I am trying something a little different. Usually I write It’s The Climb where I talk about things to keep in mind to get better at Solo Queue. But, after a pretty fun ranked game playing Taric and tweeting out the score, I received this question:
@sagegnosis LoL n00b here. Play almost exclusively Sona. Lvl 13 currently. How critical is it to learn other roles/champs? When to start?
— humulus lupulus (@cameldrags) July 15, 2014
This got me thinking. I don’t know for the rest of you, but I started playing League of Legends relatively right after launch. When I first started playing, the landscape of the game looked extremely different. There was no jungle, duo Top was a regular thing, and Master Yi + Garen was an acceptable bottom lane pair. The game is very different nowadays.
Let me first start with this is more directed at the person asking this question, than at people who are level 30. I will be explaining this more to players at a lower level who are still adjusting to the game. So, bear with me.
How Critical is it to Learn Other Champions?
It honestly depends on what you want to get out of the game. If you plan on just playing once and a while to have fun, then keep playing your favorite champions only. But if you hope to one day play Rank, then you’re one champion pool is going to hurt at times. Sure, there are plenty of people who have climbed the ladder on only one champion, but even they have a few extra champions in their back pocket.
To be honest, leveling up an account is a nightmare. One of the reasons for this is Smurf accounts. A Smurf account is an account a level 30 player makes to try new things, play with lower level friends, or to style on newbs. I’ve been slowly leveling my Smurf account to 30. The road has been ridiculous because a sheer gap in player ability.
If your goal is to eventually start playing Rank, I would recommend starting around level 20. Before then, focus on getting those levels. If you are looking to improve in that time frame, pick one champion during free week and mix them into your play.
How Critical is it to Learn Other Roles?
Defined by the current meta, there are five roles in League of Legends. They are Mid, Top, ADC, Jungle and Support. Each role fits a style a play that will help bring the team to victory. Let’s go over the basics of each role.
The Mid lane home of your Ability Power Carry(APC) and is one of the two solo laners. As the term carry would suggest this role is all about dealing hefty amount of damage. This is either to multiple targets, a single champion burst, or being able to do damage consistently throughout the fight.
- AP: Kassadin, Ziggs, Orianna, and Syndra are all great pick ups.
- AD: AD champs in the mid lane have fallen off outside of Yasuou. You can also learn Zed and Talon though.
Top lane tends to be referred to as an island. This is because the lane is filled with champions who can hold their own in a farm fest without the need to be assisted by a Support. Top tends to have three types of champions in it. Hyper carries who use their solo farm to get their max damage point sooner, front line tanks that will protect the carries in the team fight stage, or AP champs who can offer a mix of damage and utility to their team.
- Hyper Carries: Jax, Tryndamere, and Fiora
- Front Line Tanks: Renekton, Shyvana, Mundo, and Shen
- APC: Kayle, Ryze, and Lulu.
The Jungler is the team libero. They are responsible for securing objectives like Baron and Dragon, securing the buffs, and assisting lanes with ganks. I talked about this role at length in an edition of It’s the Climb. The jungle meta is kind of in flux at the moment as tank utility Junglers are trying to make a comeback versus the high damage burst Junglers. There are currently four Jungler items, so I will break it down by item.
- Elder Lizard: Vi, Lee Sin, and Kha’Zix
- Ancient Golem: Nautilus, Moaki, and Cho’Gath
- Spectral Wraith: Fiddlesticks, Amumu, and Elise
- Feral Flare: Rengar, Master Yi, Shaco, and Udyr.
ADC, or Attack Damage Carry, is the team’s primary source of ranged physical damage. The ADC operates out of the bottom lane with the help of their support. Their primary focus is to stay safe in team fights while keeping the damage output going. Some ADCs are long range marksman like Caitlyn, others kite enemies with ease like Ezreal, and some are late game hyper carries like Vayne.
ADC is unique in that paired with the right team comp, almost any of the marksmen are good. If you’re looking to pick up ADC I recommend, for the current patch at least, picking up Caitlyn, Tristana, Draven, and Kog’Maw.
If Junglers are the team’s libero, to continue the volleyball analogy, then Supports would be the team’s setter. In the early game the Support’s role is to protect the ADC and harass the opposing bottom lane duo. Toward the mid game, the Support becomes one of the key players in the vision control. And in team fights? The Support is usually supplying powerful forms of crowd control to help turn the tide of a fight.
As of the 4.11 patch, I would recommend learning how to play Braum, Thresh, Leona, Morgana, Nami, and Zyra.
If you’re preparing for Rank, I have just a smidge of closing advice. Opinions will vary about playing Rank and your knowledge of all five roles of the game. Some will tell you not to play Rank until you know how to play each role at a passable level. Others will tell you to zero on one or two roles and have deep champion pools. I will admit to being a pretty crappy Mid and ADC player. I focused on learning Top, Jungle, and Support and know quite a few champions for each of those roles. I am inclined to say learn as many roles as you can. If there is a role you can’t play, for me it’s ADC, just express as such when you’re in queue. At least try to know one to two champions you can safely play. Other than that?