This guide is intended as a sequel to the 101 guide, produced by Delepitore. If you have just reached level 30 and failed at your first ranked game then there are many things you most likely have missed. This guide will hopefully reinforce good behaviours you have learned, concretize concepts you may have intuited and introduce a few new concepts for you to consider.
This guide is also Meta-Transcendant. I do not make mention of the current meta since it is ever changing... rather I am attempting to state things in as general of terms as possible, getting to the core gameplay.
Delepitore's 101 Guide can be found here.
Know your Champions
At this point you should be at least cursorily familiar with all the champions in the game. It is worthwhile to read up on all of them so that you know what you could be up against and what to expect. Furthermore, it is worthwhile to try playing at least one game with as many of them as possible in order to gain the greatest possible familiarity.
If you are playing on the Solo Queue, either Normal or Ranked, you should become familiar with at least one champion of each type (Tank/Off-Tank/Carry/Mage/Support) so that if your team needs you to fill a certain role you can. If you're playing with an Arranged Team, however, you should decide on a specialized type and familiarize yourself with as many different champions of that type as possible so that you can coordinate your ability kit with your team's theme and the enemy team's weaknesses.
Know your Team
In Delepitore's guide team composition is mentioned in brief; I would like to go into a bit more detail.
As a team you need to have a balance between Offensive and Defensive capabilities. Take all of the stats and abilities of your team as a whole and add them together and you will find your Team Capability.
The standard team setup (Tank/Off-Tank/Carry/Mage/Support) gives you one dedicated Defense (Tank), two dedicated Offense (Carry/Mage), one combination (Off-Tank) and a miscellanious character who should balance out what is left (if you have defensive Carries and Mages, offensive support... if you have a more aggressive type of tank, defensive support).
Another factor to consider is how many 'utilities' your team has as a whole. Keep in mind the following for a balanced team:
- one champion should be a jungler
- one Carry/Support should work at melee range and the other two at a long range
- one or more, preferably two or more, should have some hard CC (Stun/Snare/Fear)
- one or more, preferably two or more, should have area damage
- one or more should have some soft CC (slow, positioning)
Once more, this is all regarding a standard Team Setup.
Burst vs. Sustain
A Burst champion is very capable for a short period of time and then has a long refresh before being able to contribute again.
A Sustain champion, however, is able to keep going for long periods of time with moderate capabilities. Sustain champions have two subcategories, which are Machines that are able to keep going due to low cooldown abilities and Temporaries which are able to keep going due to high duration, high cooldown abilities. Functionally Machines and Temporaries are different but they are similar enough to be considered interchangeable.
Of course, most characters are hybrids of the two categories but can usually be seen to fit one of the roles better than the other.
Both offensive and defensive characters have this classification.
As a general rule, Offensive Burst Champions and Sustain Champions should stick together, as either a Burst Team or an Sustain Team. The Tanks, however, should be built according to the enemy team... if the enemy team is Burst then both the Tank and Off-Tank should have Burst Protection and vice versa.
For example, Anivia, Master Yi and Soraka are all Sustain champions. If they are found on one team, the enemy team should react by taking Sustain Tanks like Gragas and Dr. Mundo.
If the team were to take, say, Katarina, Miss Fortune and Morgana, who are all Burst Champions, then they should take Burst Tanks like Alistar and Malphite.
When playing on the Solo Queue, more often than not you will be trying to build a Balanced Team. However if you are planning out a team game with friends you may want to build a Specialized Team. These teams are all built with a certain function in mind and are built to emphasize that said function. The functions are usually based around domination in one of the areas of the game.
There are basically 5 factors which, if dominated, will win you the game.
1) Destroying Towers. This is the most important factor but not necessarily the most important to emphasize. In the end, every team will need to do this.
2) Team Fights. This means being able to work well together as a team and having a team composition with abilities that compliment each other in a 5v5 battle.
3) Farming. This means getting much more Gold and Experience than your enemy team, usually by killing enemy champions and jungling, especially controlling the Dragon.
4) Map Control. This means reaching a state where more of the map is considered a 'safe zone' for your champions and a 'danger zone' for the enemy.
5) Manoeverability. This includes being able to chase and outrun your opponents, being able to take advantage of the Element of Surprise, being able to move the whole team to where they are needed quickly, etc.
All of these are of course interconnected, but which one is emphasized makes a specialist team. If your team is manoeverable, you'll be better able to Control the map. If you Control the map, you'll be able to Farm more easily. If your team is better Farmed you will be able to dominate Team Fights and if you dominate Team Fights then you can walk right through the Towers.
For these five factors there are five 'most popular' team types. These are not all of the types of Specialized Teams out there but it should give you a good start when planning your own: Tough, Crowd Control, Assassin, Heal and Pushing.
Tough: This team is composed of one Main Tank, two Magical Off-Tanks and two Physical Off-Tanks. The benefits of this team are two-fold. The first is that the enemy will not have any real valid targets to choose from, making it difficult to coordinate. The second is that you will be able to dive towers very easily and take them down almost without flinching.
In this kind of team everyone should have a flexible build. The Main Tank should remain purely Defensive while the other four should start going Offensive immediately. Whichever one starts to get targetted should start investing in defensive items until the enemy team changes their first target. In this way you keep the enemy disoriented.
A Tough Team should also play extremely aggressively, pushing down one tower at a time then going back to refuel, keeping the enemy defensive and terrified of your steamroller tactics.
The only thing you can do against a Tough Team is coordinate well. Pay attention to who the current Squishiest Target is and make sure your whole team knows to target him. If the target escapes your team has to switch focus together to the next squishiest champion. Chasing down fleeing tanks is a waste of time and a good way to get yourself and your team killed.
Furthermore, one should make sure NEVER to die... with their survivability the chances of you getting a kill are slim, even if it looks promising. Don't ever chase or over-extend... know that it will be a low-kill game and keep it that way. Also, plan to be in it for the long haul. A Tough Team has the biggest advantage in the mid-game. If you survive into the late game (~level 15+) then your carries should be strong enough to take them down quickly enough.
Crowd Control: This team is relatively standard but with a special emphasis on stuns, slows and Area Effect spells. Their main focus is on the Team Fight and with their ability to disable and control the battlefield they do so extremely well. More often than not you will find this to be a Burst team but it is also possible to build a Sustain Crowd Control team.
The team setup is pretty standard, with a Tank, Off-Tank, Carry, Mage and Support but sometimes replacing the Support with another Mage. The Carry and Mage will usually both be Ranged and possibly the Off-Tank as well. The Support will usually be Offensive. Every single one of the champions will have an emphasis on Crowd Control.
When facing this kind of team you will have to resort to sideways thinking. They'll be able to beat you in a straight fight, even at your own tower they'll be able to force you to flee with their area damage spells. Investing in Mercury Treads is vital and a Quicksilver Sash would probably be a good idea. Trying to catch them by surprise in a gank will help tremendously. Finding ways to get them to split up is really effective as they rely on their whole team being together in order to be effective. If you can catch them in a simultaneous 3v3 and 2v2 then you may have the advantage because they will be able to focus their CC less and give you a chance. Also, trying to achieve better Map Control and Farming will give you a much needed advantage in the Team Fights.
Assassin: This team is based on killing enemy champions, farming, jungling and overall dominating the experience train. The team will spend all of its time, from the very start, harassing and ganking, trying to take and keep the kill advantage. Only once they have achieved enough dominance will they start to push the lanes and actively take towers. A few may fall in the interim but those are inconsequential to the main mission.
This team will be heavy on Stealth, Scout and Speed characters. This is also the only team setup that can work without a Tank. This team will also not have a support character but will have another DPSer instead. So the team may be: Off-Tank, Carry, Carry, Mage, Mage.
When going against this type of team it is important to stick together as a team and play defensively, especially in the Laning Phase as an early-game dominance will basically throw the game to the Assassins' Team. Wards and Oracle Elixirs are vital. Don't try to play their game... force them to play yours. They rely on Stealth and Ganking. If you play the game straight and force them to defend their towers then you will know exactly where they are and where they will be and force them into a direct confrontation - which will break them. Be careful though because this type of team likes to defend from behind, popping out of the jungle and taking down your Carries before you even knew they were there.
Heal: A Heal Team is a specialized Sustain Team. They are specially designed to have maximum staying power so they can harass towers and maintain map control. A Heal Team will rarely if ever need to return to base and they can keep up a harass for as long as they want to. They will force the other team to play defensively, affording the team total domination of the map, the jungle and everything else.
This team setup will be Support Heavy and all or most champions will have some kind of heal ability. Soraka is an absolute must in this type of team.
A Heal Team will play extremely aggressively and try to keep all the lanes pressed up against the enemy towers. One or two champions will always be at the enemy tower, keeping the enemy at bay, while the other members clear the jungle, backdoor another tower, go home for a quick shop or anything else. If any of the enemy team decides to stray from a defensive position they will either quickly hunt them down, or knock down the towers.
The best thing to do against a Heal Team is jump them all at once. They have staying power but not so much Team Fighting potential so if you get your whole team together and jump them all at once (from the back if possible) then they can quickly be taken down and you'll have a moment's reprieve to do some damage.
Pushing: This is a specialized Burst team setup based on high manoeverability, extreme aggression, fast creep killing and tower destruction. This type of team will be built to push down a single lane at the speed of walking, roll over a tower and teleport back to town before the enemy knows what hit them. Furthermore they will have one or more Backdoor Capable team members to make sure they can always stay on the offensive. Often many of their champions will have Leaps or Teleports.
The team composition will appear fairly standard except that they may replace their Off-Tank with a Tanky Carry. This is because dealing quick damage is more important than staying power.
A Pushing Team thrives on Waves. They will push down the enemy then retreat, allowing the enemy to push forwards, then destroy the enemy team in a defensive battle before pushing them down again. By pushing down lanes appropriately and keeping the rest of the lanes waving in your favour, a Pushing Team can very easily dominate the map.
When playing against a Pushing Team, Map Control is extremely important. Keep all of the lanes going in their direction and ward all the common gank points. Furthermore, clear your jungles well for the experience. When you see them retreat, don't push back right away because that's what they want... instead, farm the Dragon, Buffs and Baron if possible. Play a little more defensively and you'll find that they will lose their pushing power and thus any possible advantage.
Know how to Lane
You have 6 priorities while laning. They should be emphasized in the following order:
1) Don't Die
2) Be in range of the creeps to gain experience
3) Last Hit enemy creeps to gain gold
4) Prevent the enemy champions from Last Hitting your creeps
5) Zone enemy champions to keep them from gaining experience
6) Destroy the enemy tower
Killing Enemy Champions fulfills all the conditions from 2 to 5. A Sacrifice Exchange should only occur when it will give you an advantage. Examples of advantageous exchanges:
- Your team gets a kill and an assist while the enemy only gets a kill
- A higher priority champion gets the kill (Carry vs. Tank, Off-Tank vs. Support, etc)
- It will cause the enemy champion to miss out on a large creep wave or other farming opportunity
- It will allow your team to freely take an objective (Tower, Dragon, Buff, etc)
- The enemy team has a big lead.
There are six tactics that can be used in a lane during the Laning Phase:
1) Last Hit enemy creeps - this means hanging back in a defensive posture and only auto-attacking when you know you'll kill an enemy creep. This may also include Zoning an enemy champion with one or both of your champions, starving them and feeding you. Last Hitting is especially effective if the enemy is either extremely defensive (hugging their tower) as you can easily zone them away, extremely aggressive (trying to gank you all the time) as you will make them come to you and thus improve your situation against them, or when your team has lane control and the enemy champions are scared witless. If your enemy is just last-hitting then your best option is to Harass them. That will force them from the creep line and disrupt their whole tactic. Following this you can go for a gank if you have superiority and lots of room. Alternately, try and Push the Enemy Tower. In that way you are disrupting the enemy's last hitting capabilities and taking control of the lane.
2) Harass Enemy Champions - this is just like Last Hitting except that you are also attempting to weaken enemy champions with your attacks and abilities. While harassing, make sure to never commit to an attack and stay away from their side of the creep line for more than a second. Harassing should be used when the enemy is just Last Hitting or when they are trying to Push the tower. If the enemy is successfully harassing you then you should either try to Gank them if you're still in a position to do so or fall back into a defensive position allowing your tower to cover you and stop them from harassing.
3) Gank Enemy Champions - This means attacking with the intent to kill, often but not always with the aid of an allied champion from the jungle or another lane. This should only be performed when you are 80%+ certain that you can get a kill and get away or make a benefic exchange. If you fail then you could either lose one or both of your champions, or walk away with a limp after showing your hand. Either way it isn't good. Ganking is especially effective against an enemy who is attempting to Push your tower or against an enemy who is Harassing while you still have the advantage. If the enemy is aggressive and tries to gank you often, play more defensive and just Last Hit creeps, making them have to come to you, or fall back to a defensive position at your tower if they are much stronger.
4) Push the Enemy Tower - This means killing all the creeps as quickly as possible and moving towards the enemy tower with the intent to damage or destroy it. This tactic should be used extremely sparingly, especially before level 5. Before that time the amount of damage you can deal to a tower is minimal and insignificant. The only time you should attempt to push is if you have a very strong advantage, either because you are over levelled, they have been harassed down or the enemy champions are not present because they left the lane forcibly or by choice. In almost every other situation where you are able to push the lane it is far more beneficial to simply zone out the enemy champions and Last Hit them. If the enemy team is trying to push your tower, let them! If they have the advantage then call in a gank from your Jungler, Mid or the other lane. If they don't have the advantage then either harass them or wait for them to come close and gank them yourselves.
5) Hug your Tower - Whenever you are getting overwhelmed or the enemy team is getting overly aggressive, fall back to your tower. When you are hugging try to either keep above half health or have a Heal spell ready so that you don't get killed by a sudden dive (from any direction). Hugging your tower can also be useful in feigning weakness. If your enemy thinks they have the advantage they will overextend themselves, allowing you to handily dispatch them under cover from your stone defender. If your enemy is hugging their tower it is usually best to fall back, zone them away from the creep line and just last hit to your heart's content. The only exception is if you know you can dive and kill a champion or deal significant damage to their tower.
6) Leave the Lane to heal/shop/gank - Whenever you are below half health go back to base. Even if your enemy is also low. If you're the first one out then there will still be a few seconds where they are wondering 'is he still there?' and when you return at full health they will be like, 'eep, he has full health!' allowing you to have more domination. When they realize that they too need to go back to heal you will know exactly when they are doing so and be able to carry on as you please. Pay attention to other lanes as well. If they are in trouble then try to go to their aid if you are able or offer to switch with them. If they are pinging like mad then go there IMMEDIATELY, even if they are on the other side of the map - your attention may be desperately required. If it turns out later that you couldn't help then go back to your lane - but you may have just turned the tides of the game with your quick reactions and team awareness.
Know your Role
There are five different roles in a team. Here they are, one by one.
The Tank's job is to protect your teammates, especially the squishy back rank. The main way of accomplishing this is to make the enemy focus on you as a target and continue to attack you. The second way is to use a Crowd Control ability to prevent them from reaching and/or attacking your teammates.
A tank is also usually the initiator of combat. If he isn't the initiator then he is usually the first one in after initiation occurs. A tank's initiation usually involves moving quickly to the enemy forces and disabling as many as possible momentarily.
There are two general categories of tank: Burst Tank and Sustain Tank.
A Burst Tank is able to take a lot of damage over a short period of time and then either dies or flees combat. This type of tank is very useful for initiation if you or the enemy team has a lot of burst damage as he will be able to negate or reduce most of it. If the battle needs to take longer, however, the tank will become useless. Burst tanks can be identified by their having a large health pool, strong defensive abilities with long cooldowns and either no healing abilities or weak and/or inconvenient healing abilities. The following are typical Burst Tanks: Amumu, Cho'Gath, Alistar.
A Sustain Tank is able to withstand lots of damage over a long period of time. They won't have as great of defensive potential as a Burst Tank but they make up for it with long-term survivability. If the enemy has a lot of burst damage then the sustain tank will be useless. However if they focus on crowd control and pushing power then a Sustain Tank will shine. sustain tanks may be able to stand in the fray for long periods of time or may have to duck out of battle momentarily to refuel before heading back in moments later. Sustain Tanks can be identified by having low cooldown defensive abilities and a high health regeneration or strong self-healing abilities. The following are typical Sustain Tanks: Shen, Gragas, Singed.
A tank requires two things:
1) Exceptional Survivability
2) A degree of threat or an attention grabbing mechanism
A tank also benefits from the following:
1) high mobility
2) a way to rescue teammates
3) a way to initiate combat
4) slow/stun/positioning moves that can keep enemies close by
The following are typical ways for a tank to grab attention:
1) Position: A tank should be the first one in battle and the closest to the enemy. Often a tank becomes the target simply because he is the only target in range, with the rest of the team safely behind him shooting from afar.
2) Feigning Vulnerability: When the tank's health bar is low he seems like more of a target, even if he would still have more health than an ally. Tanks with surprise defensive moves, like most Burst Tanks, should wait until their health bar drops before activating them. That way they will appear vulnerable even if they are not and grab more attention.
3) Being Loud: Tanks often have loud, flashy moves. Even if they deal no damage these moves grab attention and the enemy will have a difficult time ignoring it.
4) Be a Threat: Tanks don't normally deal a whole lot of damage but they can still be a threat - a player just needs to use his champion's power efficiently. The main way for a tank to be a threat is by going after the enemy Carry. Carries usually have very low survivability and so doing significant damage to them will be much easier. By threatening the carry not only are you making the enemy notice you but you are also helping the team do appropriate damage.
5) Pulling the enemy in: If an enemy attempts to walk by you should try to 'pull him in' if you have a way to do so. This could mean stunning, slowing, taunting, repositioning or any other manner of Crowd Control to keep the enemy on you and not your allies. This works best against melee champions but could also work against long ranged ones.
Tanks must think of their team first and themselves second. Tanks don't require as much money as carries do and so should feed their carries as many kills as possible and be willing to fork out gold for Wards to help out the team as a whole. If a battle turns sour the tank should be the last one out, even if it means death, in order to keep the rest of his team safe. If possible a tank should always sacrifice his life to make sure an ally gets away and should discourage his team from coming back for him. Don't let this keep you underfed, however. Tanks have the hardest time farming and can easily suffer from being underleveled if due attention isn't payed. Make sure your team stays defensive when you go and feed because without a tank the whole team is more vulnerable.
Tanks must be bold and brazen. When combat is engaged, get in there right away and make as much noise as possible. Make sure you know the difference between an initiation and a harass, however. A Harass is when an ally goes and makes a quick attack to get on the enemy's nerves and get them to initiate prematurely. A initiation is the beginning of a full-blown attack. If your ally is harassing and you run in, you will just be sacrificing your life for nothing. If it's an initiation and you don't run in then it could either be a missed opportunity or your whole team could die because you weren't up front protecting them.
An Off-Tank (Offensive Tank)'s main job is to pursue and add close-up pressure to the enemy carries, especially Ranged Carries. Like a Tank an Off-Tank must emphasize Survivability but an Off-Tank must also be able to deal significant amounts of damage.
An Off-Tank's second job is to grab the slack that a Tank leaves over and take all the focus that falls off of him. If the main Tank should die or be forced to run away then the Off-Tank must be able to step into his shoes and be the main attention-grabber.
An Off-Tank may have crowd control abilities but the main way he grabs attention is by dealing Damage. All of this damage should be focussed on the vulnerable targets in the enemy team, especially if that means wading through the enemy's front line and pulling them back with you.
Off-Tanks are also divided into Burst and Sustain, like with Main Tanks. They are also divided into Physical and Magical for the way they deal damage.
Dr. Mundo is a Physical Sustain Tank. Blitzcrank is a Physical Burst Tank. Nunu is a Magical Burst Tank, Vladimir is a Magical Sustain Tank.
Units with heavy lifesteal can also be classified as Off-Tanks. Those would be: Warwick, Irelia, Fiddlesticks.
1) High Survivability
2) Moderate damage output
An Off-Tank also benefits from the following:
3) High Manoeverability
4) Stun/Slow Effects
Tanks have the highest independence of the game. They are the most capable in 1v1 fights as they have the best balance between survivability and damage output - thus they make the best Junglers throughout the whole game. Off-Tanks have medium priority when if comes to kills and farming - more than tanks and support but less than the carries. Off-Tanks can also get fed quite easily. Be careful because having a fed Off-Tank may seem like a good idea and may be quite effective in the early and mid game, but come late game if the off-tank gets all the kills and the carry gets none then the team will suffer. and the tides will turn.
Off-Tanks generally don't have initiation moves or have very poor ones. It is possible for them to initiate simply by running into the middle of the frey but Off-Tanks will generally only come into battle after it has already been initiated - sometimes right after.
The first thing an off-tank should do in battle is move throught to the back line, destroying the enemy ranged units. This will have one of four effects:
1) The Off-Tank will succeed in killing the ranged units, throwing the battle in your favour
2) The Off-Tank will chase off the enemy ranged units or otherwise keep them occupied while your team continues pressing forwards
3) The Off-Tank will cause the front line to shrink back and deal with him, allowing the rest of his team safer access to the enemy back line and distracting the enemy from your team's carries
4) The Off-Tank will be targetted and killed, drawing the enemy's resources momentarily and allowing your own team the opportunity to deal damage to more vulnerable targets
If any enemy unit flees the battle the off-tank has the right to pursue a short distance and go for the kill on his own. No other unit should leave a team fight to do so. This is because the Off-Tank will both be able to deal damage and survive should the enemy champion turn around with a surprise heal+ignite+super burst whereas other units, like Carries, would be decimated from that kind of turn around.
As mentioned above, if the team's tank falls it is the off-tank's job to take his place. The off-tank should continue going after the carries if possible but should also be aware of his position in relation to his team and the enemy and be ready to intercept any unit going towards his teammates. An off-tank in this situation should play more defensively and should not leave battle to chase a fleeing enemy.
Carries are usually divided by into the Physical and Magical categories as Carries and Mages. Functionally, however, these two categories are more or less the same, with the exception that Physical carries focus more on auto-attacks and strict damage dealing while magical carries focus more on abilities and often have a form of crowd control or area damage.
Functionally, the main distinction among carries is Melee vs. Ranged and thus this guide will focus on that as the distinction.
The job of a Melee Carry is to deal massive amounts of damage. They have no other possible role than that and should not attempt to multitask other roles. They should not initiate combat, rescue teammates or chase fleeing enemies unless they are 110% certain they can do so without dying in the process.
Melee Carries need to survive at all costs. If it means fleeing battle while it is still going on then so be it. They should not run into battle with half a bar of health unless the enemy team is in worse shape or they have a surprise rescue mechanism (which they usually don't).
As with the tanking types, Melee Carries have two subcategories: Burst and Sustain. Here their role is defined by the type of damage they produce. Burst Carries will have massive damage output with high cooldowns on their abilities. Sustain Carries will have high damage output which can be sustained almost indefinitely through auto-attacks or low cooldown abilities. There are also Magical, Physical and Hybrid type carries.
- High Damage Output
- Medium Survivability
- Short-ranged Teleport/Leap (even if it's just Flash)
Melee Carries also benefit from the following:
- High Mobility
- Single target stuns/slows
- Lifesteal/Spell Vamp
When a team fight occurs the Melee Carry will be constantly ducking in and out of battle. Burst Carries especially should simply pop into battle, throw down all of their abilities, then immediately retreat and stay their until their cooldowns refresh. Sustain carries should remain in the fray for a while longer, leaving as soon as they pick up even the slightest hint of enemy aggro.
Burst Carries should be the second ones in, right after the Tank. This way they can lay down their first wave of abilities immediately and have them refreshed before the encounter is completed. If a Burst Carry waits too long before engaging then they will have less volleys of attacks to throw at the enemy.
Sustain Carries should wait until the Off-Tank is also present before engaging the enemy. This way the Sustain Carry will be able to stave off aggro for a little while longer and will have more time before they are forced to retreat. They'll also be sure that they miss the first volley of enemy Burst Damage.
After combat is underway keep ducking in and out as necessary to ensure survival and maximum damage output. If any single enemy flees let him run... chasing is a good way to get caught and killed. Instead work on whittling down any enemies who remain in the battle - even if it's just the tank.
Between team fights a Melee Carry should remain busy. There are three things they could be doing:
1) Hunting down solitary Range Carries who stray too far from their protection
2) Clearing neutrals from the jungle
3) Farming lanes in controlled areas
A Melee Carry should NEVER harass opponents at a tower. They are ineffective at doing so and will just be wasting their time.
Melee Physical Carries are also the prime candidates for backdooring, when the situation arises.
A ranged carry's main job is to deal massive amounts of damage. A secondary job is as supplimentary Crowd Control, especially with a Mage type. The third job of a ranged carry is drawing out and over-extending enemy champions. The third job is automatic just by being alive and so functionally works as 'be a threat but stay alive'.
Ranged Carries, as with their Melee Counterparts, must survive at all costs. If this means fleeing battle halfway through then so be it. 9 times out of 10, however, a ranged carry can run away far enough to get the enemy to stop chasing them then come back and keep attacking.
With a good tank, Ranged Carries should be able to focus solely on purchasing offensive items or hybrid items. If the tank isn't doing his job then some heavier defensive items may be warranted.
Ranged Carries are also occasionally initiators and they make great harassers.
All the sub-distinctions of Melee Carries (Burst/Sustain/AP/AD/Hybrid) also apply to Ranged Carries.
- High Damage Output
- High Attack/Spell Range
Ranged Carries also benefit from the following:
- High Mobility
- Crowd Control abilities
When a team fight occurs the Ranged Carry will always be the last one in a fight and will stay as far back as possible. The Ranged Carry should always, always, always stay behind the Tank, even if it means his only contribution is attacking the enemy tank. Attention should be payed, however, and when the opportunity arises to walk forwards and do damage to the enemy squishies it should be done immediately.
Burst Carries have a bit more leeway when it comes to the Tank Line rule... when they know that the enemy team is occupied they can duck forwards past their tank for a second to get off their abilities, then run back to safety and auto-attack who they can (or run away) as their abilities refresh. Sustain Carries have to place Survivability at a much higher priority, however, and remain in a safe positioon as much as possible.
Between team fights a Ranged Carry should remain busy. There are three things they could be doing:
1) Harassing an enemy tower with the support of a tank,
2) Farming lanes in controlled areas
3) Clearing neutrals from the jungle
4) Hang back at your tower and wait for the next team fight.
A ranged carry should as much as possible stay with the rest of the team. This is important for all champions, but squishy ranged ones especially.
Support champions are the most versatile and individualized of them all. They basically fill any kind of miscellaneous role other than straight Damage Dealing and Damage Taking.
There are three main types of Support Champions: (1) Buffers, (2) Enervators, (3) Assassins
Buffers are primarily about boosting your allied teammates' effectiveness, either by healing them, shielding them or boosting one or more of their stats. Examples are: Janna, Soraka, Sona.
Enervators are primarily about reducing your enemy champions' effectiveness, either by cursing or crowd controlling them. Sometimes Enervators are nicknamed 'failed mages' because almost any Mage champion can also be built as Support by emphasizing Cooldown Reduction and Mana Regen instead of Ability Power. Examples are: Morgana, Lux, Malzahar.
Assassins are primarily about establishing Map Control by either roaming the jungle and killing solitary champions, frequently ganking or otherwise scaring the enemy team into sticking together and not straying into the jungle. Assassins can often take the role of Carry as well but they should be classified as Support as their play style is based on sideways thinking and guerilla tactics as opposed to straight combat. Examples are: Teemo, Twitch, Eve.
Support Champions can usually fill several different roles and may be difficult to classify. Looking at which ability you consider your 'bread and butter', however, will aid you in classifying yourself to some extent.
When it comes to Items, Buffers and Enervators should mainly focus on Aura items which benefit the team as a whole. If the enemy is targetting you then purchasing Defensive Items (especially Aegis of the Legion) is also a smart move. The only flat AP item such a support champion should purchase is Mejai's Soulstealer, which is extremely effective on Support Champions as they get lots of assists and generally stay far out of harms way.
Assassins should build themselves for straight damage dealing as if they were a carry.
- None. Well, it really depends on the type of Support Champion.
In team fights, all Support Champions should stay out of harm's way as much as possible. Buffers should stay close to the allies they need to buff, Enervators should be close enough to the enemy champions they need to enervate and Assassins should hang in the shadows until they find the ideal place and time to strike.
Buffers and Enervators should play extremely generously and, like with Tanks, should avoid getting kills when another ally can take it. Assassins, however, should attempt to steal kills whenever possible, even if your team starts to hate you.
In all roles remember that you are a Support Champion. Buffers and Enervators should never go alone and even when Assassins go solo they alway need to remember to 'check in' with their team once in a while.
Support Champions all need strong Map Awareness, Assassins because they need to know where they should be and the rest because it benefits the team and Support Champions are the most able to multi-task this function. All are prime candidates for taking the Clairvoyance spell and purchasing Wards (note I said 'and' not 'or'... one isn't a replacement for the other).
Working in a Team Fight
A team fight always begins with an Initiation. An initiation can be defined as an action which brings one unit into the zone of the enemy team.
This is not to be confused with a harass, which is an action that causes damage without entering into the enemy's zone for a significant period of time.
An initiation might follow a 'pre-initiation', which is some form of Crowd Control ability to immobilize or disable one or more enemy unit.
Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, for example, is a Pre-Initiation, as it stuns a large amount of units but does not close the distance. Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab is an Initiation as it brings one enemy unit into the range of your team.
The simplest form of initiation is a 'Walking Initiation' where one unit (usually a tank) simply walks forwards until he is within the enemy team's zone.
After an initiation occurs there is a choice by the non-initiating team whether to respond or retreat. If they respond, combat occurs. If they retreat, the non-initating team loses their position and may lose one or more of their champions.
It is vitally important that every member of a team be on the same page. When one champion Initiates combat, the rest of the team must be ready to follow immediately. Likewise if the enemy initiates and one of your teammates responds then your whole team must be ready to respond with you. If your team is not all together then the fight will automatically fail.
When engaging in a Team Fight pay attention to your roles and positions. Each team has four positions: (1) Front Rank, (2) Back Rank (3) Withdrawn and (4) Advance. Characters in the Front Rank are engaged in melee combat with each other. Characters in the Back Rank are either engaged in Ranged Combat, or are preparing to leap into Melee Combat. Characters in the Withdrawn position are outside of combat and are either fleeing, preparing to engage or acting in a support role. Finally, characters in the Advance position are engaging the enemy's Back Rank and/or are chasing fleeing enemies.
All character role dynamics can be understood with respect to these 4 positions. Off Tanks are supposed to push through to the Advanced Position. Melee DPS are either to push through to Advanced Position after the Off-Tanks, or the Front Rank after the Main Tank or pop back to the Withdrawn position if they need to. The role of the Main Tank is to keep the enemy Off-Tanks and Melee DPS's in the Front Rank and prevent them from reaching the Advanced position. Ranged DPS'ers are to keep to the Back Rank as they attack or Withdraw if they are threatened. Support Characters go where they are needed.
Conflicts are not always straight back and forth encounters. Sometimes a team's off-tanks or dps'ers will attempt to come in from the sides, flanking their enemy. Sometimes a team's ranged units will flank from two different 'back ranks'. Flexibility and awareness is thus required, but the general rules still remain.
Never Give Up!
The biggest mistake any team can make is Surrendering. It's easy to win when you have the advantage but the sign of a truly good player is what he does when he's at a disadvantage. This holds true for every game, including the game of life. When you're doing well and things are going your way it's really easy to have a smile and an upbeat attitude. But what happens when your team suffers at the beginning?
The first rule is to KEEP PLAYING. Even if the situation is absolutely hopeless and there is no possible way you can recover, keep playing. The experience you gain from attempting to win an impossible battle is invaluable and the effect it will have on your general gameplay attitude is significant. Know that every team has a weakness, be it a pattern that can be countered, a 'weak-link' player, the lack of a certain aspect of strategy, a propensity for a certain activity... whatever it is, figure out what the enemy team's weakness is and take advantage of it. Be constantly aware of what your enemies are doing. If you happen to die don't flame in chat or pick your nose... that's an opportunity to analyze your enemy's team composition and attitude to get a better idea of what needs to be done.
The following is a short list of common 'blunders' and their counters:
- Team has an excess of either Physical or Magical damage:
- - - All members of your team should get defense for the type of damage they deal
- Team has a lot of Tough champions
- - - Your carry should get Madred's Razor and your team as a whole should play defensively until the late game (~level 15+)
- Team has a lack of Tanks
- - - Your team should build more defensively and act more aggressively, making sure to focus down the enemy champions one at a time.
- Team constantly farms the Dragon and/or Baron
- - - Ward the Dragon and Baron and be ready to gank them as a team
- Team is turtling their base and won't come out to fight you
- - - Ignore the enemy team and farm the whole map including the jungles
- Team doesn't have a support champion
- - - Play the game 'straight' and force them into a 5v5 team fight... without a Support Champion they'll be at a disadvantage.
- Team doesn't have a jungler
- - - Make sure your team has a jungler who will gank the enemy constantly. Dominate the laning phase and you'll start out the next phase with a huge advantage.
- Team has a lot of Crowd Control
- - - Everyone should get Mercury's Treads and build Offensively otherwise. Play Defensively.
- Team has a lot of invisible units
- - - Get an Oracle's Elixir
- Team likes to use lots of Wards
- - - Play defensively so that their wards are wasted; Alternately, get an Oracle's Elixir and hunt down the wards
- Team likes to roam the jungle
- - - Buy wards and scatter them about; hunt the enemy as a team
- Team is just staying in the lanes
- - - Love the jungle and gank them from behind whenever possible
Playing against Champions is only half of the battle... remember that behind every champion is also a real person, just like you. These real people commonly react a certain way to set stimuli. There are Objective patterns which every person follows and Subjective patterns which specific individuals follow. It is important to know how players will react to certain things, both in general and specific to these players. When you learn how players react, you will be able to add a whole new dimension to your gameplay.
Here are some very simple examples:
- People are attracted to Shiny things. If you have an ability which makes a loud sound and is very bright and sparkly, the enemy will pay attention to it. The inverse is true for abilities without obvious effects. Their reaction will either be Fight or Flight; they'll attack the flashy person or flee from the flashy move. Whether the ability has any actual effect is inconsequential.
- Accuracy is more frightening than Frequency. If you manage to use your ability only once every 30s and hit every time, the enemy will be more frightened of you than if you use your ability every 5s and hit 2/3 times.
- If you run, they will chase. Even if you are stronger than them, if they see you running they'll assume you have a reason for doing so and they'll chase you.
- If you chase, they'll run. This doesn't always work but very often if you catch the enemy by surprise then even if you're at half health and they are full they'll start to run away from you until their brains catch up and they think 'wait a minute...'.
- Timers are Scary. Anything which will go off after some time or which can later be triggered will scare a person. This includes Zilean's Bombs, Gragas' Barrels, Janna's Tornado, etc.
Beyond these objective patterns it is also beneficial to observe the enemy champions and whole team that you are facing. How do they play? Do they like to gank? Are they favouring one or more lanes? Are they favouring one or more jungle routes? Are they aggressive or passive? Are they working well together or poorly? Are there any easily baitable players? Easily spooked? Do they seem awkward/inexperienced with their champion pick?
It may seem like a lot of work to put in to just one game, getting to know everything about the enemy, including their champions and play styles. Indeed it does take a lot of awareness and attention and it will probably strain your brain muscles. Know that it gets easier once you learn to spot repeated patterns and different player types/styles.
A whole article can/should be written on this subject, but I hope this introduction gets some of your wheels turning.
Thank you for reading my guide. If you have any comments, concerns, corrections or complaints feel free to leave a post. I promise to address all of your issues to the best of my abilities.
I feel confident that this guide will aid players at the Intermediate Level... I know that getting all this stuff down has already helped me. If anyone out there feels confident enough to put out a 401 guide then I look forward to reading it.