How does a complete beginner start learning League of Legends and become competitive? We will give you some great information to start climbing the ladder as quickly as possible.
League of Legends is a fun and exciting game. It is probably the most well known of the MOBA style games. Riot Games continually makes it fresh by adding new champions, items and rebalancing current content.This creates an ever-evolving metagame that players are constantly trying to master. League of Legends also has one of the most well defined competitive scene of any game on the market. The ceiling for great players is extremely high.
How is the game played
League of Legend (LOL) is a game in which a 5 player team competes against another 5 player team in order to destroy the opposing teams Nexus (much like capture the flag.
) In order to do this, you must first destroy at least one enemy inhibitor. Standing in your way are enemy minions, towers and the enemy team themselves. By using strategy and skill, you must clear a path to the enemy nexus and take it out before the opposing team does the same. In the rest of this article we will give you some great information on how to level up your game quickly and become a great player.
Here are 12 tips to get you started on the right foot and begin dominating your games:
Stay with or behind your minions
One of the hardest things for new players is understanding how to use the minions to your advantage.Usually beginners will focus on engaging the enemy champion. This is a big mistake. Minions are the greatest resource in the game and when used properly , they can give you a huge advantage over your enemy.
It is important to know that minions do a lot of cumulative damage especially in the early parts of the game. They will usually target opposing minions as they move down the lane. However, they will change their target to you if you get out in front of your minions or whenever you hit the opposing champion. If the opposing side has more minions in the lane than you do, you can lose a fight very easily by taking damage from both the enemy champion and the surplus minions.If you ever get targeted by enemy minions, you can force them to target something else by gaining enough distance from them or by stepping into the brush.
Enemy towers will target the first thing in range. You will want to stay behind your minions as you approach a tower. Once they have been targeted, you are free to move in closer. The tower will target all of the other minions before targeting you. If you hit an enemy champion within range of a tower, the tower will ignore minions and immediately target you. Towers do a lot of damage so unless you have the appropriate champion and items to “tower dive”, you want to avoid that scenario. If the tower has targeted you, you must move out of its range to have it target something else.
Learn to last hit
The very first skill that you should work on is last hitting. It does take a little practice to know how much damage you do at different stages of the game and it is especially difficult in the first few levels.
The biggest source of revenue within a League of Legends is minions. Whenever you are the one that provides the last hit on a minion, you receive gold. This is commonly referred to as farming. Melee minions are worth more than ranged and cannon minions are worth vastly more than both.
By last hitting more minions than your opponent, you gain more gold than they do which allows you to buy equipment earlier, increasing your overall stats for that game. This translates to being more powerful than the enemy champion when engaging them. It is especially important to make sure to last hit the cannon minion.
It is tempting to focus on taking down the opposing champions, but you will soon see that you can gain a far larger advantage by out farming your lane opponent and then taking down enemy champions when the opportunity arises.
Control the minion waves
Once you have gotten the hang of last hitting, the next consideration is where the wave sit in the lane. With no interference at all, your wave and the enemy wave would meet in the center of the lane and basically cancel each other out. If a wave is anywhere else in the lane, it will naturally want to restore that equilibrium.
The skill that you want to master is placing the wave where you want it in the lane. Beginners often feel like they have to consistently attach and end up moving the wave into places that are not advantageous. The rule of thumbs is that the wave will push toward the side that has less minions on it. So if you want the wave to push into the enemy tower, you would hit the other minions more to thin their numbers. If you want the wave to push toward your tower, you would just last hit the minions and not help by hitting the minions with extra damage.
The placement of the wave is extremely important. If you overextend in the lane, you leave yourself open to another player (Jungler) double teaming you in the lane and giving your opponent an easy takedown.
If your opponent is missing from the lane, you can push the wave under their tower and deny them all of those minions and the gold that comes with them. Or you can allow the wave to push in toward you and keep safe under your tower.
Another concept that will give you a huge advantage is the idea of freezing the wave. This is using techniquest to keep the wave exactly where it is. You may have an advantage which makes it difficult for the opponent to last hit and in that case you can keep the wave in the same place to maximize that advantage.
Practice proper positioning
The place you stand in the lane can make a big difference in your play. If you are in a situation where your team controls the river area and your Jungler is heading to help you, you can position yourself to push your enemy toward your teammate or in a place to cut off their escape route.
If you don’t have vision on one side, you can position yourself so that you can make a quick escape if the enemy comes into your lane.
If the enemy champion needs a clear shot to hit you with one of their abilities (like Thresh’s hook or Nidalie’s spear), you can position behind minions to make it impossible for them to land.
Always have a reason for being where you are. Think through how you can escape or prevent the escape of the other champions accordingly.
Use your minimap more often
Your minimap is way more important than you think it is. Some of the best players in the game are checking their minimap every few seconds. It is vital that you know where everyone is within the game. You never want to push farther than you can see. Placing wards will make your minimap even more effective throughout the game.
Having good vision will give you the extra information that you need to make good decisions on your positioning and when to engage the enemy. Using the ping system to warn other teammates is a good way to share that information. If your lane opponent is missing from view, it is a good idea to ping to let the rest of the team know that your laner could show up in their lane giving the other team a 2 versus 1 advantage.
Make a habit of shifting your vision from your lane to the minimap and back.
Objectives are key
At the end of the day, it does not matter how many takedowns you get in a game. This is a game about objectives. Getting takedowns is a lot of fun but wins are the only thing that let you move up the competitive ladder.
Towers are the most immediate objective in the game. Early in the game, there is extra gold to be made by knocking down the health bar of a tower. There is also a bonus for the first tower takedown.
Inhibitors are big objectives in the game. One inhibitor must be down in order for you to attack the Nexus. For each lane that has an inhibitor down, that lane will spawn super minions in addition to the regular minions. Inhibitors recover health over time.
The Herald is an optional objective but it provides great benefits for those who take it. Once defeated, a player can pick up an item that will temporarily replace their trinket. By using that item, you spawn a herald in that area which will travel down the nearest lane and crash into the next tower doing a large chunk of damage to it.
The Dragon is another optional objective that has the potential to greatly influence a game. Each dragon has a type and each type has a permanent bonus associated with it that is applied to the whole team. If a team gets 5 dragons in a game, they get an extra permanent bonus that usually has enormous impact.
At some point in the game the Herald will be replaced by the Baron. The Baron is a difficult objective but provides a huge temporary bonus for your team. Fights often happen around the Baron as the enemy team will try to stop your attempt and vice versa.
The Nexus is the ultimate objective and taking it down wins the game.
Pick items depending on the current game situation
During the game you will use your gold to purchase items to fill your six available item slots. Each champion has multiple ways to build them and there are entire websites devoted to popular item combinations. We have some champion builds on this site as well.
For the most part, you have two main paths – attack damage or magic damage. This is determined mainly by which path maximizes your champion’s damage. From there there are a lot of options.
The issue that some beginning players have is that they get married to a single way of building their champion. It is important to know what your opponents are doing and how some items can help you against their plan. Being flexible can give you the small advantage you need to win.
A simple example would be an enemy team that has chosen a lot of champions that have hard CC (crowd control – abilities that prevent you from moving or using abilities.) In that case you may choose an item that provides less strength overall, but gives you more tenacity since tenacity lowers the time that you are CC’d.
Decide which role to focus on
There are five main roles within League of Legends – Top Lane, Mid Lane, ADC, Support, and Jungler. Each of these has unique playstyles. This makes LOL very inviting to a lot of different players. Experiment early with all of the roles and see which one you like best. Then narrow that down to a main role and an alternate role.
By focusing on one role you will be able to get better faster. Since each role is vastly different, it pays to have a role that is your main. You need a secondary role as well to be able to queue effectively. By limiting yourself to just two roles, you will give yourself the opportunity to advance more rapidly.
Limit your champions at first
There are so many champions. League of Legends continually adds new champions to the pool and there are already a lot to choose from. It is a well known fact within League that the more games you play with a champion, the more likely you are to do well with them. 100 games is a good target to develop proficiency. Find a couple of champions that you enjoy playing (no more than three per role) and play a lot of games with them. You need to have more than one champion in case your main one gets banned for the game.
Learn the three main phases of the game
Each game is unique, but most will contain three main parts. These are usually described as Early game/Lane Phase, mid-game, and late game. Style of play shifts as the phases of the game change.
In the Lane phase, you begin in the assigned lane or Jungle and then focus on last hitting minions or taking the first few jungle camps. Your priorities in order are: getting minions, staying safe, controlling the wave position, and hassasing the opponent.
As the game moves on, the enemy Jungler will start showing up in the lanes to try to get an advantage and some laners will start to roam. This usually happens when the first towers begin to fall. In this mid game phase, it is really important to mind your positioning and keep track of where the enemy is on the minimap. If you can’t see them, make sure you are in a safe spot. This is the phase of the game where you should start thinking about grouping with your team and start working together.
The late game is when most if not all players have completed their item builds. At this point, you lose the advantages you had by having more gold than your opponents so you must rely on great team play and the bonuses you get from Dragons and Baron.
Don’t wander off alone
This is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make in the mid to late game. There are a very few champions that are adept at “Split pushing”. Most of the time being alone on the map will result in your takedown. As the game progresses, begin to fight as a team and play a valuable role in those team fights.
Don’t start Ranked play too early but not too late
League of Legend has one of the most well developed ladder systems of any competitive game. It is the model many games use for their ranked play as well. As you move up the ladder, you will find yourself playing with people that have a similar skill level. Use the non-ranked modes to get comfortable with your roles and champion pool.Once you begin having success in those modes, transition into ranked.
Don’t let anyone in the game tear down your confidence. They are in the same skill level that you are. LOL has a notoriously salty community and others like to blame someone for their team’s losses. I recommend using the mute feature liberally. It will help you keep sane.
Ranked will allow you to see how you stack up within the players of the game. Silver is the average so you can see if you are above or below. It is more stressful, so feel free to stay unranked if you are just playing casually.
There is so much more…
League is a deeply strategic game. This is a simplistic guide for beginners, but this is definitely not an exhaustive list. Once you master these, there are so many more things to learn to take your game to the next level.