1. Guide Intro
2. Rules of Lane Control
3. Goals of the Early Game
4. The Gap
5. Last Hitting
6. Ideal Creep Lines
8. Special Cases
10. Pursuing Favorable Matchups
12. KNOW YOUR ROLE
13. Map Awareness
14. A Few Useful Advanced Manuevers (Tricks)
15. End of the Early Game
16. Credits/Shameless Plug
1. Guide Intro
One area I have noticed that many players can improve in is their early game play and their lane control. I have noticed that excellent players, who otherwise have a great understanding of overall game strategy and flawless execution, often do not seem to understand that games can be won faster and/or easier if you focus on developing an early game advantage. In fact, between equal teams who don't make mistakes, I would argue that the game is won in the early game. While I am not the best player overall, I almost always dominate early game, and I am here to teach you how to do the same with a few basic rules. Note that this is a simplified version of what you need to know. You can, and should, expand upon these techniques. Also note that this is written primarily for 5v5 play on Summoners Rift and much of it is not applicable to 3v3 matches on TT.
2. Rules of Lane Control
1. Always last hit, never auto-attack.
2. Mind the Gap.
3. Pursue favorable matchups.
4. Deny till you die.
5. Don't Die.
6. Know your role.
3. Goals of the Early Game
Before I start detailing the rules and providing tips for execution, we need to put them in context. If you want to be competetive at high levels in a game like LoL, you need to constantly be pursuing an advantage over the enemy team or minimizing their advantage over you. You need to constantly be asking yourself "What am I trying to achieve right now, and why?". This question is easy to answer when you are chasing down a kill, but the answer is often somewhat more vague in the early game. So let me clarify it for you:
In the early, your goal is to secure, as a team, a gold and experience advantage over the enemy team. You want to focus the gold on the heroes that need it most to do their job (typically carries).
This is an incredibly simple goal and many of you may rightfully comment that you are learning nothing new. However, knowing your goal and actively, persistently, tenaciously pursuing it are two very different things.
4. The Gap
The most important and the most difficult thing to do early game is to control the creep lines in your lane. The biggest threat to you early game, assuming you know how to play against your lane enemy, is death by gank. Getting ganked in the early game severely nerfs your gold and XP and buffs your opponent. Ganks usually occur when a more powerful enemy (or greater number of enemies) shows up behind you, cutting off your route of escape, and kills you. The closer you are to the enemy tower, the more space you leave for them to sneak up behind you and the further you have to run to safety. You want to be close to your own tower, where you are close to safety and will likely see anyone coming up on you. Since you want to continue earning gold and getting experience you also always want to be close (enough) to the creeps battling it out in your lane. Therefore, since you want to be close to both (1) the creeps, and (2) your tower, it is prudent to keep the creeps and the tower as close together as possible. This is what I mean by "controlling the creep lines".
I will, from now on, refer to the space between your champion and your tower as your "Gap". Keeping the creeps close to your tower makes your gap small and your opponent's gap large, thus opening them to ganks by your own teammates while keeping you safe.
5. Last Hitting
Last hitting is the practice of timing your attacks on enemy creeps to ensure that you land the killing blow, thus earning the gold for the kill. Ideally you want kill all 6 creeps in a typical wave and you want to do that by attacking 6 times only. You may ask, "But Beej, why not just auto attack?". I would respond, "ROFL, Nub." Then I would explain that when you auto-attack, you do two very negative things:
(1) You reduce your chance to score the killing blow on the creeps you are attacking and you make landing that killing blow, and thus your gold income, a matter of luck (nub fuel).
(2) You push your lane. Assuming your opponent is not dealing more damage to the creeps than you, auto-attacking always pushes the lane quickly, widening your gap, making you more vulnerable to ganks, and ultimately nerfing you because of the ganks or the steps you take to mitigate the risk of being ganked (e.g. backing when you could be last hitting, or buying wards to notify you of incomming ganks).
Last Hitting Can Push
It should be noted that last hitting does mildly push your lane. If you last hit and your opponents just stand there, that minimal damage you are adding to your creep's efforts will eventually begin to push the lane, even if you can flawlessly get all the kills while doing the least amount of damage possible. Think of it this way (which is simplified): Your creep waves form a single entity with a set damage output and health. Your opponents creep waves form an identical entity. These forces battle it out and typically the battle results in a draw. When one or both sides survive long enough for another friendly entity to arrive, these entities are combined, impacting the next battle. If you add any damage whatsoever to your creep entity's damage output, you swing the battle in your creep's favor. Thus, your creeps survive to add their value to the next wave, creating an advantage for the next wave which leaves more of your creep's leftover after that wave. This effect snowballs, with more and more of your creeps surving each battle, pushing faster and faster. Such a push is typically only stopped by an enemy tower or enemy hero.
6. Ideal Creep Lines
What I have told you so far is not the whole truth. You do not want your creeps to be as close to your tower as possible, you actually want the enemy creeps to be standing just outside your tower's range. There are many benefits to this including the following:
(1) Your tower will automatically focus anyone trying to tower dive you even before they deal damage,
(2) You will not have to compete with your tower for kills,
(3) Enemy melee champions may catch a tower round when they approach to last hit a creep, and
(4) This positions your enemies in an optimal location for your team to gank them from the river.
Having all your creeps within your tower's range and all enemy creeps just outside is therefore optimal for safety and gold/exp gain.
If your opponents insist on autoattacking or AOEing creeps, it may be necessary to respond similarly to maintain your ideal creep line, and to keep them from constantly driving their creeps into your tower. Still, it is prudent to pay careful attention and ensure you get all the last hits.
Many players seem to believe that "Farming" early game means getting all the creep kills as fast as possible. Sometimes these players pick champions like Singed and poison all the creeps ASAP, every wave. Other times they pick Nasus, take the AOE DOT, and use it on every creep wave. If you are one of these players, please comment and explain to me WTF you are thinking.
Why you are a Nub
First off, if you have a squishy lane partner, you are screwing them over by making them vulnerable to ganks or by forcing them to back to avoid ganks and therefore not get EXP. Secondly, the creeps don't spawn any faster if you kill them faster. In fact, and this may come as a shock, you get the exact same amount of EXP and gold if you last hit every creep with your regular attack as you do when you AOE them all with spells. Also, if you are weakening all the creeps at once, you are significantly less likely to be able to score the last hit on all those creeps because they are all low at once and you are competing with your own creeps. Yes, AOEing creeps may get you a large CS if you have no lane partner, but it also allows your opponent to tower hug and farm in peace, safe from ganks by your team, and immune to any Denial you may otherwise be able to lay down. In summary, AOEing creeps is a lazy, less effective way to farm and it should be avoided except in special cases:
8. Special Cases
(1) If it is too dangerous to venture too far up your lane and you are getting denied, it is sometimes acceptable to quickly run in, aoe creeps for kills, and retreat. This ensures you continue to gain EXP and gold while minimizing the time you are vulnerable. For example, if you are playing Anivia in a 1v2 lane against strong opponents, it is probably prudent to hang back and just occaisionally run in to flash frost creeps when they get low. This way you can get some kills without getting killed and you don't push your lane too hard, especially if your opponents are continually last hitting or nub-auto-attacking/AOEing creeps instead of just denying you.
(2) If you can safely aoe down an entire wave of creeps extremely quickly (e.g. you are Sivir or Corki), it can be prudent to do so then run to a nearby jungle camp and kill that in between waves. Phreak demonstrates this tactic nicely in his Sivir Champion Spotlight.
"Denying" is the practice of preventing your opponent access to the creeps to last hit and, ideally, keeping them out of EXP range of the creeps. There are several stages/forms of denial, each with different risks to your own champions. I will order them from lowest to highest risk.
(1) Melee Denial:
If you are ranged, or simply a stronger melee character, and you attack enemy melee champions every time they approach creeps to try and last hit, they will be forced to back off to avoid death. If they stop coming in, they don't get any last hits, they get a ****ty CS, you get a better CS, therefore you earn an advantage in gold. Such harrassment is very low risk assuming they can't out harrass you. (For example, if you try to shoot Pantheon everytime he approaches a creep and you catch more damage from his spear than he does from your attack, he can out-harrass you).
(2) Full Harrassment:
If you can do more ranged damage with spells and attacks than your opponent, or, if being close to you opens an opponent to dangerous comboes (such as Pantheon's Aegis/Heartstriker combo), your superior "lane presence" can be used to scare even ranged enemies out of last hit range. To do this, you typically have to be in the middle of the creep battle, which naturally increases your risk of being ganked due to your wider Gap.
(3) Total Denial:
This is the best form of harrassment in which you stand on the enemy side of the creep battle, between the enemy creeps and your opponents. You stay in range of the creeps and continue to last hit, but you also heavily harrass your opponents to keep them out of EXP range from the creeps. You can severely nerf your opponent in this way. It is not uncommon in a good 2v1 lane for the 2 to outlevel the 1 due to total denial. To achieve this, you need a significantly stronger lane (champion/champion combo) than your opponent. Also, while this total denial can often be maintained for a few minutes, it cannot be maintained indefinitely. Since you are continuing to last hit, you will push the lane, and eventually you will run into their tower. Furthermore, positioning yourself for Total Denial makes you extremely vulnerable to ganks which will almost certainly be called for by a half decent opponent.
Remember: All denial that does not result in your death is worth it and should be pursued, a large CS differential is a huge advantage. All forms of denial are easier with an ideal creep line.
10. Pursuing favorable matchups
If you are getting totally denied or are still unsafe while tower hugging, your team needs to make an immediate adjustment in your lane configuration. If you know that you could totally deny another lane if you were to switch with a teammate, that adjustment should be pursued as well. If you need to, call for a lane swap, if you are playing with good players or friends, you should get one quickly. When you are developing a team strategy, you should seriously consider the early game lanes. The best champions late game often get dominated in the early game and your team should be built to compensate for this fact.
A note on "Imbalance":
Though I find the game to be fairly well balanced overall, some champions or comboes are simply better than others early game (I will give some examples in the champion commentary section). Accept that this is part of the game and either play those characters, or learn to play to the strengths of the ones you like. Don't be a scrub and make excuses.
As discussed, Dying is, in general, a bad decision. However, sometimes death can be traded for a greater advantage. For example, if you tower dive for a double kill and die to the tower, it was probably worth it (assuming no more than one opponent got an assist), especially if you are not the carry or your teammates get assist income from your kills. I am especially fond of the early game 2 for 1 where your support character dies and your carry lives to continue farming, unthreatened, while everyone is dead. If you trade 1 for 1 but your kill is First Blood, it was worth it. A calculation needs to be made before you commit to a battle to determine whether or not your death is worth it. Death is an even trickier card to play with if you are uncertain of success. Many players seem to err-conservative and praise themselves for having the fewest deaths. To this, I say: Inaction is as certain a way to lose as feeding against a good opponent and sometimes you have to make a sacrifice FTW.
[The consequences of death change significantly as the game progresses, this discussion is only applicable to the laning/early game phase]
12. KNOW YOUR ROLE
Seriously, know your role and what you actually need item-wise to accomplish it. Carries and damage dealers are typically more item dependent than support characters. Therefore, to give your team the greatest chance of success, you should ensure your carry is getting the last hits. This means that if you are Soraka, you shouldn't be stealing creep kills from Ashe. If Ashe is clearly not going to score the kill (e.g. she is out of range), take it, otherwise let her have it. Its definitely better for your team if Ashe gets an early BF Sword than it is for Soraka to get an early catalyst. It doesn't really matter how long you can keep your team alive if they deal no damage. Support characters should focus on harrassment, denial and keeping their carry safe.
13. Map Awareness (comming soon)
14. A Few Useful Advanced Manuevers (Tricks)
- Hard Push to Reset the Wave -
As discussed above, if you are successfully denying your opponents while last hitting, you will be gradually pushing your lane. When you creeps begin to build up and this push snowballs forward, you will run out of space. Your opponent will be able to tower hug or, worse, maintain an ideal creep line, becoming nearly immune to your previous harrassment. To correct this you want to begin killing the enemy creeps as fast as possible to drive your creeps into the enemy tower where they will be killed quickly. Once your build up of creeps is completely slaughtered, in between the waves if you time the hard push correctly, the enemy creeps will again meet yours in the middle of the lane, just like the first wave, giving you back the space you need to deny.
Sometimes it is possible to actually reverse the push in your favor (i.e. they have more creeps in lane pushing towards your tower) if you can get a fresh wave of your creeps to arrive at the enemy tower when the last of your hard-push creeps dies. With only last hitting, such a snowballing counter-push by the enemy creeps allows you to enact long lasting total-denial.
- Lane Rotations -
Over the course of the early game, many players seem to become accustomed to dealing with their lane opponent. They become overly conservative if they get ganked. They become overly aggressive against a weaker opponent. If all your lanes are strong and your players are flexible, it can be highly effective to take advantage of these habits your opponents have developed. Put a solo carry against a gank-fearing conservative so the carry can easily farm. Put deceptively strong champions against the habitually aggressive so you can score kills. Put two champs middle where previously there was one. Anything you can do to mess up the other team's "flow" (f-up their Chi) will benefit you. Obviously you will want to execute rotations at convenient times (e.g. swap two champions from different lanes who had to visit the fountain at the same time). I have observed that many good teams do this naturally without much discussion.
- Creep Baiting -
If you attack an enemy champion while standing near enemy creeps, the creeps will attack you. Repeated applications of this knowledge can be used to pull enemy creeps towards your tower. Note that, since these creeps are attacking you and not your creeps, your creeps will likely win the wave and push the lane. Therefore, baiting creeps really only has a lasting effect when the enemy creeps already have an advantage. I recommend trying it if you reach a situation where you really want to be closer to your tower (either for safety or to deny) and your opponent cannot out-harrass you.
15. End of the Early Game
The strategies and tactics discussed above are only applicable to the early game. The early game ends usually ends when 3 or more players on a single team leave their lane to begin regularly ganking or team pushing, disrupting the other team's ability to remain in lane farming. The game time and Champion level at which this occurs varies greatly based on team compositions. Sometimes you can remain in your lane to continue farming after this point, but, depending on your character, its usually best to go help your team. Consult other guides to understand the mid-game. If you followed mine, you should have the advantage upon entering it.
16. Credits and Shameless Plug
Special thanks to Kr4ng, friend and frequent teammate, whose words I have used more than once in this Guide.
Kr4ng and I are currently looking for teammates for Season 1. If you need two more to make a 5-man team or are individually looking for a 3-man team, and think you could play with us, reply or message me in game. We are just looking for competent, intelligent, versatile teammates who can contribute to our late game strategy (which I honestly am not as strong in) and are fun to play with.
Champions Discussion (under construction)
In this section I will discuss the early game of specific champions and comboes. I will focus on the ones I am most familiar with or that can be easily explained for now but will try to continually expand this section to cover as many champions as possible. Feel free to comment or PM me if you have a question or suggestion for this section.
- Gangplank -
GP's early game is, possibly, the strongest in LoL. I could write an entire guide on playing the first 20 minutes of a game with GP. Unfortunately, GP is often misunderstood and thus poorly played or poorly worked into a team.
GP's real early game power comes from the fact that he has both the single best farming/last hitting skill in the game (Parley) and the only skill in the game capable of killing a friendly creep (Raise Morale). Imagine how easy maintaining an ideal creep line is when you can Raise Morale every friendly seige creep in your lane. Parley has good range, decent damage, and gives you bonus gold for every kill. I would not recommend using it to harrass unless you know you can use it to achieve total denial or weaken an enemy for the kill. GP simply does not have the damage output to threaten an enemy until levels 5 and 6 and you should focus on staying safe, last-hitting with parley, and denying with Raise-morale until then.
GP takes a lot of discipline to play well but has huge potential. GP needs to lane a little longer than some others to be dominant late game, which can be a drawback in teams built around early pushes or team battles. Luckily he can remain in lane, farming and send his ult where-ever it is needed.
A side note on my Bias: GP is my most played; I have not lost a game with him since the last patch (really.); I don't intend to write an entire guide on him because I don't want him to get nerfed. If you are planning a league 5-man team and need or want a good GP, reply or find me in game, I would be happy to show you the skills.
- Gragas (Body Slam Build) -
Gragas's only drawback is that he is melee. Body Slam Gragas is absolutely dominant for the first couple of levels, easily achieving first blood or total denial with a good partner. His natural high damage makes last hitting a breeze. This same high damage coupled with a spammable slow, his passive heal, and his general meatiness give him immense lane presence. While not as dominant a champion late game as others who do similar things (singed if you are tanking, Olaf if you are DPSing), his early game is usually good enough for him to secure a huge advantage. AP Gragas is trash, seriously.
- Ashe -
Ashe's ranged attack and volley spell give her a solid early game. She's not the best, but, played well, she can be highly effective. If you want to be able to deny with Ashe, you need to build in some early defense (e.g. D-Shield). A defensive Ashe has low damage for the first couple levels and thus last hitting can be a challenge at times. If you want to be truly dominant with Ashe early game, you need to get good at last hitting multiple creeps and striking the enemy champion with a single volley.
- Zilean -
Situationally a good support character early game due to the harrassment and denial potential of Time Bomb. Time bomb should not be used on creeps until it can one shot them because it unnecessarily pushes. Clever opponents will stand next to their own creeps when Time Bomb explodes to pull the lane back towards their ideal position. Due to his squishiness, Zilean can then be highly vulnerable to ganks. Zilean's low AD makes last hitting challenging. For these reasons I recommend zilean be paired with a strong early game partner to be safe and effective. Zilean/Gragas or Zilean/Pantheon can be really dominant. Zilean can also effectively baby-sit carries with a poor early game (e.g. jax).
- Nasus -
Nasus is a tank/initiator, if you want to play pure melee DPS, choose someone else because others do it better (Olaf comes to mind). One rule of tank/initiators is that they must be threatening enough for the other team to not be able to ignore them (e.g. Alistar can stun/headbutt you; Singed can flip you to his teammates). Since Nasus only has a slow for CC, he needs to be able to do damage to force the enemy team to focus him or to run from him (the above stated goal of all tanks/initiators). Nasus's damage comes from his ult, which you don't need to worry about early game, and Siphoning Strike, which needs some love to be truly scary. Luckily, the damage boost from SS makes last hitting a breeze and Nasus' passive lifesteal and tankiness make continuous last hitting possible against most opponents. Nasus has an early game similar to GP in that he needs to focus almost exclusively on SSing creeps until he hits 6.
- Annie -
Annie has a very strong early game. Last hitting is a breeze with her Q-spell. Her high early game burst damage and frequent stuns can be employed for some very effective denial. Once she hits 6 she becomes extremely scary to lane against, offering the constant threat of doing 800 damage in one second with a stun.
- Ezreal -
Ezreal also has a strong early game. Similar to Annie, he can last hit with Q and deal decent early game burst damage with his combo. Add to this his survivability due to a built in flash and you have a very strong character in lane. Ezreal only weakness is that he can be squishy, and is therefore vulnerable to tanky-dps like Gragas, or stun comboes.
- Master Yi -
Yi has a ****ty early game, which is one of the reasons you don't see him much on good teams. He is squishy and has no escape mechanism until level 6, making him vulnerable to harrassment. His Q spell is great for farming, but it strongly pushes the lane. Competent opponents should be able to totally deny Yi unless he has an extremely strong support champion as a partner (e.g. Janna).
- Udyr, Warwick -
While these can be great and powerfuly champions, there is a reason you see Udyr and Warwick jungling almost exclusively: They have extremely ****ty early games in lane and will get ripped up by any ranged opponent. Due to their survivability and sustainable damage output, it can be tough to totally deny these champions, but melee denial against them is a breeze. There is nothing less threatening at level one than Warwick in a lane, unless you are Udyr.
- Tristana -
Tristana's early game is tricky, bordering on weak. One of her best skills against champions, the one that does AOE damage when she kills a creep and activates to DoT/Reduce Healing on a Champ, makes her an unintentional lane pusher. Amusingly, the same skill can be used, in both it's functions, for effective harrassment. The fact that she almost unavoidably pushes and is squishy often forces her to employ special case hit and run tactics. Her low base damage makes last hitting more difficult. Her saving graces are her range, escape mechanisms, and harrassment capabilities. I think, however, her inability to safely, consistently farm early game is one of the reasons she is generally considered to be a less effective ranged carry than, for example, Ashe.
= Push Champions =
There have been a number of replies with questions like "How do I deal with heimers turrets that always push?" or "What about Mordekaiser?". While there certainly are early game push strats, they require a completely different strategy than the one I am advocating above and only a limited number of champions can be effective at it. I do believe that pushing up in your lane will make you more vulnerable to ganks and will require a great deal more focus on map control, which can hurt your CS. The policy I advocate is for safe farming and for ganking your opponents. I will discuss how some of these "push" champions can be used for a proper gank-free early game as discussed above.
- Heimerdinger -
Heimerdingers Turrets foolishly auto-attack creeps. I do not recommend continually placing them next to the creep lines. You do not need them to last hit. You do not need them to get a high CS. They are a lazy way to farm early game, like most aoe spells (late game, they are for fast farming and should be used differently). Turrets can and should be used defensively and offensively against champions. Placing them around the ideal creep line location can be extremely helpful for maintaining that line and for keeping you safe. Placing them on your flanks to scout ganks or deep into bushes to prevent your opponent from creeping up on you can be very effective. Heimer is very vulnerable to early game ganks since he is relatively squishy, has a low movespeed and has no escape mechanism. Turrets should be used to prevent ganks, not make them easier by pushing the lane.
[I will try to find a Heimer guide with a good discussion of this. Feel free to link a recommendation.]
- Mordekaiser -
Mordekaisers shield is only necessary to mitigate incomming damage, you do not need it all the time. Therefore, you do not need to be constantly charging it. You can last hit with your regular attack like any other champion. If you are against a ranged opponent that will continually harrass you, you have two options: (1) Maintain your shield by casting on creeps, pushing your lane, and getting you ganked from the river, or (2) Play smart, use the bush if you are on a side lane, hit and run your last hits, and cast on opponents foolish enough to move away from your creeps to harrass you. With 2, they will likely push the lane to your tower, and you can farm in peace. There is no reason you cant then start AOEing creeps to your hearts content once you are the watchful eye on the tower. The best mordekaisers I have seen all do this: They run around with no shield until you try to approach them to harras, then, suddenly, they turn around and charge it by using spells on you, they take very little damage to health, you take more.
- Sivir -
Sivir is fantastic for quick pushes and team battles. She also has a great early game, if played properly, due to her survivability with a passive dodge and innate spell shield. Heres the trick though: You don't need to turn on Bouncing Blades. Thats right, the game will actually let you keep playing if you don't auto-attack with bouncing blades. In fact, it will reward you for last hitting with just your regular attack by earning you a high CS and keeping you gank free. Boomerang Blade is great for harrassment and certainly should be used for such. However, since it does more damage to the champion if it doesn't pass through creeps first, you should try often to use it such that it only hits the champion. If you can score one or more last hits and tag the champion in one boomerang blade while hitting no other creeps, then you are using it to its greatest potential.
Very good guide! Of all my friends, I'm the only one that deliberately last hits or makes a concerted effort to control the creep line (at least, I never notice my friends doing it. Maybe they are and I'm just a jerk). I'm going to have to forward this to them since it articulates it much better than I can.
Beej, would you please marry me?
Seriously. I have ~270 wins or so and steadily approaching 300. I feel like I'm the only person in my **** ELO that believes in last hitting. I waddle around as Tristana and naturally push because of my AoE from Explosive Shot. I can easily control mid lane and that's why I do so well. However my friends that I premade with (who have 300-500 wins, one we don't roll with often has 800) and NONE of them last hit. I don't understand.
Why do you say Tristana has a weak early game? I shine early game and do pretty well mid game, and completely dominate end game. Her ability to natural push and farm lets her push towers down fairly nicely. I think she's one of the BEST early gamers imo. I can get first blood at level 3 if I have an aggressive opponent.
Thanks for this great guide. You really opened my eyes. Until today I was pushing my creeps into the towers 96% of the time. I knew that it was important to last hit creeps to get the gold, but I honestly didn't think about how pushing the creeps towards the enemy tower opened me up for ganks.
I will reread your guide later and try to use your advice in every game I play from now on.
Thank you for the guide, it was very informative and pointed out many things that I hadn't considered before. I'm a bit new to the game and thus had some misconceptions which this guide corrected. I'd like to shed some light on my previous (nooby) perspective. I knew that my goal was to gain more experience and gold than my opponents, but my approach to this was all wrong.
In every game that I played I actively tried to push my lane as hard as I could, with the goal of driving every creep wave into the tower. I thought that if I could do this I could deny my opponent of gold, while still getting a decent amount of gold for myself. While technically correct, it turns out that a superior strategy is to hold the line just out of range of your own tower, and use the space between the wave and their tower to deny weaker laning opponents access to the wave. Speaking of which, previously my only idea of denying experience was to kill my opponent or make him recall. I did not consider the possibility of occupying the space behind their creep wave to keep them away, probably because in my strategy that space never existed since I was actively trying to make my opponents hug tower.
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