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Guide: Ranked/Draft Basics: Signs you're becoming a Better Player

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Khell DarkWolf

Senior Member


Last Global Update: 9/13/12

Too long we have all come across players that think they know what they are doing, or even when they say; "Dont wrry, I GOT DIS!"

This is to help the entire community understand, and communicate better on a level of teamwork. I feel that this needs to be addressed, to help make everyone aware.

Please Note; This is only partially finished and should only be a
source of basic generic info.

This guide is geared and centered towards Ranked Game Play, with Draft practice emphasis. It will mostly only generically cover the basics of Team Compositions, your team communication, and listing to why things are done this way. It will also cover the current meta as a baseline and then once that is understood, you can move on to the advanced meta compositions on your own.

So let us begin.

Before The Game Is Queued

Change your mindset for Ranked Games:
You are about to enter a Competitive game, being prepared mentally is key towards playing to the best of your ability. As it is also important for everyone to maintain a positive attitude from the beginning.

5 Rune pages MINIMUM is recommended:
In order to optimize your success, you need to be able to play various roles in ranked/draft when the situation calls for it. By not having the appropriate pages to associate with your role, you're pigeonholing your potential in a game, which will then be the influence towards your defeat. Because your pages will be too compact and generalized, stretching you out or not focused to specific roles which can be detrimental to you.

2 to 3 Champions of Every Role to compensate for any team composition:
Regarding the Rune pages again. If you can only play a limited number of Champions, you're setting yourself up for a handicapped team composition that has to work around you. Not including the fact that if you can only play one Champion at mid for example, and you have to play that Champion. You're going to either be counter picked or outplayed, due to lack of knowledge and mechanics surrounding the weakness of your Champion that you can only play.

The more Champions you have, the more you can coordinate trades with, and the more knowledge you'll have as far as team composition goes:
This is only a recommendation. With the variety of Champions you have, and understand, will help you in the long run. Simply because other people play different roles you may not be used to, and want to trade. So by trading and organizing a workable team composition, will go a long way.


Top and Mid should be close to last pick to prevent counter picks early:
Top and Mid are the sole reasons of how your team composition is going to flow. By first picking these Champion roles, you are not only going to setup your team composition, but it also sends out a signal to the other team. Which they will then know what to expect, making it easier for them to counterplay you in lane or late game for a victory in their favor. If you insist on taking these roles and are first picks, then communicate with your team to trade champions for roles with those that are last pick.

The most safest first picks are going to always be Support, AD Carry, Jungler or other Champions that can take on multiple roles in other lanes/transition into the Jungler role:
Much like the premise of Top and Mid explained before, it's a safer decision to pick these roles, as it'll help prevent the other team from figuring out what the entire composition will have to be dealt with. Champions that have multiple roles in various places help offset this, because it's harder to counterplay. The only times it is usually okay to first pick something that isn't safe, is when you know for certain that the other team has picked their Top, Mid, or any other obvious lanes ahead of time, giving you a clear idea of what your going to be dealing with.

Countering Junglers to a last pick can always be a plus:
Sometimes holding off on picking your Jungler until the very last moment, can be just as great since the other team may pick a Jungler that has a weaker jungle start or that must rely on the available jungle buffs. Every game is different in this respect when trying to create your team composition.

Communicate your Bans!
Banning Champions is absolutely not about whose OP and going to steamroll you. It is about counterplays in accordance to your TEAM COMPOSITION that is going to ruin it. The Solo Queue, by nature, is harder to communicate simply because most do not understand this principle. You must learn to deal with certain Champions that are played, if you are to have any chance of being able to win. The more you do not play against these Champions, the more you will not understand what it takes to outplay them to win the match because the knowledge is lost over time. Use it or you'll lose it. There will come a time when the number of Champions will exceed the bans, that you cannot ban them all because everyone on the team thinks "they are OP". This is why everyone must learn to deal with these Champions and counter them accordingly.

Communicate with your team on who is able to play which role:
Some people have chosen to be specific about the way they play, some can only play top, some mid or AD Carry. A lot of people call a single role in the lobby, but it is sometimes better to call two or more to separate the differences. Make sure you communicate on what you are able to play and hopefully everyone else does the same.

Most Summoner Spells should compliment your team composition for gaps & strengths in your strategy:
A team consisting of nothing but Ignite & Flash may look good on paper, but if the other team has nothing but Melees & are mostly physical. The fact you have no Exhaust is a detriment to your team, as they have access to continually plow through your defenses without worry of being stopped. Even out the Summoner Spells, but there are of course some Champions and roles that rely on having certain spells. In events like this, it is best to communicate who is best suited to grab the missing spells to pick up the slack.


Mid lane:

"This is the Safest Lane out of the three!"
While this statement is true, it doesn't exclude that you're un-gankable or un-killable. You still need to be careful and mindful of whats going on around you.

"You are responsible for warding entrances to your teams jungle!"
The Jungler has their own responsibility, but you need to make sure you aid your team as well in cutting off entrances to your team's jungle. Open gaps into your jungle make it easier for the other Jungler to counter-jungle Creeps and steal your teams buffs, or even blue buff for that matter! It'll also prevent ganks on you when you're trying to farm gold or even kill the opposing mid player.

"It isn't just about the winning lane, you should be roaming to gank the other two lanes when there is ample time."
Good mid players can keep their lane even and keep the tower from being destroyed, maybe even get a kill or two against the other mid opponent. Great mid players will do the same but will push lane and then roam to other lanes to gank and apply pressure to possibly snowball the lanes even further. It is the same concept as many patches ago when AP Sion players would buy boots of mobility, push lane and roam around to get kills/assists.

Top Lane:

"Top Lane is all about counterplay and snowballing."
The game is skewed into your favor if you manage to predict who it is your going to be facing in your lane. This does not mean you have won, your going to have to outsmart the other opponent to gain control of the lane.

"Top Lane is the most Vulnerable!"
For the simple fact that the lane is longer to traverse and there are many openings. You must be smart when engaging the opponent, as a Jungler can easily ruin things for you. You must make sure your gaps are warded to prevent such things from happening.

"Objective control must always be a priority when it calls for it."
You're at the far end of the map. When the team is getting ready to dragon or steal an enemy objective or is getting ready to gank/counter-gank a player. You must be ready to aid your team. Part of your team success also plays on your part to participate in the team fights for control of the map. In the event that your top lane opponent has left the Lane to assist in something like Dragon, your best option is to even the odds by trying to hopefully take their tower if you know for a fact you cannot be there in time to aid your team.

The Jungler:

"Your Primary Role as Jungler is being a deterrence to the enemy team, Objective and Map Control."
While other lanes are busy, it is your job to keep tabs on the surrounding map objectives of when they spawn, and to counterplay when these are contested. Controlling the objectives and the map is what will win games into your favor. Warding as necessary and always doing everything in your power to deter and harm the enemies chances of winning.

"Your Secondary Role as a Jungler, is to aid the other lanes to help them to start snowballing."
You are the main reason why other lanes start to get better. By ganking the other players when an opening is presented & feeding your teammates kills and assist gold makes the game flow progressively better overall for your team.

"Your Tertiary Role as Jungler - If you know there are multiple lanes failing. You have to aid the most logical lane to help them get caught up so they can assist in picking up the slack."
When more than one lane is starting to fail, and is beginning to stretch you out thin by trying to help out everyone since you are only a single person. The most logical thing you can do is pick someone in the lanes on your team and help them out, that way they can start digging themselves out of the hole to then help you and your team out in the long run. Two failed lanes are better, then when all three are so far behind and faltering.

Ranged AD Carry:

"Your role is going to be the driving force of being able to whittle down other players and knocking down towers to push to the nexus."
It is your job to do this, simply because you are going to be doing a majority of the damage done over time. Which is known as Damage Per-second (DPS).

"Taking out the other AD Carry is always a favorable option to gain an edge in team fights. But not at the expense of your death if you cannot get to them."
Killing the other AD Carry is always a plus, but if you have no way to reach them and are being zoned out by other tanky champions peeling you off. Your only option is to start removing large chunks of HP at the best possible target to eliminate them out of the team fight equation. Target what is best for your team to gain an edge with your Damage per-second. You're best put to work as long as you keep dealing damage at the safest position to stay in the fight for as long as possible.

"Do not Neglect Defenses."
Being able to dish out damage is all fine and dandy. But if you cannot stay in the fight long enough to get off two or three shots, and instead die. Then you need to start investing in some sort of defense items. Sometimes it is HP, Sometimes it MR or even a quick silver sash to eliminate those clutch stuns for you to stay in that fight a little longer.

"Farming is important, but so is knowing when to help your team for objectives or plays."
You should be getting at minimum, nine out of ten of the Creeps in the waves that come in, as you need items to compete. But when the time arises that Dragon control is free and open, stop what you're doing and go help. You're the other main source of damage and will help get it done quicker. When team fights start, you need to be there and prepared for it. Without you, there is a missing portion of your teams damage. Don't leave them behind, and neither will they.

"Applying pressure to the other AD Carry while they are farming in the laning phase (or any phase) with harass should not be neglected."
Some of your supports work differently, just as much as your Champion will work and play differently. Do not neglect to trade and harass with the other AD Carry everytime they try to go for a Creep kill, eventually they may have to go back to base to heal, and thus lose more farming/levels, or risk staying to try to continue farming which ends up getting them killed.

The Support:

"Your Role is much more complicated."
You have a responsibility of babysitting the AD Carry while they farm. Yes. Boring as it sounds on paper, but that's pretty misleading. During the beginnings of the game, you are there to make plays happen. You have to do whatever is necessary to keep the other AD Carry and Support off your AD Carry as best you can while they farm, or even open up a play by trying to kill the other opponents.

"Gold is just as important, since you need items as well."
The other reason it is better to let the AD Carry farm the bot lane Creep waves, is because they simply scale so much better with items than you do. But that doesn't mean you don't need gold either! The best approach has always been to grab Gold per/ten items to start an ongoing flow of gold. When the AD Carry has to go shop and your still at full HP and there is no pending threat to you, you can start taking of the Creeps for gold no problem. jJst be mindful that if you're constantly auto-attacking the lane Creeps, you are essentially pushing it closer to the enemy tower which will make it harder and more likely to be unsafe to farm/make plays.

"Having Gold per/ten items is nice. Don't neglect turning them into useful items though!"
With all the Gold per/ten items, if at some point in the game is closing to the mid or late game and you still have them. Turn them into something useful! You do nothing useful with your gold if you're not putting it all to good use for items to make you and your team

"Warding is your Best Friend."
Jungler also has the responsibility of warding, but you are the sole reason to start getting the map vision rolling. Crucial coverage of objectives, your buffs, Jungle entrances to lane entrances, Dragon/Baron, even the enemies jungle and key buff spawns.

General Game-Play & Advanced Tips:
(That start to show you're improving as a player.)

It is the responsibility of everyone to be warding for Map Control:
Putting someone solely on the role of warding the map is doomed for failure. Simply because it puts strain on that player, and if that player is not present on one side of the map or not near you, you will eventually begin to lose map control. This is especially true if that player is taxed hard for gold if they are not able to get any gold from Creeps or other sources. Ward your lanes, your jungle entrances and key objectives on the map to aid your success in winning!

Click on the opponent player to check their stats:
By examining the other player's stats, it can tell you a lot by seeing how much attack damage, ability power or even resistances they have. To see how they are setup for runes and masteries giving you clear indiction if you can trade harassment damage or even potentially kill them.

When it is time to lane swap:
It is time to lane swap when it is clear pre-game or during game that one player's champion is going to have a tough time laning to try and stay in the game. One common example is when the other team has Kassadin going mid, because your team has already picked an AP mid Champion that will eventually bullied out. Assuming your Top lane has not been picked yet (or maybe you have a AD Bruiser already for example), you can put an AD oriented champion (usually a Ranged Carry like Caitlyn or AD Bruiser Pantheon) at mid to shut them down (Kassadin). Plan Ahead.

Getting into the Habit of warding the map, it helps you:
Vision of the map gives you more control. When you have control, you have more freedom to overtake the enemy and know their whereabouts.

Pink wards and Oracles make plays!:
Once you got the habit of warding, using Pink wards and Oracles for key entrances or even key map objectives deny the enemy vision, which can then lead to easier team fights or ganks, which = potential Victory in your favor if pulled off correctly.

Understanding when to Last Hit and when to push:
Once you understand when to last hit Creeps to prevent pushing, you should begin to understand when it is acceptable to push your lane. And vice-versa when you're needed elsewhere, or when you simply need to go back to shop. Or put pressure on your opponents Champion because you know he doesn't have the means to successfully last hit under Tower.

Don't always rush buying items if it means sacrificing the use of consumables:
It is always nice to get that edge during the laning phase, or even for those team fights. But remember that if you still do not have core items, and no one is helping you ward or maybe you still need potions. Save your gold and buy your core item's pieces if you can still get some consumables, such as potions or even wards to keep things rolling in your favor.

Don't rage at/insult your teammates on a constant basis:
Screaming and raging at your teammates will only bring about disruption and disharmony. And when harmony among players begins to plummet, they make stupid plays, and when players make stupid plays, more rage ensues. To the point of which your team will begin ignore you. Which = No Teamwork.
Communicate, not Berate.

Knowing when your enemy has blown summoner spells or burned their ults:
Capitalizing on your enemy, knowing that they've used their summoner spells or ults, gives you clear indication that they do not have an advantage of those spells/ults. Making use of that time that they are on cooldown is key that is what skew into your favor.

Listen and follow your tank/initiator for plays:
Your Tank/Initiator is what dictates when they feel there is an opening play to be made, to engage and start a fight/objective play. The squishy Champion should not be up in the front if the Tank is not ready to peel the other team off you as you setup to be initiated ON instead. Follow your Tank's instructions and work with them. A common example that would start a fight is Leona or Nocturne (although not a real Tank but an Initiator)

Time objectives, especially Dragon/Baron: * Summoner: Blugyblug *
Making notation of when Buffs spawn or are completely cleared, gives you a time frame of when to take control away from the enemy, use these to your advantage.

Wards - Last 3 minutes upon placement
Red & Blue Buff Spawn - Every 5 minutes upon complete clear.
Dragon - Every 6 minutes upon death.
Baron - Every 7 minutes upon death.

When you're on a losing streak, you are most likely tilting:
When you suffer from multiple losses, chances are you're frustrated and you might be even more determined to win. But more often than not, its probably a clear indicator that it is time to take a break. Do something else to take your mind off things.

Learn From your defeats and mistakes:
Review what happened in the game you just did. If you lost, or made multiple mistakes. Go back and think what could have been done to play that game better or could have turned it around. Could that gank have been prevented if it was warded? Could you have been there to help? Were you not paying attention to the minimap when mid left and was
clearly in ward vision? Learn from it. Accept it, and move on to the next game with your head held high.

Learning to Zone the opponent and knowing your limits to doing it:
Adding Shurelya's Zoning Tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kxGQ3gWdrM
It is always important to know when to zone your opponent, and knowing your limitations to doing this as it will grant you an advantage in denying Creep kills and even experience!

When to freeze/push the lane when your opponent has been denied:
If you managed to deny the opposing player of gold or experience, one way to maintain it is if the enemy Creep wave is trying to push to your Tower and is outside the outskirts of the Tower's range by standing in the way of the Creeps to take aggro. They'll attack you, preventing them from moving forward, and hopefully you're not up against a Champion that will harass you out of this position. In some cases, freezing the lane gives you the advantage to prevent the other Champion from farming. Doing this might provoke the other player to start roaming to the other lanes such as mid or even bot to try to contest Dragon since they can't do anything in their lane for the moment making it a 2v1. Pushing the lane puts you at risk since you are so close to their Tower, but applying pressure means the other player has to work a little harder for his farm and the Jungler will have to go out of his way to try put things in his team's favor by getting rid of you, leaving gaps in their jungle/objectives/other lanes. So plan accordingly.

There are ways to build a champion, but then there is a thing as proper itemization:
Different times call for different items. If you are top going up against another champion but they do a majority of AP such as Vlad, and your sole focus is normally to buy armor since your playing Renekton for example. Buying armor here is not going to help you win vs. Vlad, get that magic resist (Hexdrinker) and any AD you can to be able to trade and win against Vlad. You should always itemize for correct resistances the enemy is doing to you and never neglect boosting your damage. Proper itemization in certain & correct orders call for smarter play.

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Khell DarkWolf

Senior Member


Play to your Champions Strengths, Not your Weaknesses:
Champions can be played differently and have been known to cheese builds or unorthodox play-styles, always keep in mind though that some Champions are simply limited to how they are supposed to be played. You have a greater Chance to succeed when you build off their intended purposes for what they are strong in.

Hold off getting your level one skill:
Before you go to lane, it is always wise to hold off getting your first skill. Sometimes certain Champions benefit more by holding off in case your team wants to start a level one fight/invade etc. By locking in your first skill that isn't a stun/snare/etc. and your team wants to do one of these strategies leaves a gap in your team play.

Protect your team's Jungler:
Your Jungler is paramount to your team just like any other lane, it is very important that your Jungler can at least make his or her first jungle clear. So they can start assisting the lanes and ward when needed. If the enemy team or Jungler is invading, trying to steal buffs or kill your Jungler knowing that your current Jungler has a weak clearing time. Punish them for it!

Don't leave a teammate behind:
Assuming odds are equal in players, such as 3v3 or even 3v2, and it isn't suicide. Don't leave a teammate behind to die if you have the chance to take someone with them, otherwise it would be in vain and leave you at a further disadvantage.

Commit to your starting fights or do not:
Often times you will want to start a team fight or skirmish. If you see that your opponents made a mistake and wish to punish them for it, either fully commit to it or wait.
Nothing is more frustrating for you or your team mates then being constantly indecisive. Commit or do not!

Baron buff? Juicy Dragon?
If your team has baron buff and you want to take dragon or other buffs like blue and red. Only do it if it is on the way to the nexus.
Do not waste precious seconds of a baron buff that you can spend better time taking down towers to that nexus!

If the enemy team is missing, assume they are camping next to you in that bush:
Don't extend past your tower without vision or knowing the enemy team is clear across the map away from you. Them missing especially late game leaves you vulnerable if you're alone.

Do not surrender in Ranked games:
It is poor sportsmanship if the game is very early. Games can turn around and many times has happened again and again.
If you know for a fact that you're going to lose, you might not want to waste your time but neither does the other team.

Fight tooth and nail and give them a run for their money for that game!

This guide would benefit very much if it was maybe stickied for all
the newer or older players for review.

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Khell DarkWolf

Senior Member


*reserved for use two*

*Incomplete Section under construction*

Informational Websites:

LoL Wiki Database: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/League_of_Legends_Wiki

LoLKing Statistics: http://www.lolking.net/

LoLCounter: http://lolcounter.com/

SoloMid Guides: http://www.solomid.net/guides.php

Reign of Gaming: http://www.reignofgaming.net/

Thread Guides & other Links:

[RoG] My First Rune page - by WinRar: http://www.reignofgaming.net/blogs/a-different-view/vvinrar/21041-runes-to-win-3-my-first-runepage-infographic

Thou Shalt read this MFing thread - by condon: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=71443

Climbing out of ELO 'hell' - Break Points - by nicosharp: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=2210270

Emotions: The Driving Force behind Player Performance+ - by Nhan Fiction:

Original thread: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=1981234

The ART of GameThrowing - by Tyresse:

Video Guides:

Shurelya's Zoning Tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kxGQ3gWdrM

Ward Guide and Placement 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsmGNqK1J2A&feature=related

Ward Guide and Placement 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJZn68X-EaQ

Last Hitting/Farming Guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQaV7foE7F0

Basic Beginners Jungling Guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvei77bc9DQ&feature=relmfu#t=1m35s

Jungling advanced Leeshing tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw0AgRgbqMY

Ranger14 - Jungle Edition Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_6oBQCGvtE&feature=relmfu

Ranger14 - Jungle Edition Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY7nkRexzjg&feature=relmfu

Top Lane:

Ranger14 - Top Lane Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn5F11W8Xgc&feature=relmfu

Ranger14 - Top Lane Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3bb0uw1B1k&feature=relmfu

Mid Lane:

Ranger14 - AP Mid Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjIXj0OKwhE&feature=plcp

Ranger14 - AP Mid Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucqgijlk9MY&feature=relmfu

Ranger14 - AP Mid Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exIG9G0_dvA&feature=relmfu

Advanced Mid - Roaming vs Farming continuum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cypL8ykJrCQ

Bot Lane:

Ranger14 - AD Carry Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_0D8so4PCI&feature=relmfu

Series incomplete
Ranger14 - Support Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDpLYE_y8Fk&feature=relmfu

Ranger14 - Support Duo (Sona & Lulu): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMnB89N7lQI&feature=plcp

Series incomplete

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Mech KhaZix

Senior Member


If only I knew this when I started ranked

*dejected look*

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Senior Member


good guide for the noobies +1

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Senior Member


Stopped reading after "more then"

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Shiny Swinub

Senior Member


This guide subtly advertises buying RP for rune pages.
Otherwise very good!

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Senior Member


hahahhahaha no.

Hell, you can get to plat on 2 runepages.

I only recently bought a third runepage, and that was by mistake, lmao!

2-3 champs on every role?

You're insane!

I play like 5-6 champs at proficient level max!

Most top players have a champ pool of less than 8.

You wanna get better elo?

Pick 5-6 champs in 2 roles, max

Play said champs for 100 games straight


games r easy

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Communicate your Bans!
Why: Banning Champions are not about whose OP and going to steam roll you, It is about counter plays in accordance to your TEAM COMP that are going to ruin it.

Even in high elo play this never goes... It's always banning champs that can get fed easy and steamroll.

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Senior Member


Time objectives, especially baron and dragon

dragon - 6 minute respawn
baron - 7 min respawn
red/blue buff - 5 min.