General Guide by MTaur
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This guide is a collection of short descriptions of what I've learned about LoL from some of the champions I've played. If you want to learn a skill, then here are some champs you might want to practice with, since these champs tend to force you to concentrate on that aspect of the game.
The last couple of months, I have been playing better overall, largely because things I learned a few months back when I picked up Taric. Back then, I was winning a lot of games with him because he was a little OP. But after they nerfed him down, I was still doing well because I had learned from it, and what I learned helped me prioritize what to do as Sejuani or Leona.
The thing about Taric is that he's a very safe support pick. He doesn't have a hard-hitting ultimate that CCs the entire enemy team, but between his heal and his stun, he has just enough to protect one carry. If you smell blood, then it's good to flash in and burst with his W and R, but otherwise, he should hang back and play bodyguard. The best thing about his stun is that he can often use it for safety or to help land some poke without going all-in.
What this means for my Leona and Sejuani play is that I got used to looking for the most fed carry on our team (usually the ADC but sometimes the mid) and prioritizing passive play and protection over jumping on the first enemy carry I could get to. It's fine to dump everything if an enemy is just plain caught out of position, but the rest of the time, it's better to err on the side of not diving if you're not certain what you can really get away with.
It can be tempting to force fights as Sejuani or Leona, but that's usually not good unless you're significantly ahead. Taric's playstyle encourages a more conservative style of thought that is more useful in more situations. It comes natural to drop a Solar Flare on someone who's made easy prey of themself, but learning how to stay back and peel takes discipline that comes naturally to Taric players.
Other champs: Honestly, play Taric. He's great for this. Janna or Lulu might work too, but Taric's kit is so dry and non-flashy that you won't be tempted to engage in heroics when you should be guarding.
Alistar is all about being in the right place at the right time, either by coming around from behind, or Flashing in, or outrunning, or... whatever. He gets in the middle of things, shrugs off damage and CC, and throws carries into dangerous places.
One thing about Headbutt: using it too early can be bad, and the *threat* of Headbutt can sometimes be just as good. For example, sometimes headbutting them back toward your base might knock them out of an attacker's range, where if you had waited a little, then you would just knock them from one side of auto-attack range to the other. But there may be more than one direction to run... if you get caught with something unexpected, learn from it.
To a large extent, champs with blockable skillshots fit the bill too, but I'm going to limit the list a bit to champs who actually have pushes and pulls on non-ultimate skills.
Other champs: Vayne (but I'm no good with her), Urgot (ditto), Poppy, Blitzcrank, Singed, Nautilus, Anivia, Orianna
Nothing teaches you map awareness like champs who have super-long-range or global ultimates. This is somewhat related to the above, but on a larger scale, especially taking a quick click to inspect other parts of the map if possible; this can be hard, and ideally, you'll be talking to your team in person or on a headset, or at least getting pings. In any case, you can't really play to the fullest without occasionally being able to inspect other parts of the map.
For a brand new player, this may not be as much of a first priority. It's a somewhat higher-order skill. With so much going on, just having a feel for positioning and the number of nearby allies/enemies is more important, and then you can start making decisions about when to roam or teleport or gank and so on. However, if your lane outnumbers the enemy's, you should check the map and see if there's a place that needs help; there likely is.
Others: Shen, Twisted Fate, Karthus, Gangplank, Lux, Pantheon, Soraka, Ziggs
Siphoning Strike is Nasus. Build Sheen sort of early, and practice that basic attack followed by Siphoning Strike combo, timing it so that you'll get the last hit instead of your minions. It can be finnicky. The more you level Q, the lower the cooldown, and the less you'll lose out on valuable gold and Q damage. Once you figure out how to do it with Nasus, you'll have an idea what to do with other champs, though most of them provide a narrower margin of error.
Other champs: Veigar (bonus AP), Gangplank (bonus gold on Q), Annie (mana refund), Karthus (mana refund), Irelia (mana refund/cooldown refresh), Cho'Gath (health/mana regen on all last hits).
Leona is a champ I was somewhat bad with for some time after she was released. Early game, I found myself feeding a lot. Mostly, I didn't quite know when to start a fight, and when to hang back. Sometimes I'd even spam Zenith Blade, failing to have the proper respect for just how committal a move that is. Sometimes I'd stick around too long, and not start running until after it was too late. Sometimes I'd totally whiff on an Eclipse because I chased after someone I definitely wasn't going to reach in time, and then get shredded. Or maybe I'd stumble into stun range and get caught flat-footed in a stun or silence before I could even put up Eclipse at all. Other times I just wasn't aware of who was where, and was outnumbered 4 to 2 and started a fight anyway.
Other than supports, she's probably one of the weakest 1v1 champs in the game. A quarter of her damage is locked up in a passive that she can't use if you pull a Leroy Jenkins. Stupid mistakes just plain cost too much, because then you're down 70 armor/MR, and you're in the middle of a pack of enemies with not enough help nearby, and no way to even get a kill before going down.
But she's brilliant if you can land a skillshot or two on a good target at the right time with an ally or two to follow up. When you're precise as Leona, you have a ton of resists for just as long as you need them, and your target is CCed just long enough for your allies to dump everything, and then you have just enough time to take a CC in the face and then run out. With 40% CDR, you get tons of opportunities to do this over and over again with very little down time.
Other champs: Rammus, Alistar, Malphite, Sejuani, Nautilus, Maokai
Sad but true. Eve 2012.
You can't get a good ambush every game, but sometimes it's fun to try. If you ult two or more enemies in the face from the bushes with allies ready to pile on, then you just won a team fight. (If that doesn't happen, you can still save her ult and wait for the enemies to overcommit and use it then)
Other champs: Shaco, Twitch, Evelynn
As a noob, it was easy to underestimate the power of the Silence debuff. Aside from the important function of interrupting channels like Absolute Zero, Nether Grasp, and Death Lotus, one can use CDR and Rylai's Crystal Scepter make Infuse into a rather deadly disable, piling on the assists from a safe distance. A slow that also prevents dashes is priceless.
Other champs: Cho'Gath, Talon, Kassadin, Fiddlesticks, LeBlanc
Never again. NEVER.
Seriously, this champ is a walking Mejai's Soulstealer. It feels like you bought one even if you didn't. She can snowball early-to-mid game with some skill and some early kills, but it tends to get really hard to get anything done in teamfights no matter how fed you are. A little MR and some teamwork tends to shut LeBlanc down late-game, but I'm told that she's viable in ranked in the right hands. Perhaps. Not mine, though.
Other champs: Nunu, Orianna, Jarvan IV
Sivir is really squishy, but has good range and a rather sensitive defense mechanism - Spell Shield. If you get the shield popped and *then* take a CC, then you're quite likely dead. So playing as Sivir should teach you what you can and can't get away with, while equipping you with tools like Boomerang Blade and Ricochet to spam damage from rather far away... but never really that far away. You will learn who can close gaps and how quickly, and what they can do, and how far away you need to be to avoid it.
Other champs: Singed, Gragas, Cassiopeia, Xerath, Karthus
Ok, she's actually not the easiest jungler at 1, but I find her horrible in lane, and after you get to level 3 or so, jungling gets a lot easier, and she can escape unwanted counter-jungle attempts with Q easily enough.
She just needs to stay in a fight to do any damage, which can lead to you dying if you don't have the upper hand. One way to have the upper hand is to leap into a fight unexpected, taking the liberty of choosing your own fights.
While Sejuani admittedly taught me jungling from the roundabout route of being really bad in lane, she's good in teamfights. You might want to jungle with someone else, thought, unless you favor tanks as much as I do; even then, Amumu tends to be favored (but banned a lot)
(Quick note - jungling isn't really worth learning until summoner level 30. It's hard to learn, it isn't much of an advantage if your solo top can't hold a 2v1, and you need runes/masteries to hit the ground running at champ level 1, anyway. There are just too many other things to practice in the mean time.)
Other champs: Amumu, Warwick, Nunu, Udyr, Nocturne, Lee Sin
I'm just adding champs as I go along... Let me know if there's anything important to throw in here.
I'm not that great at supporting or playing a hard carry in general, or at turret dives or assassins, but maybe someday I'll say a few things there.