League of Legends Beginner’s Guide

League of Legends Cover Art

League of Legends (abbreviated LoL) is a free-to-play MOBA developed by Riot Games and arguably one of the most well-known games of the MOBA genre. In League of Legends players can take on the role of a “summoner” that controls a Champion and lead them in team-based battles. Players can purchase new Champions and aesthetics through microtransactions, and there is a free rotation of new Champions to try every week.

In League of Legends players can queue up for matches and enter a pre-game lobby once enough players are found for the match. Matchmaking also allows players to specify their preferred role and backup role before starting particular queues, giving players a better chance at getting roles they want to play.

Once in a match, players will take control of their individual Champion from a top-down perspective, leading them against the enemy team. The role you choose will determine where your attention should be for the match and where you might want to position yourself.

The “Nexus” is the main structure inside of each team’s base and is the designated goal for each team – destroy their opponents before they can get yours. The most popular game mode when taking esports into consideration is the 5v5 ranked mode on Summoner’s Rift. Typically, the game will have three lanes which enemy soldiers will flow down on a course for their opponent’s “Nexus.” When enemy soldiers run into any structures or opponents, they will automatically go and attack them.

Along these lanes, there are towers and other fortifications that stand in the way of the opposing forces to prevent them from easily getting to the opposing base. NPC’s soldiers spawn in waves for each team in each of the lanes and charge their way towards their opponents until something gets in their way.

The player heroes are much stronger than that of the NPC characters and become more powerful as the match goes on by leveling, acquiring items to increase their stats. When a character levels, they will gain access to better abilities and enhancements to their skills.

Champions

There is a large pool of Champions in League of Legends categorized by type. Every Champion has a passive ability, three active abilities, and an ultimate ability. Like many MOBAs, ultimate abilities in League of Legends are some of the strongest abilities in the game and can sway a team fight in your team’s advantage.

There are six types of Champions in League of Legends, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Types are used to categorize Champions with similar playstyles and stats, but there are always exceptions.

The six types are:

  • Marksman – Also known as “AD Carries”, these Champions are ranged and will often deal physical damage.
    • Pros: Great sustained damage and excel at taking out enemy structures.
    • Cons: Weak defenses.
  • Mage – Also known as “AP Carries”, Mages are Champions that have powerful magical damage and support style spells to aid their allies and reign destruction on their enemies.
    • Pros: Can deal massive amounts of damage.
    • Cons: Low defenses and mobility.
  • Assassin – Assassin style characters are a type that specializes in the killing other Champions as quickly as they can with melee style attacks.
    • Pros: Great mobility and high damage.
    • Cons: Very low defenses.
  • Tank – Tank Champions are those Champions who are hard to kill and typically will soak up the majority of the enemy team damage. They have abilities that will often disable and distract enemies or force them to attack the tank by becoming the target of enemy fire and keeping the carries safely behind.
    • Pros: Durable and can disable enemies.
    • Cons: Lack a means of good damage.
  • Fighter – Fighter style characters are Champions combine the skills of a damage dealer and a tank. They will typically be melee fighters because those Champions are most successful when they are up close and personal.
    • Pros: All-around good stats.
    • Cons: Need to be relatively close to enemies to be useful.
  • Support – Support style Champions are designed in a manner so that they can provide aid to their allies in the form of buffs, healing spells, or debuffs to their enemies. Usually, support style Champions will be paired with another Champion early on.
    • Pros: Very useful for the whole team and good lane-bullying mechanics.
    • Cons: Less snowball potential than other Champion types.

Roles

League of Legends has settled into a meta of five different roles players will be able to help their team most with which ensure that as much of the map gets covered as possible while having a balanced team composition.

These five roles are:

  • Top (Solo) – The top-lane role where players typically fight by themselves.
  • Jungle – The role centered around clearing jungle camps and sneak attacking enemies.
  • Mid (Middle) – The Middle role is often a Mage and centered around being the burst-damage role for the team. Mid-laners are often by themselves in their lane so they can gain as much experience as possible.
  • Bot/ADC (Attack Damage Carry) – Often coupled with the team’s Support Champion, the ADC is in charge of dealing high damage with their auto-attacks and blasting down enemy towers.
  • Support – Often found in the same lane as the ADC, the Support role is in charge of helping accelerate the ADC’s growth and helping other teammates when possible.

Game Modes

Regular game modes:

  • Tutorial Mode – Tutorial Mode is a game type that is available to new players where they can get an idea of how the game works including controls, abilities, maps, as well as the basic understanding of game rules and mechanics. This mode is played on the Howling Abyss map.
  • Co-op Vs. AI – This mode is available after completing or skipping the tutorial mode. The game allows teams of human players to fight against computer-controlled NPC Champions. This mode is a great place to try out new heroes and practice different tactics. This mode is played on the Summoner’s Rift and Twisted Treeline maps.
  • Normal Matchmaking – Normal Matchmaking works by pairing teams of players together to compete against another team of similarly-skilled players. The matchmaking process utilizes an automated system that attempts to match you with opponents that are as close to your skill as possible.
  • Custom Games – Custom games allow for players to play any map with any combination of players, AI teammates, and opponents.

Ranked game modes:

  • Ranked Matchmaking – Players can begin doing Ranked Matchmaking once they reach Account level 30 and it uses a similar automated system to pair up people like normal matchmaking. One difference in ranked is that pre-made teams must be similar ELO levels. ELO is a skill-level of play determined by the game. Ranked games are played on either Summoner’s Rift for 5v5 matches or Twisted Treeline for 3v3 matches.
    • Solo/Duo Queue – Players queue by themselves or with another player and can choose the two roles they want to play.
    • Flex Queue – Functions the same as solo/duo queue but allows pre-made teams with more than two players.

Champion Selection

There are three different ways teams can choose their Champions depending on the type of match they queue for:

  • Draft Pick – Teams take turns banning Champions from the match and picking their own. Here they can see what the other team picks. This mode does not allow for repeated Champions across teams.
  • Blind Pick – Both teams select their Champions at the same time and can’t see what the other team has chosen.
  • Random Pick – Players are assigned a random Champion for the match and can re-roll their Champion if they’d like.

Ranks

Ranks are separated into 7 different League Tiers and Divisions where players will either go up in rating or down in rating by earning League Points (LP). Winning a ranked match will reward players with League Points and once they’ve reached 100 League Points players can enter a promotion series where they will have to win a majority of the games in the series to get promoted to a higher Division/Tier.

Consequently, players can drop down through Divisions and Tiers if they reach 0 League Points.

Players who reach the rank of Challenger are considered to be some of the best players in the world. The League Tiers are in order as listed:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond
  • Master
  • Challenger