League of Legends Guide

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The Total Noob's Guide to League of Legends

written by HeadlessNewt

Table of Contents

  • Intro

    Thanks for reading my guide. If you are skilled, leet, experienced, brilliant, perfect, godlike or legendary, this is probably not the guide for you. This guide was created out of a desire to see a codified list of things that total noobs like myself will be bombarded with in their first few weeks of League of Legends, before they really have the skill and comprehension to read the more advanced guides for themselves.

  • Glossary

    There are a lot of words, abbreviations, and bits of slang and jargon that are thrown around LoL frequently, and they aren't all intuitive. Here are the most common terms I've found that many first-time users won't know.

    Aura: A buff that is applied to the champion with the aura as well as any nearby champions as long as they remain within the aura. In League of Legends, these are almost always passive and often inherent.

    "b": Typed in chat as a single letter, "b" means "back up." It is a warning, probably directed at you, that you are in danger or could soon be in danger. Head back to the safety of your nearest turret.

    "base", "basing", "bp", "blue pill", "blue pilling", "pilling": Fairly obviously, your base, or your Nexus, is the place where your minions spawn, and what your opponents are trying to destroy. Basing, or Blue Pilling (a reference to "The Matrix"), is the act of teleporting immediately back to your base for a full health and mana refill or to purchase items. All heroes can [spell=Recall] back to their base, this power is mapped to the "B" key by default.

    "bot": This refers to the bottom side of the minimap and is used as a direction. "ill go bot" means the speaker will be heading to the southernmost lane. "Trist u noob go bot" means that Tristana's player has been found to be unskillful and should be in the southern lane rather than wherever she is now. It should not be confused with a computer player, nor with the MMO idea of "healbotting."

    Buff: An effect which increases a champion's effectiveness for period of time, usually limited.

    Bush, Grass: Known formally as Brush, this is the tall grass that causes your character to become transparent when you enter it. So long as you are in the brush and not attacking, you cannot be seen by enemies outside the brush, including minions and turrets. Some abilities will cancel this, as will any attack out of the brush.

    "care": A shortening of the word "careful!", usually followed by a part of a character's name, for example "care annie" means Annie's should probably re-evaluate her position, if not immediately run for the cover of a turret. Usually provided when someone observes multiple enemies heading to a champion's position.

    Carry: A complicated term implying a character who scales extremely well with gear and levels. Carries tend to start out somewhat weak and become extremely deadly in the later phases.

    CC: Short for Crowd Control. In League of Legends, this usually refers to Stuns, but can refer to any Disable effect used to tactically prevent a champion from acting.

    CD, Cooldown: Interchangeable terms for both the amount of time a character has between uses of a skill "15 second cooldown" and that time as a unit "i only died cuz ult is on cd."

    Creeps: Another word for minions. Any character controlled by the computer. Sometimes used to specifically refer to monsters.

    DD: A Direct Damage ability. An ability which is targeted on a character and will not miss once it is let go. Contrast with "Skill Shot."

    Debuff: The opposite of a buff, an effect which decreases a champion's effectiveness for a limited time.

    Disable: A catchall term for debuffs which limit the actions that champions can take. The most potent disable effect is Stun.

    DPS: An abbreviation for "damage per second," though in LoL it is generally translated to mean damage with a character's auto-attack. This term can also be used to apply to a character who is neither a Tank nor Support: a champion who excels in dealing out large amounts of damage very quickly.

    Farm, farming: Farming is the act of killing minions for gold. A good farmer kills lots of minions very fast, thus earning a lot of gold.

    Feeding: To die repeatedly to an enemy champion, which causes them to earn a large amount of experience very quickly. This is something that will probably be shouted at you if you ever provide an enemy with a killing spree. Consider playing more defensively if you seem to be feeding an enemy.

    Focus: A shortened version of the phrase "focus fire," to target a single champion in an attempt to drop them as quickly as possible.

    Gank: A sudden kill, possibly involving more than one enemy champion. This term is sometimes used to simply mean any kill.

    Harass: Harassment is the act of damaging enemy champions without going all out trying to kill them. It is an extremely common thing to do for almost all champions, and an integral part of the game.

    Jungling: Jungling is an advanced alternative to Laning, in which the champion fights the neutral monsters instead of the enemy's minions.

    Lane, Laning: A lane is one of the sections of the map which minions pass through. They are among the most important locations in the game. In Summoner's Rift there are three lanes, in Twisted Treeline there are only two. Laning is the act of killing enemy minions in a lane for xp and gold.

    "lom": Related to "oom," this is a statement that the speaker is low on mana, and won't be able to heal or use abilities fairly soon. Probably a sign that you should "b".

    "MF, mf": An oft-misunderstood abbreviation for the champion "Miss Fortune." It is not an insult.

    "mia", "miss": A statement that a champion cannot currently be found. A warning that they may be off planning a gank. Usually said with a direction, as in "top mia", which means that someone who has been in the top lane cannot currently be located.

    Mid, Midding: Mid is the central lane of Summoner's Rift. Midding is the act of being a single character in the middle lane. This is extremely lucrative as far as Xp is concerned, and so usually you will want a Carry in this position.

    Neutrals: Another term for monsters. Computer-controlled characters that do not belong to a side.

    Nuke: A high-damage attack skill.

    "oom": A statement that the speaker is out of mana. Most often used by healers as a warning that there won't be any more healing for a while.

    Phase: A player-defined period of the game. Depending on who you ask, there are 3 or 4 phases: Laning, (Ganking), Teaming and Siege. There is an excellent guide to the phases on this site by General Waffles here.

    Push, Pusher: You will often see this word typed in all caps in later phases of the game. Pushing offensive action intended to destroy a building, most often a turrets. An intelligent push is almost always followed by a temporary retreat. A Pusher is a character who excels at destroying turrets. Not to be confused with knockback.

    QQ:{/bold] An emoticon designed to resemble two eyes with tears dripping from them. It has come to be a sarcastic response to players who are frustrated, implying that they should spend less time complaining and more time playing the game. It is very rude to imply someone is QQing.

    To leave a match early in anger or frustration. It is especially bad in League of Legends, because a champion who leaves will not be replaced, leaving their team shorthanded. Ragequitting is considered a form of QQing.

    Root: A debuff which immobilizes a champion, preventing them from moving.

    Silence: A debuff which prevents a champion from using Skills.

    Skill Shot, skillshot: A skill which fires a projectile in a given direction, aiming on the part of the player casting it, as opposed to simply targeting, like most skills. These skills are notably easy to dodge if they are seeen coming, but tend to be devastatingly effective when they hit.

    Stun: A debuff which prevents the champion from moving, attacking or using skills.

    Support: A champion whose abilities are primarily buffs, debuffs or heals. They tend to get a large number of Assists and a small number of kills, and keep their party alive and effective. They are often priority targets for enemy champions.

    Tank: A champion who is extremely durable and difficult to kill. They often invest in HP, Armor and Magic Resistance heavily. Tanks tend to be tough enough that if their enemies are foolish and concentrate their attacks on the tank, the tank's allies will have enough time to kill the attackers.

    TP, tp: Teleport, a summoner spell.

    Ultimate, ult: The one of a champion's 4 skills which cannot be taken until level 6. Ultimates tend to be extremely effective skills which have a very long cooldown. Very often used to describe a death that occurred, eg. "i forgot his ult".

  • Things You Need to Know that Nobody Tells You


    What, really?:

    You say to me, "Newt, I know how to MOVE at least, I'm not a total moron." "Ah," I say, "But do you know exactly how movement interacts with autoattacks and skill use?" Most of you will sputter something about how it's obvious and such. Just like the rest of this guide, if you know this, skip it. But a brief discussion of mechanics will make the game make more sense.

    How does it work?:
    There are 2 different types of movement: Direct Movement and Targeted Movement. Direct Movement occurs when you right-click on the ground. Your champion will interpret this command as "Go to the location clicked, do not ask questions, do not do anything else until I get there." If they encounter anything ont he way, they will ignore it, no matter how important it is (like an enemy champion wailing on you.) If you right-click on an enemy or enemy building this is Targeted Movement. Targeted Movement also occurs when you target an enemy with a skill and they're out of range of the skill, or if you lay down an AoE somewhere your character can't reach. The character will move to the nearest location to themselves where they can attack or cast the spell. If the command was to auto-attack, they will continue auto-attacking until ordered to switch targets with another right-click. If it was a skill, they will pick the closest target and begin auto-attacking that after they have used the skill. When Melee characters are idle, they will move towards the closest enemy before auto-attacking. Ranged characters will not.

    What's all that mean?:
    Champions obey direct orders, then attack the nearest target. When they have direct orders, they will do NOTHING else but obey the order. So pay attention to what your champion is doing and be ready to react.

    Minion and Turret Behavior:

    Why does this matter?:

    Knowing how minions and turrets behave will allow you to maneuver around them and have appropriate expectations to what will happen when you're near them. I've died a lot, and seen others die a lot, to turrets because they forgot their targeting priorities.

    How does it work?:
    Minions move through the predefined route of a lane. For the most part, minions and turrets move to aid their allies, based on who is attacking them. The highest priority to assist is always allied champions, followed by allied minions. If nobody else is being attacked, they will attack the nearest enemy minion, or the nearest enemy champion if there are no minions.

    What's all that mean?:
    So long as you don't attack enemy champions, and minions and turrets have targets that aren't you to attack, you have pretty much nothing to worry about. Attacking a champion who has minions backing them up will result in them all targeting you, which can sting a bit. Attacking a champion who has a turret backing them up can get you killed you extremely fast. Do NOT engage enemy champions in the shadow of a turret if you can possibly avoid it. Attacking the turret itself will usually be a better use of your time.

    Last Hitting:

    What is it?:

    Last hitting is an easy to miss part of LoL gameplay that will improve your performance and enjoyment immensely. When a minion or monster dies, the character that dealt the killing blow (the last hit) gets an amount of gold. Therefore, you want to get as many killing blows as you possibly can, so that you can get yourself items faster, and power yourself up. Note that you'll get experience whether or not you get the last hit, so long as you were fairly close to the kill when it happened. Last Hitting is all about money.

    How do I do it?:
    This is a place where the game demands timing, skill and insight. The short version is you hold your attack until a minion is low on health, then you activate a skill or autoattack, and your attack kills the minion and you get the gold. How you hold your attack varies from person to person. A lot of people like to right-click in little circles before stopping to attack, some people double-tap the S key to make their characters hold their fire. If you want to autoattack, that's fine too, but always try to get as many last hits as you can.


    What are those skulls on the minimap?:

    Those are monster camps. They will respawn every so often. The bigger the skull, the harder the monster camp will be to defeat.

    Why would I want to fight things that aren't directly contributing to my team winning?:
    Well first of all, monsters will politely sit there waiting for you to kill them and get experience and gold for killing them,. Second, unlike enemy minions, killing monsters doesn't give away your position to the enemy. Finally, there are a few monsters that have a circle of gems orbiting them. The names of these monsters aren't important, what is important is the circle of gems. Whenever one of these monsters is killed, the one who strikes the killing blow takes their gems. The red circle of gems is usually called the "Lizard Buff", it increases the damage of your auto-attack and causes your auto-attack hits to slow the target. The blue circle of gems is called the "Golem Buff," and it grants increased mana regeneration and reduces the cooldown of every skill you use. There's also Baron Nashor, who is a giant worm-creature, who provides a buff to HP and MP regeneration, as well as Attack Damage and Ability Power.

    Anything else I should know about Monster buffs?:
    Whoever kills someone with one of the buff gem circles takes the buff away from them, so be careful about grabbing buffs if you've been dying a lot, you may just be making your enemies stronger.


    Gosh there are a lot of items, how does this all work?:

    The item system in League of Legends is one of the most complicated and interesting parts of the game. In short, you buy basic items, which usually provide a single effect, and combine them into more and more complicated items with many of the effects of the items used in their creation, plus additional bonus abilities. Any ability marked "Unique" will not stack with any other abilities that provide identical effects, so buying a ton of shoes won't make you any faster. If you have multiple Unique Active abilities, they all share a cooldown, so you won't be able to chain their uses together. As you gain more experience, you'll become more comfortable with the item selection process, and find what works for your play style, for your first few games, buy the items in the upper right of the item screen.

    What do all the different stats do?:
    I'll keep these short, there are plenty of more in-depth guides detailing exact mechanics and how these stack up.
    Ability Power (AP): Increases the effectiveness of a champion's skills.
    Armor: Reduces damage the champion takes from enemy autoattacks.
    Armor Penetration: Reduces the effectiveness of enemy armor against your autoattacks.
    Attack Damage (AD, dmg): Increases the damage of the champion's autoattacks.
    Attack Speed (IAS): Increases the rate at which the champion autoattacks.
    Cooldown Reduction: Reduces the time you must wait before using a champion's skills after using them.
    Critical Strike Chance: Increases the likelihood that the champion's autoattacks will "critically hit" and bonus damage.
    Critical Strike Damage: Increases the bonus damage dealt with each of the champion's critical hits.
    Dodge: Increases the chance that the champion will avoid autoattacks, taking no damage.
    Health: Increases the champion's HP total.
    Health Regeneration: Increases the rate at which the Champion's HP restores itself.
    Life Steal: Restores health to the champion based on a percentage of the autoattack damage they deal.
    Magic Penetration: Reduces the effectiveness of enemy's Magic Resistance against their skills.
    Magic Resistance: Reduces damage the champion takes enemy skills.
    Mana: Increases the champions MP total.
    Mana Regeneration: Increases the rate at which the champion's MP restores itself.
    [i]Movement Speed:
    Increases the rate at which the character walks across the map.
    Spell Vamp: Restores health to the champion based on a percentage of the skill damage they deal.

    Ebb and Flow:

    What the heck does that mean?:

    Due to the nature of waves of minons, combat in League of Legends tends to drift back and forth up and down lanes. Especially as the game progresses, finding yourself on the wrong end of a lane when the tide is going against you can be very lethal. Here are a few quick pieces of advice that I was given and found especially useful. As you gain practice and familiarity with the game, these will become much more natural.

    1. Stay with your minions. This is especially important in the early game, when minion damage is still significant and both you and your opponents should be trying as hard as you can to not miss out on xp. If you're laning and you notice that you have only a couple of minions left, fall back to your nearest turret until the next wave arrives. However, later in the game it remains important, especially when pushing turrets. If you don't have minions for a shield, the turrets will shoot you instead, and that can be bad.

    2. Your turrets are your house. If you hug your turret, your opponents will have to be extremely tough to chase you into their range and kill you before dying themselves. If things are looking bad for you, your first reflex should be to run back to your turret. If your opponents are being extremely aggressive, there's nothing wrong with hiding in the shadow of your turret until they back off.

    3. What you can't see can kill you. Try to glance at your minimap every so often to make sure you know where all of your opponents are. If you don't know, you should feel threatened, and should consider the possibility that they're in the fog of war just out of sight. If enemy champions aren't visible, play defensively. Hug your turrets, group up with your teammates for protection, hide in brush so they can't see you either. If you're at low health or mana, consider recalling back to your base. Missing out on a little last hit gold or a little xp from minion kills is a small price to pay for not getting ganked. I cannot count the number of deaths I could have avoided if I hadn't gotten overconfident and ran off into unknown territory.

  • Conclusion

    This guide is a work in progress, and if anyone has any ideas of things to add to it, I'd be happy to put them in and give credit where it is due. It was created mostly due to my own frustration at the lack of such simple information being easily available despite everyone being expected to know it. At time of first writing, my profile is level 11, so I'm still a noob too.

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Submitted by HeadlessNewt

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