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Learn The League 13r2 .pdf



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Titolo: Learn the League
Autore: Patrick ‘Ciderhelm’ O’Callahan

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Learn the League
13th Edition (Revision 2)
Patrick ‘Ciderhelm’ O’Callahan

Learn the League is copyright Patrick O’Callahan 2012-2015. Images from League of Legends are
copyright Riot Games Inc., and are used in accordance with U.S. Fair Use Law. This guide is intended
for personal use and may not be shared without written permission.

Table of Contents
Preface & Introduction .......................................................................................................................................................... 14
Additional Content ................................................................................................................................................................ 14
League is Alive ......................................................................................................................................................................... 15
An Unofficial Guide ................................................................................................................................................................ 16
New Players............................................................................................................................................................................... 17
Sections Overview ............................................................................................................................................................. 17
Getting Started in League of Legends ............................................................................................................................ 18
What is League of Legends ............................................................................................................................................ 18
Setting Up an Account & Installing the Game ......................................................................................................... 18
Name Your Summoner .................................................................................................................................................... 19
Choose an Expertise Level .............................................................................................................................................. 19
The Tutorial Game ............................................................................................................................................................. 19
Battle Training ..................................................................................................................................................................... 19
What Now? ........................................................................................................................................................................... 20
Runes & Masteries .............................................................................................................................................................. 22
An Introduction to Runes & Rune Pages............................................................................................................... 22
Masteries .......................................................................................................................................................................... 24
Basic Game Information .................................................................................................................................................. 26
Matchmaking Rating (Previously Known As Elo) ............................................................................................... 26
First Win of the Day Bonus......................................................................................................................................... 26
Advice for New Players ......................................................................................................................................................... 27
General Advice .................................................................................................................................................................... 27
Four Beginner Item Tips ............................................................................................................................................. 27
Are You Colorblind? ..................................................................................................................................................... 29
Prefer Your Mini-Map on the Left? .......................................................................................................................... 29
Skip Tier 2 Runes ........................................................................................................................................................... 30
When & Why to Purchase Riot Points .................................................................................................................... 30
Get Cheap Champions ................................................................................................................................................ 31
Playing One Champion vs. Playing Many ............................................................................................................. 31
Snowballing Champions & Items ............................................................................................................................ 32
Dive In & Don't Panic ................................................................................................................................................... 33

1 | Learn the League

Tips for Learning Champions......................................................................................................................................... 34
Muscle Memory ............................................................................................................................................................. 34
Ability Combos & Rotations ...................................................................................................................................... 35
Crowd Controls .............................................................................................................................................................. 36
Skillshots .......................................................................................................................................................................... 36
Speed, Dashes & Blinks ............................................................................................................................................... 37
Steroids ............................................................................................................................................................................. 37
Champion Ability & Attack Range ........................................................................................................................... 38
Attack Animation & Projectile Speed ..................................................................................................................... 38
Beating the Smurfs ............................................................................................................................................................ 40
Leavers & AFKers ........................................................................................................................................................... 40
Bot Games (Cooperative vs. AI) ................................................................................................................................ 41
Play With a Patient, Experienced Friend ............................................................................................................... 41
Turn Off “All Chat” ......................................................................................................................................................... 42
Try Howling Abyss, 3v3 Twisted Treeline, and Dominion .............................................................................. 42
Ignore & Report Jerks................................................................................................................................................... 43
Quick Cast (Formerly Smart Cast) ..................................................................................................................................... 44
Quick Cast Setup ................................................................................................................................................................ 45
Quick Cast Range Indicators .......................................................................................................................................... 46
Quick & Self Cast (Key Bindings) ................................................................................................................................... 47
Champion Roles & Recommendations ........................................................................................................................... 48
Marksman ............................................................................................................................................................................. 50
Jinx ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 51
Miss Fortune.................................................................................................................................................................... 52
Sivir ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 53
Ezreal ................................................................................................................................................................................. 54
Urgot.................................................................................................................................................................................. 55
Mage ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 56
Lux ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 57
Ahri ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 58
Cassiopeia ........................................................................................................................................................................ 59
Assassin ................................................................................................................................................................................. 60

2 | Learn the League

Kassadin ............................................................................................................................................................................ 61
Fizz ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 62
Nocturne .......................................................................................................................................................................... 63
Fighter .................................................................................................................................................................................... 64
Jax ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 65
Jayce .................................................................................................................................................................................. 66
Olaf ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 67
Support .................................................................................................................................................................................. 68
Sona ................................................................................................................................................................................... 70
Thresh................................................................................................................................................................................ 71
Janna ................................................................................................................................................................................. 72
Tank ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 73
Amumu ............................................................................................................................................................................. 74
Leona ................................................................................................................................................................................. 75
Cho’gath ........................................................................................................................................................................... 76
Secondary Roles ................................................................................................................................................................. 77
Carry ................................................................................................................................................................................... 77
Pusher ............................................................................................................................................................................... 77
Poke ................................................................................................................................................................................... 78
Initiator ............................................................................................................................................................................. 78
Counter-Initiator............................................................................................................................................................ 78
Disengagement ............................................................................................................................................................. 78
Chase ................................................................................................................................................................................. 79
Disruption ........................................................................................................................................................................ 79
Jungler .............................................................................................................................................................................. 79
Stealth ............................................................................................................................................................................... 80
Mobile ............................................................................................................................................................................... 80
Zoning ............................................................................................................................................................................... 80
Anti-Carry ......................................................................................................................................................................... 81
Where You Belong – The Meta .......................................................................................................................................... 82
Fighter - Solo Top............................................................................................................................................................... 82
Mages - Solo Mid ................................................................................................................................................................ 82

3 | Learn the League

Marksman & Support/Tank - Duo Bot......................................................................................................................... 82
Jungler ................................................................................................................................................................................... 83
Why Not Send Two Top? ................................................................................................................................................. 83
Can You Switch This Up? ................................................................................................................................................. 83
Introduction to Ranked Matches & Draft Pick .............................................................................................................. 85
Ranked Matches and the League System ................................................................................................................. 85
Tiers & Divisions ............................................................................................................................................................. 85
Placement & Promotion ............................................................................................................................................. 86
Understanding the League Listing ......................................................................................................................... 87
Matchmaking Rating (ELO) vs. League Points .................................................................................................... 87
The Truth of Elo Hell ..................................................................................................................................................... 88
Does Elo Hell Really Exist? .......................................................................................................................................... 88
Rank is not a Measurement of Skill ......................................................................................................................... 89
Ranked Tips & Strategy .................................................................................................................................................... 90
Draft Pick Overview ...................................................................................................................................................... 90
Solo Queue vs. Duo Queue ........................................................................................................................................ 91
Banning ............................................................................................................................................................................ 91
First Pick & Early Pick Strategy .................................................................................................................................. 92
Champion & Role Flexibility ...................................................................................................................................... 93
Communication ............................................................................................................................................................. 93
Pick Order & Toxic Players .......................................................................................................................................... 94
Checklist for Ranked Games........................................................................................................................................... 95
Advanced ................................................................................................................................................................................... 96
Sections Overview ............................................................................................................................................................. 96
Introduction to Advanced League ................................................................................................................................... 98
The Six Masteries ................................................................................................................................................................ 98
Map Control .......................................................................................................................................................................101
Champion Theory ............................................................................................................................................................104
Champions Are Not Balanced.................................................................................................................................104
Mobile beats Range, Target beats Mobile, Range beats Target .................................................................106
Health beats Burst, Burst beats Sustain, Sustain beats Health ...................................................................110
Tactics .......................................................................................................................................................................................112

4 | Learn the League

Understanding Diagrams..............................................................................................................................................113
Range ...................................................................................................................................................................................114
Ideal Range ....................................................................................................................................................................114
Minion Exchanges .......................................................................................................................................................116
Relationship between Range & Vision.................................................................................................................117
Flanking ..........................................................................................................................................................................118
Tower Circling ..............................................................................................................................................................120
Movement ..........................................................................................................................................................................122
Staying Ahead of Your Opponent.........................................................................................................................122
Kiting – The Parthian Shot .......................................................................................................................................123
Shoot & Scoot ...............................................................................................................................................................124
Harassment ...................................................................................................................................................................125
Body Blocking ...............................................................................................................................................................126
Moving in Range of Allied Abilities.......................................................................................................................126
Terrain ..................................................................................................................................................................................127
Escape .............................................................................................................................................................................127
Shield ...............................................................................................................................................................................128
Pokes & Hooks ..............................................................................................................................................................129
Chokepoints ..................................................................................................................................................................130
Mental ..................................................................................................................................................................................131
Pressure ..........................................................................................................................................................................132
Zoning .............................................................................................................................................................................133
Skillshot Juking ............................................................................................................................................................134
Brush & Jungle Juking ...............................................................................................................................................138
Maneuvering through Concealment ...................................................................................................................139
Feints ...............................................................................................................................................................................141
Strategy ....................................................................................................................................................................................143
Skirmishes ...........................................................................................................................................................................143
Ambush ..........................................................................................................................................................................144
Line of Retreat & Envelopment ..............................................................................................................................145
Lane Movement Feint ...............................................................................................................................................147
Pressure & Ambush ....................................................................................................................................................149

5 | Learn the League

Side Lane Flanking & Denying Minion Reinforcement..................................................................................150
Scatter Retreat ..............................................................................................................................................................151
Teamfights..........................................................................................................................................................................152
Basic Team Positioning .............................................................................................................................................152
Roles.................................................................................................................................................................................153
Initiation vs. Peeling ...................................................................................................................................................156
Targeting Priority ........................................................................................................................................................158
Protect the Carry .........................................................................................................................................................160
Divide & Conquer ........................................................................................................................................................161
Pincer Assault ...............................................................................................................................................................162
Team Envelopment – Escape Denial ....................................................................................................................163
Disengage ......................................................................................................................................................................164
Objectives ...........................................................................................................................................................................165
Objective Pressure ......................................................................................................................................................166
Multi-Point Assault .....................................................................................................................................................167
Distraction .....................................................................................................................................................................168
Encirclement .................................................................................................................................................................169
Interdiction ....................................................................................................................................................................170
Defense in Depth ........................................................................................................................................................172
Turtling ...........................................................................................................................................................................173
Forks.................................................................................................................................................................................174
Grand Strategy & Team Compositions..........................................................................................................................175
Team Compositions ........................................................................................................................................................176
Compositions in Context – Teamfight vs. Avoidance ....................................................................................176
Assault .............................................................................................................................................................................177
Mobility ...........................................................................................................................................................................181
Disengage & Split Push .............................................................................................................................................185
Pursuit .............................................................................................................................................................................188
Defeat in Detail ............................................................................................................................................................191
Punch-Through ............................................................................................................................................................195
Pressure ..........................................................................................................................................................................198
Creating Effective Teams...............................................................................................................................................201

6 | Learn the League

Team & Strategy Synergy .........................................................................................................................................202
Early Game Objectives Strategy.............................................................................................................................204
Solo Play & Small Groups .........................................................................................................................................206
Organized Teams ........................................................................................................................................................208
Analyzing Tournaments ................................................................................................................................................210
The Impossible Decision ....................................................................................................................................................213
Strategic Split Pushing ...................................................................................................................................................213
The Split Push & Disengage Fork...........................................................................................................................214
Early Game Jungle Invade ........................................................................................................................................216
Executing & Countering Forks.....................................................................................................................................217
Super Minion Waves ..................................................................................................................................................217
Teleport ..........................................................................................................................................................................219
Champion & Item Picks .............................................................................................................................................219
Countering Split Push Forks ....................................................................................................................................221
The Vision Decision .........................................................................................................................................................223
Practical Tips & Advice ........................................................................................................................................................225
Personal Skills ....................................................................................................................................................................225
Potions & Elixirs............................................................................................................................................................225
Tab, Evaluate, & Invest Wisely.................................................................................................................................225
Situational & Map Awareness (Wards!) ...............................................................................................................226
Observe Your Opponents ........................................................................................................................................227
Think About Your Opponent's Cooldowns........................................................................................................227
Track Timers ..................................................................................................................................................................228
Gold Matters .................................................................................................................................................................229
Avoid Unfavorable Fights ........................................................................................................................................229
That Awkward Moment When... ............................................................................................................................230
You Have Been Slain ..................................................................................................................................................231
Calling MIA ....................................................................................................................................................................231
Direct Your Team ........................................................................................................................................................231
Seconds Matter ............................................................................................................................................................232
Are You A Threat? .......................................................................................................................................................232
Don’t Ask Why ..............................................................................................................................................................233

7 | Learn the League

Don't Give Up ...............................................................................................................................................................233
Teams & Objectives .........................................................................................................................................................235
Early Lane Swapping..................................................................................................................................................235
Defend ............................................................................................................................................................................235
Push Together, Recall Together .............................................................................................................................236
Sometimes It's Better To Wait .................................................................................................................................237
Control Your Lane Extension ..................................................................................................................................239
Between Minion Waves ............................................................................................................................................241
Press the Advantage ..................................................................................................................................................242
React To Enemies Who Aren't There ....................................................................................................................242
If They’re Going For Blue, They’re Coming For You ........................................................................................243
Dragon & Baron Nashor ............................................................................................................................................243
Force Favorable Teamfights ....................................................................................................................................244
Inhibitors Matter, But So Does Their Nexus .......................................................................................................246
Pushing & Split Pushing ............................................................................................................................................246
Backdooring ..................................................................................................................................................................247
Closing a Game by Staggering Deaths................................................................................................................247
Fight Fire with Fire ......................................................................................................................................................247
Double Explosion ........................................................................................................................................................248
Mental Preparedness & Teamwork ................................................................................................................................249
What is Fun? .......................................................................................................................................................................249
Understanding Yourself ................................................................................................................................................250
Mechanical vs. Strategic Players ............................................................................................................................250
More Mechanical Skill ................................................................................................................................................252
Extroverts and Introverts ..........................................................................................................................................253
Tying It All Together...................................................................................................................................................254
Mental Traps ......................................................................................................................................................................256
Trap #1: Believing You’re Blameless .....................................................................................................................256
Trap #2: Assuming You Can’t Get Out .................................................................................................................257
Trap #3: Playing on Tilt ..............................................................................................................................................258
Trap #4: Understanding the Long Game ............................................................................................................258
Trap #5: Unwillingness to Fail .................................................................................................................................259

8 | Learn the League

Trap #6: Focusing on Mistakes ...............................................................................................................................260
Trap #7: Trusting the Familiar .................................................................................................................................260
Trap #8: Leaving Beliefs Unchallenged ...............................................................................................................262
Maintaining Focus ...........................................................................................................................................................264
Stage 1 – Do Something ...........................................................................................................................................264
Stage 2 – Situational Awareness............................................................................................................................264
Stage 3 – Rapid Assessment....................................................................................................................................267
Overwhelm your Opponents ..................................................................................................................................269
Working with Teams .......................................................................................................................................................270
Self Improvement ............................................................................................................................................................271
Map Vision ...............................................................................................................................................................................272
Ward & Trinket Strategy.................................................................................................................................................272
Trinkets ...........................................................................................................................................................................274
Combat Vision & Quickcasting ...............................................................................................................................280
Counterwarding ..........................................................................................................................................................280
Other Vision Sources.......................................................................................................................................................281
Towers .............................................................................................................................................................................281
Reveal Abilities .............................................................................................................................................................281
Who is Responsible .........................................................................................................................................................282
Warding With Teammates ............................................................................................................................................282
Protecting & Replacing Wards.....................................................................................................................................283
Warding Locations...........................................................................................................................................................284
Perimeter Warding .....................................................................................................................................................284
Bottom & Top Lane Ward Locations.....................................................................................................................290
Mid Lane .........................................................................................................................................................................294
Offensive & Defensive Jungle Warding ...............................................................................................................298
Taking & Contesting Dragon & Baron Nashor ..................................................................................................301
Bases ................................................................................................................................................................................303
Clairvoyance ......................................................................................................................................................................305
The First Cast.................................................................................................................................................................305
Chase the Jungler (Early Timers)............................................................................................................................305
Against Baiting .............................................................................................................................................................308

9 | Learn the League

Against Juking ..............................................................................................................................................................308
Clairvoyance as Protection ......................................................................................................................................308
Requests .........................................................................................................................................................................308
Jungling, Counterjungling, and Ganking.....................................................................................................................309
Jungling ...............................................................................................................................................................................309
What is a Jungler's Job? ............................................................................................................................................309
Why Have a Jungler? ..................................................................................................................................................309
What is Counterjungling? ........................................................................................................................................310
Picking a Jungler .........................................................................................................................................................310
Runes & Masteries .......................................................................................................................................................312
Smite & What? Summoner Spells ..........................................................................................................................313
Champion Specifics: Stonewall008's YouTube Videos ..................................................................................314
Coordinated Play vs. Solo Play (Also, Communication) ................................................................................314
Balancing Experience & Ganks ...............................................................................................................................315
Triage – Winning the Game by Letting Your Teammates Lose ..................................................................317
Understanding & Minimizing Risks .......................................................................................................................318
The Moment to Gank .................................................................................................................................................320
Covering a Lane ...........................................................................................................................................................320
Visibly Camping Lane ................................................................................................................................................320
Brush May Not Hide Your Presence ......................................................................................................................321
Blue Golem Buff to Mid? ...........................................................................................................................................321
The Pull / Leash ............................................................................................................................................................322
The Value of Custom Games ...................................................................................................................................323
Handling a Level 1 Invasion ....................................................................................................................................323
Preventing Yourself from Attacking Monsters - The '~' Key ........................................................................323
Don't Be Nervous ........................................................................................................................................................324
Counterjungling ...............................................................................................................................................................324
Ideal Counterjungle Champions ...........................................................................................................................324
Mid Laning - Champions & Responsibility .........................................................................................................324
The Level 1 Invasion ...................................................................................................................................................325
See their Jungler? Punish them! ............................................................................................................................326
Track Timers & Invade Accordingly ......................................................................................................................326

10 | Learn the League

Leave Someone to Tell the Story ...........................................................................................................................326
Protecting Your Jungle from Invasion......................................................................................................................327
Defending Blue Golem as a Team .........................................................................................................................328
Defending Red Lizard as a Team ...........................................................................................................................330
Prioritizing After Your First Pass.............................................................................................................................331
Counterjungling & Ganking Routes ..........................................................................................................................332
A Note on Counterganking .....................................................................................................................................332
Level 1 Blue Invasion .................................................................................................................................................333
Forcing a Smite at Blue .............................................................................................................................................334
Level 1 Red Invasion...................................................................................................................................................335
Ganking Entrances in the Jungle ...........................................................................................................................336
Ganking Mid Lane .......................................................................................................................................................337
Ganking Over-Extended Side Lanes .....................................................................................................................338
Ganking Pushed Side Lanes ....................................................................................................................................339
Flanking Behind Side Lane Towers .......................................................................................................................340
Game Mechanics ...................................................................................................................................................................341
Sections Overview ...........................................................................................................................................................341
Summoner's Rift Guidebook.............................................................................................................................................342
Game Objectives ..............................................................................................................................................................342
Map Layout ........................................................................................................................................................................343
Who is Blue Team and who is Purple Team? .....................................................................................................344
Fog of War .....................................................................................................................................................................345
Brush (Bushes) ..............................................................................................................................................................346
Impassable Terrain .....................................................................................................................................................347
Gold & Experience for Champion Kills .................................................................................................................347
Structures............................................................................................................................................................................349
Towers (Turrets) ...........................................................................................................................................................349
Inhibitors & Nexus .......................................................................................................................................................351
Summoner Platform, Shop & Obelisk ..................................................................................................................352
Team Minions ....................................................................................................................................................................353
Minion Waves ...............................................................................................................................................................354
Melee & Caster Minions ............................................................................................................................................354

11 | Learn the League

Siege & Super Minions ..............................................................................................................................................354
Neutral Monsters..............................................................................................................................................................356
Jungle Monster Scaling .............................................................................................................................................356
Baron Nashor ................................................................................................................................................................356
Dragon ............................................................................................................................................................................358
Blue Golem (Ancient Golem) ..................................................................................................................................359
Red Lizard (Lizard Elder) ...........................................................................................................................................360
Minor Camps (Wight, Double Golems, Three Wolves, Four Wraiths) .......................................................361
Summoner Spells ..................................................................................................................................................................362
Recall ....................................................................................................................................................................................362
Exhaust ................................................................................................................................................................................362
Ghost ....................................................................................................................................................................................363
Heal .......................................................................................................................................................................................363
Revive ...................................................................................................................................................................................364
Smite.....................................................................................................................................................................................364
Teleport ...............................................................................................................................................................................365
Cleanse (Summoner Level 2) .......................................................................................................................................365
Barrier (Summoner Level 6)..........................................................................................................................................366
Clarity (Summoner Level 6) ..........................................................................................................................................366
Ignite (Summoner Level 7) ...........................................................................................................................................367
Clairvoyance (Summoner Level 10)...........................................................................................................................367
Flash (Summoner Level 12) ..........................................................................................................................................368
Stats ...........................................................................................................................................................................................370
Baseline Stats vs. Multiplier Stats ...............................................................................................................................370
Normal Attacks .................................................................................................................................................................371
Attack Damage (Baseline) ........................................................................................................................................371
Armor Penetration & Armor Reduction (Multiplier) .......................................................................................371
Attack Speed (Multiplier)..........................................................................................................................................371
Critical Strike Chance (Multiplier) ..........................................................................................................................372
Critical Strike Damage (Multiplier) ........................................................................................................................372
Lifesteal ...........................................................................................................................................................................372
Range...............................................................................................................................................................................372

12 | Learn the League

Abilities ................................................................................................................................................................................372
Ability Power (Baseline) ............................................................................................................................................372
Cooldown Reduction (Multiplier)..........................................................................................................................373
Magic Penetration & Magic Resistance Reduction (Multiplier) ..................................................................373
Mana & Resources .......................................................................................................................................................373
Mana & Resource Regeneration.............................................................................................................................373
Spell Vamp .....................................................................................................................................................................374
Defensive ............................................................................................................................................................................374
Health (Baseline), Effective Health & Shields .....................................................................................................374
Armor (Multiplier) .......................................................................................................................................................375
Magic Resistance (Multiplier) ..................................................................................................................................375
Health Regeneration ..................................................................................................................................................375
Tenacity ..........................................................................................................................................................................376
Utility ....................................................................................................................................................................................376
Movement Speed........................................................................................................................................................376
Passive Gold Gain (Gold per 10) .............................................................................................................................376
A Little More Regarding Defensive Stats .................................................................................................................378
Glossary of Terms..................................................................................................................................................................379
Timers Reference ..................................................................................................................................................................394

13 | Learn the League

Preface & Introduction
Welcome to Learn the League! You’ve now joined a community of thousands of players who’ve sought
to improve their play and find greater enjoyment out of League of Legends. I sincerely hope you have a
good experience with this product.
Learn the League is divided into three main categories. The first category is for new players; these
sections cover core gameplay concepts and systems, as well as how to deal with some of the worse
parts of the community. If you’re new to League of Legends, start from the beginning.
The second category includes advanced sections that cover specific tactics and strategies that allow for
awesome plays in League of Legends. These tactics and strategies are the same things that the best
players in the world are using, and you should dive into these as soon as you’re comfortable with the
concepts that are covered.
The third category includes game mechanics – the things that make the game work and how you can
take advantage of them. This is important information, but it’s not exciting for everyone, so it’s at the
end of the e-book. That said, take some time to look through the highlights for the cool stuff you may
not know about that can help you succeed.
Since I first wrote the e-book, the tournament scene has become a larger and larger reason for new
players to join. On top of this, my own role as an analyst on the pro scene has offered me deeper
insights. Because of these factors, I’ve started to write with an eye towards helping players understand
the pro scene (what team compositions work, what strategies are being employed), and I’ve included
specific examples from the pro scene in newer video content.
Whatever your reason is for picking up the e-book, I truly believe that if you study this e-book you’ll find
information here that will help you in your journey.

Additional Content
When I first wrote Learn the League in early 2012 I planned on creating a purely-written product, larger
in scope but similar in concept to my old tanking e-book for MMORPGs, or to the massive Warrior
guides I used to publish for World of Warcraft.
Since then, I’ve expanded the product significantly. From the Members section of the site, you can now
access the following (in addition to this e-book):
•
•

Game system tutorial movies for new players;
Advanced movies, including strategic concepts illustrated by looking at plays from some of the
best teams in the world;
14 | Learn the League

•
•

A large directory of links to resources around the web that may be helpful in your quest to learn
more and connect with the broader League of Legends community;
…and more!

For long-time e-book owners, you may notice the e-book has been a little lighter since the 12th edition.
This is because I’ve removed the “Don’t Feed” champion guide transcripts from the main file and now
offer it as a standalone download.

League is Alive
League of Legends is an evolving game, with constant updates and changes designed to improve the
experience for players. There are two methods by which I make sure this e-book remains relevant:
1. Strategy, tactics, and advice are “timeless,” in that they are very likely to remain accurate unless
a huge change occurs in the game.
2. Each new edition attempts to update details that may have been changed, such as items, map
mechanics, or stat changes.
In some cases I’ve referred to strategies and plays used in previous seasons, often with specific
examples. Rest assured, if they remain in new editions of the e-book, it’s because I am still seeing these
same strategies and plays being used. For example, I have discussed a Season 1 and Season 2 strategy I
refer to as “Punch-Through,” but this same strategy is still used successfully today. If these same
strategies are still in this e-book when a new edition releases for Season 6, it’s because they’ll still be
relevant.
Small details may occasionally become outdated between new editions, especially as it relates to items
and map mechanics. Releasing a new edition of the e-book is a large project and as a result it cannot be
done at the same pace as Riot’s regular content updates.
I strive for accuracy. That said, please feel free to contact me if you notice any outdated information,
especially if a detail remains outdated after a new edition is released.

15 | Learn the League

An Unofficial Guide
Riot Games Inc. has not endorsed or authorized this guide in any way.
In very limited cases throughout this book I use images and text that are copyright Riot Games Inc. I
have done so after studying Fair Use cases and settlements. Since this is a commercial product, the bar
for Fair Use is higher, but I believe this book meets and exceeds the requirements of Fair Use:
•
•
•

•

This work will in no way detract from the commercial gains of Riot Games Inc.
This work is complementary to League of Legends and is not in competition with it.
This work only uses content from League of Legends where it directly aids and benefits the
user's understanding of the game. Images are used so players can more quickly identify
important objects in the game client.
The amount of copyrighted material used is insignificant, both in relation to their work and to
this work.

As Judge Posner said in Ty Inc. v. Publications Int'l Ltd.:
"... in fair-use case law, we may say that copying that is complementary to the copyrighted work
(in the sense that nails are complements of hammers) is fair use, but copying that is a substitute
for the copyrighted work (in the sense that nails are substitutes for pegs or screws) ... is not fair
use."
This work is not a substitute for League of Legends, but is complementary to it.
That said, if Riot Games Inc. requests that I remove the limited copyrighted material from this guide, I
may comply by removing these images. This would not be an ideal situation as I believe the images I use
are important referential markers and are completely protected under Fair Use, but I would prefer to
keep working on new guides for my fans than get into a legal battle.

16 | Learn the League

New Players
If you’re brand new or you’ve got some games under your belt but are still unfamiliar with some core
game systems, read over these sections.
When possible, you’ll also want to download the relevant “Game Systems” movies available in your
Members area.

Sections Overview
Getting Started - A guide through your very first steps, from setting up an account and downloading the
game to understanding runes, masteries, and the matchmaking system.
Advice for New Players - This section is filled with practical information, such as strategies for using Riot
Points, basic concepts behind champions, developing solid muscle memory and understanding game
mechanics, and dealing with “smurf” players and other players who aim to make your League
experience worse.
Quickcasting - While not every player is ready to start quickcasting, this section will give you the
knowledge of where and how it’s useful, as well as how to get started once you’re ready.
Champion Roles & Recommendations – This section is an introduction to each of the primary roles, as
well as many secondary roles. As we look at each role, I also recommend several champions and offer
my personal thoughts on why they’re unique and enjoyable.
Where You Belong (The Meta) - This section covers what is expected from many players in the early
levels, including what types of champions are played in which areas of the map, as well as the reasoning
for this. Ultimately, Learn the League should bring you to a level where you can make smart decisions
regardless of the strict social rules of the meta, but this is a good resource for when you’re getting
started out.
Ranked Matches & Draft Pick - This section covers the metagame strategy behind ranked matches and
draft pick, and also offers an in-depth look at how Matchmaking Rating (formerly Elo) interacts with
Tiers, Divisions, and League Points.

17 | Learn the League

Getting Started in League of Legends
Are you completely new to League of Legends? If you’ve just downloaded the game – or if you haven’t
even gotten that far – this is where you’ll want to start.

What is League of Legends
League of Legends is a game based on Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), a custom game developed by
Warcraft III players. It shares a genre with DOTA, DOTA 2, Heroes of Newerth, and several smaller
games.
League of Legends has four primary multiplayer game modes. The first, and by far the most popular, is
Summoner's Rift. This game places up to five players against a group of human or AI opponents with the
goal of overrunning the opposing team's base. Twisted Treeline is a smaller game mode with similar
concepts and a maximum of three players on a team.
In late 2011 a new game mode called Dominion was introduced. This is a 5v5 capture-and-hold game
type, and usually involves much quicker matches. Though less popular than Summoner's Rift, Riot has
put significant development work into making sure it is polished and ready for players who are
interested in playing it.
In 2013, a popular custom game type called “All Random All Mid” was turned into an official map known
as Howling Abyss.
At this time, this guide focuses primarily on the Summoner's Rift game mode, though nearly all concepts
translate to Twisted Treeline and Howling Abyss.

Setting Up an Account & Installing the Game
The first thing you'll need to do is create an account. To get started, go to this URL:
http://signup.leagueoflegends.com/en/signup/index
Once you've created an account you'll be able to download the game client, after which you can log in
for your first time.

18 | Learn the League

Name Your Summoner
Choose a name for your Summoner. This can be different from your account name, and you can change
it later if you choose to. Once you're done, choose an icon to represent your Summoner.

Choose an Expertise Level
You'll be asked to choose between four different levels of expertise. Be honest about these choices, as it
will directly impact the experience of the human opponents you're matched against.

The Tutorial Game
Play it. The tutorial is a fantastic way of learning the most basic concepts in the game.

Battle Training
Play it. The Battle Training against bots is another fantastic way of learning the basics of the game. This
is set on the popular Summoner's Rift map (which most of this guide focuses on), and the tips and
messages throughout the game are genuinely worthwhile to read and remember. You won't necessarily
remember everything from Battle Training after you're done, but it is still worth the experience.

19 | Learn the League

What Now?
After playing through the Basic Tutorial and Battle Training missions you have two choices.
You can explore the game client, check out the news items, use the Riot Store, or poke around the
champion pages. If you need help with some of the basic functions of the game, the '?' in the upper right
hand of your client may be of assistance.

Of course, the more fun choice is just to dive right in and play another match. Click the red 'Play' button
at the top of your screen, and then jump into a new match.

I recommend the "Co-op vs. AI" to get started, as this will ally you against computer opponents who can
be a little more enjoyable to learn the basics of your champions against.
Either now, or after your first few games, I strongly recommend reading the "Advice for New Players"
section of this guide. At the very least it will give you some things to think about.
Once you've played a dozen or so matches start really digging into the rest of "Learn the League." There
are very advanced concepts throughout the guide that will help you out immensely if you learn them
sooner rather than later.
As always, last hit, last hit, last hit!

20 | Learn the League

(If you didn't catch the mention during Battle Training, last hitting enemy minions and monsters is a big
part of how you earn gold. It's one of the hardest and most important skills to master. Practice early,
practice often!)

21 | Learn the League

Runes & Masteries
In the upper-right of your game client you should see several buttons you can click on:

The first button (orange) is the Riot Store -- click this if you want to purchase new champions, skins, or a
wide variety of other perks for your account.
Next to this is your profile button. Once you click this you'll see several tabs. After clicking the profile
button you’ll be redirected to this page:

Browse the profile page at your leisure. When you’re ready, the two places we want to look at next are
the Runes & Masteries tabs.

An Introduction to Runes & Rune Pages
Runes are items purchased from the Riot Store interface that have the following characteristics:
•
•
•
•

Stat bonus;
Tier rating;
Slot defined by color and name (ex. Red Mark);
Primary or Secondary status based on slot.

22 | Learn the League

Let's look at the Greater Mark of Strength. In order, here are its attributes:
•

•

•
•

"Strength" runes indicate a physical Attack Damage bonus, meaning a player with this rune will
deal more damage on normal melee or ranged attacks and abilities that benefit from physical
damage;
Since this is a "Greater" Mark, it is Tier 3 item. It is available to players who are level 20 or
higher. Second tier runes (available at level 10) have no prefix, and first tier runes (available
immediately) are labeled "Lesser."
"Mark" indicates it is a red rune. Yellow runes are Seals, blue runes are Glyphs, and the large
slots are Quintessences. Red Mark runes can only be placed in red slots on a rune page.
Greater Mark of Strength is considered a Primary rune, meaning it grants a strong bonus to its
stat (physical Attack Damage).

Runes can only be purchased with Influence Points (IP). This is a fairly important point because it means
your selection of runes is limited primarily by your games played, as well as your success within these
games.
Before we go further, let me outline what determines whether a rune is Primary or Secondary:
•
•
•

Red Marks: Offensive runes are generally Primary;
Yellow Seals: Defensive runes are generally Primary;
Glyphs: Magical runes are generally Primary.

Quintessences provide their full stat bonus regardless of type (in other words, there are no Primary or
Secondary Quintessences).
For whatever reason, Riot does not currently tell you whether a rune is Primary or Secondary when
purchasing from the Riot Store. This is frustrating, and I recommend taking the time to check particular
runes before making a big investment.

Not All Secondary Runes Are Created Equal
Let's say you want to stack Flat Armor in your Marks, Seals, and Glyphs. To do this, you would buy Seals,
Marks, and Glyphs of Resilience.
You'd probably notice something when you were purchasing or putting these into your rune page: Even
though both the Mark of Resilience and Glyph of Resilience are 'Secondary,' the Mark of Resilience
provides more Flat Armor.
It's ok to use Secondary runes in a lot of cases, but it's usually not a good idea if it's a third tier
Secondary rune, meaning it provides a significantly lower return than other Secondary runes.

23 | Learn the League

Not All Bonuses are Equally Good
It's worth saying that some bonuses just aren't very good. Not all bonus stats you receive from runes will
help you on every champion.
In some cases, such as with Endurance runes (which provide a percentage bonus to your health), they'll
rarely ever be a top pick for any champion.

Not Always the Most Fun, But Always Reliable
I'll cover this in the Champion Roles & Recommendations guide, but it's worth saying here that there are
some runes that are universally good, and will work fine on the vast majority of champions in the
League:
•
•
•
•

Red Marks: Armor Penetration (Desolation) or Magic Penetration (Insight), depending on your
primary damage type.
Yellow Seals: Flat Armor (Resilience).
Blue Glyphs: Flat Magic Resist (Warding).
Quintessences: Flat Health (Fortitude).

These are staples. Most of the time there may be a bit better way to build your champion, but this will
be good enough. This is an especially helpful set of runes to have if you want to try out a lot of new
champions or test the champions that are free in a given week. This is also a good idea if you really don't
want to get a lot of rune pages.

Rune Pages
Runes are placed onto a Rune Page. Rune pages unlock new slots based on your level, with all slots
unlocked once you're level 30. You will gain Quintessence slots every 10 levels.
These are pretty straightforward, but there're a couple things you want to know:
•
•

You can always take runes back out of a page (you never permanently lose runes by placing
them in a page);
You can use the same runes in multiple rune pages.

In other words, you're never going to be penalized for using your runes

Masteries
If you've used talent or perk trees from nearly any other game, especially modern MMORPGs or RPGs,
this is the same concept. You'll get new points to spend every level and you can place them into any of

24 | Learn the League

the available perks. Once you've spent enough points in a tree, a new set of perks in that tree will
become available to you.
You can have up to 20 Mastery pages (add more by clicking the '+' button). Unlike Rune Pages, these
don't cost you anything. Also, if you know you need to make a change to your masteries while you're in
a game lobby, you can quickly edit and save them before a game starts.

25 | Learn the League

Basic Game Information
Let me jump into a couple concepts related to the matches you play, but not part of the actual in-game
match-up.

Matchmaking Rating (Previously Known As Elo)
League of Legends using a rating system called Matchmaking Rating, or MMR. The effect a single match
has on your MMR is determined by two factors:
•
•

Whether you won or lost the match;
Who you won or lost the match against.

This is a relative ranking system, meaning the system attempts to place you at a rank in relation to your
peers. Only games against human players are rated.
When matching you against new opponents, the system will first try to match you against opponents of
similar MMR and party size. If this fails, it will continue expanding its parameters until it finds the most
suitable opponents for you. For this reason, matches that take an unusually long time before they're
found have a higher likelihood of being imbalanced either for or against you, as this can mean that the
parameters for acceptable opponents have been significantly broadened.
Players are assigned different MMR ratings for each different type of queue. For example, ranked 5v5
matches are separate from normal 5v5 matches, and solo queue ranked matches are different from
arranged team ranked matches.
MMR is hidden. In normal games there is very little you can do to determine your actual standing,
though there are some websites that attempt to approximate this number. Taken a step further,
opposing players can only see the number of normal games you’ve won, not the number you’ve lost.
This anonymity is designed so you can make mistakes and do badly without worrying about being
embarassed or harassed by other players (don’t worry, everyone plays badly at points).
In ranked matches, MMR helps determine your standing on the ladder, though the specific MMR is still
not shown publicly.

First Win of the Day Bonus
The first win of the day bonus grants you Influence Points (IP) for winning your first match in a day. A lot
of players (including many of my friends) will log on to aim for this bonus, even if they’re otherwise busy
on something else.

26 | Learn the League

Advice for New Players
In this section I'm going to cover a wide variety of topics regarding the new player experience. League of
Legends, like other competitive multiplayer games, can be an extraordinarily frustrating game to play if
you wind up with the wrong teammates or opponents. I want to help mitigate that by giving you a heads
up on some things to expect and how to deal with them.

General Advice
Before getting into the game itself, let’s start with some basic knowledge you’ll want to absorb.

Four Beginner Item Tips
First, don’t worry about item appearance or the logic of the item. Worry about the stats. It is ok for
Ashe, an archer, to buy an Infinity Edge sword (in fact, it’s one of her very best items). It’s ok for
Cassiopeia, a half-snake, to buy a pair of boots.

Second, you can purchase any items from the shop by clicking the “All Items” button at the top. This will
open up a browsable shop interface that isn’t limited to the recommended items.
That said, the recommended items are great guidelines and you are rarely going to have a tough time by
following them. But knowing how to get to the rest of the item shop is important as you learn new items
and when you want to try out things you’ve read or seen other players do.

27 | Learn the League

Third, items that share a “Unique Passive” with the same name do not stack with each other. In other
words, you will only gain that particular passive bonus from one of the items. The other bonuses from
the items still work fine.
Fourth and finally, at some point every player will buy an item and immediately regret their decision. If
you’re quick, there’s a solution:

Before you leave the summoner platform, you can click the “Undo” button at the bottom of the shop to
sell your item back at full price.

28 | Learn the League

Are You Colorblind?
When inside a game, open up your options menu (normally defaulted to “ESC”) and click “Video” on the
left column. Here’s what you’ll see:

Enable colorblind mode by clicking the checkbox. This changes the color scheme on the mini-map and
on health bars. Many players who aren’t colorblind (including myself) often prefer this color scheme as
well, so feel free to try it out just to see if you like it.

Prefer Your Mini-Map on the Left?
Many players who’ve come from the Starcraft 2 or Real Time Strategy scene or who are left-eye
dominant prefer to have the mini-map on the left side of the map. This is done through the “Interface”
tab on the left column of your options menu (the option is more than halfway down so you’ll likely need
to scroll):

The trick I’ve heard to finding out whether you’re left or right-eye dominant is to point to an object in
the distance, then cover one eye. If you’re still pointing to the same place, the eye that is currently open
is your dominant eye.

29 | Learn the League

Skip Tier 2 Runes
Runes cost Influence Points (IP), and this is a relatively scarce resource given the number of runes you
may want to purchase. For this reason, I recommend you wait until you're level 20 before you purchase
expensive runes. This is when all of the best runes become available to you, and any runes you've
previously purchased are likely to be a wasted investment.
That said, Tier 1 runes are very, very cheap. If you really want runes, you won’t be set back too badly by
picking some of these up.

When & Why to Purchase Riot Points
League of Legends is a free-to-play game, and many of those who play League of Legends never
purchase anything with real money. It is certainly possible to play and enjoy the game without spending
any money. That said, Riot Games has a very successful business model, and there are real incentives to
purchasing Riot Points (RP).
If you're willing to invest some money into the game, I strongly suggest doing so. The fact that you're
reading this guide means you want to get involved with the game on a deeper level, and having RP is a
big help towards that. Here's how:
1. Influence Points (IP) can be used to purchase champions. However, it is also the only way to
purchase Runes, which have a big impact on your in-game performance. With limited runes, you
will not be able to play the game as effectively or with the same flexibility you could, so consider
purchasing any champions with RP to put your IP towards runes;
2. Because IP is so important to filling out rune pages, consider purchasing IP boosts under the
Boosts tab in the Riot Store. The per-win boosts do stack with the time-based boosts (ex. 10
Wins boost stacks with 14 Days boost), so you may wish to do this.
3. Reaching level 30 -- again, on the assumption that you also care about being a good player -makes the XP boosts valuable as well. Like IP boosts, win-based and time-based boosts stack.
4. Runes are placed into rune pages, and while a wide selection of runes gives you more flexibility,
having more rune pages is necessary to give you more options when a game is starting.
Keep an eye on sales and price reductions. Over time, Riot tends to reduce the price on champions to
provide more incentive to purchase them.

Boosting Tip
I mentioned using Experience and Influence Point (IP) boosts. It's definitely worth noting that per-win
bonuses will be maximized if you're playing on Summoner's Rift against human opponents. This is
because Summoner's Rift against human opponents grants the most Experience and IP per game.

30 | Learn the League

Skins
I also like to buy skins from time to time, particularly for champions I play a lot. These are often
advertised around their store and interface, and can be fully searched under the Skins tab in the Riot
Store.
If you're a big fan of buying champion skins, it's worth remembering that new champion skin bundles
with two bonus skins cost the same RP as buying just the two skins by themselves. Practically speaking,
this means that purchasing a champion with IP, then buying the two skins, doesn't save you any money
(but does cost you a good chunk of IP).
Champion skin bundles with one bonus skin, however, do not have the same benefit. If you have excess
IP and want to limit the real money spent on RP, it will be more effective to purchase the champion with
IP then purchase the skin separately with RP.
You may see some skins that cost 1820 RP or even more. These are legendary and ultimate skins and
nearly all of them have significant overhauls and pretty cool voicework. Brolaf (an Olaf legendary) is one
of my personal favorites for Legendary skins, and Pulsefire Ezreal and Spirit Guard Udyr are both
incredible ultimate skins.

Get Cheap Champions
There are three main ways to acquire a small collection of champions on a budget. The first is through
champion bundles, which can be purchased through the Riot Store with Riot Points. These offer 20
introductory champions, as well as some other bonuses, at a hugely discounted price.
The second is by purchasing the cheap 450 and 1350 Influence Points (IP) champions. While I
recommend limiting the amount of champions you purchase with IP while leveling, it's worth purchasing
these if you really want to play a champion without investing cash money into them. I recommend
purchasing any bundle you may want prior to purchasing specific champions. A lot of the basic
champions come with these bundles.
Finally, check out the sales! Riot frequently offers discounts on older champions, allowing you to pick
them up at a great rate. You won’t always get the champions you want now, but if you’re enjoying the
game, chances are you’ll find a time to play these champions later on.

Playing One Champion vs. Playing Many
Do you best learn the game by playing one champion or by playing many different champions?

31 | Learn the League

In my opinion, knowing one champion inside and out is a great benefit while learning a game like League
of Legends. The reason for this is that there is still a vast array of information you need to learn about
the game, such as items, mechanics, map awareness, objectives, and strategy. If you're good with a
champion, you can spend more of your time in game learning these other concepts.
But you should also take time to play at least one champion of each different primary role. If you’ve only
ever played support, for example, won’t give you much of an idea how the other champions in the
League play. And if you’ve never experienced other roles, chances are you won’t perform as well in your
own role as someone who has. You don't have to play much of the other roles early on, but you should
commit to at least trying them.
I've played more than three thousand League matches, but I still have not played every champion in the
game (some day I’ll try Poppy and Karma… some day). In fact, I am still learning new things all the time.
You'll have time to do this.
Play what looks interesting. Play until you find a champion you love. And if you want to experiment, do
so! But never feel guilty for playing a champion you love over and over again -- you'll still be able to
learn the game.

Snowballing Champions & Items
Snowballing refers to taking the advantage, then compounding it to get an even stronger advantage.
While snowballing is very common and smart in team play, doing so with specific champions or items (I'll
cover them in a moment) will not always teach you to be better at the game.
New players tend to make a lot of mistakes, including over-extending into dangerous areas of the map,
getting caught alone and without teammates, and not knowing their limitations. They also won't usually
make effective use of crowd controls and won't know the abilities of their opponents.
All of these factors make champions like Master Yi and Tryndamere, who can normally be shut down
with good use of crowd controls, very good at completely destroying these players. With each kill and
each new item, they become even more capable of killing their opponents.
Some items are meant for snowballing as well. Mejai's Soulstealer, an item that stacks ability power on
kills and assists (but loses stacks if you die), really lends itself well to overpowering opponents who
simply don't know how to respond to you. Sword of the Occult acts similarly, but provides attack
damage instead of ability power.
Winning is fun. Steamrolling your opponents is fun. If you want to take this route, go for it! My main
caution is that it doesn't hold up forever, and as you come across better and more knowledgeable
opponents, you'll need to know how to deal with them without relying on snowballing (specifically the
kind that relies on specific champions or stacking items).

32 | Learn the League

The other side of the coin is that you'll probably have to deal with people who are snowballing, and in
many cases you'll come across players who are significantly ahead of you by no fault of your own.
Sometimes you can punish greed by crowd controlling your opponent under one of your towers as they
try to dive you. Other times you won't be able to do anything at all, or your options may not be obvious
while you're learning the game. Don't sweat it -- just focus on learning the game for yourself.

Dive In & Don't Panic
If you've been playing against bots, don't get nervous about playing matches against real players. Just
jump into it and accept that you're not always going to do well against real opponents. Once you've
gotten over that hump, you'll be able to really enjoy the competitive matches, especially the close ones
where your actions made all the difference.
Once you're actually playing, don't panic if you're being harassed or getting hit with abilities you didn't
know about. It happens. It'll happen for a very long time. And not too long into playing, you'll likely be
using abilities that newer opponents don't know about. Just keep in mind that League of Legends has a
fairly big learning curve, and this experience is part of learning it.

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Tips for Learning Champions
Throughout this guide you're going to see all sorts of information about champions, roles, and gameplay
tips. However, I'd like to add a few things for you to begin looking at and thinking about as soon as you
can.

Muscle Memory
Muscle memory is one of the most often overlooked essentials in gaming. When playing a game, your
brain will automatically learn patterns, and you will be able to more quickly bring knowledge to the front
of your mind when you need it. For example, once you've used the summoner spell 'Flash' for several
games, you will become far quicker to react and use it in tight situations. The same goes for using
'Cleanse' more quickly against opponents.
Muscle memory isn't just the concept of quickly remembering things, though. It is your physical
response time to your mouse and keyboard when assessing a situation. Your brain will develop it quickly
for using champion abilities or summoner spells, provided you practice. You've developed muscle
memory when actions become second nature for you.
I will tend to spend at least my first game fumbling with complex champions before really getting an
idea how they play. I might use an ability combo well, but it will be deliberative and thought out, not
second nature. This is true even when I know the basic concepts behind a champion already. I won't
perform my best with a champion until I've had a full night's rest after I've learned them.
I bring this up for two reasons:
•
•

To reassure you that yes, you're going to make mistakes while learning, and yes, this is
completely normal;
To encourage you to take time to practice with champions and summoner spells, even if they
are frustrating at first, if there's any chance you're going to enjoy them.

Some champions will give you new insight into the game as you play them, particularly when those
champions have abilities that force you to think differently. For example, Tristana and other champions
can frequently make use of jumping over walls both to escape and initiate, and as you play them you'll
get a feel for when to do that. A limited number of champions can utilize placeable units like wards, or
to allied units, such as Lee Sin, and this also forces you to rethink how you look at the map.
Once you've played champions like this and developed muscle memory for them, you'll be better at
playing against those champions, as you'll be able to think like them.

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High Skill Cap Champions
Some champions are considered higher skill cap than others. Skill cap refers to how much there is to
learn about that champion, along with the associated muscle memory, before you are playing at the
champion's potential.
Lee Sin is a good example of this. He has three basic abilities, which can all be activated a second time
for a different effect. His abilities are all dependent on the position of other units, and using all of them
effectively takes an extraordinary amount of practice. Because of the large number of combos he can
pull off with his abilities, only a handful of the top players in League of Legends have mastered this
champion.
High skill cap does not mean that a champion is difficult to pick up and contribute to a team (though in
some cases they can be). It also does not make these champions inherently better than other
champions, though in some cases it will give them an edge in the hands of a very good player.

If you're interested in really getting a challenge in League of Legends, consider trying to learn one of the
higher skill-cap champions. You can get a fairly accurate idea of which champions these are by looking
through the champion information pages in your League of Legends client and looking at the Difficulty
slider.

Ability Combos & Rotations
Some champions, such as Ashe, have a set of abilities that each work independently and really don’t
need to be used together. However, other champions rely on using their abilities in specific sequences,
or at the same time, to maximize their strengths.
Malzahar is a good example of one of these champions. Whenever possible, a Malzahar player wants to
land all three of his normal abilities on opponents, then immediately cast his ultimate. Malzahar’s first
ability silences opponents, his second ability creates a zone of damage beneath the opponent that deals
damage every second, and his third ability deals magic damage to his target every second. However,
while casting his ultimate, both he and his target are temporarily unable to take any actions. By landing

35 | Learn the League

all of his abilities before using his ultimate, he doesn’t lose out on any damage because he’s not able to
cast, and his opponent can’t do anything to heal or escape from the damage they’re taking.
A lot of ability combos will come naturally to you as you play a champion, but it’s always a good idea to
see what other players are doing. Reading champion guides either from my own “Don’t Feed” series or
on other areas of the web is a good idea when trying to learn these combos.

Crowd Controls
Abilities that prevent enemies from performing certain actions are crowd controls. For example, stuns
and fears can totally prevent players from controlling their character. Slows prevent players from
moving at full speed, roots prevent them from moving at all (but they can often still cast abilities and
attack), and silences prevent spells from being cast. There are many other types of crowd controls in the
League and they’re all very good at their job.
When you see your allies using crowd controls or when you’ve just used one of your own, try to wait
before using another crowd control. If three people stun a player for 2 seconds at the same time, that
player is still only stunned for 2 seconds. But if the three players stagger these casts, one after another,
they can potentially get a full 6 seconds of stuns, making the target much easier to kill.

Skillshots
Skillshots (skill shots) are abilities that are not targeted, but are instead aimed in a direction or on a
location. These abilities are not guaranteed to hit your intended target, and due to travel time,
opponents may be able to avoid these abilities by responding quickly.
While the number and types of skillshots are too diverse to cover here, here are some basic tips to help
you out as you're learning to use them:
•
•
•
•

Lead your target based on where you believe they'll be when the projectile hits them, not where
they currently are, unless they're standing still;
If your target is trying to dodge a skillshot you're about to use, wait until they've stopped before
you fire it;
If you or an ally have a reliable crowd control, wait for that before using your skillshot against
them;
If you're using a location-targeted skillshot that goes over units, such as Kog'maw’s Living
Artillery, try firing it right behind where your opponent is standing -- aim it so they'll get hit if
they stand still and they'll get hit if they run backwards. Many players, especially early on,
instinctively move backwards when a skillshot is being fired towards them (even if the skillshot is
also aimed behind them).

36 | Learn the League

Speed, Dashes & Blinks
A lot of champions have dashes or blinks that can move you towards a location quickly, or abilities that
dramatically increase your movement speed. Some of these are targeted on enemies and require you
move towards that target. However, others do not require this. Here’s a quick look at the differences
between each type of movement:
•
•
•

Movement speed lets you cover large distances but won’t get you over walls and isn’t as good as
dashes or blinks when avoiding skillshots
Dashes and jumps move you from one point to another, though you may be hit by abilities in
between each point
Blinks instantly move you from one point to another without being affected by abilities in
between each point

When learning a new champion you may be tempted to use these abilities to jump into fights -- and in
some cases, you'll be right to do so! However, try to think about whether you'll need to use these
abilities to escape an upcoming fight if things start looking bad. Abilities that require you target enemies
can sometimes be used to escape, too, if there are minions or flanking opponents moving in.
By saving your movement abilities to escape, you will be able to recover from mistakes or bad calls while
you're learning. You might miss out on a kill here or there, but it often pays to be a little cautious until
you're confident in your play and your knowledge of your opponents.
Keep this in mind when using the Flash summoner spell as well.

Steroids
When playing a new champion, look through your abilities for any that provide you a significant increase
to a stat, such as Attack Speed or Physical Attack Damage. These are called 'steroids.' If these are on a
short cooldown or, better, are passive and will always be applied to you, you should consider making
item choices based on them. For example, Fiora gains a massive bonus to Attack Speed with one of her
abilities, making it less important to build items that increase her Attack Speed.
There's a lot of theory involved here and you won't necessarily want to stray too far from basic role
items (covered in the 'Champion Roles & Recommendations' section of this guide). However, evaluating
steriod abilities will help you improve your overall understanding of the game.

37 | Learn the League

Champion Ability & Attack Range
Many match-ups in League of Legends are determined by the range of your attacks and abilities. After
all, longer range means you can stay at a safer distance, and potentially get more damage or crowd
control out before an enemy champion is able to do anything to you.

While in game, you can mouse over your abilities, both passive and active, to see how much range they
have even if you’re not activating them. Additionally, you can hover over your attack damage (in the
lower left by default) to see exactly how far your normal attacks can travel.

Attack Animation & Projectile Speed
I'm going to get into a fairly technical concept here but it will help you as you're learning to last hit to
gain gold in the early and mid game. Note that I also have a video on YouTube on this same subject
called Stutter Step, Attack Move, and Awesome Keybinding Trick (if you can’t click a link from this file,
you can also find it linked in the Members section).
Attack Animation is the speed at which a champion will complete a normal attack once an attack is
ready. Projectile Speed is the speed at which normal ranged attacks will travel towards their target.
These are not explicitly listed stats (as such I don't list them in the 'Stats' section of this guide).
Attack Animation & Projectile Speed have an enormous impact on attempting to farm and last-hit
minions that are receiving damage from other sources. Some champions, such as Nautilus, have very
slow swing animations that prevent them from immediately hitting a target when the player orders an
attack. Other champions, such as Corki, have extremely fast Attack Animations and Projectile Speeds
that allow them to very easily farm minions within range of them.
Attack Animation also plays a role in chasing and kiting enemy champions, as movement must be
interrupted while the animation reaches the point where the attack occurs. Once a projectile is in the
air, a player can immediately move again until their next attack is ready, and players should get in the
habit of moving between attacks. Being able to do this will dramatically increase your ability to chase

38 | Learn the League

and kite, as well as reposition or dodge enemy skillshots while farming. Particularly fast champions can
even stay ahead of slow opponents who are attempting to flee while still getting normal attacks off.
Finally, I'll leave you with a tip. When I'm playing champions who have slower projectiles, such as Sivir
and Kog'maw, I'll tend to move closer to minions I'm trying to last hit (provided it's safe to do so).
Getting as close as you safely can to a minion greatly reduces the travel time of the projectile, allowing
you to more easily land that killing blow.

39 | Learn the League

Beating the Smurfs
'Smurfs' is a community-created term that refers to players who have significant League of Legends
experience but have started a new account and are playing with low-level players. In some cases, this is
harmless, and is just used to get a new character up to level 30, perhaps to attempt to start fresh on the
ranked ladder. In other cases, players are trying to get referral rewards. And in other cases, players may
be starting a new account after playing DOTA, Heroes of Newerth, or DOTA2, and may play at a very
high level just based on experience in other games (these are not technically smurfs).
But in a lot of cases, players start smurf accounts because they're not enjoying playing against
experienced players as much as they enjoy slaughtering new players who don't know how to play the
game. And even in the cases of players with a more legitimate reason to be on a new account, a lot of
them will also bring a poor attitude towards the legtimately new players in their games.
Experience doesn't speak to skill, but it does speak to experience. Smurfs may or may not have much
player skill, especially against more experienced players, but they do have experience. They're going to
know more about champions, abilities, and basic strategies than their opponents. They're going to have
some of the basic concepts of the game down that new players haven't learned yet.
What makes many smurfs bad?
1. They will berate and insult you;
2. They will attempt to kill you over and over;
3. They will avoid objectives and prolong the game so they can continue killing you.
Worst of all, you will not learn anything about how the game is played at any competitive level by
playing against smurfs.
It's sad that I have to write such a significant section of this guide for such an obnoxious group of
gamers, but hey, it's the internet. A lot of people are jerks. Read the following sections to learn ways to
deal with them and make your way through the leveling process.

Leavers & AFKers
Leavers & AFKers are players who stop contributing to a match in progress. They're not smurfs, but
they're just as likely to ruin an otherwise good match. While leavers and AFKers will happen at every
level of the game, there is an astronomically high chance you'll come across them in the lower levels.
This is because this is the level range where people are:
•
•

Getting frustrated due to other factors (such as smurfs) and quitting the game;
Not at the point where they realize that leaving or AFKing in a match is hurting their teammates
and wasting their time;

40 | Learn the League

•

Not aware of other problems that may conflict with League of Legends, such as internet
connectivity or slower computers.

The reasoning doesn't really matter. And, in all honesty, there'll probably be some point where you need
to leave or AFK in a match yourself; given enough games (I've left a game five times in a few thousand
matches).
If your team has more leavers and AFKers than the opposing team, chances are higher that you'll lose
the match. What do you do about it? Tough it out, accept the loss, and move on. I know that's not a
great response, but it's the only one I can give. The problem drastically diminishes as you get to higher
levels and wind up against better opponents.

Bot Games (Cooperative vs. AI)
Bot games (Cooperative vs. AI) place you on a team with other human allies. You'll be playing against
fairly well scripted computer AI opponents.
So, I'll start with the big thing. Bot games were really bad when I first started playing League of Legends.
The AI wasn't very good and there was a very limited number of champions that bots could control. Both
the AI and champion selection has improved since then. That said, you're still not playing against human
opponents, and you're not going to learn too much in the way of advanced tactics until you do.
But bot games are fantastic for learning all of the basics in a friendlier environment. There are still going
to be occasional jerks in these games, but you can ignore them.
Your Goal: Reach at least level 10 in bot games unless you're playing with friends.
Most of the smurfs stay in the level 1-10 range (many of them dropping off because the referral bonuses
only require level 10).

Play With a Patient, Experienced Friend
My wife and I played through the game and had a great deal of fun doing so. You probably have a friend
or significant other who plays League of Legends. Whether they're pro players or not, they're probably
going to be miles better than you if they're level 30 and you're brand new. They'll be able to give you
advice, especially on champions they've played, and they'll be able to help deal with smurfs.
By virtue of them being in a game with you, the average level of opponents you face will be a bit higher,
but this can work in your favor if it brings you out of the smurfs bracket.
In the same vein, try to make friends who play League of Legends. The game is just a lot more enjoyable
with friends. Having at least one other player with you will make all the difference.

41 | Learn the League

Turn Off “All Chat”
In your options menu, under the “Interface” menu in the left column, scroll down until you see this
option:

Cross-team chat serves virtually no purpose and it’s frequently used to harass and egg people on. While
not everyone will want to turn this off, I’ve personally found it dramatically increases my own
enjoyment of the game, and it may help you as well.

Try Howling Abyss, 3v3 Twisted Treeline, and Dominion
These game modes are a less popular than the 5v5 Summoner's Rift map. This works to your advantage
in having to deal a little less with smurfs.
Dominion matches are usually much shorter. While they won't teach you much about the main map
mechanics, they can be a good way to practice with a champion's abilities, and their length makes them
ideally suited to when you can't invest much time into the game. The best part of the short length is that
you won't have to put up with much from jerks.
Howling Abyss is a little newer on the scene. Before a new map was set aside for this, it was originally
known as “All Random, All Mid,” or ARAM, and you may still see it referred to by this name. The concept
is that you are randomly given a champion (out of the champions you own), and your team must play
with the champions given. There are a few extra caveats, such as the ability to earn tokens that allow
you to redraw different random champions if you really want to do something different. The game itself
grants faster experience and gold, along with constant combat and some item differences.
Personally, I find Howling Abyss to be a very enjoyable game mode. Unlike Dominion, it’s still essentially
a fast game of Summoner’s Rift, and it’s very enjoyable when you have some friends and want to kill
some time. It’s also a good way to force yourself to try new champions.

42 | Learn the League

Ignore & Report Jerks
You will likely come across jerks as long as you play this game. It happens, and it's not just a low level
thing. Even at the highest levels of play you'll still occasionally run across them.

If you would like to ignore a player, open up the scoreboard (default is holding down 'Tab') and click the
chat icon on the far right side of the tab menu. After the game, report players who are being jerks -they're sent to the Tribunal, a player-run justice system, and may be warned or even banned.

43 | Learn the League

Quick Cast (Formerly Smart Cast)
When you cast many spells in League of Legends, you will first be asked to verify the direction or the
target of your spell. Then, when you press the key again, the spell will fire.
Quickcasting is a game option that causes most of your spells to automatically fire without first verifying
a direction or a target. Instead, abilities that are quickcast will be targeted on the enemy or location
where the mouse cursor currently is.
Most, but not all, top players use quickcasting. This is because it takes tangibly less time to cast spells.
This is especially important on champions with short cooldowns or champions who benefit from casting
multiple spells rapidly to create devastating combos.
By definition, quickcasting lets you cast faster, react more quickly, and have your spells off cooldown
sooner.
What are the drawbacks to quickcasting?
•
•

•

You will need to develop muscle memory to avoid accidentally firing spells. This will take a little
while.
You will no longer be able to see the range or path of spells before you fire. This is difficult to
deal with when you don't know the champion you're playing too well. (We'll discuss this a little
later)
You will find it next to impossible to stop quickcasting once you start.

I'm a huge advocate of quickcasting, but it can be daunting to start using it, and you don't need to start
doing it right away. Let's discuss how to set up quickcasting and then talk about some of the options
available.

44 | Learn the League

Quick Cast Setup
By default, most users will have quickcast keys bound to 'SHIFT + Ability.' In other words, if you hold
down the SHIFT key and press your ability key (usually Q, W, E, and R), you will quickcast that ability.
However, you can change this:

By clicking this button at the top of the Hotkeys menu you will turn quickcasting on for all items and
abilities. You can also disable this later by clicking the button to the left.

You can also enable and disable inidividual abilities and items by clicking the toggle button beneath
them. Dark backgrounds mean quickcasting is disabled; highlighted backgrounds mean quickcasting is
enabled. This can be helpful if you prefer to aim some critical abilities but still want rapid responses on
others.

45 | Learn the League

Quick Cast Range Indicators

At the very bottom of the hotkeys menu is an option to display range indicators when quickcasting.
With Quick Cast Range Indicators active, holding down the key for a quickcast ability will show its range.
This primarily helps for skillshots, and is ideal if you still aren't familiar with the range of a champion's
spells. Additionally, you can cancel spells before they’re cast by clicking on the ground.
A lot of pro players use this setting, but there is one downside. Normal quickcasting causes an ability to
fire when a button is pressed down on your keyboard. Quickcasting with Quick Cast Range Indicators
causes skillshots to fire when a button is released. The difference is extraordinarily small, but if you're all
about performance and you know the range of your abilities, you're fine to avoid this setting.

46 | Learn the League

Quick & Self Cast (Key Bindings)
Some abilities can be cast either on yourself or other targets. To cast these abilities on yourself you
would normally hold down ALT + Ability (or whatever you bind it to in the menu); or, with Quick Cast
enabled, you could also hover over yourself or your interface icon to cast the ability. But here’s another
option:

Quick & Self Casting combines self casting with quickcasting. If you're not mousing over a valid target for
a spell, you will automatically cast it on yourself instead.
I personally recommend not using this setting, as it forces you to move your mouse cursor to choose
between quickcasting and self casting, and it can be trickier (i.e. more prone to mistakes on some
champions, especially support champions). Given that you have to move your mouse cursor more to use
this setting, you can actually wind up putting more into using this setting than you’re gaining from it.

47 | Learn the League

Champion Roles & Recommendations
Every champion in League of Legends is unique. Even when they share similar abilities with other
champions, their specific collection of abilities and stats bring a different flavor to the game.
However, it's also true that we can broadly classify champions into several categories, and this can help
you more quickly pick up and play champions you're not familiar with. Here are the categories I'll be
covering:
Primary Roles
•
•
•
•
•
•

Fighter
Marksman (Formerly Ranged Attack Damage Carry)
Mage (Formerly Ability Power Caster)
Assassin
Support
Tank

Primary roles are generally exclusive, meaning a marksman will not also be a mage in a single game, nor
will a support also be a fighter. Assassins are an exception to the exclusivity rule, as they may build and
potentially play very similarly to mages or marksmen. Drawing a hard line between an assassin and a
mage, for instance, can sometimes be difficult; For example, Katarina is listed as an assassin, even
though her single target damage is fairly low compared to other assassins. On the other hand, Ahri is
considered a mage, even though she plays very similar to other assassins. Both of these champions
could be correctly qualified as both mages and assassins.

By the way, you can view which champions are categorized under which primary role by using the
dropdown menu in the champion listing on your profile.
Some champions are designed so that players can choose to play them as different primary roles,
sometimes even at different points in the same game. For example, Morgana has strong support
abilities such as a shield and two disables. She also can dish out significant damage. For this reason,

48 | Learn the League



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