds. When staring down three different assassins looking to tear them apart oftentimes it can be impossible for your squishy teammates to even play the game. This is where protectors come in. They’re the big brother coming in to keep his sibling safe from the bullies. Protectors come full of abilities to improve their teammates’ survivability. Be it through taking bullets meant for others, repositioning teammates out of a bad situation or even making it physically impossible to target your ally, protectors are often the difference between an ally surviving and winning the fight, or getting blown up within the first 3 seconds. This is not to say they do not have their drawbacks. Protective champions excel against champions that force the issue and come to you. You have very little in the way of bringing the fight to an enemy, and a long-range damage dealer on the enemy team can often just delete you, and then go to your teammate. This is easily the most team comp specific type of support champion.
- Common Terror Matchups
- Blitzcrank – The Great Steam Golem
- Just dodge the hook. Jokes aside, Blitzcrank is a terror in all matchups and skill levels due to one singular ability, his Rocket Grab, an extendable arm that shoots out of his right arm, yanking you towards him. On a relatively short cooldown, the number one way to avoid this when playing against Blitzcrank is to stay close to your minions. As the hook will be blocked by minions, his skill is nullified. Good Blitzcranks will try to get to you first, but in truth, a large part of playing against Blitzcrank is to really play around dodging his skillshots.
- Thresh – The Chain Warden
- Also a hook champion, but his sheer versatility and CC offered in his kit makes it extremely difficult for newbies to play against. However, he is weak to poke champions, and skilled players will learn to dodge his abilities. Seriously, DODGE THE HOOKS. Otherwise, playing champions that like to nullify CC like Morgana or Tahm Kench could be your best bet.
- Blitzcrank – The Great Steam Golem
- Last and definitely not least is botlane, where you’re normally an ADC, but at the bare minimum are playing a carry for your team. This role is incredibly influential in the outcome of a game, as many of these carries can become nigh-uncounterable in the late game, winning engagements single-handedly. Depending on your matchup, either winning your lane hard, or playing well enough for the late game will be your win condition. Laning phase is incredibly important, as dying in the bot-lane can quickly snowball an opponent out of control, especially if they are playing snowball champions like Samira, or Vayne. For most new players, I would recommend playing bot lane last, just because I find it tends to be the most punishing if you fail, and the most demanding in terms of mechanics and working with your teammates.
- Laning phase
- Early Game – Thanks to supports, the sheer amount of variety in the bottom lane makes having an all-encompassing guide quite difficult. However, one thing that every bot laner shares is a relatively weak early. In the early game, supports generally dictate a lot of the early ebb and flow, but playing with your support is extremely important if you want to go out ahead. Make sure to let your support know if you want to play aggressive, or play passively depending on your preferences. However, if they decide to go all in, and land key abilities on your opposing laner, you may have no choice but to help them. Regardless, the same standards for laning apply. Farm well, try to land some key abilities, and if you’re confident in you and your supports abilities to get the kill, try all-in.
- Mid Game – Again, heavily dependent on the situation. If you are fed, you can start taking your skills and abilities to other lanes, using your ranged damage to push out mid laners and other laners, which might be as strong. While you have to continue CSing, your strength is only growing now. On the flip-side, if you are not fed, you may have to wait for a longer while before you become fed. In that situation, play extremely safely, and keep your wave frozen as best you can. ‘Freezing’ entails only hitting the minions when they are extremely low, allowing the enemy minion waves to stay ‘frozen’, not moving forward into dangerous territory. When teamfights happen around you, your number one opportunity is to deal as much damage as possible, and to stay alive. The difficulty of bot laners lie in the fact that most of them tend to be extremely fragile, and you have to play very carefully to ensure that your opponents don’t get the drop on you.
- Dragons will grow in priority for you as it’s located close to the bottom lane, and your jungler may require your help to either take it, or contest it against the opposing jungler. Obtaining the upper hand in the early game can make this much easier, but if you lost lane, it does not mean that you have to give the Dragon up. Continue farming and attempting to reach that power spike.
- Late Game – This is where the ADC role becomes extremely important. By now, you should have enough damage to shred most of the enemies you come up against. Even if you don’t have enough damage, your role is the same. Deal as much damage as you can, and attempt to stay alive at all odds. Dying may not be bad if you’re able to kill the entire team as a result, but it is time to carry and take out your opponents by using your skills and items to win the teamfight and the game.
- I put a separate part in this because it is so important for Bot Laners in general, even if you’re a mage. Standing still, especially in the current state of League of Legends means certain death. When you’re fighting a melee opponent who’s coming at you, try to maintain your distance against them. If you’re able to keep that distance, it’ll be hard for them to get their damage off.
- Click on the enemy to fire a basic attack, then turn back to walk a slight distance. Rinse and repeat. That’s the basics of kiting. Do not stay still, as it will give melee’s the opportunity to jump onto you. Maintain the distance, and always keep moving.
- Common Summoner Spells
- Heal – Standard fare for most Bot Laners. You need this to heal against mages or other carries trying to burst you down. It could give you chase potential, and could also give you the movement speed to get out. 95% of my games have the bot lane take Heal.
- Barrier – This spell used to be the standard before Heal started giving movement speed. It’s still picked in some situations where your support might go heal instead. Big barrier, blocks against huge burst, I might pick this into teams with massive burst, but it’s very situational
- Ignite – Rare, but not altogether unusual. You’ll sometimes see bullies like Lucian, Draven, and even Samira go this summoner spell. The champions like to get into your face, and as they’re in your face they use ignite to multiply the damage.
- Honestly though, using Flash and Heal is most likely our safest option. You can experiment around, but there’s most likely a reason why people predominantly use the aforementioned summoner spells.
- Common Archetypes and Matchups
- Poke (Caitlyn, Ezreal)
- These champions want to get you out of lane through poking you down with their superior range. Both of these champions stay safe behind their minions, and have long ranged abilities to supplement their long ranged playstyle. Given enough farm though, these champions can contend with the best of them, lazing everyone around them with precision skill shots and kiting.
- Their weaknesses lie in aggression in the early and mid game. While they have the survivability to last during trades, extreme aggression in the early game can force them out of lane, and keep them out of the game for a while. Buying lifesteal can also help you survive against their pokes.
- Bullies (Draven, Lucian)
- These champions want to assert dominance in lane through strong trading, forcing you out of lane and even outright killing you in some situations. You want to be in the thick of fights in the early game at most points, crushing your enemies with high damage auto-attacks, or spellweaving.
- Granted, the weaknesses of these champions come in the extreme late game, where some ADC’s will innately be stronger than you (Jinx, Vayne). There will come a time when your strength may no longer be as effective, and you want to win the game before that fall-off.
- Hypercarries (Vayne, Twitch, Jinx)
- Relatively weak early games compared to poke and bully archetypes, these champions will rely more on their supports to get through the early game/laning phase. However, with a couple kills and items, they will do more damage than anyone else in the game, taking over and putting teams on their backs.
- Of course, this power spike can be delayed if bullies and poke bot lakers capitalize hard enough on their weak early games.
- DPS Mages
- This was covered in the mid-lane guide, but essentially take those strengths and weaknesses, and place them botlane. These mages can become a huge problem because of their ability power, and coupled with perhaps an Assassin mid can make them even more dangerous, as tanks will have to itemize for both armor and magic resist.
- Poke (Caitlyn, Ezreal)
General Tips for Starting
- Try every role. This is going to be a long endeavour but a good way to get a truly comprehensive understanding of League is to learn a champion in every single role of the game. It might seem overwhelming, but putting in the grind to get a champion in each role to mastery 5 will let you understand how all the roles play into each other, and will definitely show improvement in the main role you ultimately commit to.
- Build your champ pool within your role. While one champion in each role is enough to get a basic understanding of the role’s general function, each role is nuanced and diverse. One champion, while strong, will not be enough to carry you through every meta, and every match up. You will need to have some other tricks in your back pocket. So to this end, work on learning a champion that fits each sub role of the main role you chose to partake in. This will not only help you understand the weaknesses of each subrole on a more intimate level, it will also ensure that you are flexible enough not to get countered by a single strategy. That is not to say don’t have a main, as a pocket pick can be a very strong weapon, just do not hamstring yourself to one champion this early on. As soon as you feel comfortable enough with a champion (mastery 5 is a good indicator but not perfect) move on and try another.
- Here are suggestions for champions you should try in each role. I have tried to keep them cheap, as blue essence is a commodity in short supply in league.
- Top Lane
- Malphite: Very easy heavy armor champion who is a nightmare for a lot of top laners to deal with. His ultimate is a very high-impact low-skill ability, and his laning phase is quite safe and strong. Many top laners are AD, and Malphite naturally gains a lot of armor and has scaling that increases his damage when he builds armor. In the very early levels (1-3) you have to play very safely, as your primary trading ability Q costs a lot of mana to use so you don’t want to spam it. Once you gain a few levels and buy some armor items you can dominate even the most aggressive top laners, such as Fiora, Jax, Wukong, Gnar, etc. Your ultimate dashes you to an area where you knock-up every target in a radius. This ultimate is extremely easy to use and can change the course of a teamfight. It is also an excellent setup for Yasuo, a popular midlaner who needs champions to be airborne to use his ultimate.
- Mid Lane
- Annie: She is easy to use, and gives you a more impactful and immediate source of damage. She lacks the sustained damage of Malzahar or the range of Ziggs, but she makes up for it with upfront burst damage and teamwide cc. You can play her very similarly to Malz, which in addition to her simplicity is why I recommend her.
- Ahri: Ahri is a bit of a mix up from what you’re used to. Adding mobility into the mix. Her ult allows her to dash up to three times, and the playmaking potential that gives you is absurd. In addition to that, it allows you to be extremely safe and often puts you in control of the lane. Able to dictate exactly how aggressive you want your opponent to play just through positioning and the threat of Ahri’s almighty charm. Ahri’s e is a straight line projectile that charms the first enemy hit, allowing you to slam them with free damage. Critical use of this ability is essential to Ahri’s success, and playing her should start letting you think about playing around cooldowns and defining abilities.
- Talon: fairly simple AD (attack damage) midlaner that allows you to be hyper-aggressive from levels 1-3 and 6. Talon can easily cheese first blood at level 2 with his W and Q. This is because Talon’s passive causes opposing champions to bleed a lot of damage when you auto them after hitting 3 abilities. Your W goes forward and back, counting as 2 hits, Q jumps you onto them for the 3rd hit and an auto + ignite can get you a free early kill. Talon’s E allows him to jump over walls, meaning you can take creative roaming paths to avoid vision to catch the opponents off guard.
- Warwick: Strong jungle clear speed, strong crowd control, and an easy kit that allows you to gank lanes well, yet still be effective in one on one duels
- Vi: Another strong kit with high damage and a point and click ultimate which instantly locks down a champion.
- Seraphine: Sona 2.0 but better
- Braum: Good branch between assisting supports and engage supports, his large shield can intercept projectiles, really protecting your carries from damage in the best way possible.
- Sivir: Simple and easy to pick up, her Q is a simple ability, her W modifies her autos to ricochet around the enemy, her E is a spell shield which is fantastic at all phases in the game, and her ultimate simply makes your entire team extremely fast for a short period of time. She’s a fantastic, safe laner that does relatively well at all stages of the game.
- Lucian: A bit more complicated, as he introduces the spell-weaving concept into the ADC role, but is still relatively simple compared to the more complicated ADC’s out there. He is quite close range, but his high damage at nearly all stages of the game ensure that he will always
- Top Lane
Play with unlocked camera
- The earlier you learn, the better. I’ve seen too many players spend years playing on locked camera, and are unable to make the switch after so much time and muscle memory has been built. I highly recommend suffering through it for a few games if you’re not already doing so, as you will really come to appreciate the effort down the road. The flexibility and awareness it grants you is invaluable.
- (Note : It’s not a must, I (William) still play locked camera, but it has screwed me in a few ways).
And that is all! We hope that this has helped you get more into League of Legends, and we’d love to see more players enter the rift. Despite all it’s shortcomings, Greebo and I love League of Legends, and we hope you do too! Any questions or any more things that we could add to this guide, send it over in a comment below, and we’ll try our best to answer and add it to the guide. Below this guide is just a few small shortcuts to help you play, and some terminology attached in case you didn’t understand some of our slang in this guide. Thank You!
- Keyboard shortcuts
- B: Recall
- P: Shop
- A: Move to a destination and attack anything you encounter along the way (attack + move)
- Ctrl + Ability key: Level up said key’s respective ability.
- Tab (hold): show the scoreboard
- O: Toggle the visibility of the scoreboard
- C: Shows extended character stats
- T: Emote
- Ctrl + mouse drag: Ping
- F2-F5: Switch camera to look at respective teammates. Starting top lane to support.
- Space: Center camera on yourself
- Numbers 1-5: Used for item actives. Preference which number key you use for various item actives.
- Unit: Any type of character, includes minions, champions and jungle creeps
- Minion: Lane minions
- Monsters: Large monsters are the biggest enemy in every jungle camp, small monsters often, but not always surround them. Epic monsters refer to baron and dragon.
- Takedown: Getting a kill or assist
- CC: Crowd Control (listed below)
- Stuned: cannot move or attack
- Rooted: cannot move but can attack
- Airborne: Same as stunned, but some characters can interact with airborne enemies in special ways that they cannot to stunned enemies.
- Grounded: Cannot use dash abilities (Flash, trynd spin etc)
- Charmed: Unable to attack and walk in a straight line to target that charmed you
- Feared: Same as charmed, but walk away from target.
- Silenced: Cannot cast spells
- Blinded: Auto attacks will deal no damage
- Suppressed: Stunned, but cannot be cleansed
- Macro: Strategy around objectives and positioning (Grouping up for a dragon, sending top lane to split push, etc.)
- Micro: mechanical skill with your champion (exact positioning for the fight around dragon, 1v1ing the opponent who comes to answer the split push, etc.)
- Trade: generally refers to solo laners trading non-lethal damage with each other. Winning a trade means you did more damage to the enemy in the trade, though factors such as healing will change the criteria for a won trade..
- Solo-kill: Getting a kill in a 1v1 scenario. (Solo-killing your enemy laner usually means doing so without a jungler gank)
- Slang (This will not include item shorthand)
- B/Base/Back: Recall to base
- CS: Creep Score (Amount of minions killed, or the act of killing minions)
- Nash/Nashor: Baron (Not used often)
- Drag/Drake: Dragon
- Sweeper/sweep: Red Trinket/Using red trinket
- ff: Forfeit/surrender
- ff15: surrender at 15 minutes (when it becomes available)
- ss: Enemy missing (Antiquated with introduction of ping system)
- Kite: Move towards a position away from an enemy, typically while attacking them
- Sums: Summoner Spells (Flash, teleport, ignite etc.)
- Stacks: Champion/item specific, think Nasus q, when he kills a unit with it, he gains stacks. The more stacks he has, the more damage his q does.
- Inting: Originally stemmed from intentionally feeding, now just means someone who dies over and over
- Gank: When the jungler (Or other lanes) comes to a lane to help their teammate kill their opponent.
- Pick: A mid/late game kill on a champion that occurs without a teamfight. (Say as the result of a blitz hook, or catching a split pusher alone)
- Camping: When a jungler ganks one lane repeatedly, they are camping.
- cc: Crowd Control. Stuns, roots, etc anything that immobilizes a champion.
- Wave: Every 30 seconds a group of minions spawn, this is called a wave. If two groups combine due to the previous one not being dead yet, this greater group is also called a wave. Any large stack of minions is a wave.
About the author:
Hey there traveler! I’m William, and I play a lot of Video Games. Feel free to bounce any ideas or just discuss any game under the sun with me. If you’re good at Valorant please carry me as well.