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New Player FAQ

New Player FAQ

Updated on August 2, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Mowen Build Guide By Mowen 441 23 1,032,729 Views 153 Comments
441 23 1,032,729 Views 153 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Mowen Build Guide By Mowen Updated on August 2, 2012
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Q. What champion should I buy?

A. Really, we can't tell you which champion you should buy. For the most part the champions are fairly balanced. The best we can tell you is to keep playing all the free champions and find the ones you like, then buy them! If you ARE going to ask at least give us some insight on what kind've playstyle you enjoy or other champions you like. We would also recommend if you are going to purchase champions with RP (Riot Points) that you buy one of the champion bundles because they will give you the most bang for your buck.

DEWO did find this nifty "What Champion to Buy Helper" though!
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Q. Should I buy ____ runes? I'm level ____ .

A. First of all, most people don't buy runes until they are level 20. This way you will have access to the top tier runes, because you will just end up having to replace any runes you bought before level 20. Second of all check out Searz's guides to runes to find which ones will be the most effective and give you the most bang for your buck for which slots. On a final note, they are pronounced "roons" not "ruins." :)
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Q. What is ELO?

A. Your ELO is essentially your rating. It is determined by your win/loss ratio and how many games you have played. In normal queue your elo is hidden from yourself and others, but the matchmaking system still uses it to decide your opponents. In ranked games your elo is there for the world to see.

For more info on ELO / how the matchmaking system works, look here:

Here's some tips for climbing the ELO ladder:
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Q. What does CC / MIA / Juke / etc mean?

Here is a comprehensive list of LoL terms:

I noticed one missing though:

CDR = Cooldown Reduction
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Q. How do I get Riot Points? How do I get Influence points?

A. You can only get RP by purchasing it through the league of legends store, or buying the cards from participating stores (Best Buy and Gamestop) and redeeming the codes. You get IP by playing games. Every game you play you will earn IP even if you lose. However, you will get more IP / experience if you win, and you can get a First Win of the Day bonus to your IP every 22 hours.
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Q. The character I was playing is gone now, what happened?

A. Every week there is a group of free champions to play. After the week is over the free champions rotate to a new group. If you want to always be able to play a champion you have to purchase that champion with RP (Riot points) or IP (Influence points).
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Q. What is Last Hitting? How do I do it?

A. Last hitting is waiting until the minions have just enough health left so that one hit with your auto attack will kill them. This is very important to master and takes time to get used to different characters attack animations / damage. Why is this important?

1. If you auto attack the minions, it will push your lane closer to the enemy's tower. This makes him safer and you more vulnerable to ganks or the enemy's harass.

2. If you last hit you can get more gold. Gold = items. Items = powah!

3. If your character is sitting still auto attacking you will be easier for the enemy to hit, and you won't be able to easily dodge skill shots. I typically try to click around in a seemingly random fashion then last hit as much as I can.

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Q. What is zoning? How do I do it?

Zoning is forcing the enemy out of last hitting / exp range. People usually do this by positioning themselves between the enemy and the creeps when they have strong harassment capabilities.

This video explains it fully:
Warning! Do not have your volume on high. Shurelya's voice is not for everyone. Sorry Scrax! :(
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Q. What is a Skill Shot?

A. A skill shot is a champion skill that needs to be aimed rather than you simply click on the target to hit them. If you activate this skill a line with an arrow will pop up rather than a circle. They are called skill shots, well, because they are harder to hit people with than targeted skills.
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Q. What are map objectives?

A. Map objectives are neutral creatures placed about the map that gives you or your team bonus buffs, gold, or experience.

Summoner's Rift:

Baron Nashor: That big purple worm thing... Yeah, he's actually very important. So important teams will fight for the chance to kill him. He's very hard to kill. He gives everyone on your team 300 gold, 900 exp and a buff which gives +40AD, +40AP, +3% of total health as HP-reg per 5seconds and +1% of total mana in mana-reg per 5sec.

- Spawn time: 15:00. Respawn time: 7:00.

Dragon: This guy will give everyone on your team 190 gold and a bunch of experience to everyone standing near. He's a lot easier to kill than baron. This is the only map objective that doesn't grant a special buff on Summoner's Rift.

- Spawn time: 2:30. Respawn time: 6:00.

Ancient Golem: This guy has blue runes circling around him. If you get the last hit on him and kill him you will get his blue buff. This will give you increased mana/energy regeneration, and increased cooldown reduction.

- Spawn time: 1:55. Respawn time: 5:00.

Elder Lizard: This guy has red runes circling around him. If you get the last hit on him and kill him you will get his red buff. This will make your autoattacks slow and deal extra damage.

- Spawn time: 1:55. Respawn time: 5:00.

Twisted Treeline


Wolf - Crest of Nature's Fury that grants +20% attack speed and 10% cooldown reduction. The crest lasts for 1 minute.

Banshee - gives Crest of Flowing Water that grants +45% move speed. This crest also lasts for 1 minute.

Lizard - He still gives Blessing of Lizard Elder which slows and adds damage based on level. The runes last for 3 minutes.

Dragon - Crest of the Crushing Wrath to each member of your team. The buff is straight +damage that scales with level, ending at +18% damage at level 18. The crests last for 2:30.

Note: The wolf and wraith can switch spawn points. Colors correspond to buff colors.
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Q. What is a gank?

A. A gank is when the enemy team coordinates to surprise you (usually when you're by yourself) with an ambush attack and kill you. This often occurs during the laning phase. Watch out for enemy heroes missing from other lanes. If there are a bunch missing be extra cautious and possibly hug the tower.
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Q. What are wards and how to I use them?

A. Wards are either sight ward or Vision Ward and they are placed about the map so you have map awareness (essentially you have more knowledge of the other team's movements). Wards are usually placed at map objectives such as dragon, baron, and red/blue buff. Look at this guide on warding for more detail. You can buy them in the Consumables section of the shop.

In depth resource for Summoner's Rift and Twisted Treeline:

Easier to read, for Summoner's Rift:
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Q. What are elixirs and how do I use them?

Elixirs are items you buy in the Consumables section of the shop. 3 of them buff your stats, cost 250g, and last 4 min. Oracles instead provides you with stealth detect and lasts until you die. If you have no item slots you can still buy elixirs and they will be automatically consumed upon purchase. However if you have an item slot open you can carry it with you then click on it to use it. You can also have multiple kinds of elixirs on you at once. Elixirs are often used late game because of the benefit of not needed an item slot, but some people use them early games if they are falling behind to give them an extra boost in team fights.

Elixir List:

Elixir of Brilliance - "caster/support" elixir. Makes your champ glow blue.
Elixir of Fortitude - "tank" elixir. Makes your champ glow red.
Elixir of Agility - "physical dps" elixir. Makes your champ glow green.
Oracle's Elixir - Detects stealth. Makes your champ have a glowing pink eye over their head.

Make sure to watch for the graphics to see if the enemy team has elixir buffs. Especially look out for the Oracle's buff if you're a stealth character or have one on your team.
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Q. How can I see stealth heroes before they come pwn me?

A. There are a few items that give stealth detect such as Oracle's Elixir and Vision Ward. Also simply having sight wards scattered across the map will let you know they are coming for a gank because they don't walk around in stealth all the time. Your turrets also have stealth detect, so hug those if you think a stealth hero is coming to gank you. There are some champion abilities that reveal stealth as well, such as Nidalee's Bushwhack and Kog'Maw's Living Artillery.
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Q. What is a tank/carry/mage/support/jungler?

A. For a simple answer...

Tank: Absorbs damage, leads the way in teamfights, initiates fights, saves the damage dealers

Carry: Usually refers to a physical damage dealer that does most of their damage from autoattacks. This role does a lot of sustained damage and doesn't fluctuate much.

Mage: A character whose damage is mainly from their skills. Their damage is more burst oriented

Support: A character whose main goal in the game is to keep your team alive / cc the other team so the damage dealers can kill the other team.

Jungler: A character who spends early game killing the neutral creeps in the jungle. They will usually focus on ganking and keeping up their levels with the people in lanes. This lets you have 2 solo lanes which will give your team overall a level advantage.

For more detailed explanations read the roles section of this guide:

- - -


When you are in the champion select phase it would help your team greatly if you could select which champion you want to play (even if you don't lock in) so that the rest of the team can build around you. Too often do people wait until the last second to pick a champion and lock in. This could really screw your team over by making the team have too much of a certain kind of damage or not tank, etc. If you don't lock in you can switch champions to balance the team if you need to.
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Q. How much is a kill worth? How can I make more gold?

Kills always grant a fixed amount of money depending on the current "killing spree" or "dying spree" of the person killed. Assists split 70% of the gold the kill gave among the people who were assisting. The maximum bounty you can have is 600 gold.

It is important to remember who's on a killing / dying spree on the enemy team. For instance it's not worth trading a kill of someone on your team (300g) for a kill of someone on their team that has a dying spree (say they're only worth 52g). However, if you got someone on their team that had a killing spree (600g) then it could be very worthwhile to trade 1 for 1.

Details on Killing Sprees / Dying Sprees:

All the ways to earn gold:

Details on minions/neutrals and how much gold they give:
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Q. What's the difference between Ranked and Normal matches?

A. You have to be level 30 to participate in ranked matches.


Team A........Team B
player 1........1

At champion select there will be a banning phase where the first player on each team will ban champions. The Blue team's captain starts the banning. The captains alternate banning for a total of 6 bans.

Then the champion selection phase. The team that got the first ban gets the first pick, then teams alternate picking champs. Let's say team B picks first, then Team member A 1 and 2 pick next. B 2 and 3. A 3 and 4. B 4 and 5. A 5.

So in this scenario B bans first, and picks first, and A bans last, and picks last.

Players can switch champions with other players on their team once picking phase is over. There will be a time to do this between when picking is over and the match starts. This is a good strategy if you want to ensure that players lower in picking order get popular champions, or you want to counterpick a lane but the other team hasn't picked for that lane yet.

Picking Strategy:

Banning - Champions that are often banned change a lot depending on nerfs and buffs in the latest patch. A good way to check up on which champs are considered "OP" (overpowered) is to check Elementz tier list, since that's what a lot of people read to keep up on what the pros think of as good / bad champs.

Elementz tier list -

You need to keep in mind that the most popular champs will vary between different ELO brackets, so don't follow the list religiously, just use it as a guideline.

Picking - Top picks will also vary according to recent nerfs / buffs, so I would also use Elementz tier list as a guideline for what popular picks are.

Good first picks are champions that are not countered easily. For instance Morgana is always a good pick for mid, because her abilities protect her from both ganks and other casters, while also letter her farm easily. It doesn't matter if you pick her first or last because she can't really be countered. However, if you pick one of my favorite mages Twisted Fate, who relies on staying at a distance to be successful, he would be easily countered by a mid with a gap closer such as Kassadin.

Another good way to do first picking is securing a very popular champ at the moment. For instance if everyone picks Shen if he's available, make sure to get Shen if you are first pick so the other team doesn't get him. Make sure to ask if anyone on your team will play him first though if you don't want to! ;)

Here's some tips for doing better in Ranked Games / increasing your ELO:

Here's LoL wiki's article on Ranked games, just the basics but maybe explained better than my rambling:
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Q. What is ability power? What is attack damage?

A. Ability power (ap) is the most common stat for your skills to scale off of. If your skill scales off ability power the numbers will be written in green when you mouseover them. Ability power skills typically deal magic damage. Attack damage (ad) increases the strength of your autoattacks and scales of some skills. If your skill scales off attack damage its number will appear in red. Some skills that scale off ad deal physical damage, some deal magic damage, you will have to read the text to be sure.
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Q. How does lifesteal / spell vamp work?

A. Lifesteal takes a percentage of damage dealt to the enemy with auto attacks and spells with "on-hit effects" (like Ezreal's Mystic Shot and Gangplank's Parrrley) and gives it back to you as health. Lifesteal does not damage the enemy any extra, only gives you health for a portion of the damage dealt to them.

Spell vamp functions the same way except for spells. AOE spells only give you 1/3 of the damage dealt as health for balance reasons. Only active spells give health with spell vamp. Spell vamp works no matter what kind've damage the spell deals (magic or physical). Spells that deal damage indirectly or passively don't give back health, such as Kog'Maw's Bio-Arcane Barrage and Singed's Poison Trail. Spell vamp also works with activated item uses such as Hextech Gunblade.
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Q. How does armor/magic resist/armor penetration/magic penetration work?

A. In a nutshell, armor protects you against physical damage. Magic resist protects you against magic damage. Armor penetration reduces enemy's armor, and magic penetration reduces enemy's magic resist.

For more detail about these mechanics, go here:

Magic Penetration

Magic Resistance

Armor Penetration


More stats - (scroll to effects chapter)
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Q. Are there any caps for stats?

A. Cooldown Reduction cap = 40% (stacks additively)

Attackspeed cap = 2.5 attacks per second (stacks additively)

Things that stack additively you will see no loss in stacking. Things that stack multiplicatively you will see a reduction in the benefit you get for the more you stack (such as dodge, %penetration, and movespeed).
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Q. How do I calculate my _______ on _______ champion?

A. Here is a catchall information source on statistics and formulas: - scroll to "Effects" section
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Q. Do aura items stack?

A. When you get an aura item, it gives you a personal buff, and then others around you get a different buff. So if you have for example, Soul Shroud, and so does someone else on your team; you will get your personal soul shroud buff AND the other persons area of effect soul shroud buff. Essentially, you only get double benefits from auras if you are one of the owners of the aura item. Everyone else only has 1 stack of the aura. And of course if the auras are different, they stack for everyone.
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Q. How Does Movement Speed Work?

Q: How much movement do the different levels of boots add?

A: Level 1 adds 50, Level 2 adds 70, Level 3 adds 90, Level 5 adds 130. Boots do not stack.

Q: How do movement modifiers work? (Credit to Larias)

A: First, you have your base movement of say 300. You add boots first, always boots first, so if you have boots added.

Let's say you get boots 2. That's 370 movement. Then, you get 35% movement speed buff from items or runes or masteries or buffs: that 370 is multiplied by 1.35, or 499.5 movement speed. If this is the only thing affecting your movement speed, the diminishing returns formula kicks in.

Now, let's say you get slowed by 38% (ashe arrows). What happens is the ORIGINAL 499.5 is multiplied by .62, and you get 309.69 movement speed. Because 309 is not above or below diminishing returns, you stay at that speed.

Q: What are these diminishing movement returns? (Tested and approved by Searz)

Any movement speed bonuses that would cause a champion's movement speed to exceed 415 are reduced by 20%. Any movement speed bonuses that would cause a champion's movement speed to exceed 490 are reduced by 50%.

Above 415: (MS-415)*0.8+415=total MS

Above 490: (MS-490)*0.5+475=total MS

Q: Do slows stack?


A: Sort of. Item slows do not stack - if you have two people with Frozen Mallet, for example, the slows will not stack. This includes two different items as well: if you have a Frozen Mallet and a Rylai's Scepter, the slows will not stack.

Ability slows do stack; however, they do not work additively. If you have two 50% slows, it's not a 75% slow or a 100% slow. The first slow you put on a target always slows for the amount stated. Subsequent slows remain multiplicative, but slows beyond the highest % slow are cut in half (and then applied fully).

For clarity... The largest slow will always take the full effect. If a champion is affected by the slow from Blessing of the Lizard Elder and then walks on Mega-Adhesive from Singed, the Mega-Adhesive will now slow fully and the Lizard slow will be cut in half. If the champion uses Flash to escape Mega-Adhesive, the Lizard slow will now go back to full power.

Credit to Stumpster for this Compilation! (with some fixes by me! :3)
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Special Thanks

Searz (lots of corrections and explanations on game mechanics and info on buffs, info on gold from kills)
Fragamacrunch (helping proofread and edit)
Jebus McAzn (for awesome links / resources!)
ShadowReign757 (suggestion of elixirs section and help getting started on it)
Queso (provided graph for gold from kills)
Dewo (links concerning how to make gold)

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