General Guide by Clemroc
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Intro - What's this about?
Hello League of Legends Community!
With the experience I have acquired throughout these last few years, I’ve come to find a number of factors that, although obvious, some people tend to forget or leave aside.
The perfecting of these factors will help you to improve greatly at League of Legends and give you a competitive edge, regardless of what role you like to play.
Although these tips are mostly based on ranked 5v5 games, the majority of the aspects mentioned will work on most games: ranked teams, normal games, and even 3v3.
Given the dynamic nature of the game, listing all the aspects is near impossible. Nevertheless, this guide will provide an overview of the most important aspects that you will need to work on in order to improve and be better.
The guide is separated into 3 parts:
First and foremost, given that this is a guide on how to improve, I will assume that you have at least partially acquired the following:
Found a champion(s) that you enjoy and that you are used to play with.
Found the right set of runes/masteries for your champion(s) and that suit the way you play.
Know the importance of team-communication / know how to use the new ping system
You are well versed in the skills and abilities of the other champions, both ally and enemy, that you might find on the battlefield.
Last-Hitting Part 1: Basic Info
League of Legends revolves around gold. You kill minions, you get gold, you get items, and you fight. Simple? Not quite.
Killing minions is not always easy. Depending on how much you harass/get harassed in lane, you might not be able to last-hit all the minions. However, you should always try to kill as many per wave as possible.
On average, try to miss no more than 1-2 per wave. Or, try to have an average of about 10 CS per minute. Also, note that the big minions are worth more gold, and hence you should try your best to not miss those.
For further information regarding the creep waves, here is bluebaron201's "Max gold per creepwave".
Why last-hit? Because if you just use your skills to kill the minions, you will push your lane.
"So what, I pushed my lane. Big deal!"
Oh, my friend, this IS a big deal!
Pushing means that your lane will advance farther away from the sweet comfort and safety of your tower.
If you keep doing this, you WILL bring the attention of the enemy team, which could range from a simple gank from the jungler, to an all-in warfare from a 4-man (and even sometimes 5-man) team on your lane.
Usually, you want to avoid that, although there might be some exceptions.
Last-Hitting Part 2: When to not last-hit
In the section above, we mentioned the importance of last-hitting instead of pushing.
"Does this mean I should always/only last-hit?" No, it doesn't.
The secret to League of Legends is ADAPTING.
Is the enemy laner auto-attacking the minions? If so, he will push lane faster than you will. If this continues, the enemy minions will end up at your tower, which makes you lose CS (CreepScore).
Additionally, your tower will most likely take damage, and you might be in danger of getting tower-dived.
Unless it cannot be avoided, you should always try to keep enemy minions slightly away from your tower’s range, in order to farm.
To put it simple; if the enemy laner is pushing by auto-attacking, do the same to try and keep the minions at the same level, but keep trying to get those last-hits.
More last-hits = more gold = more items.
Last-Hitting Part 3: Getting the enemy team's attention
In the last section we talked about the importance of last-hitting and avoiding to bring the enemy's attention to be safe. However, sometimes you may actually WANT to bring the attention to your lane.
Keep in mind that while this section talks about pushing, last-hitting should still be one of your priorities!
In some games, you will find yourself outplaying the enemy laner really hard. Hell, you might even be zoning and or dominating him. You won your lane, congratulations! But you still haven't won the game.
Take a look at the map, and at the scoreboard. How are your teammates doing? Are your other lanes failing? Is the enemy jungler ganking/camping a lane, screwing your ally's lane-phase?
If so, you should help him. After all, this IS a team-game!
"So, now that I won my lane, should I go to his and help?" Maybe. Maybe not.
Obviously this will depend on the situation, but I'd advise against it.
Leaving your lane will allow your enemy laner (that you've denied quite hard thus far) to catch up, and maybe even push your lane. In most cases, you do not want that. So what can you do? Bring the enemy team's attention.
Usually, when somebody's getting zoned, he/she will
b*tch at his jungler ask team-mates for help.
You can use this to your advantage. Push your lane, harass/zone the enemy laner even more! Hell, you might as well just go for the enemy tower! BUT DO THIS SAFELY! (Hint: wards)
The enemy's team will most likely come to pressure your lane, giving a much-needed rest to your allies' lanes. This strategy can definitely make the difference, and your team-mates will appreciate it, as long as you do it safely.
Which leads us to the next point: warding.
Warding Part 1: Who should ward?
Regardless of what role you play, you should buy wards every time you have spare gold.
AKA, pretty much every time you go back to base, unless you absolutely need those extra 75g to buy/finish an important item!
* Playing top? Top river or tribush must be warded at all times
* Playing mid instead? You must still ward.
* Jungler with or without lantern? You will still have to buy a ward every so often (as long as it doesn't set you too behind).
* Playing support? You must ward TWICE as much.
* Want to play ADC to avoid warding? Nope. You should still buy a ward with the spare gold before going back to lane.
I mean, come on, you just bought a BF sword and you have 90 gold left. Might as well used them!
Plus, what’s 75 gold compared to all the money you get from last-hits! Because, you manage to get last-hits, right?
Warding Part 2: What for?
Warding is one of the most important aspects of League of Legends.
Riot did not release sight-stone for shiggles!
Assuming you’re doing well in lane (last-hitting a lot, and/or killing the enemy champion), your lane [u]will be pushed[/u].
As mentioned before, if your lane is pushed, you will eventually bring the enemy’s attention.
Wards will allow you to have vision of key areas, which will give you enough time to go back to safety or prepare for combat – if you have enough map awareness to look at your ward on the minimap, that is. More on that later.
“So, I must buy green wards from time to time?” you might ask.
Yes, you do. However, sometimes you might want to invest the extra cash on a pink ward, regardless of your lane!
Regardless of how well/bad you’re doing, a pink ward will make sure that your enemy has not warded. This will allow your team (mostly your jungler) to come for a gank! If it is successful, you will get free gold from either a kill or an assist. Yay!
Apart from removing enemy wards, buying a pink is also important to cover objectives (baron, dragon).
Although the jungler and support are the ones who most often buy pink wards, you might still want to buy one in order to help your team, regardless of your role!
And don't forget about Evelynn, Twitch, and those other pesky invisible champions that will go through your green wards in a breeze!
But without MAP AWARENESS (or your allies' help through pings), warding will be somehow inefficient...
Warding Part3: Placement
Ward placement guides have already been written extensively, and hence I do not feel the need write another one.
Instead, I thank Panglot for his Ward Placement Guide that you can find here, on Mobafire!
Map Awareness Part 1: Look at your MAP!
Picture this: you’re winning your lane, you will probably kill the enemy laner in the next few minutes (or force him to go back), but your ward just expired.
Damned. You’re still full health, and you need/want some more gold before going back to base.
What do you do?
Look at the mini-map. Yes, it’s THAT simple.
* Can you see the enemy jungler anywhere?
* Are all the enemies on their respective lanes?
* If they’re not, can you see them ganking some other lane?
* When did you last see them on the map? Given their estimated speed, could they get to you?
* If they do, can you escape?
These are the kind of questions you should ask yourself.
If you see the enemy laners and/or jungler ganking your other lanes, then you should be safe.
By all means, push your lane! Use your skills on the enemy minions, try to kill the enemy laner, try to damage the turret!
Although this is the most common scenario, it is not always the case. Sometimes, you will look at the map and see a team-fight. If your teammates are fighting, you should try to participate. You might get some kills/assists (Yay! Free gold!) or you could save an ally, or protect/capture an objective.
Again, your reaction should vary depending on each and every game!
***You must THINK, make a judgement and ADAPT! ***
Map Awareness Part 2: When to abandon lane
Being with your team is very important, because the team with the most players present will generally have a big advantage during a team-fight.
But before you abandon your lane and rush to your team-mates help, there are some other questions you must ask yourself:
* How much time will I take to get to the fight?
* Will my team-mates still be alive by the time I get there?
* If I go, will I be able to do something, or will I just die right there?
If you cannot get there on time, or do not need to get there, it might be a better idea to keep last-hitting, or to push your lane and get a tower/objective.
Keep in mind that this will always DEPEND ON THE SITUATION you and your team are in!
Which leads us to our next section; ADAPTING.
What is "adapting" ? (aka Versatility)
I've been talking a lot about ADAPTING, but what is it exactly?
League of Legends is a DYNAMIC GAME. Things are always changing, and you must never take things for granted!
As mentioned above, you must always ask yourself a bunch of questions before deciding what to do.
As you play more and more games, this will become more of a REFLEX, and you will become better at it, although it will mostly depend on your judgement (and your team’s communication).
However, adapting is NOT as simple.
Sure making decisions as to whether you should push, join your team, or fall back to a safe position are all choices based on your judgement of the situation.
Thanks to your judgement, you are able to adapt to the enemy's reaction for each and every situation.
However, adapting comes in a bunch of different flavors, which I will go through chronologically.
Adapting Part 1: You, yourself and your team
**NOTE: This section refers mostly to ranked queu, although it can also be used in normal or draft**
So you just launched a ranked game, and are now in queu'ed up with a bunch of
trolls and idiots fellow team-mates who you may or may not know. What now?
Given the random queu order and the bans, you may not be able to play your main champ.
The first limitation you will notice are the bans. Did they just ban your Blitzcrank? Tough cookie.
Then comes the current LoL community's culture, aka yelling your role. Depending on
how smart how kind, you might have to change your mind as to what you want to play. Keep your cool, and take another pick.
Enemy picks: Did the enemy team first-pick the champ you wanted? Or did they pick a champ that beats yours?
Do your team a favor, do NOT counterpick yourself!
Last but not least, SYNERGY.
Pick a champion that will benefit your team!
* If your team has AoE ults (Amumu or Orianna), you might want to avoid picking Janna! Ulting the enemies out of your allies range may sometimes save your team-mates, but it may also save the enemy!
* Does your team already have an assassin (or 2, or 3)? Good, that's probably enough! Team comps that have Kha'zix, Zed, Xin and Panth statistically win less often than balanced teams!
BOTTOM LINE is you must be VERSATILE! Be able to adapt, try to play well at least 2-3 champions for each role.
Adapting Part 2: Runes & Masteries
As mentioned in the Pre-Game section, I assume that you have a decent knowledge of LoL.
These are meant to give you a slight edge in battle. However, given that you cannot edit them before a game, you will have to rely on your rune pages.
An experienced player might have many rune pages, but due to their high unlock costs (6300 IP), I do not expect you to have more than a few. Thus, you will probably have very little choice at the beginning of your League of Legends “career”. Still, try to have a page that fits your play-style and champion.
Masteries on the other hand, are another story. The game lets you have 20 free pages! Make the most out of it!
The most veteran players will edit their mastery page before every game, according to the enemy picks.
This is indeed the best way to adapt, and players who do this definitely have an edge over the enemy.
In conclusion: you know your play-style, champions and enemy champions. You should be able to make a rune page/masterie page that complements you well.
If not, I've heard about a website called MOBAFIRE on which you can find guide for your champions.
Adapting Part 3: Item builds
One of the most important parts of adapting is changing your ITEM BUILD.
This will generally make the difference between winning or losing your lane, and in some cases, it will even affect the game.
To illustrate my point, I will give a small example:
Imagine a Ryze playing mid against a Zed. Ryze benefits from mana as much as he does from AP, which is what makes the Tear of Goddess a key item for him.
Should Ryze absolutely ALWAYS take Tear of Goddess? Maybe.
Should he rush it as a first item? No, definitely NOT.
If Ryze is fighting against Zed, the enemy team will have at least 1 more AD champ (the ADC), and might even have an AD jungler or top. In this scenario, rushing the Glacial Shroud as a first item could help Ryze more than getting a Tear of Goddess.
Again, this will always depend on the game itself, and there is no sure way to win. Hence, the word “ADAPT”.
An important thing to keep in mind, though, is that if you die, you won’t deal any damage.
Sometimes, getting some extra health or resistances is worth more than getting the extra damage!
Finally, the order in which you level up your champion’s skills is also a way of adapting to your enemy. Upping the right skill at the right time could make the difference between you enjoying some gold at your fountain, and the enemy laner dancing on your body.
Final words on laning
This finalizes the section on laning. Although winning lane will not always determine the outcome of the game, you must always try to at least hold your lane.
This might be hard when you get countered by an enemy pick (hint: you can always ask a team-mate to switch lanes with you if you know that you cannot handle it).
Winning lane doesn’t mean you’ll win your game, but hey, a team with all lanes winning has a much higher chance of winning the game!
Although positioning is something mostly used for the carries, it’s important for EVERYONE.
Depending on your team’s comp, the enemy team’s comp, and the role you’re playing, you will have to be at different places/performing different tasks during a team-fight. (Hint: ADAPTING)!
Although every team-fight is different, here are a few positions/team-fight tasks:
* Target Priority
Teamfight Positioning: Peeling
Task: Protecting your team’s damage-dealers (usually AP/ADC).
Despite what people seem to think, this task is NOT reserved to your tank and/or support.
Depending on how the game is going, YOU might have to peel, and sometimes even die in order to let your damage dealers survive.
You make your own judgement as to what you should do!(ADAPTING)
But if you’re a 0/4 Chogath and you lost your lane, I suggest you build tanky (See Adapting: Item building) and just stick on your 7/1 Vayne to make sure she doesn’t die.
As mentioned earlier, this will depend on you being able to adapt to how the game is going!
Teamfight Positioning: Initiating
Task: Bringing the fight to the enemy team.
Usually done by tanks and bruisers, and heroes with CC that can withstand a beating.
Why? Because anything squishy or without means of escape will most likely DIE against the whole enemy team.
An initiator is meant to go all-in against the enemy team, HOWEVER, this is also one of the hardest tasks to do.
Depending on the champion you’re playing, you will have to find the right moment, and make sure your team is ready to follow. You know those little green bubbles on your team-mates portrait, in the top left corner of screen? Check those.
An Amumu that jumps in and ults all 5 enemies will be useless if he’s TWO SCREENS away from his team.
The initiator must ALWAYS find the right time to either catch the whole enemy team in AoE, or catch a lone enemy that is out of position.
The initiator must NOT chase. If the initiator fails, he should go back to his team and wait on cooldowns, and try again.
Teamfight Positioning: Damaging
Task: Kill stuff.
Wrongly thought to be the most fun and/or important task, damaging/eliminating the enemy team is not easy.
As mentioned earlier, in order to do damage you must be ALIVE!
As an ADC or AP carry, you will most likely have enough damage to hurt the enemies, but that doesn’t mean you will survive.
If you die, not only will your team lack the damage to fight the enemy team, but your team will have one less player for the remainder of the fight. Past the 20-minutes mark, this is often a game-defining moment, sometimes referred to as a “throw”.
The carries must find a place in which they are able to damage important enemy targets while still staying safe.
"So I must aim for the enemy carries, right? They are important targets!"
Yes, but not always the case.
Sometimes, “important target” will be the Renekton that is pounding your face in, OR the enemy initiator that is cc’ing your tanks.
In other words, you should generally attack the closest enemy. As explained by XeresAce, if there are multiple enemies "nearly at the same distance, attack the one with the biggest threat."
Once more, this will depend on the situation.
One thing for sure though, the carries should try their best to NOT die.
Why? Because apart from being the ones most fit to kill enemy champions, carries are often able to clear whole waves of minions due to their high damage. This could be very important if you need to steal an objective, or protect a tower.
Teamfight: Prioritizing Targets
Task: Killing the right stuff!
This point is not to be confused with the “damaging” aspect.
As I mentioned earlier, the damage-dealers will have to decide who the most important enemy target is.
This also applies to non-damage dealers, ESPECIALLY in skirmishes or after team-fights.
If you have the choice between (safely) saving a team-mate from certain death and chasing a low-health enemy for an extra kill, PROTECT YOUR TEAM-MATE!
If your team-mate lives, that means less-gold for the enemy, which in itself is already a win. More importantly, you might be able to kill your team-mate’s aggressor! Again, it’s up to you and your judgement.
The final point to go over is choosing your death.
“What? I should never die!” Indeed, IF it can be prevented, you shouldn’t.
However, depending on how you or your team-mates are doing, each of you will be worth a different amount of gold and/or perform a different role that might be more important at a given moment.
If you’re a 0/4 Chogath, and your support is about to die with oracle, by all means, DIE TO SAVE HIM!
Oracle will be worth more than the few gold-coins you’ll give to the enemy.
If you see a Cait ult (or any big chunk of damage) heading straight towards a team-mate that is on a kill-streak, save him. Ending kill-streaks gives bonus gold to enemy players.
Sometimes, you’ll want to die instead of your damage-dealers, or maybe even instead of your jungler (who can still/secure a buff with smite).
Wise words of warning
Once the game transistions to late-game, both risks and rewards are greater.
In other words, if YOU screw up, the game might end with a DEFEAT!
And the same applies for the enemy team!
This part of the guide will cover, general positioning as well as common
damned throws mistakes that can easily be avoided!
This applies to EVERYONE!
No matter how strong, tanky, or how many escape abilities you have, you should STAY with your team.
I’ve seen many Tristanas and Khazix feeling all-mighty with their jumps die out of position.
As mentioned earlier, past the 20-minute mark, this could mean your team losing 4v5, giving the enemy team a huge advantage (towers, maybe even baron buff!).
Another important point to take into account is that when the game transitions to late-game, you should NEVER ward alone.
You’re a support and you want to ward baron? Ask someone to go with you.
Hell, you might even bring your whole team with you. It doesn’t matter if you see 3 enemies in bot lane; if you go alone you might get into an ambush and die against the enemy carry!
As was already mentioned earlier, your death = 4v5 = BAD for your team!
As mentioned before, whether you chase or not is up to you and your judgement of the situation!
However, chasing is generally a bad idea, unless you’re certain that you can SAFELY get the kill in LESS THAN A MINUTE!
More often than not, people will chase instead of going for an objective (dragon, baron, tower). Almost as often, people who chase end up dead, in an enemy ambush.
Kills don't win games, objectives do.
I might as well add a list of people you should ALMOST NEVER chase:
Singed, Nidalee, Ezreal, Ahri, Teemo, Hecarim, Sejuani.
Don’t. Just don’t. It is generally a very bad idea.
Alright folks, this pretty much sums it all up.
This guide ended up being much longer than expected, and I will probably have to keep working on it, but it’s a good start.
Working on the points mentioned above is definitely going to help you improve at League of Legends.
**If you feel like I forgot some other important points, feel free to mention them and I will add it as your contribution!**
WORK IN PROGRESS
Pathing: Dude, where are you going?!
Right side, wrong side, why.
When to, when not to
This isnt a savings account; you dont get interest on the gold you have! Once you have gold, dont be greedy, go back and spend it!