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Age’s League of Legends Season 4 Basics Guide: Part 3 – Summoner’s Rift

Summoner's_Rift_Intro_Art

Learn a bit more about the Summoner’s Rift so you can apply strategies for your games!

Knowing a bit about the maps is helpful for positioning and tactics for games. I will however focus on Summoner’s Rift as it is the only one used so far for League of Legends competitive play (where the pro scene is concerned). If there’s a request to review another map, I’ll take the time to make it as part of the extras of this overall guide.

For this map guide, I’ll be highlighting the lanes, ward placement and buffs in the jungle. Note that Summoner’s Rift is a mirrored map from the top right corner to the bottom left with the river as the dividing line. Note that the map images I’m using are from Season 3 (couldn’t find a decent Season 4 map) so the bushes are slightly different the areas they’re in are pretty much the same. Each section will have an image highlighting the important stuff on Summoner’s Rift with a detailed explanation following and they’re all color-coded so let’s dive right in.

The Lanes

SummonersRift - Lanes

As in most MOBAs, Summoner’s Rift has 3 lanes: Top, Bottom (Bot) and Middle (Mid) lanes. The meta game as it currently stands is the Caster (AP Carry) or Assassin in mid lane, Marksman (Attack Damage Carry) and Support in bot lane, a Fighter or Bruiser in top lane and a Bruiser or Tank as the jungler. Sometimes you’ll see odd champions in lanes that work in order to counter play the enemy such as the Marksman and Support in Top lane versus the single enemy top laner. The following parts for this guide in the coming weeks cover these roles but right now let’s first look at the inanimate objects in the lanes and base that make up the map.

Nexus (Red)

The main objective of the game to destroy. A team wins a match when the enemy Nexus is destroyed. Each team’s Nexus is located deep in base.

Inhibitors (Yellow)

The mini-Nexuses in the base. There is one for each respectable lane in each base. When destroyed, the enemy Nexus will spawn super minions in the lane where the inhibitor is destroyed. These super minions stop spawning when the inhibitor respawns. Inhibitors are the only objective objects in the game that respawn after time.

The Turrets (Orange)

The objects that protect the lane and other important objects. Each turret gives 125 gold to each team member and an 100 gold split among involved players when destroyed. There are technically 4 types of turrets:

  1. Lane Turrets – Turrets that defend a laner while they are farming. These are the two furthest turrets from each team’s base
  2. Inhibitor Turrets – Turrets that defend the inhibitors
  3. Nexus Turrets – The last line of turret defense, these turrets defend the Nexus and have more health than the other turrets
  4. Fountain Turrets – Not really recognized much but it is the turret located at the Summoner’s platform in the base (where players load into the match). These are super turrets because they are indestructible and attack any enemies that walk onto a team’s platform. These turrets literally melt an enemy’s health if within range for 1 to 5 seconds.

The Buffs and Camps

summonersrift-buffs-and-camps-S4

Here I’ll be highlighting all the buffs and camps on Summoner’s Rift. Usually the jungler is the one farming the camps and protecting the buffs in the early game. All camps gives the killer of a monster some gold, experience and a bit of health which scales up during a match. Here is a list of all the buffs and camps on Summoner’s Rift:

WolvesWraithsGolems

Wolves (White)

The wolf camp (left image above) consists of 3 wolves, 2 small ones and one large one. This camp respawns every 0:50 seconds to 1:15 minutes (as the match goes on) upon death of all the monsters in the camp.

Wraiths (Yellow)

The wraith camp (middle image above) consists of 4 wraiths, 3 small ones and one large one. This camp respawns every 0:50 seconds to 1:15 minutes (as the match goes on) upon death of all the monsters in the camp.

Golems (Brown)

The golem camp (right image above) consists of 2 golems, one small one and one large one. This camp respawns every 0:50 seconds to 1:15 minutes (as the match goes on) upon death of all the monsters in the camp.

AncientGolemLizardElderWight-Camp

Ancient Golem (Blue)

The Ancient Golem Camp (left image above). You can get Crest of the Ancient Golem aka blue buff or blue. This buff gives the user cooldown reduction and mana regen over time. This buff lasts 2 minutes and 30 seconds but lasts 3 minutes with the Runic Affinity mastery. The Ancient Golem respawns every 5 minutes upon death of all the monsters in the camp.

The Elder Lizard (Red)

The Elder Lizard Camp (middle image above). You can get Blessing of the Lizard Elder aka red buff or red. This buff gives the user the ability to slow & does damage over time that resets with each basic attack on an enemy champion. This buff lasts 2 minutes and 30 seconds but lasts 3 minutes with the Runic Affinity mastery. The Elder Lizard Camp respawns every 5 minutes upon death of all the monsters in the camp.

The Wight Camp (Grey)

The Wight Camp (right image above) is a new camp introduced in Season 4. This camp consist of one large Wraith called a Wight. This camp respawns every 0:50 seconds upon death.

DragonBaron

Dragon (Yellow)

The Dragon (left image above) is a monster in the bottom half of the river that gives the team that kills it 125 to 260 gold each (as the duration of the match goes on) with 25 more gold to the champion that kills it. Dragon attacks the closet champion and does damage over time. Dragon first spawns at 2:30 and respawns every 6 minutes upon death.

Baron Nashor (Purple)

Baron Nashor (right image above) aka Baron is a monster in the top half of the river that gives the team that kills it 300 gold each and the buff Exalted with Baron Nashor to each team member alive when Baron dies for 4 minutes. This buff gives the user additional attack damage, magic damage, health regen and mana regen. Baron first spawns at 15 minutes respawns every 7 minutes upon death.

Ideal Ward Placement

SummonersRift - Wards

As I’ve said in the first post of this guide: Wards Wins Games. I know it may be weird at first to know where to ward so the image above shows some ideal areas to ward starting out. The goal of wards is to see where the enemy is in order to make an informed decision of whaT to do next. You’ll figure out other areas of warding as you play more matches. Do note that wards in a brush gives vision of the area including things in the brush (of course invisible units don’t count unless you use a Vision Ward). This also give you a general idea of where to use your sweeper trinket or pink wards in order to clear wards. Another thing to note is that Vision wards are visible to the enemy but have 5 hit points. You have time to catch or scare away an enemy champion if they try to kill your ward.

  • Invasion Wards (Orange) – These wards prevent level one invasions, jungle invasions and ganks from your side of the jungle. At the very least, vision of those invasions so lanes can know where people are in order to have good information to take action.
  • River Wards (Red) – These wards ensures safe lane phases from ganks. If each lane and the jungler wards to the river top to bottom, you will have complete coverage of the river which is ideal.
  • Buff Wards (Light Blue) – These wards ensure the safety and vision of the red and blue buffs in case of invasions.
  • Dragon / Baron Wards (White) – These wards give vision of the Baron and Dragon in order to protect these monsters from going down by the enemy team. Usually a Vision Ward (aka Pink Ward), which reveals invisible units are used here in order to clear out any enemy wards.
  • Dive / Skill Shot Wards (Yellow)  – When your team is sieging a base it’s quite useful to ward on the other side of the base in order to throw some skill shots off to wear down the enemy team or prep for a dive.

With Season 4 comes free trinkets you can choose one of:

  • Warding Totem (Yellow Trinket) : Free ward for short duration, can upgrade to have a free sight ward or a vision ward
  • Sweeping Lens (Red Trinket): Area true sight (to see invisible units; including wards) and disables invisible traps and wards, can upgrade to include having the ability to see invisible units for a duration
  • Scrying Orb (Blue Trinket): Short distance area reveal, can upgrade to increase the orb casting range

Some other “types” of warding that are useful are brush and lane wards. Brush wards are always useful if you need vision in it (for example top and bottom lane brushes). There are also lane wards where when a tower deep near or in the base is taken, you place a ward there in order to see if an enemy champion is farming or grouping up in that position.

And that concludes the guide on Summoner’s Rift. Hope it was helpful!

Age’s League of Legends Basics Guide: Part 8 – How To Jungle (Season 3)

The Jungler

A guide on how to clear camps, secure buffs, gank, counter jungle & support the lanes!

This is it! The last piece of the LoL guide series! If you missed the other sections be sure to check them out, you may find something useful in them! Now, you’re probably wondering “Why should I learn how to jungle?”. Well I’ll break it down for you:

  1. You have to learn every role – It doesn’t matter how good you are in one role, you need to learn how to play fairly decently in every lane. You don’t have to be amazing at every role, your team in most cases should help make up for that.
  2. You will eventually have to play as a jungler –  As I’ve said in the other role guides, it will eventually happen. Better to learn it soon and be fairly decent then be crap because you’ve never tried it. And you should learn to be fairly decent at it because it is the 2nd most unforgiving role (the first being support) due to laners complaining about no ganks or missing smite.
  3. Learn how to time objectives – The blue buffs, red buffs, and Dragon are all objectives you want to keep an eye on in the early game with towers and Baron as the objectives for mid to late game.

Popular Jungler Oriented Items

jungle-items

These items are chosen based on the standard off tank jungler champions. For Ability Power or Attack Damage recommended items for more carry oriented junglers, you can check my Solo Mid and Marksman guides respectably for ideas. Here are some standard Jungler items that’d you’d want to consider. From left to right, these items are:

  • Hunter’s Machete – An item that lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
  • Spirit of the Ancient Golem – An item that gives the champion health, health and mana regen, cooldown and tenacity. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
  • Spirit of the Elder Lizard – An item that gives the champion attack damage, health and mana regen, cooldown, and burn damage over a short period with basic attacks and spells. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
  • Spirit of the Spectral Wraith – An item that gives the champion ability power, mana regen, cooldown, and spell vamp. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks and reduces that cooldown on Smite.
  • Wriggle’s Lantern – Gives the champion armor, attack damage, life steal, and the ability to place a regular ward that will go on cooldown for 3 minutes. In addition it lets a champion deal additional bonus damage to monsters with basic attacks.
  • Mercury Threads – Gives the champion magic resist, movement speed and tenacity.
  • Locket of the Iron Solari – Gives the champion health, armor, cooldown reduction, an aura that gives ally champions magic resist and health regen and when activated, gives surrounding ally champions a shield based on the champion’s level.
  • Spirit Visage – Gives the champion health, magic resist, cooldown reduction, health regen and increases the rate of self healing, health regen, lifesteal and spell vamp.
  • Liandry’s Torment – An item that gives the champion ability power, health, magic penetration and does extra damage over time for a short duration on an enemy champion that you cast a spell on.

Summoner Skills

Summoner Skills are pretty much are Flash and Smite to stay safe and secure buffs. Sometimes I’ll use Ghost instead of Flash. Also, the jungler should always, and I mean ALWAYS have Smite. It is essentially your job to secure buffs especially Dragon and Baron. You don’t want to be the one your team gets pissed at because they lost Baron because you didn’t have Smite.

Runes And Masteries

Ok there are quite a few setups for jungling depending on a champions base movement speed and damage but here’s 3 setups I usually use. Feel free to use those as a base in order to make your own Jungler setups that you feel comfortable with. Masteries come into 3 different parts which I’ll cover in a bit. Note that all 3 masteries have the Summoner’s Resolve (top left in defense tree). Also, I take more armor than magic resist in the defense tree to mitigate damage while taking damage from monsters in the jungle camps.

For my runes it could vary depending on the champion but I pretty much use Flat Armor Seals and Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs to mitigate damage and Flat Attack Damage Marks and Quintessences for damage. Sometimes I might swap the marks out for Flat Armor Penetration ones or the Quintessences for Movement Speed or Life Steal ones if I need them.

solo-top-runes

The first of the masteries is the Tank Masteries which are 0/21/9 focusing on massive defense, movement speed and buff duration. Pretty much a tank for the team.

Tank Jungler

Second set is the Magic Masteries which are 13/17/0  focusing on magic damage and defense. Carry oriented but a bit tanky for jungle clearing and ganking early.

AP Jungler

Third set is the Attack Damage Masteries which are 21/9/0 focusing on tons of damage and some defense. More carry oriented and depends on damage for fast clearing.

AD Jungler

Early Game

In the beginning, you’ll usually want to start out with Hunter’s Machete and 5 health potions. In the early stages of the game, the jungler farms the camps and you should learn how to time the buff camps to know when they’re back up. Here are the times you’ll need throughout the game:

  1. Ancient Golem (Blue Buff) – 1st spawns at 1:55, respawns every 5 minutes after death
  2. Elder Lizer (Red Buff) – 1st spawns at 1:55, respawns every 5 minutes after death
  3. Dragon – 1st spawns at 2:30, respawns every 6 minutes after death
  4. Baron – 1st spawns at 15:00, respawns every 7 minutes after death

For clearing camps, usually (if there’s no Level 1 invasions), you’ll want to start at Ancient Golem for a good supply of mana and work your way through the camps up to Double Golems. Clear other camps as they come up. You should be earliest around level 4 to gank however there are some champions that could pull off level 2 ganks. If you’re on a manaless champion, starting at Elder Lizard would be a better option because you’re not mana dependent.

Donating Buffs

When your jungle buffs (aka red and blue buffs) are back up the 2nd time around, you can consider donating them. Which means you give another champion one of your jungle buffs. Don’t donate a buff to laners that aren’t doing well because then the buff will transfer onto the enemy laner and then it’ll just get worse for that lane.

Usually blue buff is donated the 2nd time around to the mid laner (if they need it) and red buff to the Marksman when they can get time to get it. Of course if you’re on a really mana dependent jungle champion or behind in level, you might need your buffs till you build a good mana regen item or you’ve caught up.

Smite

Around the 7 – 10 minute mark is usually a good time for Dragon, be sure to have your Smite skill ready. Usually you’d want to gank bot to make sure the bot lane doesn’t interfere with you getting dragon. It is also why most junglers tend to camp bottom lane in the early phase of the game; to protect the dragon.

Baron is a good time around mid or late game when you’ve done one of the following:

  • Aced the enemy team
  • Taken down a high priority champions so that the enemy team can’t engage you while you take Baron
  • If the enemy team is stuck in the base and you have no objectives to take

Try to visually analyse the DPS that’s going down on the Dragon / Baron and check the damage your Smite does (Smite’s damage increases per level). When the Dragon/Baron gets to or less than that health immediately smite to secure the Dragon/Baron. Getting it just right takes practice and you could accidentally pre-smite and miss so you could practice smiting Dragon/Baron in bot matches.

Gank

At some point in the game you should gank. However there are good times and bad times to gank.

Good times to gank:

  • When the enemy lane is pushed up to your tower
  • When you have a good amount of health/mana
  • When the enemy lane is near or on you side of the river with no wards

Bad times to gank are the opposite of the above:

  • When your laner is pushed to the tower
  • When your low on health/mana
  • When your lane is pushed up to the enemy tower with wards (consider sticking around said lane if they do not have wards)

When you can’t find good times to gank, you should farm your jungle. If all your lanes are pushed up and warded for safety, you can counter jungle. Counter jungling is when you go into the enemy jungle and steal camps from them in order to slow down the enemy jungler from farming.  Note that you’ll have to be careful not to get noticed or have vision on the enemy jungler to counter jungle successfully

At some point, you may consider diving an enemy champion to get a kill. Like in my Solo Top guide, you’ll want to think about the following:

  • Do I have enough health?
  • Do I have enough mana (if you’re on a mana based jungler)?
  • Do I have my skills off cooldown?
  • Do I have an out?
  • Where is the enemy team at the moment?
  • Do I have a minions wave when I’m diving?
  • How many turret shots can I take?
  • Can anyone follow me up?

Essentially you want to dive and get out alive. If there’s a chance of you or your laner dying, don’t do it. When the jungler dies, it relieves a lot of pressure for the enemy laners because they know you, the jungler, the one who comes out of nowhere to ruin their day, is dead. So they have free reign on your lane for a little while which could lead to one of your towers dying. You can practice jungling and ganking in bot matches to help you get use to it.

Tax

When you gank a lane successfully (aka kill the enemy laner), there’s this thing called minion tax. This is where you take a few minions that are around from the laner in order to “pay” for the gank. In other words, you are taking some minions in order to keep up in farming since you have to move and position yourself for the gank and you may have to wait in a brush to make the gank happen. You don’t take an entire minion wave, just a few minions then get back into the jungle. However, you can take a wave if the lane is empty of champions.

Ganking Lanes & Invading

I guessing you might need a bit of help with jungling and invading paths so… here’s a picture!

gank-routes

I’d make it so I can just capture mostly the river because that’s all you really need… but… I’m lazy.

Anyways! The blue arrows signify the route jungling on the blue team can take, purple arrows are for routes the jungler on the purple team can take. Red arrows signify routes either team’s jungler can take. Note that these arrows are gank routes. They’re meant for ganks, not for supporting the lane if it gets pushed to tower for example.

These gank routes are meant to have the element of surprise (unless the area is warded) and a way to close the gap so that you can CC and or damage the enemy laner. So it should result into the enemy laner at the very minimum taking damage, decent gank if their summoner skills (ex Flash) were used to escape. Of course if you kill them it’s great. If they used summoner skills in either case it means that they’re vulnerable for another gank a bit later that will probably result in a kill. Note that Flash has a cooldown of 5 minutes or 4:45 if they have the Flash cooldown mastery, so you may want to consider ganking that lane again in the next 4 minutes.

The yellow arrows are the invasion routes. Basically you invade and retreat from and to the river. Try to be quick if you’re stealing blue/red buff and you don’t know where the jungler is. Again, invade when all your lanes are doing well, can steal buffs or some camp minions quickly, or if you can 2v1 with an ally in the jungle.

“Help, I need a gank!”

If you play as a jungler, from time to time, you see this. Hell, you might get called out in chat for not ganking right away. Just ignore the hate and try to gank as best as you can and when you can. Note that if the lane pushes out too far without warding vs the enemy jungler and you’re not around to support, they’re at fault. They’re taking a risk. So it’s not your fault in anyway.

So those are the general guidelines on how to play as a Jungler. Essentially you can be a tanky jungler or a carry jungler. Keeping buff safe and securing objective are your main goals. Of course, if an enemy lane is getting out of had, you gotta go show em who’s boss. As always, feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter if you have anything to say about the guide. Have fun on the Fields of Justice!

Age’s League of Legends Basics Guide: Part 7 – The Solo Top (Season 3)

The Solo Top

The guide for the Solo Top. Learn how to tank and engage the enemy team in fights.

Back with another guide! It’s almost over summoners. Time to learn the top lane. If you’ve been reading my guides, you’ll probably guess that you’ll see the “Why should I learn to solo top?”. I pretty much do this for all the roles in case someone just wants to learn a specific role. And now to break down why:

  1. You have to learn every role – It doesn’t matter how good you are in one role, you need to learn how to play fairly decently in every lane. You don’t have to be amazing at every role, your team in most cases should help make up for that.
  2. You will eventually have to play in Top lane – It’s not often that you’ll be forced to play Top lane but you’ll have to play it sooner or later. Better to learn it soon and be fairly decent then be crap because you’ve never tried it.
  3. Learn how to push, farm and harass – Unlike bottom lane, you do not have a support. Top lane isn’t as mechanically intense since you’ll be focusing on farming. However, you’ll have to include dealing with harass, harassing the enemy laner and learning when to go for a kill in the laning phase without dying given the enemy laner’s champion crowd control, skill cooldowns, damage, summoner spells, and if you’ll have to dive enemy tower if diving. All while paying attention to if the enemy jungler is around; this is vital because the top lane stretches in an arc so if you cross the river, you’re essentially committing to what you crossed the river for. So top lane, like, is more about variables to consider then mechanics (although you’ll need those to play well in lane) and a sixth sense (and ward coverage) of the enemy jungler when crossing the river.

Popular Solo Top Oriented Items

solo-top-items

These items are chosen based on the standard tank / bruiser champions that go in top lane. For Ability Power or attack Damage Champions you can check my Solo Mid and Marksman guides respectably for item ideas. Here are some standard Solo Top items that’d you’d want to consider. From left to right, these items are:

  • Doran’s Shield – An item that give the champion health and health regen. It also blocks a bit of damage from basic attacks.
  • Thornmail – An item that gives the champion armor and returns a percentage of basic attack damage when hit by an enemy champion.
  • Warmog’s Armor – An item that gives the champion health and percentage health regen based on the champion’s maximum health.
  • The Brutalizer – An item that gives the champion attack damage, armor penetration and cooldown reduction.
  • Sunfire Cape – Gives the champion armor and health and deals magic damage to surrounding enemies.
  • Frozen Mallet – Gives the champion health, attack damage and slows enemy champions when hit by the champion’s basic attack.
  • Maw of Malmortius –  Gives the champion attack damage, magic resist, a shield against magic resist when low on health and attack damage based on a small percentage of the champion’s missing health.
  • Randuin’s Omen – Gives the champion health, armor, reduction of an enemy’s attack speed, and when activated, slows surrounding enemies based on the champion’s armor and magic resist.
  • Spirit Visage – Gives the champion health, magic resist, cooldown reduction, health regen and increases the rate of self healing, health regen, lifesteal and spell vamp.
  • Frozen Heart – Gives the champion armor, mana and cooldown reduction. It also reduces the attack speed of surrounding enemy champions.
  • Locket of the Iron Solari – Gives the champion health, armor, cooldown reduction, an aura that gives ally champions magic resist and health regen and when activated, gives surrounding ally champions a shield based on the champion’s level.

Summoner Skills

Summoner Skills that I generally use are Flash and Ignite to stay safe and to secure kills respectably. Sometimes I’ll use Exhaust or Teleport if it fits the lane situation or the team composition. Sometimes Ghost is good option for champions like Vladimir.

Runes And Masteries

The generic top lane is usually a tanky bruiser type. If you want to go for a more damage oriented route, again, check out my Solo Mid guide which has stuff for both magic and attack damage types of champions. Feel free to use those as a base in order to make your own Solo Top setups that you feel comfortable with.

Masteries are 9/21/0 focusing on abit of damage in the offensive tree and massive defense the defense tree . For my masteries I use Flat Armor Seals to mitigate the lane damage from enemy champion, minions, enemy jungler and turret (if you go for a dive). Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs to mitigate damage and Flat Attack Damage Marks and Quintessences for damage. Sometimes I might swap the marks out for Flat Armor Penetration ones.

solo-top-runes solo-top-masteries

Push

In the early stages of the game, the Solo Top is like an island. It’s just you and the enemy laner where the junglers come to visit every now and then. Like the solo mid, solo top trys to 1) farm, 2) harass whenever in your favor and 3) take out the enemy laner whenever possible. The greatest advantage a solo top can get is by farming in the middle of the lane. When you have accumulated enough money, you’ll want to clear out the enemy minions wave as soon as possible in order to have the minion wave push out the enemy tower. This way, the enemy laner is forced to farm underneath their tower while you can go back to base to buy items and return to lane and the minion waves should be essentially balanced to the center of the lane or may more towards your side of the lane if the enemy laner keeps pushing.

solo-top-wards

Of course if you clearly have an advantage over your enemy laner, you can feel free to take them out. At the same time, do not get baited. You can get easily killed if you go too far out into the lane. Once you’ve cross to the enemy’s side of the river and you don’t know where the enemy jungler is or if someone in the other lanes are missing, you essentially taking a risk at that point. Be sure to place at least a ward in the river and if possible your side of the lane brush. The image above shows some decent places to ward depending on what side of the map you’re on. To be completely safe, use 2 wards. One for the enemy jungler’s likely entrance to gank you and one for the river or lane brush.

Dive

At some point in the game you’ll dive an enemy champion in lane to get the jump on them and kill them or to set up a gank. Your the one usually diving becuase you’re tanky (if you go the tanky bruiser route) or you have gap closers or stun lock ups. You want to think about the following:

  • Do I have enough health?
  • Do I have enough mana?
  • Do I have my skills off cooldown?
  • Do I have an out?
  • Where is the enemy team at the moment?
  • Do I have a minions wave when I’m diving?
  • How many turret shots can I take?
  • Can anyone follow me up?

Essentially you can’t dive a champion if you’re low on health and mana or are missing vital skills needed to dive successfully. You’ll also need an exit strategy if the dive fails and you’ll also need to make sure that the enemy team isn’t nearby to ruin the dive and get a kill off of you. IF diving a turret, making sure you can survive the hits from the turret. Having a minion wave taking the turret hits while you dive will increase the odds of a kill since the turret will only focus on you when you actually land a hit on the enemy champion. Having your jungler or mid laner come help out also increases the chances of a kill.

Tank

In team fights, you are the front line. You may have your jungler or support (if they’re tanky) helping you out. You’re the one who soaks up damage while dishing out damage to the front line while you’re team deals damage to the front and back as much as possible. The goal of this is to make the enemy team waste their good skills on you so that they’re on cooldown while your team uses their skills on high priority targets. When the enemy team thins out a bit or if you get the chance, you can go for the high priority targets to take out provided your teammates will be ok versus the enemy front line. You might die given you’re in front but if you’re protecting your teammates will dishing out damage or just being an annoyance, then your team will usually come out on top.

So those are the general guidelines on how to play as a Solo Top. Essentially you are the vanguard. If the enemy team finds you scary to get past by, your doing your job. As always, feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter if you have anything to say about the guide. Have fun on the Fields of Justice!

Age’s League of Legends Basics Guide: Part 6 – The Solo Mid (Season 3)

The Solo Mid

A guide on how to avoid or to burst out opponents that dare try to oppose you.

It’s time for some fun in the mid lane. This is my Solo Mid guide for you all and it’s a slightly long one due to the champion variation used for mid lane. So, why should you learn how to solo mid:

  1. You have to learn every role – It doesn’t matter how good you are in one role, you need to learn how to play fairly decently in every lane. You don’t have to be amazing at every role, your team in most cases should help make up for that.
  2. You will eventually have to play in Mid lane – It’s not often that you’ll be forced to play Mid lane but you’ll have to play it sooner or later. Better to learn it soon and be fairly decent then be crap because you’ve never tried it.
  3. Learn how to push, farm and harass – Unlike bottom lane, you do not have a support. Mid lane isn’t as mechanically intense since you’ll be focusing on farming. However, you’ll have to include dealing with harass, harassing the enemy laner and learning when to go for a kill in the laning phase without dying given the enemy laner’s champion crowd control, skill cooldowns, damage, summoner spells, if you’ll have to dive enemy tower if diving and if the enemy jungler is around. So mid lane is more about variables to consider then mechanics (although you’ll need those to play well in lane).

Again, just a small disclaimer, I’m not a pro mid player, but I do have a ton of experience in all the positions. These are just some general guidelines that new players need.

Popular Solo Mid Oriented Items

mid-items

I usually pick ten items for this section but there are some extra items that I found quite useful. Here are some standard Solo Mid items that you’d want to consider. Note that these items are for solo mid champions that are Ability Power based. For Attack Power based champions you can take a look at some of the suggested items from my Marksman guide. From left to right, these items are:

  • Doran’s Ring – A start item that gives the champion ability power, health and mana regeneration. When the champion kills a unit, the champion gets some mana in return.
  • Sheen – An item that gives ability power and mana. When the champion uses an ability, the next basic attack does additional damage based on the champion’s base attack damage.
  • Seeker’s Armguard – An item that gives the champion armor and ability power and additional armor and ability power when the champion kills a unit up till a cap.
  • Hextech Revolver – An item that gives the champion ability power and spell vamp.
  • Liandry’s Torment – An item that gives the champion ability power, health, magic penetration and does extra damage over time for a short duration on an enemy champion that you cast a spell on.
  • Rylai’s Crystal Scepter – An item that gives a champion ability power, health and slows an enemy champion that you cast a spell on for a short duration.
  • Deathfire’s Grasp – Gives the champion ability power, cooldown duration. When used on an enemy champion it deals a percentage amount of magic damage based on the enemy champion’s health. Also, it applies a debuff that amplifies the magic damage the enemy champion takes.
  • Abyssal Scepter –  Gives the champion ability power and magic resistance. It also gives the champion an aura that reduces the magic resist of enemy champions.
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass – Gives the champion ability power and armor. When used, the champion becomes immobile but invulnerable for a few seconds.
  • Archangel’s Staff – Gives the champion mana, ability power and mana regeneration. The champion gains a small percentage of ability power based on the amount of mana the champion has. The champion gains more mana for each spell used up to a cap where this item transforms into Seraph’s Embrace where the stats are more or less the same but the mana gain passive changes into an active skill where the champion gains a shield based on a percentage of their current mana.
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap – Gives the champion ability power and additional ability power based on the base ability power the champion has.
  • Lich Bane – Gives the champion ability power, mana and movement speed. When the champion uses an ability, the next basic attack does additional magic damage based on the champion’s ability power.

Summoner Skills

Summoner Skills that I generally use are Flash and Ignite to stay safe and to secure kills respectably. Sometimes I’ll use Exhaust or Teleport if it fits the lane situation  or the team composition. Sometimes Ghost is good option for champions like Ryze.

Runes And Masteries

So there are a few setups I have for mid lane. Mostly because you can play a caster with magic damage or an assassin which is attack damage or a hybrid of both magic and attack damage. Feel free to use these as a base in order to make your own Solo Mid setups that you feel comfortable with.

1) The Caster Route

Masteries are 21/5/4 focusing on damage in the offensive tree some health in the defense tree and summoner bonuses and mana regen in the utility tree. For my masteries I use Flat Armor Seals to mitigate the lane damage from minions, enemy jungler and turret (if you go for a dive). Scaling Ability Power Glyphs and Magic Penetration Marks for damage and an Flat Health Quintessences to mitigate damage. This setup is mostly for harass while kiting enemy damage. If you’re not comfortable with this setup, you can try Magic Resist Glyphs with Ability Power Quintessences instead.

magic-runes

magic-masteries

2) The Physical Damage (Assassin) Route

Masteries are 21/9/0 focusing on damage in the offensive tree some health and armor and magic resist in the defense tree (add more points into magic resist if you are going against a caster). For my masteries I use Flat Armor Seals to mitigate the lane damage from minions, enemy jungler and turret (if you go for a dive). Scaling Magic Resistance to mitigate damage and Armor Penetration Marks and Flat Attack Damage Quintessences for damage. This setup is mostly for harass and Attack Damage burst.

arms-runes

arms-masteries

3) The Hybrid Route

Masteries are 15/14/1 focusing on damage in the offensive tree, health and generally reducing damage in the defense tree and summoner bonuses in the utility tree. For my masteries I use Flat Armor Seals to mitigate the lane damage from minions, enemy jungler and turret (if you go for a dive). Scaling Magic Resistance to mitigate damage and Magic Penetration Marks and Flat Attack Damage Quintessences for damage. This setup is mostly for harass and burst damage. If you want, you can use Hybrid Penetration Marks to get the most out of both your ability power and attack damage.

hybrid-runes

hybrid-masteries

Poke

In the early stages of the game, the Solo Mid does a few things, 1) farm, 2) harass whenever in your favor and 3) take out the enemy laner whenever possible. Poking aka harassing the enemy solo mid laner does 2 things. One, it forces them to play passively which means you don’t have to worry as much to trade damage and focus more on farming and two, it will force the person to go back to base if they’re low enough. If they don’t go back to base, all you need to do is burst the laner down or get some help from your jungler for a free kill and get the minion farm that remain in lane. If the enemy laner does choose to go back to base, then you can easily free farm the minion wave. In both cases you can go back to base with a decent amount of gold to buy items and have more of an edge over your enemy in lane.

mid-wards

Of course if you clearly have an advantage over your enemy laner, you can feel free to use that. At the same time, do not get baited. Mid lane is the safest lane because it has the widest area for the laning phase. This is generally why you place casters in this lane, because casters inherently don’t have escapes as part of their skills. This being said, you can poke and stay relatively safe in you lane provided you stay on your side of the river. Once you’ve cross to the enemy’s side of the river and you don’t know where the enemy jungler is or if someone in the other lanes are missing, you essentially taking a risk at that point. Be sure to place a ward in one of the side bushes or in their jungle entrances. The image above shows some decent places to ward depending on what side of the map you’re on. To be completely safe, use 2 wards for each side of the river. You can buy one while your jungler can buy the second ward.

Burst

This is really simple. As a Caster or an assassin, you want to lay out your skills quickly so that you can either get a kill or force the enemy to retreat. This is done before the enemy can react whether it be from a global assist (Shen Ultimate) or the enemy jungler coming in to help. To figure the best way to burst is to know the champion you’re on in order to achieve the max amount of damage. So you may want to do a bit of research on some champions you’d like to play in mid lane. Also, you should also try to prioritize getting at least one strong ability power item if you’re on a caster or a strong sustain item if you’re on an assassin.

Assassinate

Well the title says it all but I’ll go into a bit of details. You’ll want to burst an opponent down but from complete surprise or from the fog of war. For example, you can be retreating from a one vs one but turn around when your cooldowns are done to burst down your opponent to kill them (if you think you can that is). Usually the assassins have a gap closer they can use. Whenever possible you should use that gap closer on the most dangerous and squishiest champions. Those would be the enemy Marksman, Solo Mid and Support. In that order, that would be the most ideal but generally the more dangerous out of the 3 you should go for first. If the enemy Solo Top isn’t tanky, you can consider that enemy as an additional option to consider.

So those are the general guidelines on how to play as a Solo Mid. There are variations to builds due to different types of casters and assassins. Your job is to deal damage to the enemy in team fights and clean up fights. On assassins, your job is to burst out high priority targets and to clean up. Some solo mid laners have good initiations for team fights so you’ll have to position well with your team in order to get a good team fight started. As always, feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter if you have anything to say about the guide. Have fun on the Fields of Justice!

Age’s League of Legends Basics Guide: Part 5 – The Marksman (Season 3)

The Marksman

A guide on how to deal tons of damage as a Marksman in lane and in team fights.

Hey all, this is my Marksman guide! This role used to be called ADC for Attack Damage Carry but Riot found that the term “Marksman” better defines this role. So before we get started, I’ll state some reasons why learning how to play a Marksman is a good thing to learn.

  1. You have to learn every role – It doesn’t matter how good you are in one role, you need to learn how to play fairly decently in every lane. You don’t have to be amazing at every role, your team in most cases should help make up for that.
  2. You will eventually have to play the Marksman role – It’s not often that you’ll be forced to play Marksman but you’ll have to play it sooner or later. Better to learn it soon and be fairly decent then be crap because you’ve never tried it.
  3. Massive boost for refining mechanics – I have to say this is insanely beneficial to you. Last hitting, kiting, learning when ganks might be coming, learning how to position, learning how to follow up fight engagements, learning how to go back to base. All of these are vital for a Marksman because for the first 10 – 20 minutes, you’ll have to apply all of these mechanics to survive and farm.

Again, just a small disclaimer, I’m not a pro marksman, but I do have a ton of experience in all the positions. These are just some general guidelines that new players need.

Popular Marksman Oriented Items

ad-items

Here are some standard Marksman items that’d you’d want to consider. From left to right, these items are:

  • Berserker’s Greaves – Advanced tier boots that give an additional percentage of your attack speed. Usually, this is the standard boots for Marksman.
  • Mercurial Scimitar – An item that gives the champion magic resist, attack damage. On use, the champion will instantly remove all current debuffs. Melee champions get an additional movement speed for a very short duration. Very useful versus CC heavy teams.
  • Phantom Dancer – An item that gives the champion additional percentage attack speed, crit chance and movement speed. It also allows the champion to ignore unit collision (eg can run through minions).
  • Statikk Shiv – An item that gives the champion additional percentage attack speed, crit chance and movement speed. It also allows the champion to gather charges and at max charges, a lighting bolt passes through nearby enemies near the next shot target. The charges are used up when the lighting shot happens. Very useful for safe range poke.
  • Blade of the Ruined King – Gives the champion attack damage and percentage lifesteal and attack speed. In addition, attacks deal a small percentage of the target’s current health. When used on an enemy champion it lifesteals a percentage their max health and steals a percentage of their movement speed for a short duration.
  • The Black Cleaver – Gives the champion health, attack damage, armor penetration and cooldown reduction. On physical damage it reduces the target’s armor by a small percentage. This effect can stack up to a cap.
  • The Bloodthirster –  Gives the champion attack damage and percentage lifesteal. Additional attack damage and lifesteal can be gain upon kills. The additional stacked are halved upon death.
  • Last Whisper – Gives the champion attack damage and percentage armor penetration
  • Infinity Edge – Gives the champion attack damage and percentage critical chance and critical damage
  • Guardian Angel – Gives the champion armor and magic resist. Upon death, the champion revives after a few seconds and a percentage of the champion’s health is restored. This item is great for Marksmen that are getting dived at and killed a lot.

Summoner Skills

Summoner Skills that I generally use are Flash and Barrier to stay safe. Sometimes I’ll use Ignite instead of barrier if I’m a close range Marksman like Vayne. I’ll use Cleanse if the enemy team has a lot of CC. Exhaust and Heal aren’t bad options to swap out for Barrier either but if your support runs one of these, I’d run Barrier or Ignite.

Runes And Masteries

So here are my runes and masteries that I generally use for carrying as a Marksman. Feel free to use this as a base in order to make your own Marksman setup that you feel comfortable with. The masteries are 21/5/4 focusing on damage in the offensive tree some health and summoner bonuses in the defense tree and more summoner bonuses and mana regen in the utility tree. For my masteries I use Flat Armor Seals to mitigate the lane damage. Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs to mitigate damage later in the game. Attack Damage Marks and an Attack Damage Quintessences for auto-attacking harass and early game damage.

ad-runes

ad-masteries

Farm

In the early stages of the game it is the Marksman has one main job: farm. Marksmens are the ones who need to get a lot of farm to get the really good damage items to deal most of the damage. Simple right? I talked about last hitting in the very first part of this guide and you’ll have to apply this to farm rather well. Of course there are times where you get zoned by the enemy support or get pushed to the tower. In those cases you’ll need to find a way to gain some ground by harassing the enemy laners. You’ll also need to learn how to farm under the tower. You might be stuck there for a while till someone can go to assist you and your Support.

Kite

As a Marksman, you are a high priority target for the enemy team. To kill that is. The enemy jungler usually spends a good amount of time skulking around the bottom lane (which is the standard lane Marksmen and Supports are in) to gank you in order for their Marksman to farm and to go buy items which will give them an advantage in lane. Sometimes wards aren’t enough to stop ganks. Heck, maybe the enemy lane you’re fighting might try to dive you. So you should be ready to kite. Kiting is avoiding skill shots, AoEs and the like. Kiting is as easy as simply side stepping and attacking repeatedly to avoid that one skill shot that could have turned into a horrible problem. This is especially vital for Marksmen because they are squishy (Squishy means that you deal a lot of damage but have low health pools and low armor and magic resist). Some Marksmen have skills that allow them to kite even better. For example, Ezreal’s Arcane Shift which allows him to jump to a nearby position. Kiting should also be used in team fights. With kiting, the enemy team also wastes their skills while you and your team are doing actual damage.

Kill

I think you generally know what to do here so I won’t go into much details. Remember this though. In team fights, the Marksman’s role is to stay in the back of the team and deal damage to the best enemy targets the Marksman can hit. This is because Marksman are generally squishy characters. If the enemy team gets whittled down, the Marksman can advance a bit more. If the enemy starts to flee, the Marksman can move to the front and start chasing them down. Keep in mind that you should be kiting when necessary and be wary if an enemy has a chance to burst you down.

So those are the general guidelines on how to play as a Marksman. There are variations to Marksman builds and some that are completely different like the blue Ezreal build (you can look that up). Also, if you see your team is at a standstill for engaging the other team, just be patient, you don’t start fights. Your job is to deal tons of damage to the enemy when the fight starts. If you start the fights start them from a safe range because if you move up to the front, you will get jumped on and then your team’s damage is greatly reduced because you’re not there. As always, feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter if you have anything to say about the guide. Have fun on the Fields of Justice!