How to freeze minion waves in League of Legends

This is one of the most valuable skills you can learn.

Image via Riot Games

Wave management is one of the most precious skills League of Legends players should learn. Understanding how to freeze a wave can be the difference between a win or loss.

Many players give up in solo queue games when they start losing their lane because they don’t know how to manage the waves to their advantage. Being able to freeze a wave can turn the tides of a game if you do it properly.

Here’s what you need to know to become a master of wave management and will be able to gain that precious LP in ranked.

What you need to know to freeze waves

As a starting point for freezing waves, you should learn the spawn timers of minions. Minions begin spawning at 1:05 and at an interval of 30 seconds afterward. Each wave has three melee and three ranged minions. Every third wave features an extra cannon creep that has more health, more attack damage, and grants more gold. At 15 minutes, the spawn rate for cannon minions increases. Instead, every second wave will have an extra cannon creep. 

Knowing the spawn timers and types of minions that spawn should help you plan your wave management and your backs to base accordingly so that you don’t lose any gold or experience from the minions.

Another easy way to see where the enemy minions are is by looking at your own. Minion waves on the red and blue side mirror each other, so you can get an idea where the enemy minion wave is by looking at your minimap and seeing where yours is. This is one of the most ignored aspects of freezing a wave which makes it hard to execute for some players.

How do minions know which target to attack?

League has a minion priority system in place and you should learn it to take advantage of it in your games.

  1. Champions attacking an allied champion
  2. Minions attacking an allied champion
  3. Minions attacking an allied minion
  4. Turrets attacking an allied minion
  5. Champions attacking an allied minion
  6. Closest enemy minion
  7. Closest enemy champion

If you attack an enemy champion, the enemy minions will start attacking you, which can quickly break your wave management. You need to be aware of this aspect. The minions’ priority doesn’t change and follows this system. Remember it by heart and it’ll save your laning phase in all your games.

How to freeze a minion wave

To perfectly freeze a wave, you need to know the priority system, the spawn timers, and observe your enemy’s movements. If you ignore one of the above factors, you’ll fail to freeze properly and waste time doing it.

If you want to freeze a minion wave, all you need to do is last-hit minions at the last possible second. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice, enemies who want to push or gank you and their wave clear abilities can negate your effort to freeze a wave.

You need to match up everything your enemy does to be able to freeze a wave. If the enemy is pushing into you, start thinning out the wave so that it doesn’t crash into your tower. Face tank some damage to keep the freeze going, otherwise all you’re going to do is waste some time that could’ve been invested into something else.

If the enemy minions get too close to your tower, resume tanking with your health before your minion wave arrives. If you let them get too close to your tower, the wave will crash and the freeze will be broken.

If you’re playing in the bottom lane, ask your support to tank the minions so that you’re healthy and ready to fight. Otherwise, the opponents might see this as an opportunity and engage on you while their minions are already targeting you and you’ll be blown up.

The LEC posted a video in April demonstrating how to freeze and showed the technique in practice.

Why would you want to freeze a minion wave?

Freezing is one of the best wave manipulation tactics to get you ahead while denying your enemy valuable experience and gold. It can be used in situations where you’re ahead and you want to put the enemy laner further behind you or in situations where you’re losing and need to farm safely near your tower to avoid ganks.

If you freeze close to a tower, the enemy will have to overextend to get experience and gold. This means a gank can be set up for your jungler to deny your opponent gold and experience, setting them further behind. If you’re in a losing matchup and have no way of coming back into the game, freezing is one of the best things you can do instead of trying to fight an opponent that will overpower you. Imagine you’re 50 CS behind at 10 minutes. This is most likely a loss unless you take desperate measures. If you let the enemy take your tower and freeze the minion wave near the second tower, then you might get a second shot in the game.

Advantages and disadvantages of freezing a wave

Every action has a reaction and freezing a wave isn’t an exception. The obvious advantage of freezing is that you’ll get more experience and gold while your enemy will get less. You’ll be less prone to ganks if you freeze near your tower. Enemies will have to dive you to crash the wave, so a counterplay can be planned ahead. In the short term, you might not see a huge benefit from this difficult tactic. But if you analyze a replay where a wave is frozen, you should quickly see the benefits. 

One huge disadvantage, however, is that enemies will begin to roam if they can’t break the freeze. If your team isn’t communicating or not paying attention, they might get ganked by your laner. Your team might need you to take objectives and you may not be able to join them since it’ll break the freeze. Freezing also isn’t the easiest thing to do, so if you invest all your time into this technique instead of playing around the map, you could get punished for it in the long run.

How to break a freeze if you’re on the opposing side of one

If you’re freezing, all you have to do is start spamming abilities and auto attacks into the minion wave to break the freeze. But what happens if you’re the one who has to deal with it?

To break a freeze, you need to overwhelm the enemy minion wave. This can be done alone, with your duo partner, or with the jungler’s assistance. You need to carefully evaluate the situation you’re in and what the risks are if you freeze the wave in every case. Remember why the lane is being frozen in the first place. One of the core advantages of this tactic is to force the enemy to come closer to you. If the player who froze the wave communicates properly with their team, a gank might be waiting for you.

Tips to freeze waves in every lane

  • Top lane: Walk forward to the minion wave before it clashes with yours. If you remember the priority system, the minions will target you. Walk toward a bush and they’ll aggro the nearest minion. By doing this, your minions will die much faster since they’re getting focused one by one and you can set up a freeze.
  • Mid lane: Walk toward either top or bottom side bush when the minion wave comes. Try to freeze it at a point in the lane where the bush ends so that it’s close to your tower, but not too close for it to hit minions.
  • Bottom lane: Freeze the wave at the point where the wall starts near the river. This puts the lane in a perfect position to safely farm and requires opponents to overextend to secure experience and gold.

Finals tips for your wave management skillset

Though freezing waves is a crucial skill that can be used to your advantage, it takes time to master it. There are plenty of videos showcasing how to freeze waves properly under different circumstances with various matchups.

This technique shouldn’t be done in every single game due to the ever-changing circumstances of League. If your teammates are having issues and need your help, freezing might not be the best tactic to support that game plan. But if everyone is doing well and you want to extend your advantage, freezing could be the perfect choice. Always think of the advantages and disadvantages of the tactic before you commit to it. Being adaptive to ever-changing circumstances will make you a better League player and help you climb the ladder easier.

Remember to communicate with your teammates to set up a general game plan if you want to be on the same page, because otherwise freezing will not be a good tactic to execute in-game.