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i'm no pro but... (long read)

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Senior Member


there are some basic rules every level 20+ should know; they are fairly simple.

1) builds change according to your enemy.
2) team comp wins games.
3) spending a little gold on some mitigation, even if you are the carry, WILL win you the game
4) baron =/= immortality
5) dragon whenever its up if possible
6) after the 15 minute mark stick together as a team
7) focusing the tank = /sadface
8) ward your map
9) last hitting creeps
10) harassing

i'm putting this up here because it seems that every game there is a problem with one of these things on either my or the enemy team and i feel like stating them once more might help those trying to get better at, or new to, the game.

let me explain each a little more...

in this game the purpose of items is not to make you stronger, but to make you more effective against your enemy and they should revolve around both his and your character.
"but i went 10/1/3 with my last build! it must be uber pro!"
no, its not... there is no PRO build.
there are items that are crucial for certain champs, and those you should always get (ashe with infinity, mundo and spirit visage, etc.) but there is no SET build for a character that will guarantee you a win.
next game instead of following that set build you have buy the two most crucial items for the champ you are playing and then i want you to build up 1000 gold, go to the shop and think what your next item should be.
if you are taking to much damage, take some mitigation to counter the enemy carry or whoever is focusing you down.
their team are all tanks and you don't do damage? armor or magic penetration!
their team is full of magic damage champions? get magic resist... yes even the ranged carries would do good with this!
get it?

in addition, boots are a must for all champions. i don't care if you plan to build 2 phantom dancers as gangplank, you are getting boots!
these should change according to the enemy team comp and are not to be counted as 1 of the 2 crucial items mentioned above.

i don't know how many times i have won because the enemy team does not talk or think through their composition. other than the usual: need AT LEAST one carry, one tank and one jungle, you should also worry about how much CC you have, how much of your damage is magic or physical and how many of your champs can poke at the enemy.
i have come across thousands of teams that go 3 carries and two tanks, which in theory should work, but fails miserably because they all depend on doing magic damage or physical damage... these types of teams are easy to beat because your enemy simply needs one item to deny you kills!
pure magic damage team? VB FTW!
pure physical damage? THORNMAIL HERE I COME!
so please next time you are at champ select don't instantaneously lock in, look at your team composition, weigh the different factors that would make your team balanced and effective, ask you teammates what build they are going and, if you need to fill a certain role, ask someone nicely to change champ.

keep in mind: 3 or more CC is best. having at least 1 tank is CRUCIAL, having at least 1 jungle is important, consider poking and support abilities and never, NEVER let a team go through will all your damage being of one type.

damage mitigation will save your ass, and you should buy some even if you are the team carry! as i said in #1 your build should change according to the enemy team, but always plan to have at least one item be some sort of mitigation (VB is always an excellent choice).
"only the tank needs mitigation. wtf noob?"
no... tanks specialize in mitigation, but that does not mean mitigation is their special friend that they will not share. chances are that after your tank initiates and takes the initial burst the enemy team will come after you because YOU are the one dealing the damage and they need to shut you down first.
mitigation will keep you alive longer and doing more damage. it might even give your tank enough time to react and get that pesky poppy off you with a taunt or a stun. and then your back to destroying the enemy team.
fair enough... it seems you don't know how to fight in game or real life, so let me tell you this. leaving yourself wide open (no matter how hard you can punch) will get you beat up! in fact, one of the most important things you could ever learn when it comes to fighting is defending yourself appropriately! no martial art or fighting style will leave this out. NONE!
same applies to this game, now get that "OMG DEEPS" thought out of your head and go buy that mitigation!

this is pretty self explanatory, i hope.
baron is a great buff, no question about it. but it does not mean you can prance around the enemies team like a drunken butterfly on cocaine. baron does not make you immune to damage and you will still overextend if you are not careful. to many times have i seen jax towerdive vlad because "OMG I HAD BARON! WHY DID I DO LIKE NO DAMAGE TO HIM AND DIED SO FAST!"

people fighting against a team with baron buff. be patient. keep them from initiating and stand your ground as best you can. retreating little by little does not hurt you either but try to stay at your tower, if possible. someone on their team will do something stupid eventually. then you stun him, fk him up and (if you get that kill) push back as a team without overextending. if he manages to survive your burst, keep defending and wait for their baron buff to run out.

dragon gives your team global experience and gold. the equivalent of about two kills in favor of your team. this is never a bad thing.
but be careful when you are thinking about doing some dragon hunting. it is possible that the enemy team has a ward there and is waiting.
while in the laning phase, if your jungler can solo dragon, go for it if they have no mia. bot lane can help if they have pushed the other team all the way back, but only one of you go so you can tell if the other team caught on.

its important to always have dragon warded so that you can stop your enemy from taking it. if possible, steal it from them.

keeping an eye on the map and being careful also apply when doing baron!

i cannot stress this enough... STICK TOGETHER! 4v5 are a sure lose! 1v5 are even worse! splitting up once the enemy team has come together is giving them free kills! they will push much harder than your mid alone can defend!
"but im yi and i own towerz like bam bam!"
AWESOME! that will come in handy when YOUR WHOLE TEAM IS PUSHING THE SAME LANE! and it will also help in getting those three kills that let you push all the way to their inhibitor since you are such a damage dealer.

"what if their team isn't sticking together? is it ok then?"
no. use their lack of skill to your favor! stick together, get three towers, and a couple of kills, lets see who wins first.

of course if you have a global ult and can go help your team in the matter of seconds, you are excused for not being with them all the time. but keep an eye on your team and get in there as soon as the fight starts.

keep in mind that if the enemy team also has a champion with a teleport ability, they might do the same. you don't want to walk in thinking it will be a 4v5, get overconfident and then get steamrolled.

ever wonder why they are called tanks? guessing why they are always in front of their teams and the ones initiating the battle? well its because they want you to focus them down so the rest of their team can utterly and completely destroy you while you do so.
tanks take some time to die. their items and characters are built around their ability to survive in fights, so why would you try to kill them first?
"oh but he looks so confident coming in and stunning our carry, we have to do something!"
yeah, throw one stun at him. ONE! and then focus their carry/carries so the team fight is yours.
think about it. focusing a tank makes as much sense as shooting the wall someone is hiding behind, when all you have to do is ignore it and shoot the guy shooting at you.

in the rare cases that the tank is the carry and you cant simply ignore them, then focus your cc at him and your damage at their squishy targets. but for the love of all that is good and pure in this world DO NOT TRY TO KILL HIM FIRST, YOU WILL JUST BE ACCOMPLISHING HIS GOAL FOR HIM!

tanks, don't be afraid to die in team fights. it is your job. no, it is your duty. no, your sole purpose in existence, to have the enemy team focus you down instead of your carries.
"but if i go 1/7/20, ill be bad bro"
no, you will be one of the key reasons your team won! be proud of what you have done, even if your team is not smart enough to recognize it, you know you made the difference, you got a win, you let your carries get fed while they were completely safe behind your oh so broad shoulders! STAND PROUD AND DIE FOR YOUR TEAM! IT IS YOUR DESTINY!

i've mentioned the map before. its that little part of your screen in the bottom right corner that lets you see where your team and enemies are. well if you have stared at it long enough you might have noticed that the enemy team is not always shown, this is because of fog of war (or basically, you cant see everything without an ally nearby).
but oh wait, what is this item in consumables? wa.. waa... waaarrrddd. ward. yes, yes a ward! it reveals a portion of the map for an amount of time? AWESOME! now ill be able to tell if the enemy is walking around that area of the map!
no, no, you are NOT PRO AT GETTING AWAY FROM GANKS! you are a lucky ******* that got away, and wards will save your ass more times than any other thing in this game.
its a simple concept, knowledge is power, and in game, a big part of this knowledge is knowing when your enemy is, so placing wards all over the map, or at least in key places, will give you a big, BIG advantage. its such a plus that top players actually get oracles to counter enemy wards! that is how good they are!
wards will get you kills and keep you alive so many times. kills will get you gold and staying alive will... well keep you alive, how is that a bad thing?

you cant spare 90 gold? are you sure? you're walking away from the fountain with 110, comon just buy one ward and place it somewhere on the map. please? it only takes a second to buy it and its around 4 minion kills worth of gold. and i promise it will get you a kill or save you at least once if not more times.
"fine ill buy wards, but only when i'm not the carry, since its not the carries job"
now get back to shop and buy a ward of two!

key spots to place wards: dragon (keep your enemy away from that global gold), baron (you don't want them to have that buff), lane bushes (enemy gank? i don't think so!), red and blue buffs (STEAL!), jungle bushes (sneaking around are we?), all river bushes.
seems like a lot, but if everyone contributes you should get most of these covered. keep in mind that they are not all necessary, if the majority of the game is taking place on one area of the map, then simply ward that area, but always, ALWAYS have dragon and baron warded, no matter what!

in ancient greece people would gladly go to war in hope of spoils and glory with their long journey, but mostly the spoils. in fact it was a tradition that once you killed an enemy, you would sack his body for its valuables (sometimes leaving them naked) and then continue fighting.
HOWEVER, it was the last man to get the kill that was awarded with the spoils. ok i made that up just now, but only because that's the way it is on this game. getting the last hit on the creep is what gives you gold, and we need that gold to buy our items and our game winning wards.
how do you last hit you say?
well... patience and knowing how much damage your champion does to creeps.
once creeps arrive at your lane, through a quick auto attack at them to see how much damage you do (take note of this its very important!) and from there just let the creeps do the work.
"huh? your kidding right? they take forever to kill each other!"
no, i'm not kidding. let your creeps do most of the damage to the enemy creeps and once you think you can kill a creep with one attack, go ahead and kill it off and reap you rewards! YAY GOLD!
remember now, to do this you have to keep close enough to the creeps that you can get in range fast and not be attacking anything else so you don't have to wait for your auto-attack timer to go off cool-down. the best laner will get a maximum amount of creeps with the less attacks made, but it does take some practice, so PRACTICE!

your enemy is farming to well? STOP HIM! how? throw a spell his way or harass (attack him while not overextending yourself) him so he needs to retreat and isnt in range of your creeps and thus cannot get gold. IF YOU PUSH HIM BACK ENOUGH YOU CAN EVEN DENY EXPERIENCE! OMG!
having and advantage in gold and experience will make a very big difference in the game, especially against hard carries.

how well you farm during the laning phase will determine how well you do in later aspects of the game. it is the same for your enemy! so why not deny him of that farm and exp? seriously why not?
well harassing is basically attacking your enemy and forcing him to retreat without overextending and putting yourself in danger. RANGED CHAMPIONS AND CHAMPIONS WITH LOW COST RANGE SPELLS ARE BEST FOR THIS!
how do i harass? throw a spell or an auto attack towards your enemy, but keep in mind they might retaliate, so its better to keep your distance and not to commit unless you are sure you can kill him.
what will harassing do?
well if you can do this effectively, it will deny your enemy minion kills (aka. gold) and experience (if you get them to retreat far enough). to keep them at a distance where this is possible you will have to put yourself between him and your minions without putting yourself in danger of being killed.

"but if im doing this how will i get my minion kills, i cant do both at the same time, im still a noob"
practice makes perfect, and once you have last hitting down (see #9) you can start practicing this. try to keep last hitting creeps while still keeping your enemy away from theirs. remember, even if you are losing some last hits and only getting, say 3 out of 6, your enemy is getting none at all! that is infinitely more than him! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

sometimes people wont back of if you harass them. keep doing it until they are low enough for an easy kill. them dead will deny them exp and gold too.

being harassed and don't know what to do? well if you are a champion with some range, harass back! push that nosy ashe back and get your well deserved minion kills! if its just not possible because you have absolutely no range or they simply out damage you, ask for a lane switch with someone who can deal with it (PREFERABLY A CHAMP WITH RANGE). no switch? tower hug and try to get as many last hit as possible inside tower range... its sad and much harder with your tower there but if you practice enough you should still farm quite a bit!

have you read all of these? taken note? understand what they mean?
yes? good, now go out there and get your elo up!

no? have a question? go ahead and ask. i will do what i can to answer.

if you read this and thought it was useful, please bump it or write something. if i missed anything please tell me.
please don't let it die help me try to get people from "noob u bad" to "PRO CARRY IS PRO"

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Senior Member


It seems as if you know what you are doing, I congratulate you for that.

You forgot ward which is essential when you are trying to position your team to kill an enemy.

Other than that it's pretty solid. Once again I congratulate you.

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Senior Member


It seems as if you know what you are doing, I congratulate you for that.

You forgot ward which is essential when you are trying to position your team to kill an enemy.

Other than that it's pretty solid. Once again I congratulate you.

nice catch, thanks! its kinda late here and i made this half asleep ill ad it now

edit: ward section up

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Senior Member


added last hitting and harassing

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Mage builds don't change all that much. My vlad build is generally speaking Doran's Shield/Mejai's/Sorc's/Rylai's/Zhonya's/FoN. The only one of those that really changes all that often is sometimes I'll sell the Mejai's... and maybe get another Rylai's in its place. If we need push I'll get a Lich Bane last (lol it lets Vlad backdoor?)... but really that's about it. Maybe a Void Staff if the other team goes really high on MR, but with Vlad's CD I don't feel as though it's particularly important.

Even AD builds don't change all that much... my sivir build has, as its core, Boots of Swiftness, 2x Bloodthirster and a Banshee's Veil. 99.9% of games I get a third Bloodthirster because unless they are almost all high-HP champs, Bloodrazor is terrible on her, and AD > AS for her simply because AD makes Q hit harder. 3 Bloodthirster, Boots of Swiftness, Banshee's, and Last Whisper is the goal of the build, but I usually win the game by the time the Banshee's comes online. If not, most tanks can't handle 400 damage/hit with 75% lifesteal and a Q that hits like a truck.

Tank builds change all the time, of course. If you try to tank Veigar/Vlad/Annie/Anivia/Akali with Sunfire Capes, it'll work a little because HP is a good counter to burst characters, but you're better off going with Banshee's, Merc's, FoN. Opposite for team Ashe/Yi/Trynd/MF/Tristana... against them stack your Sunfires and leave the Banshee's at home. But even those are fairly static. My Shen build gets sunfire first almost every game, then almost every game follows it up with another. If they don't have any AP I'll get a third followed by a Force of Nature (which is seriously just amazing on high-HP chars) then maybe a fourth Sunfire or a Randuin's Omen depending on how things are going. Otherwise I go 2 Sunfire -> FoN -> Sunfire/Banshee's -> Banshee's/Sunfire, giving me like +2k hp from items (which pretty much absorbs 2 ults) as well as AR and MR in the high 100s low 200s.

So yeah, your point about builds not being static is valid, but I think you're overstating your case. Builds are not static and sometimes they change, but every build has at least 2 core items that aren't going to change and need to be purchased first.

One thing I would add though, and this ****ing drives me bonkers... BOOTS ARE EITHER THE FIRST OR SECOND ITEM YOU COMPLETE. I am sick of seeing 300 speed Anivias dying because "Oh, I get boots after Chalice and Zhonya's." Get the boots before Zhonya's and you'll be amazed how much more alive you are to farm up your Zhonya's. Who knows, you may even participate in a gank since you can catch up with your team! Think of that, +100 gold for an assist.

Yes, with Annie I tend to get Mejai's before boots... but BOOTS ARE NEXT. Boots... every character, every time, asap.

Ah yes and one more thing: For people who ***** about focusing tanks: think about it this way, I'm going to focus a target I think I can kill and that presents itself to me. Notice how Kog and Miss Fortune are hiding back where they're useless? Notice how Gragas was like "TROLOLOL I CAN TAKE THEIR TEAM!" It's not my fault if you completely ignore the guy who opened himself up to death so you can dive into three or four carries because "OMFG FOCUS CARRY NAO."

TL/DR for that one: Focus the targets as opportunities arise and for the love of god, stop assuming that you should always target the same people every time. There's a time and a place for everything.