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Could Someone Please Explain World Tactics?

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Junior Member


For the first season, I am actively following the World Championships and I have watched all of the games in the quarter finals. It is very educating to watch how pro players prioritize farm and objectives but often I have difficulties determining why they chose to use the tactics they do, especially in the very early game. I have noticed that teams often send their ADC to top lane alone. I understand this has something to do with that ADC being weak early game and therefore trying to gain XP and CS more quickly to get past that point, however I don't understand why when a team does this, both teams seem to abandon defending their lanes and instead they roam as a group following the Jungler with either the Support or the Top or both.

Can someone please explain why this tactic is so popular? Why do the top and or support allow the enemy ADC's to free farm a lane and when they are following the Jungler do they want to soak up XP or avoid taking XP from the Jungler and just look for ganks? How do they know when to break out of this tactic and actually go back to lane?

Anyone with insight into this would make my viewing of the World Championship even more enjoyable because I would have a better understanding of why the teams are doing what they do.

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From what I can tell it's to have more of a map presence when theres more than just 1 roaming (jungler) and gives more time for the carries to solo lane & level up, ADC included. So rather than having a duo lane support + ADC splitting experience, the ADC can level faster

Also it allows more focus on other objectives. Rather than farming in lane for 10-20 minutes they look for favorable trades like giving up a tower for dragon+tower or a kill+tower. Getting a kill at this level is HUGE and can be game winning if you can 4 man gank a carry and take the tower while just losing your own solo lane tower, effectively putting their carry behind in addition to a small gold lead.

This can be safer than solo jungler at high levels since the map is now split down mid lane instead of down the river like most people are used to, where top is bottom side's blue + top sides red & vice versa for bot lane. With 2-3 man roaming the jungle between top and mid lane, the ADC solo top lane is quite safe.

At higher levels all that really matters are the carries. Feed & protect the ADC/APC to win. Lower levels & solo Q its hard to pull off when people can't voice chat and end up doing whatever they want. Pro leagues they do as their shot caller says even if it ends up sacrificing themselves for the good of their team.

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SFG mAEtb0y

Senior Member


You are, unfortunately, missing about two years of League of Legends history leading up to this Season 4 World Championship as a new viewer. The specific decisions you are mentioning are a result of more than two years of lane swap metagame development and involve somewhat complicated strategic mind-games. The post above is actually totally accurate, although it does lack some crucial information which explains why things happen the way that they do. Let me teach you a little bit of League of Legends history that helps explain what is going on with these lane setups.

Once upon a time, in a region called North America, new things were stirring. For the first time ever this region was going to have a consistent, weekly competitive league called the "League Championship Series", or LCS. Before the LCS, competitive teams had to travel around the world to play in tournaments, using the prize money from their previous victories just to make it to the next event. This new competitive league offered something wonderful to serious League of Legends teams: stability. The most significant change that this stability brought about was that it offered a lot of extra free time for teams to practice and explore the game in-depth. Great things were about to come.
Introducing: Team Solomid, or TSM. At the time, TSM consisted of Dyrus top, TheOddOne jungle, Reginald mid, Chaox adc, and Xpecial support. TSM, prior to the LCS, was considered by many to be by far the best team in NA and they intended to keep it that way. Coming into the LCS, Team Solomid worked hard, using their newfound practice time to prepare new, innovative strategies and gain an advantage against their competition. One of these strategies was the lane swap. It worked like this: Team Solomid would send Chaox and Xpecial top and send Dyrus bottom. TheOddOne would start on the bottom side of his jungle and work his way up while at the same time, Chaox and Xpecial would zone away the enemy top laner and last hit the minions as they got low. The minion wave in top lane would slowly build up for TSM while TheOddOne cleared his jungle and then moved into the enemy's top side jungle. When the wave hit the tower, TSM would make their move. TheOddOne would move in from behind the tower to gank the vulnerable top laner while Chaox and Xpecial pinched from the other side. The opposing top laner would be completely trapped and TSM could easily kill them and then destroy the tower while their large minion wave was there. The other NA LCS teams had to learn to adapt to this unique new strategy while for several weeks TSM dominated the competition. There were many different methods that teams used to adapt to TSM's lane swap. One of the most common, at least at first, was to simply follow the lane swap, and flip the standard lanes upside down, with 2v2 top and 1v1 bot. Some teams even just copied TSM's dominant strategy if their opponent tried to play the standard lanes. There were other answers as well, some more successful than others, but the seed was planted: TSM showed the world lane swapping and nothing would ever be the same. Other regions started to lane swap after seeing its success in NA and it became a standard part of the competitive metagame.
Those early days of lane swapping were very sloppy and disorganized. The highly controlled and strategically complex lane swaps of today were still a glimmer on the horizon and it would take significant refinement and experimentation from many very intelligent teams before the lane swapping of today could come to light. As teams refined their lane swapping strategies it became a delicate game of objective trades, with teams desperately looking for small early game advantages that could allow them to snowball the game. Level one invades became common, with teams dropping deep jungle wards to gather information and figure out whether or not the other team would swap. The punishing environment for the top laners, forced into 1v2 lanes with frequent tower dives against them, led to teams implementing the "buddy system" in which the top laner would simply follow the jungler around and soak up experience. This allowed teams to aggressively invade the jungle with two players. In lane swapping situations map control began to shift so that the map was split down the mid lane rather than down the river. This led to teams beginning games by invading 5v0 on the side of the map where they were sending their duo lane, sticking almost exclusively to that side of the map for the majority of the early game. Eventually it became clear that the team which did not initiate a swap and sent their duo bottom had a significant advantage early game because they were able to take very early dragons. Teams began to swap more sparingly, using it mainly as a turtling strategy to avoid unfavorable head-to-head lane matchups. Teams that did choose to swap adjusted to the early game dragon control by letting their support freely roam the map, ganking lanes and invading with their jungle/top buddy grouping, and most importantly staying near the dragon to dissuade early dragon attempts. The bottom-oriented team still had an advantage, with the option to either push the bottom tower 2v0 and take it early or to match the support roam and let the carries for both teams lane 1v0 on opposite sides of the map. The possibilities for early game configurations has ballooned as a result of all of these developments, but the common factor is that a swapping team will almost always move their adc back to the bottom side of the map at about 7 or 8 minutes to maintain control of dragon.
Now we arrive at the present day. TSM is now a very different team, with Dyrus the only remaining member from the days when they innovated the lane swap, and TSM no longer leading the way in terms of competitive strategy. In a modern lane swapping situation, the team which initiates the swap and sends their duo top is understood to be at a disadvantage and teams decide to swap with that in mind. Lane swaps are used to avoid standard lanes, slowing down the opposing top laner and channelling farm onto the adc. This is the situation at Worlds this year: teams using lane swaps strategically to gain specific advantages and play the game in a way which favors them most. It is an incredible strategic dance which is extremely interesting and exciting if you understand the history and decision-making which goes into it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you do not want to wade through the wall of text, here is the short answer to your question: teams lane swap to bypass the standard lane phase and it is common to send the top laner on a jungle follow during lane swaps, which frees up the support to roam while the adc stays in lane and farms 1v0.