League champion Aurelion Sol hovers over mountain with stars around him.
Image via Riot Games

How to get better at League of Legends

Hard work betrays none.

League of Legends is a 13-year-old strategy-oriented MOBA game that has, together with Dota 2, revolutionized the genre and established the foundations for all similar games that would rise after these titans. Over the years, we’ve seen not only the game but also the players evolve from basic conformists that blindly followed a predetermined set of rules into bold risk-takers that test limits on a daily basis. Since both the game and the players reshaped the reality of League for good, getting started with League and improving has never been more challenging.

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Thanks to the ever-growing high-skill floor and ceiling, League is now a highly complex, fast-paced game conditioned by numerous factors that often leave an impression that the match has never been in your hands. In reality, this is far from the truth because, although League is a team-oriented game, your actions and choices influence the game to a much larger extent than you believe. Even the smallest decisions, like which minion you should last hit next, can change the course of the game in a blink of an eye. 

So, since improving in League is no laughing matter and should be taken seriously, we will talk about the essentials you need to at least polish to avoid the feeling of utter uselessness and being lost with little to no agency. 

Polish your laning phase

Screengrab via Riot Games

Before we dive deep into the most important aspects of you can improve your laning phase, we first need to pinpoint what exactly laning is. Laning in League typically refers to an early-game phase that includes last-hitting minions to obtain gold and experience while the player from the opposing team tries to do the same. Although it’s not mandatory, laning phases normally escalate with a few champion kills that grant bonus experience and gold. The laning phase starts the moment you arrive in your lane and normally ends when platings fall in the 14th minute.  

To improve the outcome of your laning phase, one of the first steps you need to take is to learn and understand all the match-ups. This means you should understand your counters, champions which you counter, specific interactions, and timings. So, it’s best to stick to two to three champions until you fully understand all the interactions.

As you climb the ranks in League, you’ll learn that wave management is easily one of the most important aspects of laning since it’s heavily tied to priority, invading, and controlling the jungle. Wave management refers to your manipulation of the minion waves. First, you can keep the wave in a neutral position in the middle of the lane. Next, you can slow push the wave if you want to roam and rotate to an objective to help your jungler and team out. You can also hard push the wave to either dive the enemy laner or make them lose CS if they are basing. And lastly, you can freeze the wave if you already have a lead and you want the enemy laner to lose gold and experience. 

Closely tied to wave management, lane priority dictates which laner can react faster to river skirmishes over objectives, jungle invades, and even ganks. So, if you pushed out your wave and the opposing laner is stuck under the turret CSing, you have lane priority at that given moment. Bear in mind that lane priority is dynamic, meaning that once the enemy laner has control over the minion wave, they can rotate faster than you. You can also decide to ditch the wave a roam to an objective if you believe your help will change the tides of a skirmish.

Lastly, lane pressure plays a tremendous role during the laning phase since it denotes your kill pressure during the laning phase. In other words, lane pressure is related to your champion’s potential to kill the opposing laner and the level of threat you pose. For example, Sett, who is playing against Kayle in the early game, should have large amounts of pressure since he’s likely to kill her if she takes just one wrong step. Although you definitely can all-in during the laning phase, this is normally executed via trading first to get the enemy low enough so your one full rotation kills them.

Stay mindful during teamfights

Image via Riot Games

Teamfights are a rather complex aspect of League that can handsomely reward teamfighting expertise and punish you and your whole team for just one wrong step. Although there are minor fights around objectives like Scuttle Crab and Red Brambleback that are called skirmishes, teamfights refer to all 10 players engaging in a single fight that, as a rule, culminates with one side acing the other. 

As the tensions are rising and the game approaches the point of a teamfight, you first need to look at your positioning. If you’re playing a melee champion you should look to either flank the enemy backline or be a strong frontline for your team. Ranged champions, on the other hand, need to stay behind tanks and bruisers to avoid tanking unnecessary damage. 

Understanding the engage and disengage timings is an absolutely important teamfight condition that can easily lead to an ace. So, you should stay mindful of summoner spell cooldowns, allies’ cooldowns, especially ultimate cooldowns, and the number of alive enemies. On top of all of this, keep track of enemies’ positioning so you can punish their mispositioned carries. 

A general rule of thumb when it comes to targeting in teamfights is to target the enemy AD carry since they can do large amounts of damage if not punished for their aggression. Although this is a valuable guideline, your focus should normally be to burst down their most fed champions, no matter if they are a jungler, mid laner, or AD carry. Saving the tanks and other utility champions for the end of a teamfight will definitely help you increase your win rate. 

Continuously practice your mechanics

Image via Riot Games

Mechanics in League normally entail your eye-hand coordination, your capability to flawlessly execute a demanding combo, and hitting and dodging champion abilities. It’s one of the hardest skills to perfect unless you’re simply talented. Still, there is a cure for all of us born with two left hands. 

First, you definitely need to practice how to hit and dodge champion spells. Commonly, you can do that by playing a lot of ARAM, or you can visit websites like LoL Dodge Game, where you can practice and perfect your dodging skills. If you’re up for a challenge, there’s an option to simultaneously hit spells and dodge spells. 

For mastering kiting and spell combos, your friend will definitely be Practice tool so that you can learn the basics, practice them, and then start focusing on the advanced combos and kiting tips that will help you climb even more. And don’t lose hope easily since this is a long-lasting process that will take weeks before you see any real progress. The most important thing is that you continue sharpening your mechanics for at least 15 minutes a day. 

Rethink your decisions

Janna placing a ward in her team's blue-side jungle in league of legends
Screengrab via Riot Games

An average game of League is packed with decisions you need to make, ranging from champions, runes, start items, and build paths to decisions if you’ll join a teamfight or split push, if you’ll flash for that kill or not, and if you’ll push that wave out and roam to get vision or get plates. Although we make most of these decisions unconsciously, you can train yourself to think on the spot and make the best possible decision based on the circumstances.

To improve your decision-making in general, you will need to work on your map awareness skills. Generally speaking, map awareness is your awareness of happenings on Summoner’s Rift and it includes keeping track of enemy rotations and missing enemies, especially junglers. The most commonly shared tip to improve your map awareness is to glance every couple of seconds at a mini-map and particularly if you will make any kind of decision. This will heavily reduce your surprise if you invade the enemy jungle and the enemy mid-laner roams, and you lose all your hard-earned lead. If you notice an enemy is missing, your safest bet would be to assume they are coming to kill you. 

Timing is also incredibly important whenever you’re trying to make a decision since you have to take into consideration if your roam, gank, or rotation will be well-timed. Unless you are sure you will make it to a skirmish or teamfight in time, your time is probably better spent farming or collecting that sweet plate money. 

Prioritize objectives

Image via Riot Games

Objective prioritization is a rather self-explanatory concept in League, meaning that you should always look to take down objectives before going for kills. Although League is a multiplayer game, the end objective of the game is still to destroy the enemy Nexus. So, the towers, drakes, heralds, and Barons are only means to finally destroying the enemy Nexus. Instead of chasing a few survivors after a drake teamfight, you should rather look to kill the drake, take down a nearby turret and possibly clear out the surrounding jungle before you back. 

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Izabela Tomakic
Staff Writer & World of Warcraft lead. Izabela has a long history with writing and games like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Fortnite, and The Sims. Before finding her home at Dot Esports in 2021, Izabela was an English teacher and a freelancer at Hotspawn, GGRecon, and Gameranx. In her free time, you’ll find her writing novels, wandering Azeroth, or inting on Summoner’s Rift.