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The best of Massively's League of Legends column, The Summoner's Guidebook

Former Massively writer Patrick Mackey was first brought onto the team to cover Champions Online in his Behind the Mask column, and he did so with technical expertise and brutal honesty that was even better-suited for his ultimate column here: The Summoners Guidebook, which for two years covered Riot Games' League of Legends, one of the biggest games on the planet.

Today, in honor of that column's lengthy run, we share the very best of Patrick's articles. If you'd like to follow his future League of Legends blogging, you can find him at Boot Camp for Gamers.


Staying positive in League of Legends
This is the last issue of the Summoner's Guidebook for the time being. I hate to leave, but unfortunately things are out of everyone's hands. So before I go, I will give you my final lesson: the way to be the best League of Legends players you can be.
Learning how to not lose from the League of Legends pros
The League of Legends World Championship semifinals are over, and unfortunately the two teams I was hoping would advance ended up losing. The matches were good, especially the SKT1 versus NJBS matches.
Don't be afraid of LoL; just do it!
Everyone who plays League of Legends has bad games every now and then. Everyone has bad community experiences, too. I think it's rare to have a game where everything just feels exciting and positive and wonderful all the way through.
League of Legends is hard but satisfying
I am not the only person to ever say League of Legends is a hard game. If you've ever read a message board for a game that isn't LoL (or any general gaming board), you have likely heard about how hard League of Legends is compared to whatever other game is being discussed.
League of Legends isn't just one gametype
After last week's edition of the Summoner's Guidebook, I realized that one of the things I sort of take for granted is the advantage of taking many of LoL's different gametypes into account when I value a particular item.
Dealing with emotional stress in League of Legends
League of Legends is a frustrating game. As much as I portray myself as an unfeeling robot in the Summoner's Guidebook, I am not a paragon of precise execution and flawless decision-making.
Is League of Legends' grind too much for a competitive game?
League of Legends has had one of the most meteoric ascensions of any current e-sport. From the first tournaments of season one to tomorrow's MLG Summer Arena, LoL has made a bigger splash in the e-sports community than any title launched since StarCraft II.
Dealing with rage and bad players
Like any competitive multiplayer game, League of Legends induces its fair share of rage. People hate to lose. When your team is only three to five people, each contributor has a distinct identity, making it very easy to single out that feeding Ezreal.
Practice makes perfect
If you haven't noticed from previous editions of The Summoner's Guidebook, I emphasize practicing new techniques a lot. Practice is the only thing separating novice League of Legends players from experts.
League of selfishness
Even though League of Legends' new Honor Initiative has greatly improved the conduct of summoners as a whole, I've become very frustrated with "selfish" player behavior as of late.

The meta
Stop worrying about the LoL metagame
If there's one thing that seems to be fairly static among low and mid-level League of Legends players, it's that they dislike the metagame. If I weren't such an exception (being a kind of bad player overall), I'd say that probably 100% of low-level players challenge the meta.
The allure of new LoL champions
Picking new champions in League of Legends is akin to picking a role. There are a few major schools of thought: Either you pick a small number of characters and stand by them or you grab every new character that strikes your fancy.
Advice on buying League of Legends champions
One thing that really bothered me about all the various League of Legends guides available is that none of them covers which champions to pick up.
League of Legends' hardest choices
Sometimes League of Legends gives us hard choices. As a jungler, I'm frequently tasked with the difficult decision of whether to gank or counter-jungle and where I should do so.
Selecting a League of Legends jungler
As sometimes happens in The Summoner's Guidebook, one of you asks for a more in-depth article on a particular subject. This time I was asked to look more at character selection for junglers.
Teaching ourselves LoL matchups
I'm always looking for things to teach players in the Summoner's Guidebook. We have, however, covered a lot of the low hanging fruit in one way or another.
Why play League of Legends Dominion?
Lately, there's been a bit of doomsaying about League of Legends' point capture gametype. Red posts on the subject have mentioned that while the dedicated Dominion playerbase is slowly growing, the lower-level playerbase is shrinking.
Tiers don't belong in League of Legends
One of the things that really bother me is when players make tier lists of characters in League of Legends. Tier lists are an often subjective measurement of how good a character is when matched up against other characters, and players like to voice their opinions on who is strong and who is weak.
Our least favorite LoL champions
Everyone has preferences. We're naturally attracted to the aesthetics of certain characters, or perhaps we really like a character's gameplay or even his voice actor.
Following the League of Legends metagame
One thing that pops up a lot in the comments of the Summoner's Guidebook is how you readers like to play outside the metagame. There's nothing wrong with experimenting with new builds or compositions, and with over a hundred different champions, League of Legends has a lot of room for experimentation.

A beginner's guide to League of Legends' runes
Runes are one of the easiest ways for a beginning player to waste IP in League of Legends. A lot of players spend a lot of IP on wasted runes.
Picking a role in League of Legends
A lot of players advise approaching League of Legends with a jack-of-all-trades attitude. If you can play in any position, you'll cause a lot less friction on your team.
Cutting your losses in League of Legends
When a team loses a teamfight in League of Legends, it's fairly common for the losing team to have a chance to back out, frequently with near-empty health bars and several dead teammates.
How to be the best at League of Legends
What does it take to be a top League of Legends player? A lot of people sell themselves short, saying, "I could never be as good as HotshotGG," but I think that's a falsehood.
The perfect LoL gank
We've talked a lot about teamfighting lately, but that's not the only kind of engagement in League of Legends. In truth, a large number of kills in most non-professional games occur long before teams ever group up to take an objective.
Wards win League of Legends
A lot of you have noticed that I've been talking a lot about wards over the past several months. This is for a good reason: Wards win League of Legends!
Why last-hitting is important
We've covered last-hitting quite a bit in previous editions of the Summoner's Guidebook. However, a lot of people new to the MOBA scene don't understand the importance of last-hitting.
The best ways to ruin a gank in League of Legends
In League of Legends' Classic mode, jungling is my second-most preferred role. I prefer ADC first, since it is very taxing on attention and raw skill matters more than strategy.
Avoiding LoL's wombo combos
If you've played League of Legends for while, you've probably been on both ends of a wombo combo. This amusing term describes what happens when two characters combine their simultaneous murdering efforts.
Learning to multitask in League of Legends
Multitasking is a skill that is fairly useful in any competitive game. Even if there's not a huge need for external situational awareness, the ability to multitask lets you do things while paying attention to other elements of a PvP match such as in-game resources, the timer (if present), and the actions of enemy players.
Punishing common LoL laning mistakes
This week in the Summoner's Guidebook, we're getting back to the basics of League of Legends. Laning tactics are an incredibly broad topic, and they're also a springboard to developing good teamfighting skills.
Reckless risk-taking in League of Legends
Most people who play League of Legends tend to take really silly, ridiculous risks. If you've read the Summoner's Guidebook for any length of time, you know that I always recommend playing your cards close to your chest and avoiding uneccessary risk-taking.
Performing under pressure in League of Legends
"Clutch" is one of those universal skills that I never really developed. In ranked or tournament play or any time when the outcome of a League of Legends match "matters," the ability to perform under fire can make a huge difference.

You're wrong about the LoL community
I'm finally home from PAX, and I'm exhausted. And if there's one thing everyone I talked to mentioned, it's that Riot Games was the elephant in the con.
A League of Legends guide to guides
The goal of The Summoner's Guidebook is and always has been to encourage the development of player skill in League of Legends, especially for beginner and intermediate players.
LoL melts special snowflakes
Never let it be said that I don't listen to feedback. Recently, one of you readers suggested that I write about following the metagame, and I thought, "Hey, why not?
LoL's World Championship fiasco alienates fans
I'm a big fan of e-sports, but League of Legends is currently one of the worst e-sports to garner a major scene. This isn't because the game is bad, though some aspects of LoL's Classic gameplay are bad for e-sports.
The real hero of the LoL World Championships
If you watched or heard anything about the League of Legends World Championships, it's almost certain that you heard about Faker. Perhaps the best mid-laner in the world, Faker was the star of the show at the World Championships.
Making League of Legends a better place
It's no surprised that League of Legends has a very caustic community. Players on messageboards all over the internet (including our comments section) can attest to the fact that LoL's community leaves a lot to be desired.
One lady fights for equality in the League of Legends
If you recall from a few months back, we covered gender equality in League of Legends. The general outcome of that column was that women are under-represented in the tank and melee fighter roles and are very over-represented in the support role.
Getting out of Elo hell
"Elo hell" is a term that gets thrown around a lot in League of Legends. If you're actively working to improve your skill at the game, either you've been in Elo hell or you are still there.
Improving your game through spectator mode
I love spectator mode. Since the patch introducing it to League of Legends, I've had the opportunity to observe top-level players and even my own friends.
Getting friends to enjoy League of Legends
I find the mainstream success of League of Legends to be extremely baffling. If you break down the skills you need to be an effective player in the MOBA genre, they are daunting.
The little stories League of Legends creates
Recently, one of you guys asked to see more personal stories showcasing my experiences in League of Legends. Normally I'm not as fond of doing that sort of thing unless there's a moral in the story somewhere.
Is League of Legends sexist?
The portrayal of female characters is a popular topic on the League of Legends official forums. People are very enthusiastic about their opinions of the League's female champions, most of whom are drawn to emphasize their sex appeal.
A community guide to League of Legends
Greetings, summoners, and welcome to the first installment of the Summoner's Guidebook! For a new player, the Guidebook is a one-stop-shop to gaining familiarity with the various elements of League of Legends.