This guide is meant for people who know nothing about League of Legends at all, to prepare them for playing ranked matches.*
As I first started playing League of Legends, I quickly become frustrated by how hard it is to learn how to play this game well. For new players this game is really confusing. Currently there are 99 champions, 10 players in every game, dozens of different items to buy and choose from, in addition to just the basic mechanics of playing and the simple fundamentals. Its a very complex strategy game. The community, by and large, is not newb friendly either. It is frustrating and intimidating to start playing blind pick matches and have everyone on your team yelling at you because you just don't know what to do.*
In my experience, even those who have played a couple hundred games of league of legends are still ignorant to most of the basic concepts in competitive play. People just don't know what is right and what is not quite right because nobody has ever spelled it out for them simply and clearly. This guide will do that. The only assumption I make in this guide is that you know almost nothing about strategy games to begin with. Little by little I lay it out in simple and easy ways to understand. This will not only help you win more games and be a better asset to whatever team you are a part of, it will also help you make sense of what is going on in your games, and then you can decide for yourself what is good and what isn't.*
This guide assumes you have never played a game of League of Legends in your life. I go through the controls, interface, items ect. For a player that already has a good understanding of these, you can skip to the chapter called “The 'standard' meta-game” and read on from there. I do recommend you skim at least through the gold and items chapters however, as there is information in them you probably don't already know.
This part is meant more for people who know a lot about the game already and might have criticism for my guide. The guide approaches the game from the standard "meta". The way the best players in the world play the game is how I am going to instruct the reader to play (to a certain extent of course!). You can win games in all sorts of unorthodox and inventive ways, some of which may become the "standard" of tomorrow. My thought process is, if you understand how everyone else plays the game and get a good grasp of that, you can start inventing your own ways to play much easier because you have some knowledge to build upon.
League of Legends is what is known as an RTS, or a "real time strategy game". A game like poker, or chess, are good examples of turn based strategy games; they don't happen in "real time" like League of Legends does.*
League of Legends is a MOBAS (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), or an ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy) game. This is a branch of the RTS genre. The first popular MOBAS, which had a huge influence of League of Legends, was a Warcraft III custom mod called DOTA or Defense of The Ancients.*
In a MOBAS games like League of Legends, you control a character called a champion. The champion has spells and abilities you use to kill other champions, monsters, and minions. The goal of the game is to work with the other champions on your team to kill the enemies base.*
In League of Legends, you as the player are a "summoner". A "summoner" summons champions to fight on their behalf. The League of Legends is an arena to settle disputes as an alternative to war. The champion in the league are powerful warriors from all over the world who volunteer to fight. In the arena, all the champions are made immortal. Although a champion may be slain in the arena, or may lose in a contest, they never truly die and can be summoned again and again to fight in the arena.*
A First Look at the Map
There are a few different maps you can play games on in League of Legends. There is only one map that is played competitively in League of Legends though. This map is called Summoner's Rift. This is a really good picture of what the map looks like. Its too big to post here, but you can follow the link to see it:
This is my picture:
There are a few things I want to take note of right away.
On the map there are two sides; a blue and a purple side. The purple side looks a little different then the blue side in several ways, but there is no difference between them. You can start out on either side of the map, at random, at the beginning of the game. On this map, you have 4 allies on your team.
The location marked zero is where you start out in the game. This is called the summoner platform. This is also the shop. You spend your gold there to buy items to make your champion stronger or more useful. When you die you will always return to that same spot, with full health, after a short time spent respawning. If you return to that spot when hurt your champion will heal there very rapidly.
The location marked 1 is the nexus. When this dies the game is over. The locations marked 2 are inhibitors. Inhibitors spawn minions in waves every thirty seconds to fight for your team. The minions push mindlessly forward in each of the three lanes killing other minions, towers, and champions in their path. The three lanes are top, bottom, and mid (middle) lane. If an inhibitor is destroyed, that inhibitor will stop spawning minions for five minutes while it respawns. If the enemy team kills an inhibitor their inhibitor on their side will spawn super minions in that lane, which have a lot more health and do more damage. If you destroy an enemy inhibitor, your inhibitor opposite theirs will spawn super minions.
The blue and purple squares are tower. Towers have a lot of health, and do a lot of damage. They are static, meaning they don't move. They kill minions and enemy champions that are in range.
In order to kill an inhibitor, you must first kill the three tower that are in its lane. In order to kill the nexus, you must first kill the two towers in front of it. You cannot target these structures until the towers protecting them are destroyed.
The blue and purple Xs on the map are over the jungle. The jungle has neutral monster camps. Killing them can give your champion money, and some of them give you buffs making your champ temporary stronger. The jungle has a lot of brush that makes seeing whats is around the corner difficult. They can be dangerous and are a place where you might be ambushed. The jungle is also a place where you might ambush enemy champions. More on that later.
Champions and the Buttons You Push
In League of Legends, there are 99 champions to choose from, and more are coming out all the time. You have a lot of options to play based on what role you like and what kind of champions appeal to you.
Every one of the champions can do well if you played well. Many of them are really good no matter if you are a new player or one of the best players in the world.
People who are new to league of legends often ask “which champion is the best?”. The simple answer is there is no “best” champion, but there are a lot of good champion who are good at different things. It is important to remember that League of Legends is a team game. It is not one player that wins or loses a game, it is five players. You want to pick a champion that will be useful for your team so you can win the game.
Before we can cover what champions are good in what roles, we need to talk about what a champion is and their attributes. Each of these, as well as the basics of HUD and mini map, are described below. League of Legend's has two tutorials that cover this as well, I recommend playing them to get a grasp of the controls and the basics.
Here is a screen shot of the game:
Every champion in the game has health and a basic attack. A champions health is how much damage the champion can take before dying. This is the green bar in the picture (Note: the green bars over minions and champions is their own health). A champions basic attack is the attack they do when you right click on an enemy. Some champions are melee, so they have to get very close to attack, and others are ranged and can attack from far away. The amount of damage a basic attack does is determined by a champion attack damage, shown as the first number next to the red axe icon.
A champion also has ability power. This is the number next to the blue wand icon. Ability power makes your champion's abilities more powerful. Some champion abilities do more damage based off of the champions attack damage, and some based on the champion's ability power, and some from both.
The number next to the red sword is the champion's attack speed. This is how often a champion can perform a basic attack per second. .7 is a bit faster then one attack every two seconds. 1.0 would be one attack every one second. 2.0 would be two attacks in a second.
The number next to the boot is the champions movement speed. The higher the number, the faster that champion can move about.
The number next to the grey shield is the champion's armor. The higher the number, the less damage the champion takes from physical attack damage, like auto attacks and abilities that scale off of attack damage. Similarly, the blue shield is the champion's magic resist. This reduces the damage the champion takes from ability powers and spells. At 100 armor or magic resist the damage done by these attacks is reduced by about 50%. By 200 the damage is reduced by about 75%.
The blue bar is this champion's mana. Mana is drained every time this champion uses an ability. Some champion's have mana, some have energy instead (which works the same way). Some have different things, like “rage”, which work the same way. Mana and health regenerate slowly over time. If you return to the shop, your mana and health will return very quickly.
The little icons to the right of the champions attributes are those champions items. These items make the champion stronger. The boots, for example, make the champion move faster. The red potions, however, restore the champions health over time. This is called an active effect, meaning you activate the item to use it. A potion is an example of a consumable item, once you use the active effect the item goes away and you have to buy more. You can use these items by clicking on them, or by pressing a number key. The potions are my champion's second item, so I press 2 to use it. If it was in the same place as the boots, I would press 1 to use it, ect.
The yellow number below that is your champion's gold. Gold is used to buy items at the shop. The yellow bar below that is your champion's experience. As you kill monster, minions, and enemy champions you gain experience. When the bar fills up you gain a level. When you gain a level your champion becomes stronger and you can choose to make one of your champions abilities more powerful. The champions level is shown on the bottom right of the character's portrait.
Every champion in the game has four abilities and one passive ability. The passive ability works all the time and never changes. It is the smallest icon in the middle above the health bar, on the far left. If you scroll over this or any ability you can read what it does.
Most champions have three normal abilities and one “ultimate” ability. You use these abilities by pressing q for the first, w the second, e the third, and r the last. As you level up, you invest one point in each ability, up to five points making the ability more powerful.
The scaling for abilities is like this:
level 1 one point in any spell except ultimate
level 3 one spell can have two points
level 5 one spell can have three points
level 6 ultimate spell can have one point
level 7 one spell may have four points
level 9 one spell may have 5 points
level 11 ultimate may have two points
level 16 ultimate may have three points
The icons with 'D' and 'F' bellow them are summoner spells. To use them, press 'D' or 'F'. More on those later. The icon with 'B' bellow it is the spell you can cast to return you to the shop. When you press that button you will channel for 10 seconds (stop attacking, moving, or casting abilities), and then teleport there. If you are damaged by an attack or ability in that time, the teleport will be canceled and you have to start channeling all over again.
In the upper right hand corner, there are several numbers. The in-game time is on the left. The number of enemy champion' you have killed is on the right of that, next to the sword. The number of times you have died are shown next to the skull. The number of times you helped an ally get a kill, but didn't kill the enemy champion yourself is shown by the hand icon. This is called an “assist”. The number next to the purple diamond is how many minions and monsters you have killed.
Below that, there is a green number and a red number to the left and right of the sword icon. The green number is how many champions your whole team has killed. The red icon is how many champion's the enemy team has killed.
In the bottom right hand corner is the minimap. If you left click on a part of the minimap, your view will be taken to the part of the map in the game. Your champion will stay where they are! The parts of the map that are bright are places where you have vision. In places where you have vision you can see everything that is going on there, including minions, monster, and champions that in in that area. Places where you don't have vision is a potential place where you could be ambushed. If you press 'G' and click on the the minimap, this will “ping” the minimap. This makes a sound and a little flash, that can be seen by you and all your allies. This is good for drawing attention to something. Pressing 'G' and clicking on tower, minions, allies and enemy champions causes different message to appear. If you press 'V' and click on these or the minimap this means “DANGER!” or “run away!”.
Champions are shown as icons on the minimap. Green outline on the icon is an ally, and red outline is an enemy. The green dots are allied minions, the red dots are enemy minions.
Brushes, like the one shown below, obscure vision. Unless you are in the brush, or have an ally, allied minion, or a ward in the brush, you can't see what is in there and you can see what is on the other side of it. Be careful when going through brushes that you don't have vision in. You have vision anywhere on the map that can be seen by an allied tower, champion, or minion, and also, some abilities and wards.
Lastly, to move about you simply left click where you want to go. You can right click on the minimap as well to move your champion to that part of the map. Right clicking on an enemy cause the champion to auto attack, or if an ability has been selected, you left click on them to cast the spell on the target.
Lastly, when you are at the shop you press 'P' to bring up the shop menu. If you press space bar at any time, the camera will center on your champion. If you press shift, a window will pop up giving you a ton of information about enemy and allied champion's, including their level, kills/deaths, items they have, and number of minions and monsters they have killed.
If you press enter a chat window will pop up, letting you chat with your allies. If you type /all before your message, or click the “send to all” button you message will be seen by the enemy team as well. IMPORTANT. Don't be a jerk. Always be positive. Don't trash talk, slander, show boat, or anything else in a game.
There are several ways you can acquire new champion's to play. Every week, Riot releases six champion's you can play for free on that week. You can also sometimes get champion's for free permanently by, for example, liking League of Legends on facebook or following League of Legends on twitter. The typical way to get champion's, however, is to buy them with Influence Points or Riot Points. These two things are the currencies in League of Legends. You get influence points after every game you play, and over time you get enough to buy a champion. You can also use real money to buy Riot Points, which can be used to buy champions and other things as well.
Gold and how to get it
Gold in league of legends is acquired in several ways. The gold you earned can be used to buy items at the shop. There are many different ways to acquire gold. You can read everything there is to know about gold and how to get it at this wiki page:
The basics is this:
You acquire 13 gold every ten seconds no matter what
You can buy items, like philo stone, that give you more gold every ten seconds. You can also use runes and masteries to increase your passive gold income.
You get 300 gold for killing a champion that is the same level as you or higher.
You get 400 gold for getting “first blood”. This is the first kill in a game.
If you kill a champion considerably weaker than you, than you get less gold for the kill as little as 100 gold for a kill.
If you kill a champion that is on a “killing spree” you can earn as much as 600 gold
You get as much as 58% of the gold from a kill with an assist.
The majority of gold your champion will earn, however, doesn't come from passive gold or from champion kills, it comes from minion and monster kills.
The amount of gold you get from these increases over time. For the ranged minions it starts at 16 gold, for the melee minions it starts at 22, and the siege minion and super minions gives you 27 gold initially.
Each inhibitor spawns three melee minions and three caster minions per wave. A siege minion spawns every third wave. A wave is spawned every thirty second, starting at 1:30 in-game time.
You only get the gold from a minion kill if you do the last bit of damage that kills it. This is called “last hitting” or “farming”. The idea is that you want to stay in your lane and farm as many minions kills as possible. Note: Minions give you experience if they die near you, it doesn't matter if you killed them.
You can also acquire gold from killing neutral monster “creeps” in the “jungle”. In the “First Look at the Map” chapter of this guide I marked those with a blue and purple Xs.
In the left side jungle on the blue side, facing the same direction the right side jungle on the red side, there are two monster camps.
These are called “wolves”. The big wolf gives you 25 gold to start and the smaller wolves give you 16 gold. Once killed the wolves take one minute to respawn.
These are called “blue buff” because the largest golem minion gives the champion a “crest of the ancient golem” buff which increases mana regeneration and lowers the cool down on champion abilities. The giant golem gives 60 gold, and the lizards give 5 gold. Once killed it takes five minutes for the blue buff to respawn.
In the right hand side jungle on the blue side, opposite direction on the purple side, there are three monster camps.
These are referred to as “wraiths”. The big wraith gives 33 gold and the smaller wraiths give 4 gold. It takes one minute for this creep camp to respawn.
This is the “red buff”. It is called the red buff because the big lizard gives the champion that kills it the “blessing of the lizard elder”, which cause the champions abilities and attacks to do more damage. The big lizard gives 50 gold, and the smaller lizards give 5 gold. It takes five minutes for this creep camp to respawn.
These are the golems. The biggest golem gives 30 gold and the smaller golem gives 16 gold. It takes one minute for this creep camp to respawn.
This is called “dragon”. This is a powerful monster that can't usually be called by one champion. The champion that kills this gets 25 gold, and every champion on their team gets 190 gold. Dragon respawns once every seven minutes.
This is called baron. The baron is a powerful monster that needs an entire team to kill. Baron gives 25 gold to the champion that kills it, and 300 gold to every champion on their team. Also, every champion that is alive when it dies gets the “exalted with baron nashor” buff, which increases health and mana regen, and increases the damage of your champion's attack and abilities. It takes seven minutes for baron to respawn.
Killing creep camps in the jungle for money and experience is called “jungling”.
Here is a really good picture showing where all the creep camps are:
If you or a teammate destroys an enemy tower, your whole team gets 150 gold.
Buying items in league of legends is pretty straightforward. Pressing “P” at the shop will bring up the item menu. At the top right will be a recommended item list for that champion. In general these items are not optimal for the champion but if you have no idea what to buy that is a good place to start.
Many of the most expensive gold items in the game are made up of cheaper items. For instance, Kage's luck pick cost 765 gold, but the spell tome it is composed of cost 415. You can buy the spell tomb first if you only have the gold for it, and then the pick will cost you 350 gold when you come back instead of 765.
Navigating through the menus takes some getting used to. Many items can be found in more then one place. Once you find the item, you can hover your cursor over it to read what it does, what it is made of, and how much it sells for.
Some fairly cryptic item effects and what they do:
Life steal returns the physical damage you do to an enemy with an auto attack back as health. Spell vamp does the same with spells. The percent life steal or spell vamp you have effects how much of that damage is given back to you as hit points.
Cool down reduction decreases the time it takes for a spell to become available for casting again. It doesn't effect the active effect cool down for items.
Critical strike chance is the likelihood your champion will perform a critical hit. Critical hits do 200% of the champion's attack damage instead of 100% (more with infinity edge).
There are a few things you should know about the hard limits of certain item effects, that can effect which items you buy.
The maximum cool down reduction you can have on a champion is 40%. If your runes, masteries, and items exceeds that the extra cool down reduction has no effect.
The maximum attack speed you can have is 2.5.
Movement speed scales by 100% up to 415. Between 415 and 490 you only get 80% of the same effect from adding additional movement speed. After 490, you only get 50%of the movement speed effect from adding on top of that. So optimally, your money is best spent getting your champions movement speed between 415 and 490.
The total percent reduction of damage with armor and magic resist decreases sharply after about 100. It becomes more effective to build extra health at that point than additional armor.
If you buy a philosopher's Stone for extra gold, and then buy a second philosopher's stone, you only get the extra gold effect from that item once. If you buy a heart of gold, you get the extra gold effect for both items. If you build the item into something else, or sell it, you lose the extra gold per turn.
Summoner are extra abilities you can give your champion. They are very powerful, but usually have a very long cool down time. Picking the right ones for your champion can make or break your effectiveness with that champion. Here is a list of the ones you can use in Summoner's Rift and how they might be useful.
Exhause: Available at level 1. Exhaust slows movement speed by 40% and reduces autoattack damage by 70% and ability/item damage by 35% for 2.5 seconds. Exhaust is a great ability for securing a kill. As an enemy is running away, exhausting them dramatically reduces their speed letting you and your allies chase them down. Exhaust is also great for slowing down a dangerous enemy. If you target exhaust on a champion that can stun, slow, or cover ground quickly that can allow you to get away where it might not have been possible. In a dual between a few champion's, exhaust reduces the damage of an enemy significantly letting a battle go in your favor. This spell is best used on champion's whose job is to help get kills, or on champs who are good at chasing enemies down.
Ghost: Available at level 1. Your Champion passes through any unit and moves 27% faster for 10 seconds. This spells is great on champs who have great gap closer already. Champion's who can easily close ground can use this both offensively and defensively to further get away, or chase down kills. If you are running away, using ghost and running through minions will not effect your character pathing, but it will effect the pathing of the enemies chasing you.
Heal: Available at level 1. Restores 75 + (lvl x 25) Health to your Champion and 50% of that to nearby allies. All targets healed will have a 50% reduction in heal amount from other summoner heal spells for 35 secs. AoE range:*600. Because of the area effect ability of this spell, it is great to have at least one champion with heal in a big team fight. If you are dueling with another champion in lane, you can “heal bait” by letting your health fall low causing them to pick a fight with you they might not otherwise engage in, and then you heal giving you the advantage and securing the kill.
Revive: Available at level 1. Instantly revives your Champion at your team's Summoner Platform and increases your champion's maximum health by 200 + (lvl x 20) for 2 minutes. When you are level 18 the time it takes to revive a champion after dieing is one full minutes, which can lose you the game. Being able to pop back instantly into the field is very valuable in that one case. Overall though, this spell is not very useful and it is better to choose different spells.
Smite: Deals 420 + (lvl x 25)*true*damage to target enemy minion or pet. Available at level 1. This spell is essential for the jungler role, which I will talk about later. You see at least one champion on every team with this summoner spell in high level games. It is really useful to secure the last hit on powerful buffs, like red buff and blue buff, or dragon and baron, as it can prevent an enemy from diving in at the last minute to last hit the creep and steal it from you. You can also use it offensively to last hit a creep to steal a buff or a dragon or baron kill from an enemy team.
Surge: Empowers your champion, increasing ability power by 6 + (lvl x 4) and attack speed by 35% for 12 seconds. Available at level 1. This summoner spell is really powerful early game for getting fast kills. Champion who are really strong in lane can become much more deadly with this spell. It is not played very often, however, because of the power of ignite and exhaust .
Teleport: After 4 seconds, teleports your champion to target friendly minion or turret. 3 minute cooldown if canceled. Available at level 1. This spell is usually used defensively. If you have teleport, you can afford to go back to shop and come back to your lane without having to worry about your lane getting pushed while you're gone. Its a situational spell, primarily useful in the laneing phase.
Cleanse: Removes all disables and summoner spell debuffs affecting your champion and lowers the duration of incoming disables by 65% for 3 seconds. Available at level 2. This is a “get out of jail free” card. If you find yourself trapped in an enemy stun or slowed, using this can let you get away. Very powerful on some champion's, although there are items like Quick Silver Sash that you can buy that do the same thing.
Clarity: Restores 160 + (lvl x 30) Mana to your champion and 50% of that to nearby allies. Available at level 6. This item is rarely used in competitive play. If a champion has problems with mana item builds and blue buff can be used to address that more effectively than this summoner spell.
Ignite: Targets a single champion dealing 50 + (lvl x 20)*true*damage over 5 seconds. Also reduces the target’s healing and regeneration by 50%. Available level 7. This is one of the most powerful summoner spells in the game. You primarily want to use this at the tail end of a fight to secure a kill. Because it is a lasting effect, even if the champion gets away they can still die to the spell getting you the kill where exhaust or surge might not have been effective.
Promote: Promotes the nearest allied siege minion (in Classic) or super minion (in Dominion) to an anti-Turret Cannon, healing it, granting bonus stats (depending on level), and causing it to grant the caster gold for its kills. Available at level 8. This spell is rather silly. It can be useful aggressively pushing a lane, but it utility in team fights and engagements is nonexistent. Almost never used in competitive play.
Clairvoyance: Reveals an area of the map for 4 seconds. Available at level 10. If you can coordinate really well with your team, this spell is invaluable. It is very good on a support for safely warding and for helping out your team, which I will talk about more later.
Flash: Teleports your Champion to target nearby location under your mouse cursor. Available at level 12. This is probably the best summoner spell in league of legends. If you are caught in some traps, flash can allow you to get out of them. Flash is great for getting away, and for narrowly dodging attacks, stuns, and abilities that might otherwise kill you. You can use flash to get past physical barriers instantly that take much longer to walk around. Flashing over a wall is a powerful way to chase down a kill or flee from danger.
Runes and Masteries
Runes and Masteries are small buffs you can give to your champion at the very start of the game.
Rune pages can be bought with IP or RP points. You buy runes with IP to put on your rune pages, which give you character bonus in attack, movement speed, armor, magic and armor penetration, and other effects. They are very good at making your champion much more powerful early in the game. Building a proper rune page for your champion has a huge effect on how well you can play them.
As you gain levels, you gain the ability to acquire better runes and you can put more runes in your rune pages. The best runes are not available until you are level 20, so it is advised not to buy runes until you are summoner level 20. You can have as many as 21 runes pages at a time. A rune page, unlike a mastery page, cannon be changed in the lobby before a game. The rune pages you build before you start a game are the ones you can use on your champions.
Masteries likewise give your champion similar buffs. For every summoner level you gain, you acquire one mastery point, allowing you to have as many as 30 to spend making your champion stronger. Some of the best masteries require other masteries to be completed first. Their effects range from more health, armor and damage, to increasing the power of your summoner spells and giving you neat added perks. You can have as many as ten mastery pages at at time, however you can change you masteries at any time before a game to better suit your needs in that game. As you acquire more champions it is often necessary to do this.
League of Legends Dictionary
Communication is a huge part of playing this game effectively. League has its own brand of lingo and slang that everyone needs to learn at some point so we all know what each other are talking about. In no particular order, here are a bunch of them.
Gank: Verb. To ambush. To gang up on a champion. “I am being ganked, help!” means he/she is being attacked by two or more champion's. “Come top and gank” means he/she would like you to help them attack an enemy champion.
Invade: Verb. To go into the enemy sides jungle with the intention of stealing a buff or getting kills. “Lets invade” or “we are being invaded!”.
CS: Noun. Creep score. The number of minion kills. “My cs is so high”, or “his cs is really good”.
Fed: Adjective. To be fed is to have a lot of money, usually from champion kills. Fed champions are really powerful because they have good items. Also referred to as “big” or “to be big”.
Feed: Verb. To give kills away intentionally, or unnecessarily. To die to a dangerous enemy champion making them stronger.
Snowball: Verb. When a game or lane goes massively in one sides favor. A small advantage given early often causes a game to “snowball out of control”.
Build: Noun. Usually refers to the order of buying items or items that have been bought. Can also refer to runes, masters, skill order, and items of a champion in whole.
Carry: Verb. To have a disproportionate impact on the game or have a disproportionate number of kills. “Olaf is carrying the game”, “ the enemy team was carried by their support”, ect.
Squishy: Adjective. A champion that is easy to kill.
Tanky: Adjective. A champion that can take a lot of damage.
MIA: Stand for missing in action. It is a lane call players make when the person in their lane disappears. This means “watch out, they might be ganking some place!”. You should always call mai if your lane buddy goes missing as well.
Meta/Metagame: Noun. The current popular strategies and tactics. What you come to expect from players before the game even starts. What it currently considered to be effective.
GP10: This stands for gold per ten seconds. This refers to runes, masteries, and items that give you passive gold, like heart of gold.
CDR: cool down reduction.
MR: Magic resist
AD: attack damage
adc: ad carry, attack damage carry. A champion role in the game.
B: Means press the b button to go back. “I am going to b”. “b and go heal”. “He just b'ed”, ect.
Care: Short for careful. Means be cautious. Danger might be incoming.
Many items have abbreviations as well. GA stand for guardian angel. BT is blood thirster, and so on. You pick it up as you go.
The “Standard” Meta-game
In this section I will describe the way the game “should” be played. It is possible to play this game anyway you can imagine. There are many effective strategies that deviate from what most players do. So I want to be clear, you can play the game anyway you like. Over time though, an effective and reliable way to play the game has developed. The best players in the world play a lot like what I will describe here.
There are five champions on each team and there are five roles each champion assumes. They are:
Solo Mid: One champion farms in mid lane. This champion is usually a spell caster, often times referred to as the “AP carry”. Spell caster champions tend to be squishy and many of them don't have gap closers (meaning they can't dash around, or speed themselves up or anything similar). The middle lane has the most angles for ganking, but it is also the shortest lane in the game. It is very easy to escape to the safety of your tower in mid lane. Also, mid lane is the closest lane to your jungles blue buff. Often times the mid lane champion will take the second blue buff and every buff after that from the jungle. Spell caster champions more than other champions scale very well off levels. If a champion is solo in the lane they get more experience then if they share a lane. A spell caster champion also needs a lot of gold in order to be effective, and middle lane is the safest and easiest lane to farm minions in.
Solo Top: One champion farms in top lane. There are many effective top lane champions, but in general the best top lane champions are either really tanky or have really good escape mechanisms. The reason for this is top lane is the longest lane in the game. The jungler will usually spend more time ganking top lane then any other lane, because the lane matchups snowball easily and because it is the most likely lane to get a kill. A top laners job is to protect jungle camps from counter jungling on their side of the map, maximize their creep score, and work with their jungler to try and set up kills in their lane.
Jungler: The jungler is a champion who farms in none of the lanes, instead they kill the neutral creep camps in the jungle. Their job is to maintain map control. A jungler needs to sneak up on people in lane and gank. A jungler also needs to help the lanes that are having a hard time, either with a lot of ganks, or by holding the tower when necessary. A jungler should also keep track of spawn timers, like blue, red, dragon, and baron. The junler should also help ward when necessary and should buy pink wards and oracles to deny enemy vision when necessary. During the laning phase, the jungler is usually the one who creates opportunities to take dragon or push down towers.
AD Carry: Stands for attack damage carry. These champion's farm in bottom lane. The AD carry is usually the person on the team who does the most damage, especially in the later stages of the game. They rely primarily on their auto attacks for damage rather than abilities. Typically an AD carry buys items that maximize their attack speed, attack damage, and critical strike chance with items like phantom dancer and infinity edge. Most AD carries are very squishy. The challenge of playing AD carry is to find ways to dish out punishment without receiving any. An AD carries job is to get as much gold as possible, and to stay alive as long as possible in team fights.
Support: The support farms in bottom lane. This champion is not supposed to get many if any minion kills. The supports job is to keep the AD carry alive, and to help the AD carry get kills. For new players this role sounds unattractive, however it is one of the most challenging and important roles in a game. An AD carry that does not have a good support is rarely very effective. Supports buy items that are helpful for their team in team fights and often times buy most of the teams wards.
This kind of strategy, or composition, is effective for several reasons. A team that has both an AD carry and an AP carry is harder to player against. If the majority of the damage coming from a team is either magical or physical, then it is possible to buy a lot of armor or magic resist to “counter” that. A team that has both magical and physical damage in its composition is harder to build against.
Also, there are positional reasons as well. During the laneing phase, team fights are likely to happen at dragon. A dragon kill is a huge boost to a team. A team that can get an early dragon has a big advantage, and it is in both teams interest to deny dragon to the other if they cannot have it. Dragon is between mid lane and bottom lane. It is very helpful to have your highest damage output champions (AP carry and AD carry) close by if you want to fight over a dragon.
Being in the center lane, you have the whole map at your disposal. There is a huge difference between a player who can “not die” in lane and get a good farm, and a good mid laner who will seize every opportunity to not only make the enemy mid laners team life miserable, but those in top and bottom lane as well.
There are a few dynamics that make mid lane much different from the other lanes. Sense it is the shortest lane in the game, it is much safer to farm and much less dangerous to trade. If given the opportunity, you can kill the other person in your lane and be back under your tower in a very short amount of time. The trade off though, is that in mid lane you can be attacked from behind, either sides, or have someone come down from in front at any time. There is a lot you don't see, and if you are not careful you can get caught. Also, while a mid laner can deal a lot of damage all at once with spells, you have to worry about conserving mana. Blow all of your mana pool trying to kill your lane opponent, and you can fall really far behind in farm or leave yourself vulnerable in a trade with the other team.
The mid lane matchups usually have what I call a dominant laner and a passive laner. The dominant laner in mid lane is the person who either trades much better, or the person who pushes lane the fastest. Example of dominant laners are morgana because she pushes lane so quickly and she trades well, and leblanc because she is so dangerous in the early game. The dominant laner isn't necessarily the better champion pick, or the one who will have the biggest impact on the game. However, the dominant laner has more options.
If you are in mid lane and find you are pushing your lane often, it is rarely wise to try and pick at your enemies tower. You are very vulnerable to ganks doing that, and it takes forever sense mages have poor auto attacks. If you want to take a tower, it is best to ask for your junglar to help you do it. In general though, you would rather the tower stay there for a time. If you can push your lane, you can more safely take blue buff when your junglar gives it to you. You can also go into the other lanes and try for a gank. Joining you junglar for a gank on bottom can be a powerful and surprising move, or if you junglar is some where else a gank on top or bottom by yourself can be just as effective.
If you are the passive laner in a matchup that is ok too. Your are just going to focus on your farm and (hopefully) be more impactful in the game when the team fights start. Many of the best spell casters in the game, like karthus and ryze, have a really hard time in the laneing phase but do much better later in the game.
Most of what happens in mid lane though, is poking and farming. It is a hectic sort of dance between trying to injure your lane mate to gain an advantage and set up possible ganks, and also trying to maximize your farm so you are guaranteed to become strong. The things you need to be contentious of though, is how much mana you have, how much mana you can afford to spend, and of the likelihood a trade will go your way and of whether or not a jungler is waiting in the brush looking for you to mess up. Every time you have to go back home to heal or recharge you mana you give the other mid laner an opportunity to push your tower or go gank a lane. Each champion lanes differently, and each matchup is different from others. As you play, keep these ideas in mind.
If you are playing mid lane, you very much so need to ward in order to be safe. The best place to ward is the enemy jungles wraiths. Most of their creep camps are on that side, and if the jungle is going to come down to your lane they are probably going to do so from that angle. It is tempting to position your ward in the brush on that side so you can see what is in it, but it is better to position it in right at the edge of the river. This way you can see if they go in the bush, or go around the bush to attack from a different angle. Ideally, your jungler will be warding their own wriaths so you will be able to see both sides at all times. If your jungler is slacking off though, you can position yourself closer to the side you warded because you know it is safe. This puts you further away from potential danger.
A great general guide for mid lane: http://passthejelly.hubpages.com/hub...de-to-Mid-Lane
These champions are good for people who are new to mid lane:
Solo Top is probably the least forgiving lane in the game. The matchups tend to be very severe. Because the lane is so long, jungle ganks are exceptionally powerful. Also, if you find yourself trading poorly in the middle of the lane, it is a long distance back to the safety of your tower. In many match ups, giving even one kill to your opponent can cause the lane to snowball.
The top lane match ups, while unforgiving, are often dynamic. Many champions are very weak right at the beginning, but once they get one or two essential items that can be very strong. For example, Vlad vs Riven is a nightmare for vlad early game, but once you get hextech revolver you can hold your own and sometimes even create advantages for yourself. Understanding lane matchups and their dynamics is very important for doing well as a solo top laner.
In top lane, warding and map awareness are exceptionally important, more so if you are the dominant person in lane than the person at a disadvantage. Within the first seven or so minutes of the game, you need to have a ward in the river. You want to position your ward so that you can see if the enemy jungler is coming through from the jungle on your side, the tribush and jungle on their side, and just straight from the direction of mid lane. If you see the enemy jungler, you need to play passively until they leave. You always want to avoid dieing in top lane, because that can give away an advantage you once had or make farming in that lane nearly impossible there after. It is also sometimes necessary to put a ward in the lane brush on your opponents side. A junglar can sneak into the brush there, and wait for you to push the lane. Some top laners also prefer to sit in that brush and harass you from there.
You don't often see this in solo que or normal draft pick, but coordination between top lane and the jungle is very important. Setting up ganks requires coordination from both sides. If you are the passive laner in a matchup, you can force a trade diverting the other laners attention to you while the junglar get in position. Because they are the dominant laner, they will be enticed by the promise of a kill and will likely stand their ground, and not see the jungler coming. You can also communicate opportunities where it is safe to dive under tower. A 2v1 fight under tower is often possible with the help of a jungle. Also, if your jungler wants to make a play on the enemies blue or red buff, they will likely need your help to do so.
This is a great general top lane guide: http://www.sk-gaming.com/content/529...o_the_top_lane
These champions are good for people who are new to top lane:
The jungler is probably the most important champion in during the laneing phase. If a death happens in lane, if a tower goes down, if a dragon is taken, the jungler is probably the one behind it. You are that little bit of inertia needed to make the big plays happen. Most of the time the other team does not know exactly where you are, and because your location is a mystery you are effecting the play of everyone in the game; all must respect the threat of a jungler gank.
For the jungler, farming is different than laners. A jungler will often have a jungle path they take, and understanding of what creep camps they take first and when. Junglers who are mana dependent start at wolves or blue first, because they need the blue buff in order to finish their jungle path. Junglers who don't have mana may start at red instead, and junglers that want to gank very quickly may start at red also. When you are a jungle, call for a “leash” from you mid lane. The mid lane will come and attack the blue buff (or sometimes red buff) causing it to chase them, and then they will run until the minion priority switches to you. This lets you get some free hits off, so you jungle more efficiently, but also allows you to protect they buff by positioning it in a such a way that it is more difficult to steal. Leashing is very important as an invade from the other team is always a threat. Losing first blue for some junglers can totally gimp their effectiveness in the early game.
A jungler has several jobs to fill. A jungler needs to kill lots of creep camps to make them strong. If you are not clearing your jungle as a jungler you are giving up gold and experience, and you not efficiently allocating the resources in your jungle. The jungler also need to be ganking lane. In general, the best lane to gank is top lane because it is easiest to get a kill there, but a good jungler will always look for opportunities to gank mid lane and bottom lane as well. If one of your lanes is being pushed really hard by an enemy, it is a good idea to gank them. They are far away from their tower, making them more vulnerable. Even if you don't get the kill, you force them to back off for a while giving your allies a chance to reset the lane and even out the creep score. The jungler also needs to keep track of jungle timers. It takes 5 minutes for red buff and blue buff to respawn, so when you kill it announce in chat the time when the buff should be up. Something like “12:45 red” lets you and your allies know red buff will be up at that in game time. Dragon and barron are seven minute respawn timers. If you want to counter jungle, you should keep timers on the enemies buffs as well.
If someone on your team is having a really hard time in laner it is the junglers responsibility to help them. Ganking a lane over and over again, even if you don't get kills, can prevent a lane from snowballing. You have to be careful doing this, of course, because every time you gank a lane you reveal your position. A place you are not close to is an opportunity for the enemy jungler to try and make a big play. If an ally needs to go home to buy or heal, you should try and be there to cover their tower. It is very frustrating to lose a tower because you can't be there to defend it. If the jugler can be there to push back the creeps that helps a lot.
Another important job of the junger is warding and denying enemy vision. You should always keep a ward at your wraiths, because you want to know if the enemy is coming into your jungle. If you are playing offensively and looking to counter jungle (counter jungling is stealing jungle buffs), it is a good idea to put wards in the enemies jungle so you know if it is safe or not to invade them. A jungler should always keep a couple wards on them. While you are jungling and ganking, if you see an ally without a ward in a crucial position you should ward it for them. This helps your ally out a lot because they can see whats coming, and if you deny the enemy jungler what could have otherwise been a successful gank it is absolutely worth it.
If your team gets ahead early, as in your team is getting a lot of kills in lane or you get a free dragon, that is a great opportunity to start buying oracles and pink wards. Clearing out enemy wards makes the enemy buy more wards to begin with, and sets you up for making easier ganks because the enemy doesn't have vision. The enemy team has to play more cautiously and more passively because they don't have vision on the map. It is a lot more difficult to make big plays, and a lot more risky, if the enemy team can't see anything. Buying an oracle when you are ahead is a great way to help a game snowball in your favor.
It should be noted though, that it is not the jungler's responsibility to win lanes. If your allies are doing really well in lane, leave that lane alone. Focus on lanes that need help, or focus on farming the jungle or counter jungling. If, despite your best efforts, an ally loses a tower or lets their lane snowball that is not your fault. There is a saying in league of legends “its always the junglers fault”. Its a joke of course, playing on the fact that less skilled players often blame the jungler for losing their lane.
A great general jungling guide: http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=4307
These champions are good for people who are new to jungling:
The AD carry is the champion who outputs the majority of the teams damage. If your AD carry gets fed early in a game it becomes really difficult to lose. In team fights, the positioning of the AD carry and how the team supports them are very important, and it usually decides the outcome of the fight.
The AD carry farms in bottom lane. The laneing phase for the AD carry is extremely important. It is absolutely crucial to get a good creep score so that you can get the items you need. It is possible for a top laner to have a rough time, or even a mid laner to lose their lane, and still win the game. If the AD carry cannot get a decent farm its going to be really hard to win.
The most important thing for the AD carry during the laning phase is finding a good way to sustain. Sustaining is keeping your health high without going home. Some supports take care of that for you, but when your support doesn't have a heal buying potions and getting some form of life steal is how you manage that.
The support you are paired with determines whether or not you are passive or aggressive in lanes. There are some supports, like soraka and janna, who have primarily defensive abilities. With these champions you goal is often to maximize your creep score, and to fight the enemy AD carry only if they get out of position or during a junglar gank.. There are other supports, like leona and blitzcrank, who are offensive laners. These are often called “kill lanes”. With these supports, your goal is to harass the enemy support and AD carry heavily, and to look to get a kill whenever possible. Kill lane supports lack any form of sustain, so often times defensive bottom lane combos can win out either through poking really well and forcing them to go buy, or by zoning the bottom lane combo allowing them to have a better creep score.
The role of AD carry is probably the hardest to learn. It is a lot about understanding what is an is not a good engagement for you, and knowing what you can and cannot get away from. Most of this comes from personal experience, and it is difficult to instruct a person how to do it. In general, you should always stay with your allies. You should not move anywhere that your team doesn't not have vision. In team fights, you should stay on the outside taking potshots at whoever you can. The AD carry needs to stay alive. It is more important to be doing some damage to someone rather then to focus any particular champion. An AD carry with a score of something like 1/0/7 is likely doing a great job. Just because you are the “carry” doesn't mean you need to have the majority of you teams kills to be effective.
A good general AD carry guide:http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=19081
These champions are good for people who are new to playing AD carry:
The support's job is to get the AD carry fed. Plain and simple. This can be done either by keeping the AD carry safe and healthy, or by setting up kills for them. Either approach has their pros and cons.
For new players, the role of support seems unattractive. It takes a while for players to learn not only how fun this role is to play, but how important it is. When you are a support you get to think a little more in the “big picture”. You don't have to worry about last hitting at all, allowing you to focus your attention on the map and what your team needs to win the game.
The support should not be getting an CS and whenever possible the AD carry should be picking up the kills in lane, not the support. As a consequence, the support gets the least gold of all the the other champions. To offset this, a support should stock up on passive gold items , runes, and masteries. Items like philosopher's stone and heart of gold are excellent on a support, because they are really useful for a champion that doesn't get a lot of gold, and their passive gold boost allows the support to build better items and buy more wards. It also helps that these items all build into better items that are really useful in team fights, like Shurleyias and Randuin's Omen.
In the laneing phase, the supports first job is to ward the lane. A ward should always be placed in the river, and it should be positioned so that you can see if an enemy jungler is coming from the jungle on their side, up through the jungle on your side, or straight through the river. This position is about half way between dragon and the brush in the river.
Another great place to ward is in the lane brush. Fighting for vision in the brush is extremely important. If you can see into that brush it makes positioning and dodging harassment much easier. If you are laneing against a blitz, for example, it is very important that you have a lane in the brush so you can see exactly what angle blitz is going for with his rocket grab. A ward in that case is not optional, it is necessary for the success of your lane.
If you want to play aggressive in your lane, or you want to make the enemy bottom lane uncomfortable, buying a pink ward is a really powerful way to do that. If you can zone the enemy combo really well and get a lot of control over the lane, putting a pink ward in the river or the brush is a great way to capitalize on that advantage. This lets you harass more effectively, and can set up ganks from the enemy jungler.
The most important thing of all, however, is communication between you and the AD carry, and sometimes you and the enemy jungler. If the AD carry wants to be aggressive you need to coordinate with them. If they are going to go home to buy soon, you need to know so you can account for that. In general, it is never a good idea for you both to leave lane at the same time, because this leaves your tower very vulnerable to being pushed. If you are in a kill lane, pinging targets and communicating your intentions dramatically increases the likelihood that you will be successful with your aggression.
When the laneing phase is over, the support should be buying oracles and wards. It is important to keep wards at important map objectives, like baron and dragon, and you should focus on giving your team as much vision as possible. During team fights, the supports job is often to deflect damage away from the AD carry and the AP carry.
A good general support guide:http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=6097
These champions are good for people who are new to playing support:
There is a saying in league of legends, “wards win games”. And they do. Warding is extremely important. To compete at any competent level you need to put down wards and lots of them. It is important also to not just ward in the laneing phase, but all phases of the game. Every character, even the AD carry, should buy wards and use them if needed.
Here is a map with good ward locations:
The black ward circles are good locations for warding during the laneing phase. In general, the top lane should be warding in the river, so as to cover the entrance to your jungle and the exit of the enemy jungle. The mid lane should be warding the enemy wraiths. The jungle should ward your sides wraiths. The support should be warding to the river in such as way as to see the exit of the enemy jungler there, and the exit of the allied jungle there. With these four ward placements, most of the river is in vision and all but a few of the ganking paths are covered.
The grey circles are other good locations for ward during the laneing phase. This is primarily in defensive positions against counter jungling, offensive counter jungling positions, and in lane brushes in top and bottom lane.
Lastly, the red circles are ward placements for the late game, after the laneing phase. It is important to have a ward at dragon, a ward at baron, when you are taking baron you need to have a ward above the baron pit so you can spot anyone who my might be thinking about stealing it. In general though, every place is a great place to ward late game. If you are pushing into enemy territory, wards in any of the jungle brush is great to see enemy positioning. If you are pushing an inhibitor or the nexus a ward inside the wall of their base is great for poking while you fight undertower and for seeing enemy positioning as you push the minion waves.
General Laneing Tips:
If at any time you notice the enemy is not in your lane anymore, call MIA. This helps win games. Always take the time to put that in chat. If the enemy returns, call “re” for return.
Minion target priority and tower target priority are the same. Minions and towers will hit the first thing to come in range. Towers and minons are more than happy to target other minions. If you hit the minons or the tower they will not switch to targeting you. If you hit an enemy champion, the minions in range will switch to attack you instead. If you hit a champion under tower, the tower will switch its targeting to you. The tower damage increases the longer you are in range of it. Towers can see invisible units as well.
So, if you are pushing the lane under tower, be very careful about harassing or poking. If you issue an attack under tower, but the animation and damage isn't done while you are under tower, you are safe. With a ranged champion you can poke at the enemy, and move back out of tower range without getting hurt.
If you are harassing in lane, especially in the early game, be careful of the minions. If you attack an enemy champion near minions that will target you, which can cause a trade that is in your favor to turn around and be really bad for you. Laneing is about minor advantages. Wait until you lane is pushing up or until the enemy champion is away from mininos to harass if you are not confident the trade will be in your favor.
If you are being targeted by minions, and you go into the brush, they will switch their targeting to something else. If there are none of your minions nearby, or there is an enemy ward in the brush, they might follow you still.
Farming under tower is a skill. It takes two tower shots and one auto attack to kill a melee minion. If you are farming under tower, wait for the tower to shoot a melee minion twice and then hit it yourself for the last hit. It takes two auto attacks and one tower shot to kill a ranged minion. To farm these under tower, hit them once, let the tower hit them and then hit them again for the last hit.
In general, you want to try and avoid pushing a lane as much as possible. If you lane is not being pushed by another champion, you should avoid auto attacking minions except as a last hit for gold. The less damage you do to minions, the more damage minions do to each other, and the longer it takes for you lane to push up.
In the first 20 minutes, about 236 minions will spawn in a lane. A good creep score to have for a beginner is anything above 100. 150 cs or higher in the first 20 minutes is considered pretty competent. Good players and the pros will have 200 cs or more in that time.
League of Legends Wiki, for anything and everything you wanted to know about the game:
lolcounter, a resource for counter picking champions:
Solo Mid Guides, a great place for champion guides and guides like this one:
Some good guides to read:
Health and Resistance. An Optimization Guide:
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