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4. How to Master the Game

Before you even begin to play the game, you want to aim towards making sure that you're able to adapt to any situation. Solo queue means that the people you play with may be bad or simply don't understand group composition. They'll auto-lock on a champion of their choice. Your goal should be to have a set of rune pages and masteries set up for the various champions you've mastered. Ideally, you want to make sure that you're comfortable with a champion of every role:

AD/AP Carry
AD/AP Tank
AD/AP Jungler

You'll want a variety of those types of champions as well. As you can see, it will take quite a bit of time to get to this point. This level of play is a goal, not something to aim for right away.

by Archivis See Profile

You'll hear 100 different suggestions on rune sets. I keep mine very simple and I do quite well with them. If you're a new person reading this, you'll be tempted to buy runes. Don't. Save your points... all of them. Save them until you hit 20 and buy Tier 3 runes. Tier 1 and Tier 2 runes are a waste of points and you'll regret buying them later. You'll be thankful you saved up for them at 20.

**Caster**: Red/Quints - Magic Pen; Yellow/Blue - Cooldown reduction. I don't care if they don't match up. Every caster relies on their abilties and the faster they come up, the better. Getting yourself magic pen reds/quints means that your abilities can hit for full damage at level 1, as you can zero out an enemy's magic resist. When you pick Magic Pen boots (as you should on most AP champs), you'll be significantly ahead. Magic Resist can have your stuff hitting for 25% less. When you zero that out, you can hit like a truck, even at level 1.

**Physical**: Red/Quints - Armor Pen; Yellow/Blue - Attack Speed. The same rules that apply to magic resist, apply to armor as well. You can effectively negate everyone's armor, allowing you to hit like a truck at level one. Also, since most champions rely heavily on their auto attacks, additional attack speed early on helps. You'll notice that both of these sets of runes are designed to be helpful from level 1 all the way into level 18.

**Jungle**: Red/Quints - Armor Pen: Yellow/Blue - Armor. You're going to need armor to survive in the jungle. Keep your same armor pen sets so you can melee minions and put them at 0 armor, doing max damage. The armor lets you properly jungle. Note that there may be a different setup for AP Jungle champs like Amumu or Nunu. You may want to swap your Armor Pen for Magic Pen for the long-term, but you'll still want the armors in the yellow/blue slots to survive those minions.

by Archivis See Profile

When you go into a game, everyone has their idea of what should and shouldn't be selected. Ignore them. They're retarded. The best team is a well-balanced team. This means you want a tank (AD or AP) and an off-tank. You want ranged and melee. In the end, you should have your tank, plus 2 AP plus 2 AD. When you toss supports into the mix, you generally want to do this when your tank is AP-ish. If your tank is AD (Garen), subbing one of your AP's for a support can cause an enemy team to stack armor and negate your team. You want your off-tank to be able to take hits, assist with the tank in intiating and be extremely annoying. For example, if you have an Amumu tank, Garen could be your off-tank. You could have a Malphite tank, and a Nunu off-tank. Many times, off-tanks are perfectly capable of being tanks, but they pick a more aggressive item route. AP Cho-Gath makes a great off-tank, but he's also a devastating main tank when built for damage reduction. The last thing you want is to have one tank and four squishies. You need people to protect your squishies, who are most likely your carries as well.

1 tank
2 AD
2 AP

If main tank is AP, it is ok to grab an AP support (Soraka/Kayle/Nidalee/Sona/Karma/etc)

Auto-locking is done by idiots. Ask anyone who I play with here on DSLR. I'll frequently be the last person to select my champ. Many people have a preference of who they want to play. I let them pick, and then I adapt. Nobody wants to tank? Fine, I'll tank. Missing an off-tank? I'll cover it. Good opportunity for a support? I'll rock Karma. Be THAT guy and you'll win a lot more games.

by Archivis See Profile
last modified: 2011-09-19 11:26:45

Ok, so you've got your champs lined up. Ideally, you want one of them to be able to jungle, but if they can't and your team isn't comfortable with that, that's ok! Forcing your team to jungle when you have people uncomfortable soloing top lane or jungling can cause you to lose, put added stress on your jungler from unreasonable expectations and can cause the entire purpose of jungling to be nullified (more XP and gold for all). In a general setup, one person goes mid, two people go bottom and one or two people go top, depending if you have a jungler. Your mid should be your carry, the person who is most capable of shutting down an opponent mid as well as farm extremely well and hopefully shut down the enemy team when mid/late game goes. A ranged player is preferred 9 times out of 10 for mid, but I have seen melee champs successfully shut down their enemy counterparts. Mid lane is not for the inexperienced. Mid lane should be for people who are adept at their champions. Bot lane is for noobs.

Top solo can be stressful. If you're in this situation, you risk setting yourself up for a 1v2 or 1v1 situation with the expectation of getting ganked. Because of the way your lane is formed, you're at high risk of being ganked by a jungler if you're over-extended. If you're getting shut down in 1v2, let them push the lane and learn how to farm off a tower. Don't get poked by the enemy team and then complain because you were dived at the tower. If they're countering you hard, let them push to the tower and learn how to last hit off a tower.

by Archivis See Profile

Last hitting is when you get the killing blow on a creep. You don't get gold for beating down a minion. You don't get XP for beating down a minion. You only get gold when a minion dies and you're the last hit. If you beat down the minions, then you effectively push your minion wave forward. The further you push your wave, the more prone you are to being attacked or ganked from a side or middle lane. This is why it is effective to last hit. Don't push unless your team can obviously handle the heat and you have a ward to detect enemy threats, and you're intending to deny the enemy team and/or put hits on the enemy team's tower.

So, what happens when the other team is pushing you, and no one is ganking, or is even able to gank? Learn how to last hit at a tower. Now, this isn't an exact science, and as you accumulate levels and items, this varies, but there is a way to last hit minions while letting the tower do the work. Learn how to perfect this per champ. AD champs have an easier time than AP champs.

Last hitting a melee minion: Let the tower hit the minion twice while its at full HP, then hit it the third time. A tower will take it down about 45% per hit, leaving you to do the last 10%. You really want to focus on not losing these. They're worth more gold than caster minions.

Last hitting a caster minion: Land the first hit on a caster minion and then wait until the tower hits and then land the last hit. If your minion wave is also hitting it, do not land the first hit.

Last hitting a tower minion: Or... whatever the hell they're called. The tower will hit it multiple times. Move around and time your shot appropriately. Try to last hit these as much as possible. They're worth the most gold. While the tower is hitting this minion, it's a good opportunity to get a single hit on the caster minions and to time your shots with the tower.

Note: 90% of players do not know how to properly last at at a tower. If you can dominate your lane, it is advantageous to push a minion wave into an enemy's tower to deny them gold, even though they'll still get XP. This is an extremely effective tactic in mid. Melt your minion wave and then retreat back to your tower as the enemy is either forced to get hit by minions to get gold, or most likely retreat to their tower and watch the tower deny them the gold.

by Archivis See Profile

Alright, so you're playing someone like Sona and you're up top against a Mordekaiser and a Garen who keep you from doing anything. How do you possibly get minion kills, levels or even champion kills when you're up against two extremely beefy champs like that? You don't. You hug tower and you soak up the XP. It's fine if you don't get gold. If possible, use the last hitting methods I described above versus towers. You won't get megafarm, but you won't be sitting with a big fat zero for creep score either. By staying heavily under the tower, it makes it difficult for you to be harassed and it lets you survive. Survival is more important than getting hit, just to try and harass or to get a minion. The example of Sona vs Morde/Garen really happened. I came out with a good creep score, didn't die, and actually got kills. Why? Because these two champs got stupid, over-extended, got ganked, or poked by the tower when they attempted to hit me, or dove at me out of sheer impatience. They were unskilled and frustrated that their "denial" didn't work and left themselves exposed for a jungler and the mid to come beat them down regularly. When they came in for a hit, I hit them and quite often, so did the tower. When they dove, I juked, and the tower did its job. How did I survive a tower dive? I was at full health. Why was I full? Because I didn't try to be aggressive in my lane and get counter-poked when I knew full well I was getting beat. Also, if you really want gold, you won't get it until mid/late game.

by Archivis See Profile
last modified: 2011-09-19 07:40:04

So, everyone thinks that the more kills you have, the more gold you have, right? Maybe. But creep score is how I win the game. I get the most creeps in almost every single game I play, no matter who I play, whether it be Alistar or Morde, I try to dominate the creep score. Once I have the gold advantage, fighting opponents is easier, because I also have the item advantage. This is how I win. This is how I dominate game after game after game. It's not just about the skill, but about going into a fight with the odds on your side.

But most people already know that, right? They know that the gold is accumulated from minion kills. You learn that in the tutorials. But what people don't do, is continue to farm with absolute vigilence the entire game. They'll farm the early game, and then go roam and attempt to push/gank, get no where, and fall behind on money while minions die to each other instead to you.

Very few people realize that minions increase in value as the game goes on. That creep wave that's worth very little is worth a lot more in the middle game and worth hundreds at end-game. Because of that, you'll see my prioritization on farming be higher in the end-game than it is in the early game. Meanwhile, everyone else focuses on futile team fights that deny you XP and gold. A good team should have every single lane pushed out of their safety limits and the jungle should be empty ALL THE TIME. This should be like this ALL GAME. The only exception would be if you have a very clear advantage in pushing a lane or engaging in a team fight. Many times, these team fights just happen. Those who go out and "seek" the fight frequently lose. Those who stage themselves up for a fight are the wons who frequently win. When your lanes are properly pushed and your team is properly fighting, you have a very quick advantage to push one or multiple towers and/or inhibitors.

To summarize, farm all game, not just early game. Compare not your kill score, but your creep score to the enemy team. Deny them creeps and the kills come naturally. If you can adopt the mentality that player kills are a result of good creep score, then your team will win. Do not throw this mentality out the door when mid/end-game comes.

Note: Jungle minions do not increase in value over time. Mid/End-game, shoot for creep waves before you dive into a jungle at those stages.

by Archivis See Profile

Smart Casting is enabled by turning it on in the menu, or by holding shift and hitting your skill while mousing over your target. I personally use SHIFT as I don't always want to smart cast. Smart casting allows you to chain your abilities to have multiple abilities go off at once. Brand, Annie, Akali and others benefit significantly from smart casting. With a champ like Brand, it is possible to pop all four abilities at the same time, frequently resulting in an insta-gib.

For skill shots, point your mouse in that direction, hold shift and your hit skill shot. Learn to use some form of smart casting. Champions like Veigar benefit heavily from it.

by Archivis See Profile

There's a whole array of champions that become absolutely useless when they've spent their resource system. How hard does Akali hit with 0 energy? How devastating is Brand with 0 mana? Don't let yourself get low. Properly manage your mana/energy/resources throughout the game.

#1: Do not use mana on minions
#2: Do not use mana on harassing champions that you have no chance in killing (Example: Alistar)
#3: Do not ever let yourself get to a point where you're empty on resources unless you're planning on going back, or you just duked it out. Always, ALWAYS have enough to blow your load on an opponent at any given time.

Exceptions are when your resources come back faster than you spent them, or it is in your best interest to spend those resources (Like Cass), or when you're planning on recalling soon, or when someone is about to pop clarity. You get the idea here. Save mana for champs, last hit minions with auto-attack, do not harass/poke against champs unless you're sure you're going to put them at a disadvantage.

Energy champs can frequently dump their energy that can be slow to recharge. Champs like Kennen/Akali/Rumble/Lee Sin/etc should keep a relatively high energy pool if they're expected to charge a player at a moment's notice. For example, don't charge with an R with Akali if you have 40 energy.

by Archivis See Profile

It took me a thousand games until I realized the value of consumables. I still recommend staying away from the 250g elixirs until you've filled all your equipment slots. If you're soloing top with teleport, make sure you have two wards to survive the entire duration of the time your teleport is inactive. After your second ward expires, go back. THESE ITEMS PAY FOR THEMSELVES. If you're a caster with no real lifesteal/spell vamp/regen, stack up on HP pots. Look at my Brand replay. How many times I did buy pots? I must have used 20+. If you have empty slots and a little gold, use it. For 1.5 minion kills, an HP pot means the difference between being sent back home or staying in lane. Additional laning power is easily made up in an HP pot's cost. You'll farm better in the long run. As you approach mid/end-game, pick up 5 wards. I don't care if it's 375g. Get it. Light the map up like a cherry tree. Ward dragon. Ward blue. Ward the river... four times. Two up top, two on bot, including all the choke points. You should know where their team is at all times. If your team does this, you should essentially eliminate fog of war. A single kill is worth an entire stack of one player's wards for your team.


You cannot effectively control your lane without at least one ward exposing your flank. Ward your blind spot, stack health pots. Collect win.

by Archivis See Profile

When you kill baron, here is what everyone single person on your team gets from the buff:

40 ability power
40 attack damage
3% of your maximum health in health regeneration per 5 sec.
1% of your maximum mana in mana regeneration per 5 sec.
300 gold and 900 experience points
If you turn those stats into gold, you'll find that:

40 ap = blasting wand = 860

40 ad ~ Bestfriend sword = 1650

3% of health as regen/5 with 2000 health ~ 60/5 = 4 regrowth pendants = 1740

1% of mana as manaregen/5 with 1000 mana ~ 10/5 = a meki pendant + a faerie charm = 570

and lastly the 300 gold.

(*note that an average champion would have around 2000 health and 1000 mana.)

Yeah, so if you add that all up, the baron buff gives at least 5120 stats worth of gold, TO EACH PLAYER! In total, baron grants your team a possible 25600 gold lead.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Baron advantage is wrongly computed. You stack that as gold based on item's price, however, the items are persistent whereas buff is temporary. It so often happens that teams go for baron and then does nothing out of it, or just got countered and escape with 2/3 peeps alive. That post encourage peeps to rush for Baron, whereas baron is more likely a side objective that is often only the concretisation of a dominating situation.

    2013-09-30 04:13:33

by Jobbie See Profile edited by Archivis See Profile
last modified: 2011-10-24 11:53:03