League of Legends can be a behemoth of a game to wrap your head around in terms of all the information there is to digest.
Hopefully these few tips will get you through your first few hundred matches against bots and other amateur players, so that even if you aren’t playing like an experienced player quite yet, you’re thinking like one!
1Stay in Lane, But Help With Objectives
This one might be obvious, but you’d be surprised how often players still do this at a higher level! The idea is that whilst you’re in your lane, you’re at your safest due to your tower being in range to protect you (unlike the Jungle), and you’re getting more EXP and gold than you would elsewhere.
As soon as you leave your lane and start “roaming” the map, you aren’t building up EXP or gold and you’re starting to fall behind immediately. Unless it’s to help out a teammate or to win a group fight and secure an objective, don’t leave your lane, especially before mid-game. If a more experienced player tells you to leave though for a specific reason, you should listen!
2Remember Your Free Ward
Everyone gets a free ward at the start. No, this doesn’t mean you select a regular ward and your first is free – there are a specific set of wards that cost nothing, and you can swap between them as much as you like!
Whilst this is ingrained as muscle memory for experienced players, as a beginner you’ll forget often about the free wards as you decide how to build your champion. Don’t forget!
3Ward the River Bush(es)
Use the free ward in Top or Bottom lane’s single bush in the river, to see when junglers are coming in.
If you have a champion harassing you in your lane and you’re being pushed backed quite regularly (or you’re against someone like Blitzcrank who keeps grabbing you and pulling you in!), then consider placing the ward in your own bush on the side of your lane. This will let you see when the champions in your lane decide to try and ambush you from the nearby bush.
Mid has the dilemma of deciding which side of the river to ward, so just play it by ear and see which side of the map the enemy jungler is using the most.
4Don’t Dive into Expensive Items Straight Away
Again, a no-brainer for experienced players (unless they’re snowballing particularly hard and will benefit from an early buy), but don’t go for the most expensive item straight away.
As a beginner, you’re going to benefit sooner from lower costing items that make a difference early on. This means leaving things like Bloodthirster and Infinity Edge until later. Get items early on, that will have the most impact for both your situation and your champion’s playstyle.
5Pick Early Game Items
Early game items are things like Doran’s Ring, Durian’s Blade etc. They’re cheap items that you can buy as soon as the game starts, and they offer a mixture of stats to help you in the early laning phase.
Whilst experienced players still use these, some may forgo early items depending on certain scenarios. This is a fairly common tip for everyone however, as early game items are generally considered to pay for themselves by making the laning phase easier, thus more gold.
Since they help you secure early kills, you’re more likely to make more gold by spending a little bit at the start of the game with these items, than going all in on the first item in a set.
6Pick Around Your Team’s Choices
This one is not so obvious. Most people think along the lines of “What champion do I play well as?”. Whilst this is fine (and it’s important to perform well as a player!), don’t forget that you have to consider how your chosen champion compliments the team and vice-versa.
For instance, if you pick Ashe as your ADC, and you have Sejuani as a support, you might be wasting your team’s potential. Ashe’s arrows slow the target, but so does Sejuani’s attacks. This means that whilst you are indeed slowing the enemy down a heck of a lot and stacking the slows generously, what’s the point in having two champions with slow effects when one would suffice? Or maybe having a Mid with a lot of stun abilities and CC spells means that you can afford to pick a more attack-driven champion to lay down the damage whilst the enemy is stunned?
Consider what your team is picking, and pick around them if possible to avoid inefficiently doubling up on effects. They should do the same if you picked first!
In contrary to the above in terms of picking around your team, some people are always tempted to pick what’s known as a ‘carry’ champion (i.e one who carries teams to victory), and decides to play the game like it’s the year’s biggest FPS title.
Don’t run off on your own, and don’t follow teammates who regularly do so. By assisting and supporting players who regularly run off and try to play lone wolf style, you’re not only encouraging them to keep doing so by acting as a scapegoat to feed that behaviour, but you’re also potentially giving the enemy 2 kills instead of 1 by putting yourself in danger.
If a teammate genuinely misjudges a situation and needs help escaping, help. If they’re behaving like a lone wolf solo player in a team-based game, don’t let them drag you down. You might lose the match, but you played smart, and didn’t help the feed. Their playstyle is not your responsibility, and you’ll avoid a situation where they can place the blame on you.
8Don’t Hoard Gold
Remember I said stay in lane? Don’t if you’ve had 1,000 gold for the last 5 minutes and you haven’t been back to base yet to spend it!
It depends on how well your lane is going, and if you can afford to go back and shop without your lane being pressured back too much. As a general guideline however, if you have 500-1,000 gold, and you can afford to leave your lane, do it asap. Even just one item for 350 gold that gives you +20 AD, can be the difference you need to land a killing blow or have enough health to survive an encounter. As soon as you can afford a new item, try to buy it.
It means more at a beginner level than it does for more experienced players who will use your absence to push further and harder whilst you’re away in those level of games, but it’s important for everyone. For higher-level play, it’s more important to be present in lane than to spend less than 1k gold if it’s risky. For you as a beginner though, it’ll make a huge difference.
9Don’t Fight a Losing Battle
Sometimes you’ll see one teammate getting jumped on by four enemy champions. Unless you’re Thresh or someone that can throw out an escape route for your teammate without putting you in harms way, then don’t go in to help.
I know it sounds cruel, but going on the philosophy before with the “Don’t Solo” tip, you’re giving the enemy 2 kills instead of 1 by risking yourself to save a teammate. Call it being unlucky, or the wrong place at the wrong time, but if your teammate is looking likely to die, don’t place yourself at risk when their death is inevitable. Use this time to distance yourself quickly and regroup with your team if need be. As much as you’ll want to help, you can’t do anything for them. It’s too late. Recognise those moments and stay clear, and your team will respect you a lot more for not feeding the enemy more kills, than jumping in without a chance of coming out alive.
The exception is for support players in lane with their ADC. If you can give your life and guarantee it will save theirs, do it. You maintain their killing spree which means more gold for them, and you avoid the enemy claiming bounty gold by killing the ADC if they’re on a killing spree. Only if you’re certain though!
The most important on the list, and the one everyone does regardless. There’s a number of reasons and causes for tilting (when you get so angry/mad/frustrated that you start playing worse and affecting your teammate’s attitude as well). The main two are when you’re playing well but your team is playing badly, and when you’re playing badly and dying a lot.
It’s frustrating when you’re playing well and doing your job properly, but your team is letting you down. The best you can do here is offer support if you can physically afford to do so, and sometimes even just saying in the chat “Don’t worry, just stay focused and keep trying” can be enough to stop them from tilting themselves. Just letting them know you don’t hold it against them is enough sometimes.
If you’re playing badly, just try to stay focused yourself and don’t let your team’s hurtful comments propel you further into your tilt. Learn from your mistakes, play more safely, and ask for help if you need it. Don’t rage quit, don’t flame the chat, and just keep your composure. Sometimes dying once is enough to make the enemy snowball into a build you’ll never outplay in your situation. Sometimes you know you’ve lost in the first 10 minutes with no way out. I will say that I’ve played matches where we’ve reversed the outcome completely from the first 80%, and I didn’t think a victory was possible. All you can do at this point is enjoy the game as much as you can whilst losing, and don’t surrender to the tilt frame of mind. It only makes things worse!