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What is roaming in LoL?
At its core, roaming is a type of strategy and an aspect of the game that focuses around the aid or assistance of your teammates. Whilst roaming is most commonly associated with the mid lane, because of the position of mid on the map, anybody in any role has the capacity to roam, so this guide is targeted to all players.
This may be with the exception of junglers, of course, since junglers are technically roaming for the entire game and the purpose of a jungler is to already help the rest of their team, whilst other roles on the map involve the laning phase.
As we have already mentioned, roaming is the art of actively helping your teammates by being diligent and astute enough to respond to action on the map. With roams, you have the potential to secure a ton of things, ranging from kills, assists, objectives, buffs and gold/EXP leads. If executed correctly, roaming will almost always reward you and your team.
Due to his kit and abilities, Pyke has the potential to be one of the best roaming champions in the game if utilized correctly. (Image Credit: Riot Games).
Roaming may seem complicated but as with much of the strategy in League of Legends, once it is broken down, it is much simpler than one might think. The trick with roaming is to assess the map first and then work out when you can safely pull off a roam, whilst minimizing risk/losses at the same time.
Additionally, roaming will not be successful 100% of the time and you may often return to lane empty handed, but that is ok. Getting into the habit of being an active player and team member on Summoner’s Rift is part of improving and an aspect that separates the lower ranked players from the higher ranked players.
Even if you do not gain a kill or an assist from roaming, you have made the attempt to try and create something whilst you would otherwise be waiting in lane for your opponent to push the minion wave back to you.
Sometimes, even the presence of someone who is roaming is enough to make the enemy jungler think twice about moving into a certain area of the jungle, so you never know exactly how successful an “unsuccessful” roam may be.
Fundamentals of Roaming
Whilst we have already stated that anybody in any position can role, there are certain champions that will be better suited to roaming than others. For example, when the subject of roaming is broached, the first champion that should spring to everyone’s mind is Talon, before any others.
Talon in the mid lane is a prime example of a champion that is tailor made for executing roams. His mobility is unmatched and all good Talon players will already be excellent roamers as this skill is one of the key ways to maximize his potential.
On the other hand, a Syndra in the mid lane does not have as much mobility as a Talon and will take a lot longer to make a roaming attempt than a Talon would, especially without boots! This does not mean that you cannot try to roam when playing Syndra, but it is vital that you assess the map and your current situation before roaming.
The effectiveness of a roam may be measured by the analysis of two factors; what will you be gaining/losing in your lane from roaming and what will you be gaining/losing in other lanes as a result of roaming.
To help with this measured analysis, it is essential that you ask yourself several questions in your head and in the space of mere seconds, before you look to roam. This may sound near impossible, but once you have ingrained this habit into your subconscious, you will notice just how quickly this can be achieved. These questions may include:
Now, I know what you may be thinking. This seems like an awful lot of information to process in the space of seconds, but not every question will be applicable to each situation every time.
Some situations will be easier than others, like if your allied jungler is running away towards your direction from the enemy jungler, and they are both on low HP, and you know for sure that you can prevent your jungler from dying whilst simultaneously getting a free kill. In this case, you will almost react instinctively and the need for 101 questions will not be present.
However, you may find yourself in a situation where your opponent has lane priority over you and has already begun roaming to a skirmish between the two junglers. You could make the choice to follow the roam, but this would mean that you will be missing out on several minions, the corresponding gold and EXP from farming those minions and on top of this, you may not even be able to get there in time to assist your jungler.
If you have assessed the situation to be similar to this, then the best option by far is to remain in your lane and farm the minion wave. The only time you should ditch the wave in a situation similar to this is if you know for certain that you can save your jungler’s life.
Summoner’s Rift can be a daunting playground sometimes which is why good map awareness is an excellent skill to possess, especially when it comes to roaming. You need to be able to read the map by seeing movements and plays before they happen in order to ensure you are at the right place at the right time. (Image Credit: Riot Games).
This may be because they are playing a particularly tanky champion, they have the ability to stall enough time for your bot lane to roam up and help (for example, Zac’s passive where he splits into four blobs), the enemy champions have their main abilities on cooldown (ultimates etc), the enemies are not so far ahead of you that the repercussions of losing the fight would be severe or you have already noticed your allied support is on their way to assist in the skirmish.
Ultimately, every scenario will always be slightly different due to the fact that there are over 150 different champions in LoL and any given interaction between two or more players will be totally unique, due to the fact that all of these champions have different abilities, added to the fact that every player is also different.
The only way to have the right foresight into how a roam towards a skirmish will play out is by the accumulation of substantial experience and game knowledge. This is why it is very important that you learn every champion in the game and their abilities.
Again, this might seem like a challenging task, but you will only improve by putting the required time in. After all, League is a complex game but can be made simpler with enough practice.
When to roam
- Straight after recalling and walking back from base – sometimes, you may find your team and the enemy are preparing to/have already started to fight and so your presence will almost always be needed.
- To counter gank a lane – if you have noticed the enemy is looking to gank your bot lane who is overpushed, it may be wise for you to start moving towards their direction as a skirmish is inevitably on the brink of erupting.
- When your support has roamed and your ADC is alone – you may be playing mid lane, your support could be all the way up in top lane, and you have noticed that the enemy bot is pushing towards your allied turret which has your ADC under. If you get the feeling that the opponents may dive, you should look to roam to attempt to save them but if not, you could pick up the pieces and get some free kills.
- When you have your ultimate up – sometimes, you may have an ultimate ability that is utilized best with your teammates, such as Twisted Fate’s R (Destiny). In this case, once you have pushed your minion wave and have bought yourself some spare time, you should look to assist your other lanes.
- When your ally has their ultimate up – if you know you can secure free kills with your teammate’s ultimate, a Malphite R for example, then you can look to make a roam and assist your teammates.
- When you notice the enemy jungler is deep in your jungle – if you can see the enemy jungler is in no man’s land trying to steal your allied buffs, it is in your best interest to roam and prevent them from getting out safely.
- When you have killed your enemy laner – this one is quite obvious; when you have gotten a kill and have bought yourself plenty of time, you should look to roam and make a positive impact on the map. This does not always have to mean getting a kill, sometimes killing your laner buys you enough time to move with your jungler and secure one of the Dragons, which is still an excellent result from a roam.
- When the enemy is missing a core defensive spell – if the enemy ADC has low mobility and you are aware that their flash is on cooldown, then you could look to roam to turret dive and get a free kill.
- When the enemy is roaming and you need to match it – this one is self explanatory, but as we touched upon earlier, you should not do this blindly as you could end up giving your own life as well as failing to save your ally’s. You must approach this situation with caution.
As we have already mentioned, each scenario will be totally unique depending on several factors in the game. So, to simplify things, we have a list of general situations where you might find yourself considering when to roam:
With that being said, our guide on roaming has been concluded. We hope that this article was informative enough for you and we also hope that you learned something new today that you did not already know!
There are even more situations where you could roam and ultimately, it is mostly always situational and that is where you will need to use your own intuition to assess the circumstance, and then follow with the correct response.
As always, good luck in solo queue, have fun and do not be toxic!
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