6 Jul 2011

How to win your lane


Getting harassed out in the lane? Trouble getting last hits or experience? Then this guide about lane dominance may help you. Winning in League of Legends can be broken down into many factors, controlling your early game is one of them. In any match there is a constant battle that decides which team wins and controls the minion/creep waves in their lane. Taking dominion over the lane is one of the most important contributions to your mid and late game, therefore it shouldn't be taken lightly.

Losing your lane means you will most likely be forced to sit on the edge of experience range, unless you want to eat a face full of damage and possible death if you go near creeps. Enemy champions will farm away last hits, and you will slowly take tower damage. In other words, you can't lose lane dominance unless you have a good reason (For example: running low on mana, waiting for a higher level to fight or opportunity to take back control).

This guide should increase your understanding of how laning works, and how to make the most out of it.

What is lane control?

It's pretty simple. Early in the game while you're grinding up gold and items in the lane, the enemy has the same objective. Obviously, both teams will want to push/kill the opposition to maximise their grinding time and delay their enemies to eventually win the game. Since the laning phase can be fairly long, dominion over the creeps can be won or lost multiple times during a match.

How do I get this mysterious yet glorious lane control?

The battle for lane control begins at the champion selection screen. If you are going mid you'll need a viable character. If you are going in a side lane, it gets a little more complicated. Picking a setup that has good side lane combinations and a working team composition isn't easy. But if you are lacking in one, then victory is one step further away.

Just for reference, here are a couple of examples of good champion combos in the lane:

Rammus + Caitlyn: This setup has a squishy long range with a short range tank. Caitlyn can easily harass with Rammus covering her from harm, they also have significant pushing and ganking power. Finally, they have enough utility to be useful in teamfights and a lot of team compositions.

Sion + Garen: With a couple of ignites and maybe an exhaust, these two badboys can snatch first blood in 50% of their games. Although they don't have any range or pokes, the fear factor of being stunned and silenced will keep the other team at their tower. If not, well 300 extra gold for when you hit recall eh?

What you need to think about when deciding on your laning setup is fairly straightforward.

Picking your lane combo:
  • How well they can contribute and fit in to the team as a whole?
  • Do they have synergy, harass, a stun, and staying power?
  • Preferably, at one ranged each lane for tower hits and denying.
  • Fearsome attacks that make the enemy back off, like Xin Zhao's knockup, Mordekaisers cone attack and shield, or Lux's circle.
Other than than that, there's not much more to picking your combo. Summoner spells can also help your chances of reigning supreme in the lane. Exhaust and Ignite are excellent fear mongering tools, while Teleport can be used to get back to the lane without giving them a moment of rest. It's a good idea to think about these factors before choosing your champion.

Let's move on to actual ingame lane control. Most of the time, one team holds the majority of the lane. As I mentioned at the start of the guide, In any match there is a long fight to decide on which team controls the creep waves in their lane. This can be broken down into a series of short confrontations, some of which don't even involve damaging eachother. These confrontations consist of both mental and physical aspects. Physically because if you have more health and a scarier combo, you can push the advantage. You can also get into your opponents mind, play aggressive and make them feel unsafe near the creeps. Your battle for lane dominance can begin before the first creep wave if you encounter the enemy combo. When the skirmish begins it will continue until one team retreats or is killed.

First I'm going to cover the methods and tactics you can use to maximise your chances of gaining and keeping total creep control. What I mean by this is the enemy lane will be sat at the tower, possibly on low health and you will be stopping them getting anything but scraps.

Gaining lane control:
  • When the first creep wave begins, so does the contest for domninance. If the enemy is very aggressive, they probably think they can beat you, so beware. Sometimes it's a good idea to let the enemy team just take control so you can lull them into a false sense of security.
  • You never really know who's going to win until you actually fight it out with the enemy. When this happens, make sure you have the best chances possible of winning, like getting attacked by creep waves while battling the enemy champions. Early on a wave can destroy a squishy character if they are stupid, so try using that to your advantage.
  • A successful gank in your lane will not only give you control, but a failed one will briefly keep the enemy team at bay too. Use this technique to relieve pressure on yourself and allies, it's very useful.
  • If the other team attacks and challenges your right to last hits and experience, you need to make sure they have no tricks (like a gank or ultimate) that could screw you over. Once that's clear, beat them to death with a rusty scewdriver or whatever spells you have.
  • Harassing plays a large part in lane combat, you need some abilities that can damage your adversaries while taking minimal damage.
  • Running into a bush in front of the other team can be used effectively as well. If you charge into a bush on the opposing side of the lane, it can scare them into running away. Remember, dominance is established just as much in the mind as it is by slapping the crap out of those scrubbers.
  • When you are left alone against two people, which is going to happen at some point- bluffing becomes a possible strategy. By attacking and pretending you have back up, sometimes the enemy will run to the tower, leaving you to farm. Only use this when you know it's going to work, otherwise they'll just kill you. 
  • Wards can make it easier to predict enemy movements and gives you the confidence and knowledge you need to push them back.
Now that I've covered a little on how to gain lane control, once you have established dominance against the other team, you can start to apply pressure. There are several options that are available to you.

What you can do with lane control, how to apply pressure:
  • Push the tower. Continue to harass the enemy setup.
  • Farm last hits.
  • Deny the enemy combo experience and gold by keeping them at the tower and last hitting (early on this is hands down the best thing to do).
  • Go back and buy items, since you've earnt some space by forcing the enemies to retreat.
  • Gank other lanes.
  • Let the enemy team push so you can pull off a kill.
You can usually aim for a couple of these goals at the same time. Make sure you seize as much as you can when you have lane dominance because it could be lost at any moment. Be aware of incoming ganks with a ward, you are more vulnerable to other lanes when pushing.

When you are pushed back to your tower and are getting screwed over, it can seem like an impending loss. However, there are many ways you can turn it around on your opponents, and force them to relinquish their grasp on that oh so glorious control of the lane.

What to do if you can't take control of the lane:
  • Play incredibly defensive, don't get hit for anything less than a last hit.
  • Try to stay in experience range, even if you have to dash in and out for each minion death.
  • Observe your enemies actions, look for an opportunity to harass and push the other team out of the lane. Don't take them head on and lose, wait carefully for your chance.
  • Call for a gank to alleviate the pressure.
  • Take all the last hits you can get when the creeps eventually reach your tower.
  • Call for a lane switch with someone who could fare better.
  • Keep your tower up at all costs, because it's the only thing keeping your sorry ass alive.
Remember, playing defensive in the lane and relinquishing control to the enemy team is always a temporary solution. If you get stuck like this for a prolonged amount of time, you are only hurting yourself and your allies.

I hope this guide provided you with all the information you need to play better in the lane.

Looking for other guides? Go here.

    1 comment:

    1. Great guide for players of all levels. Beginners can increase their level of play tenfold and seasoned players could always use a review. As Sky Wiliiams has said "just play like a bitch," and sit under tower and farm farm farm.


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