LoLU Lesson 2: Minions and the 1v0 Custom
Previous LoLU Lessons:
Lesson 1: Attitude
Alright, now how do we play Coop games?! Ah ah, we're not covering Coop games yet.
Wait, what? Aren't they what newbies practice in? They're decent practice for novices, but there's an even better tool for training the basics: Custom mode. Specifically, a Custom one-vs-none match. To make one, just create a Custom game (team size doesn't matter), click Start without adding any bots or other players, and click Yes when it asks if you want to play an unbalanced match.
The Custom game mode is the best training tool for an aspiring LoL player. It lets you strip the game down to its bare essentials and practice them without frustrating other players. Want to browse the item shop and see where they're all listed? Make a 1v0 Custom game. Want to practice last-hitting and killing minions? Make a 1v0 Custom game. Want to see how well you can jungle a champion? Make a 1v0 Custom game.
But It's Boring! So? You're not reading this because you want to have fun all the time; you're reading this because you're passionate about playing LoL well, even if it involves some boring prepwork. Would you rather spend that time losing a game because you didn't practice the basics? Besides, you can quit a Custom 1v0 game at any time without getting a penalty for disconnecting, so you can finish one in 15, 10, or even 5 minutes, however long it takes for you to finish training.
Think of it like soccer: you don't train just by playing other teams. You start by running & kicking the ball by yourself. Once you have that nailed down, then you start playing against other people.
Why 1v0? Why not 1v1, or 5v5? Because we're focusing on the bare basics. Another champ adds a lot of variables, including the urge to ignore the minions and kill him instead. Champions are not your primary source of gold & XP; minions are. If you can farm minions well, you can still match or outdo your lane rival even if he has a few more champion kills than you.
So, how should you do this? Here's what I'd do:
1. Pick a Lane. Top, mid, or bottom; choose the lane you expect to play that champion at. As a rule of thumb, ranged AP casters go middle lane, melee bruisers go top lane, and everyone else (ranged AD carries, supports, tanks) goes bottom lane. Focus solely on that lane. Ignore the other lanes, even if a turret blows up.
2. Buy Boots of Speed (Movement) and 3 health potions (Consumables). This is one of the common initial item buys, useful for almost any champion. I'll explain why in my next lesson.
3. No Ability Use. Only use basic attacks. You want to save your abilities for harassing your lane rival, not rely on them for killing minions. (Exception: champion abilities that improve with kills, like Nasus's Siphoning Strike & Veigar's Baleful Strike.)
4. One Shot, One Kill. Don't attack a minion unless you can kill it with that hit. This is called "last hitting", and it is vital for controlling your lane. Why? If you cause too much damage to the enemy minions, your lane begins to push to their tower. You have to move closer to their turret and farther from yours to keep killing minions. It's harder to kill their champions, easier to die yourself, and is generally a bad position to be in. You want to keep up with your lane rivals in CS (Creep Score, or # of minions killed) while letting them do more damage than you so they push their lane.
There's one exception: when the enemy minions are being killed by your tower, feel free to unload on them. (Rule of thumb: Melee minions die in 2 turrets hits + 1 champion hit, caster minions die in 1 turret hit + 2 champion hits, siege minions die in many turret hits + ?? champion hits. This may vary due to attack power & increasing minion health.)
5. Don't Stop Moving. If you stand still, your champion begins auto-attacking minions (thus pushing the lane), and in an actual game you're a sitting duck for lane rivals with skill shots (abilities that target areas/directions instead of champions). Be a jitterbug: attack and move, attack and move.
6. Don't Recall. If you can't stay in lane forever in a 1v0 match, you're taking too much derpy damage from provoking enemy towers or minions without your own minions covering you. Reduce the abuse you take, else your lane rival will score a kill on you due to derpy damage.
7. Count your CS at the 15-Minute Mark. When the timer hits 15:00, hit O to check the scoreboard. How many minion kills do you have? (It's the # under the purple hood on the scoreboard.)
40: Fresh Meat
Total Minions per Lane released in 15min: ~170
Note: These numbers/ratings haven't been tested much yet. Some may be off; perhaps it's impossible to get 160 CS in these circumstances. I don't know yet.
I would shoot for 70 CS as a starting goal, then slowly try to build your way up to 100 CS as you level up. Do this CS practice run for any new champion you want to try so you get a feel for their basic attacks. As you improve, this will carry over into your actual games and you'll be able to control your lane better and earn more gold to steamroll your opponents with.
---So, how did YOU do in this, hmmm?---
Good question. I tried this out with 3 champions I haven't used before (well, I've used Hecarim, but that was in Dominion), each in a different lane, without any Masteries or Runes. I recorded my CS not just at the 15-minute mark, but at the 5-min and 10-min marks as well. (Man, it's tough writing numbers down while you're trying to kill minions…)
Champion (role, lane): CS @ 5min/10min/15min
Hecarim (AD melee, top lane): 20 / 55 / 95
Morgana (AP ranged, mid lane): 22 / 63 / 103
Kog'maw (AD ranged, bot lane): 20 / 51 / 86
I also noted certain patterns and how they affected my last-hitting:
Yours = Theirs: Steady damage on both sides, easy to last hit.
Yours > Theirs: Your minions begin focusing theirs, taking them down very quickly. Last-hitting in such circumstances requires precise timing, such as attacking right when all your caster minions fire.
Yours At Their Tower: Easy to last hit for ranged, tough to last hit for melee. Be careful not to be caught under the tower when your last minion dies.
Yours < Theirs: Easy to last hit, but you might take some damage once you run out of minions, and they'll eventually reach your tower…
Theirs At Your Tower: Extremely hard to last hit or get kills, period, but vital practice for very dangerous lanes (ones where you'll die if you don't tower hug).
Keep that in mind when you're training & laning; now you're one step closer to understanding & controlling your lane. (A topic I'll cover in-depth in a future lesson.)
---Three Other Things to Practice in a Custom---
Once you've done some minion training, there's a few other things you should mess around with in a Custom 1v0:
1. The Item Shop
This is the perfect time to spend a couple minutes just browsing the item shop and seeing what's available and where. Better now than in the midst of a match with other players.
2. Free Camera
Is your camera still locked on your champ? That leaves you very little view distance in the direction you want to be looking. The free-roaming camera takes some practice, but I could never go back to the locked camera after learning it. To turn it off, hit Y in-game. You can move it around either by using the arrow keys or pushing the screen borders with your pointer. If you need to quickly snap the camera back to your champion, just hold the SPACE bar. Try doing some minion training sessions with the free camera until you're comfortable using it in an actual game. (Look under Options > Key Bindings > Camera Control for the commands.)
3. Smart Casting
Smart casting is an alternate way to use abilities that targets whatever your cursor's over at that moment, rather than waiting for you to click on a target. Removing that second step can really make a difference in a hectic PvP battle, and the best players I know swear by it. However, (like everything else I've mentioned) it takes some practice. To smart cast your abilities/spells instead of the initial, slow way:
-Go to Options > Key Bindings.
-Scroll down until you see "Smart Cast Spell 1", "Smart Cast Spell 2", etc.
-Assign q / w / e / r / d / f to "Smart Cast Spell 1" thru "Smart Cast Summoner Spell 2". That will change them from regular-cast keys to smart-cast keys.
After doing that, try using your abilities against the minions. Get a feel for properly targeting them and the range of your spells. (If you want to see the range radius, just hover your cursor over the ability icon on your toolbar.) Some abilities, like Rumble's Equalizer, require you to hold down the button to set its direction in addition to its position, but most of them are just click-and-fire.
Once you've grown comfortable with all of that, it's time to apply what you learn to a Coop game. That will require some knowledge about character roles in the team and what may be the most puzzling question a novice encounters: "What the heck do I buy?!" (Hint: usually not the Suggested Build.) It's not as complex as you think; in fact, I'd argue you can competently play any champion with 1 of 3 basic item builds. What are they? That'll have to wait for the next lesson...
Oof, that went... quite a bit longer than I first thought. Ah well, it's finally up. Two quick notes:
1. The next lesson will be posted on Saturday; got a busy night Friday, won't have enough time to write up the next one in just one day.
2. If you do the 15min minion training detailed above, feel free to post your champion / lane / CS@15min in the thread, as well as any insights or questions you have about minions. I'd like to see what scores people get and how they compare to the tiers I listed above.
good info. just so you know, 19 minions spawn every 1.5 mins (3 waves every 30sec: 6, 6, 7). anyways at 15min there is a max of 165 lane cs, tho champions that can kill jungle while laning (particularly mids like morde/cass) could break 200.
This is great. Thanks for all the work you are doing!
Yours < Theirs: Perhaps you want to add some extra attacks so that it evens out again. Otherwise they'll unnecessarily force you to your tower. (Disregard if you're planning to tower hug.)
Reasoning: I find that a low of lowbie players spam auto creeps, which means usually theirs > yours if you're last hitting. In response, I hit them when they're hitting my creeps, but I also have to hit their creeps. As long as I'm getting the last hits as well, I see no problem in doing so to keep the wave out of tower range.
Good to know, I'd like to know what an average cs is for different ELO. I know there are a ton of variables and there isn't a real number that you can associate with an ELO effectively, but a ballpark number for a solo lane would be nice to know.
This is useful, and its important to test it out with the champs. Each one has a different attack animation so you need to get used to if your ranged A)how long your windup is to shoot and how long it takes to get to the target and if your are melee B) minion blockage. minions will get in your way and make you miss creeps unless you are playing a champion like fizz or janna, who can ignore unit collision.
since this is for the sake of science, i also tested myself out. Wukong top lane got me 22/61/103 at each marker. so as you see, thats a pretty normal number for last hitting, since thats almost exactly the same as Mike's.
this exercise is to see how efficient you are at last hitting, because you dont always want to use mana on minions instead of harass. as such, the farm numbers will be different from a live game. as, for instance, morgana will often puddle and kill all 3 ranged creeps immediatly. or morde will just walk up and huehue the entire wave. not to mention recalling and such
For extra difficulty try this out with Anivia mid.
Ended up getting 118 as morganna...I feel a bit screwed out of being an expert T.T
I looked at the timer at about 15:30, but I imagine I had 92 CS in top as Udyr (no runes to jangle with). Next up, Anivia. That's gonna be a blast.
EDIT: With Anivia in mid, I had 94 by 15 minutes. I mostly used the auto, but I did use R twice to stop the wave from pushing to my tower and I Q'd once to get 3 at the same time, where otherwise I would have only gotten one.
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