a summoner's guide to League of Legends

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If You’ve Ever Said “GG” Before The Nexus Fell…

This is for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVwA4vuXZ3E

 


This Is Why We Ward

via reddit


It Ain’t GG Till It’s GG.

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Shh. Don’t speak. First watch this video.

That was CLG.EU (now Evil Geniuses) playing Moscow 5 (now Gambit Gaming) at Dreamhack 2012 this past summer. The kill spread may not seem like much to us average players, but take a look at the gold lead the Russian team has on CLG.EU – over 24,000 gold. Thats 7 and 1/2 Bloodthirsters. That’s 850AD (with max stacks). GG. Except… not. CLG sticks together, makes a play and takes the nexus for the win, down 24,000 gold.

GG.

It’s funny that these two little letters have so many different meanings and applications to gamers,  yet usually we can tell exactly what they mean given context. Of course “good game” is meant to be a sportsmanlike affirmation of a friendly competition – the equivalent of a Baseball team shaking hands with their opponents after a game. Despite its intended meaning, GG has come to mean so much more to the summoners of League of Legends. Over time, it has morphed into shorthand for “the game is over” as a frustrated imperative.  Players say “gg” after a bad team fight, following first blood or sometimes as early as champion select when – for example – a summoner doesn’t get the role they want to play.

“gg i cant play support”

“gg mid feeding”

“gg no jungle help”

“gg support KS”

These are all uttered by summoners around the Rift every day and has become a continually growing problem in League of Legends. “GG” said to teammates before a nexus is destroyed signals that a summoner has given up and will not play as effectively – or worse – when attached to a slew of insults (“gg top is noob, uninstall kthx”) demoralizes a teammate who is already (presumably) behind and in need of help, not insults.

Sometimes, a summoner will spout “gg my team sux” in [ALL] chat which is perhaps the most destructive abuse of the term. If signaling to the team that a summoner has given up is bad, imagine what happens when the enemy team sees that their opponent has given up.

To me, abusing “gg” is one of the most destructive habits exhibited by League of Legends summoners. Some summoners argue that the game they’re playing is hopeless, but saying “gg” prematurely accomplishes absolutely nothing except upsetting others, which should never be your goal. If you find yourself wanting to hurt another player, if you want to make someone else feel bad because they aren’t good at the game, or because they make mistakes; you are the reason you lose games. A player who is making mistakes can be taught to make smarter plays. A summoner with a mean streak who is so competitive that they berate their team at the slightest misshap can’t be taught to behave like a human being and will always reduce their team’s chances of success.

If you think of yourself as super competitive – and use that as an excuse to play angry – consider that truly competitive players always want to give themselves the best chance to win the game; this means never doing anything that reduces their chances of winning. You may feel that there is nothing you can do to improve your chances to win… but you can always make it worse. Don’t. Every game you play has something to teach you. Look for the lesson – even when your team throws – and you might just learn how to play from behind.

Post-Rant

If you want to learn how to win a game that seems lost, take a look at our article covering game 3 of the IEM Hanover 2013 Grand Final (VOD). CJ Entus Blaze’s play in game 3 shows how a team should play when losing the early game if they want to make a comeback. While the rando-pubstars you’re matched up with in Silver III solo-queue may not exactly be Korean mega-stars, every game you’re losing is a chance to practice the kinds of plays and strategies which help turn around losing games. Don’t give up. Don’t blame your team. Don’t say GG until it’s really GG.


Visual Tips… With A Spear Behind Them! – Xin Zhao

Xin Zhao is a tanky melee champion with high early game damage, plus both strong chase ability and disengage potential. Xin Zhao is a versatile champion who can fit comfortably on most teams as his item build allows him to become very tanky or high damage depending on his team’s needs. His strength is as a jungler as evidenced by his very high pick/ban rate in competitive play and the high number of pros who play him regularly, but his excellent dueling ability also makes him a competent top.

So you want to add the Seneschal of Demacia to your champion pool? Here’s some tips… “with a spear behind them!”

Be sure to check out Saintvicious’ Jungleology video on YouTube for a more in-depth look.

Preview Size – Click to Enlarge

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Quick Tech Tips: Remotely Restart Your Router or Modem

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If you’re like me, your router and modem are far away from your primary gaming station. When your internet connection drops in the middle of a match, it can be a hassle to run all the way downstairs, unplug your router or modem, wait 30 seconds, reconnect then hope that refreshing your IP was enough to get your connection working again. Luckily, with a few keystrokes you can quickly command your router to refresh your IP and your DNS, which will normally fix most dropped internet connections (obviously putting aside instances where your internet connection drops because of an ISP issue).

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Whether you’re a Windows 8 user, or have some previous version of Windows, the process of remotely refreshing your IP is very similar. First, find your search bar. Windows 8 has a good quick-search option. Use the “hot corner” by putting your cursor in the top right of your screen. Click the search “magnifying glass” button and type “cmd”. Windows 7 and earlier can access the same function by clicking “start” and typing “cmd” in the search field in the bottom of the start menu. Once you’ve searched “cmd” Windows will open a “command prompt” which is a powerful tool that lets you give commands directly to your operating system for a variety of different functions.

To refresh your IP and DNS you’ll need two easy to remember commands:

  • ipconfig /renew
  • ipconfig /flushdns

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Additionally, if you’re having serious problems, sometimes you may find it helpful to use “ipconfig /release” followed by a “renew” command, though this takes longer. Generally after renewing your IP and flushing your DNS you can expect your internet connection to come back online within 30-60 seconds. When your team is counting on you and you’ve dropped out of a game, this method can save you precious seconds and get you online in time to save the game. If you have any quick tech tips you’d like to share with your fellow summoners, leave a comment and we’ll feature your tip in a future Quick Tech Tip article.


Humility OP: Carrying With Attitude

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Every time a frustrated summoner laments their solo queue experiences in a public forum such as r/leagueoflegends or the official Riot forums, one of the top comments invariably pertains to the behavior of the afflicted player. “Stay positive!” “Don’t rage” and “Communicate with pings” are always among the top suggestions from fellow summoners. Yet despite this pervasive sentiment, many players cannot stymie their bad habits, and continue to toil in their imagined “ELO Hell”.

So what new addition to the dialog can I make which might help those players who can’t seem to stop “raging”? The afformentioned advice to stay positive and focused is applicable, but that’s not enough for some players. I believe it’s the mindset you must have behind your behavior which makes advice like “stay positive” more universally applicable.

WINNING IN CHAMPION SELECT

This is one of the most prominent problems with solo queue, especially in lower divisions, and since it’s the first thing you do every game, let’s talk about it first. Everyone has heard this advice: “play carries in solo queue because you can’t trust other players to win for you”. This is the feeling of what is apparently the majority of solo queue players, which often leads to a scenario where nobody wants to play a supportive role. The outcome of this situation is normally competition – sometimes very unhealthy competition – for roles, an unhealthy argument which begins the game in the worst way. So how do you avoid the pitfalls of champ select? The simple answer is you cannot. The most important thread running through every piece of advice for solo queue is that you must control everything you have the power to control (same as the “play carries” advice), and this extends to your team’s behavior. You can’t pick your team in solo queue, and you can’t guarantee that everyone will be as smart, talented or respectful as you. What you can control is how respectful you are to others. You’ll find that by being as cordial and respectful as possible, you can turn toxic trolls into productive teammates on occasion – and when you can’t, would being rude back have done the trick? No, so being respectful is at least worth your time and effort in that it might just work.

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We’ve all been stuck in champion selects like this. Can’t dodge? Be flexible. Fill the open roles, support if you have to. All the skill in the world can’t win a game if your team is demoralized and infighting.

Pick Order > “Call” Order

Sorry, it’s true. Mechanically true. Once somebody locks in Kog’Maw, what are you going to do? Convince him to support your Vayne? That kind of mindset will lose games, because if you’re stubborn enough to make defiant picks and not care about the outcome, your teammates will probably behave the same way.  Of course, it’s customary in the community to state which role you’d like to play (it’s smart to say so kindly, e.g. “Jungle/Support Pref” or “Mid/Top please”) but if first pick wants to play your role, and picks it before you have the chance, you’ve reached your first important choice of the game. How do you respond? If you’re not willing to fill another role, you’ve begun your game at odds with your team, and you’re going to lose.

Consider the following: what are your goals? To improve your skills? To win games? To climb into “gold” or “platinum” ELO? Just to have fun? The truth is all of these goals are reached by taking a common approach: try to control the game with your attitude. Being kind to your team (especially when they don’t deserve it) isn’t about being nice to them, it’s about making sure you have the best possible chance to achieve your goals. Remember your goals are to win and climb the ladder. Once your teammate has locked in the role you want you may feel like your chances of winning have diminished, but they only get even worse when you “rage” at your teammates or refuse to cooperate.

What about when another member of your team is the one whose role was taken by a higher pick? They’re raging away and poisoning your team because they don’t want to get “stuck supporting” or they “can’t ADC”. Guess whose responsibility it is to solve this problem? It’s yours, because you can’t count on others to solve your team’s problems. If you don’t do it, who will? Offer to switch your preferred role for the discontented player. Often the angry player won’t even take you up on the offer, but will immediately be a little less upset when they see some members of their team are willing to cooperate. This is your opportunity to show your team you are cool under pressure and can lead them to victory with good advice and cooperation. “If you don’t want to support, take mid from me, I can play Lulu” you’ll say. Is that player going to be as good of a solo mid as you would have been? You don’t know. What you do know is that if they had been “forced” to do something they didn’t want and had an attitude about it, your team would lose. This is a mindset thing: winning is more dependent on cooperation than individual skill. If you don’t actually believe this, you’ll never be able to make the healthy team-oriented choices that lead to wins.

WHY IS ATTITUDE SO IMPORTANT?

A team’s attitude is one of the most important factors among those that contribute to success; this is reflected in Riot-implemented systems such as the tribunal, the honor initiative and the quick in-game tips (“Did you know players who swear at their teammates lose 13% more games?”). I think most summoners who are genuinely trying to get better at League of Legends understand this concept, but find themselves frustrated by and reacting to teammates who do “rage” or “troll”. One common sentiment I’ve heard expressed by frustrated summoners is is “if I don’t say (x), that player is going to think what he is doing is OK” or “I don’t want that player to think they’re good.” This leads me to the shift in the mindset you have to have in order to successfully play with humility.

Be “Selfishly Humble”

Drawing a line between what you feel and what you communicate to your fellow summoners is important for your success in solo queue. Yes, the ADC who is feeding bottom lane is doing something wrong. Yes, the FOTM in mid lane is building incorrectly. Yes, your jungler is screaming and cursing in all-chat about how bad you are; and while you may feel as though these obstacles have made your game unwinnable – sometimes these obstacles make you feel like you don’t even want to win – you still have influence over the outcome of the game. You are 1/5th of your team. You know that the most productive response to somebody who is criticizing your build is not “STFU” or some derivation thereof, but sometimes the player in question is so wrong, or so toxic to you that you want to throw good sense to the wind and flame back. Humbly accepting the criticism of someone who you know is wrong, or who is rude in their critique can seem impossible for some summoners. So why should you be humble?

Who cares if some “scrub” in solo queue insta-locks and builds incorrectly? If a fellow summoner is hostile to you, or does not want to take advice, there’s nothing you can do except try to mitigate the stress their bad play puts on a team, and being mean or crude only puts more stress which in turn lowers the likelihood you’ll win your game. When you respond to a build criticism or a flame after a botched play (“WTF! Don’t tower dive, noob!”) you have a few options, let’s consider each of them and the impact they might have on your team and the game.

1) Ignore the troll

This is a pretty common approach which in practice delivers mixed (and therefore generally negative) results. A loud, discontented player generally only escalates their aggression when they don’t feel they’ve been heard. If you give no credence to their words, often that player will complain loudly to the rest of the team, or worse to the enemy team in all chat (“[ALL] omg this Ahri!”). Why is this bad? A few reasons. First – the more time your teammates spend flaming you in chat, the less focus and attention they have on the game. Second – if the enemy team gets the sense that you are disorganized or not on the same page, they will exploit that weakness. Expect extra ganks top lane if it becomes apparent that your top lane is not content with the play of your jungler. Finally – one poisoned player often “infects” other players on their team with negativity. A few rude comments from one player can quickly frustrate others and turn your whole team against one another. Very often I see players who struggle with team behavior claiming that they have to carry every game with their skill, that they have to play ADC or mid because they can’t trust solo queue players to carry for them; this same attitude applies to behavior: you cannot count on your teammates to control unruly players. Remember, you’re 1/5th of your team. If you’re not going to control the trolls, what are the odds someone else will?

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2) Rage back

Has this ever worked for you? Ever? Have you ever once swore at another player, or told someone to “STFU” and gotten desirable results?

3) Control the Troll (hint: choose this one)

Most often when someone is “raging” at their team in solo queue, it’s because they are feeling frustration that you can probably identify with. Sometimes, decent players will express this frustration in controlled bursts at first (e.g. “Xin we need u to build damage”). This is the best time to address the problem before it gets out of control. You shouldn’t spend an excess of time explaining your every move, but a simple acknowledgement of the criticism is usually enough to placate a frustrated player. Taking the previous example, responding with acknowledgement (“I’m working on it”/”Buying a brutalizer next”) or a brief explanation of your plan (“Yep, need a few wards first”/”Want to finish Warmog’s, BoTRK is next”) is usually enough to communicate the following to the angry summoner: you’ve heard them and you’re not another solo queue jerk who thinks he knows everything. Remember, you’re not the only good summoner who deals with toxic trolls on a daily basis. Everyone expects to run into unfriendly and rude summoners, appearing to be one of the “good guys” is an easy way to mitigate the damage done by unruly teammates.

Even though you may not always agree with the critiques of your team, even though you may not think they’re worth listening to, simply acknowledging them and trying to be kind will often curb most of the problems presented by these “troll players”.

BE THE PLAYER YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH

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I think like.. Gandhi said that, or something.

Everyone wants to be on a team with a total man-mode monster who carries with a  20/0/10 score, but you can’t guarantee you’ll play that well every game. What you can control – every game – is your attitude and your treatment of fellow summoners. Nobody wants someone on their team who spends the whole game cursing at their jungler, nobody wants a teammate who keeps talking about how “everyone at this ELO is a noob” and that they were “diamond in season 2”. Don’t be that guy. Model the kind of behavior you want from  your team in your own conduct, and sometimes your team will rise to the occasion. Time respawns, (“next dragon: 16:12”) thank teammates, (“good gank, Lee”) place wards, and be supportive when things go wrong (“nice try, ping me next time”).

Your own positive mindset will not win you 100% of your games. Being positive will not make every troll change their ways. Sometimes it will seem like you are the only one who cares about winning, and maybe you are. In that case, it’s even more important you’re focused on increasing your team’s chances of winning. If you feel like you can’t be calm enough to be respectful and kind to your team, you should take a break! Skip the next game and watch a stream, see what the pros are doing while you cool down; go take a walk, get a snack. When you come back, get ready because it’s going to be your positive attitude which will carry you to victory.


Diving Into the League – How to Watch the Pros Play

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When I decided I’d like to improve my game knowledge and learn some new skills to help me out in solo queue, the unanimous sentiment opinined by other players was to “watch the pros play”. At first I felt a little reserved; watching? Shouldn’t I be playing? How do I go about watching games? I’d seen some tutorials about how to use LoLReplay and heard some buzz about Twitch and the now defunct Own3d, but I struggled with the core concepts involved. Watching other people play League of Legends seemed like a cumbersome, tiresome ordeal that I wanted no part of. I felt like there was an experience barrier keeping me from giving it a try, so I continued to toil away in blind pick.

With the advent of the League Championship Series (LCS) and the changes to the Ranked system in season 3, watching the best-of-the-best has never been easier. The imaginary barrier keeping the average player from seeing the game played at the highest level is now, in fact, only imaginary. Any fan of professional sports knows that sometimes accessing game content can be restricted by blackouts, copyright laws and other frustrating barriers, but the burgeoning e-sports scene is largely unmarred by such obstacles.

GETTING STARTED

So what is the best way to begin catching professional level League of Legends games? The afformentioned LCS is a great option for newbies and e-sports megafans alike. Access to the content is very user-friendly and the schedule is very pro-sports-like and easy to track, there are even iOS and Android apps which track stats and provide results for LCS games.

The current format of the LCS is a round robin tournament (each team plays every other team 4 times) split into two reigional divisions: North America and Europe. North American teams play Thursdays and Fridays, while their European counterparts play Saturdays and Sundays. Interested parties have a few simple ways to access the content through Riot’s e-sports hub: LoLesports. On game day, the bulk of the front page is dominated by a Twitch.TV stream, that is to say if you log on Friday afternoon, you’re one click away from an organized HD stream with professional commentary and analysis. If you’re a little late, or missed a game you’d like to see Riot also offers a YouTube link on the main page which is on a short delay, but allows users to rewind and re-watch any part of the broadcast; this is the most useful part of Riot’s LCS coverage, the abililty to catch the important moves that your average solo queue player wants to learn. Watching a successful gank unfold on bottom lane is entertaining, but for it to be informative, you’ll often want to go back and see: what was the jungler doing right before? How did the lane set up for the gank? Where was the enemy jungler during the gank? Riot’s YouTube stream allows you to effortlessly jump to any point in the broadcast, creating your own personal highlight reel.

INDIVIDUAL STREAMS

Of course, the LCS is only broadcasting on weekends, so if it’s Tuesday, where do you go for new content? Well, the number of weekend games is sometimes massive, and all LCS broadcasts are archived on both Riot’s Twitch channel and YouTube channel for re-watching. In addition, Twitch is home to the personal streams of many top-tier League of Legends players. Streams are an excellent resource because many streamers take time to explain their thought process and descision making which can help lead new players and verterans alike to develop good in-game habits. So which streams should you watch? Most professional players and high-level streamers primarily play one role, so if you’re trying to learn a specific champion or role, you should look for casters who play that role. If you’re looking for good general game knowledge, it’s best to find the most informative streamer and follow them. I’ll break down some suggestions by topic – please drop your own personal suggestions in the comments, and I’ll append the main article to reflect community choices.

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While sivHD may not be the best caster to watch for strategy, it’s the best to watch if you want to be reminded that League of Legends is in fact, a fun game.

Top Lane

Voyboy – Team Curse’s top laner. Voy is known for his explanations and “teaching” style while streaming. A great stream to watch for aspiring top laners and new summoners alike.

Wingsofdeath – Wings is one of the most informative and teaching-oriented streamers for LoL, and a great top laner to learn from.

Mid Lane

NyJacky – very frequently duo queues with team Curse partner Saintvicious, known for his Veigar.

Scarra – funny, talented and informative. Dignitas’ mid lane phenom is one of the best AP mids to watch and learn the game from.

ADC

IAmLOD – a diamond ranked ADC who streams very frequently.

Chaox – TSM’s ADC is known for breaking down almost every play and explaining his thinking as he carries his team to victory. Highly informative!

Support

Destiny – while not on a pro team, Destiny has some great support tips to share from his diamond-ranked streams.

Tsatsulow – the high ELO support from team summon is a good watch for new supports!

Jungle

Saintvicious – one of North America’s top junglers also streams on twitch.tv and is very informative and reflective while he plays. Additionally, Saint produces a series of highly informative in-depth jungling video guides on YouTube which he streams live Tuesdays at 4pm PST.  Saint mostly plays very aggressive, carry-style junglers.

TheOddOne – TSM’s TheOddOne is also one of the best junglers in the North American scene, known for his funny and quirky comments as well as his vast game knowledge and preference for tanky, supportive junglers.

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WRAP-UP

I highly reccomend making a free account on Twitch.TV. Twitch has a very accessible system for bookmarking channels you enjoy, so you can easily see which of your favorite casters is streaming. Don’t limit your choices to what’s listed here, click the “League of Legends” section under games and browse all current streams. Some of the best streams on Twitch are aspiring summoners just like you and me trying to climb the ranked ladder. If you find one you like, follow their channel and drop me a line in the comments about it.

So why should you watch a game instead of playing it? League of Legends is a complex game with many mechanics all working simultaenously. It can be very difficult to focus on micro-gameplay and big macro map awareness concepts at once and still learn from mistakes when you make them. Watching another game allows you to focus entirely on the skill you’re hoping to work on, and get useful feedback and commentary from more experienced players at the same time. If you’re still unsure, give it a try! The only thing watching streams costs is a little time.