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Archive for May, 2012

In this guide, I will be covering:

  • Runepage Design
  • Importance of Creep Score (CS)/Last Hitting
  • Understanding Your Role
  • What Winning Your Lane Means for your Jungler
  • Other Neat Tips and Tricks

Of course, this is a disclaimer to warn readers that this guide, as well as most theoretical discussions, assume a relatively equal skill level among all the players of the game. A lot of games outside of high-tier or professional-level brackets, especially among lower-skill level bracket games, depend a lot more heavily on skill level difference, rather than champion selection and team composition.

Runepage Design

Lately, I’ve been heavily tweaking around with my runepages. Currently, I’m a rather diversified player, playing champions that span AD Carry, Support, Solo Top, and AP Carry (although my focus is AD Carry). In general, there are some runes that are good ALL AROUND, and should almost always be considered first when designing one’s runepages.

Quintessences

Flat AD
Flat AP
Gold per Second
Flat Health
Flat Health Regen
Movement Speed
Attack Speed

Marks

Flat AD
Magic Penetration
Attack Speed
Armor Penetration
Flat Armor

Seals

Flat Armor
Health per Level
Flat Mana Regen
Mana Regen per Level
Gold per Second

Glyphs

Flat Magic Resist
Magic Resist per Level
AP per Level
Flat AP
CDR per Level
Flat CDR

These are the top-tier runes available to cover virtually any role. Any other runes are most likely not as effective.

Below is a link to my personal rune pages as of currently, which can serve as an example of properly designing a rune page with appropriate goals.

http://www.lolking.net/summoner/na/21358808#runes

Importance & Pitfall of Creep Score (CS)

The most obvious importance of Creep Score, or CS, is that you receive bonus gold upon getting the killing blow on a minion/monster. That gold bonus adds up significantly over time. If your opponent is out-CSing you, you can painfully feel that effect when you both return to the lane and see that he/she has more powerful items than you do. That directly ties into the fact that not only is the person with more CS stronger, they also can use that strength to zone you out of your lane gold and exp. In many cases, early aggression and strong grasp of gameplay mechanics can let you dominate your lane. This may lead your opponent to start making hazardous play to try to keep up with you, which will leave them at lower health, poorer position, etc., becoming vulnerable targets to ganks.

However, despite the benefits of making sure you get a good CS count, don’t go overboard. Focusing on purely last-hitting can also cost you your lane. Take a rather early-game strong ranged AD champion, like Caitlyn. Caitlyn’s potential is significant because of her range advantage over most ranged AD champions. However, if you do nothing but aim for CS, your opponent ranged AD will realize this and farm on par with you. When this happens and the time approaches late-game, your opponent ranged AD will become stronger than you.

Understanding Your Role

Solo Top, AP Carry (Solo Mid), AD Carry, Support, Jungler… These aren’t just fancy “game terms” that make you sound like a pro. Each role has a number of important responsibilities and playstyles that are required. As of the current metagame, the most frequent line-ups involve a Attack Damage-based solo top, AP Carry solo mid, a jungler, and a ranged AD carry bot lane with a zero-CS support. (Note that a lot of low-to-mid-tier North America games, as well as a relatively large bracket of Europe West games, usually utilize an Ability Power-based solo top – a duo AP carry lineup. This lineup can be strong, but falls short of the AD solo top lineups more often than not.)

Because of my lack of standard champion experience with the roles of AP Carry and Jungler, I will only cover Solo Top, Support, and AD Carry (my dedicated role).

Solo Top

Solo Top is a very volatile and difficult lane. It is probably the most difficult lane and, in my personal opinion, the second most difficult role, only second to the role of the jungler. This lane often snowballs ridiculously hard. A minor advantage leads to out-CSing and out-iteming your opponent, which is usually enough to continuously dominate the lane.

As discussed by Wickd, one of the strongest solo top Irelia players, the solo top role requires the player to play extremely aggressive, almost to the point where you practically ignore the danger of a possible jungler gank. Warding properly will allow you to avoid that danger.

Support

Support is a rather difficult role to understand, but has a whole variety of styles to execute properly, depending on which champion you select.

Standard sustain supports, such as Sona, Soraka, Taric, and Alistar, are pretty straight forward. Sona offers much early-game poke/harass, decent healing/armor/MR buff, and mid-game and late-game utility through her AoE stun, speed buff, and versatile passive Power Chord. Soraka is a passive heal/armor/MR buffer who requires a couple levels to kick into gear (level 5+ for her level 3 Astral Blessing). Taric is a heal/armor buffer with an easy-to-use stun. Alistar has less healing power, but much more killing potential with his multiple CCs, a powerful, quick stun combo, as well as tankability through his ultimate.

Non-sustain supports, such as Janna and Leona, are not quite as straightforward, but still offer much to their lanes. Janna has an effective shield that doubles up as a powerful AD boost, quite a bit of CC, a strong but long cooldown heal that also functions as a push or disengage, and an often-overlooked speed buff passive. Leona, with her extensive CC combos, transform her lanes into kill lanes, lanes that are won by outright killing the opposition.

In my opinion, the strongest standard supports currently include Janna, Leona, Sona, Soraka, and Alistar.

In competitive level of play, Janna, Leona, and Alistar stand out strongest. Their abilities are powerful in lane and offer so much in team fights. Sona and Soraka, while also powerful in lane, don’t offer anywhere as much to the team as the game pulls away from laning phase and into more team-fight-oriented play.

AD Carry

As AD Carry is my main role, I can share greater insight over this topic.

The AD Carry role is fairly very simple to understand. Harass appropriately and zone your opponents when possible, know when to back and buy, and outfarm your opponent. This constitutes the key characteristics to winning your bottom lane. The most important factors of an AD Carry is Creep Score (CS), properly building DPS items and in what order, and understanding bot lane 2v2 match-ups. Like with various support champions, each AD carry champion varies in strengths, weaknesses, and laning strategy. It is best to communicate ahead of time to decide on a strong pair of AD carry and support.

The top priority of an AD Carry is to farm. Getting kills is nice, but when you attempt to chase for a kill, you are risking a chance of wasting time that could be spent towards farming. Often, if there’s a toss-up between whether or not I can secure a kill on an enemy champion, I would rather take the safer route and go back to CSing.

When determining how well you have been laning, you should consider both your CS difference with the enemy AD carry and your CS at various breakpoints (10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc.) Here’s a clear example: you have 40 CS at the 10-minute mark and your opponent has 20 CS. In terms of your bot lane, you are dominating your opponent. However, your 40 CS at the 10-minute mark is a fairly poor performance. The best way to judge your own CS is by understanding how much you can CS optimally under a free-farm scenario and giving yourself some leeway based on how difficult your early-game laning would be.

In general, the acceptable CS breakpoints for me:

  • 10 mins – 70-114 CS
  • 15 mins –  110-177 CS
  • 20 mins – 150-240 CS
  • 30 mins – 230+ CS
This table shows the maximum possible CS from the start of the game to 30 minutes.
Harassment

What Winning Your Lane Means for Your Jungler

Winning your lane means your opponent(s) in your lane are kept down, either behind in HP, behind in farm, or both. What does this mean?

  • The obvious gain is that low HP opponents become more susceptible to being successfully ganked, and similarly, less farmed opponents have weaker items.
  • If your lane is too pushed out, the enemy jungler may most likely consider your lane for a gank. Because of the lower HP or lower farm your opponent(s) are at, this lets you have a much higher chance for your jungler to pull off a successful counter-gank.
  • If the enemy jungler is too fearful of your lane, that usually means a free turret.
  • Winning mid lane and/or bot lane yields a direct advantage in dragon control.
  • Winning top lane means the enemy jungler needs to spend more resources top lane. With a smart top lane player, they can survive/stall the enemy jungler’s gank attempt. This indirectly leads to an advantage in dragon control.
  • If a majority of lanes are winning, this allows for the jungler to gank or put more resources into counter-jungling.

Furthermore, with how the metagame is currently quite snowball-like, winning lanes generally leads to winning the game.

Other Neat Tips and Tricks

  • The number one, easiest way to improve is to thoroughly practice your gameplay mechanics. Everything from as simple as mouse control to making your last hitting consistent and smoothly using smart-cast. You will see results through personal improvement, and it is the easiest aspect of LoL to work on.
  • Elixir of Fortitude (more commonly known as “red elixir” or “red pot”) grants “140–235 health, based on champion level and 10 attack damage for 4 minutes”. The bonus Health granted is instantly added to both your current HP and your Max HP, which definitely can help you survive a very close-call skirmish. Furthermore, the bonus Health granted is not considered a “health regeneration or healing effect”, so it is not reduced by Ignite.
  • Health Potions CAN save you through Damage over Time abilities such as Ignite or Mordekaiser’s ultimate Children of the Grave. Keep in mind that Ignite reduces any form of healing by 50%. Also, do keep note that you cannot activate items, including Health Potions, when you are silenced.
  • Carrying wards is obviously useful in helping your team gain vision over key locations on the map, enabling multiple gank opportunities. Furthermore, certain champions can use skills on wards, such as Katarina’s Shunpo, Jax’s Leap Strike, Lee Sin’s Safeguard, etc., which would allow you to close gaps needed for a clutch kill, or enable you to escape from delicate situations.

Best of luck on the Fields of Justice!


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