General Guide by Whtsmyname
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.
In this guide, I will try to cover all of the basics to the game of League of Legends. I will include the following topics and more:
-Choosing a Champion
-Playing a Normal Game
-Building Your Champion
There are a LOT of players out there who have hit level 30, and are ATTEMPTING to play normal or ranked games while not understanding the most essential rules to playing this game. Even if you are doing well on your own, you may still learn something new and useful by reading this.
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Rules of Play
The goal of Summoner's Rift is to destroy the opposing team's nexus. You accomplish this by pulling together with your team to kill enemy champions, destroy the enemy's turrets, inhibitors, and finally their nexus. This seems very simple, but it is often forgotten by greedy summoners striving to get the most kills or buy the best items. Although this will make you more powerful, you cannot win without finishing off the enemy's nexus. But let's start with the basics. We'll come back to game play later on.
Choosing a Champion
There are a LOT of champions to choose from. Many players take one look at the shop and are immediately overwhelmed with options. Don't worry! It may take time, but eventually you will find a few champions that suit your playing style. Here are the basic roles you can choose from
Champions that can take a LOT of punishment. Their job is to initiate team fights, and protect their less resistant teammates. They usually have a lot of health, but dish out less damage compared to other champions. Many are equipped with Crowd Control abilities (or CC). These include stuns, slows, snares, etc. This allows them to grab a hold of the enemy, while their teammates give em a beating! While they don't always have the most kills at the end of the game, they are the backbone and leaders of the team.
Or Ranged DPS (Damage Per Second). As the name states, these champions deal physical damage from afar, and can be very dangerous. However, they are very vulnerable and easy to kill if not properly protected. Use your teammates for cover and give them some fire support!
Usually played as a DPS. Very strong and agile champions. They can deal a fairly heavy amount of damage, but are harder to kill than their ranged teammates. Most melee characters have some sort of CC or speed boost to close that gap between them and the enemy.
The magic using champions. They vary in many ways from champion to champion, some dealing damage over time, some blasting all of their abilities quickly to deal massive damage in almost no time at all (Also called "Nukers"). Most are equipped with at least 1 form of CC. They usually don't have a lot of health (in other words, they are "squishy"). They usually require more skill to master.
The team helpers! These champions can heal teammates, use CC, boost the damage of their team using auras, and so on. When your ranged champion gets ambushed from behind, they are the ones who save his life!
The champions that always leave you wondering what just happened. Most have the ability to turn invisible. They hit you when you're not expecting it, but by then it's too late. They deal a fairly high amount of damage, and almost always have some way of escaping trouble afterward. Very effective, but very hard to master.
In some normal games, and nearly every ranked game, you will see a "jungler". They are almost always a melee fighter of some sort, and usually have some type of crowd control. Instead of laning, they will play in the jungle between lanes and earn gold and buffs by killing monsters where no one can see them. When the time is right, they "gank" (or ambush) enemies. Probably the most difficult role to master.
Every week there are different champions that you can play for free. It is a good idea to play a few games with each, and find what type of champion you like the best. Once you have found one, you can purchase them with influence points that you earn by playing games!
You are allowed to choose 2 summoner spells each game. These are general spells that you may use regardless of what champion you have selected. They are as following:
- Smite...Mainly used by junglers to kill larger monsters.
- Ghost...Escape or chase down enemies.
- Flash...Also used to escape, however, you can flash over walls.
- Teleport...Defend vulnerable turrets, or ambush unsuspecting enemies.
- Ignite...Quickly cast on enemies to burn away those last hit points.
- Exhaust...Massively decrease damage output from enemies.
- Heal...Could save your team in a fight.
- Revive...Get back in the fight quickly.
- Promote...For heavy lane pushing.
- Surge...Great for assassins.
- Clarity...Never be OOM (Out of Mana) again.
- Clairvoyance...Used to find enemies and check for buffs.
You may use any combination you like, however it is recommended that you bring 1 offensive spell and 1 defensive spell each game.
These are small buffs that you may choose to assist you. For each summoner level, you earn 1 mastery point to spend (up to 30). When you first start playing, these bonuses will be almost useless to you, since you cannot use the more powerful ones until you level up. Spending all 30 will prove to be very useful in more difficult games.
Go here to learn more about mastery trees.
Runes add additional buffs to your champions stats, but these cost you influence points to unlock. You may only purchase the 3rd tier runes when you are summoner level 20 or higher.
Tier 1 and tier 2 runes are much cheaper than tier 3 runes. It would be very inexpensive to purchase a full page of these, and it may seem very tempting. Don't do it! You will only be wasting your IP. The stat boosts purchased will be so small and insignificant, you probably won't even notice the difference. Runes CAN be recycled for a random exchange, but the odds of getting what you want are so small... It is better to just save the IP until you unlock tier 3.
There are 4 different types of runes you can purchase...
These are primarily offensive runes. They will mostly affect attack damage, attack speed, etc.
These are primarily defensive runes. They will mostly affect resistances, health/mana regeneration, max health, etc.
These are primarily magical runes. They will mostly affect AP, CDR, max mana, etc.
Purchasing certain bonuses within the wrong rune category will give you less for your money. For example, if I wanted to purchase attack speed glyphs, the bonus would be significantly less per rune than attack speed marks. You may find it necessary to do so in some cases. If I wanted to maximize my bonus attack speed, I could absolutely purchase full attack speed marks, seals, and glyphs. You are allowed up to 9 runes of each type per page.
These are utility runes. They can boost stats of any kind without penalty. Quintessences also offer bonuses that are not found in other runes, such as reducing the time spent dead, and increasing experience gained for your champion. You are allowed up to 3 quintessences per page, although they are much more costly than other rune types.
You may notice there are runes that give you a flat boost, and some give you a boost per level. The boost per level will give you an overall higher number than the flat runes. Be careful when deciding which to use.
Here is an example of a rune page I use for Pantheon.
-9x Greater Mark of Desolation = 14.94 Armor Penetration
-9x Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration = 10.53 Mana Regeneration/5 seconds at level 18
-9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction = 8.10 Cooldown Reduction at level 18
3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation = 9.99 Armor Penetration
The above combination is great for Pantheon because he deals physical damage, and he uses his abilities frequently. Early armor penetration allows me to do almost full damage to enemies at the beginning of the game. As I level up, I find that I will not need any extra mana regeneration, and the CDR can help guarantee a kill or save my life!
You may build runes however you like. Many players would choose a different rune page entirely for Pantheon, because they use him in a different way. Feel free to be creative!
Learn more about runes here.
When you first start playing the game, most likely you will not be very good. You'll probably die a lot ("feed" the enemy gold). You probably won't be able to kill anyone. It may get frustrating. Never fear! There are custom matches and bot games that you can play to brush up your skills. Even level 30 summoners use bot games to practice new champions! I would recommend that you begin with several bot games, testing each champion and familiarizing yourself with the game before you ever try PvP (Player vs. Player). You will still earn plenty of IP (Influence Points), and it will be much more fun for new players.
Playing a Normal Game
The new MOBA style games require a lot of close attention for long periods of time. When playing higher ranked games, you must be constantly alert and remembering the basic rules to follow as you play. Here are many good tips to use while playing on Summoner's Rift...
Joining the Que...
When you click that "Play" button, you will be put in a que where you will choose your champion, spells, runes, and masteries. It is important to observe the selections of your teammates! Fill in the empty spaces. You don't want to have a full team of tanks who all brought smite and ghost... Your team would have a huge disadvantage. You want to have a good balance of champion roles, as well as spread out spells. A team should typically have at least 1 ignite, exhaust, and teleport to properly support each other. Selection of champion type will be covered in the next section.
A good team should have a balance of champion types. The most standard ranked game will include the following:
1 top solo champion. He will be playing 1v1 in the top lane. Should be a champion that can sustain himself well in the lane, and farm very well (Farming discussed later).
1 mid solo champion. He will be playing 1v1 in the middle lane. He usually plays an AP (Ability Power or Caster) of some sort, since they farm heavily, and the middle lane is much more difficult to gank.
2 bot champions. 1 plays a ranged AD (Attack Damage or DPS). The other plays a support role. Although it is called support, many tanks can actually play this role. Either way, it is the job of the AD to farm and fend off enemies, while the support defends and assists them.
1 Jungler. As described earlier, this is usually a champion that can farm in the jungle very well, and can "gank" the other lanes when needed. If a jungler cannot gank effectively, it may seriously harm the team. This is why junglers are not in many normal games.
As you play your lane, it is important that you do not just rush out and kill everything in your path. Turrets do serious damage to your champion, so it is best to stay out of their range until you have minions attacking it with you. Turrets will attack the first target that comes into their range. If it is a minion, it will continue killing minions until all that are in its range have been killed. Once they have all died, it will begin attacking any enemy champion that is in range.
There is an exception, however. Let's say a turret is attacking your minions. You and an enemy champion are both standing within its range. If you were to attack the enemy champion, the turret would stop firing on minions and IMMEDIATELY target you! So do not attack enemy champions near enemy turrets unless you are prepared to take some hits!
-Pushing Your Lane
Killing enemy minions is called "pushing" because it allows your minions to advance toward the enemy turrets. It seems this would always be a good idea...Don't believe so! pushing too close to the enemy line will leave you vulnerable to ganks, and give the enemy champion an advantage in fighting you. Some champions can taunt you near their turret, forcing you to attack them. This will cause their turret to target you, and that's not good! Once an enemy recalls to base, or has been killed, you should push and damage their turret.
You will receive bonus gold for dealing the final blow to minions. A really good way to earn this bonus without pushing your lane is by "Last Hitting" enemy minions! Let your minions fight theirs. As one gets low on health, deal the final blow at the last second. Mastering this takes time, but it is a very effective way to play!
When you are near an enemy unit when it is killed, your champion will gain experience. In order to level up as fast as possible, it is essential to gain as much experience as you can. If an enemy champion is beating you and forcing you back, try your best to stay close enough to the minion waves that you still gain experience. If you fail to do this, the enemy will "out level" you, making him much harder to defeat.
It is best to stay in your lane as long as you can. However, there comes a time when you need to return to base and heal or purchase items. When you decide it's time, be sure to move your champion to a save location (in brush, or behind your turret). It is best to keep a lookout as you recall, as some enemies may decide to snag a kill before you get away. If you have the shop page open when this happens, most likely you won't be able to do much about it.
Dying is very bad. Not only does it give the enemy more gold, but you will miss out on gold, experience, and you cannot defend your turret! Sometimes it is better to give up a kill than to die. Respawn timers will increase as the game progresses. Play carefully!
That big picture on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. It shows you where friendly and enemy champions are located in real time. Use it to your advantage! Let's say you want to run through the jungle to get to the middle lane, or you want to push toward the enemy turret...Look at your map. If you can see all 5 of the enemy champions, go for it! If not, back away! You don't want to risk dying. Wait for a more opportune time.
When an enemy champion leaves your lane, it is important that you tell your teammates so they can be aware of a potential gank. To do this, simply type "mia 'champion name'" or "top mia" in the chat log. You should always be looking at your mini-map, but it will help your team a lot.
Each lane will be a constant battle as each team tries their best to outsmart the other and destroy their turrets. As the game progresses, it becomes necessary to leave your lane and move together as one solid team. This usually occurs once a lane team successfully destroys the first turret.
If you're playing an assassin or jungler, ganking is a vital part of your role. Killing unsuspecting enemies can grant you gold, and help destroy enemy turrets more quickly. The best time to gank is when an enemy has pushed too far (overextended), or has engaged one of your teammates. Use bushes to your advantage. Standing in bushes makes you invisible to the enemy, unless they are standing in it with you, or have placed a ward there. You can also use bushes to escape or confuse your enemy during a fight.
When the game begins, you will have a small amount of gold to spend before minions start spawning. You will earn about 1 gold per second over time, but there are other ways you can earn gold:
This includes killing minions and monsters of any type. Getting more CS (creep or minion kills) will increase your income dramatically. When you are laning with another champion, you should let the carry (strong DPS or AP champion) have the majority of the farm.
-Killing the Dragon
The dragon spawns in the river near the bottom lane. Killing it will grant a large gold bonus to your entire team.
-Killing Baron Nashor
Also called "Baroning". This monster spawns near the top lane and is VERY difficult to kill. Usually requires your whole team at level 14 or higher. Killing him will give your entire team a gold bonus as well as a major buff to everyone's stats.
Each turret destroyed will grant your entire team additional gold.
You earn a decent amount of gold for each champion you slay. This amount decreases if that champion had a death streak, and increases if they had a killing streak. Assisting in killing a champion will grant you a smaller bonus.
Every champion has a recommended item build already set for them in the shop. However, this is a very general build. It may not work for you depending on your play style, since everyone plays differently. The most standard starting items are as follows:
- Doran's Blade...For any AD champion. A good health boost, and a little damage.
- Doran's Ring...For any AP champion. A good health boost, and some AP and mana regen.
- Doran's Shield...For any fighter or tank. A good health boost, some armor and health regen.
- Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion...Good for assassins who need to be more mobile right away.
- Regrowth Pendant + 1 Health Potion...Good for some champions that use health for abilities.
- Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion...The most common jungler will buy these.
These are just some of the beginning combinations, but the most commonly seen.
Sight Wards are very important to buy. You can place them near the river in your lane to avoid incoming ganks. You can also place them near Baron Nashor or the dragon to gank enemies there.
Vision Wards can be used to watch for invisible enemies, or to destroy enemy wards if you know exactly where they are.
Oracle's Elixir can be a great item to buy if you need to clear a lot of enemy wards, or if an enemy assassin is very mobile and ganking you frequently. Be Careful though, because they are quite expensive and you lose the buff on death!
Elixir of Fortitude, Elixir of Brilliance, and Elixir of Agility can grant you small temporary buffs. Drink one right before a fight to catch your enemy off guard!
If all 6 item slots are full, and you purchase a potion, it will automatically "drink" it, rather than waiting for you to activate it later.
What Do I Buy Next?
Each Item boosts your stats in a different way. Depending on which role you are playing, you may want to purchase different items. You may also change your build on how the enemy is building. For example, if you are playing a tank, and the enemy has a lot of attack damage, you will want to buy a lot of armor.
Here is a list of the different stats and how they affect your game:
More hit points makes you harder to kill. This is most important for tanks, junglers, initiators, or anyone who just needs a bit more survivability.
Will increase the amount of health you gain back per 5 seconds. This is good if you are taking light hits over time, but not for taking a high amount of damage.
More mana means you can cast more spells. This is most important for casters, but also anyone who uses expensive abilities throughout the game.
Great if you are spamming your abilities constantly. May not be as useful for more costly abilities.
Very useful early game since nearly all damage taken at the beginning of a game will be physical. Armor scales in a weird way. For example 25 armor will give you 20% resistance to physical damage taken, but it would take you 200 armor to have a 50% resistance. Keep this in mind when you are deciding between another health item, or an armor item.
Effective against anyone who deals magic damage. MR scales the same way as armor does.
Reduces the cooldown time of your abilities. This maxes out at 40% CDR.
A lot of characters' abilities are scaled by AP. It may affect the damage of nukers, or the healing of support champions.
This allows you to ignore some amount of magic resistance when dealing magic damage to enemies. This is important for casters facing a team with high resistances.
Increases the amount of damage you deal with auto attacks and some abilities. This is very important for many champions.
This allows you to ignore some amount of armor when dealing physical damage to enemies. This is important for DPS champions.
This affects how many times per second you can attack. Attack speed maxes out at 2.5 attacks per second. ALL DPS characters need this.
This is a percent chance to land a critical strike (or crit), which will deal twice your normal attack damage. A MUST HAVE for most DPS champions.
Don't let the name fool you. You do not actually "steal" health from the enemy. Instead you are healed a percentage based on the the damage dealt to your target with auto attacks.
This heals you a percentage based on damage dealt to enemies using abilities. It works on both physical and magic abilities.
This is important for everyone. If you run faster, nobody can keep up!
Some items have unique effects. This means they cannot "stack" with each other. For example, if you have 2 Boots of Speed, only one of them will affect your movement speed and the other will be useless. Be careful when purchasing more than one item of the same type or duplicate items.
Building Your Champion
Each role needs to build different types of core items. I'll give some basic examples on how to build the different roles in the game.
Health and resistances are most important. You should get a little bit of everything early on, then build according to the enemy team. As I mentioned before, resistances scale in a funny way, so you should plan on getting a little bit of armor and MR, then health items. You can purchase higher resistances later in the game.
Farming is VERY important for these champions. Last hitting can be a bit difficult with low AD, so i suggest grabbing a Pickaxe or B. F. Sword asap. Attack speed, lifesteal, and critical strike are important, but useless until you have a decent amount of attack damage. You can't farm any faster with attack speed anyway.
Early armor and health potions are essential for most junglers. Your goal is to clear your side of the jungle as fast as you can to level up and get early items, then gank, clear jungle, gank, etc. At least a small amount of lifesteal will go a long way. Movement speed is very necessary for ganking. You want to buy items that will help you slow the enemy as well, so a Phage or Bilgewater Cutlass are really good items to buy soon. Health will also be a good idea, since you will be targeted often.
Buying AP is very important for both farming and killing the opposing champion. CDR, mana regen, and increased mana are also important, but the needs vary from champion to champion. Find what works our for you most. ALWAYS remember...Casting spells more often is always a good thing, but if you cant deal enough damage to kill someone, it's pointless.
The AP mid items are important for this champion as well, but high AP numbers are not as important as mana and regen here. Your goal is to cast CC and healing abilities as much as possible for your carry. There are many items that give auras as well such as Soul Shroud and Zeke's Herald that can help your teammates significantly.
These champions rely on heavy damage, and maneuverability. Stacking health and resistances will often make him useless. It is best to get very heavy AD or AP (whichever type of assassin you are playing), with a good amount of lifesteal/spell vamp, critical chance, and penetration stats. Some assassins like Akali can constantly jump from champion to champion, nuking them and turning invisible during a fight. If she has high spell vamp, she could potentially bring down the entire team in the confusion!
One last thing I should mention about items. Let's say I want to buy these items... Thornmail, Warmog's Armor, and Boots of Swiftness. I do not have to purchase one at a time. Utilize all 6 of your inventory slots! Certain items build into higher tiered items.
Thornmail is made up of Chain Vest and Cloth Armor.
Warmog's Armor is made from a Giant's Belt, Ruby Crystal, and Regrowth Pendant.
Boots of Switftness are just upgraded from Boots of Speed.
So to go about purchasing these items, i may buy them in this order...
Boots of Speed, Regrowth Pendant, Ruby Crystal, Cloth Armor, Giant's Belt, Chain Vest, Warmog's Armor, Boots of Swiftness, Thornmail.
Or I could just save the money up and purchase the highest tiered item instantly. No matter what combination you do, it will have the same cost.
Go here to see a full list of items.
Hope This Helps!
Hopefully you've learned a lot from my guide. I know this game can be difficult to learn, and you never seem to know enough!
Please leave me a comment and rate my guide!!!