[GUIDE] Initiators, Initiating, and Scoring an Ace

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nekrataali

Senior Member

07-13-2010

Guys, I'm frustrated with playing my favorite champion, Amumu. I can't solo queue with him because my team doesn't understand my job.

I would like to explain before hand what that is so that when I solo queue with you and feel like busting out my 4-foot-mummy-emo-break-dancing buddy, you know what I'm up to.


What is the Initiator?

The Initiator is the first guy into the fray. They are literally hell in a handbasket, because once they jump in to fight, they unleash chaos. To "initiate" is to commit to killing an opponent. Anyone can initiate, however, only a few can be successful and not feed. In general, the best initiators in LoL are champions that can take a substantial beating, have good crowd control/stuns/disables/slows, and can alter either their own position (such as a blink ability) or alter the opponent's position (such as a knockback ability). Most initiators in LoL are also tanks (but not all).

Some examples of good initiators:

Alister, Annie, Blitzcrack, Rammus, Shen, Singed

However, it's worth pointing out that you do not always need a dedicated initiator to initiate. Some champions are capable of initiating a gank or small team fight with a stun or disable of some sort. These types of champions often initiate during the laning/early portion of the game with their teammates, while becoming a secondary initiator (more on that later) during the mid-late game.

Examples:

Ashe, Janna, Poppy, Ryze


Why are Initiators so important?

Earlier, I stated that to initiate is to commit to killing an opponent (or four or five). I have played too many games where my teammates did not allow me, the initiator of the team, to go in first. Instead, our Fiddlesticks decides he's going to ultimate into 5 guys and beat face. He oftentimes finds himself wrong as I come waddling down the lane as fast as my tiny mummy legs can carry me, shouting "NOOOOOOOOOO! WAIT FOR ME!" What should have been a pentakill for Fiddlesticks is now three dead teammates, me running back to the turret, one of our teammates off farming a side lane, and 5 enemy champions lol'ing on the nearby turret.

In order to have a proper initiation that results in kills for your team, you must realize what I said above about what an initiator is. Initiators need to be able to go in, disable opponents so that they are unable to counter the attack, hopefully survive the encounter, and remove opponents from that position in order for your team to push.

In the above example of Fiddlesticks, suppose he had waited for myself and the rest of the team. If I go in with Amumu, snare 3 to 5 of them with my ultimate, Fidd now has all of them within close proximity of each other so that his ultimate tears them apart. Meanwhile, our teammates apply DPS and/or easily stun the enemies after fidd and my ultimates wear off.

BOOM!

Dead team.

We are now free to push a nearby lane without taking any harassment.

An initiator is trying to hand you kills. As the old saying goes "I hold, you punch." If you were to throw rocks at 3 bullies on the playground, chances are, they would dodge them and beat you up. However, if your buddy runs over and tackles in them, you're free to walk up and kick them in the shins. Your friend is initiating a teamfight.


When should we initiate?

When your initiator is ready.

A common mistake I see is when players begin attacking an enemy champion, and then try and get the kill. What ends up happening is that opponent falls back, heals, and then my teammate may have overextended, is low on health/mana from exchanging blows, or has called attention to themselves and the other team has counterattacked. This results in a situation that is at best, a "draw" for your team, with nothing lost and nothing gained.

You should initiate when:

1) You outnumber the enemy.
2) The enemy does not have an escape route.
3) You have a disable.
4) You have a plan afterward.


You outnumber the enemy

This is the most common method of initiating in the early part of the game, and often relies on the secondary initiators in your team. Basically, when you know where your opponents are (either dead, visible on the map, or just used their blue pill), you are generally safe to initiate. Even if it does not result in a kill, the enemy will not be able to stand up against multiple opponents, resulting in little damage to you and your teammates as they run for safety.

An example may be that your Twisted Fate in mid has just hit level 6. Your warwick is jungling and is level 5. Shen is solo'ing a side lane, and also level 5. You are playing Teemo, and your lane partner is Zilean.

Despite the fact that your team's main initiator for the coming teamfights is off on the other side of the map, Zilean is capable of slowing, while your TF has a stun. With WW, the four of you are capable of killing at least one of your opponents in the lane.


The enemy does not have an escape route

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

"Guys, we almost got Ezreal dead! Keep up the fire!"

"He's running over to the bottom lane!"

"He's....AWWEEE!! WHAT THE FRUIT?!?! HE TURNED AROUND AND BLINKED OVER THE DRAGON!"

For a successful initiation to happen, you must be able to seal off the exits. This can be dangerous, however, if you are unaware of enemy positions, because it could lead to your own team being cut-off and counterattacked.


You have a disable

Recalling secondary initiators, after your team's Rammus' taunt is over, it would be a good idea to follow up with your own stuns. With that in mind, it is a bad idea to for Ashe to use her ultimate while the victim is being taunted. Waiting for the taunt to be over, or when they try and escape, would be a better idea. Furthermore, by chaining stuns together, while your own stun is on cooldown, your teammate has disabled them until it's back up.


You have a plan afterward
After the attack, you should have a next step, preferably to push. You should also have a back-up plan in the event something goes wrong, such as the enemy dodges Morgana's snare, so keep in mind escape routes (such as flashing over trees and other barriers). This is extremely important as the game goes into the end stages. At level 18, it takes almost a minute to respawn. Therefore, the team with the most people alive at the end of a teamfight is the team that can kill the nexus.


How should we initiate?

First and foremost, disables. Keep your opponents from doing anything. While I'm moving in on Amumu with my bandage toss, begin tossing in your nukes. Karthas' ultimate deals more damage to enemies at full health than enemies with one health. Chipping away hitpoints early means you won't have to chase later. Once the enemy is stuck in place, focus on the squishy carries FIRST, not the other team's initiator (i.e. THE TANK). By removing their DPS early on, you are reducing damage to your team so that you are free to push afterward. Most important, however, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR INITIATOR IN THE DUST. Realize that the job of being initiator for the team is a very dangerous job. Because of it, initiators have more deaths than they do kills. If the enemy is stupid, they will use their abilities that would otherwise help them initiate on your beefy tank. So please, do not watch them jump in while you afk by the turret at full health and mana or decide that you need to go buy a Sapphire Crystal.


Are there any other ways of starting a teamfight or ganking?

Definitely! The possibilities are limitless. Baiting is one good way, where you have someone that can kite (in otherwords, chased without getting killed) that leads the enemy team into the jungle where you ambush them. One of the more interesting ways I've seen a team initiate was when they sent in their Sivir first. Stupidly, we blew all of our spells on her, thinking we were getting an easy kill. What we didn't realize was that she had a guardian angel. Just remember what I said: Outnumber, escape route, disable, and the next step.


What do I do against an attack?

After reading this, consider whether or not your opponent has taken the necessary steps to initiating. If it's Fiddlesticks coming in first, while his team is off in another lane, kill him. However, if it's Singed being really aggressive and ignoring your turret as he runs up to you, that's not unintentional, that's planned. Chances are, his teammates are right next to you. Your best bet is to retreat. If you notice this happening to your teammate, you can try to thwart the attack, but just remember that you won't be able to commit to a kill. Going in now would be an improper initiation, and may result in not just one kill, but a double, triple, quadra, or pentakill/ace if you try and help your teammate. Just remember that their plan after killing your ally will most likely be to focus down the nearest turret, so get ready to defend.

In short: watch for enemy initiators, but engage (with caution) enemy DPS.


Conclusion


Let me give you a hug!


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soupdelicious

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Senior Member

07-13-2010

Quote:
What do I do against an attack?

After reading this, consider whether or not your opponent has taken the necessary steps to initiating. If it's Fiddlesticks coming in first, while his team is off in another lane, kill him. However, if it's Singed being really aggressive and ignoring your turret as he runs up to you, that's not unintentional, that's planned. Chances are, his teammates are right next to you. Your best bet is to retreat. If you notice...
Quote:
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that way he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Nice summary.

That Sun Tzu quote was the first thing I thought of when I read that last part of your post. Sun Tzu was awesome at League of Legends. Definitely high ELO.


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nekrataali

Senior Member

07-13-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupdelicious View Post
Nice summary.

That Sun Tzu quote was the first thing I thought of when I read that last part of your post. Sun Tzu was awesome at League of Legends. Definitely high ELO.

Victorious warriors win first then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war then seek to win.

I think Sun Tzu had ELO of over 9000 irl.


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Redenbacher

Senior Member

07-13-2010

Great guide that everyone should read and understand. Not every tank can jump in to a fight out of nowhere to save your ass.

Stupid Shen


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Siky

Senior Member

07-13-2010

We should probably rename Tanks to Initiators since currently Tanking is such a misnomer anyways. How many tanks actually tank as opposed to initiate and then get ignored by the vast majority of decent players?

Good read.


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White Rock

Member

07-13-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siky View Post
We should probably rename Tanks to Initiators since currently Tanking is such a misnomer anyways. How many tanks actually tank as opposed to initiate and then get ignored by the vast majority of decent players?

Good read.
Mmmh, i use tank for full blown tanks (ie can take damage and initiate and keep damage off other players) and off-tank for anyone who's just happens to have a lot of HP (morde, nasus, blitz ect ect)


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Runix

Senior Member

07-13-2010

Good guide, thanks for putting it together. I usually play Singed, and it is enormously frustrating to have teammates initiate without me around. Singed is most useful at the very beginning and at the very ending of fights, and if I miss the start, I'm far less of a factor than I should be.

As for tanking, I find myself doing plenty of tanking as Singed. Even relatively good players will unload on me, because as Singed most of my team is a bit behind me, tearing apart whoever I have just used Fling on, and the enemy team thinks that they'll focus me down before the rest of my team catches up. Sometimes they're right, but more often than not, Cleanse and Boots and my goo and my ultimate will allow me to escape, and they end up chasing me right into the waiting arms of my teammates. A bit of a different initiating style than for Amumu or Alistair, but it works nearly as well.

One other note: Gragas can be a fantastic initiator if he times his ultimate right; in fact, I think I would consider him to be the second-best initiator, after Amumu.


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Leirkov

Senior Member

07-13-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runix View Post
Good guide, thanks for putting it together. I usually play Singed, and it is enormously frustrating to have teammates initiate without me around. Singed is most useful at the very beginning and at the very ending of fights, and if I miss the start, I'm far less of a factor than I should be.

As for tanking, I find myself doing plenty of tanking as Singed. Even relatively good players will unload on me, because as Singed most of my team is a bit behind me, tearing apart whoever I have just used Fling on, and the enemy team thinks that they'll focus me down before the rest of my team catches up. Sometimes they're right, but more often than not, Cleanse and Boots and my goo and my ultimate will allow me to escape, and they end up chasing me right into the waiting arms of my teammates. A bit of a different initiating style than for Amumu or Alistair, but it works nearly as well.

One other note: Gragas can be a fantastic initiator if he times his ultimate right; in fact, I think I would consider him to be the second-best initiator, after Amumu.
What about Blitzcrank or Malphite?

But yes, I agree, Singed is hilariously fun to play. The frustration an enemy team must have when playing against a competent Signed is great.


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miir

Member

07-13-2010

Bravo, sir. Bravo. Excellent thread.


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Runix

Senior Member

07-13-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leirkov View Post
What about Blitzcrank or Malphite?
Blitzcrank has a fantastic single-target initiation, although relatively competent players will know exactly what its range is, and will either keep away or shield with minions. Malphite admittedly has a very good initiator, although I still think Gragas' is slightly better due to its range advantage. While I still think Amumu's initiation is best (particularly in combination with Fiddlesticks or Nunu or Karthus), the knock-apart initiators like Gragas' and Malphite's are devastating if executed effectively, as they can turn a 5v5 fight into a series of 5v1 fights.


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