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[Game Guide] Logistics, Strategy, Tactics

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This guide is to help clarify some aspects of the game and detail out what I feel are the most important things in the game. The original post of this was in response to a Backdooring complaint thread (http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=489628&page=3). This is a guide that has been adapted from parts of that post.

In military terms, there are 3 different things to consider: Logistics, Strategy, and Tactics.

Two critical mistakes that most people make are that they confuse Tactics and Strategy, and they under-rate Logistics.

Read this link for a great explanation of the difference on Tactics vs Strategy

And to emphasies the imporance of Logistics, I present you with this common military aphorism that is typically attributed to WW2 generals Erwin Rommel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Rommel) and Omar Bradley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Bradley):
"Amateurs study strategy; professionals study logistics."

So in the hierarchy of things we start with the most important...

Logistics allows people to be present in the first place. Without logistics, you cannot field an army/units, and thus cannot execute Strategy. Logistics is the most important aspect of any "strategy" game.

In RTS like StarCraft 2, Logistics can be equated to "Macro". Resource gathering and unit production.
In MOBA, it's slightly different. The "Macro" is less apparent, what Logistics is in MOBA games like LoL is Gold Farming and XP gathering/leveling. Map awareness is also apart of Logistics. Without knowledge of where your opponent is, your strategy will have holes in it.

Hence the saying: If you know the enemy
and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will
succumb in every battle.

Sun Tzu's Art of War, Ch 3, Ln 18

Not having map awareness is not knowing your enemy. At the very best, you know yourself but not your enemy, thus you will suffer a defeat for every victory gained.

Thus the most important things in League of Legends are (in no particular order): Leveling, Gold Farming, and Map Awareness.

Without these 3 things, you cannot hope to succeed in any LoL game.

If you are under-leveled, then the opponent's raw stats will crush you.
If you are under-farmed, then the opponent's equipment boosts will crush you.
If you don't know where your opponent is, then you can only react once your opponent shows up...you are unable to actively pursue your opponent.

Another way of thinking of it is that you: First, need to know something is coming to do something about it. Second, need to have the ability to do something about it. Missing one or the other will be your downfall.

Thus if you are out leveled, out farmed, and have no Map Awareness, don't even start thinking about strategic options. why? Because you're so behind that you literally have no strategic option but to spend time catching up in XP gold and map awareness. So the question is HOW do you catch up? I wrote a small guide awhile back on Leveling vs Team Fights (http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=477680), I'll go into more detail here.

The game mechanics dictate that champions gain more XP and potentially more gold when they are alone. This is why in early game teams try to divide up the lanes evenly as to maximize XP gain. Additionally, Junglers not only allow the team to tap into an otherwise unused XP/Gold source:the jungle, but also it allows another lane to become solo and thus gain XP at a faster rate. This is not without risk of course, but from a logistics stand point, having a jungler and 2 solo-lanes is extremely efficient and provides a significant bonus against a 2/1/2 lane composition.

Thus when a team fight breaks out and your the most underleveled person on your team, you should go farm and avoid confrontation with the opponent. If you have to oppose the enemy, then do so under your own tower. Most players see the team fight and immediately say "I gotta go help my team!" While not a bad sentiment, discretion is necessary. You must consider what your potential contribution is to the fight vs the risk.

Your contributions typically are damage. Many champions have the option of providing CC, healing or other forms of support as well.
Your risk is death and feeing the opponent gold for kill/assist.

There is also an additional cost: Travel time (time you spent traveling is time you're not farming)
And an additional risk of being ganked en-route. (you are lower level after all, so it'll only take 1 of them to gank you)

Note: as PineapplePine pointed out, Junglers don't really have a "lane" to leave and if they're efficient junglers like Warwick and Nunu, then they might be able to clear the jungle and have nothing to do for awhile...perfect time for a gank with minimal opportunity cost.

A good explanation is found in one of the Thirty-Six Strategems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems)


Besiege Wèi to rescue Zhào (圍魏救趙/围魏救赵, Wéi Wèi jiù Zhào)
"When the enemy is too strong to be attacked directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that he cannot be superior in all things. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead."
The origin of this proverb is from the Warring States Period. The state of Wèi attacked Zhao and laid siege to its capital Handan. Zhào turned to Qí for help, but the Qí general Sun Bin determined it would be unwise to meet the army of Wèi head on, so he instead attacked their capital at Daliang. The army of Wèi retreated in haste, and the tired troops were ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Guiling, with the Wèi general Pang Juan slain on the field. Note that this campaign is also described explicitly in the Art of War of Master Sun Bin the younger.
The idea here is to avoid a head on battle with a strong enemy, and instead strike at his weakness elsewhere. This will force the strong enemy to retreat in order to support his weakness. Battling against the now tired and low-morale enemy will give a much higher chance of success.

While, champions don't get "tired" from running, we can adapt this stratagem (not strategy. Stratagems are ruses, tricks) to enhance your logistics and damage the opponents logistics. Backdoor tactics fall under this stratagem as well. The idea here is that if you push a lane, they will have to run to stop you...thus removing their farming/leveling time. Hopefully you can catch up in that time.

On the inverse, Gank-happy teams tend to fall behind if they fail a gank. Every time a champion moves out of lane to gank, they are paying an immediate opportunity cost of not being present in their lane to get XP and gold. So instantly, the act of moving to gank is a detriment, so if the gank fails, then the ganking team just lost strength in terms of logistics. It is possible to break even if you fail to kill but injure the opponent so badly that they are forced back.

So the idea here, if your team is under-leveled is for your weakest champion to run off and push a lane (while keeping full map awareness). The weakest champion is least likely to be able to contribute to a fight, and is most likely to be killed if a team fight erupts, thus it is better to not have them there at all. Additionally, a big team fight like that means that everyone involved gains minimal XP from minions in the area, so not only does the under-leveled champion have poor odds of survival, they also gain less XP to remedy the situation in future confrontations. Rather than run such a huge risk, the under-leveled champion should go and farm quickly to level up.

If the opponent attempts the gank on the lower level champ that broke off, then they should hug the tower. The hope is that the gank will fail and the opponent will be out the opportunity cost with nothing to show while your lower level champion catches up. Twice the advantage gained for a single action.

Once you have Logistics down, you can start thinking about Strategy.

Strategy in LoL comes down to a style of play. This is where Pushing, counter-pushing, Team fights, and team composition come into play (team composition can arguably be Logistics in nature as well, but strategic choices can be made to accommodate for poor logistics in Team composition).

One of the things that I really loved about playing Aura-Sivir was that she taught me how to read the flow of battle. Watch the minion waves and use them...guide them to apply pressure on the enemy team. Never under-estimate the power of minions.

So Strategy can be derived from Logistics. Here, it is endless.

In battle, there are not more than two methods
of attack--the direct and the indirect; yet these two
in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.

Sun Tzu's Art of War, Ch 5, Ln 10

So what's direct and what's indirect?

The most Direct attack in LoL is to attack whatever will get you to your opponent's Nexus faster. If you have the choice of taking an inner turret versus taking an outer turret...the inner turret is the direct attack, while the outer turret is indirect.

Indirect is pretty much everything else. Ganks, Team Fights, Neutral Creeps buffs and bonuses. Indirect provides bonuses and set up for future attacks.

Think of this like chess. The Nexus is the King, the goal is to checkmate the king. Bad chess players spend too much time capturing pieces. Good chess players only capture the pieces necessary to allow them to checkmate the opposing King.

So what's the difference between Strategy and Tactics then?
Strategy is deciding "what" you're going to do. Tactics is deciding "how".

Tactics only truly matter once we've realized that Logistics and Strategy of the two teams are even. Tactics are the micro-game. They are the specifics of how to win small engagements.
"Blitz will initiate using a flash/grab and we'll murder whoever he nabs, then focus down the rest of the team."
"Ok, lets do a Vlad+Nunu ult combo"
"Protect our carries and let them DPS"

This is the sort of stuff most of us are already familiar with in game, this is the fun stuff that we play LoL for.

But realize, that if you don't have the Logistics and Strategy down, you cannot execute Tactics effectively. Thus most people who lose, failed somewhere in the Logistics or Strategy phase of the game...not in the Tactics section.

Ever watch 3 level 11s try to gank 2 level 15s? Then have bad map awareness turn it into 4 level 15s? It's pretty ugly. It's an instance of total logistical failure.

Putting it all together
Here's a sample of Logistics, Strategy, and Tactics at work:

Let us assume that my logistics are weaker and thus my forces are weaker. My team's levels are 17, 15, 15, 14, 11.
While my opponents are 18, 17, 17, 15, 15
Our team has no map awareness from wards, and we only have a Clairvoyance.

All 3 lanes have minions snowballing towards us.

The enemy is attempting a 5 man push down the middle.

What is my strategy?
Seeing that I am in a compromised position, my primary goal is to muster sufficient force to fend off a final strike. Outer and Inner turrets might need to be sacrificed to do this, but ideally, we do what we can to prevent turret destruction without giving up kills.

My tactics for executing this strategy:
The level 17 will probably level to 18 naturally just by creep death near the defended tower. The 15s can provide support against enemy 15s, so these are the worthwhile people should a team fight break out.

My team's level 11 is going to be completely useless unless they have some sort of disable (blind, silence, stun, snare etc). Even then, their contribution would be minimal. The level 11 should go farm a lane by themselves. However this leaves them vulnerable.

Fortunately, we still have a level 14. The level 14 can potentially contribute against the 15s, but is likely to just get murdered by the higher level opponents. Unless this 14 has amazing support/CC abilities, they should either go farm the other lane, or farm the jungle between the 5 man push and the lane that the 11 is farming.
The 14 can provide a screen for the 11 while getting some jungle XP. The Clairvoyance should be used to check for gankers moving through the 14's jungle.

This set-up provides relatively safe XP for the level 11 as they will need to walk through sighted territory to get a kill on the 11.
Also provided is potential XP for the 14 if they are able to jungle while screening for the 11.
And lastly provides a 3+turret defense vs 5 opponents...while this is unlikely to save the turret, if correctly played non of the defenders should die. Just focus on clearing Creep waves so that the turret will target the enemy champions.
Additionally, your 14 is also near by and will be capable of providing some support if an opportunity presents itself...again the level 11 should ignore the team fight and stay in their farming lane unless they suspect a gank is coming.

This may not be optimum tactics depending on team composition and the play mentality of your opponents.

In this situation, we can see that logistics are poor and thus my team's options are limited severely. We cannot hope to win a team fight as we are out leveled and out geared. We cannot push as that would result in a team fight which would result in death. We cannot attempt to claim map objectives (red, blue, dragon, baron) as the opposing team has likely taken them already and will probably crush us with superior strength if we try to move out. Thus, the only strategically sound options are to consolidate power by way of leveling safely or perform some sort of ruse or trick (backdoor). A smart opponent will try to make this as dangerous as possible for you.

In the future, I will see about providing actual in game examples with specific champions and playstyles.
All examples from here on out will be situations where logistics do not favor me. Why? Because when logistics do favor your team, it's easy to win. What's difficult is coming back from a deficit.

To see victory only when it is within the ken
of the common herd is not the acme of excellence

To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength;
to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight;
to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.

Sun Tzu's Art of War, Ch 4, Lns 8 and 10


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Senior Member


I'm surprised nobody has tried to make some kind of witty comment...

Excellent guide! +1

I've bee planning on doing something very similar, and your post has given me even more inspiration to do so. You should try expounding on these concepts even more. They're very good, and would be even better if you continued your exposition.

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I agree, very good but needs a bit of refinement and extended explainations of in game examples of all 3 parts.

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Senior Member


Will definitely work on refining it. Thank you for your support.

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Senior Member


Will definitely work on refining it. Thank you for your support.

Oh, absolutely!

And don't just refine it...expound on it!!!

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Senior Member


Nice post, I enjoyed reading it

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Senior Member


Will definitely work on refining it. Thank you for your support.

Good work at updating...here's a free bump for ya!

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One Cool Guy



Excellent post. Thank you.

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Senior Member


I just wanted to add a few things:

Lane phase:
1. Leading in farming and forcing out the enemy champ (death or close to it// mana)
2. Calling out MIA's
3. Ganking overextended lanes

1. Securing your jungle (if you don't have a jungler from start)
2. Controlling dragon (warded constantly and either obtaining or baiting out enemy team)
3. All 3 lanes pushed past river
-this is most important you can't do anything else effectively without having your lanes pushed out past river (midpoint)
-once this condition is set you can group up and raid their jungle, chances are you will have numbers advantage if you catch them in their jungle or out of position

(generally same as above except instead of controlling dragon you will be controlling Baron)
1. buy oracles to destroy wards
2. ward their jungle if you have them pushed or your jungle if they have you pushed
3. push only after successfully winning a teamfight or gank
-unless you are generally ahead in farm//xp it is never a good idea to 5man push a lane
-you can stall a lane with 4 and send your strongest pusher in an adjacent lane or further lane

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Senior Member


I haven't read all of it yet, as I'm busy with school work & stuff, but afterwards, I'm very excited, lol.