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BUILD GUIDE: The Psychology of League of Legends by tapobu

by tapobu (last updated 2 months ago)

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Introduction

Hello, it's Tapobu again. A while back, released a jungling psychology guide, and for some reason a lot of people LOVED it. So now I'm going to write a guide geared toward EVERYONE who plays LoL and see how it goes over.

This is a different sort of guide. Its main goal is not to make you better at the game. That may well happen, but that's not my goal. My goal is to make you think of how you play in new and different ways. Raw skill can get you very far in the game, but if you spend all your time focusing on pwning teh noobz, you're going to get burnt out pretty fast. This 'guide' is first and foremost a personal release for me, a way of thinking of LoL in ways that I don't usually think of it. So if you want to find new ways to understand your team, your enemy, and yourself, please continue reading. If you'd just as soon play a mindless game of farming, killing, and turret-killing, feel free to click the X button in the top right of your screen.

French version: http://www.ogaming.tv/forum/topic/7740-guide-la-psychologie-dans-lol/

Spanish version: http://forums.las.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=31940

If you'd like to help translate this guide into other languages, go for it! Just send me the link when you're done, and I'd be happy to put it up here with the rest.

Changelog

Changelog

11/1/12 - added "Schemas and the art of Theorycrafting"

11/10/12 - added "When Logic Fails"

1/12/13 - added "The Psychology of Solo Queue" and "Good Champs for Solo Queue

2/22/13 - added "Other games that will help you improve at League"

2/23/13 - updated some champs good at carrying. tell me if I'm wrong so I can fix it.

3/20/13 - updated "other games" section. need to update solo queue champions, so give me ideas.

4/8/13 - added a link to my blog at the bottom. enjoy!

4/24/13 - added "Who am I? Revisted" to the end of my guide.

4/27/13 - added Useful Links section

5/8/13 - updated solo queue champions. ALSO: I've been playing a bit of Neverwinter. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of it! I'm collecting opinions.

5/17/13 - added in a new videos section! I'll put up commentaries that really let you see my thought process while things are happening. So yeah, enjoy!

5/23/13 - updated solo queue champions. Keep in mind that this is what I have seen at my elo, and plat/diamond level is likely a very different story.

5/29/13 - MAJOR UPDATE! New secion added: Holism and League. Military History and League also received a massive facelift. Enjoy!

8/9/13 - Updated recommended champions section. Do you have any new suggestions? What have they been playing in tournaments? I haven't gotten a chance to see. Let me know if you disagree~

2/4/14 - It's been way too long since I've updated this, huh? Obviously the champion recommendations are pretty outdated, so I'm taking that section out altogether for now. I really haven't been playing too much lately as other games (Europa Universalis IV) have been taking up a lot of my time. If you see anything that is seriously outdated let me know and I'll update to the best of my ability, but other than that it may be safe to consider this the last update for a while. You're free to message me here if you want to chat, or find me on twitter, etc. Thanks to all who've taken the time to read my guides! You're all pretty cool and stuff.

Who am I?

I am a terrible LoL player. I often joke that I don't know how to play League of Legends, so I play League of Jungling. Even as far as jungling is concerned, I'm not that great. Chances are you are a better player than I am, and you can apply the information I present into practice much better than I ever possibly could. That's why I write guides like this instead of mechanics guides or champ-specific guides. I write this cuz I know stuff about how the mind works. I've been studying the human mind since shortly after birth, and I'm still not even close to figuring it out. I am a philosopher, a historian, and an actor. I hope to someday be a high school history teacher. Writing these guides is practice for how I'm going to teach in the classroom. On that note, if you're struggling in your classes, I bet some of the tips I mention here can be used there as well.

The stress of LoL

As with my jungling guide, I will begin with a section about stress. LoL is full of stress. Whether you're working your way to 30 or in 1900 elo ranked, the game is stressful. You've got your trolls, your baddies, your English Language Learners (ELLs), and that one guy who is raging you for no apparent reason. Unless you have an incredible amount of patience, this game is going to get you worked up into a rage on an almost daily basis. Solo queue is especially frustrating because you don't know the people you're with, so you have no incentive to be nice to them. At least if you're in a call with people, there is a good chance they won't full-on rage you for doing something dumb (though I HAVE had someone ragequit a skype call because of a bad Janna ult once. It was hilarious). The point is, you need to remember this is just a game. You may be a 1900 elo player, but it's still possible to have a five-loss streak on your 1200 smurf. Such is the randomness of the game. So chill out, have fun, and welcome to my guide.

Holism and League

This is a new section, and it is huge. I could write an entire guide on this. I just might. I really want to.

Holism is defined as: The theory that parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, such that they cannot exist or be understood independently of the whole.

Basically what it means is that you can't simply understand one part of life, one part of the world, one part of the universe. It's all interconnected. One cannot simply study psychology. Psychology alone falls short. The same can be said for biology, history, religion, everything. It's all a part of a bigger whole, and when something happens, it does not just have one cause. Ex: The Crusades were not simply the product of overwhelming religious zealotry.

So how does this apply to League of Legends?

The answer: in every way imaginable.

For starters, outside understanding of the world applies to how you view League. If you have a black and white view of the world, you are going to have a very hard time accepting people who try innovative new strategies. If you studied military strategy in school, you are going to come at this game with a military angle. Your teammates are your troops, and if they listen to you, they will win. This is how I play. See what I'm getting at here? Everything you already accept as truth transfers into how you view the game, the gameplay, and your teammates. But it is so much more than that. Because, quite simply, the lessons you learn in League are going to transfer into how you view the world. For some time, I worked as a fry cook at a local convenience store. The better I became at cooking, the easier it became to just "know" when things were going to spawn without even knowing when they'd been farmed last. And in getting more comfortable with jungle timers, I became far better at just "knowing" when food was done cooking at work. Like ok, if things I learned AS A FRY COOK transfer in and out of League...just imagine how a physicist might perceive this game.

The point of this section is, quite simply, don't check your real-life knowledge, understandings, and beliefs at the door. What you know and believe to be true will change how you play, and how you come to understand the game will change what you know and believe to be true. You will begin to better understand how people react in high-stress situations. You will begin to understand what sets people off, what it takes to get yourself out of a terrible situation, how to solve an impossible scenario by using lateral thinking.

For better or for worse, for great or for little, this game is going to change the way you live.

When to play ranked

For those who are still with me, let's start talking about gameplay choices. We'll begin with when you want to play Ranked.

First, let's talk about ranked vs normals for a bit. While you were advancing to 30, you probably remember having some absolutely hellish games where everyone raged and hated each other and you reported them all after the game was over. These are rare in normals because the games count for absolutely nothing, at least competitively speaking. In ranked, however, every single game has the potential to end up like that ragefest. In ranked, people want to win. They want to win badly. So badly that if you fail to perform to their standard, they're going to rip you apart. In my first two days of ranked, I duo queued up to 1491 elo. At this point, I decided to try my luck with solo queue because I had like a 5-1 win ratio with Cho'gath. Long story short, I was HORRIBLE. The Rammus jungler told me repeatedly that I deserved to lose, deserved to be lower elo, and he was going to refuse to try because he didn't want to carry me up. Ranked brings out the worst in players, myself included. I don't necessarily care about my elo, but I respond to other people being super aggressive, and in turn I become super aggressive toward my teammates.

With all that in mind, I think it's very important to say: do NOT play ranked if you are having a bad day. There's a 50/50 chance you will lose, and if you lose, there's a very good chance you're going to be trading insults with someone on your team or the enemy team. Ranked cannot make a bad day good, but it can make a bad day worse. If you are in a terrible mood, play an ARAM or ARAB, or a dominion. These are all very low-stakes games where you can have a lot of fun and nobody cares about a win or a loss. When I'm in a slump, I play ARAB until I get a little of my confidence back. Then I do a normal or two, destroy my opponents, and take it to ranked. The results are way better than when I queue up in anger.

The Psychology of Solo queue

Some of you won't enjoy reading this. Deal with it. Some of you may downvote me for this section specifically. I'll deal with it. That said, onward we go.

I am a rager sometimes, and I can get quite worked up in solo queue from time to time. It's really very difficult to do well in solo queue because all the psychological tensions involved in a group of five random people competing with five other random people to achieve a common cause. There's a reason a very, very, VERY small percent of people make it to gold, diamond, and platinum. The people you watch on streams are not just better at the game than you and I are, but their minds are better adapted to playing in a cooperative-competitive atmosphere. These are the people that can handle being bitched out by their entire team for messing without counter-raging so bad they throw the game and get banned for verbal abuse. These are the people that can handle not only competing against the other team but also competing against members of their own team for the right to carry a game. To 'good' solo queue players, League matches are neither relaxing nor fun, they're the rough equivalent of 'grinding' exp in WoW. High level solo queue players play for different reasons than the average player. BUT you and I see them streaming from time to time and start to think, "This is so easy. I should be top ranked too." Then you quick queue up and get four uncarriable morons. The thing is, they aren't uncarriable. Somehow they got to the same rank as you did, and in a different set of circumstances, your team of five could have utterly destroyed the other team.

So what mindset do you need to have if you are serious about solo queueing?
  • I can win this. I WILL win this. That Karma that just locked in? I'm gonna get her so fed she can drop a 1k shield on me when I initiate. I'm gonna carry her, and then I'm gonna honor her for all those badass shields and thank her in chat. Then she'll add me as a friend and I'll add her back but never play with her again even though she asks every time she sees me on.
  • My team is capable. So what if they're all in [xxxx] elo? The other team is too, and we have just as much chance of them as winning. Probably more, cuz I'm a f---ing beast.
  • I'm a f---ing beast. But I screw up sometimes too, and when I screw up, I need to be able to admit it to myself or I'm just as much scum as that Teemo who pushed and fed all game and blamed me for losing his lane.
  • I do not *deserve* a higher elo than what I have. I am exactly where I belong, and I am not entitled to anything. If I want higher elo, I have to stop blaming idiots for holding me back. I have to take that elo by force and prove that I deserve it.
  • I am not going to rage at that guy chewing me out in the game. I don't care how pissed he is at me, I am not going to make his day worse by yelling at him no matter how much he deserves it. At least not in game where the chat is logged. After the game's over, I'm gonna rip that guy a new asshole and everyone he raged at in game is going to think it's hysterical and honor me. But while the game is going, I am not going to ruin the team's psychology by chewing out that one whiner.

Fact: That last bullet point? I say that to myself before every game. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.

Duo Queue Psychology

If you duo queue, there's a good chance you won't get the roles you want. Sometimes teams will bend (and if I'm on your team, I'll probably agree to play support), but most won't. One of you will probably get stuck playing support. And if your duo queue is 1/2 support, you're going to lose against a duo queue who isn't on support. You need to realize that from the moment you queue up. If the enemy duo queue gets aggressive roles and you don't, they will win. That said, if you have a duo queue on your team, you should almost always let them play what they want because they've tested it, and it works. Now let's examine some match-ups.

  • Mid/jungle. This is probably the most effective duo queue match-up. If you go mid/jungle, you have a LOT of control of the game. Basically you're both gankers, both invaders, both mid laners. Jungle is constantly going to be helping mid, and mid is constantly going to be helping jungle. If your jungle invades, your mid WILL BE THERE. If their jungle invades, your mid WILL BE THERE. And if your mid gets fed, he's gonna roam like crazy and gank alongside you. This works so well because even if your other lanes are losing, you can easily turn it around with mid-roam. Currently the most devastating duo queue selection is TF+Nocturne. Just choosing those two champions can cause so much stress on the enemy team, and at 6 you prove that their stress is well-founded.

  • Top/Jungle. This is a fun one too, just because it's so easy to snowball top lane. Again, top can help with invades, but it's not as useful until later when your top is very dominant. Basically the plan here is to snowball top so top wins and can gank mid, snowballing mid, which then snowballs bottom. This isn't as effective as mid/jungle because if your bot lane's getting owned, you've gotta leave your duo queue buddy alone up there, which really cancels the effectiveness of a duo queue.

  • AD/Support. This is standard. It's also the worst thing you can do to a team. AD+Support gives you so little control over the game. It's laughable really. Not only that, but you're going to have an enemy duo queue doing who knows what to your other lanes. Is top lane bad? Nothing you can do. Is mid lane bad? Surrender at 20. Is your jungler bad? You'd better hope their jungler isn't good or you're gonna lose your lane. Although AD can be the heaviest carry late game, you can't do it on your own. Not only that, but your support generally isn't going to add much to the fight. What's Taric or Janna gonna do if all three teammates are 0/5? I WILL say this, however: gimmick bot-lane duos are incredible. Jarvan/Leona, Blitzstar, Corki/Leona, Fidd support. These things are all surefire ways to absolutely DESTROY your lane. IF you must go bot lane duo, you need to pick something that's going to completely wreck your enemy so that you CAN carry the rest of your team. Just be ready for those mid/jungle double ganks, cuz it's gonna happen if they're duo queued.

Fun facts about duo queue
  • Duo queue teams are more likely to invade than pure solo queue teams.
  • If someone takes control right away, there's a good chance he could be in a duo queue, or a smurf. Either way, listen to him.
  • A good duo queue will do something really gimmicky that results in free elo. The problem is, the other team will do something gimmicky too.
  • If you're solo'd in a duo queue, your control over the game is much less than in a team of all solo's. Combat this by choosing a very powerful early-game champion or someone you're really good with, so it feels like a 3v2 instead of a 2v2.
  • If you've got a duo queue, you should probably check each team's elo on www.lolking.com. There's a good chance one team could be significantly higher average elo than the other team. BUT beware doing this because it could cause you to give up before the game's even begun.
  • If a duo queue starts doing badly, they're more likely to insult other players. You can cause teams to lose just by agreeing with all-chat rage because it will only encourage it more.

The Four Interaction styles and Champion Select

You can tell a lot about people just by the way they interact with each other when they're initially grouped up together. The four interaction styles I'm about to explain will absolutely change the way you look at group settings in class, at social events, and in LoL.

There are four interaction styles: Harmony, Production, Connection, and Status Quo.

Now, it's activity time. I want you to go to this link and complete a short survey to figure out your primary and secondary interaction styles. Feel free to share this in the comments below if you decide to post something. http://sharepoint.sad12.com/RISC/Shared%20Documents/08.30.2010%20-%20Staff%20RISC%20Training/Character_survey.pdf

Now, your results from this survey will help me to explain what you're going to be like in champion select.

Harmony. You're the guy/girl who just wants to make sure everyone gets along. You generally won't "call" a specific spot; if you do, you'll say something like "I'd like mid but I can play anything really" or "I'll do whatever the team needs but I'd really like to jungle." If there's a fight, you'll try and break it up. You might even say something funny to get the group all laughing. There's a good chance that by the time the game starts, you'll already have a couple of your teammates thinking you're a pretty cool person. If you get too many Harmony players in a game (or on a school project), you'll all probably end up being best friends by the end, but...the game won't go so well.

On a BAD day, however, you might be trying too hard to please everyone. You might force yourself into a role that you know you can't play well and end up blaming yourself for the loss of the game later. Or you might simply say "screw harmony" and do whatever you want. I fall into this trap sometimes after I've had too many bad games in a row.

If I had to guess, I'd say Xpecial and Elementz are harmony players. The only good support players are Harmony, and they're generally very good at calming down the rest of the team. I almost guarantee you this is why CLG's doing poorly at the moment - Chauster is absolutely NOT a harmony person.

Production. You're the one with a plan. You know how to win this game and if these four NOOBS will listen to you, it's gonna be a breeze. You'll probably demand an important role, and you might even tell everyone else what to play. If there are two of these on the same team/group, there's gonna be a fight, almost guaranteed. Well-adjusted production people in LoL are really hard to find because they're the perfectionists, and often the slightest failure by the team will set them off (especially in solo queue). Although I'm the furthest thing from production IRL, I often take the role of production in Skype games just because someone needs to be calling the shots and giving the fight-or-flight order. The fact is, you NEED someone like this on your team, and if you don't have one, you'll probably lose due to lack of organization.

On a bad day, a production person is the most annoying thing in the world. They're overcritical and demanding, and they will rip you a new one if you do something wrong in their lane.

Chaox is 100% production. TheOddOne might be a little bit.

Connection. These are your really, really interesting people. If you're a connection, you have a lot of amazing ideas. Maybe you're a philosopher, maybe an architect, maybe a politician. The fact is, you know how to paint a beautiful picture with words, but you don't necessarily always carry out your ideas. In LoL, this can translate to "OMG LET'S TRY ALISTAR JUNGLE." Two weeks later, Alistar's getting banned. Whereas production people will use the same team every time, connection people will say, let's try something new. Maybe an all-teleport team can work. The problem is, in RL settings a lot of connection people can be really annoying cuz you get nothing done. You need someone to find a way to take that idea and turn it into something concrete. If a lot of connection people are in a game, it's probably going to turn into a trollfest. It'll be hilariously fun, but you might end up losing.

On a bad day, you can be mean, disruptive, and defiant. You can be a bully. You can blame other people for your failures, and you can be a total attention whore. LOOK AT ME EVERYONE, I'M LOCKING IN TWITCH! BE ANGRY, PLEASE BE ANGRY! If you're having a bad day, everyone around you is going to have a bad day.

Reginald and HotShotGG are both connection. Chauster's probably connection too.

Status Quo. This is me IRL. In games, I'm often a lot more outgoing, but IRL it takes a lot of effort to speak my mind or even get people to notice me in an unfamiliar group. If you're status quo, you might sit back and listen to what everyone else has to say, then try and figure out where everyone's going. You may or may not speak in champion select. Chances are you'll take whatever's left when it's your turn. If you're like me though, you probably will speak up a bit at least to let people know what you're capable of. If they want you in that role, fine. If not, meh. If a lot of status quo people are in a team, there's a good chance you could get into the game without anyone saying anything at all. In a group setting IRL, you're probably all going to be miserable because you'd just as soon work alone. Just because you're a quiet loner doesn't mean you have nothing useful to say. A lot of times the status quo people speak up just enough to say something insightful, brilliant, or just plain hilarious.

On a bad day, you might be depressed, withdrawn, and very, very quiet. If someone starts raging at you in game, you might just put them on ignore and disengage from the game altogether.

Dyrus really has to be a status quo person, from the way he responds to player comments, trolls, losing situations. TheOddOne is also very strongly status quo from what I can tell, but I think the production side of him has taught him to speak up more and make calls.


The point of all this. You can't have all status quo on a team. You can't have all harmony on a team. Etc. If you're forming a League team, a homework group, a work group, etc. you need to mix and match or you're gonna have a bad time. There ought to be at least one of each, and if one slot is open, you need to do your best to fill that slot. Like I said above, I am absolutely NOT a production person, but I fill that role if my team needs someone calling the shots.

Another thing you should be picking up from this is: DO NOT PLAY IF YOU'RE HAVING A BAD DAY. Especially ranked. You're just gonna piss off other people and get yourself banned. If you notice someone else exhibiting these symptoms, chances are they're about to have a meltdown, and it's going to ruin your game. On the plus side, there's probably someone on the other team having a bad day too. It's very rare in solo queue to have ten perfectly happy players even in champion select. Something's gonna go wrong for each team, and it's up to you to make sure their team is having a worse day than yours is.

Anyway, we've read enough about champion select. Let's get to the game.

Your first moments in a game

The first thing you say in all-chat can make or break you and your team. If you go and start cussing out the other team, you just lost the respect of your more conservative teammates. If you go and use a racial or ethnic slur, you just lost the respect of anyone on your team who is of that ethnicity. If you make a joke about rape, any girls on your team just got alienated. You need to avoid saying anything that could possibly offend your teammates. What are safe options?

  • GLHF. There is the chance that someone on your team will think you're weak for wishing the other team good luck, but the fact is you're just being nice.
  • Make fun of the names on the enemy team (not racial, religious, or gender-based names). If you're up against a guy named DysenteryGary, you can have fun with his name all game. I've been on a team with this guy. I called him poop man the whole game. It became a compliment after he started wrecking the enemy team.
  • Comment on the most recent football game. A little healthy rivalry among teammates can go a long way.

What should you not do?
  • Ethnic, racial, religious, or anti-gay slurs. They're more human than you if you can't pass a conversation without degrading them.
  • No jokes about abusing/degrading women/female players. EVER. If you really insist on making these jokes, I have a secret button combination for you that will help you win every game of LoL ever. Alt+F4. Go on, try it.
  • Be really careful with political stuff. People are psycho about American politics.
  • Keep your mom out of it, and I'll keep this out of your mom. If you know what I mean.
  • OMG DYRUS I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN. Save the fanboying til after he kicks your ass or your team will think you're a tool. They'd probably be right.

General lane psychology

Laning is an art that I have come nowhere near perfecting. This doesn't necessarily mean I'm clueless about how to lane. Many art critics are terrible artists themselves, but they know what makes good art. Good laning is an art. There are a lot of people who are higher elo than major players like HotShotGG, Reginald, etc. but very few can consistently beat them in the lane. Though they aren't always better team players in solo queue, they are INCREDIBLE laners who know how to get into the mind of their enemies, predict their moves, and win despite ridiculous odds.

So what does it take to be a top-tier player? You have to perfect your laning in a series of steps. This starts with a bit of mechanics, but I'll get into psychology soon enough.

0) Pick a favorite champion for laning. Yes there is a step zero now shut up and do it. The champion you pick to "main" will be the one who will most likely carry you up through ranked games. My pick was Teemo. It's not a great pick, but it's fun and he can be effective if you play him right. Here are a few champs that players mained early on in their careers.
  • Back in the day, Reginald was an amazing Sion, from what I've heard. I don't know if this was his first "main" but it's a strong possibility.
  • Dyrus obviously mained Jax. Later, he got really good at Singed too, and from these two champs he branched out into new champions.
  • TheRainMan is a fellow Teemo player. Like with the others, you really don't see him do it much anymore because it's not a competitive pick. But when he does, wow.
  • Believe it or not, TheOddOne mained Annie in season one. He wrote a guide for her that probably exists somewhere still. Back before people were aware of how to counter Annie, it was the easiest elo ever.

1) Get good at CS. Get amazing at CS. Start by playing a 1v1 with a bot in a custom. Do not harass, do not even TOUCH the other guy. Just CS. See if you can get 100 CS in 15 minutes, then 14 minutes, then 12 minutes. After that, take it into some real games. Harass if you must, but focus mainly on CS. At first, you'll get ganked a lot cuz you're so zoned in on hitting every creep. As you get better, it'll feel natural and you can easily watch the rest of the map while CSing. I am still in the stage where I have to watch very, very carefully, so I am pretty susceptible to ganks (except with Teemo!).

PROTIP: If you can consistently get high CS despite having difficult lanes, your elo will raise as long as you know the basics of how to play your champ. If you win in CS every time by 15-20 mins without giving up kills, you will have a much, much better chance of winning the game.

2) Get good at controlling your lane. I don't mean harass, I mean telling the creeps where to be. Harass is nice, but it takes an incredible level of skill and concentration to both CS and harass. So you need to take it in steps. Step two is telling the creeps where to be. If it's early game, you want the creeps to be as close to your tower as possible without your tower shooting at them. Damage the creeps too much and you push. Damage the creeps too little, and the enemy resets your creep wave while you lose CS to the tower. Now, what does this do for your game? For starters, without even saying a word, you are telling the jungler, "my lane is gankable." If you are showing good creep control, your jungler will know that you are a skilled player, and he will do what he can to get you fed. Creep control is the #1 factor I look at when determining who I want to gank first. If it's 5mins and you are constantly at his tower, you're not worth my time and you're probably not going to know what to do with the extra gold my gank gives you.

There are, of course, exceptions. Say bot lane, for example. Because you have a support who keeps you relatively safe through wards, heals, and various enemy CC/debuffs, you can push. If you push, I as a jungler will take this as a sign that I want to lane gank. This means I come in behind you where the creeps can't see me, and I wait. When a jungler does this, regardless of what lane you're in, you NEED to respond appropriately. You NEED to let the lane push back. if you keep letting the creeps be just before his tower, I wasted my time because that lane's never going to push back. You need to either back off and let him counterpush, or hard-push it to the tower and reset the lane.

tldr: If you are in control of the creeps, it does several things.
1) The enemy laner is at your mercy
2) Your jungler will want to gank for you
3) You can create new objectives for yourself like counterjungling and ganking other lanes

3) Get good at harass. Now that you're an absolute pro at CSing and telling the creeps where to be, you are already very, very capable of psychologically crippling your opponent. If you make it easy for you to CS and hard for him to CS, he's already having a bad day and chances are his jungler can't even gank for you. Now, if you physically harm him every time he tries to get the few CS that are available to him, you're gonna break him completely. You can begin learning how to harass in normals or in 1v1s, though in normals you must be aware of the jungler. If you are outharassing your lane enemy, the enemy jungler is going to gank you whether it's an easy or difficult gank. So for basic harass, I'd recommend 1v1 with a friend who is better than you. You also want to watch streams a lot here because different players use different harass techniques. Basically your goal with harass is to punish your enemy every time he comes in for a creep. This is really big in mid/top lane, though certain ADs can harass very effectively too.

Teemo example: Teemo is great at trading shots with people because his poison means he's going to end up doing more damage. VS old top laners like Singed, Garen, etc. he could just shoot shoot shoot all day long, and there was nothing you could do about it. Now he's gotta play careful - shoot when they CS, immediately back off, and blind/shoot them when they try to trade auto-attacks.

4) Combine it all. Now, the hard part is, in addition to harass you need to have CS and lane control. Don't miss CS for a free 50 damage. More importantly, you still need to keep creeps close. If you're keeping the other guy off CS, your lane is going to push. You are the prime target for a gank if you do this. You're pushing, you're out-CSing, and your enemy lane is whining about how his jungler never ganks for him. You're gonna get ganked. A bad laner (like myself) will manage to push the lane despite being out-cs'd/out-harassed, but good players will take advantage of their own weakness and force you to push. In mid and bot this is not a big deal, but in top, LANE CONTROL IS CRUCIAL.

So how is your opponent going to react if you're 100% in control of that lane?
  • Option 1: Your enemy wants CS, but you are preventing him from getting it. He will ignore all danger and get it anyway. Best-case scenario, you are going to get a lot of kills. A high-sustain champ, however, will eventually build to be unkillable. When I play Warwick, I almost always get beaten to a pulp by five minutes. But then I get tankier and tankier, and eventually your harass does nothing. After a while, I can even fight you on my own terms and, with ganks, win.
  • Option 2: Your enemy wants to stay alive, so he is going to back off from all but the easiest CS. He will CS under a tower. Some champions are very, very good at this, some are very, very bad at this. If you're vs Irelia, for example, you do NOT want to get him to an under-the-tower situation. If you're vs Warwick, you do. Be aware of your opponent's strategy, and do whatever you can to keep him off CS. VS Irelia, harass less so he has a chance to push the lane. VS Warwick, harass heavy to make him take as long as possible to get to that unkillable phase.
  • Option 3: Your enemy fights back. I had a Riven the other day who knew he was hard-countered by Kennen. Kennen knew it too, and he played that way. My Riven got first blood on Kennen because he forgot the CS and straight-up fought the little squirrel. If you outclass your opponent, fighting back is going to lead to his death. If you're not careful though, you are gonna get yourself killed - especially if ganks are involved. An easy win can turn into an easy loss because you let him trade harass and kills with you. You do NOT want to trade kills with your enemy, because some hard-counters become hard-countered after a certain point in the build is reached. Early-game Riven can wreck early-game Malphite because his tankiness is not yet enough to stop you. If you trade kills though, you're shutting yourself down around 10mins.

Note that with all options comes the possibility of ganks. If you're pushing hard, you are gonna get ganked. Depending on your champion, it may or may not be difficult to escape a gank. Lee Sin and Riven are fine with pushing; Warwick is not. Note also that not one of the above lane match-ups is a free win for you. You need to earn your win, and any type of laner can get the jump on you if you let your guard down.

High and low status

Now, as we get more into laning, allow me to once again introduce status.

If you're familiar with my jungling guide, you know what status is. If not, I will explain. Status is something everyone on earth has. Your status is a combination of who you are and what others think of you. If you are generally an outgoing, extroverted, somewhat loud person, you probably are used to having high status, but if you were to get a new job, you would temporarily have extremely low status while training. Conversely, if you are someone who is naturally very quiet and introverted, you probably have naturally low status (like me!) But if you are the person training that loud, outgoing guy at work, you have higher status than him by nature of your position. The status you have in any given situation affects how you go about getting what you want. For example, a movie star might use his extremely high status to get discount food at a restaurant, while a panhandler might attempt to look pathetic and use low status in order to get your money.

A good way to play with status is to play a game called Alliances. This game involves three people, and the object of the game is to have an alliance after the allotted time is up (I generally play in two-minute segments). In the span of the time, you generate random characters and situations and attempt to use your social skills to form a bond with one person while excluding another. Take close note of how you and your friends go about forming bonds with each other in this little game. Do you form friendships by asserting yourselves, or do you do it through more passive ways? Whenever I would play this in acting class, I would always play low status and be the person in need, while the other two competed to help me with whatever I was doing. It was a win-win situation for me because I immediately set myself up in a situation where both people wanted to be allied with me. Keep in mind of course that you can be "allied" with people through mutual anger toward each other as well as through a friendship of some sort; thus two people fighting for one person's affection can be allied if they begin a heated argument with each other.

So what does that have to do with laning?

Nothing, absolutely nothing. Just kidding.

How you treat your opponent in the first few minutes of the laning phase often determines who has status. The simplest way is to attack your enemy until they're forced to retreat; thus you get exp and farm and they don't, and you have immediate status over your opponent. You can also gain status, however, by nonstop farming and allowing yourself to be entirely unfazed by your opponent. Consider the scenarios below.

1) Teemo vs Jax. This is a lane in which the winner wins hard and the loser is useless. Either person can win, and by the time you're level 4 it's probably been determined who's won the lane. If Teemo can blind Jax at the right time so as to eliminate much of his damage, he wins. If Jax manages to get off enough burst, he wins. If Jax wins, Teemo either has to be very passive or get killed repeatedly. If Teemo wins, Jax either has to call for ganks or get pushed to his inhibitor. Either way, it's easy for your team to notice if you have low status. The best case scenario is your team quickly helps you and shifts the status hard in the other direction. Often, however, the team doesn't help quickly enough, and your failures only decrease their urge to help because of your status. The worse you are losing, the lower your status among teammates become. As this status becomes lower and lower, your teammates become far less willing to gank for you and far more willing to insult you.

2) Yorick vs Nasus. This is a match-up in which status isn't necessarily noticeable until much later. In this lane, however, status is much more malleable - that is, it changes. Because of Yorick's harass, he immediately has status going into the lane. He can chunk Nasus down pretty easily, even moreso after he gets a tear. All appearances would indicate that Nasus has lost the lane. But Nasus doesn't win status by getting kills like Jax or towers like Teemo, he wins status by farming. Unless the skill levels are extremely uneven, eventually Nasus reaches a level where Yorick's harassment no longer affects him, and Nasus gains status by default. Because status is not apparent until team fights come around, you are often spared the "rage" for losing during the laning phase, but it will come hard later. The big, BIG downside to this is that an amateur jungler won't recognize the threat imposed by Nasus and won't help Yorick get a solid lead early. Although low status can produce rage, it can also produce a need in the jungler's mind to help you.

The Irelia Factor
If you've ever played vs an Irelia, you know it sucks. At first glance, it seems easy. You can own this guy, he's barely even farming and you chunk him like crazy. Easy win. Then they get their combo and it's another story. "Irelia" champions exist in every lane - Leblanc or Veigar in mid, Ashe+Sona in bot, etc. It's so easy at first, then all of a sudden wtfgankdoublekill, and after that they're an unstoppable force that has the power to carry the game 1v5. Worst of all, the good ones start ganking and turn other lanes into "Irelia" lanes by force.

Basically the point of all this is, if you want to win lanes, you NEED to take high status and take it hard and never let go. If you let it go, even for a second, because you think you've won the lane, that's their chance to catch up and overcome you. If you are a bully champion, you need to bully your opponent and never let up. If you are a farming champion, you need to build enough pure defense that you can withstand enemy aggression and never stop farming. If you are an Irelia champion, you need to bide your time and wait for that gank, then take your high status and keep it by pushing, ganking, invading, anything you can to stay ahead.


(Footnote: I know all my examples were top lane. Sorry, it's all I know).

Status and psychology

Here are some things that immediately give you status over your opponents:
  • Getting first blood.
  • Smite-stealing a buff.
  • Taking a dragon in plain sight of the enemy and getting away with no losses.
  • Forcing an enemy out of lane/out of their own jungle.
  • Repelling an enemy gank multiple times.
  • Killing an enemy jungler while he ganks.
  • Ganking another lane, especially if you are a laner yourself.

So all of these things are good, right? Yes and no. Consider how the enemy takes these affronts to his status. After first blood, your enemy might call "gg" or he might decide you need to be ganked repeatedly for five minutes straight. After you smite-steal a buff or forcing an enemy out of jungle, the enemy might get scared, or he might set up elaborate ganks in your jungle to show you he's better (I do this often, and it works). After stealing dragon, your enemy might feel defeated or he might make sure it's warded next time and set up a gank. After repelling ganks, the jungler might wait around and camp you til it works (it usually does). The point is, these things that give you status make you cocky, and they make your enemy angry. Though this can sometimes result in the enemy team raging at each other while you spam "umad" in all chat, it can just as easily end up in surprise upsets.

So remember this: Even if you have high status, you must value your enemy's skill and respect him as a player. The moment you stop doing that, he surprises you and you rage.

Military History and LoL

Remember that section on holism? Well, this is what I brought into the game. I'm a historian. I look at a battle and see successes and failures in history being played out every day, much to the chagrin of General Custer's teammates. So take a moment and read about a few famous trolls, n00bs, and ragers.

  • The Long March: Move in an organized group and DON'T CHASE. The Long March occurred in China, under Mao Zedong. Basically, little guy Mao decided he was going to run away from fat guy Chang, who had a far superior force. So little guy Mao ran all over China over the course of 370 days, fighting only when it best suited him. He always made it look as though he was retreating, but he always managed to get the upper hand in conflicts. Finally, in 1935, when the tattered remnants of Mao's army met with other Communist forces and united, Chang had nothing left. So now think about your LoL experiences. How often does something bad come from chasing? Maybe it's just one person chasing, maybe it's a whole team. What happens when that one person chases? He gets baited and picked off. What happens when the whole team chases? They get baited and aced. China isn't a communist country today because Mao's a coward. China's a communist country because Mao was the original incarnation of Singed.

  • The Schlieffen Plan: Don't bank on the early game. The Schlieffen Plan was conceived in 1905 by some German dude with the last name Schlieffen. Basically, in 1905 he was already planning for a war against rival states that would take place nine years later. Basically, the Schlieffen plan entailed overwhelming the Western front (France and England) with superior troops and technology, cowing them into submission in a matter of a few weeks, allowing Germany to then rush troops back to the Eastern front to start slaughtering Russians. Now, this plan sounds crazy right? But it almost worked. IT. ALMOST. WORKED. The Germans definitely won the laning phase of WWI. But then something went terribly wrong. Contrary to popular belief, the French did not like the idea of surrendering. Instead, they dug in, fought back, and created four years of devastating, demoralizing trench warfare. Meanwhile, all of a sudden that Russian army Germany had rushed to attack was a bit displeased and rather willing to fight back. Germany very quickly became the victim of a rather awful split-push, and as more and more enemies rose up against Germany, it was slowly overwhelmed in the IRL equivalent to a 75-minute game on a full bladder with no time for bathroom breaks. What does this mean in League? Do not build a team around the early game. Plan. Think ahead. Don't just pick something that can overpower the enemy in laning phase. If they have Amumu, Morgana, and Galio, yeah you can stomp them in laning phase. But you just might want to consider bringing along Janna. You know, just in case you get Schlieffen'd.

  • World War I: AVOID EXTENSIVE POKE WARS. Basically, you can understand World War I as one really freaking long ARAM. In trench warfare, one side would maybe get ahead a bit, take a trench, then a few weeks later, have to retreat. Casualties were ENORMOUS, and armies advanced maybe a mile every few months. Everything would be calm for a while, then all hell would break loose and everyone would die around you. That's what happens in a mid face-off. Maybe one team has slightly superior weaponry, but really it's a crap shoot. Whoever missteps first is gonna get severely punished, and in solo queue you have NO WAY of ensuring that your team won't misstep. Heck, even in tournaments teams throw hard because of these baron-fight/mid-fight stalemate poking matches. Remember that time Curse was 50k up and lost? Yeah.

  • The Battle for Little Big Horn: Don't fight at disadvantageous times cuz you're ahead. Anyone ever heard of General Custer? He's basically the Leeroy Jenkins of American history. Hey hey guys lookit me I have a big army with lotsa guns and we're gonna go kill us some Injuns. Well, guess what. Custer basically did the IRL equivalent of a jungle-fight vs a Trundle/Anivia comp.

  • Normandy Beach: DON'T TOWER DIVE. We won the battle for Normandy beach. We only won it because we had ridiculous amounts of extremely well-trained troops. The allied casualties were absolutely enormous. I mean, let's face it: we were advancing up a beach while people were shooting at us from extremely defensible positions. That's what happens every time you tower dive in a team fight. Unless you absolutely, 100% know that you can finish the fight in 2-3 tower shots or less, you are putting a hell of a lot on the line for very little gain. That day on Normandy beach, many fine soldiers died so that others could capture the beach. When you tower dive, one flipping idiot gave his life so the other team's Malphite could write "rofl noob" in all-chat.

  • The Third Crusade: Don't piss off your enemy. Ever heard of Saladin? He was freaking brilliant. Artistic, verbose, talented, a wonderful tactician, and an extremely compassionate man who, at first, respected his enemy. But as time went on, he was continually faced with men such as Reynald de Chatillon, who raped, pillaged, and murdered at will. Well, this pissed off Saladin quite a bit, and it made his soldiers fight only harder. When they captured Jerusalem, Saladin remembered back to when the Crusaders slaughtered Christian, Jew, and Muslim alike upon capturing Jerusalem in 1099. Saladin responded not by murdering, but by enslaving any Europeans found within Jerusalem. Most could pay for their release and safety, but not the French. Why? Because Reynald de Chatillon was an f-ing douchebag. So with that in mind, if you trash talk your enemy and they end up stomping you, I urge you not to put them on ignore. You deserve everything you get.

  • The Third Reich: Don't play your allies against each other. Anyone remember season 1 CLG? They were awesome. They knew how to lane, how to team-fight, how to work together. Or so it seemed. Then rumors started to surface. Rumors of rivalries and infighting. Then such things began to appear on stream. Players were slowly kicked off because of petty disagreements. The team became the laughingstock of the League, and thus far they've never recovered despite Doublelift being insanely good at ADC. The Third Reich was a lot like this. We often think of Hitler's regime as being this well-oiled machine, all this Nazi efficiency, getting everything done with meticulous organization. But the fact of the matter is Hitler encouraged petty disputes among his underlings for the sole sake of ensuring none of them could possibly become more important than him, none of them could possibly take over if he died because they'd all hate each other. Don't do that to your team. Not in solo queue, not in premades, not in school, not in the workplace. If you do this, you're a dick and someone's probably going to try to blow you up someday. And then they're gonna make a movie out of it and the guy that killed you is gonna be played by Tom Cruise. You do not want to have Tom Cruise in a movie about your life, so don't be a dick.

  • Dubya's Iraq War: Get your facts right Don't facecheck a bush or you'll end up looking like a Bush.

  • The Battle of Thermopylae: Pantheon is occasionally useful. But he's still gonna end up feeding 300 kills. Inspired by Inzek.

Formation

I used to play this game called Civil War Generals II, made by Sierra. It was ridiculously complex and had all sorts of numbers used to calculate a win or a loss in a battle. One of these numbers was called formation. Every time your regiments engaged in combat, their formation number went down, and it only went back up by resting. Until playing League of Legends, I never understood this number. Now I do.

Formation is how ready your team is to fight as a unit. When two teams with an equal amount of gold square off mid, it's anyone's game because both teams are ready to fight. Even the slightest slip-up in either team's formation can cost them the team-fight, and it could happen to either of you at any moment. If you engage in fights like this without being way ahead, you are risking a loss.

Conversely, when you are split-pushing every lane, running through the enemy's jungle, forcing them to react to your moves, you are causing them to lose formation. It's much easier for you to catch someone off-guard as they race through the jungle to protect their towers. Why? Because their power as a unit no longer exists. Sometimes, a team will think, "I'd better send the support with the AD carry so neither of them gets picked off," but just as often you'll catch the AD carry defending a tower alone while the support wanders through the jungle trying to decide where he wants to be. There's your kill. There's your win.

In addition, as a major team-fight breaks down, formation often is the first thing to go. Though each player may be doing fairly well, the tank doesn't always think "I should be protecting the carries." Each player is consumed with his or her personal goal in that fight. "I really wanna kill that Lee Sin that trash talked me" or "I'm gonna back off at low hp so I don't die." All these random factors determine how well-formed your team fight is, and this is often why some team-fights can turn into ten people chasing each other into the far corners of the map. If you know what you *should* be doing in a team-fight, you are going to have a much greater chance of winning.

Formation in premades

Formation is an easy way to get a free win in solo queue, but in premades it is key. Ever notice how TSM often loses badly in the laning phase but somehow pulls a win out of their butt in mid-game or late-game? The reason for this is formation. These guys have played the same game with the same people on the same champions in the same lanes for so long that they can predict their allies' movements. What they lack in innovation and raw laning skill, they make up for entirely with formation. Formation aside, they're on the same level as Curse or Dignitas. But when I see TSM losing at a major tournament, I just sit back and wait for the upset. And it always comes (at least in NA tourneys). If you are playing on a Ranked team in the Gold, Plat, or Diamond elos and have been in that elo for some time, chances are you are just as good as your opponents, if not better. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to this. So...what's your regiment's formation number?

Trolling

For the last portion of my guide, let's talk about trolling.

Trolling is one of my favorite pastimes. It's also one of the best ways to make the enemy play sloppily. When you're trolling in LoL, it is important that you remember the Summoner's Code. Don't just start personally attacking your opponent. "bet you're fat IRL" is not an appropriate troll. Responding to that comment with "dude shut up you're distracting me from the twinkie i'm eating" is in every way an appropriate troll, though it may not help your game at all.

Now I can't possibly tell you everything I know about trolling - that would probably fill half the guide (though I might write one specifically about trolling if I ever get around to it) - so instead I'll just fill you in on the basics.

When should you troll?
  • When you're dead.

When should you not troll?
  • ANY OTHER TIME.

Let's say you're having a pleasant exchange of conversation at the beginning of the game. You're calmly sitting in your jungle with your teammates chillin' and suddenly the enemy team asks you who's your favorite Pokemon? You start to answer, and all of a sudden five people pop out of a bush and instagib you. You say "Jigglypu" in allchat. Congratulations, you're an idiot.

Now, if you know EXACTLY where the enemy is, and you're trying to set up a gank on them, THAT might be an ok time to talk, but if any of them disappears, shut up now. If you do talk while alive, keep your sentences short. This is why things like "umadbro" work so well - you can complete this in under a second if you're fast, while it takes your enemy about 5-10 seconds to type a one-sentence response clarifying that no he is indeed not angry. Just remember that you can just as easily be baited into doing this.

How should you troll?
  • With a smile. :) Seriously. Just adding a disarming smile to the end of anything you say pisses off some people so much. If you keep the insults to a minimum and just be ridiculously nice, people will get angry.
  • Keep it short. See above.
  • Without swearing/insulting your enemy directly. If it's obvious you've done something wrong, you could get banned.
  • Preferably without talking about League at all. Seriously, start a conversation about Pokemon. Some people are very passionate about it.

Who should you not troll?
  • Your team.
  • Me.

What is the best response to trolling by opponents?
  • The ignore button. You receive no penalty to your playing ability whatsoever if you an ignore an opponent.

What is the best response to trolling by a teammate?
  • Absolute silence.

Schemas and the art of Theorycrafting

That's a lotta big words, huh? Well, let me help. Theorycrafting is when players (usually at a pro level) attempt to theorize on possible ways the meta can be redefined. Sometimes this results in a new gimmick such as Roamer Taric, other times it redefines the metagame altogether, such as AD+Support bot lane.

So what does schema mean? Schema is a psychological term that basically means the way we view something. If I give you a fork, what do you want to do with it? Eat, of course. Now, if I gave you a fork and a knife, which would you use to spread butter with? A knife, of course. But what if all you had was the fork? You might try to put some butter on the fork prongs and very awkwardly spread it. Why? Because your schema for a fork is "I use the pointy end and hold the other end." That is your schema for fork. This schema does not include "I can spread butter with it," and any attempts to do so would likely involve the "useful" portion of the fork. But of course, the handle is in fact much better for spreading butter. How many of you are just now realizing that? What I just did was redefine your schema.

Schemas work in League of Legends too. When I started playing, the schema for Gragas was "tank," and he was considered to be rather weak at it. The schema for "Vlad" was rush a Rylais Scepter, and he was considered average. But then someone started building Gragas AP, and he owned. Then someone started rushing hextech revolvers on Vlad and he was disgustingly overpowered. These were both redefinitions of schemas. I believe that there are a lot of champions out there who might have better roles elsewhere in the game. The problem is, our schemas prevent us from trying them. AD Annie? NO man she's an AP carry and a pretty crappy one! (but look at that attack range...and that CC!!) AP Teemo? NO man, he's a worthless top lane who only wins certain match ups! (but then I saw an AP Teemo go legendary and carry us out of a losing game in ranked...)

So if you want to theorycraft, you need to be prepared to redefine your schemas. Not just for champions, but for lane match-ups, invasion strategies, etc. etc. Try new things because they will definitely catch people off-guard, and they might even work!

Oh, and a final note about schemas? This is true for everything you do. EVERYTHING. You have schemas for how you look at people, how you look at homework assignments, and much more. Being able to redefine these schemas at will is an incredibly useful ability that will get you far in life.

When Logic Fails

League of Legends is a complex game that many people try to simplify into raw mechanics. Unfortunately, however, many more factors than mechanics go into a win. If you've made it this far in the guide, you know that players' own minds can be unknown factors into determining a win - after all, you don't know what the other guy is thinking. That said, sometimes things just don't work out despite having played a perfect game. Sometimes you go all-out, win early game ridiculously hard, and think you have the game, and then some factor you didn't even know existed comes back to hurt you. Here's a video explaining how I won a game that in every sense I should have lost horribly. Why did I win? The enemy jungler didn't know what I knew. He didn't know the Caitlyn had a crit page. He didn't know I was packing GP10 runes. He didn't know that every one of his perfect ganks, dragon secures, and baron kills would merely add up to what I was already making just derping around in the jungle failing to do anything relevant. So here you have it, my absolute failure of a win.

Useful Links

Here's a section for those who don't know their way around the League community too well. Since I do not update my guide frequently, parts of it are at time dated. While the psychological aspects will be timeless, other parts such as current strong champions, become dated in a matter of weeks. Here are some links that you can use in conjunction with this guide to formulate strategies that are good in the current gameplay.

1. Tier lists: http://www.reignofgaming.net/tier-lists

These will help you know what champions are considered strong by various Pro players in the community. It's just their word, of course, but...their word is often useful. Note that these champions may only be considered strong by players who are very good at them. At the time of writing this, Twisted Fate is #1 on Elementz's tier list. That said, if I played Twisted Fate, I'd probably lose almost every game with him. [Also note the parent site, www.reignofgaming.net ]

2. News of Legends: http://www.newsoflegends.com/

This is SoloMid's answer to Curse's "Reign of Gaming" website, and it's a good answer. Here you will find recent news, patch notes, and occasionally the random article about mechanics or psychology. Definitely worth a bookmark.

3. Mobafire: http://www.mobafire.com/

This is one of the most popular League of Legends guide sites on the internet. That said, many of the guides are not good. So why go here? So you can look through the top-rated guides and figure out what your opponent is going to build/do. Many players in low elo are following guides by the book, and if you can anticipate and interrupt their movements, they will fall apart fast. Also, find a few of the bad guides. Learn why they're bad, and learn why players find bad guides useful. It will help you avoid them and help you communicate with players on your team following such guides.

4. League of Legends wiki: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/League_of_Legends_Wiki

This is a great site for figuring out what a champion does. I used to use it a lot, and I still go there from time to time. It is what it says it is - a League wiki. So don't expect anything too complex. But still, it can be interesting.

Have more suggestions? Let me know.

Other games that will help you improve at League

Playing too much League can be a dangerous thing. It can get you way too stressed out, especially if you're on a losing streak. More than that, it can cause you to put up blinders and narrow your schemas far too much. You'll stop thinking outside the box. So with that in mind, here are a few [FREE] games you can play outside League that will help you improve both your mechanical precision and tactical thinking, as well as fast-pasted strategizing.

1. Battle for Wesnoth [site: www.wesnoth.org ]. This is a game that will help you understand numbers, mechanics, and strategizing. It's a totally free turn-based chess-like game, only with hex tiles instead of squares. Playing this game will help you get much better at analyzing situations. It will make you a more thoughtful person, and as you get better at the game, you will get better at knowing when you've made a bad call. In League, it's very easy to blame your teammates, but in Wesnoth 1v1 or campaign games, you're the one responsible for your success or failure. As with League, there's a lot of randomness involved in Wesnoth, so the only way to consistently win against the RNG is to stack the odds so far in your favor that even if everything goes wrong, you'll still win.

2. Elona Shooter [site: http://www.kongregate.com/games/noanoa/elona-shooter ]. You think Call of Duty is rough? No, this is a real shooter. You'll pull your hair out trying to progress in the game. It takes speed, precision, and more than a little luck. This is the game that will get you very good at those fast-paced, precise clicks (think: CSing). You won't be vs another player, it's just you vs the computer. And the computer cheats. If you can get to 50+ days on this game using guns (not crossbows, that's easy mode), you will see a clear difference in your precision in League.

3. Tetris. Plenty of sites for this, and there are also emulators. Have you ever noticed how a lot of pros play tetris? It's because the game is super fast-paced and forces you to react very quickly to a steady stream of new information. If you can get good at this game, your reaction time will improve a lot in League.

4. Unfair platformer [site: http://www.kongregate.com/games/Eggy/the-unfair-platformer?acomplete=unfair+platformer ]. Because life isn't fair and you're gonna screw up a lot before you get what you want. Also because having made it this far in my guide, you're clearly a glutton for punishment.

5. [WARNING: only for the bravest among you] Realm of the Mad God [site: http://www.kongregate.com/games/Wild_Shadow/realm-of-the-mad-god?acomplete=realm+of+the+mad+god ]. That warning's serious. This game will suck you in, spit you out, and give you more stress than solo queue ever, EVER will. This is a hardcore bullet hell action RPG, and you will lose your character when - not if, WHEN - you die. Getting good at this game will improve your reaction time, improve your rapid decision-making skills, and improve your ability to deal with defeat. Losing a League game, that can be rough sometimes. Losing a character you played for several hours and having absolutely nothing whatsoever to prove that character ever even existed...well, that's another thing entirely. If you've ever played Diablo on hardcore, you know what I mean. But this game, this game's worse. Oh and there's lag. So play a while, and you'll feel a lot more compassion for that 300 ping guy on your team.

6. Path of Exile [site: www.pathofexile.com ]. This is a completely 100% free to play game, with microtransactions that DO NOT MAKE YOU STRONGER AS A CHARACTER. Play it on Hardcore mode if you really want the best feel for the game. There's something about losing a character you've worked 30 hours on that really puts things in perspective. Oh, I just lost a level 60 ranger that I played for 40 hours? Well that sucks, time to start a new one. Suddenly going into solo queue doesn't seem as daunting, huh? I actually began playing League solo queue as relaxation to get away from the hardcore Exile. I'm not kidding, solo queue is now a relaxation technique for me. Yeah. This game will change the way you look at League entirely.

Who am I? Revisited

I feel it's time to let you know a bit more about the writer of this guide. Here is a post from my blog [ http://tapobu.blogspot.com/ ]:

Those of you who have been following my guides know very well that I have a surprisingly vast understanding of the human mind. I often get asked if I am a psych major or a doctor-in-training. At times, I even get told that I've understood something in psychology in a way that actual psych students have never thought to understand it. On rare occasion, I've been told I'm wrong. Well, here's the truth of the matter: I'm not a psych student, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or anything of the sort. I've taken two psych classes in my entire life, and they were both gen-eds. I still remember instances and information from both classes, but I found them to be largely basic and superfluous. I'm a history major, and I have learned psychology by watching people and by studying history. I don't go about historical study on the large-scale; I prefer to study the intimidate details of a particular person in history. Why did they do this? Would I do this in the same situation? If I were to play this person on stage, what would motivate me to do these things? I come at psychology from an actor's point of view because that's what I am: an actor. Actor, however, is not the A-word.

I've been acting from a somewhat young age. I remember acting a caricature of what others perceived me to be in middle school and early high school. I expanded my reportoire in later years of high school, and people often commented that I moved and spoke in a highly believable manner. In person, however, I was awkward and quiet. I never looked people in the eye. I had very few friends. I often seemed depressed and anxious, especially at school, especially in loud and noisy areas.

In college, I began to learn acting terms that I was able to apply to the things I'd done in high school. I am a "low status" individual. I often play "low status" characters. When I play "high status" characters, I do so in a way that gives the appearance of their struggling to maintain control of social situations, sometimes in a comical manner and sometimes in a terribly serious manner. I discovered the term "method acting." Method acting is when you take a part so seriously that you let that character become a part of you. When I played characters onstage, I would ask myself how am I like this person? Could I do the things this person did? The answer was yes, always yes. Could I engineer the death of my wife's current husband so I could marry her? Yes, in certain situations [the General, And then there were None, by Agatha Christie]. Could I become so blind to love that I would endlessly persecute a young woman in such a way that would eventually lead to her death? Yes, if I were not careful with my judgmental side [Mr. James, Gone to Earth, by Helen Edmundson]. Could I find a way to smile through the tears and put on a happy demeanor despite not having achieved anything I desired in life? Yes, and at times I still do this [Sorin, The Seagull, by Chekhov]. The thing is, I always had to ask myself, what would compel me to do this? What would compel a normal person to do this? Through acting, I developed a personality for myself. A personality I could respect. A personality that I wasn't quite sure I could maintain, and one I still am not sure I can maintain.

You see, I've spent a lot of years studying human action and inaction, studying motivations and movements and facial expressions and vocal intonations and inflections. I've studied them because I don't know them naturally. I don't understand them. I am very fortunate to be an intelligent enough individual to render myself capable of such feats. Many like me are not so fortunate. The thing is, I don't naturally "get" people. I'm more than simply anti-social. I have a mild form of autism called Asperger syndrome. That is the A-word.

What this means for me in the real world is that sometimes, people become too much. You know that HP bar at the top of each blog post? That's how socially capable I'm feeling right now. About a week before I started this blog, I was getting very close to -10. For you DnD players, -10 means dead. -10 on the social HP scale for me means total meltdown. Being completely and totally unable to function around other people. It might mean exploding at someone for the slightest indiscretion, it might mean collapsing inwardly and refusing to say anything at all. As my HP drops, my ability to pull the correct expressions and intonations and movements from my head as needed fails me. I become awkward. While I normally have a good sense of humor and perfect comedic timing, when I'm low HP my jokes fall flat. That's the first clue that something's wrong. If I'm not being funny, something is terribly wrong.

So what does this have to do with League and Psychology? Well, playing League can be tough for me. Early on in early season 2, I was pretty much the master of the jungle at my elo. Unfortunately, by writing the guides I did, I managed to play a significant part in my own downfall. When I am in the lead, I am a master of my domain, and you will not get ahead of me. The sort of stress accompanied with being ahead helps me hone my focus and make good calls. When I'm having trouble though, I have a tendency to overcompensate just as I do when my HP is low in real life. I overcommit or undercommit to fights, I respond abrasively to negative comments, I become a somewhat toxic teammate to play with. The reason I don't play as often anymore is because I need to be in a certain mood to play. If I'm too stressed out, I will downshift and I will mess up. I don't want to give other players a bad experience, but sometimes I do. See, I'm not like other ragers - I don't say stupid and idiotic things when I'm upset. I say things that I know very well will cut through a player's better nature and slowly degrade their psyche. It's sometimes a terrible thing that I understand people's minds so well. I also know how to destroy them with a few keystrokes. So this is why I don't play as much anymore. And this is why when you add me, I try to avoid playing with you most of the time. There's a good chance we will do badly because I'm in stupidly high elo in normals thanks to that early season 2. We'll match against people that will wreck you, and I don't want to get upset with you. I don't want you to realize that I am that rager I ridicule so terribly in my guides.

So now you know. Now you know the A-word. Now you know why I write such brilliant psychology. You see, words, I understand. Words are beautiful and brilliant, and I can craft them in a way that others often can't. But words alone are not enough to win games or to function in life. I write the guides I do because I want you, my readers, to be good at League of Legends. I want you to be gold, platinum, diamond. I want you to do the things I can't. More than that, I want you to take the time to appreciate the intellect of your fellow man. I want you to not take for granted the beauty of the human mind. Just as first-world nations take concepts such as freedom and a full stomach for granted, those who can understand others on a basic level take that understanding for granted. That 0/7 AD carry with 50 CS cannot be summed up in the simple phrase "full-on retard." Neither can I.

games with commentary

Here are some videos of me playing while speaking a stream-of-consciousness so you know what's going on in my mind. Enjoy!

1) Sona. A game that by all accounts should have been lost, but we won it.



2) Sejuani. A good example of how to properly pressure lanes and get them snowballing.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you've enjoyed the journey into my mind. Now go and be a better player!

Comments

3 days ago #1

Tapobu, my friend referenced this guide as a 'must read' and I have to say, I am hugely impressed. Currently a Gold 2 player, I was struggling to find ways to better my performance. I knew for a fact that my attitude was a large part of my difficulties encountered in gaining LP, but your guide really puts it into perspective. What's more, is that it makes complete sense.

Your guide is a revolution and I'm appalled that it is not renowned as a Gaming must read. League of legends and beyond are appropriate, as you are well aware and I'm just in awe of this masterpiece.

I signed up with the sole purpose of thanking you for your contribution, please excuse the cliche. I will endeavor to read all your guides and can only hope they prove as insightful.

So on that note, Thank you. Good luck with future guides and your LoL career as it were.

3 days ago #2

Can someone please link me the mentioned curse throw from 50k lead? Thanks.

February 22, 2014 - 03:08 AM #3

This is the most weird guide i have ever seen. I have read it just irght now and i am a little stunned. I think i am going to read it a few more times to understand better the idea of it.
I like using the words for making your path, but i am not able to do it yet in english (I guess i am one of those ELLs). Thanks for the guide !

February 11, 2014 - 12:05 AM #4

http://sh.st/cM6P

January 30, 2014 - 04:16 AM #5

This Is by far the best Guide i've ever read. It improved my game play and helped me work better with my teams. I no longer rage at my teammates for making mistakes instead I give them advice and Help them. Thank you Tapobu, Great guide man.

September 20, 2013 - 06:41 PM #6

Geez thanks man :P Just wanted to say that this guide, man no comment its just sooo good that i recommend it to EVERYONE I told all my friends to read it cause it was so helpful to me and I hope to everyone else. Just keep it up you did an outstanding job and I hope that more like this will come(I've read your jungling guide too). GG WP

September 14, 2013 - 05:30 AM #7

lol, and 83rd comment. grats, acrillion. :p

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. - CS Lewis

September 13, 2013 - 03:47 PM #8

100th like :D

August 16, 2013 - 08:38 AM #9

I love, love, love , LOVE Twitch, and in the past, i have probably been the most succesfuly Twitch player on NA, maybe even across the world, you would read watch and comapre ranboms gameplay with twitch and mine, and you would see me dominating over him every game.

But problem is with Twitch nowadays, he isnt as reliable as he was in the past, he lost the ability to be a walking ward and free positioning he had, his ultimate doesnt scale off AD that well anymore and most of all, his ultimate has reduced piercing effect now, like Ez's, which reduces its damage by alot when it hits additional targets.

He is still VERY viable but he is unstable in ranked, because if you will duo Q with bot lane, you will have a somewhat more safe bot, but you will give up your other important lanes to randoms, which is never a good thing.

Twitch has the potential to carry hard but at the same time, he is really easy to shut down, especially if they have gap closers on their team, twitch has no reliable escape to shake them off, so if your team isnt going to babysit you in teamfights, you will die in split seconds without being able to acomplish much.



Also problem with twitch is that he has a very small window of positioning himself now with only 4-8 seconds of invisibility, at level 13+ his invis is a bit better so you have a better window, but until then, you have to rely on luck a bit and hope that the enemy doesnt just storm for you.



I've had incredibely good games with twitch where i would go 12/1 and then we would end up losing because my team would just ignore me and leave me way back to be shred by diana, pantheon, zed or whoever.



So overall, with twitch, unless you have a team that will babysit you, it doesnt work out.

August 7, 2013 - 04:36 AM #10

ELL is the term schools are using these days, due to stigma attached to the ESL term.

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. - CS Lewis