BUILD GUIDE: Massively improve your LoL skillz by Dravion

by Dravion (last updated over a year ago)

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Hi and welcome to the basic guide of massivly improving your League of Legends skill. This guide does not cover a specific champion or a specific lane or a specific role. This guide covers things that are much more important than any of these advanced details: the basics! Read this guide carefully and try to adept your behaviour in LoL accordingly to become a better player.
NOTE: I am not the god of LoL. I am not a 2000+ ELO player. This guide is not meant for 2000+ ELO players and will be just a waste of time if you are that good (perhaps?). So there MIGHT be some errors or misguiding crap in this guide because I am just human, too. If you are a 2000+ ELO player and find that some things in this guide are plain wrong, please let me know in the comments and help me improve the quality of this guide, because I feel that these basics are exactly what all those below 1500 ELO players need to learn.

What to do before the first creep waves arrive in lane?

1. Your first items.

Sure, you are playing champion X and the guide you read on champion X says you should buy item Z etc. But you are not a mindless zombie like that, are you? First figure out what lane you will be and then try to figure out who your opponent most likely will be. Then pick your first item accordingly. No this is not stupid. Your first item is very important because it decides how well you will lane in the first 5-8 minutes. Your job is to win your lane and how you do that depends on what champion you play, what champion you will face and the junglers AND your first item(s). How good is your lane sustain compared to your opponents? How strong would you consider ganks from your jungler? How good can your opponent escape ganks? If your champion does not have any form of self-heal or sustain, you absolutley NEED potions. If your opponent has strong harass with skills that can be dodged (Karthus, Brand, Morgana, Caitlyn, etc.) you should probably start with boots. If your champion can farm and harass from a very safe distance (Malzahar, Gragas, TF, etc) you eventually can start without potions. Every time you can farm your lane while your oppenent has to leave his lane because he has run out of sustain/potions, you win.
As an example: You read a guide on Ryze which states that you should start with a mana crystal and 2 potions. You do so and face Gragas in mid. You chug your 2 potions before you hit level 4 because you are too damn slow to dodge his barrels, you have to go b, loose experience, come back in lane, are really proud of your early tear of goddess and have to leave your lane at level 5 again because gragas hit level 6 before you did and nearly killed you with his ultimate. OR you are smart, get boots 3x pot first and Q-W-Q in his face every time you dodge his barrel.

2. Protecting your jungler

First you have to figure out if you can win a level 1 team fight. That mostly depends on the items your team has bought and the amount of CC your team has compared to the enemy team. If the enemy has Alistar and your CV reveals that he has boots and they have some doran items, you probably should not level 1 fight. If you feel confident in level 1 fight however, try to invade their jungle and steal one of his buffs. If they have maokai as a jungler for example, you can try to steal his red at level 1 because most maokais will start with blue. DON'T try to do fancy stuff like that if your team does not commit. You WILL need all of your team to do this safely. If your support and ad carry run to their lane and don't care about level 1 fight, you should just leave it at that and play "living ward" for your own jungler. If you decide to not level 1 fight and just body-ward for your jungler, then don't just stack yourselfs at his blue. Try to also cover spots like wraiths or your red. I DID mention something about stealing maokais red earlier, while his whole team covers him at his blue, did I? Don't let that happen to your jungler.

What you should and shouldn't do in lane.

Your top priority in lane is to get more CS then your opponent. You should last hit every creep while trying to prevent your opponent from doing so. To achieve this, you need to harass, avoid harass, don't die to a gank and stay in lane longer then your opponent.

1. How to harass.

First you need to figure out if there is any point in harassing at all. For example, if you are bot lane Tristana with Janna as your support and you are facing Caitlyn and Alistar, then there is absolutley NO point in harassing at all. Every time you harass, you will get harassed back because Caitlyn just has that range. You get low, she gets low but after about 1 minute, that Alistar will have roared her back to full health while you won't be. So if you KNOW first hand that your opponent has much better sustain then you do.. just don't try to harass at all.
But if you are in the situation of having equal or better sustain, you should try to harass whenever possible. Now ONLY harass when there is no creep low enough to last hit. Remember that last hitting creeps still is the priority number 1. So when there is no creep to last hit for a couple of seconds, look for an opportunity to harass. Try to monitor the health of your own creep wave. Whenever one of your creeps is near death, the opponent will go for the last hit and that is the perfect time to harass them.
- Figure out if you can outsustain harassing trade offs and harass accordingly
- Monitor not only enemy creeps for last hits but also your own creeps health
- Harass whenever your opponent goes for a last hit

2. Counter-harassing

You know that nasty brand that nukes the shit out of you every time you get close to the creeps to score some CS? Yeah, I hate him too..
And those Gragas barrels, so damn annoying. And look that Annie trolling around in your ranged creeps with her stun up.
I bet you know these situations were the nuke damage of your lane opponent seems just so overwhelming that you feel you can't do a thing. But you can, if you are smart. Very strong harassers are typically that kind of champions that have any form of hard cc with a nuke or something they can spam from a safe distance. To counter those damn sons of... you just have to harass them at the right moment. Brand just missed his pillar of flame or used his spell combo to farm a creep wave? Great, now you have about 3-4 seconds to get into his face, shove one up his candy ass and retreat back behind your creeps before his spells are ready again. Or even IF he hit you with his spells you STILL have those couple seconds to get back at him before he can try it again. Every champion that relies on his spells to deal damage has these couple seconds of lowered pants were you can put your boot up his ass when he just used all he got.

3. How to safely farm.

DON'T PUSH your lane. Don't auto attack and don't spam spells on the creeps. The nearer you are to your own tower, the safer you are. If your opponent has very strong harass and tries to deny you farm, try to last hit with long range abilities. You can also try to use the bush as cover in between last hits. Also if the opponent harass is superiour, STAY BACK. Only go near the creeps if one creep is about to die and needs to be last hitted. How often do I see a Singed run around in a creep wave to spread some poison just to eat 5 auto attacks from Teemo in the process.

4. How to safely deny farm.

You can deny your opponent some farm if you constantly push your creeps into his tower. This works really well against champions that can't last hit very well at their tower. If you play a champion that can push very fast, then you can do this. For example, if you play morgana you can often farm a whole creep wave with just one spell in 2-3 seconds very early on. Just lay down that black puddle, get all the cs, then back off and hide in bush, wait for the next wave and watch your opponent struggle at his tower to get all the cs. If you do that you HAVE to ward your lane properly, because you gonna be overextended a lot. If you do that you also have a lot of free time because creep waves die too quick and you have to wait for the next one. You can then use this spare time to either go to shop real quick, take some of the enemy jungle or help another lane or grab yourself a buff from your jungle or place an important ward and and and and. Use the spare time you have in between creep waves.

5. To push or not to push.

Safe rule: NEVER push your lane unless you must go back to shop.
But here are some example scenarios:

- You are dominating your lane and you KNOW the enemy jungler won't gank you anytime soon? PUSH
- You are running out of mana and/or sustain and need to go b to regen and shop very soon? PUSH real quick then go b. Also ask your jungler for cover.
- You are behind and desperatly need to farm? DON'T push, last hit, stay near your turret.
- You just killed your lane opponents and their jungler isn't there to defend? PUSH hard.
- For ANY reason your lane is not occupied by your oppents, you have it warded and feel very safe? PUSH hard.
- You notice your jungler is nearby? DON'T push, ping for your jungler, try to harass and safe up some mana for the upcoming gank.

6. My oppent just left his lane. What do I do?

Here are the options you have if you just killed your opponent:

- Push the lane hard. The more creeps you push into his tower, the more gold and XP he will lose and the bigger your advantage grows. If you do that, make sure you do it quick and go shopping afterwards, because when your oppenent arrives back in lane he will have new items and WILL have the advantage over you if you don't go shopping as well, even if you did just kill him. Also make sure you don't get ganked while you push his lane in his absence.

- Help another lane. For example, if your mid is having trouble and you are top lane, try to gank mid. But don't get killed in the process. You don't NEED to kill the enemy mid lane. Don't overdo it and get killed. Even if you only damage the enemy mid-laner a bit or make him blow his summoners or his ulti on you, thats FINE. Because after your mid gank you most likely go b to shop and regen and then go back to your lane.

- Grab a buff from your jungle or go counter-jungle. If you need red or blue from your jungle and its up, grab it (with permission of your jungler of course). If you notice that the enemy jungler comes to defend the lane you just killed, go into his jungle and steal it.

- Help with dragon. If the opponents in your lane just died, you can force dragon if your team is near. The opposing team shouldn't be able to stop you from doing it because they lack a person or two.

- DON'T sit in lane and do lazy last-hitting until your opponent is back. Do ANYTHING from the options described above.

You didn't kill your opponent but he is still mia?
Make sure to let your team know. IMMEDIATLY take a look at your nearest lane. You are top lane and your opponent just went mia? Take a look at mid lane. Is your midlaner low on health? Ping him to b and move your ass down there as quick as you can, because the guy from your top-lane is most likely on his way to dive him. If you fail to notice those mias in YOUR lane you really deserve the flame storm coming for you in chat afterwards.
If you are pretty confidend that your lane opponent is mia because he had to go shop or regen, then just do something from the stuff described earlier.

Towers are going down right now. What next?

Some people say that mid-game starts as soon as the first tower in any lane goes down. Indeed, one destroyed tower changes a lot and even if it's not one tower from the lane you are in, you should still be aware of how the flow of the game changes afterwards, because it most likely WILL affect the lane you are in.

1. I destroyed the tower in my lane.

Then you have some free time now. Sure you still need to maintain your lane, but now you can push the lane so far ahead that it will take a while for your opponents to push it back, which in turn means that you now have time to spare to help other lanes. And you should do so. But DON'T STOP CARING ABOUT YOUR LANE. I see this mistake so very often. People destroy the tower in their lane and 5 minutes later, the own tower in that lanes goes down because they were too busy roaming. Just because you destroyed the tower doesn't mean that this lane is no longer your responsibility. It still is.

2. The tower in my lane got destroyed.

Pretty much the same basic stuff from point 1. applys here. You will now have some free time sometimes. Use it, but don't forget about farming your lane.

3. So what does a destroyed tower actually change?

First of all, there will be more ganking from that time on. Now not only the jungler is going to roam and gank but also the guys from that lane. If your lane tower still stands, you will now have to worry about getting much more visitors in your lane. If, for example, mid and top tower are gone, don't be surprised to get towerdived out of the blue in bot lane by 4 people. If your tower is the last one still standing, make sure to ward it properly.
Also, a destroyed tower somehow shortens the imaginary safe border of your jungle. Let's say you are playing the blue team and your top tower just died. That effectivly means that your blue buff is now pretty vulnerable to get invaded. It gets worse the more towers go down. You know that moment when all your outer turrets are gone and you don't have a single ward and the whole map, starting at your inner turrets, is just laid in fog of war? That's the moment were you lost because you can't put a single foot into your own jungle without the risk of walking straight into the enemy team doing your jungle.

We just won a fight! Yay!

Congratulations. You just got a triple kill and have tons of gold. Time to shop!!!
STOP right there. Now is NOT the time to blue pill. You can do a crap load of stuff if you won a team fight, depending on how well the fight went.

1. We have at least one person advantage over the enemy (5v4, 4v3, etc.)

Go get map objectives. That would be the safest route. Dragon or Baron or even the enemy jungle buffs. But be careful, you can still lose a 5vs4 if you play like idiots and feel too safe. You could also push a tower but I would advise against it, because they can still defend a tower very well if they are just one person short. If you notice that your team decides to push and it quickly turns into a stale mate situation at their turret, ping your team to other objectives on the map like dragon or jungle buffs.

2. We have a more then 2 person advantage over the enemy (5vs3, 4vs2, 5vs2, etc.)

With that big of an advantage you can do almost anything. When it's 5vs3 and your team is pretty healed up, you can even dive them at their turret. Make sure to ping on the map for objectives and flame every moron on your team that doesnt help to push and goes jungle instead. BUT if you feel you are behind a bit or the people that are defending are too strong to dive, then you should split push FAST. If you split push while they have only 3 people to defend, chances are very high that you will get a turret, because they can't cover every lane properly.

3. We aced them.

Now you can do pretty much anything you want. Even if you are the last person alive and only have 5% health left, you shouldn't go back. Just push, push, push, steal jungle. You have nothing to be afraid of. But beware of Teemo shrooms! Also if someone else on your team is the last man standing, ping and flame him if he even THINKS about to blue pill because he is low on health.

Crap, we just lost a fight. What now?

ComDepending on how bad you lost the fight, here are your options.

1. We are at a one person disadvantage.

In this situation, all you have to care about is dragon and baron. If they decide to push your tower, just try to defend it as good as you can. Just don't try to do any fancy stuff. Just because that enemy udyr got stunned by sion in front of your tower does not mean that you can initiate a team fight. I could talk ages about those dumb fights were my team is in a 4vs5 situation at tower, gets a lucky cc off and then starts chasing them because they feel lucky and as soon as we leave tower range, enemy team turns around and rapes. Never forget that you are in a 4vs5 situation right now. The tower can compensate for your missing man, but NOT if you leave it.
If the enemy team trys to go for baron or dragon, you should do the best you can to stall them. Don't engage on them and don't try to fight. Just poke them as good as you can. Any ability with high range that damages or CCs is VERY annoying for those guys trying to do dragon/baron. Just DON'T get caught while doing that. Also if you are a champion with no poke at all, don't go there. It's not like you could do anything. Instead, just push a lane. Maybe one lane is even pushed so far that you can backdoor a tower while they are doing dragon or baron?

2. We are at a huge disadvantage (3vs5, 2vs5, etc.)

Not much you can do in this situation. Defending a tower can be nearly impossible. The best you can do is, use AoE abilities to quickly clear the CREEPS at the tower. Yes you read right. Sure you can poke the enemy champions, but if you just get rid of all the creeps at the tower very fast, the tower will do plenty of poking for you. This wil only work in early and mid game though, because late game, half their team just laughs at tower damage.
If you feel that you can't stop them from pushing at all, you can go and put on pressure somewhere else. Try to backdoor a tower or steal jungle buffs.

3. My whole team just died, only I am left.

The best you can do in this situation is backdooring. It's just impossible to defend a tower if you are solo against 3 or more people. If you have very strong AoE that you can cast at a safe distance (Morgana, Anivia, etc.) you can try to defend by quickly dispatching of all enemy creeps at the tower, but if you don't have that utility, then the best you can try to do is things like backdooring and stealing buffs. Let's say you are Nidalee and you are last woman standing. The enemy team of 4 people is pushing your mid lane hard. It would make no sense at all for you to stay there and defend. Oh how often have I seen it. Just one person alive, staring like a moron from a safe distance at the enemy team that eats his turret, then walking back, firing some skill shots at creeps, switching into staring mode once again while the second turret gets eaten. Yes, he is a real hero. Just get it into your head: There is NO POINT AT ALL staying in the lane "trying" to defend. BUT.... our Nidalee is smart. She sneaks through jungle into any lane thats pushed far and starts pushing this lane like a boss. While the enemy team gets a turret or two, she also takes down a turret. As soon as she notices some enemys teleporting back, she takes a quick detour through the enemy jungle and takes their blue, laughing at the enemies that are busy defending the lane she just pushed. Oh look! 2 Enemies are morons that didn't port back and are still pushing. All of Nidalees team just revived and are now chasing them. Time to block their escape path.

The enemy team is stronger right now. How do I handle it?

It kinda depends on what stage of the game you are at the moment. Mid or late game. Here are some general tips:

1. Be defensive

That means, don't overextend without proper warding. If your lane is warded and you can see incoming ganks, then it is pretty safe to farm the lane. If not, buy wards. A ward only costs 75 gold and gives you 3 minutes of safe farming. You can farm a dozen creep waves in that time and considering that after only half a creep wave you have your 75 gold back already, it is kinda worth it one might think.
If you see the enemy group up to push a tower it kinda depends on what you want to do. If your team has champions that can clear creep waves very quick, those champions should defend the tower. Also champions with big CCs and stuns should go defend. CC and stun is the most valuable when your team gets towerdived. If your champion has neither CC nor creep-clearing AoE, then you can try split pushing and let your team defend 4vs5. A very good example for this kinda champion would be nidalee, tryndamere or in most cases your ranged AD carry.
Beeing defensive also means that you DON'T ENGAGE. I can't stress this enough. How many times have I seen my team defending at their tower 4vs5 and as soon as they get a lucky CC of, like Morgana Binding, they start to engage, chasing the enemy team and leaving the safety of their tower. In most cases, this results in your team being utterly raped. Remember, we are talking about the situation were your team is behind, which means the enemy team is fed, which means you have to play SMART and don't jump on them. An open fight without turret is WHAT THEY WANT.
Also if they have heavy sustain like soraka, sona, alistar etc. and a lot of poke and your team lacks sustain, you absolutely MUST send someone to split push. Because in that case it is just a matter of 2-3 creep waves when they will have poked you so low that they can easily dive. But they can't do that if they have heavy pressure on another lane.

2. Ward YOUR jungle

When your team is being shit on, warding only the river isn't enough. The enemy team will spend a lot of time in your jungle, trying to steal your buffs when they have the lead and feel stronger. Put wards at your red and your blue in addition to your river wards. In some cases this will likely even give you a kill or two if they try to steal one of your buffs without their whole team around.

3. Farm, farm, farm

That's what you need to do when you are behind in levels and gold. No matter how you do it, try to farm as much as possible and avoid fights as good as you can.

4. Dragon and Baron

If your team is so far behind that you know you can't contest dragon or baron, you have to keep pressure up in the lanes. Why you know that they are going for dragon and you feel that you can't take them, just push all lanes as fast as you can. In most cases they will get dragon but you will get a tower. Now with baron it is not so easy. Baron is worth way more then a tower. If they go for baron, you HAVE to stop them. You don't have to fight them all out, just try to harass and poke them so that they can't do it. Don't get engaged upon.

Final Words.

This guide is still work in progress. I will try to finish it as soon as possible but please, let me know in the comments what you think of this guide, so I will have an idea of how helpful it is or how bad it is. After all, writing this is some hours of work.