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League of Legends: League of Lessons

League of Legends: League of Lessons

In our new League of Legends-focused training feature, we outline the best ways to take advantage of each of the five important roles in the game.

Welcome to League of Lessons, a weekly feature where we explore each of the five perennial roles when combating online in League of Legends. These guides are courtesy of Elliot Lucas Marcell, an avid League of Legends player who’s largely involved with the Singapore LoL community.

His notable achievements have been placing fourth with his team EqualsD Gaming in Singapore’s first League of Legends tournament in 2011, and recently placing third in a Dominion tournament in the country last February. He and his team were also shoutcasters for last year’s WCG selection finals and the Garena Carnival in both Singapore and Malaysia.

The AP Carry Role

Nothing makes me feel more satisfied than to melt my opponent’s HP away in a full combo of spells. That’s exactly why I love playing Ability Power Carries–the mages of League of Legends. They pack a whole chunk of magical power in their kit of spells, bursting down almost any opponent in mere seconds. Sure, we are a vulnerable class; we are susceptible to being focused out and killed easily, due to the nature of our low health pools.

But it doesn’t really matter. We do our job as best we can, dishing out tons of AoE damage and crowd controlling the right targets. That’s just how we roll.

So what makes a great AP Carry? We know what our spells do, but that just isn’t enough. There is an art to playing a great mage. I mean, come on; mages are masters of magic, right? We should be doing more than just dealing damage. We should be messing up our opponents with a flick of our fingertips. For today’s session, I’ll be covering the early game, and how to have solid lane domination.

The Lane Phase

Like most AP Carries, you will want to hit the middle lane. Why? Simple enough: it’s a very safe lane. Relative to the other lanes, the amount of skirmish space is really small. You have AoE spells to farm minions; and you don’t really need to overextend in your lane and risk getting ganked from the sides. What’s more, being in the middle lane makes it accessible for you to gank both top and bottom lanes easily once you’ve secured control in middle.

Here are some tricks for performing better in the middle lane:

Skirmishing like a Mage

To have lane dominance, it’s important to poke your opponents with your spells while avoiding theirs. When fighting against other AP Carries, you need to follow one simple rule: give them hell. Aggression pays off pretty well, since most casters are made to be offensive. Being able to land your skill shots on them while avoiding theirs gets you the advantage.

When casting Pillar of Flame, notice that Morgana moves towards your left naturally. We can use this to “calibrate” our skill shots.

Once they’ve taken enough damage, you can push them out of the lane by standing alongside your minions. They will have little choice but to retreat back to their tower or the nexus. If they come close to you again, scare them away by dropping more spells. Don’t forget to continue getting all the last hits on the creeps, though; it’s still way more important overall.

The Skill in Skill Shots

Landing a beautiful Barrel from Gragas, or that face-melting Pillar of Flame by Brand isn’t all about luck. There is a rhythm involved when casting these spells. One way to improve is to get used to the casting time and animation. When you understand and feel the tempo in those spells, chances are that you can make a better prediction on when to drop them on an opponent.

Morgana gets caught being blocked by four of her own minions, highlighted in red.

A more important trick to pick up, though, is learning your opponents’ movement patterns. Let’s use the example with Brand’s Pillar of Flame. Observe your opponent and see how he moves when you are landing the Pillar on him. Now you know his “natural” reaction for movement when caught in such a spell, and you can skew your subsequent spells accordingly.

When you see enemies being blocked out by creeps, you can use this to your advantage, too. Throw in an Area of Effect spell. Their exit choices are limited. Next thing you know, their health bar is significantly lower. You are on your way to winning your lane with these “small victories”.

By Elliot Lucas Marcell, Joshua Lim, Darren Seah

In our new League of Legends-focused training feature, we outline the best ways to take advantage of each of the five important roles in the game.

The Smart Way to Play

One adjustment that I made, which helped me get better at this game, was moving to smart cast. It can be enabled through the Key Bindings menu. Smart cast basically enables you to cast your spell on the mouse-over target. It’s brilliant, really. By doing so, you save a ton of reaction time, and also remove the clunky targeting interface for most of your AoE spells.

It takes some getting used to, but it worked out great for me. However, I would suggest avoiding smart casting certain spells, unless you are really good with it–Anivia’s wall, Malzahar’s Call of the Void, Karthus’ Wall of Pain, and Veigar’s Event Horizon, just to name a few.