This is a guide for all those low level marskman players that are looking for a clear step to improve their level of mechanical skills. I am aware of the fact that I am not any high level player myself but I do feel like I have some knowledge that many lower level players lack. So I decided to make the guide as I some day found myself at that point where I thought it was time to start learning how to orb walk and trying to find useful information about it. Doing so, I had to put quite a lot of effort into the research and the results were still very insufficient and scattered. So here we go, the orb-walk and attack-move guide, all at one place. It covers all from the very basics and explanations to how-to and practical applications.
Basics of Orb-walking
How the autoattacks (AA) work is with repetition of a specific champion animation and after one is finalised, the new one begins. The actual damage or the attack however is applied in the middle of that animation, not the end, and finishing the animation has no impact on dealing damage. This means you can command a movement as soon as you see the missile in the air which enables you to act much more efficiently. Either way, new AA animation will be able to start exactly the same time the previous one would have ended. This speed cannot be affected unless you increase attack speed or use an ability that resets it. The act of using the window between the shot missile and shooting the next one in order to move is called orb-walking and looks like shoot and move shoot and move. Such actions enable catching up when chasing, increasing the distance when retreating, more efficient pushing or wave clearing and dodging abilities or being unpredictable all while dealing damage that is idealy equal to the damage you would have dealt while standing still. Aside from that, stacks of Kircheis Shard and both of the finalised items are gained by both attacking and moving, meaning orb-walking results in faster stack production and more frequent effect proc.
How to Orb-walk
Considering the level of your probable mechanical skill at the moment, the simplest way you can command a champion to orb-walk is by right-clicking the target to order attack and then as soon as you see the missile shot, rightclicking the ground in the direction you want to move to. After the time passes the enables new attack according to your current attack speed, rightclick your target again to order attack and repeat these commands. There are more advanced methods to execute the same actions that are easier to use and more efficient once you get used to them that will be covered them later on. Efficiency of orb-walking can be improved passively by increasing stats. Attack speed accelerates AA animation, which allows you to spend less time standing still while attacking and also lets you to attack more frequently in between movements. Movement speed increases the distance you can travel in between the consequent attacks.
Here are some items that significantly improve your champion's ability to orb walk, although that doesn't necessarily make them a viable marksman pick:
- Berserker's Greaves ~ these obviously provide a huge buff by greatly increasing your movement speed and decently your attack speed which is the core upgrade to orb-walking stats
- Zeal ~ basic marksman item that increases attack and movement speed, all of the upgrades enhance the effect even further
- Phantom Dancer apart from the increased stats it allows you to ignore minion collision, buffs movement speed when an opponent closes the distance and decreases the damage taken from the champion you are kiting
- Blade of the Ruined King ~ aside from the perfect marksman stats provided, the active let's you steal a champion's movement speed for 3 sec, ideal for kiting or chasing
- Phage ~ similar to the old furor, brief movement speed bursts after attacks are ideal for orb-walking
- Frozen Mallet ~ slowing the target with AA makes it easier for you to maneuver around the opponent, although it's not a usual marksman purchase
Aside from the gained pros of using this method, there are also some cons compared to more advanced methods. You obviously aren't perfect with counting in the attack speed and will deal slightly less damage than you would have by standing still, depending on your skill and execution. Although this holds true, note that the priority of a marskman is always to survive while dealing decent damage compared to maximizing your damage by risking your life. Overall you will always deal more damage altogether if you are able to live as long as possible. Using this method also requires really fast mouse movements and precise targeting to differentiate the attack and move commands. If you make a mistake and miss the attack target and click on the ground, champion will start moving towards the target you wanted to attack and if you miss the ground and click another target your champion will stop and attack instead of moving. Both of these result in odd champion behavior that might have devastating consequences on many occasions. Fortunately the use of advanced command methods solves these issues.
There are multiple additional buttons for more advanced commands such as hold position (H) and attack-move (A). The most useful one is the "attack move click" which can cover all the others, depending on the way you use it. Because of its convenience I recommend using this one and will describe how the command is used. I recommend using a mouse with an additional button you can use with your thumb for example and binding the attack move click to that button. Now you will never use the rightclick to attack ever again, it's specifically used to order uninterrupted movement priority above any other action. Basically any order that includes AA will be commanded by the attack move button.
Here are the commands your champion will execute depending on where you use that button:
- On the target opponent: it acts completely the same as rightclick, prioritising attacking the chosen target above all other actions.
- On the ground while opponent in range: acts as the attack move button, champion will start attacking the closest opponent in range. If there are multiple targets and you click the ground near them, it will somewhat prioritise the target nearest to the click and nother necessarily closest to your champion. If there are targets not in your exact attack range but barely out of it, your champion will make that extra effort to make a step or two in order to reach that opponent.
- On the ground near while noone in range: if the champion reaches the ground you clicked on without attacking anyone it acts as the hold position button, standing still and attacking as soon as any opponent enters the attack range
- On the ground far away while noone in range: champion will start moving toward the targeted ground but will stop to attack any opponent that enters attacks range, hold position at the destination if not interrupted.
For an average lower player that is used to rightclicking it takes some time to adapt to using a new button for all the attacking but once it becomes automatic, it eases many manouvers and solves the problems other techniques have. The most obvious one is that when the desired target is isolated or clearly the nearest, the player no longer has to swipe the mouse all over the screen, instead you simply have the mouse in the direction you want to move to and keep clicking the attack-move and rightclick one after the other in the right AA rhythm. Additionally if you want to attack a specific target and you happen to miss and click the ground, with a rightclick the consequences could be devastating, moving your champion right into danger. By using attack move, champion will simply attack any target as soon as it is in range on the way to the target location, possibly even the desired opponent since the click was near. This prevents walking into harass in lane or towards a CC and damage from the opponents you were kiting or poking from a safe range. Since the champion can also be ordered to hold position or attack as soon as possible, the command is useful when chasing into a bush to prevent any jukes by a change of direction compared to trying to click the champion with the right button. Similar applies to preparing to execute the untargettable foe after Zhonya's Hourglass, Guardian Angel, and some abilities. If you are hiding in a bush with the last order being attack move and the opponent places a Warding Totem the first AA will have landed before you would have rightclicked it otherwise which helps you clear it before it enters stealth. You will never miss a wave or put an effort into targeting when moving to clear a wave later in the game and never miss a pink while roaming the map.
Kalista is very unique due to her passive Martial Poise and using attack move makes it extremely easy to use. You basically don't need rigthclick at all, except when you specifically want to order movement and exclude any attacking whatsoever no matter what. It does take some practise in timing but you only have to attack move click the location u want Kalista to jump to around the time she is casting the AA.
Draven players also benefit greatly by using the attack move which eases the Spinning Axe mechanic. As long as there are targets to attack nearby you simply rightclick on the axe mark to catch it and once you are on it just use the attack move. As soon as you catch the axe and throw the new one, you can move towards the desired direction again, using the rightclick. A well-timed orb-walk will force the axe to be bounced towards the location you started to move to. As soon as you see the mark, just rightclick exactly on it and repeat the process.
Scuttler crab is a special example since it never fights back and is consequently not recognised as an opponent and using attack-move on the ground will result in moving, not attacking the scuttler. In order to orb-walk while hitting the crab, you are required to specifically click on the crab to order an attack.
This is the most famous and probably the most spectacular way of orb-walking. Idea of kiting is basically orb-walking in the direction away from the chasing oponent while keeping the distance of the attack range and preventing the foe from retaliating. Goal is to receive no damage or crowd-control while dealing damage.
It can be achieved by the rightclick swiping which has already described weaknesses compared to the better method that is using attack-move. You simple place the mouuse in the direction you want to move to and interchangibly click the attack-move and move command. If the opponent is closing in the distance, marksman has to adjust the rhythm and put more time into moving. Fortunately, marksmen have tools the ease their kiting such as their items, dashed, knock-backs, crowd-control and granted red buff.
That was my brief orb-walking and attack-move overlook, I hope it was as helpful as I intended it be. Feel free to continue the discussion in commment section. Now go work on your game knowledge, positioning, decision making, map awareness and practice farmnig and mechanix in custom games to improve your marksman gameplay. Good look on the Rift!