Decoding the Casters: Keywords for Worlds

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With Worlds currently going on, I’ve seen a lot of people on my Twitter feed say that they are new either watching competitive League of Legends or new to LoL in general. Seeing as how I haven’t done any LoL content in a while, I decided Worlds was a great time to both get some LoL content and help people understand what is going on during the broadcasts.

Decoding the Casters will be a series during the course of Worlds to help explain terminology, game theory, and team storylines to the generally uninformed.

Today, I’m going to break down some terms you have probably heard while watching a broadcast. Let’s get this started.

Roles

In League of Legends, there are 5 primary roles players fulfill.

  • ADC, AD Carry, Attack Damage Carry, Marksman: If you have ever played a role playing game like Dungeons and Dragons the closest analog for this role is Ranger. This is role is the team’s ranged carry threat. Champions played by this role are usually focused on auto attack damage and scale primarily by building Attack Damage items.
  • Support: The best role playing analogy for Support would be Cleric. While not necessarily based around healing the team, the Support provides aid in keeping up in vision control and providing roaming support to the other laners. Traditionally the Support is paired up with the ADC. Champions played by Supports tend to offer a lot of crowd control and utility.
  • Top: Traditionally the Tank of the team. While the current meta allows for Top lane players to play more carry oriented champions, Top’s role tends to be playing frontline bruisers that help protect both the Mid laner and the ADC. Top laners tend to equip the summoner spell Teleport, allowing them to make plays across the map.
  • Mid: The team’s Mage. Mid laners are the team’s second carry role. Traditionally, Mid lane champions supply the team’s magic damage. Mid lane, arguably, is the most versatile of the roles because of the champions open to them. Mid lane champions can be burst damage oriented assassins, zone control mages, or high utility champions.
  • Jungle: The team’s libero. Junglers primary jobs are to provide lane assistance and objective control. Unlike all of the other roles, Junglers are not tied to a specific lane on the map. Junglers tend to be similar to Supports and Top laners in that they tend to play frontline oriented champions that provide some form of crowd control or utility for the team. Junglers can also provide another damage threat for the team like Mid laners and ADCs.

Keywords You’ll Hear During a Match

During the matches, you’ll probably hear this terms thrown around a lot by the casters.

  • Creep Wave: Squadrons of weak, automated attackers. They push through a lane unless encountering enemy bots, buildings, or are themselves attacked. Manipulation of these minions allows for teams to force decisions between going for objectives like Dragon or Baron, or risk the creep wave taking down a tower.
  • Freezing: A technique involving manipulating creep waves. By last hitting specific minions, a player can cause the creep wave to freeze in a specific part of the lane. This is done to prevent the enemy player from safely attempting to farm minions or as a way for a player who is behind to farm in the safety of their own territory.
  • Dragon: A neutral monster that spawns in the Jungle. Defeating Dragon offers the entire team a permanent buff for the duration of the game. It respawns every 6 minutes. Each time a team defeats Dragon, they get a different buff. “5 Dragons” or “5th Drag” refers to the Aspect of the Dragon buff that is received when a team has defeated 5 Dragons. This buff is considered a win condition due to the amount of stats it supplies.
  • Baron: A neutral monster that spawn in the Jungle. Defeating Baron gives the entire team a temporary buff. Baron is a highly contest objective because of the stats that the buff gives along with allow champions to buff allied minions. Baron buff’d minions are more difficult to clear, thus allowing teams to set up for sieges.
  • Siege: A strategic term. It refers to sitting at an enemy turret, aiming to damage it little by little every time an allied creep wave approaches it.
  • Split Push: A term used when a single player on the team is pushing a lane on their own. Usually a side lane like Top or Bottom. The strategy behind this is to cause pressure in multiple lanes, thus splitting the opposing team’s resources.
  • Ganking: To “gank” is to show up in a lane with the intention to surprise the enemy player and score a kill. While any role can perform a gank, usually the Jungler or the Mid laner are the most likely to try execute a gank.
  • Rotations: Rotations or rotational play refers to a team’s strategic movement on the map. An example would be if a team set up a creep wave to hit the Bottom lane inner turret. They then proceed to defeat Dragon. After defeating Dragon, the team then goes to siege the Bottom lane inner turret.
  • Teleport Flank: Players have the option to take two Summoner Spells to strengthen the champion they select to play. Teleport is a Summoner Spell that allows a player to teleport their champion from a location to an allied unit; such as a minion or an allied turret. A Teleport flank is when a player uses an available ward to Teleport behind the enemy to perform a flank maneuver during a team fight.
  • Cooldown: Almost all champion abilities in the game have cooldowns. Cooldowns are a period of time in which the abilities are unavailable. Certain champion abilities are extremely crucial to team fights and players will try to play around their cooldowns. The same is true for Summoner Spells like Flash, Heal, and Teleport.
  • Backline: Usually refers to the Mid laner and the ADC. The backline is where the less tanky carries want to position themselves during a team fight.
  • Positioning: Positioning refers to where players should have their champions standing during a team fight. For example, and ADC rarely wants to be positioned in front of their tanks. This would mean they are exposed and easy targets for crowd control effects and being taken out by the enemy team.

 

On the Horizon

Hopefully this is a good starting point for those who are new to League of Legends and are watching competitive LoL for the first time. In our next edition of Decoding the Casters, I will go over the basics of team strategy and what “vision control” means.

Until then, you can find everything you want to know about the 2015 World Championship here.

I would like to thank Kelsey “Karonmoser” Moser, Jacob “Brayll” Wolf, and James “Obscurica” Chen for their help with this article.