General Guide by atomheartother
Not Updated For Current Season
MMGood day, Summoners, and welcome to this quite peculiar guide! I'd like to take a moment of your time to tell you a bit about this guide's purpose. This guide can be read in no particular order, every chapter is as independent as possible.
MMRecently, I was playing in solo, random draft, and I came to a realization: Looking at a team's composition, and generally simply at the game lobby, one can tell fairly easily which of two teams is going to win. Now, I know this applies to some ranked games as well, but it's the most prevalent in the random draft games. I also know it's not a 100% probability, but it is pretty close to it.
MMI've noticed a few recurring problems:
- Some people don't communicate with the team
- Some people don't know who goes where
- Some people don't know who does what
MMThis guide is aimed at people who come in random draft without any notion of what a Support champion is, or what it does. Or to those who barge in the lobby, pick Darius, write "AP carry" and don't say a single other word for the whole game.
MMIts goal isn't to bash on anyone, though I might get carried away at some points. Its goal is to teach those people how to actually play in a civil and comprehending spirit, and yes, win games.
Because believe me, if your team composition makes sense, and your team communicates in the least, you will win most of your games, and far more than that, you'll avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration for everyone, including yourself.
MMSome people use the excuse "It's just a game, and it's not ranked, who cares? Have fun" for their lack of knowledge. But it's a pretty well-known fact that solo playing isn't fun on LoL, as you spend a lot of your time silently raging at someone's behavior or simply quitting games in the lobby from how absurd the team composition was going to be. This makes solo playing this game quite annoying, more than fun. And that can be changed, with a little knowledge of the game, this guide isn't even very long! If it was sent to you, give it a try, what do you have to lose?
MMThis guide doesn't intend to improve a player's individual skill. It intends to improve some people's knowledge of this game and how it works. And maybe, just maybe, make the random draft scene a bit less frustrating.
MMIf you see someone who causes the team to lose, by picking absolutely random champions at absurd locations and locking in, or building/playing in complete discord with their actual role, don't get mad. Just link them this guide, and maybe next time they won't do that mistake.
A Word on Manners and Image
MMLeague of Legends is renown for having quite a bad mannered community, and it's a well-known fact that anyone who plays LoL is a complete idiot... Except you and your friends, of course.
It's also quite a well-known fact that when a team wins, it's thanks to you, and when a team loses, it's obviously the fault of someone else in the team.
MMI'm not blaming anyone for feeling this way. I feel that way too sometimes, but it's important to realize that when you think someone did wrong, often the guy on the other end also thinks that of you.
MMWhy is that? There can be only one of you right... right? Well... Not exactly. LoL is a TEAM GAME, and I'm going to emphasize quite a lot throughout this guide. If your ally dies, he feeds the enemy team, and that's bad for everyone, but it works both ways: If your ally dies, while you were absolutely owning your lane, you are partly responsible for not helping them!
MMIf you sit in your lane, destroying your opponent, yes, but letting the enemy team get its share of kills, you're gonna have a bad time, and it is your fault too. Now, I'm not saying the defeat is your fault. But here's what I'm getting at:
MMYou can't really ever blame one person for losing a game, because if you were a better team player, you could have prevented it and, maybe, won the game with that handicap. Of course it's not systematic, but it can happen. So stay civil guys, and help your team mates instead of complaining.
And yeah, I wish everyone in LoL had skill, but some don't, and yelling at them isn't going to change that. Instead try to teach them how to do it better. Or link them this guide ;)
Instalocking, why it's bad, winning the game from the Lobby.
I'm going to take a scenario that's happened to me, and others many, many times.
Say a team is in the lobby, and some guy picks Teemo. He doesn't say where he wants to go, and just locks in.
Meanwhile the rest of the team calls their roles: Mid, Top, Jungler, ADc... Ah, looks like we need a support. People look awkwardly at the locked in Teemo and say "Um... So, you're supporting?" and the guy says "Yeah, no problem".
Once on the map, Teemo buys boots, 3 potions, and goes to bottom lane. Which is not a support build. Not at all. He then proceed to killing every creep he encounters, and obviously never placing wards. Which annoys everyone, while favoring a loss for that team heavily.
This shows threee very recurrent problems: instalocking, lack of communication and lack of knowledge. (The fourth problem is Teemo). I'll be talking about the first one here, and the two others in other chapters.
Until everyone has expressed where they want to go, you have absolutely no reason to lock-in your champion instantly. Logically, there is no possible reasoning behind doing so. Just call your lane, choose your champion, and wait a bit! The lane is yours! Why should you lock in? And if anything, why lock in without saying where you're going? What if someone else calls that lane?
The lock-in button is meant for a team that has decided on a coherent team composition to signal to the other team that they are ready. It is not for one player in a team to call dibs on a lane. We have lane calls for that: Whoever calls a lane first gets it, unless they give it to someone else. That's how it goes. And locking in for that purpose is absolutely fruitless and ridiculous.
But what surprises me the most, from discussions, is how most people who instalock simply don't seem to have any understanding of how this game works, its lanes and its roles in general. And sometimes at level 30. (You can lose a lot for a few months and get to level 30, you know? In general, if you're level 30 at under 100 wins, you might want to check your way to play...)
This is why I wrote this guide. It's meant as a general guide on winning games in random draft, and it even has a small tutorial on who goes where, and who does what. Check it! It's what it's there for, there's no shame in not knowing!
Communication - A small chapter
LoL is a team game, communication is vital. A lot of defeats are the result of poor communication. And this is a perfect example of why blaming one person for a loss is downright silly. Communication works both ways, and if you blame someone for poorly communicating with you, you quite obviously have no idea of what that word means.
It starts in the lobby. Again - call your lane. And if you don't want to go to a particular lane, don't lock in a champion. Not every champion goes everywhere - see next chapter. And make sure, if there is any possible doubt, to tell people what you're building. It's extra information, and information is always positive.
Once in game, make sure to call MIA, even if it's likely they're just going back to base. If you get any piece of information, like seeing the jungler head towards mid, warn your mid laner, or at least ping them. If they don't listen to the ping, it's their problem, if they do, congratulations, you just saved a life.
When you're going back, say "b", it sounds a bit useless, but if your jungler is around, he might want to keep your lane. Or maybe your mid lane will want to take advantage of the enemy pushing to gank. Communicating as much as possible is important - don't blame people for not guessing what you intended to do, mind-reading isn't a necessarily common skill.
It works both ways, if someone tells you to fall back, and you don't listen to them and die, don't blame them for not following you. They had made it clear the situation was too dangerous in their opinion, and you went through knowing you'd be alone. You're the only one to blame for your own actions.
Knowing Who goes Where
This is a guide on who to pick to go where in the lobby. For how to play each lane, see the next chapter.
There are three lanes in the Summoner's Rift. Along with the jungle, that's 4 places you can go in. But not every role can go everywhere, and that's what some people don't know - and I'm not being insulting, I genuinely know some people simply don't know who goes in the bottom lane, and who goes in the top lane. At level 30, sometimes.
Back to the topic. I will do this lane by lane. I know some specific builds don't apply to what I'll be saying, but this applies in 90% of games:
This lane has a very defined role in the game. Two champions must go there, and those two will each have a very different role. Solo bot is not an option, as both bot players will need each other.
- The Attack Damage Carry (aKa ADc) will be, in the late game, the most sustained damage source in your team. He will auto-attack fast, at no cost and deal massive damage to the enemy team.
Champions like Ashe, Corki, Vayne, Ezreal or Twitch to name just a few, are designed for this job, and they surviving and farming early game is vital, I cannot say this enough.
I, for one, consider the ADc the most important role in a team(if there is such a thing). And that is why I often play Support.
- The Support's job is just as important, as HE IS WHY THE ADc CAN WIN THE GAME! And I will scream this in your ears until you bleed, if the ADc did a great job, his support did a great job, and there is no exception to this. The support will help his ADc and babysit them to victory. They will place wards, secure kills, heal their ADC, they are irreplaceable.
Champions like Nami, Blitzcrank, Lulu, Galio, Lux (Yes, Lux, she's a support too you know? Morgana too actually) make good supports. There are of course many others.
So don't go and think that a support is unimportant. a team without support will lose, because their ADc will lose to the enemy ADc.
The mid lane is a solo lane, whatever happens, there is only one person in that lane, an AP Carry most of the time (Though there are exceptions, like Zed). Why is that? Because a solo laner gains experience faster. Your mid laner will reach level 6 before anyone else on your team most of the time, so their role is vital.
Champions like Morgana, Ryze, Brand, Evelynn, Kassadin or Annie make a great mid lane.
Not every champion goes mid lane, and not everyone seems to understand that. Yes, everyone wants to be that "mid lane hero" who goes to level 6 first and wreaks havoc, but that's not how this game works. I've seen Darius players call mid lane, and as much as I believe Darius is a great champion, with
an OP a great ult, he is not a good mid champion. Why?
Because he's a melee fighter. And most of the time you'll be facing a ranged champion in the mid lane, not only that, but ranged champions that can deal massive damage to you if you get too close. And you have to get close to farm - that's where the trouble begins.
"But some melee champions make great mid! Like Akali or Zed"
Yes, they do, but they can leap towards the enemy ranged caster, and deal damage of their own. Not to mention evading easily. That forces the mage to stay away as well and evens things out.
So, please, reconsider before calling mid. I don't see what the obsession is with the mid lane, you can do fine in the top, bottom or jungle and be absolutely epic as well.
"Woot, you put the top lane and the jungle together, omgwtf"
Indeed I did. Let's count: you have 5 players in a team. and you now have 2 players on bottom and one in mid. That leaves you 2 players for 2 roles: Top laner and Jungler, right?
Well... Not necessarily. Ideally, yes. But not necessarily.
See, I'm talking about random drafts here and the thing is: More than often, no one in the team will be willing to jungle, or two idiots will instalock duo top lane, anyway, lots of games will have a duo top lane, no jungler.
"Now, that's an advantage for the other team, right? The solo top levels up faster, and the jungler ganks like crazy?"
Yes... if your top lane can handle a duo top lane. Do not jump in a solo top lane if you can't handle 2 players harassing you, and do not call Jungle before making sure the top lane can do that. This is vital, because if your top laner feeds, he is feeding 2 bruisers / tanks / generally huge damage dealers and things are going to go very poorly.
Who goes in top lane? ... part of me wants to say "Anyone who isn't mid, ADc or Support", and that's "kind-of" what it is. And even then, really, anyone can go to top lane in theory, HOWEVER, most of the time it'll be a tanky character, or a damage dealer who isn't a carry per say.
Champions like Darius, Kha'Zix, Galio, Xin Zhao, Vi or Cho'Gath can make good top laners.
As for junglers:
They are incredibly important to the team, they'll be taking XP from monsters, and that's more XP for the solo top laner. They will come and gank unsuspecting lanes, and help lanes in difficulty. Even if they seem lone-wolf-ish, them doing well depends as much on the rest of the team as anyone else: If the team is okay, it gives them more freedom to jungle and choose where to gank. If not, they'll have to defend lanes in danger.
Warwick, Nocturne, Trundle, Udyr make good junglers.
Generally if a champion has high armor and AD, or if they can regenerate health upon enemies dying, they can be decent in the jungle.
I would recommend reading this guide to know a bit more about junglers. It is an excellent guide.
Now, you know who goes where. But... Who does what?
Who Does What?
In general, a team needs:
- An AP caster
- An AD carry
- A Support
- A Bruiser (Top laner, generally)
- A Jungler
Certain roles can be found in multiple classes, and tanks are a great example: It's common that the tanky character of the team goes top lane, but... you can have a non-tanky Bruiser, and a tanky Support with Blitzcrank or Galio, or you can have a tanky Jungler like Nunu or Rammus.
But what doesn't change is their role: Soak up the damage and allow the weaker carries to deal tons of damage of their own. That's about it really, and this guide won't be saying much more about tanking.
Take note that I'll focus on the early game. Why? Because the mid/late game depends a lot on your champion, and I'd recommend reading a champion guide for that.
I'd like to start with the most blatantly ignored role: Support.
What does a Support do?
A support has a few simple roles. And don't get me wrong - playing support isn't easy. Being a good support requires map awareness, knowledge of your ADc's capabilities as well as the enemy duo bot's. If you count junglers, who will try to gank you, that's 3 classes you need to roughly know about (ADc, Supports and junglers) and need to take into consideration.
But, if you stick to the basics, a support has 3 roles early game:
- Stayin' Alive and Babysitting the ADc
- Securing kills for your ADc
When I say 'staying alive', I'm not joking. This is fully part of a support's role. Because if you die, you're feeding the enemy ADc, you're forcing your ADc to fall back, making him lose any farm advantage he might have had, and you're just generally screwing up really. Considering how weak a lot of supports are - compared to an overlevelled ADc- this is quite important indeed.
There are exceptions to this. If there needs to be a choice between who dies, you or your ADc, the answer is you. Why? Because you're at a lower level than your ADc, and you most likely don't have any kills on your counter, this reduces both the gold and the experience gained from killing you. (Source)
Babysitting your ADc includes making sure the enemy team stays away, by harassing them if they get in range ( Nidalee with her spears and Blitzcrank with his grab force them to stay behind minions, and Nami forces them to stay out of range with her bubbles.), this allows your ADc to farm in peace. Farming is vital for a carry, and there are no exceptions to this (that's kind of the definition of a carry, incidentally)
2- Securing kills
This is tricky. There are many ways to do this: Weakening them, baiting them into attacking you and putting themselves in a vulnerable position...
Generally, though, the most important part is what makes support champions so vital to a bottom lane: crowd control effects, also known as CCs.
If you feel like there is an opportunity, or if your ADc starts getting serious, don't use your stun/slow/taunt just yet (if they have a high cooldown). Things can go both ways:
- Your ADc wins the fight, in which case they will retreat. Do NOT let them reach their tower, and if they do, for the love of LoL, don't chase them. Instead, try to slow them down, stun them, or do anything possible to allow your ADc to finish them off. They didn't die? It's OK, you still won, and now they'll play passively for a while, or maybe go back to base, you have the upper hand! And as Artosis said, when you're ahead, stay ahead, don't act stupid, and just force them to stay under the tower while your ADc farms happily and wins the game.
This will most likely be why your ADc yells at you. "No wards" is not what you want to hear from them, and with reason, wards allow you vision in the bushes and, more importantly, in the river, to see incoming ganks from the enemy jungler / mid laner.
Buy 3 ward when you start the game, and use the first one, not when the game starts, but soon ater that (A jungler can gank at level 2 - while you're still level 1!)
Keep the river warded at all times. Bush warding also helps, but do make sure to keep a spare ward for the river, you never know how long you'll stay in lane for. If you have no more wards and yours is about done, don't hesitate, warn your ADc and recall, this might seem extreme but it will be worth it.
Once you have your first core items, save for the sightstone, it's costly, but very, very useul.
That's how you play Support. How about their partner in crime? (And in lane)
What does an ADc do?
This is a dreaded role, because you rely a lot on your support. But if you do win the lane early on, you will be feared by all. Most Random games are won thanks to a fed ADc, and the only thing that keeps you from being that fed AD carry is yourself.
So what does an ADc *do*?
MMMM- Farm more
MMMM- Farm on the freeway
In case I didn't make that clear, your one and only goal early game is to land those last hits on minions. Sure, killing the enemy bottom lane is a nice extra, but honestly, unless you have an experience/item advantage, that's going to be hard. And do you know how you get that advantage? Yep, you guessed it, Farming.
Now don't go and say I'm pretending being an ADc is easy. Landing last hits is tricky with some champions, not to mention you'll have the enemy team trying to keep you from doing it. But generally, that is all you'll have to worry about, because your support will be handling the task of warding and such.
Don't let yourself be baited by the enemy, know your opponent. Stay behind minions when the enemy support is absurdly powerful like Blitzcrank or Nidalee. Because they won't be able to land their abilities, and that'll drive them crazy and push them to do something foolish.
One last thing. While you're focusing your attention on those minions' health bars and making sure you don't get killed by the enemy duo, your support is taking some time to look at where the rest of the enemy team is at, and the jungler in particular - your support has more map awareness than you do because they have more time to check the minimap, that's how it is. Remember: if your support tells you to fall back, fall back and don't ask any questions.
If everything goes according to plan, you'll end up pushing that lane and destroying the tower. Do not push the lane any further yet, unless your support and yourself are in shape to do so and can properly ward, instead recall and either go back to your lane or go help out mid/top a bit. The destruction of that bot tower often marks the end of the laning phase, and you have to be ready.
If your tower got destroyed, you can either try your chance at killing a champion in another lane, or keep farming bot. Just avoid the enemy ADc for now - if they won the lane, it's for a reason, they can beat you. You're in a bad position, but the game isn't lost. You can demand help from your jungler and try to destroy their tower as well, which will even things out.
Being a good ADc requires time and experience. Keep trying, and remember: if you do well early game, it will be hard to stop you. The fun begins then, when you can destroy a tower/inhibitor in a few seconds. Just because it's a hard job shouldn't keep people from being an ADc - on the contrary.
Now let's go on to the mid lane. I'll assume it's an APc, because it's the case 99% of the time.
AP carries are very often burst-damage champions. That means they have a set of abilities, "combos", that they can use once and only once, before having to wait for their cooldown to end. Some of them hurt. Really bad. (Yes, I'm looking at you, LeBlanc). There are exceptions, but in general, you'll be facing burst champions.
What does an APc do?
- Farm (Again, this is a carry), lane properly
- Ruin the life of the other mid laner
- Help other lanes
1. Farming, laning
This is pretty self-explanatory. You need money to buy items to take over the mid lane, and that means farm, farm, farm. Funnily enough, a mid lane that dies once but farms perfectly is ahead of a mid laner that spends their time trying to kill the other one at all cost - even if they do land one kill early game. That also often makes them low on mana, and this is when you can strike at full power without them being able to do anything.
Don't be too aggressive. And when you see an opportunity, flash in range of your enemy, land your combo on them and leave before they can reply. If they're hurt, they'll have to recall, and you can farm, and damage the tower. You'll gain an XP and gold advantage. Don't lose it, try to stay in lane and use that advantage to force them to stay back.
Keep in mind that you do not have a support here, so warding your side bushes might be a good idea as soon as you feel like you're going to push or harass heavily. This will also allow your other team mates to know where the enemy jungler is, which in itself pays for the 150 gold you pay for 2 wards.
2- Ruin the enemy's life
You're in mid lane. Unless a jungler intervenes, this is a 1V1 that can go on or a while. You'll get to respect or despise your opponent for their play, poke at them, be poked back, taunt in /all chat, be taunted... To each their own style. Remember: their worst enemy is their own mind. Keep them under pressure, don't do any mistakes and force them to do some. If they feel like you're ahead, they'll do something foolish.
As Morgana, land your Q on them, warning them they're out of position, forcing them to hide behind minions. As Annie, use your absurdly powerful stuns to ruin their time and keep them away. Each champion has strengths and weaknesses, and in mid lane, it shows. The mid lane battle is a psychological fight, and it's a lot of fun.
If you've landed a few kills on them, their morale will be at zero. But there's another way to ensure superiority if you can't get a kill on them: Ganking other lanes.
3- Helping other lanes
A friend of mine always says:
"A good carry gets kills, a great carry leaves his lane to help others."
Indeed, ganking is an important part of mid-laning. Having a jungler, who's roughly at your level, gank you, is bad. Having a mid-lane, who's two levels above you, pop out from behind your tower and massacre you, is something else. A mid-laner has a clear advantage on everyone else on the map, use it. One good way to do this is visibly recall and then go to the side lanes from there as fast as possible. Some random players won't call MIA just yet.
Another way to do it is take advantage of having your lane pushed to go and help a lane in difficulty. I cannot say it enough - ganking is a very important part of being a mid-lane champion.
Why did I regroup those? Because, as annoying as it sounds, top-laners don't have much to do, team-wise, before the mid/late game. Junglers, however, have a lot to do.
What does a top lane do?
So many different people can go on top lane... I don't think there's any specific guideline anyone could give. Read champion guides, if you want to top with a particular champion. In general? Ward your river if your jungler doesn't, and try not to die. Your job is to stay in lane as much as possible, and once you're at a sufficient level, go down to other lanes and deal massive damage as possible (bruisers) or soak up the damage for others with your 3 000 health bar (tanks).
I don't mean to sound like top laning is boring.: it's a lot of fun, and just as much as mid lane (if not more because of the variety of champions you'll encounter). But there are no specific guidelines for it as you can put many, many different champions there, and you'll encounter just as many.
This is more about personal skill than about team playing - more than with a mid laner or a jungler, amusingly. So be sure you know your champion well, and have fun winning!
What does a Jungler do?
Jungler is the most peculiar role in the game. And for that reason, there are tons of guides on the subject, each jungling champion's guide being quite detailed too. I won't be talking about jungling per say here, but about how jungling is important to the rest of the team.
A jungler has a few possible roles, in addition to, well, jungling, which is just killing monsters and isn't all that hard:
- Ganking other lanes, keeping your allies' lane, giving the blue to your mid
- Being better than the enemy jungler and warding
1- Ganking other lanes, keeping others' lanes and giving the blue buff to the mid laner
What junglers are known for is hiding in the bush while unsuspecting laners push a lane, before jumping on them and destroying them. Well, it's the general idea.
You're the reason why people buy wards. If they didn't, punish them, if they did, don't bother trying to gank - unless you see a golden opportunity- because the whole enemy team will clearly see you ahead of time, including their jungler and mid laner, which isn't positive, at all.
You might have more chance ganking the mid lane. Even if a mid laner wants to ward, they're all about saving money to buy their items and might not consider buying those wards all that often.
Even if your gank doesn't result in a kill, forcing them to go back is a victory!
When a mid, top or even bot laner recalls, and you're around, it's also your job to keep the lane. You can make sure it is not pushed, and it also allows all those minion deaths to earn XP to someone - namely, you - which is very efficient.
Finally, after the first golem - which should be yours if you took the 'blue path' - it's also your job to ask the mid laner if they need the blue buff. If they say yes, smite it and reduce its health so your mid can get the buff in as little time as possible. If not, take it.
2- Being better than the enemy jungler and warding
I consider it normal for a jungler to have a few wards on them at all times - more than just or warding thee jungle. Some might disagree, but I have my reasons:
- Your top laner doesn't necessarily have wards
- Your mid laner neither, really
- ... Sometimes, your bot lane neither, this is random we're talking about.
It might actually become your job to ward, and I don't like it either, but let's face it: some 'supports' have no idea of what a support does, and you're the only one who can afford buying them in the long run.
Of course, that problem can be solved by making sure the enemy jungler stays behind you. Warding the river and making sure they can't gank is onee way. You can also try:
- Warding the jungle, and when you see them, taking them by surprise
Those two techniques require that you deal enough damage in a short amount of time. Assassin junglers like Nocturne will do an amazing job at shutting off the enemy jungler. Keep in mind that the enemy laners are never far away and can come and help kill you. Never venture too far in their jungle without warding heavily around you.
In general I consider the jungle a "lane". you're in direct competition with an enemy (the opposite jungler), you have a limited farm (monsters) and you need to farm better than them. In the end it's quite similar... Laning with a twist.
Thank you for reading my guide! I hope it was helpful to someone, somewhere. If you feel like I forgot to mention something (which I probably have), do tell me in the comments section. I don't mind criticism.
If you mean to address one of my personal opinions, don't bother. I don't like to argue, and opinion vs. opinion is quite boring. Feel free to downvote this guide if you didn't like it- and please upvote it if you did!
None of the images used here belong to me. Right belong to their respective authors.
The "communication" chapter's comic is from xkcd