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Often most commonly associated with some of the biggest stars in competitive League of Legends, some of the best players to grace the game have arisen from the mid lane.
Since the game’s conception, mid lane has been the most popular position on Summoner’s Rift and as a result, the competition for mid lane prowess has always been fierce.
So, if you are thinking of becoming the next best mid laner, then it may be in your best interest to read this guide!
What is Mid Lane?
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.
The mid lane is known for hosting some of the most exciting, flashy and thrilling fights in the history of League. One of the most famous clashes comes in the form of the Unkillable Demon King himself, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook’s 1v1 on Zed, which saw Faker produce the most famous outplay in LoL history.
The outplay alone is iconic and even went on to become a meme, which simultaneously shattered Ryu’s reputation as a player. The situation was integral in the destruction of Ryu’s name and propelling of Faker’s.
All you have to do is Google, “Faker what was that” into the search bar and a ton of results will be displayed on just this play alone; a community favorite, for sure.
But let’s get back to the mid lane. 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. It requires you to constantly be on your toes and the mind game is rampant; you must try and read your opponent to the best of your ability, aiming to predict their next moves.
This includes being aware of your enemies ability spell cooldowns, their summoner spell cooldowns, items and potential to slay you. It also helps if you know your champion matchups, but we will mention that in greater detail later.
Things to consider when playing Mid
- 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.
- Try to do your best to read your opponent as their in-game body language can tell you a lot. If your opponent is playing with confidence, aggression and is looking for trades with you when their health is not optimum, it could be an act of bravado and a sign that their jungler is nearby.
- Another blatant way you can tell you are about to be ganked is if you are casually farming in lane with your opponent, and all of a sudden, they jerk to close the gap between you and start moving towards your direction, throwing abilities at you in the process.
- Unless you are already low enough to the point at which they could execute you alone, this is almost always a sign that the opposing jungler is present and you are about to be ganked.
- Sometimes the enemy could be less obviously baiting you. An example of this is them uncharacteristically hanging around in lane on low HP instead of recalling to base.
Types of Champions in Mid Lane
- AD Assassin - Your duty is to eliminate the enemy carries, usually the ADC as they are likely to be the squishiest (easiest to kill). As an ADC assassin, you may act as the primary carry for your team and should always be looking to kill your enemy laner, only when you are certain you can do so. Then you should, as per most strategies, be looking to snowball your lead and get even more ‘fed’. Examples of classic AD assassins may include Zed, Talon and Irelia.
- AP Assassin - Alongside AP mages, AP assassins are the most common picks in the mid lane. The job of an AP assassin is the same as an AD assassin; the only difference is the type of damage you are using. AP assassins do more damage from their spells than AD assassins, who do more from their auto attacks. As an AP based Champ, your role is to supersede your enemy laner and look to roam whenever possible to aid your team with your unique spells. Champs such as LeBlanc, Katarina and Fizz are your typical AP assassins.
- AP Mage - A traditional mid lane pick, AP mages are some of the strongest Champions in League. They deal ridiculous amounts of damage whilst being able to maintain a safe distance from the enemy. They have spells for almost anything you can think of, with a variety of AP mages available to play. Like any mid lane pick, your role is to crush your enemy laner and use your lead to be the primary carry for your team. Even if you do not win your lane, AP mages have excellent scaling and will always output tons of damage once the correct items are bought. You will always be useful to your team if you farm well, even if you have not got many kills. Champs such as Ahri, Syndra, Vel’Koz, Zoe, Xerath and Annie are some examples of AP mages.
- Support Mages - Some mid lane picks may offer an alternate support role for the rest of their team, including themselves. These Champs are especially effective when premade with friends. For example, if you are playing with your friend who you know is a very good ADC or top lane player, then a support mage pick in the mid lane will be useful to provide them with extra peel (heals, shields etc) during team fights. Champs such as Orianna, Lux and Karma and some of the best support mages who offer excellent peel and simultaneously dishing out heaps of magic damage.
Mid Lane Matchups
It would be almost impossible to describe the implications for each and every matchup in the mid lane as the possibilities are endless, so instead, these are some general things you should consider when it comes to your mid lane matchups.
- The first thing you must do is analyze the state of the game in Champion Select and before the game has even started. You must recognize when you are picking and use this to: evaluate your team composition and work out which champs would synergize best with your comp, evaluate the enemy comp and assess which champ would work best against their comp.
- Ensure to use your ban effectively; either ban a champ that you have difficulty facing or ban another champ that is particularly strong in the meta right now. If you are extremely confident in your pick, then offer your ban to help your teammates or simply to ban a champion that you do not want to see in the enemy’s hands at all!
- If you are picking before the enemy mid laner, try to pick your best champion. If there is a champion in the mid lane that is extremely strong in the current meta, it may be worth picking this champ to deny the enemy from taking it, but you should only do this if you are comfortable in your mechanics.
- If you are picking after the enemy, it may be worth Googling your enemy champion’s most common counter picks, and choosing amongst those champs. If you cannot play any of these champions, then pick your best champion and play safe in lane, look for roams and respond to your jungler’s movements instead of focusing on laning.
- Once you are in game and all champions have been locked in, you must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both you and your enemy’s champs. It may be that your champion is particularly stronger than theirs in the early game, for example, an Ahri vs Kassadin matchup will favor the Ahri up until level 6, so you should look to play aggressive during this time and attempt to get a kill or two. But, you should not play recklessly. The best of mid laners take everything into account before laning phase even begins and then proceed to execute a healthy balance between dueling, farming and roaming.
- Sometimes you may find yourself in the converse situation; if you are playing a weaker champion and need to wait until getting items to hit your power spikes, then dueling will result in nothing other than putting you severely behind. Try to focus on farming instead, and even if you are having trouble doing this, it is always better not to risk giving the enemy free kills over missing out on some CS. In any case, you can always try to ping your jungler in the correct manner to seek assistance in lane.
This is quite a complex topic on its own and we may do a completely separate guide on the subject altogether, but for now, you can check this video out on how to wave manage properly. The video has been produced by Blitz Esports LoL.
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