(VODs: Full Game)
He’s one of EU’s top Junglers. He’s Scottish. His Blue Steel is the stuff of legends.
Perhaps it was PR0LLY’s unconventional Annie and Ziggs picks, or maybe it was the A-Z Jungle series Snoopeh ran on his stream which gave him the inspiration for his Week 8 pick against Gambit Gaming. Initially, nobody was surprised when EG grabbed Malphite, Malzahar and Akali since Wickd plays a great Akali, Malz is a solid mid at the moment and might be interesting on Froggen and Malphite is more than competent in the jungle as an initiator. A last second roster swap however, gave EG the following lineup:
Top: Wickd (Malphite)
Mid: Akali (Froggen)
ADC: Varus (yellowpete)
Support: Lulu (Krepo)
Jungle: Malzahar (Snoopeh)
Late in the Spring season, EG – who has been struggling by their standards, (4th place) – made several moves in this week 8 matchup, beginning in champion select, to shake things up and try to catch their Russian opponents off-guard. Unfortunately for the innovative Brits, the former Moscow 5 was still playing at the top of their game in week 8.
First Blood came out against Froggen behind a gank from Diamondprox on Nasus, giving Gambit an early lead that they would never really lose. Smart counter-warding from Gambit limited Snoopeh’s ganking potential, while lane-swaps allowed Alex Ich to free farm against Wickd, who simply did not have the damage to kill Kha’Zix.
In perhaps EG’s best played fight in the game, Snoopeh managed his first gank on Darien’s Shen. If you came here looking for evidence of the power that an AP jungle Malzahar can bring to the game, this gank is a good example. It is, however, the great timing and turret-aggro control that allows Snoopeh and Froggen to drop Darien more than the individual power of Malz. This gank, along with a second gank top allowed EG to hang around in this game until they attempted a 4-man push down mid. While the positioning from EG may not have been ideal, the play of Alex Ich was the deciding factor in Gambit sweeping this team fight. From the time EG got eviscerated in mid lane, Gambit never let up and rolled on to yet another victory, leaving them just one game out of first place, and EG in 4th with the surging Coppenhagen Wolves within striking distance just behind in 5th. Fortunately for EG, The Wolves have no games this week, which means EG controls their 4th place destiny. Of course with a gigantic week 10 looming, anything can still happen.
Seemingly undeterred by his team’s struggles against GMB, Snoopeh has continued playing Malzahar in the jungle on his stream. Can we expect Snoopeh to pull out another unique pick in week 9? Who will be the next team to dare to try something new and interesting? As the season closes and teams look for any advantage they can find, you can expect to see some wild picks and crazy strategies in the next 2 weeks of competition.
Edit: Thanks to reader and twitter follower @jasonalanmclain for pointing out an editing error. Snoopeh is great – but only plays Jungle, not mid as well. Sorry for forgetting you, Froggen!
This is for you.
Summoner’s Rift is a beautiful map! But for those of you who have played thousands of games, and miss the variety that the winter map from S2 gave to the game, LoL Forums user Yurixy has your back. Check this thread for a selection of visually interesting and diverse skins for Summoner’s Rift, including a beach map and a sci-fi futuristic alien planet look!
For those of you worried about violating your TOS or getting banned for custom skins and models, fear not: Associate Technical Artist Riot Drachis has made several encouraging posts in Yurixy’s thread, so if you want to shake up your game visuals a little, follow Yurixy’s guides, and if you have any other great visual LoL tweaks you want to share, make sure to leave us a comment or tweet a link to us @ill_monstro_g
Growing up, I was a baseball fan. My father – in his childhood – was a fanatic. My father did it all: Collecting cards, scoring games, playing elaborate statistics games at home on his bedroom floor while the Yankees played on the radio; or playing stickball in the street with his friends. For our fathers’ generation and many before; baseball was life – America’s Game. As I got older and began to understand and appreciate the game, I watched my father’s love of baseball erode before my very eyes. As I grew to enjoy the sport, my dad seemed to lose interest. I asked him once why his childhood passion was no longer a source of happiness for him, and he grew wistful in his response. He recounted that even though he and his friends liked other sports – they were all big football, hockey and basketball fans too – baseball was special because it was the only sport where kids and adults alike could look down on the field and think: “I could do that”. Baseball players were not the enormous superhuman athletes who dominated other sports – they seemed like average guys; some were short or fat, some wore glasses and had names like “Mick” and “Ernie”. Baseball was on every day and night, it was a sport where 30% success is considered all-pro. Baseball was the most accessible sport, the closest thing to ownership that a fan could feel for a game.
Time passed, and in 1998 I watched my Yankees win 114 games. I held my breath with the rest of the country as two superheroes competed to break the holy grail of sports records: the single season home run record. Though it’s 15 years in the past now, more than any other summer I feel like I can remember every day of 1998, watching news reports and catching front page headlines to see if McGwire or Sosa had pulled ahead.
10 years later as I watched these heroes stand accused of cheating on the floor of Congress, I understood why my father lost his love of baseball. Baseball was no longer the pastoral, blue-collar game he grew up watching and feeling a part of. Today’s players were now like those from other sports – gigantic finely tuned super athletes. Gone were the Babe Ruths and the Joe DiMaggios who reminded starry eyed kids of themselves, replaced instead with the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds: guys with multi-million dollar contracts and crates of steroids. Baseball was no longer a game for average men and boys, and that fact killed the love of the game my father and his generation previously held on to.
When Season 3 of League of Legends began this winter, I was struck by the synergy of the ranked ladder system for average players who wanted a tangible measurement of their improvement relative to top-level professional competition. Suddenly I found myself queuing for ranked matches on weekdays and tuning in to pro games on the weekends – two things which I’d never really done before. I saw guys just like me playing my favorite game at the highest level and found myself thinking: “I could do that”. Just like the kids in the street playing stickball and dreaming of being Ted Williams, professional League seemed accessible to me, I felt a greater connection to the game than I do with say, football. With League of Legends attracting record numbers of viewers, even mainstream media outlets are wondering: is this America’s new sport? MLG Dallas saw 2.6 million unique viewers, not a record high for e-sports, but what’s impressive is the “engagement time” – the average viewing time for MLG Dallas was around 150 minutes, much higher than the Super Bowl averages.
In some ways, the inter-connectivity provided by the web and the forward thinking team at Riot have created an environment in which a competitive spectator game can be enjoyed by fans all over the world in new, unprecedented ways. While traditional sports struggle to move into the 21st century weighed down by massive T.V. contracts and blackout restrictions, League and games like it enjoy a much more open experience for fans. Games are streamed all over the world for free. Replays are available on demand the moment the game begins – for free, and most importantly, Riot and other major games manufacturers encourage fans and sites (like allMIA) to cover their pro leagues. When we post match highlights, we’re able to bring you links directly to key moments in the broadcast in a way that a Hockey or Football blog simply can’t, due to NFL and NHL restrictions.
Our pros stream every day, connecting with the fanbase in a way that major sports just can’t. The game we play is the same game our pros play, and the dream that one day we’ll work our way up to the “challenger” tier, and qualify for a pro team is real and tangible, and it drives us ever closer to the game we love. As major American sports continue to alienate themselves from fans with bloated contracts, blackout restrictions, endorsements and lawsuits, companies like Riot offer a more attractive alternative. Consider this: 10 years ago, would you have ever pictured a scenario where you watched other people play video games with the enthusiasm that you watch “real sports”? I know I didn’t. Imagine where we might be in 10 years from now. We’re witnessing history, and even better – we can be a part of it. The NA and EU LCS first-half seasons wrap up in a few short weeks, will you tune in to see the future of competitive sports? Leave us a comment or tweet to us @ill_monstro_g – tell us what you think about the growth of e-sports and where we’re going as a community.
See those RP cards? A photo taken by your’s truly and uploaded this very day. We’ve got a bunch of RP, and we want to give it away to our readers! Since we’re going to be away this weekend (not at PAX East, but at a wedding!) we’re looking for your input. While allMIA goes on a short hiatus from March 22-26, tweet your contest ideas, or leave them in the comments of this post. We’ll choose the best option, run the contest, and give out RP prizes! Our last contest was a huge success and we anticipate this one being even bigger!
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).
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
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.
A gigantic thank you to the team over at Average Leaguers, a League of Legends community Facebook group that features funny and informative content from – well – Average Leaguers: Bronze, Silver or Gold ranked, it doesn’t matter. Average Leaguers seeks to bring content developed by individuals in the LoL community to the masses, and yesterday they became the first LoL web resource to link allMIA.
After reading through Average Leaguers’ newsfeed and having a few laughs, I was struck with an idea for a new feature named after our new Facebook friends. The Average Leaguers Spotlight here on allMIA will focus on one individual in the community who is trying to make an impact with their blog, stream or media content.
PEGAZUZ SPREADS HIS WINGS
Today, while watching the IEM Quarterfinals, a Twitch.TV user named PeGaZuZ dropped in and said he would give away some skins if he got over 50 viewers on his new stream. On a whim, I dropped in because Blaze and Anexis had just wrapped their first game up. What I found on Peg’s (as I came to affectionately call him) stream was a very interesting phenomenon that I’d like to take a second to share.
PeGaZuZ is a Silver V (just like me!) ranked summoner on the Europe Nordic&East server who has a goal to reach platinum by the end of the season. He invites his viewers to give him feedback and criticism to help him improve and reach his goal; as I’ve created allMIA for many of the same reasons – to share what I’ve learned and to keep a record of the things I need to improve upon as a player myself – the channel really struck a chord with me, so I stuck around.
PeGaZuZ was very pleased with the sudden influx of viewers his stream got after his IEM advertisement but was immediately met with some initial criticism: once he gave away the skins, wouldn’t everyone leave? Peg tried to give his viewers an incentive to stay on the channel by taking music requests and by frequently interacting with his audience via Twitch’s chat function. From here the conversation turned into a very constructive one with Peg’s new audience suggesting things he might do to improve his channel and keep some of these new viewers. As a new streamer, PeGaZuZ does not have a microphone or webcam set up yet (he will set them up next week), which many players pointed out was key to the success of his stream, since it personalizes the stream, makes it memorable and gives viewers a reason to return (for sparkling personality!)
The most rewarding part of this experience – for me – was the random slice of life from the community that I got a chance to experience. Unlike a pro player’s stream which is filled to the brim with spam and summoners who are begging to play with the streamer, the small audience gathered for Peg’s stream had a conversation about the game, got to know one another and learned from each other. It was a great example of how individual summoners can produce and contribute valuable and high quality content that betters the League of Legends community as a whole.
I’m now following PeGaZuZ’s Twitch channel, and anticipate future broadcasts, just to check in and see how he’s doing. It’s great getting advice from the professional gamers out there, but amateur channels like Peg’s are valuable because they’re like real-sports-stories unfolding before our eyes as the “Average Leaguer” streaming improves their skills and the content of his/her stream. I look forward to seeing Peg set up a mic and camera, and eventually reach his lofty Elo goal.
If you have a favorite amateur streamer, or know somebody who is making the League of Legends community a little brighter in their own way, leave us a comment and we might feature them in a future Average Leaguers spotlight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Many summoners feel like games are won and lost in champion select, others feel your attitude and behavior can have a major impact on the game as well, but what about good general gameplay decisions that you can make to help your team win while you’re out there on the rift? We’ve assembled here a streamlined list of 5 basic rules you should try to follow every time you play League of Legends which will help you carry your way to more victories.
RULE #1: DON’T CHASE
This comes first for a reason. Engaging in long, extended chases – especially on high HP targets (Mundo) or targets with a lot of escapes (Nidalee, Kassadin) – is probably the best way to squander advantages and lose games. One bad tunnel-vision chase will very often turn a successful gank or team fight into a net-loss for your team. Why though? Shouldn’t chasing down and eliminating enemies be a top priority? It’s a gold boost and it keeps an enemy off the map, right? Well not always. Consider the following scenarios:
Scenario A: In Game Time 4:45
Hecarim runs up top to put an early gank on Singed for his friendly Akali. After a good charge from Hecarim’s “W” and a few attacks, Singed is chunked pretty low and runs, flashing away onto his tower. Hecarim chases a little too long, losing HP from Singed’s poison trail and from minion attacks. Singed turns to flip Hecarim onto the tower, but Hecarim pulls off, running back and avoiding death. A fleeing Hecarim makes it down into river just in time for the enemy jungle – Jarvan IV, who saw the whole fight and had time to run up in response – to drop an E>Q combo on him from tri-brush: “First blood! An ally has been slain”.
Scenario B: In Game Time 31:12
The blue team has been getting pushed around most of the game, and desperately needs an advantage to stage a comeback. They have a strong team fight composition and think they can catch a member of the purple team out of position and force an objective. Purple team’s jungler, Fiddlesticks, gets caught in a warded bush near the Baron pit, and the blue team melts him down. The rest of purple team comes pouring in a little late, and a team fight begins. Quickly, the blue team breaks down the enemy team, trading 0-for-3. Purple team’s Ryze and Teemo know the fight is over, and run back towards their top tower. If blue team chases, what happens? They hit a string of mushrooms in the jungle, get CC’d by Ryze, fight on top of a tower, maybe take down a target but in doing so lose some teammates, HP and most importantly time which prevents the blue team from killing Baron Nashor and ending the game.
From the moment the first enemy (especially the enemy jungler) dies, your team is on a power play clock. At 30 mins, you have something like 25-30 seconds (hit “tab” to reveal the scoreboard and check) before your enemy respawns and your “power play” is over, thus you must immediately leverage your advantage as soon as you get it. As soon as the enemy backs out of a team fight that your team has won, turn your attention to an objective. Get Baron, take dragon, push a tower. Don’t chase your enemy and waste time. In fact, if you’re playing a tanky champion and your team has just lost a fight, the best thing you can do is run and try to get the enemy team to waste time chasing you. Winning a team fight is meaningless if you don’t press the advantage it gives you.
RULE #2: TIME RESPAWNS
Ideally your jungler and support should be handling these tasks because their role is more about global awareness than say, an ADC, who is focused on getting fed. That being said, every player (especially if it’s you) should try to observe this simple rule.
Dragon respawns 6 minutes after death.
Baron respawns 7 minutes after death.
Red Buff/Blue Buff respawn 5 minutes after death.
Wards expire 3 minutes after being placed.
Write it down and tape it to your monitor if you have to. Next, open your options menu and turn “time stamps” on. When you see an enemy drop a ward, take note of the game time in the top right hand corner of your screen. In chat, let your team (especially your jungler) know where the ward is and when it expires (“ward in tribush, expires 7:44”). If your jungler is smart, he’ll time a gank just after the ward expires, before another can be placed for an easy kill.
When a major objective (Baron/Dragon) goes down, in chat you will see “[Champion/The Enemy Team] Has slain The Dragon/Baron Nashor!” If you’ve turned time stamps on, right next to that notification, you’ll see the exact time the objective went down, and can time accordingly. You don’t need a stop watch, and it takes about 2 seconds of your time and attention, but can lead to huge gold advantages for your team. When you see: “[20:33] ill_monstro_g has slain the Dragon!” you’ll type in chat “2633 dragon” and remind your team when the spawn is coming up (“>2mins on dragon, set up”). Ideally, you’ll have your team sitting on top of the objective just before it spawns so you can take the objective uncontested. Uncontested objectives win games, so make it your business to time respawns. Finally, a huge advantage can be gained timing buffs. If you’re in a solo lane mid, and after a gank you sneak into the enemy jungle and steal blue buff, take note of the time. In 5 minutes, you and your jungler can set up to steal it again. By denying the enemy their buffs, you’re costing them XP, gold and obviously, the buffs. You may have seen some summoners tell you to leave a small minion (one of the little lizards) so that the buff will not respawn; this can be a good idea situationally, but it’s almost always better to clear the whole camp and time it, especially if your enemy did not see you take the buff. This way, you know when the camp is back up and the enemy does not, allowing you to take it again, gaining you more XP, more gold and another buff.
RULE #3: FOLLOW YOUR LANE
The new “smart ping” system is wonderful, and very useful for sending specific information to your team in a pinch. Stopping to type “MIA” while trying to farm, or while watching for a gank might be hard, but a quick MIA ping is simple. However, a quick MIA ping isn’t enough when your lane disappears. Where is the enemy laner going? You might assume they’re going back, but what if they are going to gank bottom lane? As soon as your lane goes MIA you immediately have a choice, the right answer to which might win a lane. You have to try to put yourself in your enemy’s shoes. When was the last time they went back to buy? When was the last enemy buff you saw; are they going to their red/blue? Is one of your lanes pushed out, ready to get ganked by your MIA laner? If your lane opponent runs straight up or down river, making it apparent that they are going to gank another lane, you need to follow-up, otherwise you’re going to lose somebody their lane. If the lane being ganked looks like they can escape, you can try giving them a “warning” ping and taking advantage of the MIA by pushing a tower. This works especially well if your confidence in your team is high and the tower you’re pushing is low on health and can go down easily. Almost always, though, you’ll want to follow your opponent to the lane they’re going to gank so that you can help your team, and turn a gank around into a team fight win for your side.
If you’re the jungler and you see mid lane leave to gank bot, don’t stand there and finish wraiths – ping your mid lane and follow the enemy to prevent the gank. If you’re the mid lane, and you see your opponent go up to grab blue, look at your map. Is the enemy jungle there to help, or is he ganking bottom lane? Where is your jungler? If you think you can get your team to meet the enemy at their blue, you can secure (and time) a buff and pick up some kills in the process. Little responses like this will set you up to win your lane phase, and eventually the game.
RULE #4: SHOP RE-ACTIVELY
The biggest mistakes many new and veteran summoners alike make is to follow a rigidly set item build every time they play a champion. While resources like LoLpro and SoloMid might be very useful for learning the basics of a champion and what items synergize well with their kit, you can’t follow the same build every game. In order to be successful your item build must be flexible and responsive to what’s happening in your game. Your items are a reflection of your team’s needs in the specific game you buy them in.
The best example of this is your choice in boots. Let’s say you’re jungling with Vi and you’ve got your level 1 “boots of speed” and are considering your upgrade. Most summoners prefer Mercury Treads for the Tenacity buff and the slight MR, some junglers like Boots of Mobility (henceforth referred to as “boots 5”) for the extra speed between ganks and camps, and still others go with Ninja Tabi for armor or the CDR of Boots of Lucidity. Which is the right way to go? The answer lies in what the enemy team is doing. If the enemy has a lot of CC (Crowd Control) – for example, Ashe ADC, Nautilus jungle, Nasus top etc. and they have an AP mid (say, Veigar) who has a few kills already, Merc Treads is the right choice; they help handle most of the threats that specific enemy team brings. The MR is preferable to the armor on say, Ninja Tabi for dealing with Veigar’s burst – especially if you’re already heavy on armor in your jungle build, and the tenacity helps you cut through the CC of the front line and get in on the enemy carries. Likewise, if the enemy is running an AD heavy comp with say a Zed mid, Ninja Tabi provides the extra little armor you might want, and for a lower cost which might allow you to pick up more damage or HP on another item. If you’re jungling and finding that you’re ahead early and ganking effectively, sometimes grabbing boots 5 is the best option for even more aggression and counter-jungling.
The same logic you use to choose your boots should apply to all of your purchases. Are there some core items you should always aim for? Yes. When you’re AP mid, you’re almost certainly going to buy a Deathcap, for example. However, the priority you place on certain items, and the items you buy outside of your core build should reflect the needs of that specific game. When you don’t know what to buy, look at their team – who is the most fed? Who presents the biggest threat? Buy something which addresses that threat. Are you a tank worrying about a fed enemy ADC? Pick up a Randuin’s Omen to mitigate their damage and attack speed. Are you a carry who is getting bursted down by huge combos? Pick up a Quicksilver Sash to protect yourself against the early burst.
RULE #5: KNOW YOUR ROLE IN FIGHTS
Very frequently in chat, teams who have just lost a fight will start to declare “focus carries” or “focus their ADC” or sometimes something as simple as “don’t target tanks”. This is only partially true, and following this advice 100% of the time will lose team fights, because it leads to bad behaviors (like breaking rule#1 – Don’t Chase). First, consider what your job in a team fight is. There are a few roles which must be filled by someone on your team, and depending on who your teammates are, you might be better suited to one of these roles or another. Once everyone knows what they should be doing in a team fight, you should not have to worry about “focusing the ADC”, because you’ll win the fight before everyone is standing around just trading damage until one side falls.
a) Tanky intiation – it’s your job to lead the way and soak up damage and CC. A friend once told me that as a tank, your HP is a resource which if unspent is worthless. Get in there first (not too far ahead of everyone) and try to get some ultimates blown on you, so they can’t be used on your carries. Once you’ve initiated, your job falls into one of the other key categories (probably peel, but possibly dive)
b) Burst – You’re the AP mid. You have crazy burst damage capacity, enough to take down any single target on the enemy team. Who should it be, the ADC? Probably not. If you catch the ADC separated from their team, burst away and win a team fight with the power play advantage; but in a straight up 5 on 5 Baron contest or fight in mid, you need to think more carefully. The ADC is squishy and won’t take all of your massive damage to kill. One of your teammates has the responsibility of diving on carries and taking them out, and anyway, how are you going to get past the enemy front line to be in range to kill the ADC? You’re going to get shreded by Dr. Mundo as you try to reposition. Instead, you should be keeping a safe distance, waiting for a major threat to get in range and nuking them. Your job is to punish bad initiations, dives on your carries and enemies who get caught in CC. Once your combo is down, you should be ducking into a bush until you can nuke another enemy.
c) Peel – You’re probably either the jungler, top laner or possibly the support. You have strong disengage abilities (Xin Zhao’s R, Thresh’s E, Janna’s R), CC (a knock up, slow, stun, etc.) and probably one of the lowest damage outputs on the team. Your job is to keep the enemy off of your carries, when the enemy Xin Zhao dives with his E onto your Graves, it’s your job to knock him back or stun him so Graves can survive the fight and kill his assailant. Lots of top lanes and jungles assume their job is to dive and kill the enemy carry – but if everyone dives on the enemy carries, who is going to protect your ADC and AP mid? What happens if your ADC dies first? You’ve lost the team fight.
d) Dive – You have a strong ability to reposition and stick to targets, you’re probably a top laner or jungler, or sometimes and AD mid like Kha’Zix or Zed. You do some of the highest damage on the team (probably 3rd after mid and ADC) and are a strong duelist or assassin type. Your job is to get past the enemy tanks trying to peel and kill the target they’re protecting. When people say “focus the ADC” – this is the person they’re really talking to. Champions like Vi (with her unstoppable R), Hecarim (huge charging R and E), Olaf (with his R and high damage output), Nocturne and Jax (with his big burst and leaping Q) are ideal for this kind of role. You need to be fast enough to get into the fight, and be durable enough and do enough damage to kill your target(s) before you go down.
e) Sustained Damage – This is the ADC. With some random exceptions like unconventional team compositions or in a weird situation like a very fed Quinn top lane, the ADC is your sustained, team-fight-wide global damage. It’s your job to essentially kill everything and win the fight for your team. This is where the “focus the ADC” advice falls apart. As an ADC should you always go after the enemy ADC first? No. Your job as the ADC is to survive long enough to win the fight with sustained DPS on enemy targets. If you die, you do zero DPS (damage per second) so your team loses. If the enemy carries are out of your range, and between you and your targets are a bunch of beefy tanks with lots of CC your job is to stay back and poke as much as you can at the targets who you have a shot on. If you find an opportunity (say, after a bunch of ults are blown on your tank, or if the enemy team all get stunned) to jump in and kill their carries, of course you should! But you must do as much damage as you can safely. A dead ADC is useless to everyone.
How do I get my team to fight like this in solo queue?
Surprisingly all it takes to get your team out of the blind “focus ADC first” is generally just a little communication. Remember that you can’t count on other players to make good descisions for you, so take a look at the enemy team, and your own team comp, and make the descisions. If you’re a very strong top lane Olaf with a lot of kills and farm and you have a nice tanky jungle Cho’Gath on your team with lots of CC, the choice is easy! Before the next team fight say something like “Cho, try to peel for Orianna and Varus, I’m gonna dive their carries.” Just agreeing who will peel and who will dive is generally enough to lead to success in most solo queue team fights, all other factors being even.
Of course, these 5 rules alone won’t win you every game. There are a ton of important concepts and mechanics in League of Legends that you have to be familiar with to succeed consistently. Minimap awareness, player attitude and communication and a slew of other concepts are core to winning, but if you follow these 5 general rules, you will see your chances for success in solo queue and arranged 5s alike rise dramatically.