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Build Guide by Ehsahn

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ehsahn

Beginner's Guide to the Phases of LoL, with Explanations

Ehsahn Last updated on April 9, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Blink of an Eye
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

Chapter 1

Hello, new LoL players ! Thanks for joining us, always good to have new players. I've broken this guide up into sections, so that they are easily searched by press CTRL+F and typing in the key in the box that appears. In this guide I'll explain something I, myself, struggled with for a while when I first started playing.

The phases of the game.

Let's begin, shall we ?

Table of Contents

1: Phase One: Laning
1A: What is Laning ?
1B: Harassment
1C: Last-Hitting/Zoning
2: Phase Two: Ganking/Roaming
2A: What is Ganking ?
2B: How/When to Gank
2C: How to Defend Against a Gank
3: Team Battling/Pushing
3A: What is a Team Battle
3B: When to Team Battle
3C: Broad-Spectrum Roles in a Team Battle
4: Conclusion

(1) Phase One: Laning

(1A) : What is laning ?

Laning is the first phase of any game. It is where champions of both teams decide which lane they're going to go to, until the next phase of the game. During this phase, your objective is not to get kills. If you're absolutely certain that you can secure a kill, without risk of dying (and subsequently giving gold to the enemy) then by all means, do so ! But let me reiterate, it is not the OBJECTIVE. You, along with your laning partner's (unless you're mid) main goal of this phase is to last-hit (scoring the killing blow as to get gold) as many minions as possible. Abuse this, as this will be the only time in which you can do so at low-risk.

(1B) Harassment

Most champions will also have what's called a harass skill. It typically has a low mana/energy/health cost, and is use to "poke" the opposing enemy champs. Is your opponent getting just a little to fresh ? Poke him. Is he backing up, but still in harass range? Poke him. Do not over extend past the safety of your minions/turret/partner to do so, only when it's convenient. Harassment is a powerful tool, used to get an opponent out of the lane, or low enough to secure a kill. "But, Ehsahn, why shouldn't I go for kills with my harassment !?" Because that's not the point of the laning phase. If you can harass an opponent hard enough to force him out of your lane he's not gaining any experience, and cannot last his minions. Remember. What happens (or doesn't happen) early game makes or breaks the late game.

(1C) Last hitting/Zoning

I've decided to couple these two subjects, seeing as how they go hand-in-hand. Firstly, we'll discuss last hitting. This is the single most important aspect of the laning phase. Why ? Because you get GOLD ! The faster you get gold, the faster you can out-gear your opponents. As briefly mentioned in the previous topic, last hitting is the action of delivering the killing blow on a minion as to get the gold from it. Now, here's where it gets a little interesting. You should almost never always be hitting minions. Why ? Because that will cause the wave to push towards your opponents tower. This is bad. Why ? Well, that brings us to our next subject; Zoning. Zoning is the aspect of the game where you want to keep your opponents away from the combat. If they're far away, they cannot get gold or experience. If you're constantly beating on their minions and not solely last hitting, then you push them to their tower, where they can hang back and soak up exp as their tower does their work for them. If you can harass them and simply let the minions fight one another, only attacking them to last hit, not only do you almost always get the last hit, your opponent is starved.

(2) Phase Two: Ganking/Roaming

(2A) What is Ganking ?

A gank, simply put, is to kill an opponent when they're least expecting it. You'll often times hear "(champion name here) MIA" This means that this champ is missing from their lane, and probably roaming and looking for an easy kill.

Ganking is an important aspect of the game because not only do you get gold for kills/assists, but that's that much longer that your opponent does not gain gold/exp, and allows for the easier pushing of a tower.

When does the ganking phase begin ? Well that one's a little tough to answer. People will usually start ganking once they obtain their ultimate, or another lane is just asking for it. By asking for it I mean pushing a tower way too hard, while their team mates are trapped under a tower. Another reason why zoning is so important.

(2B) How/When to Gank

This is fairly straight-forward. The most important aspect of a well performed gank is positioning. If they're close to their tower when you try and gank, it simply won't work. Wait for your opponent to over extend and (after coordinating with your team mate) cruise on over to their lane. Now, it's important to note a few things when ganking.

Does the enemy champion have an escape move ?

Is his health low enough to be assured of a kill ?

Does your team mate have a skill that will slow/stun or otherwise keep them from running ?

All of these are key in performing a kill-securing gank.

(2C) How to Defend Against a Gank

Ever been so close to a kill you can almost take it, only to have Warwick pop out of that bush and claw your face off ? Yeah, it sucks. Bad. So, how do you stop it ? The first and most important aspect of this just so happens to be the most important skill in the game.


That's right ! It's not how quickly you can press your skills, land those skill shots, or how quickly you can kill Dragon. Keeping on eye on your map is SO key to winning. It allows you to know where everyone is and when it's okay to push/avoid being ganked. See someone disappear out of your friend's lane, and they forget to call out MIA ? Go ahead and call it for him. It may save poor little Annie's life.

Apart from map awareness there are a few other things you can do to avoid being ganked. Don't over extend your lane is important. Still being ganked from that darn river bush ? You can find an item called a Ward in the "Consumable" section of the Store. They cost 75 gold, and allow you to see through the "Fog of War" and into the bush ! For a measly 75 gold, I always grab a few when I have it to spare. Plop that bad boy in the bush, and you're good to go.

(3) Team Battle/Pushing

(3A) What is a Team Battle ?

A team battle, like the name implies is to fight the other team as a coordinated unit. The goal of a team battle is taking out the enemy team so that yours may more easily push their towers down. I will not be explaining what each champion should do in a team fight as there are individual guides for such, and would make this guide much more long than it already is. This phase of the game usually begins around the level 11-14 mark (sometimes earlier, sometimes later)

(3B) When to Team Battle

The best time to have a team battle is when the enemy team is trying to push as a whole. The location ? Right in front of your turret. Please note, it's not great to team battle when they're already attack your turret, as this far into the game they're fairly fragile and will fall quickly. Why in front of your turret ? Not only does the opposing team have a LONG way to go if they want to retreat, but you have the safety of your tower to run past on the way back to base.

(3C) Broad Spectrum Roles in a Team Battle

I know I said I wouldn't explain individual champs, but I feel as though it is important to know your role in a team. That is to say this is a "What the hell should I be doing in a team battle?" section.

Tank: It is your job to soak hits, initiate team fights, and keep your soft, squishy team mates safe. Most tanks will have an initiating skill (think Shen's taunt, or Malphite's Ulti). This is the move you use when you want to pick a fight and tell the enemy team "Here attack me"

Carry: Your job is to take out the enemy's carries. Your job is to do the most damage, as fast as you can. Priority targets are usually as follows: Healers, most damaging enemy carry, everyone else. There will be instances in which the kill order will change, and you need to know when to adapt. Is the enemy crowd controlling you to death ? Take our their CC. For a melee carry it is very important to make sure that the enemy has blown some of their CC before charging into the fray. A dead carry is useless.

Support: Your job is to do just that; support your team ! It makes me sad that there's very rarely a support in low ELO games, seeing as how they can single hand-idly win a fight for your team. Whether it's healing, shielding, or disrupting the enemy team your job is to make sure they can't do what they intend to do. Yours is mostly a thankless job, and you won't get 40 kills in a game, but take pride in the fact that you're helping your team WIN.

Most champs cover one of more of these roles, and there are some other roles such as off-tank, bruiser, and AoE but I feel as if these are sub-branches of the ones described above.

(4) Conclusion

I hope that after going through such a wall of text that I've helped new players at least some-what. If I've left anything out, please feel free to comment so that I may improve upon the guide as to better help others.