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League of Legends Build Guide Author flippinyurtables

Why didn't you tell me this!? A Beginners' Guide to LoL

flippinyurtables Last updated on February 13, 2014
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The Player

Hi there, I’m flippinyurtables, an as of yet unranked player in the League of Legends. I’ve been playing LoL since around the time Wukong was first released, albeit on another account, seriph0. That one used to be my main, then I made a smurf named flippinyurtables and bought Tryndamere. He became my main and so did the account (However he’s not my main champ anymore). Anyways, I’m not an expert in this game by any means, but I do know a bit about this game, from both play experience and reading others’ guides.

The Aim of this Guide

This guide is intended to help the budding LoL player learn the in game mechanics of LoL, as well as offer some insight to areas outside of the game as well. I will delve into quite a few topics, but will not exhaust any of them. While this guide will be quite a read, I try to be as brief as possible.

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Welcome to the League

So, you’ve finally decided to check out League of Legends, or maybe you already have and thought you could use some help. Either way, this guide will definitely help you learn the ins and outs of the basics.

The Goal of the Game

LoL is a game where opposing teams of players attempt to destroy the other team’s structures, winning the match by destroying their nexus. That is the main goal of the game. The goal is not to get kills, advanced players cannot stress this enough. I’ve had games that I’ve won where our team was 20 kills behind. Kills do not mean everything; taking objectives and cooperating as a team is what decides the outcome.

What are the objectives?
Depending on the map you play, there will be differing objectives. On most however, it is destroying the enemies’ structures, ending with the nexus. There are additional objectives as well including neutral monsters ( Dragon and Baron Nashor on Summoner’s Rift; Vilemaw on Twisted Tree Line) which give your team extra gold, experience, and buffs. These can be vital to your team’s success as well, giving you an edge over the opponents.

On Dominion, the objective is to control the bases the longest amount of time, which reduce your opponents’ Nexus health over the period. There will also be additional ‘quests’ such as control the top base for X amount of time, that give you additional benefits.

On Twisted Tree Line, there are also two altars that you can control, similar to how you capture bases on Dominion. Controlling one gives you gold advantage, while controlling both gives your whole team a buff.

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The Summoners

In League of Legends you are a summoner who calls forth a champion to fight on the map. You as a summoner have levels, 1-30, and as you gain more you unlock more mastery points, rune slots, and summoner spells. At the beginning of each game you choose a champion out of your available pool (there is always a free champion pool that changes every Tuesday).

Spells, Runes, and Masteries


Masteries are sort of like skill specializations in many rpgs. Before a game begins, you have the chance to set up your mastery pages in your summoner profile (which you can have 20 pages). Once a game begins you can choose one mastery page to take into battle.

In LoL, you have 3 Mastery Trees, Offensive, Defensive, and Utility. At each summoner level you get one Mastery Point to put into the trees, but each higher tier ability requires a certain number of points to be put into the lower tier abilities. At the low levels, you won’t feel the effects of your masteries much, but trust me, they mean quite a lot once you start getting some levels.

To use your masteries more efficiently, it is recommended to fill out a single tree as much as possible. Those higher tier masteries can add some valuable stats to your champions; however you must keep in mind which masteries work best with the champion you’re currently playing as. Taking masteries that increase your AP when playing as Garen is probably not a good idea.


Runes are almost like Masteries. You begin your LoL career with 2 rune pages provided to you of which you can take one into battle with you just like the mastery pages. No, they’re not full of awesome runes, they’re empty. You have to spend IP (influence points) that you get by playing games to buy them. Each level you unlock a new rune slot to put a rune in. To obtain more rune pages you have to spend RP (Riot Points which you get by spending real money), but they’re relatively cheap and you really shouldn’t need more pages until you hit 30. By then, you should know if you’re going to sink money into the game or not.

You have four types of runes:
Marks: Primarily offensive runes (IE )
Glyphs: Primarily ability related runes (IE )
Seals: Primarily defensive related runes (IE )
Quintessences: These don’t fall into a certain category, as they encompass the above 3, but can also give you some utility that the other 3 types can’t. (IE )

At every 10th Summoner level, you unlock a new rune tier and one quint slot (of which there are 3 at lvl 30). It is recommended that you don’t waste your IP on low tier runes, save them for the tier 3 ones. However, if you do, note that there is a rune melter tool in your rune book. You can offer up some runes that you don’t need anymore to get a random rune of equal or greater value. It is random, so the chances of you getting something you need at the moment is highly doubtful, but I’ve gotten lucky myself with it.

Again, like masteries, it is recommended that when purchasing runes you buy those that synergize with your champion well or choose ones that shore up their weaknesses.


There are several summoner spells in LoL, each with its own uses. However, you don't gain access to them all until level 12. At the champion select screen, you get to select two spells to bring in with you to the match. Choosing which depends on the map, your champion, your role in the game, and what you expect to face from your opponents.

By default, each spell is keyed to D and F. Pressing these while in game will obviously activate them. Some target opponents, some heal you, some debuff the foes. All of them are useful, just some are more popular than others.

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The Champions

As a summoner, its your duty to summon forth your champion to fight for you on the Fields of Justice. Just like you, your champion has levels too, starting at level 1 each game and capping at 18. Yes, the champion’s level resets each game! Each level up the champion gains power in the form of stats and ability points to increase their abilities. Your champion has 5 abilities, one being a passive that you do not power up, three being abilities that you can level at any time, and one being an ultimate ability that you can only get and start powering up at level 6. (Note, there are a few champions who do not follow this.)

The champion’s abilities are generally called its ‘kit’ and along with its stats, determine the role of the character. There are 7 roles.

The Roles

• Assassin
• Bruiser
• Jungler
• Mage
• Marksman
• Support
• Tank

Assassins are kind of like mages, but usually deal their damage in the form of physical attacks. Unlike the typical mage however, they usually have one or two abilities that also give them quite a bit of maneuverability as well, allowing them to position themselves better in fights or get in and out quickly.

The Bruiser (or Fighter by LoL’s role division) is generally someone who can take a lot of damage and deal out a bit as well. While they’re not as sturdy as the tank, they usually deal a bit more damage than the tank.

Junglers are champions who are most effective at clearing out the jungle area on the Summoner’s Rift and Twisted Tree Line maps. They usually have a bit of tanky feeling and have some ability that allows them to trap their prey, allowing them to gank (surprise attack) other lanes. (Don’t worry about jungling at low levels, it’s really hard there.)

Mage (or APC) is exactly what you expect. They deal quite a lot of magical damage with their spells, usually in bursts. They excel at dealing lots of damage quickly but have very little defense to compensate for their big damage numbers.

Marksmen (or ADC) are long range physical attackers who excel at harassing and poking down opponents while being safe because of the distance they attack from. Again, they’re similar to the mages and assassins, but unlike them they are generally weak in the early game and heavily rely on items to be able to deal damage.

Supports do exactly that, they support the team. They have low offensive ability, and usually can’t take much damage either. But they have the ability to make their teammates more powerful (buffs), weaken their opponents (debuffs), heal their allies, or utilize crowd control abilities.

Tanks soak up the damage for their teammates, protecting the backlines and making sure their most powerful teammates don’t get killed. They often have strong initiation abilities as well as crowd control (or CC).

Many champions fall into one or two roles, and depending on how you play the character can even do something they were not intended for. For instance, , a mage, is now often played as a support by many competitive players, even though her role set by Riot isn’t a support at all.

Champions are the heroes (and villains) that the summoners send out onto the Field of Justice to do battle with one another. Each one is quite a bit different from the others, having their own play styles and unique abilities. Some may be similar to others, but no two are exactly alike and none completely obsolete another (regardless of what others say).

Champion Stats
Yes, I know numbers are really boring, but it is essential to upping your game to understand the stats that champions have, know what they mean, and how to evaluate them in game. So, without further ado, let’s get to some number crunching.

Whew, that was a lot of stuff, but hopefully you understand this. Knowing these stats can be vital. You can check these stats on your foes during games as well, but more on that later.

Learning your Champ
So, you’ve bought yourself a new champ and are determined to get him down. How do you do this you may ask? Well, here’s my simple approach to it.

First, I figure out which of the roles I’m going to play it with, then I come on this website or and look at the guides on that champion for that role. Seeing how others play the champ can help you from making mistakes (not that that’s a bad thing). Youtube is also very useful for this as wel.

Then, what I do next, is take the champ into a custom game where I am the only player against AI. Yes, I know you can only play against basic AI in this fashion, but hey, it lets you learn your combos without having to worry about teammates getting in your way. I always do Twisted Tree Line and run to bot lane before minions spawn so that the other AIs will take top lane, this leaves me and the enemy AI alone.

After this, I do some CoOp vs AI games, so that I can get the feel for the character. After a couple of these, when I finally feel confident in the champ, I take them into PvP and see how I fare.

Remember, when you are starting a new champion, its okay to completely fail. You’re learning. Mistakes are made by the best Pro players on their main, what makes you exempt from mistakes?

Another tip to learning new champs is to always play aggressively in your learning phase. What this does is it allows you to learn what you can and can’t do. If you’re in PvP, well, just don’t be stupid, but do go for every opportunity you think is there. Eventually, you will get the feel for your champ and understand its limits.

Recommended Champs for new Summoners
So, I’m going to give a recommended champ for each role found in the 450 and 1350 price tiers. These are champions that I feel are strong in that role for the price as well as being easy to learn.

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General Gameplay

The Basics of Combat

5x5, 3x3, and Aram

Here, you are trying to destroy the enemies’ Nexus while defending your own. Along the way, you will have to take a number of turrets and inhibitors unique to each game mode. Remember, kills do not win games! Certainly they help, but they’re not as important as taking objectives.

Game Flow

There are 4 stages to the game on these maps (except Aram I guess?). They are champion select, early game (laning phase), mid game, and late game.

Champion Select
This is honestly the most important part of the game. Choosing your champions well can lead to great things, and doing so badly, well, you get the idea. When starting up a game queue though you have two options: Blind Pick and Ban Pick.

Blind Pick

This is what I’m most used to playing. I don’t have much experience with banning, though I know the basic tenets behind it. Anyway, with blind pick there are no bans and you don’t get to see your opponents’ champs until the game starts. So, here, you need to choose your champions together as a team. Think about what your choosing in accordance to what your teammates have chosen. Do you need an ADC? Do you need more CC?

Ban Pick

This game mode is quite a bit more tactical than blind pick. You get to see your opponents’ champion pools and ban out who you feel are their strongest champions. After banning, there are rounds of champ selection where once that champion is selected, no one else on the opposing team can pick them.

The general idea is to pick champions who counter others, but this isn’t always the case. I highly recommend going with whichever champion you know the best, even if you think its an unfavorable match up. You will always do better with what you know, even if you have the counter pick but suck with that champ.


For whatever god awful reason people often come into games and auto lock in champs without discussing strategy with teammates. Yes, you do only have a minute to do so (in blind pick anyway), but auto locking is such a horrible habit. However, if you get stuck having to play a role you are uncomfortable with, just go with it. For this very reason, I recommend getting at least one champion of each role. Just do your best and try not to feed.

Early Game

This is the phase of the game where the champions will sit in their respective lanes and try to farm up. Each lane has a number of turrets that will halt your minions’ advance to the enemy Nexus. These turrets have a lot of HP and deal quite a bit of damage to anything they shoot at, so your minions will need help.

Of course, your opponents aren’t going to make this easy for you. This part of the game is where you as a summoner are at your weakest, with no powerful items yet. So, during this time you attempt to farm and maybe get a kill or two on your laning opponents. You watch out for ganks from other lanes and do your best not to lose your tower.

Usually lasts anywhere from 10 mins – 30 mins, depending on map and players’ skill level.

Mid Game

This phase of the game usually occurs when the first tower falls. This is normally around level 6-10, when most champions have hit their first power spike. Enemies and allies have died and players are starting to roam around the map looking for opportunities to push their advantage. The goal of the game hasn’t changed, but here is where the teams start to really start taking objectives. Usually the teams will group up together and start roaming as a unit.
Usually lasts anywhere from 5 mins – 15 mins, depending on map and players’ skill level.

Late Game

This phase of the game begins around level 14, where most champions have finished building one or two powerful items. The teams try their best to stay together and catch enemies out on their own. This is where the game is coming to a close and death timers are long.
Teams go for the high end objectives such as Vilemaw or Baron Nashor, and try to shove into their opponents’ base to finish it off.

It is your number one job to destroy as many structures as you possibly can, while defending your own. Here, I will go over each structure in the game.


While technically not a structure, I didn’t know where else to put this entry. Anyway, minions are your number one gold and experience source in the game. As long as you deal the blow that kills a minion, you gain the gold for the kill and more experience (you still gain xp if a minion died near you but you didn’t kill it). Farming your CS (creep score) is vital in this game, and those that do it well will have an advantage over others who don’t.

Minions spawn in waves, with three melee minions and three caster minions per wave. Every third wave will have a siege minion added as well. Each wave spawns every 30 seconds. When a lane’s inhibitor is destroyed, that lane’s opposing Nexus will spawn super minions on each wave. These minions have a lot more HP and attack power than the other three types. In addition, once a lane’s inhibitor is destroyed, opposing minions in that lane become more powerful.

Melee minions give more gold than casters, siege minions give more gold than melee, and supers give the most gold than the other three types.

Towers/ Turrets

These things are what are stopping you from getting to the enemy Nexus. Not only that, they shoot any enemy that gets close. They have their own damage and armor rating, becoming stronger as you get close to the enemy Nexus. The only turret that regenerates HP is the one defending the Nexus.

Turrets also grant vision around them. Destroying them removes that vision, giving you more control of the map. The middle towers are considered the most important towers in LoL because they grant a lot of vision that is necessary to control the jungle on Summoner’s Rift.

Remember, the turrets won’t attack a champion as long as there are minions in the turrret’s range. They will only attack a champion on two conditions: 1. That champion deals damage to an allied champion of the turret while it’s in range. The turret will immediately change its target to the attacking champion; though it won’t change to another attacking champion if another damages the turret’s ally. 2. The champion is the only thing in shooting range of the turret. Turrets will always attack the pets of champions first, over other targets (unless a champion is already attacking an enemy champion).

Destroying a turret, either yourself or by minions or allies, grants global gold to the entire team as well as experience. You get a little bit more gold if you destroy the tower yourself, so always try to if you can.


There is always one inhibitor in each lane. These structure don’t attack foes, and you must destroy these to get to the turret that protects the Nexus. You cannot damage these if the inhibitor’s turret is still up. Inhibitors regenerate HP over time, and also can respawn if given enough time. This allows teams to make come backs if they can defend properly.

Once you destroy an inhibitor, all of YOUR minions in that lane become stronger, and each wave will also spawn a super minion that is much stronger than the other minions. These minions are so strong that they can tank turret shots all day, taking down structures without any help. They can even deal serious damage to enemy champions, while taking a while to kill for some champions.


So you’ve pushed down all the turrets and all the inhibitors. The last thing is the Nexus. Once the Nexus tower(s) is/are gone, all you have to do is destroy this thing and you win the game.

Time to Shop
While sitting at the summoner pool you have access to the champion shop. You can bring it up by clicking the shopkeeper or pressing P on your keyboard (default settings). This is where you spend the gold you’ve accumulated from farming CS and getting kills to buy items to make you champion stronger.

There are several different items, but the most powerful are always built from lower costing items. Its always a much better idea to buy the lower tier items first instead of waiting to buy a higher tier item flat out. This gives you power in the early game, while helping you to transition into the late game.

You have the option of ‘rushing’ (building a single higher tier item first) or buying the lower tier items for many items. Sometimes games call for rushing, sometimes games call for you to slow roll your builds. It all comes down to judgment, but in most cases its best to buy several items at once, so that you have power in several different areas.

Different items are effective for different champions. Always try to keep champion synergy in mind. You wouldn’t want a Doran’s Shield on Annie, you’d want a Doran’s Ring. With that said, remember, there are a multitude of ways to play you champion, and sometimes buying what isn’t always considered the best items for the champion is better in the current game.

For each champion, there is a recommended item page. These pages are meant for newer players to the champion to peruse so that they can quickly make the champion good at their role. Once the player understands the champion and has some experience with it, it is recommended to start trying out your own builds. Creativity is often rewarded!

Some higher tier items have active abilities that you activate by pressing the number associated with that item. These are sort of like extra abilities you can give your champion. Just remember to use them, they can add quite a bit of oomph to your game!

Don’t forget, the little u-turn symbol is the undo button. Its right beside the sell button on your shop page. Clicking it will undo the last transaction you made since you last entered the summoner pool. However, once you step off, you can’t undo the action. Keep this little button in mind.

Basic Tips
I’m not going to go in depth here at all, and I’m sure you completed the tutorial, but here are a few basic tips to remember.

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Outside the Fields of Justice

There are a few more things that players should take a look at in LoL that I’m going to touch upon. I’ve seen a few guides not really hit these topics, and truthfully, these topics are the main reason I made this guide.

Item Sets

In your summoner profile, you can find the item sets tab. I highly recommend that newer players learn this feature quickly, as it can drastically reduce your time on the summoner pool (which means you can get back to beating your opponents faster).

This nifty tool allows you to create custom item sets that are added in game to your shop menu. You can set them to specific maps and champions. I recommend making one for each champion you play a lot.

On each set, I recommend setting up item blocks in the following order:

• Starting Items: Well, what you’re going to start off with. I recommend putting in Health Pots, Mana Pots, the Doran items that are good for the champ, any low cost tier one items that will build into your core items, and boots here.
• Core Items: Most champions have one or two items that improve their power so much that it’s almost a mandatory buy. Remember though, you may not even need your core items every single game, but these items will be in them around 90% of the time.
• Situational Items: These should be items that are good on your champion, but only needed every now and then. These should be counter build items. For instance, in my Darius item set, I have Maw of Malmortius as a situational item. I don’t always need the spellshield, as I would only want it if my opponents have 3 or more AP champs (Or god forbid an AP got fed).
• Boots: This should be obvious. I put my enchanted tier 2 boots in this block. I put a few of them here, each one dependent upon what’s going on in my game but is still relevant to my champ.

Spending IP and RP
So, you’ve played a few games, won some, lost some, and now you’ve got a bit of IP just waiting to be spent. What do you spend it on?

Well, for one thing, that depends on your level. Are you below level 20? Then I highly recommend not WASTING it on runes. Wait until you reach 20 and unlock tier 3 runes before you buy any. It may seem like those lower tier ones don’t cost much, but their impact on the game are minimal and superior skill trumps them any day. Maybe, just maybe its okay to buy tier 2 quints.

There are several champions in the game, each with their varying degree of price and difficulty to master. While still in the early levels, I recommend buying lower difficulty champions. This rating doesn’t at all describe how powerful they are in game. Try to stick to the lower tier price champions, such as the 450 and 1350 champs. This will allow you to have more IP once you get to 20.

I don’t recommend buying RP in your early stages of the game either. First of all, you may not like the game. I wouldn’t want to drop real money into a game and then find out later I don’t like it.

Once you do buy some rp, I recommend waiting on champions to become free to play before buying them. This allows you to test them out and see if you like them enough to pay for them. Yes, it can take a while for some champions to become free to play, but its more wallet efficient this way.

Secondly, take a look at sales. Every 4 or 5 days Riot has new sales on champions and skins. This is a good way to save RP that is left over and pick up a few champions (I got my main Darius off a sale).

Third, while it is a bit expensive, look at their bundles. Riot always has some kind of bundle set out that has a load of champions and skins in it that is much more cost effective than buying each champion separately.

Riot also supplies us with IP and XP boosts. I would never myself buy an XP boost, just a complete waste of money. Don’t do it! However, IP boosts are certainly worth it. While the ones with win limits are nice, the day timers are much better. It’s just a matter of timing your boost buys with your free time for the game.

Dealing with trolls and rage
No matter what mode you play in, what division you’re in, or what level you are, you will see trolls and players rage. Dealing with this can be hard, especially if its your own teammates. I’ve had games in the bag, then get thrown because a teammate raged at a mistake that didn’t actually matter.

The best thing to do in these situations are:
In the case of a troll, just ignore him. There is actually an ignore button on the scoreboard. There, trolling no more.

In the case of a rager though, its more difficult. It may very well be that the player is raging over something and has a good reason, but it doesn’t help the game. It makes it worse if the player makes other teammates mad. The best thing to do is try and pull your team together with words of encouragement and solace.

Being a Team Captain / Sportsmanship / Communication
Learning how to rally together your team is a vital skill. And honestly, it does revolve around good sportsmanship. In the early game, the more you congratulate your team on good plays, or let them know its okay that they made a mistake, means they are more likely to listen to your ideas in the late game. Even if you’re doing bad yourself, as long as you point out the good things and offer advice (without sounding like a douche is hard on the net, I know :/), your teammates will listen to you.

Learn to recognize when you have an advantage. Did you just clear out a turret in mid and now your minions are pushing? Tell everyone to go take dragon or baron. Someone needs to call out your plans, might as well be you.

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Terms to Know

What was your favorite part of school? I’ll bet it wasn’t vocabulary. Well, here’s a bit of a vocabulary lesson for you.


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Well, there you have it folks, my Beginner's Guide to League of Legends. It was a long trip, but you finally made it to the end. A summary of this is kind of hard to write, since there's quite a bit of information, so I'm just going to end by highlighting what I think are the most important parts.

Goal of the Game
Learning Your Champ
Recommended Champs
Team Captain

I still have a bit of stuff to work on for this guide, and since it's my first on Mobafire, I'm sure there are somethings I could work on. Let me know, and if there's a large enough cry for something to be added in or discussed, I'll work on it. Any feedback will be appreciated, and critique is welcome.

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Change Log

Published Guide

Fixed up some BBCoding.
Still looking to format better.


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