General Guide by Lokigamer
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.
Hello summoner, i am Lokigamer, here to help you learn about how to play champions in roles you otherwise would never expect. Not to many people know how to jungle Oriana, and some top lane champions can support. should they? No, but some times you will find yourself doing just that. Sadly we can not always pick our team mates, but we can always adjust.
As many of us know, occasionally a team will not communicate well as to what position they are going to play. in this guide i will focus more on the conceptual ideas, and mention some champions i find which are highly flexible to such unexpected roles, as well as include why this works.
Short list of topics for ease of use:
Below this section will be the following in order, by topic:
(there are the topics not the titles of each section,
champions will have the champion as the topic name)
-Who am I, and why should you at least listen to me?
-Basic League Review of a good team comp, for reference
-The Main topic part 1: Adjusting to an incomplete team
-Off Supports- What are they, and how do they function?
-The main topic part 2: Flexible champions and why they are important
-Examples of champions: which and why they are flexible + What roles they can cover
-Champion list without explanations, which i will slowly work into the previous group
-Links to my other guides
Who is Lokigamer?
I am no pro, or highly ranked player, i will clear that away now. However, i am an avid player of league since its introduction to me in February of 2014. I am also an experience MMO player who favors teaching other players around him, and i have made that my past time for as long as i have been gaming on MMOs, starting in 2010. Outside of gaming, i have been a private music teacher for a time.
Ive had much practice working with players one on one to improve their game experiences. while i may not be the most powerful player on a game, i know that understanding the mechanics theories and reasonings can make a huge impact. And while there are many people who can understand the above concepts, transferring that understanding to others takes practice.
there are 2 major ways of passing information, communication (verbal or reading, which is this guide for example) and experience (show and tell, running through the motions of what you understand).
has anyone mastered either art? No, but id like to think im decent at at least one of those.
So why listen to me?
I have spend a long time reading up on league, experiencing it, training new friends ive met in game on league to moderate success. and now i want to help you. Do you have to agree? No, in fact you shouldnt expect to agree with every guide in here, but listen to them and consider WHAT they are trying to say, and the REASON they feel it is valid to say so in a guide.
Now please, read or skim my guide, take in my opinions and add them to your own, and simply be the best you can be by pulling all the resources youve read and experienced. i wish you luck in game, and feel free to leave comments and ratings on this guide.
the general idea: balancing a team
in every game team composition is important against players who are experienced and aware. if every player on your team is an AD based champion, all they need is armor and you might as well surrender 9/10. if you are all tanks, they just need to out-rotate you at mid game if they didnt win the laning phase and take all the jungle objectives while you were pushed back.
Simply said everything can be countered, so the best chance of winning is a balanced team. or at least something close to that.
so, how do you estimate a balanced team?
there are many opinions on this, but i myself have a checklist i often use.
the following checklist is what i use:
1. Balance the AD and AP using champions in the team. 2 points, 1/2 a point for a tank, hybrid, or support as they have very little damage output, 1 point for other champions.
If you do not have a balanced team for damage types, it is easy to loose team fights late game if your opponents adjust their magic resist or armor to counter your main damage dealers.
2. Balance the Survivability. 1 1/2+ points, 1 point for a tank, half a point for bruisers/fighters who will build at least 3 defensive items.
Every team needs someone to engage or start a fight, without someone being tanky enough to survive the first burst of attacks from your opponents, the fights will never go your way. and the game has a big map, so having 2 people who can take a hit helps trumendusly
3. Balance the crowd control skills. Each lane should have at least 2 cc abilities between them and the jungler. (if the jungler has a lot of crowd control abilities, all lanes are fine with little-no crowd control, though some helps)
-NOTE- if mid or top have less crowd control this means they need to be damage oriented to make up for less time to attack the target. this is ok but not always ideal.
Why? You NEED to get your damage out if you want to get kills, and the easiest way o do that is to have a target that cant dodge or run away before you unload all of your damage. CC gives you that chance. when an opponent pushes too hard, or makes a mistake CC widens your opportunity to punish them for it.
4. Late and Early Game pressure
Not all champions scale well into late game. not all champions have a good early game. while it is the least important part of the check list please understand, if you want a balanced team, you want to spread out the map pressure and have power from the start of the game until the enemy nexus falls. i can not list all the champions and when they hit their power spikes, which come from levels and sometimes items,
however, it is BEST in my humble opinion to have at least 1 early game lane bully and one mid game bully in your team.
In game adjustments
There are several things that can go wrong in team select, the best way to recover though is to watch summoners after all your team members have been chosen in addition to any comments from your team calling a position. As you seldom can convince players who are not communicating well to change lanes or positions, between the players who do react to chat, you will need to attempt to balance the lanes to a best case scenario.
1. No ADC??
an ADC is a critical role for most team comps, someone to take down turrets and deal high amounts of physical damage in team fights. so what do you do without one?
there are now 2 types of lanes you can choose from:
--Safe Farm-- if you don not have a champion with decent ranged attacks, or strong engage to replace the ADC role.
--Kill Lane-- if you have a champion who has strong damage output and, with the support, have a strong engage
Sadly your ability to push turrets will be very low, so in this game the best chance of winning without an actual ADC is by securing kills and constantly pushing while your opponents are down, making the most of every opportunity to claim an objective. is this different from normal play? no but it become even more critical that you manage your minion waves and map objectives well.
2. No Support??
Supports have 3 important roles that they usually focus on: Vision Control, Protect Adc, Set up Kills.
if you do not have a support, the jungler NEEDS to make a Sightstone as an early item. failing that, as many players as possible need to invest in upgraded trinket early as possible and their own Pink Wards for safe locations in your own jungle.
If you do not have a full support, the best plan is to use an "off support", and there are many so never fear. please skip to the next chapter to read about off supports and how to play them.
3. No Jungler/ No Smite
while this is not a terrible situation in truth, it is a bad one for end game unless you have a kalista or nunu or chogath. Why? A jungler's jobs are to secure objectives in the jungler, and help apply pressure to lanes in need/lanes where kills are possible from a little help.
Sadly without smite objectives are difficult to lock down, and to do them safely you MUST know the enemy jungler is dead or on the other side of the map. Unless you have a smite like ability such as kalista's rend, chogaths ult, or nunu's bite.
As for applying pressure to lanes in need, either mid or most likely top has an extra player. what this means is ROTATING is possible.
What is rotating?
Rotating is leaving one lane to move to another and either ganking or holding that lane. if the player in the destination lane wishes, as you come to take over that lane they can back to base or rotate for themselves.
Why is this useful? lets say bot lane needs a gank, and you dont have a jungler. without TP available top lane can not possibly make it in time. tell your mid laner to get free and roam to bot and that you will hold their lane. No experience is lost, no free tower damage was given up, all lanes constantly have pressure. (rotating is a strategy that can be used even in normal teams to apply extra map pressure)
Between rotating and making sure to ward heavily as a team, loosing a jungler mostly hurts in objectives and some experience for leveling, the best thing you can do is get kills and make use of rotations to keep the experience lead from getting out of hand.
4. No mid lane or top lane
lets face it, all roles are important, but each lane NEEDS to be filled. in the case of a DC, it is the primary job of the jungler or support to fill the teams holes. If you have an extra player in a lane, they need to take the extra lane(2 top or 2 mid, means one needs to move). and if they have a rough time in their unexpected lane, they should rely on the jungler to supplement their lane power by having them visit often.
but for those rare days you find a DC, 4v5:
--When to Use the Support to fill a lane-- If the Jungler refuses or is a pure jungler who really cant lane well, such as shaco or nocturn.
-top lane- is the support a tank?
-Mid lane- is the support ranged?... simple right?
When is it ok to use the support Even if the Jungler COULD lane?
if your adc is very long ranged and or SAFE. caitlyn, tristana, varus, graves, lucian are all decent picks with either a dash/jump or long range.
--For everything else use the jungler to fill the lane--
Please Note, playing safe means that you let your opponents push their lanes, and try to farm safely unless your opponent makes a major mistake and comes out too far. When an opponent backs, you can push your lane and either return to base yourself OR roam
There are many full supports in the game that players have recognized, and when a champion becomes popular to play in a role you consider them to be that role. this thinking is slighly wrong however.
that idea is copying what you see others doing and not understanding the role itself, so what are Supports or off supports?
What makes a normal support?
a very low need for gold for effectiveness
Specific items for warding and boosting stats
a Gold income item usually
a focus to keep the ADC alive/ feed the ADC kills
So what then is different about an "OFF" support?
More damage than most other supports
slightly higher need for gold income
Less crowd control
rarely has healing
If a mid lane AP champion is shut down, the off support may become the late game APC if they have enough gold. If the bot lane wins, both the support and adc are fed, and this means one lane can essentially win the whole game.
But what are the costs?
off supports rarely have good healing so your lane may get poked out
less cc, so big team fights with multiple targets will be dangerous without help
Loosing or breaking even in lane means you will not scale well into mid-game/late-game
Some Felxible champions to consider:
As mentioned before, picking a team composition is important, and when players are unsure in team select i tend to lean towards more flexible choices that i know i can play in other lanes than my intended purpose.
while the meta and popular champions tend to be very straightforward and fantastic at what they do, most of those champions can ONLY do that role well, and in a bad situation will more than likely prove extremely difficult if forced to a different task. For instance, i doubt you would consider a Leblanc Jungler as a good idea.
As some of my friends wisely said "any champion CAN be played any role, but not every champion SHOULD play any role".
so what makes a champion flexible, and who are some good examples? Ill list some of my favorites and explain them briefly as to why.
1. Nautilus- a huge tank with a ton of crowd control, and some minor ap damage normally. So what makes him a good pick?
the hard crowd control has made him a great support choice as was recognized this past season, but he is tanky enough to hold his own top safely. additionally he is a solid jungler, with an aoe clear for a decent clear time and a sheild to help him survive without much hassle. There are very few games where hard cc isnt a good asset to the team, and Nautilus has this in spades. Additionally he CAN handle mid-lane if necessary, though it was never the strongest and has recently been slightly nerfed at the time i am writing this. when going for AP damage, there are several that add health and ap together, which means his shield's durability will scale as well as his damage output
some ap items for him would be "abyssal scepter" "Rhalyas Crystal Scepter" "Lindry's Torment" "Spirit Visage" "Witts End", just about any boot type institutionally. Devourer's or Cinderhulk enchantment on a jungle item, or your standard tank items also work on him.
in summary Nautilus can be played top, jungle, mid, or support if you know what items to build, making him able to cover 4 out of the 5 main positions on the team.
Urgot- a tanky ranged physical damage dealer with minor cc, a self shield, and a armor penetration lock on combination with his skills.
i will say now urgot is one of the most flexible champions i know. he is primarally played top lane, as an off-tank, and has seen some use in the LCS as a midlaner focusing less on tank stats and more on damage/armor penetration. Also he is listed as a marksman technically, though his burst is rather low and his mobility does not make him easy to use. However as a marksman he has a squishy opponent, meaning if he can land his damage he usually wins early game trades well. His "e" is what lowers opponent's armor as well as adds a minor debuff allowing his "q" to seek a target enemy, champion or minion. So, if you have a support with good enough cc so that urgot can hit his "e", he will win the trade until his mana runs out or his opponents flee the area.
Technically urgot CAN support, but really shouldnt. in those rare cases it becomes a kill lane mostly, but his shield does apply a minor slow and his "e" applies an armor penetration for his team mates.
As a result, urgot can play top mid or adc, and can if needed play as a support for a kill lane.
Oriana is a mage with low cool-down spells, a shield for allies including herself, and some aoe damage/mobility with a strong, if hard to master, ult.
Primarily a mid laner with good ability to trade and zone, oriana can actually be a solid support. A shield for the adc or herself situationally, a safe ability to poke/harass opponents in lane with her q or use it as a bush check like a free ward. She also comes with a versatile mobility power in her w. specifically her w allows allies who walk through it's path to speed up, and enemies to slow down. Lastly, while not long lasting her ult has some cc that can hit multiple grouped targets.
If a champion is meant to hold a lane on their own, they can usually handle either mid or top safely. i have not tried taking oriana top lane, but i assume if she plays safe she can do just fine against her lane opponent like if she were mid lane. the difference being her opponents may be tankier so kills are far less likely and the zoning strategy she often uses will need to be slightly more aggressive.
As for Oriana in the jungle, is it good? No, id rather have someone else, however if you are the odd man out she has a great clear. The weakness isnt the champions ability to survive the jungle but rather the early game vulnerability to be counter-jungled easily. To help prevent this, she needs to burn her q a few extra times to check bushes that are not warded and ask that all entrances to her jungle have vision until she reaches level 6.
so why do i mention oriana jungle if it isn't that good? it CAN work to save the rest of your team from loosing experience in lane. you can keep up in levels better than a lot of junglers usually would thanks to your two aoe damage spells, plus your passive and a self shield. Lastly, if you are doing oriana jungle you are more likely going to hold lane while your other team mates return to base or ROTATE, and you are still a strong laner with decent survivability. You will have weak gank power so do not try unless you think you can get a kill on a low health target.
In short, Oriana can handle top,mid,support, and run through the motions of a jungler.
More Flexible choices without full details yet (to be added)
Galio, Jayce, Nidalee, Annie
Cho'gath, Mordekaiser, Pantheon
Blitzcrank, Ryze, Lux, Lulu
Gragus, Heimadinger, Darius
Maokai, Malphite, Taric
Thresh, Twisted Fate, Xin Zhao
(to be added)
Other Great References i have found:
a great but out of date item guide, which explains how to judge item values, and also what types of items are good for certain champions and situations
a great guide for the concepts of Twisted Treeline Gameplay, however it is not updated with the new map adjustments of extra towers or the removal of the items "deathfire grasp"(and it's counterpart) or "feral Flare". please bear this in mind when reading