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League of Legends Guide

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3 ways to become a better LOL player

written by Codfish

Table of Contents

  • Last Hitting

    Quite simple. You will do better than your opponents if you have more gold. Even if I'm an inferior player to someone else, if I outfarm them and have more money, I can use that advantage to overcome the difference in skill or champion matchup.

    However, good last hitters do more than just last hit. When I am playing against another human, last hitting is rarely effective by itself. A good last hitter must be able to
    a) Pace the lane. Push up to their tower when they back (so they lose xp) or when you need to back, leave the wave at your tower when you're afraid of getting ganked or when you are calling for a gank.
    b) Land consistent last hits on any minion that you can land a melee on. Unless you're getting outzoned hard in your lane matchup (did you pick the wrong hero), any creep that dies near you should be last hittable.
    c) Use skills to last hit:
    d) Harrass to ensure easy last hits . When you can't last hit a minion (in between waves, or minions are at full health), you should be positioning to harrass your opponent or to potentially outzone them. If you are higher level/HP/etc. than your opponent, 90% of the time you can secure your safe farming.
    e) [bold]Don't unneccessarily push your lane. This applies to nuking creeps at full health, nuking creeps that you can regular attack, or pushing when a gank is probable/imminent. All these things spend your resources (mana or lane space) with no payback (no cash for you).

    If you are a support that does not need lots of farm (Janna, Alistar, Taric come to mind), focus on zoning -- maximize your damage (but safely) so that your lane ally can last hit safely.

    Two ways to practice last hitting:
    1. (beginner) Go into a practice game with the hero you're trying to practice. Go solo mid, any items, and try to last hit every creep until a tower dies or hit 10 minutes. Notice that even if the enemy tower dies, it's a sign that your last hitting is pushing the lane too hard (your autoattacks will naturally push the lane).
    2. (intermediate) Go into an intermediate coop game with a hero you're trying to practice. Here your goal should be to maximize your farm while outzoning / outharrassing the bot you're against. Annie Bot and Ryze Bot play unneccessarily aggressive in the lane early game - several times they position themselves in places where they will draw creep aggro (and win you the HP advantage). IF you can harrass the bot back while lasthitting efficiently, you are on your way to becoming a good player.

  • Animation Cancelling

    On cast spammers (Ryze, Urgot, etc.), proper animation canceling can increase your damage by as much as double early game, especially at level 1 when spells deal about as much damage as an autoattack.

    What is animation cancelling?

    This is a DoTA video, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like and how to use it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1kOg55LZOg

    Every regular attack and spell cast has the same 3 phases in LoL:
    1. The backswing phase: your spell/attack has not been cast, and moving during this phase will cancel the animation.
    2. The casting phase: your spell/attack is being cast. Typically the animation is not cancellable in this phase
    3. The cooldown phase: your character goes through the rest of the animation after the casting phase. Since the damage has already been dealt (or is in the air travelling to your target), cancelling this portion of the attack/spellcasting animation has NO DRAWBACKS..

    Animation cancelling typically refers to the cancellation of phase (3) by either a) casting another spell or b) moving to improve your position, and can be used to land an extra autoattack (or 3 or 4 depending on positioning) or tighten your burst damage (ie before a cc wears off or before a hero flashes).

    Take Anivia's R (Glacial Storm) + E (Frostbite). Typically a player will cast R, then cast E to deal damage with the frost proc. This is a great combo, yet often fails. For example, if I cast my R at max range on a fleeing opponent, there is no way I can close the range to cast my E. I have just wasted mana on the R to do subpar damage.

    A better way to do this with animation cancelling is to cast E first, immediately click to move forward (and cancel the animation), then cast R on the area. While the projectile for E is in the air, your frost will proc (R is instantaneous), making your E do instant double damage.

    This harrass is more mana efficient because you will only cast your R if your E successfully casts, ensuring that your E will always do double damage.

    Another character that improves drastically with animation cancelling is Ashe. Volleying in between attack cooldowns means you're increasing your attack damage. Moreover, moving forward (or backwards) after each regular attack means you can maximize your damage. Since kiting properly is vital to Ashe's playstyle, learning to animation cancel properly and constantly is critical to maxing your ability to kite (since it makes you mobile while attacking).

    Normally, if a player wants to deal damage to a champion as Ashe (or any other hero), you right click them and auto-attack. This is a poor deal for several reasons:
    a) attacking and not cancelling the command draws harder creep aggro = you take more damage from creeps.
    b) when you normally attack, your champion is stationary the whole cooldown phase of your attack. If your enemy is retreating, there is often no way to deal more than one attack to them this way (eg. you attack once, during your cooldown phase they retreat out of your range, then you need to chase to get in range for another attack).

    Animation cancelling allows you to move forward or backward and maintain better positioning while still doing damage to your opponent.

    I ALWAYS animation cancel in games; I animation cancel my last hits, my spells, everything because there is no downside to it. It quite simply gives you better mobility and 100% more efficient play.

    Ways to practice animation cancelling:
    1. In a practice or coop game, go to a lane. After you click a creep or champion to last hit or harrass, try clicking backwards (or forwards) to move your hero during the cooldown animation. This is very subtle, but the gist is that you want to have the timing down so you can move as soon as the damage from your ability or attack is dealt. Keep pushing the click timing until your animation cancelling is very tight.
    2. Practice animation cancelling every game. This makes a huge difference in your game mechanics.

  • Making good "big picture" plays"

    A player may tend to think that games are won and lost around 5v5 fights, and this is often true. Acing the other team and pushing their nexus for the win is a very common way to end a game.

    Logically then, one MIGHT think that you are required to be in every team fight in order to win the game.

    A better player is always constantly evaluating what the best thing they can do to maximize their contribution to the team.

    Typically, you have ~ 7 usual choices in big picture schemes:
    a) group up with your team to help a fight or an impending fight
    b) kill baron, dragon, or buff mobs
    c) gank opponent
    d) push a lane.
    e) farm jungle creeps
    f) increase your mapvision (with CV or wards)
    g) defend a lane.

    All of these are useful options, but some of them are much better choices in given circumstances. Think about these 5 options and the best alternative at different junctures.

    Example 1:
    You are farming top lane with a friend, when 3 people from your team get 5 man ganked bottom.

    D) In this example, running bottom is a horrible decision. You have virtually no chance of influencing the outcome of the gank (eg. your teammates get wiped if it was a decent gank, or survive if the other team messed up). But if all 5 champions are bottom, then you and your friend have a huge advantage up top. This is an excellent time to push top lane really hard and nab a tower. Note that you ARE NOT overextended because you know exactly where the other team is, and you are all the way away from them. I've even been able to push 2 towers and an inhib merely because the other team pushed and did not check the other side of the map.

    Example 2:
    Your lanes are all being at your towers. You have 2 people mid and 2 people bottom, and the opposing team has 3 people mid and 2 people bottom.
    Here usually the best choice is g), either in top lane or mid lane.

    G) In the early game your opponents can't dive your 2 allies too hard in the mismatched lane mid. The longer they stay there, the more they are limiting their experience and gold -- moreover your opponents are leaving an entire lane of experience untapped. By going top you are maximizing your team's experience and gold, and giving your team an advantage over the other team.

    If your mid tower is in danger of falling, however, a better decision is to go mid and even the personnel to make sure your tower doesn't fall.

    Example 3 (very common):
    Your party is gathering for a push mid, when you spot the enemy carry at bottom.

    B) This is the best time to do baron. By baroning at this juncture, you are ensuring that your team has the advantage (5v4) in any potential engages (because the other team is lacking their carry) for a few seconds. Moreover, you can use the enemy carry as a measure of whether the other team has vision or not. If he disappears as soon as you start baron, that's a good sign that your opponents have a ward at baron. Warding the enemy's approaches makes it even easier; you can countergank or stop your baron if things get dicey.

    Remember that the best way to help your team is not always in teamfights -- though be advised your prioritization may change depending on what role you have in the team. At every juncture - even when a teamfight is imminent - consider if your team is better off split pushing or even backing off to gain another advantage elsewhere on the map.

    Ways to practice this:
    Not really a great way to practice this aside from always evaluating this in the games you're in.
    One good skill to devise is to play coop games as a roamer. After you hit level 2 or 3, start bouncing between lanes to get kills on the computers. But when you go between lanes, try getting a feel for the rough timings that it takes you to get from lane to lane, area to area. Having a fundamental knowledge of travel times makes it so you can properly plan your escapes and maximize your pushes.

    This will help you use the vision you get from wards, too - where champions are headed and how long the champs can wait before it becomes a big threat.



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Submitted by Codfish


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