League of Legends, Level One Starts
There is a lot of talk about "level ones" and how they affect the game, yet the subtle intricacies are lost to many. This article will briefly address the three most used and easily identifiable level one strategies.
1. The Fan: The Fan consists of warding across the entrances of your own jungle so as to see any enemy movements. Wards are placed in the river or near ally buffs, while the 5 champions arrange themselves to have safe vision within their own side of the jungle. Bot lane can take gromp/doubles while the jungler starts on the opposite side of the map, top laner can cheese an early camp and TP into his lane after recalling. The Fan is widely used for it's low risk and medium benefits.
The black dots represent the area where wards would be placed, with some slight variation. Yellow dots represent champions. As one can see, this spreading out of resources gives vision across the areas where enemy champions would have to move if they were going to make an aggressive move into the jungle.
2. Bush Stack: Commonly known as the Fnatic bush, this tactic relies more on your opponent going for deep wards, and then ambushing them. Wards are placed in your own jungle so that vision of enemy patching is easy. The following clip is the pinnacle of the bush stack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1iD9KzsisA. Cloud 9, as common with Season 3, goes for deep wards in the enemy jungle to scout out lanes. Fnatic waits in the top bush and then pounces, already knowing Zyra's path due to Leona's positioning and warding. It is highly risky if the enemy has already warded, but the benefits can be massive, as shown in the video.
The boxes represent areas where the team could stack. Notice how these are all at crucial chokepoints that are near commonly warded areas. The circles represent possible warding locations. The most important warding spots are the river, the river bushes, and allied buffs, as all of these locations can be easily choked off by a flank-blowing summoners or netting kills.
3. The Invade: Whether invading for deep wards in the enemy jungle or to steal buffs, the enemy team must have their flanks warded. Warding in the river with a ward near their own buff, they they stack in a bush, ideally one that has been sweeped. From this point onwards, they wait until the buff has spawned or will spawn shortly. The invade can go terribly wrong however if the enemy team has knowledge of their movements. This clip shows an invade gone terribly (Game start at 9:04). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6fAjpSuVoo. Samsung White has TP advantage, as the earlier attempt to invade was decided against. Maokai TP'ed into top, where Singed had already begun proxy farming. After the 2nd wave, Singed and Kha manage to steal away TSM's blue buff. Jarvan attempts to go for Kha's blue-a buff trade- but Samsung had other things in mind. Their ward in the bottom side bush was not sweeped and gave vision, where they they punished the attempted invade. The invade has the highest risk in return for the highest benefit.
Orange circles represent areas where the sweeper should be used, depending on either buff. Black squares are areas that are warded, while the team tries to see where enemy warding is done to help avoid that in their invade path.
Certain champions have an innate advantage level one due to their abilities that can give extra vision or pose series threat if facechecked into. While a fulllist would be extensive, this list will focus more on the most picked champions in the current meta.
Caitlyn: Her Yordle Snap Traps give great area control and can act as psuedo wards or deter the enemy from even attempting to ward her side of the map.
Gnar: His Q's long range combined with it's 15% slow at level one and ability to reduce it's cooldown by 60% if caught make him one of the best chasing champions should an enemy champion be caught out of position.
Irelia: Her innate tankiness and passive are already great, but her E, Equilibrium Strike that stuns or slows an enemy depending on Irelia's health is game changing.
Janna: A 2 or 3 man Howling Gale can spell certain death if walked into, her W gives her team chasing power, and E can save a team mate.
Maokai: My personal favorite level one champion, his E can function as spammable wards that slow the enemy and give vision. He can also stack his saplings at a jungle camp and instantly clear all of the small creeps for the cheese level 2 start.
Morgana: Her Spellshield can save allied champions from crucial CC, letting them walk away freely. Her Q has the range of a truck and snares for 2 seconds at rank 1.
Nami: Her Aqua Prison can spell certain death if it lands on crucial members or enough members of your team.
Nunu: With the ability to start Hunter's Machete and a ward, he is already a great team player. What makes him even better is the fact that he can give his laners insane advantage, allowing his top laner or bot lane to have a free level 2 if he smites the monsterbut does not kill the jungle monster, as he does not need any help in the jungle.
Thresh: Every single one of his abilites at level one is game changing. A crucial death sentence from the fog of war, or a clutch lantern, or even a 3-4 man flay backwards into more CC or damage.
Thank you for reading, this is my first article but I hope to write many more if the feedback and demand is there. Thank you and follow my Twitter @SS_Adrian1996 for more articles, opinions, and game analysis.