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If you’re considering joining the 100 million other gamers in the world of League of Legends, you’ll want to prepare. LOL is undoubtedly the most popular multiplayer online battle arena game ever made. On top of that, it’s gained a massive presence in eSports. The LOL world tournament was played over five weeks, with 43 million people tuning in to watch. There are over 100 million League of Legends players monthly, which is a huge testament to its quality and popularity.
Whether you’re brand new to the title or already played, there is lots to know about League of Legends. From the character structure to the battle system and everything in between, having a good base knowledge of the game will be a huge benefit. In this guide to League of Legends, we will arm you with everything you need to know about this MOBA to give you the best chance of success in the game. You’ll also get a chance to see if it is the game for you or if it’s not your vibe. It’s free-to-play, so even if you end up not digging it, you won’t be out any cash. You’ve got nothing to lose by downloading it and giving it a go.
Follow along with the ultimate guide to League of Legends and get ready to jump into the immersive world.
What Is League of Legends?
League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game or MOBA. Every game includes two teams of five players each. Each player chooses from a bank of over 120 characters called ‘Champions,’ who each have a unique set of skills and abilities. The teams will duke it out in the battle arena, with the most popular one being Summoners Rift.
Taking out other players, and meeting objectives will help you gain gold which you can use to buy additional items. You can also use this gold to power yourself up. The goal of each game is to destroy your enemies’ base. Your base and the opposing teams base sit on opposite sides of the map. Your team needs to strategically make their way across the map, destroying turrets as they go. Once you reach the destination, you’ll need to take out the base to win the game.
Remember that the other team is also trying to take your base at the same time, so you need to ensure it’s protected. Strategy comes into play as you’ll need to have some players on the team play an offensive role, and others play a defensive position. There are three lanes in the map; top, mid, and bottom. There are five leading roles in the game. They are Top-Laner, Jungler, Mid-Laner, Attack-Damage-Carry, and Support. Each role will operate in a different lane of the map, where they will be most useful. We will talk more about them below.
Since its initial release, they’ve added more maps and game modes to LOL. The most popular remains the 5vs5 gameplay in Summoners Rift. It combines real-time strategy with role-playing aspects, in a fast-paced and competitive game. There are new champions, modes, and updates all the time, which delivers infinite gameplay options.
Winning League of Legends
Let’s dive in a bit deeper into the process of winning a game of League of Legends. So, we know you need to take the other team’s base to win, but what does this entail? If you begin the game and just sprint for the enemies’ Nexus, you won’t make it very far before you get blown to pieces. Not only do you have the enemy trying to stop you, but also enemy turrets and minions coming at you in waves.
You’ll begin the game at Level 1 and have to level up your champion to a point where they are strong enough to move forward. You can level up by earning experience points and acquiring gold to purchase items. Think of it as a role-playing game condensed into a much shorter time frame. After killing monsters and leveling up, you’ll finally run into the opposing team in a battle for power. One group will overpower the other and take control of the other’s base to win the game ultimately.
Let’s Talk About Champions
In each League of Legends match, there are ten champions in total. Five on each team. There are over 140 champions to choose from, including unique skins for each one so you can customize their look. They all have a selection of abilities and skills that set them apart from each other. Their strengths and weaknesses can be applied in-game and also during the selection process. You’ll want to create a balanced team of champions, with complementary abilities to be successful.
Every time you play, your team will feature different champions. Though the map will stay the same, and the goal, the variety of champions means no two games will be the same. Some champions are simpler to use, with more straightforward skills. Others can be quite complex and take more time to get the hand of. Whether you prefer close combat, calculated, long-range combat, or no combat, there is a champion with your name on it.
Next, we will dive deeper into the statistics, abilities, and how to level up your champion.
When deciding on a champion, you’ll first want to check out their stats. Each champion has a different distribution of stat points, which will define the strengths and weaknesses you begin within the game. It will range from health to speed, to defence. Below, we will break down each stat, so you know what they represent and what to look out for when choosing your character.
Pretty straight forward, but health is basically how much damage you can endure before you die. The higher your health, the more damage you can withstand. A green bar represents it.
Ability Resources: Using different abilities will cost resources. The resources used will be dependent on which champion you have chosen. Some use mana, and others use energy. Some even use portions of their health to use abilities.
Mana is the blue bar underneath the health bar. A good chunk of the champions use mana for abilities, especially magic. Mana will automatically regenerate over time. Throughout the game, you can increase how much mana you have by purchasing individual items.
A yellow bar represents energy. Some champions will utilize it to perform abilities. It also regenerates over time but at a much faster rate than mana. That said, you cannot increase your energy bar by buying items. You’ve only got what you’ve got for the whole game.
4. Attack Damage (AD)
Attack Damage represents how much damage is done by standard auto-attacks. Items and abilities that contribute to attack damage will show up in orange numbers.
5. Ability Power (AP)
Ability power refers to the strength of your primary skills. It may also power up some runes and items. Items and abilities that contribute to ability power will show up in green numbers.
Armor refers to the level of defense you have against any physical attacks. The higher your armor stat is, the better you can defend yourself against champions with top AD.
7. Magic Resist (MR)
Magic resist refers to how much defense you have against ability related attacks or magic. The higher your MR is, the better you can defend yourself from those with high AP.
8. Attack Speed (AS)
Attack speed refers to the attack agility of your champion. The higher your AS, the faster you will perform auto-attacks. If you couple that with a good AD, then your champion will be unstoppable as a substantial and fast hitter.
9. Cooldown Reduction (CDR)
Whenever you use an ability, you will need to wait before using it again. The wait-time is dependent on your champions CDR. The higher your CDR, the quicker you can use the ability again. There are items you can get that will give you more CDR points.
10. Critical Strike Chance
Critical Strike Chance refers to how likely it is you’ll land a critical strike on a basic auto-attack. If you manage to hit your enemy with a critical strike, it will do twice the amount of damage. High critical strike chance will be very effective against those with high armor as you’ll be able to cripple them quicker.
11. Movement Speed (MS)
Movement speed refers to the general agility of your champion. The higher you MS, the quicker you can run and make your way around the Summoner’s Rift. There are items and abilities available that will help you to increase your MS.
Every champion has a bank of unique abilities and auto-attacks. You can perform a basic auto-attack by right-clicking on the enemy. Your champion will then keep using their basic attack on the opponent until it dies, or you change your strategy.
Your champion, throughout the game, can use many abilities. The champions base abilities are performed using the Q, W, E, R keys on your keyboard. There are summoner spells that can be accessed with the D and F keys and also item-related abilities. You can access item-triggered skills through the number keys on your keyboard.
Summoner spells are two abilities that you get to choose for your champion before entering Summoner’s Rift. These abilities can be selected from an extensive list and allow you to customize your character to fit your style. You’ll unlock more of these abilities the more you play League of Legends. They bring an extra level of flexibility to creating a champion that is most suited to your preferred gameplay.
We want to touch on the importance of team composition quickly. It refers to the combination of champions that comprise your team. Good team composition can give you a considerable edge in the arena, regardless of how skilled the player is. The perfect team composition combines complementary skills and abilities to create a balanced and well-rounded team. That said, players may not necessarily want a balanced team. Maybe your group wants to smash through everything quickly and create an offensively potent team. Each team composition will have strengths and weaknesses. What you and your teammates choose will be based on everyone’s gameplay preference.
Creating specific team compositions is not of enormous importance when you first begin playing League of Legends. But it adds another layer of mastery as you progress forward in the game.
How to Level Up
Champions will all begin at level one when they start the game. When fully leveled up, they can reach level 18. You level up your champion by acquiring experience points throughout the map. You gain them by killing the waves of minions or enemy champions.
There are also jungle camps dotted across the landscape that will give you some substantial XP as well for destroying them. It’s important to note that only the player that delivers the final strike will get the points. So, if you’re tag-teaming an enemy, only one will get the points.
Enemy turrets and inhibitors on your team’s minions can be destroyed for additional experience points as well. These points will collectively go to the whole team. So, if a teammate destroys a turret, you’ll receive points and vice versa.
As you acquire experience, you’ll become more powerful. As your level increases, your stats will increase automatically. You can also increase your stats by using items. You can purchase items with gold, which will allow you to control which stats you want to improve. Also, the higher your champion level, the more powerful your base abilities will be as well.
The Summoner’s Rift Map
The Summoner’s Rift map is the first and most played map in League of Legends. Where professional gamers are concerned, this is the best map for competitive gameplay and the way you climb the ranks. If you’re getting into LOL, then this is likely the only map you’ll be spending your time in, at least to begin with.
You will randomly join one of two teams, the blue team or the red team. Each base is called a Nexus. The blue teams’ Nexus is on the bottom left corner of the map while the red team has their Nexus in the top righthand corner of the map.
Minions will spawn out of each Nexus in waves. You’ll have to defeat these, on top of dealing with the enemy champions themselves.
The map features three areas, called lanes. There is the top lane, middle lane, and bottom lane. Throughout these areas, you’ll face both waves of minions and enemy turrets as well. Your team will need to take out every turret in at least one of the lanes to advance to your enemies Nexus. Taking out turrets will also allow your teams’ minions to enter into the next lane without being blown up. It will also give you gold, which you can use to buy items and up your stats. There will also be two main towers that protect the base, and you’ll need to destroy them as well.
Inhibitors are features of the map that primarily inhibit your minions from progressing and keep them weak. While having the minions, in general, is excellent, as the game goes on and your enemies get stronger, your minions won’t be as useful. Destroying the inhibitors will allow more powerful minions to spawn for a few minutes. Unfortunately, the inhibitors will respawn, and your minions will go back to normal. It’s a good idea to destroy the inhibitors strategically and at a time that will most benefit you, such as when you’re planning to storm your enemies base.
You’ll begin the game at a point in the map called ‘The Fountain.’ It is the spot where you will spawn every time you die in the game. It is also the place to go to your teams’ shop. You can buy all sorts of items here to gain new abilities and gain levels. The fountain can also heal you when you’re damaged, so pop back to heal up and then get back out there. Each player can teleport directly to the fountain whenever they need to with the ‘Recall’ ability. It’s important to note that it does take a few seconds to use it and can leave your champion open to attack. So, it’s best to use it in a safe location.
Within your team of champions, each player gets one of five different roles. Each role brings with it various responsibilities’ within the group. Before you begin the game, you have a chance to choose your first and second pick for which role you would like to play. You are not guaranteed these roles, as others in your team may select the same ones. In this case, roles will be assigned, taking into account everyone’s first and second choices, but you may not get either. Some positions are more popular than others, so they tend to be picked more frequently.
The five roles you can choose from are Support, ADC, Mid, Jungler, and Top. It’s a good idea to try them all out to see which one you like the best. Maybe you’ll prefer to take a passive role and offer Support. Or you might want to be the prime offensive leader and take top. Once you’ve gotten familiar with them all, you can choose which you like the best. That way, you can commit to one role and improve your skills in that role.
Below, we will break down all five roles, so you have an idea where they fit within the team.
While many see the offensive players as the ones that win the game, the Support may be the most important. Excellent Support can change the course of the entire game. The Support will spend a good chunk of time aiding the ADC player, though they keep an eye on everyone. While ADC spends time attacking, Support protects them. They also cover the Jungler so that they can get more gold. They oversee everything that is happening. They make sure the teams’ tactics run smoothly and help anyone that is in a tight spot.
2. ADC/Attack Damage Carry
The ADC provides the most offensive power within your team. They have the capacity for the highest strength and can purchase items that increase their AD. The downside is, their defense and health aren’t great. For this reason, the Support is their best friend. The main focus of the ADC is to kill and take down enemy forces. It will help them collect gold to purchase items that upgrade their attack abilities.
3. Mid Laner
The Mid Laner is a jack of all trades who, though their effort focuses on the mid-lane, also influences the bottom and top lanes. Since they base themselves in the middle lane, they are involved in all the action, which makes it one of the most fun roles to play. Many times, the Mid Laner will be the team’s leader and call the shots.
The Jungler is the leading player that hops between lanes. The objective of the Jungler is to collect gold and farm experience points that benefit the whole team. They have full reign of the entire map to runs around and keep everything under control. They can help with minions and turrets, which not only gains the whole team XP but also helps clear a path for the ADC to smash through.
5. Top Laner
The Top Laner is the most isolated of all the roles. They play the majority of the game solo since the other positions spend the majority of the game in the other two lanes. Since the Top Laner doesn’t have much backup, they should ideally be able to take and give a lot of damage. The top lane is also a long lane, and Top Laners will be farthest from the respawn point of all the roles. At the beginning of the game, the Top Laner will focus on killing enemies and gaining XP, since they can’t do much about the rest of the team. Towards the end of the game, when the rest of the team has gained enough levels to start heading across the map, they can provide protection.
Another way to further customize your champions abilities and optimize them is through runes. Runes can boost strengths and help combat the weaknesses of your champion. They are another feature of the game that can be a bit confusing, so we will break them down for you, so they are easier to understand.
There are five different rune trees, each with a different theme. When you choose your champion, you can choose one of the five trees. You’ll want to pick a tree that best suits your chosen champion. There are five stock trees you can choose from that are already pre-populated with runes. You cannot alter these. Once you hit higher levels, you can also build two rune pages of your own, which offers even further customization. There is also the option to purchase additional rune pages either with real money or in-game currency.
The five trees are Inspiration, Domination, Sorcery, Precision, and Resolve. So, let’s take a look at the focus of each one.
Inspiration allows you to bend the rules of the game with the use of special abilities and powers. It gives freedom to be creative when it comes to tactics, such as changing your chosen summoner spells in-game.
Domination focuses on increasing burst damage and target access. It includes instant kill abilities and heightened agility bonuses.
Sorcery provides empowered skills and resource manipulation. Typically, this rune page is the choice for mages and those who need a substantial mana boost. It offers support bonuses and increases the strength of spell-driven abilities.
Precision will improve the champions’ attack and the ability to sustain damage. It delivers a boost to auto-attacks, so it is especially useful for melee fighters or ranged carries.
For increased durability, choose the resolve rune page. It boosts defense and is excellent for champions who are tanks or engagers. It heightens armor and also magic resist.
Vision Control – Using Wards
In League of Legends, your entire team can see the same things on their map. As players in your team gain additional sources of vision, then so do you. Beyond the basic vision, you can achieve more by using wards.
Each player will start the game with a Warding Totem, which is a free item. It is also called the “Yellow ward.” It can be placed wherever you want and will let your team know when it detects any movement from the opposing team. The ward prevents your team from being surprised by an enemy attack as you’ll see them coming. It will give you a chance to launch a counterattack on them. The opposing team will be unable to see where the yellow ward is placed unless they use a ward to reveal it.
The next type of ward is the “Control Ward”. Control wards can be seen on the map and can reveal the placement of your enemy’s wards. They will also block enemy wards from having visibility of your team. They can be very beneficial when strategically placed to stop the opposing team from seeing certain areas of the map.
Players can also expose the location of the opposing teams’ wards with an Oracle Lens, or “Red Trinket.” They are vital as they can destroy enemy wards. You want to prevent the other team from seeing the movements of your side as you’ll likely get snuck up on. Most teams will have a couple of red trinkets that are devoted to taking out the wards of the opposing team.
The last ward is the “Blue Trinket,” aka, the Farsight Alteration. The blue trinket can be deployed much farther away than other wards, granting vision far into enemy territory. It is typically used by champions who use long-range attacks, and the opposing team can see it. You can also destroy it with one hit.
Using wards to increase your vision control in the map can be a massive benefit to your team. It’s just another layer of gameplay tactic to employ in LOL for positive outcomes. It’s easy to forget about vision when you’re in the heat of battle. Having intel into your opponent’s whereabouts will allow you and your team to make informed decisions and execute effective attack strategies.
Fog of War
The fog of war will also affect your vision and visibility on the map. It is a dark area of the map where your enemy’s movements are all concealed. If you walk into it, you’re going in blind and may be subject to a sneak attack from your opponents. If you do choose to head into the darkness, make sure you’re with a teammate, or have an idea where your enemies are.
Just as your enemy can utilize the fog of war, so can your team. It will allow you to catch the other side off guard and prevent them from seeing where you are.
Summoner’s Rift is a vast jungle. Within the forest, you’ll find many locations with different resources. A river runs between the lanes and cascades through the map. Since it’s the waypoint between lanes, there is a lot of activity that takes place near them. It is the hotspot for objectives and monster camps.
Minions do not populate these monster camps. Minions are the enemy. Monster camps are neutral so that either team can take them out. It means that you’re likely to run into enemy champions near these camps as they fight to take control of them.
Some of the camps can be taken down by one player and provide a good chunk of gold. Others will need a few teammates to destroy them. The camps will respawn after a certain amount of time, so whoever has the role of the Jungler can keep doing laps and re-taking camps.
Some of the camps, when destroyed, offer upgrades and buffs for your team, giving you a temporary advantage over the enemy.
Within the jungle, there are many useful resources, including plants, to collect. While plants don’t give you any XP or gold, they each offer temporary benefits. Some temporarily reveal the opponent’s location or wards, and others provide a boost to your health and mana. Be careful, though, because some may decrease specific stats temporarily, like reducing your speed.
There is a monster that lives near the edge of the river, which is named the Scuttle Crab. If you kill it, you’ll be able to see the area near the Dragon and Baron pits. The Scuttle Crab does not attack you and therefore is very easy to kill. The issue is that many players will want to slay it for the additional vision, and you may find yourself face to face with an enemy champion.
There are four different elemental dragons in League of Legends. They all come from the dragon pit, which is between the middle and bottom lane. If you manage to slay one of the dragons, your entire team will acquire specific buffs. The buff granted will be dependent on which dragon it is that you kill.
They are mighty, and you’ll likely need a few team members to kill it, especially at the beginning of the game. Once you reach higher levels towards the end of the game, they will be easier to take out. They come from the dragon pit at random, and you may get multiple of the same dragon spawn in a row. You can stack up the buffs up to three times.
The four elemental dragons are Ocean, Mountain, Infernal, and Cloud.
Ocean – When slain, the blue dragon offers out-of-battle mana and health regeneration.
Mountain – When slain, the brown dragon grants your team heightened damaged versus objectives.
Infernal – When slain, the red dragon boosts attack damage and ability power
Cloud – When slain, the white dragon offers an out-of-combat boost to speed and agility.
The fifth dragon is the Elder Dragon. It is the strongest dragon in LOL and doesn’t appear until later on in the game. If you can manage to slay it, all your current buffs will increase by 50%. Again, this includes buffing your teammates as well. If you slay two elder dragons, then buffs will increase by 100%. Slaying the Elder Dragon is a great way to gain a last-minute advantage when you’re falling behind near the end of the game.
The Baron is the strongest monster in the whole game and resides in the Barons Pit. The Barons Pit is in the upper left corner of the map. The Baron will spawn after twenty minutes of gameplay, but it’s not always a good idea to try to take him out then. He is very strong, and you will need a few teammates to kill him. If the game gets drawn out and all the champions get crazy powerful, then you may be able to kill him with less.
Because of his strength, a team can lose the game by merely challenging him. If they don’t prepare, he will quickly devastate the whole team, meaning victory for the team that played it safe.
If you defeat the Baron, your team will buff with “The Hand of Baron.” It is a handy buff and, therefore, why teams will risk it all to obtain it. The buff will increase your teams’ AP and AD as well as super-charge your minions. It will make it very easy to launch an attack on your enemy’s base. Your minions will be stronger and harder to kill, which will give you a huge advantage.
Before the Baron spawning, a monster called the Rift Herald occupies the pit. He is also quite sturdy and has a fantastic defense. He has a sensitive spot on his back where it is possible to inflict some additional damage. That said, you’ll need a couple of team members to have a good chance of killing him. Defeating the Rift Herald will drop the “Eye of the Herald.” When used, it will summon the Rift Herald to join your team until he kicks the bucket. Since he’s so strong, it is hugely beneficial.
The Phases of Gameplay
Each game takes place across three phases, early game, mid game, and late game. Every player will have their chance to shine in a different stage of the game, depending on their chosen role. While every game you play will be different, the structure of the phases generally remains the same. Let’s go through the three phases and what to expect during each.
1. Early Game
The early game refers to the first 15 minutes of gameplay. When you begin, all turrets are active, and each role sticks to their specified lanes. That is, except the Junglers, who have free movement the whole time. Those in the top and middle lanes will play 1vs1, and the bottom lane players will be 2vs2.
2. Mid Game
The mid-game goes from approximately 15 minutes to 30 minutes. It’s the time when turrets start getting eliminated. It’s the most action-packed portion of the game. Specific roles will no longer be confined to their lanes and have more freedom to cross over. During mid-game, champions will begin challenging dragons and the Rift Herald to start stacking buffs.
3. Late Game
The late game is after 30 minutes of gameplay. At this point, most of the original turrets have been eliminated. Usually, the champions will have acquired most of their main items and abilities. More massive monsters will be challenged, with the Baron and Elder Dragons spawning. During this phase, one team will emerge as the winners.
As a new player starting your journey, this guide to league of legends should get you well on your way. With the knowledge you’re now equipped with, you’ll have a massive advantage over other beginners in the game. You may even be able to give some tips to other players!