The Summoner's Guidebook: Quick League of Legends advice

The Summoner's Guidebook Quick League of Legends advice

I can't play League of Legends right now. In the most dire of circumstances, I had to send my gaming laptop back to the manufacturer to be repaired. While I frustratingly pined over not being able to play, I looked over the shoulder of my roommate while he played. He's usually pretty good; he's a better mid player than I am, and he sometimes makes genius plays.

On the other hand, he makes lots of little mistakes and is not very good at certain things. While I sat around backseat driving, I made a lot of little advice points, most of which he just whined about sucking at. He came back to me later claiming he was getting better, and of course, like the wise mentor I am, I told him that he wasn't actually trying to improve at any of the things he was performing poorly at. "You have to make an effort to improve," I said. "You can't just play and get better; you have to focus on getting better."

Be aware of where you are

If I could take all the advice I gave him and highlight the most important, I'd say that knowing where your character is on the screen is the most critical. It's easy as a mage and much harder as you become more reliant on shooting or striking continuously. ADCs have it hard; bruisers have it harder. During a fight, it's easy to lose where you are and get out of position.

He was playing AD Kog'maw and was constantly be out of place during teamfights. I noticed that this was a trend. He'd do it almost any time he was playing a character that scaled to attack damage. There's no reason AD Kog should ever be closer than 500 autoattack range of an enemy unless he's dead and going on a suicide run.

This is simple geometry: If you're attempting to be the safest possible, you want to place yourself in the furthest position from the enemy team where you can still shoot. No enemy on the team should be closer to you than to another player on your team.

If you're a bruiser, mouse precision is the key. Sometimes you can't see your character due to model overlap, so click precisely on whatever it is you want to bash.

This one piece of advice is too short for a whole column, but it deserves one. It's a common mistake and something worth spending a lot of practice on.

Know your character if you're going to unlock someone

One bit of irony is that my friend is super critical of people who play Anivia poorly. She's often played by poor players who do things like cast E without slowing the enemy first or misuse her wall or don't double-hit her Q.

But you know, he's not the best at mages he's not familiar with too. He was playing LeBlanc, a pretty technical character. Of course, my friend had no clue how to combo because he's unfamiliar with the character; he frequently messed up using Mimic (often mimicking the wrong spell) and always re-Distorted away after landing his chains, breaking the tether and losing precious damage. This would be somewhat OK, but he owns a limited-time legendary skin (Mistletoe LeBlanc), meaning he's spent more money on her than a month of WoW subscription time. He wasn't playing her on a free week. He just doesn't often player her.

Don't do this! If you are going to unlock a champion and not use her, just download some art of her. It's a lot cheaper, and you won't look like a noob when you get her in ARAM. This doesn't mean don't get LeBlanc; it means play her if you buy her. If I own a character, you had better believe I am comfortable with her mechanics. This goes doubly if I've spent enough money to get a skin for her. If your only reason for buying a character is that she looks cool, just do an image search or watch someone else play.

Of course, if you roll a free week character in ARAM, you are completely within your rights to derp.

Don't commit to bad fights

I've come back after a number of losing games, even though my teammates were terrible and dived into bad fights at awful times. There's a secret to this: Don't commit to bad plays.

When you die, you get to watch your allies, if they're still alive. Played in reverse, it means that if you're the last one standing, all eyes tend to be on you. While I'll contribute to a bad fight, I'll never do so in a way that will compromise my ability to escape. Often after a big fight, the enemy will try to siege up and take a turret, and I can frequently stall the entire team at my turret or at least deal some damage to them to make it harder for them to break it. I make some of my best plays in these "last stand" kind of situations.

After a while, your team members start to notice that you're living and they're not. As long as you contribute to the fateful fights where they wipe, you'll get quite a bit of positive recognition. Once this happens -- and it's usually pretty fast -- they start following your lead.

Establish yourself as someone who plays well, rarely (if ever) dies, and gets kill streaks, and your team will listen to what you have to say. I also rarely chat in matches except to discuss strategy, and I never, ever talk trash. Let your teammates know that you're an expert and they'll follow.

Also, it goes without saying, but don't dive on every opportunity.

The Summoner's Guidebook Quick League of Legends advice

Stop wasting mana

Mage who play as if they have no regard whatsoever for mana bother me. If an enemy is even slightly exposed, off goes a wasted, easily dodged skillshot. If there's a group of minions, there goes a spell getting spent to clear it. Stop it!

It's fine to buy mana recovery items, and they're really good in ARAM. However, they're a crutch a lot of the time. If I can get away with not having mana regen, I do without. The only mana regen you can buy on a physical damage character is Tear > Manamune, which is usually an awful idea.

There's no reason Jayce should be packing a Manamune (especially with the stance change nerf). Jayce and AD Kog don't need mana regen; you just need to stop hitting buttons so recklessly.

There's a difference between fishing and milking. Fishing is where you throw out attacks looking for an opening, and milking is when you get a good opportunity and take advantage of it. In LoL, fishing is kind of bad. Even if you don't have mana issues, your skills have cooldowns. If you fish, you threw out an important skill that might not catch anything. That skill was likely important for your defense.

Morgana does not just "toss out" her Dark Bindings. She uses them when she has the best chance of landing them. Don't fish! You don't want to be the sucker who was out all day and caught nothing. Milk advantage when it comes, but don't try to force it.

We understand what it's like to climb the skill ladder in League of Legends. The Summoner's Guidebook teaches you the tools you need to get a competitive edge. Whether you're climbing the ranked ladder, playing Draft Dominion, or getting crushed by intermediate bots, every enemy has a weakness. And every Thursday, Patrick Mackey shows how you can improve improve on yours.