A Comprehensible Manual for League of Legends Starters: Survivor’s Game
A Comprehensible Manual for League of Legends Starters
by Oskar Thomas “The no-no Java” von Seckendorff
Not long ago I decided to sample game statistics. I picked up the “gold at 20” number and graphed it. Apparently the relationship is inversely proportional: gold and match length. For those who don’t like that kind of nomenclature, that’s basically saying that the higher the gold advantage a team has at minute 20, the length of the match decreased, and viceversa. Now, from where does that gold come? Mainly from minions and kills. Players with the same level of experience tend to earn pretty much the same amount of gold from minion kills (although there’s a mathematical detail here that I’d like to address later on), so the difference mainly rests on player kills. If you are starting out, there’s a good chance that the green and red numbers at the upper right corner of the screen decide who’s the winning team.
If you aren’t the killer of the team, then don’t be the feeder i.e. the player whose mission is to die over and over again. Just don’t. That’s why right now I’m going to describe the main ways to stay alive. New players tend to overlook the small details (or not so small) that help you interpret how your enemy is behaving. Yes, League of Legends is also about psychology. If you just concentrate on your own strategy your foe will begin to figure you out while you’ll be wondering how the hell he’s reading your movements so easily.
Without further ado I’ll list the key points that help you understand your opponent’s decisions.
- The health difference
- Your current energy/mana/rage/stack
- The level advantage
- The DPS difference
Added to these key points there are secondary, yet important, points to consider as you take on more experienced players.
- Minions’ wave push percentage
- Jungler presence
- Ability cooldown tracking
- Vision advantage
- Opponent’s and self’s mechanics weaknesses
When you feel that taking these 9 basic first-hand parameters is too difficult, then keep a constant eye on the first 4. Actually for these 4 points I’ll give some insight.
- The health difference: Despite this sounds pretty straightforward, there are a couple of things that are noteworthy, yet not immediately apparent. Firstly, it’s not the same to have a 50 HP difference at 70% average health than to have a 50 HP advantage at 20% average health. The difficulty of managing a 50HP/20% situation is that the player with the better burst will probably get the kill, while a 50HP/70% situation will probably fare better for the champion with better sustained damage output. Secondly, if your opponent has a potential source of healing, then there’s a good chance that he’ll feel much more confident, so a 50HP/70% situation actually is something like a 100HP/72%. That’s not immediate, yet crucial.
- Your current mana: As you play more and more, you don’t just keep and eye on the HP indicator, but also at the energy/mana/rage/stack indicator. If your opponent has managed to drain your limiter, he knows that you lack burst, slow, snare, and/or escape. Keep that in mind: they know.
- The level advantage: There are 3 main points where level advantage is more important that it seems to be. These are level 2, 3 and 6, namely the levels that there is probably an ability advantage. This is something of utmost importance. As for the rest of the levels, the stat difference might not seem to be too much, but it is usually enough to decide how a trade will end.
- The DPS difference: While point 3 gives stat and potential advantage, DPS difference, in this context, refers to items. Item advantage is ridiculously important. Both players might have the same champion at the same in-game level with the same amount of kills, but if one decided to recall to base and the other one was forced to stay in lane, when the player that recalled returns to lane, the item advantage will make the difference.
You really want to keep this in mind. The other 5 points will come with time, but since day two you should try to track those 4 points. Some people are better multitaskers than others, but with practice even those of single-line-of-thought get to automatize the checking of variables in the game.
Remember that practice makes master. Talent is a jumpstart, practice is the engine. Keep going! Always aim higher, since conformism is the seed to sinking.
[As an end note, I mentioned that minion kills usually didn’t make that much of a difference. However, that is true for certain games. Above beginner level matches, CS (creep score or minions kills) will proportionally deal a heavy blow during the first 10 minutes or so. At this point keeping up with the CS might not be enough. Try to progressively improve your last hits so you outscore your opponent.]