Age’s League of Legends Season 5 Basics Guide: Part 1 – How To Play 101

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Starting League of Legends For The First Time? Are You A League of Legends Player That Wants To Fine-Tune Your Game Basics? You’ve Come To The Right Place! 

This is the 1st of 8 parts to my League of Legends Basics Guide for Season 5! I wanted to highlight the mechanics of the game people should learn, the lane roles, and the behaviour aspect one should take when playing League of Legends. This guide might help you out in other MOBAs like SMITE, DotA2 and Heroes of the Storm. So without further ado, let’s get started! For your convenience and for easier navigation, here’s a quick link list to all the topics in this post:

Do The Tutorial

Ok, now before getting all excited and jumping into a match, if you’re new to the MOBA genre, do the tutorial. Yes, I’m seriously telling you to do the tutorial. It covers the MOBA basics and you’ll need it in order to understand how MOBAs work. Fortunately, you have to do a few Coop-AI games before you can play versus other real players.

Learn Champions and their Skills

If you’ve never played LoL before, I don’t expect you to know all the champions but you can read the skills of the ones available to you or as they popup in champ select. A basic understanding of what a champion’s skills are helps in picking a champion you think will fit a play style you enjoy and to play against other champions.

As you play more and more, try out new champions (when they come on rotation, and so on) to eventually learn them all or at least about them all. It looks overwhelming but it’s possible. I find ARAMs are a great place to try out champions. You can learn the counters to other champions and even find new champions you like by doing this. By level 20 I’d say you should be very comfortable playing at least 5 to 8 champions.

Configure Runes & Masteries

These are in your Summoner Profile. At low levels you really won’t see much of a difference but you’ll see the eventual use for these as you go along. Runes and masteries basically help with your early game to have a better laning phase as well as augment your stats throughout the game. You can customize your rune and mastery pages to suit the champions or roles you play.

Learn To Last Hit

I learnt this way too late but learn how to last hit minions. Last hitting is when you wait till a minion is at low health so that your next basic attack will kill it. If you’re playing Support or Jungler you don’t do this as much due to letting your AD Carry farm the minions or farming jungle minions (respectably). I still miss a few minions every now and then. This is a very vital part of gameplay to learn in order to achieve 2 main things:

  1. Gold Income – The more you last hit, the more gold you get. which mean the more items you can get faster which can help you eventually win your lane and do well in your match.
  2. Doesn’t Push The Lane – This is important so that the minion wave doesn’t push to the enemy tower. This will make attacking the enemy in lane harder since they’re at their tower and leaves you more open to ganks. You can also lose out on minion farm which means less gold income. You should only push a lane when you plan to go back to base. This is so that the enemy laner doesn’t push to your tower when you’re not there. Also, when you return to your lane, the minion waves essentially reset back to a point where you can farm minions safely again.

Learning to last hit while trying to harass or fend off the enemy in the lane will help you out so much for your future laning phases.

Learn Map Awareness

And learn it soon. Map awareness is essentially looking at your mini map every few seconds to know where players are. Yes, people should ping or say something in chat if an enemy is missing in their lane. However, you should not solely rely on that. Some people could be thinking that they went back to base or taking a jungle buff. They could be lagging behind and are concentrating on farming. It’s up to you to look at your mini map every few seconds to see how things are going and where people might possibly be. For example, if you see the enemy in middle lane isn’t there, you’re pushed up to the enemy tower in bottom lane, and you have no wards covering you; you probably want to back off.

Learn to Unlock Your Camera

One of the things you should learn early is to lock / unlock your camera as needed. This helps you view other parts of the map when necessary and especially helps you in lane if you’re on red side. Not to say it isn’t useful for blue side but because of the locked positioning of the camera, it’s harder to look down a lane if you’re on red side. Go into a custom match and mess around with the settings that seem most comfortable to you. I personally have my lock / unlock camera button configured to my space bar.

Do Not Face Check Brushes

This means if you don’t know where everyone is and you want to go into a lane bush nearby to check, don’t. Stop and assess how safe it is. If the enemy is in there, they have the element of surprise and are ready to take you down to get first blood. This tactic is used quite a bit at low level in the top and bottom lanes.  Instead, you can stay a nice distance away from the brush and last hit minions until you see them (don’t push out too far though). If you have a ward, you can use that or a ranged skill you can shoot in the brush to check it. This does two things:

  1. Ensures you are safe to enter the brush
  2. Makes any enemies in the brush second guess themselves

Note that if you check a part of the brush with a range ability and it doesn’t hit, it doesn’t mean that they’re not in the brush; the skill could miss the person. The most sure-fire way is with a ward. Usually your side of the jungle is safe early game unless there is a level one invade or the enemy jungler is in there. Lane brushes are safe as long and you have an idea of where the enemy is. If you know an enemy is in a brush, you can fake having a ward in there by going into the brush in numbers. That would scare off any cautious player. Eventually, as you play more, you’ll be able to assess for yourself how safe a brush is to just walk in it without any worries of dying.

Never Cross The River Alone

This is related to the point above. If you don’t know or have an idea of where the enemy is, don’t cross the river (to the enemy side) alone. At least don’t do it without a ward. The exception to this is if your backing up your jungler to invade the enemy jungle or if you’re a jungler trying to counter jungle (aka steal the enemy jungle camps).

Follow Up Jungler Movements & Ganks

As you should be keeping an eye on your mini map, you should keep an eye on your jungler. Your jungler might ping for an incoming gank or not and just go in. If the jungler waits at a nearby brush, they’re probably waiting for an opening. You might have to create that opening by zoning the enemy into an ideal spot to start the gank. You should also aid your jungler if they get spotted out and if you’re nearby. Also note that if a lane is doing well, they might come to support you in your lane so look out for those moments as well. Don’t follow up ganks if you can’t get anything out of the attempt or might die trying to get a successful gank. For example, you are at 200 health and out of mana while the enemy is at full health and full mana. Use a retreat ping to signal you don’t want a gank or to signal you can’t follow up a gank. The person coming to gank for you will have to make a choice: to go somewhere else or try to gank by themself.

Wards Wins Games

Too many times have I seen games lost because of poor ward coverage; usually during laning phase or mid game. Before you blame the support, no. Stop right there. Everyone can get a free warding trinket and can buy at least 1 ward for themselves during laning phase. If bot lane does poorly, you can help getting map vision with buying 1 or 2 more wards. Don’t get too carried away with buying wards though as it might take away from building the items you need to fight. The only one who is exempt in most cases for buying wards is the Attack Damage ranged carry because their items cost a lot. There are also free trinkets that assist with clearing enemy wards.

Know When To Head Back To Base

There are times when you get really low but you don’t want your tower to take damage. If you don’t have health potions on you to regain health, then it’s probably a good time to head back to base. Your tower may take damage but think about it. If you’re opponent is at full health and mana and has the capability to dive you, it’ll more likely happen if you’re at 100 hp. Go back, buy stuff, head back to lane as quickly as you can. It’s better to lose a tower and farm again then to die and lose a tower. The times where you want to stick around is when you want to bait an enemy in so that a teammate can fight them or in team fights where it’s worth dying for.

If You Know You’re Gonna Die, Die Like A Boss

If you’re going to die and you know you can’t do anything about it but have a chance to take someone with you or do damage so that another teammate can pick up the kill, then do it! If the enemy is low from killing you, it will most likely force them to head back to base and the threat of that enemy engaging in another lane is gone. If you get a person low and someone else picks up the kill you both get gold from it so it’s worth it.

Engage Team Fights Well

Team fights are what games generally come down to. If your team fights better then the other one, then it’s most likely that you’ll win. Team fights usually start with someone engaging (be it the enemy or you), by an enemy getting caught out or someone on your team starting the fight. If a team engages, it’s usually because an opening is seen to start a fight. Depending on what you’re playing, it’s up to you to fulfill your role. If you’re tanky, protect your squishy teammates by being inbetween them and the enemy. If you are ranged damage, stay behind your tanky teammates and dish out damage. If you know you’re powerful enough to go up closer, by all means do so. If you’re an assassin, dip in and out of the fight doing burst damage. I think you get the point. How to engage a team isn’t really set in stone. For example, your caster might be the one you need to engage team fights.

KS = Kill SECURED and Nothing Else

You’ll see this early-mid level to 30 where you take out a person and they call KS as in “kill steal”. The only, and I mean ONLY valid kill steal is if the person got the enemy down to really low health and can easily get the kill and then you swoop in and take the kill. Otherwise ignore these remarks and keep playing. I remember a game where a person kept calling KS on me every time, even if I was 1v1 and they came afterwards to the fight. I ignored the person and kept playing normally. If you don’t ignore it, it leads to hesitations in fights. If you’re worried about “kill stealing” you’re going to try to not kill the enemy and that could lead to the enemy getting away or even worse, killing you, your teammate, or both! Again, don’t worry too much about it and just go for it to secure kills.

Watch a Stream

I learned a ton about the game just by watching LoL streamers. You’d be surprised on what you could learn. Check out Twitch’s LoL streams and you might find one you enjoy and can learn from.

Some Acronyms and Terms

Don’t have to learn them all at once, you’ll eventually learn them as you play. I listed the ones most heard:

  • ADC – Attack Damage Carry
  • AP – Ability Power
  • ARAM – All Random All Mid
  • Baron – Baron Nashor (buff + global gold)
  • Blue – Ancient Golem (buff)
  • CC – Crowd Control (things that reduce of removes movement)
  • Creeps – aka Minions
  • CS – Creep Score
  • Drag/Drake – Dragon (global gold)
  • Gank – Ambush someone by surprise
  • KS – Kill SECURED (If you see Kill Steal, ignore)
  • MIA / SS – Missing in Action
  • Red – Elder Lizard (buff)

Learn the Basics of ALL The Roles

I’ve seen people level to 30 just playing a specific role or 2. You should learn the basics of all the roles in order to understand the mechanics they provide. I will cover each of the roles in Parts 4 through 8 of this guide, so don’t fret if you don’t know where to get started. You don’t need to be a master at every role; just enough to do a decent job.

Stow The Blame Game

More in depth in Part 2 but don’t bash someone if they’re not doing well. This distracts the person and not only lowers their morale, but the team’s morale. It can also lead to a text war between the both of you and you’re both just wasting time and giving the enemy team a free win. If you have nothing good or constructive to say, just don’t say anything at all.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Not to be taken literally but let me explain. In the most general cases, if some people do badly in lane, people are inclined to surrender. I say hold up till mid game. Team fights and objectives usually determines how the rest of the game will go. If you’re losing all your team fights and not getting any objectives, then maybe a surrender is the best solution. If you see you can win team fights and take objectives as a team then you have a chance to come back. I personally like to play games out but if everyone on my team wants to call it a day, I won’t deny the surrender vote.

And those are the basics you need to know to play League of Legends well starting out. I’ll add more topics to this post if any pop up. In Part 2, I’ll be covering how to deal with toxicity in League of Legends matches.

It was long but thanks for the read! If you felt I missed something let me know in the comments!

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Posted on May 29, 2015, in Games, League of Legends and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice! This is the most thorough and well-written “quick-start”, big-picture guide i have seen for LoL, including ones selling on Amazon Kindle. Thanks for sharing it!

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