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Table of Contents
Summoners Rift is the home of Champions in the world of Runeterra. It is the map that consists of five players on each side, who battle it out in a bid to break through the opposing base and destroy the ‘Nexus’.
The Nexus is essentially the heart of the base and lies as the last structure required to be taken down before a team may be declared victorious.
It is located at the very back of the base, just in front of the Nexus Obelisk or simply the “shop”, which is where players will respawn and recall back to, when they need to purchase items.
The Fountain, Shop and Nexus make up the heart of your base in League of Legends. (Image Credit: EsportsOne)
The Rift can sometimes be an unforgivable wasteland so it is crucial that you assign yourself the most suitable role/s.
With a variety of positions and a number of unique ways to play them, the five roles available on Summoners Rift are characterised by over 148 Champions and a plethora of fantastic in-game abilities on offer.
There are usually several factors you must be able to compute and react to during ranked or even normal games. Understanding the fundamentals of the roles will inevitably aid you in becoming a better player!
Top or Top Lane is a position that is traditionally played as a tanky/bruiser role for your team. Whilst there are some ranged top laners at your disposal, most of the Champions that are played in the top lane are melee and heavily reliant on their abilities to act as front liners for their team during fights, and sustaining themselves long enough to re-engage.
The name of the lane, and all of the others in League for that matter, is dependent upon the position they are in on the map. Top is known as ‘top lane’ because it is the lane out of three that resides towards the top side of the map.
As one of the two solo lanes, players who play Top will accumulate experience (exp) quicker than the rest of their teammates in the earlier stages of the game.
This unique exp lead may also be cultivated in the correct manner to execute a ‘snowball’. This means that if you get ahead in the top lane and manage to stay ahead of your opposing top laner, by farming well and playing around your power spikes, you can be an unkillable force to be reckoned with and even carry your team to a victory by yourself, (if you’re good enough).
The best top laners understand that the manipulation of minion waves is one of the most important elements to playing Top. The reason for this is because the top lane is the longest out of the three, meaning that if freezing and pushing of waves is executed to perfection, you can easily put your opponent in a huge experience/gold deficit, whilst beefing yourself up.
There are different ways to play the lane, but the conventional styles may be split into four:
A final and unofficial role in the top lane is known as ‘Split Pushers’, but refers more to a play style rather than position.
The play style includes wielding your top lane Champion as a nuisance who is constantly pushing the waves in the side lane, when the teams may be otherwise engaging in fights or skirmishes.
Almost all top lane Champs may be utilised in this way, some better than others as they have much faster wave clear, but the most notorious of them all is none other than Tryndamere!
Jungle is the most unique position on the map and has proven to be one of, if not the most impactful role in recent seasons, especially in the early game.
Whilst every other position includes ‘laning phase’, a jungler spends their time accumulating exp by farming the jungle camps. Each camp in the jungle is equivalent to four CS (creep score).
The jungle spans the majority of the inside of the map, divided only by the lanes. The jungle is split into two sides for each team; the ‘red’ and the ‘blue’ side.
They are given this name because these are the sides of the jungle where yours or the enemies ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ buffs will spawn throughout the duration of the game.
A jungler is vital to every team composition as they are responsible for wielding the ‘Smite’ summoner spell, a spell unique to junglers as they gain the majority of their exp in the early game via the Smite based items.
The Summoner Spell “Smite” and its icon as it may be displayed in game. (Image Credit: Kibbium YouTube)
With this spell, they have the responsibility to secure the objectives such as the Dragons, Rift Heralds and Barons; a range of special buffs given to your entire team if slayed.
Objectives should never be overlooked and in some cases, may be the deciding factor between a win and a loss.
The other main job of the jungler is to ‘gank’ lanes. Ganking is most commonly known as the act of hiding in the brush, or out of vision, and using the element of surprise to assist your laners in either forcing spells out of the enemy or in ideal cases, a kill.
A good jungler will assess their lanes at the beginning of the game and have the correct pathing to ensure that they gank the lanes they know will most likely be able to follow up with CC or a fair amount of damage.
Therefore, as a jungler, you will want to play towards the side of the map where you have laners who will possess the most aptitude to respond to your ganks.
Here are some examples of traditional junglers:
Mid laners get their name from being situated in the middle of the map. As the second of two solo lanes, a mid laner will have the duty of dueling their opposing mid laner in a calculated battle of wits and skill.
Their job, like every other position on the map, is vital to the success of any team composition; they must respond well to ganks, aim to supersede their opponent, manipulate their minion waves correctly and aim to roam whenever possible.
Mid laners have the best roaming potential as, being in the centre of the map, have easy access to all lanes and the jungle.
A view from the Mid Lane and its location on the map of Summoners Rift. (Image Credit: L2P-League)
The mid lane is known for hosting some of the most exciting, flashy and thrilling fights in the history of League.
Whilst top laners have the potential to see less action as tanks do not always look to fight, mid laners have to be ready at any second to react to their enemy laner, or jungler.
This is where you see the heavy APC’s and assassins, a mid lane duel is similar to a game of chess. You must constantly be aware of your enemies spell cooldowns, their summoner spell cooldowns, items and potential to slay you.
Mid lane duels can start as early as level one, with many mid lane Champs opting to take ignite to facilitate early battles.
The best mid laners will have excellent map awareness, smart wave management and will have calculated the amount of damage they are able to inflict in a combo.
You must be able to trade correctly, meaning, you must know when you can poke damage onto the enemy whilst receiving the smallest amount. This is why the monitoring of cooldowns is so vital.
Examples of mid lane Champs are included in the list below:
For the mid lane, we had to include an honourable mention… the bane of almost every League player, a Champion that has been distressing the community since his release in Season 3. Yasuo, the Unforgiven, had to make the list for his sheer capacity to ‘1v9’ a game.
A personal favourite, as I myself am a Yasuo main, the wandering swordsman may act both as an AD fighter and assassin. Although not invincible, Yasuo is a highly mechanical Champ to master and is extremely effective if placed into the right hands.
But as the story goes, he just always seems to be the source of feeding on your team, whilst remaining unstoppable for the enemy.
Now we turn our attention to another unique position on Summoners Rift. The only lane out of the three lanes to consist of a duo lane is the bot lane.
Once again, the nomenclature of the role may be defined by the location on the map; bot is called bot because it is at the bottom of the map.
Comprising in almost all cases of a marksman/woman and a support, the bot lane is arguably the lane that requires the most amount of communication.
Hence, you will traditionally see players teaming up with friends in Solo/Duo queues in the attempt to dominate the 2v2 lane.
An ADC and their Support positioned in the Bot Lane. (Image Credit: Youtube)
As mentioned earlier, the ADC is known as the ‘attack damage carry’, and should be responsible in every situation to be one of, if not the primary carry on your team.
There are a range of ADC’s you can choose from, some who are stronger in the early game, some in the mid and many in the late. These types of ADC’s may be known as ‘hyper carries’, as they have the duty to close out games effectively on their own (with the help of their support of course).
The best ADC’s will, depending on their picks and their support picks, be able to synergise well with their supports by working alongside them to dominate the opponents.
As a 2v2 lane, you need to be mindful of your teammate as they will be looking to make engagements and sometimes even give their life for you.
As any laner must always do, you should also be able to respond correctly to your jungle ganks, as your jungler may choose your lane to ‘camp’, meaning they will aim to ‘repeat gank’ your lane in an attempt to get you ahead of the enemy.
As ADC’s are not as easily categorised like the other roles, we will split them into different types:
The fifth and final role on our list. The Rakan to your Xayah, the Robin to one’s Batman and your partner in crime; finally we may mention the role of support.
Often overshadowed or overlooked as the ‘beta’ or ‘subservient’ role, support players are as important to the game as your carries are. If you are a support player, you must know your worth!
Supports are fundamental to all team compositions; heals and shields do not just fall from the sky right? A good support player has the capacity, along with ADC’s, to turn fights in a matter of seconds.
As a support, your first responsibility is to aid your ADC in the bot lane during laning phase by tanking enemy damage and peeling for them during jungle ganks. It may not seem worth it, but it is always better to give your life to save your ADC’s.
Secondly, if your lane is constantly pushing because the opposing ADC has weak wave clear in the early, you are responsible for the placing and removal of wards. The importance of vision control is often overlooked, especially in the lower ranks.
You should look to assist your jungler in buying sweepers to ensure they can smoothly gank your lane, whilst placing your own wards into the enemy’s jungle to provide your jungler with information of the enemy’s pathing and whereabouts.
One of the main differences between ranks going up the leaderboard is the control and utilisation around vision. Wards are the only way to detect your opponents in the ‘fog of war’, (places on the map that are dark) and so it is essential that you are consistently buying control wards when returning to base for your items.
The list of supports may be categorised into the following brackets:
Supports may also be built with both tank and damage items, sometimes even flat out damage, in the case of Pyke who often acts as a secondary or tertiary carry in some cases. Senna and Swain possess the same characteristics; Senna’s ridiculous amounts of poke damage and slows are a bother for any ADC, whilst she also has heals and an escape tool in her ‘W’ ability.
She may also be built ‘off tank’ (a mixture of damage and tanky items) making her a nuisance to kill. Swain also offers good amounts of CC with his ‘E’, but acts primarily as a secondary source of bruiser AP damage, with his ultimate ability dealing insane amounts of damage whilst simultaneously healing him up to full HP (health points).
Do not be surprised when you inspect the damage charts to see Champs like Swain and Senna up there competing for the highest damage dealt in the game.
With no more positions left to discuss, the supports conclude our list on all five of the roles available to play in League of Legends. We hope that this has provided you with more information on the roles and has given you the confidence to go out and play your favourite Champions. As always, do not flame, good luck and most importantly, have fun!
(Image Credit: Unranked Smurfs)
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