General Guide by Erazmus
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
This guide is aimed at people who are not new to the game, but not particularly experienced either. It's for people who can already hold their own but wish to improve their game and understand further mechanics of LoL gameplay.
I'm no expert myself when it comes to technical play but I consider my theoretical knowledge vast and am more than happy to share it with you.
This guide is far from complete and a work in progress, but I would like feedback on additional sections to add which is why I've published it unfinished.
You should be familiar with the concept of landing the killing blow on a minion to recieve the gold from killing it. This is extremely important as if an enemy scores more last-hits than you and neither of you secure a kill, that enemy will have a gold advantage over you which will lead to them winning a flat-out fight. It also means that even if you score a kill and they are ahead of you in creeps, you might be even in your gold gains and get caught by surprise after a cocky move.
A caster minion gives you around 19 gold and a melee minion gives you around 25. This equates to:
1 kill = ~16 creeps. That's right. All the effort you went to to kill the enemy was a waste of time if they're more than 16 creeps ahead of you. And if you KEEP killing them then you'll get less and less gold for it.
Remember that melee minions have more health and armor than caster minions, so an attack which may have enough damage to kill a caster minion might not be enough for a melee minion.
Minions get stronger as the game goes on longer, this makes it hard for casters to last-hit with their autoattacks later on in the game.
Champions decrease in gold value, minions do not.
You should try to last-hit every creep in your lane, but if necessary you should prioritize melee minions. The fact that melee minions are worth more means that even if you're getting somewhat zoned by your enemy, if you can reach the melee creeps for gold you'll still have a decent income. Not enough, mind you, to fight the enemy champion with more creeps than you. But with some intelligence, you'll be able to function in teamfights later.
Lane Equilibrium is the concept of how far the lane is pushed to either side. When creeps first spawn they meet in the dead center of the lane and assuming all creeps die at an equal rate every successive wave of creeps will always meet in the middle. However, when one or more creeps from either side survive, they move further along the lane and then when the enemy creeps bump into them they all stop to attack the leftover creep. Usually, once they have stopped to fight the one or more creeps left over, it gives the creeps from the other side time to catch up to that part of the lane. And thus, the creep battle takes place further to one side.
It is not always entirely possible to prevent this from happening in your opponents favour. If you are better at last-hitting than they are, then your lane will push to their side. This means that it will be harder for you to force them out of exp/gold range, and you/any allies in your lane will be more susceptible to ganks. To minimize the chances of this happening you should always fire your last-hit attack at the very last possible moment. Ideally, if you fire your attack after your minions fire theirs at the same creep, yours will hit first while theirs will be wasted. However, if you last-hit from a higher health you make your creeps target other creeps and unless your opponent does the same, this will mean that your creeps will begin to push.
To keep Lane Equilibrium in your favour: fire your last-hit attack at the last possible moment, preferably after your (caster) minions have fired theirs. Keeping the lane equilibrium in your favour is known as "Freezing" the lane. The second part to freezing a lane is, after you have ensured that your creeps to not advance by killing theirs too quickly, to stop the enemy creeps reaching your tower by distracting them with your champion. You should meet the creeps further down your lane and distract them by running in slow zig-zags until they meet up with your creeps.
This technique is best employed after your tower has been pushed down. Keeping the creep-line (Where the cresp meet) near your second turret is very advantageous as it becomes dangerous for the enemy to farm there. Though they are free to pressure other lanes.
You should not "power farm" creeps (Rapidly push the lane) unless you intend to leave for an immenant teamfight or objective contest. Pushing the lane rapidly will cause your creeps to build up and, for a while, the lane equilibrium will be in your opponent's favour. However, starting this snowball can be very convenient if you wish to the creeps to be at a tower when you come back to push it down later.
Last-hitting at the tower.
Sometimes, your enemy will be better at last-hitting or you will be unable to get in creep range to do so. In this case, you will find yourself last-hitting beneath your tower
This is advantageous because: The enemy is open to ganks, you cannot be denied exp and, if you're good, your gold loss will be minimal.
This is disadvantageous because: You may lose out on some gold. You will not have the freedom to roam and gank other lanes.
To last hit melee minions, the tower must hit them twice and then one autoattack will finish them. In some cases of caster champions with very weak autoattacks you will need to hit the melee minion once, let the tower hit it twice and then finish it off. Vladimir and Karthus, for example.
Caster minions require the same treatment. One hit from the champion, one hit from the tower, then another hit from the champion. Casters must soften them with an autoattack beforehand, and AD champions will have to be careful their their softening attack doesn't do too much damage. Generally after getting +40 AD (BF sword, Doran's stacking.) you will be able to last-hit the caster creep after one tower attack without softening it up beforehand.
If you're in a duo lane, being supported by a 0CS (Zero creep score.)support, then it may be worthwhile to communicate with your support so that they can deliver these softening blows for you.
In cases where both the enemy minions and your minions MEET under the tower, and your creeps are attacking as well as the tower, you should use your champion's abilities to help you farm.
Map awareness is an extremely important part of League of Legends.
All allied units, structures and wards grand vision in an area around them. The grayed-out areas beyond this line of sight is the Fog of War. In this area, you cannot see any enemies, objectives (Baron and Dragon) or neutral monsters. Wards can be used to gain sight of any of these areas for a limited time, as can the summoner spell Clairvoyance, and some champion abilities.
Map awareness is not only imperative for success in your own lane, but also your good map awareness can help your allies win theirs.
Watching the Minimap
I advise that, for people not used to maintaining a vague eye on the minimap, you glance at it whenever you click on a creep to fire a last-hit which you are sure will secure the killing blow. This will allow you to see if any lane's enemy champions are MIA (Missing in action, meaning they're gone and you don't know where.) Your eyes may ache a little from all the movement but trust me, it'll be worth it and your eyes will get used to it. Now, here are some situations you may see and what you should do when you see them.
Enemy in neighbouring lane, or enemy with summoner teleport is missing from the minimap:
You should not push your lane and if you are extended very far down your lane, retreat unless you have ward coverage (covered later.) Additionally, you should call MIA (Type MIA <Lane mid, top or bottom>) in the chatbox. If you're too busy in your lane to do this, you should ping the lane with the missing enemy to draw attention to the fact that an enemy is missing. (Press G on your keyboard then click the minimap.)
Enemy in your own lane is missing:
Alert your allies by calling MIA as described above. Even if you think your enemy might just be sitting in the bush, or you saw them recall. Just because an enemy recalled doesn't mean they can't go to another lane to gank before coming back to yours.
You see an enemy walking to gank an ally who is not retreating:
This will likely happen if you have ward coverage, and see an enemy (Often the jungler or the enemy mid) walking through the jungle or river to gank another lane. You should first ping the enemy with the G-ping, then signal your allies to fall back with a V-ping.
You see enemies grouping near an objective and think they may be preparing to take it:
Communicate to your allies via chat that you think you should also group up to 'contest' the objective. Contesting objectives will be discussed later.
No enemies are visible on the map, your team is scattered.
Encourage everyone to group together immediately. Not small groups but all as one. It will be very easy and VERY likely that one or more of your team are going to die to the entire enemy team if you remain split up.
Warding the map
Much of what I have to say here is better covered by this guide
That will show you the best places to ward.
Warding the map is extremely important for your team not only defensively but offensively. If your team has more wards there is a much higher chance that you will catch an enemy champion on their own, recalling in a bush, taking neutral creep camps in their jungle or putting themselves out of position as they attempt to flank (get behind) your team. During the laning phase, it allows you to have the creeps at your enemy's tower in safety. It is still not advantageous to push your lane because you will be unable to stop the enemy farming and getting EXP, but if your lane is properly warded then you will be safe at least.
Keep in mind that it may be YOU who ends up losing creeps if you push. If the creeps meet under their tower, you will be unable to reach the enemy caster minions.