Note that you need to be at least level 6 in order to play the official ARAM game mode.
ARAM stands for All Random All Middle. It is played on the Howling Abyss map which has only one lane, no jungle monsters, and a totally different style from the normal Summoner's Rift map. You are given a random champion from your available champions to play, so you can't choose which champion you want to play yourself. This gives ARAM ones of its unique features compared to the other game modes. As of Patch 6.12, Howling Abyss had a lot of changes that, in my opinion, makes ARAM more fun and exciting to play.
Even though champions are randomly chosen, you are given "rerolls" which reroll the current champion if you do not wish to play it. Rerolls are earned as points by playing ARAM with 250 points giving you 1 reroll. You are given points based on how many champions you have available (need reference to verify this). You can have a maximum of 2 rerolls.
Compared to Summoner's Rift, here are the many differences that Howling Abyss has:
Once again, as a reminder, you cannot shop once you leave your base until you die, so make sure you're satisfied with the items you've bought before leaving the shop area.
This is what the Howling Abyss map looks like:
For each team there is one outer turret, one inhibitor turret, one inhibitor, two Nexus turrets, and the Nexus. There are bushes scattered near the center of the map and in between the inner turret and the inhibitor turret for each team.
|On Howling Abyss, there are four spawns for a health relic. These give you health and mana if you run over them and disappear after someone takes the relic. They start spawning at 3:00 and respawn every minute.
The four green stars indicate where the relics spawn. As of Patch 6.12, their respawn rates and health/mana restores preventing people from staying alive for an extensive period of time. This change lessens the gap between the stronger champions from the weaker and makes games fairer.
At the home screen, go from the play button to the PvP tab. Under the "Game Mode" section, pick ARAM. As of Patch 6.12 there should only be one game map and game type to choose from.
ARAM typically takes a shorter time to complete than a normal 5v5 on Summoner's Rift and is much more fast paced than on Summoner's Rift. There's more team fighting since everyone is near each other which means you don't need to worry about minion killing too much in ARAM. Since champions are randomly chosen for you, this is a decent way to go in a game to familiarize with champions that you own but don't usually play and see other people play champions that aren't seen much in the main game on Summoner's Rift. It's also a way to see champion synergies although I wouldn't rely on this since champions are randomly chosen/rerolled.
ARAM is also one of the three main game modes that League of Legends has with the others being the classic 5v5 Summoner's Rift and 3v3 Twisted Treeline (not counting the current rotating game modes). ARAM is a good way of playing League of Legends without getting too bored from playing so many games on Summoner's Rift.
Howling Abyss is a small map and only consists of one lane. This gives some champions a greater advantage over other champions. This chapter will go over some of the most notable champions to watch out for or keep and play while playing ARAM.
To start, I'll go over the rankings of solo champion descriptions on ARAM. I will go over what that means later.
(Please note that this is a tier list so it's only a generalization of all the champions. It's not super accurate but should give a good grasp on what which champions are better than others. I also did not list every champion below for each category.)
Long Range AoE
AoE (area of effect) abilities on champions should be a main factor when deciding if they are good or not on ARAM. Since everyone is in a single lane, it's very easy to land their abilities onto multiple people. Long range AoE champions can keep trickling down the enemy's health from a safe distance with their abilities. The downside to this is that they will use up a lot of mana in the process which makes healers like Sona or Nami a good counter against them. They can heal up the damage done while the enemy's mana gets wasted.
Long Range Single-Target
Long range single-target champions are similar to the long range AoE champions. Their abilities only target one champion but deal a bit more damage. Champions like Thresh, Blitzcrank, and Nautilus have a hook ability that lets them grab a champion and bring it towards their side, making them great alongside other champions that can follow up after landing a hook.
The three main healing champions for ARAM are Sona, Nami, and Soraka. Even though the Howling Abyss map reduces healing by 50%, the nerfs to the health relics in Patch 6.12 make these healers more favorable to have. They let teammates stay in lane longer so they can keep gaining experience and keep damaging the enemy. The healers should be built as a support with the exception of Sona being able to build either support or full AP. The damage from an AP Sona compensates for the lack of utility from her support route. A full AP Nami or Soraka can do damage and heal more but won't provide as good stats than a support build (compared to Sona).
Some of these champions can't provide much damage with their team unless they go in to fully commit to a fight. Champions like Malphite and Amumu should wait until level 6 to get their ultimate abilities so they can win a team fight much easier. The AoE from their abilities massively contributes to a team fight if they can land it on multiple people.
Most of the champions that do burst damage are assassins and should only go in to finish off a kill or do some quick damage then immediately run out. This is because they are squishy and staying too long in a fight can result in a quick death. They do very well to eliminate any enemies who are weak and have low health or armor/MR.
ADCs do quite well in ARAM if given the right situations. If they don't have someone to peel for them and help protect them from the enemy, they'll simply die the instant the enemy decides to go for the ADC. Their reliability really depends of the compositions of both teams which is why I don't rank them higher on the list.
A lot of the other champions that don't fit the criteria in the tier list aren't well suited for ARAM in terms of carrying the games. These include low mobility champions, bruisers, and melee champions in general.
Early on, these champions need to wait for an opportunity to rise in order to go in or they'll take too much damage. The Mark/Dash spell can help some of those champions who don't have an immediate gap closer that they could then combo with a CC ability such as Rammus and Maokai. Later in the game once they acquire some items, they can make an impact in fights. Typically, though, they won't do as much compared to the higher-tiered champions.
About the solo champion descriptions: The champion descriptions mentioned in the tier lists above are good to carry by themselves. ARAM games can be carried by a team altogether if they have a better composition.
For example, if you're an AP mage like Xerath against a Nautilus, Garen, and Sion, you're going to need to win early on or you won't do enough damage against them later in the game before they target and kill you. You'll be up against many different champions (based on what level you are, the lower the level the more likely you will see the same free champions) so you will need to figure out on your own what you think is the best way to win.
You could also be playing a champion that doesn't fit the criteria in the list above but can be good alongside your team. You'll have to figure out on your own if you think it's best for your team since there are too many combinations to talk about here.
Even though the tier list above covers most of the champions playable, there are some notable champions that I find to be outstanding in ARAM.
Remember that you won't win every game, so just remember to have fun. It's ARAM and everyone's champions are picked randomly, so some people may not know how to play their champions and some may be playing heavy counters against yours.
Here are some tips and strategies that'll improve your gameplay in ARAM.
||It may sound weird but killing your character in ARAM can actually be a good decision in some scenarios. This is mainly to restore your health and mana to full and/or have the ability to buy items again. A good example is if you are very low on HP and have no way to heal up. You're pretty much useless unless a fight which you won't do much either. Try to execute yourself by the enemy's turrets so that the enemy doesn't gain any extra gold from killing you. If that isn't possible then find someone to do as much damage onto, run into them and damage them, then just expect to die. Although this gives the enemy gold, you can return with full HP/mana and the ability to buy items again.
Here are some other examples when you should execute yourself by the enemy turrets/minions or suicide when the opportunity rises:
||- If you are fed and have a ton of gold to spend
- When you just finished a team fight, you're low, and you're over on the enemy's side of the map. If you're near your base, figure out if you can come back alive fast enough after running to the other side and dying
- If you're low, nothing much is happening on both sides, and your team is capable enough to hold the objective(s) without you
- You're out of mana and there's very little mana restore that's you can obtain
Here are some examples when you shouldn't execute/suicide:
||- If your team obviously needs you even if you're low on HP/mana
- If you come out very low after a team fight, you're near your side of the map, and enemy super minions aren't available to kill you in the lane
There are many specific situations where dying is better than staying alive in ARAM since you can't recall to heal up or buy items and I've only covered some broad ones. If it feels like you need to restore your HP/mana or desperately need an item and you find a good time to go in, see if it works or not. It's mainly picked up by instinct/practice so at least you know about the idea of having to die in order to do more.
3. Health Relics
||Please remember that the health relics on the side don't give as much HP/mana after Patch 6.12. They don't help much so don't expect to stay in your lane very long if you're in need of them.
Use the health relics if you're close to them and the enemy is also close by, even if you don't need it. It's better if you don't gain any health than the enemy getting some back.
Keep in mind that Grievous Wounds will reduce the healing from a health relic. Wait for the debuff to wear off then grab the relic to get its full effect.
5. Oracle's Extract
This is the only item after Patch 6.12 that you can purchase to reveal invisible traps and units. It's 300 gold but lasts 5 minutes and persists if you die. If you have enough extra gold after getting your items, buying this against champions like Teemo and Shaco is highly recommended to avoid taking damage from their traps.
6. Poro Snax
Poro Snax is the item in your trinket slot in Howling Abyss. You can use this when you are nearby a Poro, which if you don't know already, are these little creatures:
Every player starts off with 1 Poro Snax and a team can receive another if they take down the first turret. Although just for fun, try to feed enough to a Poro to see what it does.
June 20, 2016: First day guide was created and published.
June 23, 2016: Added information to the "Superior Champions" chapter. Finished the "Strategies" chapter. Revised the Table of Contents.