LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
The complete guide for League of Legends esports scene
League of Legends, commonly shortened to LoL, is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game owned and run by Riot Games, a major game and esports organiser. Essentially, the game consists of two teams of five players in each, fighting across the map, termed “Summoners Rift”, with the sole objective of destroying the enemy team’s Nexus.
Both teams fight with unique champions in one of five positions: Top, Jungle, Middle, Attack Damage Carry (ADC) and Support. Each of these roles has their own purpose in a team, and their own domain on Summoners Rift. The general idea of how the map is distributed is shown below.
Breakdown of Major Positions
The top lane role is generally considered to be the most isolated role on summoners rift. Generally, the role focuses on farming minions and dealing with the enemy laner and potential jungle pressure. Given that the lane is on the far end of the map, and is considered a solo lane, there is little overall team involvement during the initial game phase (laning phase). However, due to top laners normally taking the summoner spell “teleport”, there is often a big skill requirement of top laners to be able to influence other parts of the map in an effective and efficient manner. Essentially, the role of the top laner is to survive and grow strong during laning phase to provide for your team during team fights.
One of the most important roles, the jungler is usually the most mobile champion in the match, as their area of influence is global. Initially, the role of the jungler is to track the opposition jungler through vision control and spot gank/counter-gank opportunities. As the game progresses, the role of the jungler switches to objective control, which will be further discussed in the Gameplay and Objectives section. Overall, the jungler’s role is to ensure that their team feels safe during laning phase, while providing any potential assistance to get their laners to as much of an advantage as possible. Generally, junglers will favour a “strong side” of the map, where lane dominant teammates will usually be prioritised to get leads, so the game snowballs into a smoother victory.
The mid lane is one of two traditionally “carry” orientated positions, the other being AD Carry. Usually, the mid lane consists of AP champions (champions who rely on abilities for most of their damage). As a result, a lot of mid lane champions will focus on developing leads through bursts of damage against the opposition laner. Aside from being a heavy damage threat however, the role of the mid laner is to manage their minion wave to allow them “roam time” where they can move around the map, usually with their jungler, to influence either side lane.
Attack Damage Carry (ADC)
The second, and main damage dealer in the team. The ADC however, is largely reliant on damage done through basic attacks, rather than abilities, and thus requires strong positional coordination to be successful. As the other side lane on summoners rift, the ADC isn’t as isolated as the top laner, largely due to a support also being present in lane (making the matchup a 2v2) with considerable jungle presence to ensure that the ADC can get ahead to continually damage opponents in team fights. However, given how vulnerable ADC’s are due to full damage builds, their positioning behind tanks in big fights is paramounts, or the ADC can die almost instantly due to poor coordination.
The support is instrumental in helping shape the course of the game right from start to finish. Before minions even spawn, the support’s role is to scout the enemy laners, place deep vision to assist the jungler, and monitor the map for any irregularities in enemy coordination to avoid potential traps. After the game starts, the support’s role is to partner with the ADC to protect them during laning phase, while continually removing enemy vision, and providing engages into skirmishes. As the game progresses, the support’s key focus is to sweep objectives to ensure that the enemy has as minimal vision as possible, to ensure that the team is prioritised in controlling the game speed.
While the general goal of LoL is to get into the opposition base and destroy the nexus, there are several side objectives that aid in getting positional leads as the game progresses. Dragon buffs aid with champion statistics and provide a boost to movement speed, damage, healing and objective damage, while Baron is a powerful tool that boosts the strength of minions, allowing sieging to become easier. It is up to a team to decide when it is strategically favourable to try and push these particular objectives, or push enemy towers, as counter plays are common and can quite easily lead to momentum shifts.
Gameplay and objectives
The general gameplay of LoL is quite easy fundamentally, but there are several intricacies involved that complicate a match and really allows great players to stand out. A team’s macro is significant, as it delves into how well a team can rotate to major objectives (turrets, dragons, baron), while a player’s micro is how well they can manage lanes, their mechanical ability on a champ and so on. The major objectives are described below.
The major defensive line for a team. Turrets are standing structures that deal damage to all enemies, minions, and champions alike. They serve as the first lines of defence in protecting the ally portion of the map and consist of three tiers. The first tier, termed the outer tier, is the initial defence a team has, which, prior to 14 minutes into the match, will be plated with armour to add additional resilience. The second tier of towers occurs halfway through the map, which consists of an increased damage output and slightly stronger armour and magic resistances. Next, and perhaps more importantly, the inhibitor turrets are the third tier of defence and protect the inhibitor, a crucial game structure. Finally, the nexus turrets are the final defensive line of the game, as the two closely situated towers will serve to protect the nexus.
As mentioned above, the inhibitor is a critical game item, since once destroyed by an enemy, it will provide them with “super minions”. These super minions are essentially buffed minions that have the ability to siege the opposition base, making them crucial for game advancement. However, each inhibitor will respawn 5 minutes after being destroyed, so lane and minion management is crucial when sieging.
Essentially, the Nexus is the main objective for teams. It is the final structure that teams must defeat to win the game, and the game can only be won by destroying the nexus (Aside from forfeitures/surrenders).
One of the key components to the early-mid game is the jungle camps littered between the various lanes. The jungle camps are also split into two categories, the major and minor camps. Minor camps are considered to be the Krugs and Raptors on the southern side of the map (on blue side) and the Gromp and Wolves on the northern side. These camps will provide gold and experience primarily to junglers in the early game, which aids with levelling and itemisation. The major camps however, consist of the blue and red buff; two powerful entities that assist in fights and minion clearing. The blue buff is useful to mid laners more than anyone, as it provides a faster mana regen, allowing them to use abilities more frequently, while the red buff provides health regeneration and a burn effect, making it more useful for ADC’s.
The elemental dragons are usually the first objectives contested by teams and consist of one of four randomly spawning drakes. These dragons can be one of the infernal, air, mountain and ocean drakes, and each provide their own unique game statistics when slain. The infernal drake provides a damage percentage increase to basic attacks and abilities, while the ocean dragon increases mana and health regeneration speeds. The air drake will also provide a stat boost in the form of movement speed, while the mountain dragon gives teams a boost in damage toward other objectives. At 35 minutes into the game however, these elemental dragons will cease to spawn and instead, are replaced by the more powerful Elder Dragon. This dragon not only provides a buff to any previously slain elemental stats but provides a true damage aspect as well. Generally, teams who have killed the elder dragon twice will almost certainly be guaranteed to win a game.
Rift Herald/Baron Nashor
Rift herald and Baron Nashor are two objectives that provide sieging power to teams during the early (Rift Herald) and mid-late game (Baron) timings. Early in the game, the rift herald can be defeated to provide one member of the team with “the eye of the herald” which causes a rift herald to be summoned to a lane by the possessor. From the summoning point, the herald will charge at towers until defeated, providing large gold boosts to allies within range of the objective. Post 20-minutes however, the Baron is the most crucial objective on the map and will provide teams with the “Baron Buff”, allowing players to empower minions to siege the enemy base. Should this be coupled with super minions from a destroyed inhibitor, the baron buff makes any form of base defence very difficult to accomplish, which is why the objective is the most prioritised one in the game.
League of Legends in Esports
As a result of the intricacies mentioned above, there are several details that must be analysed and considered during the game, which few teams have managed to master to become some of the best in the world. Historically, one of the greatest League of Legends teams is SK Telecom T1, a Korean powerhouse with arguably the best player to ever contest the game, mid-laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Over their history SKT T1 have amassed 3 World Championships (the biggest title possible in the LoL esports scene), 2 Mid-Season Invitational titles (the second-best title possible), and 5 domestic LCK titles.
The best League of Legends esports teams 2019
Historically, it’s hard to beat the pedigree displayed by the formidable SKT T1 team, and after a brief slump in 2017/2018, they are on the rise again and looking like the powerhouses they once were. As of late, it’s hard to go past Invictus Gaming as a powerhouse; the current world champions have been in rampant form, despite contests from G2 Esports of Europe, Cloud9, TSM and Team Liquid from North America and other strong Korean teams.
Given the everchanging “meta” (what’s considered typical to play), the struggle for domination in the LoL esports scene is constantly evolving, as are the teams who fight to be known as the best in the world. With an average game time of 30-40 minutes per match, only teams with the greatest mental fortitude and adaptability stand a chance to dominate the game and fight for the biggest trophies.
LoL Esports Leagues
The LEC is the preeminent League of Legends esports league in Europe. It is comprised of 10 teams who will face off against every other team.
The North America League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) is the preeminent League of Legends esports league in North America.
League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) is the ultimate League of Legends esports league in Korea. The LCK features ten teams facing every other team twice over the course of the split.
The Tencent League of Legends Pro League (LPL) is the premier League of Legends esports competition in China. The LPL features 12 teams split into two divisions of 6 teams each.
League of Legends Master Series (LMS) is the foremost League of Legends competition in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. The LMS has 8 teams in a double round robin season. Matches are a Best of 3 Format.
Autumn marks the climax of every League of Legends Season: Worlds. In addition to international pride and glory, teams are competing for the chance to be the World Champion.
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