The Newbie's Guide to League of Legends

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style="font-style: italic;">New heroes are being added at
about one per month.  Shown here is the new hero Lux, the
light wizard.

In a new world where an MMORPG can go free-to-play and not
be mocked endlessly for being a bland waste of time, there stands
another game in another genre doing just the same. League of Legends
has taken the Defense of the Ancients  gameplay formula and
altered it in key places while improving it in others , and wrapped it
in a completely free to play, with a currency earned in-game used to
unlock some additional customizations. Years ago, the game was
endlessly mocked by the elite of the community, but now it has earned
its place in the market.

 I play
DotA/Heroes of Newerth. Just give me the cliff notes on why I should
care about this.

-    Heroes are much more dangerous at early
levels, encouraging early aggression.

-    Mana costs and cooldowns are much
lower, and auto-attackers are weaker.

-    Casters have several ways to scale
through items—ignoring magic resist, increasing ability power,
decreasing cooldowns.

-    There are two boss creeps to compete
over, a dragon that gives global experience to the team and 130 gold,
and a powerful serpent that gives 250 gold and a massive power and
regeneration buff to the team that kills it. It is much more important
to monitor these.

-    Tall Grass is everywhere, and it blocks
line of sight in, but you can see out of it while inside. It enhances
early ganks and evasion.

-    Jungling is worth less gold, but there
are two large monsters in the jungle that bestow a buff to the
killer-slowing attacks that deal damage over time, and massive mana
regeneration with cooldown reduction. Controlling the jungle is more

-    There is Much more versatility in item
builds than DotA, and some heroes can play more than one role.

-    There are Summoner Spells that add two
long-cooldown, universal skills to any hero you pick. They can be used
for offense, escaping, mobility, and more.

-    You’ll find zero bashing in this game.
All stuns are controlled and activated. No blink, invisibility, or bash
items exist period. Stuns in general are shorter, but slows are more

-    Matchmaking in League of Legends is
better than matchmaking in DotA or Heroes of Newerth combined. You will
end up with people of similar skill level after a while, making for far
fewer blowouts. You can also reconnect to games in progress!

-    There’s NO DENYING. The experience
range is a little narrower, so it is still possible to deny your
opponents by offensively pushing them out of the lane/xp range. The
inability to deny alone greatly increases the early game’s offense.

-    Barracks respawn after 5 minutes. The
difference is the super creep that spawns for those 5 minutes cannot be
ignored—it’s *much* stronger.

Okay, what? I don’t know
what the hell you just said, Stow.

    Relax, I’ve got you covered.

These games involve a struggle between two teams of 5 players each.
Each player has control of one hero unit that gains strength with
experience and levels up. Each team also has an AI that automatically
spawns units that go down 3 paths, or ‘lanes’, and engage the opposing
forces. Should you begin to lose a battle, there are three defensive
towers in each lane that can help you fight off your opponents.

In the event the defenses of a lane fall, your inhibitor will be
vulnerable to attack. It’s a tough structure that prevents your
opponents from summoning their full army, and when it goes down, each
spawn wave will have a very powerful wrecking ball with it that will
bowl over your army. This will demand attention from your team and make
it more difficult to defend the other lanes. Inside your base with the
inhibitors is a main nexus and two additional defensive towers. When
those fall, the game is over for that team. Hopefully that isn’t you!

So how do you go about making their team suffer? There are a multitude
of heroes to choose from, and picking a balanced team can be critical
to victory on Summoner’s Rift, the 5v5 map. Heroes fall into one of
several categories.

The Carry –
A carry is a hero that starts off weak, but has a combination of skills
that greatly enhance their damage to the point of being able to barrel
over multiple enemies in a team fight—if they’re not killed or disabled
first. Generally they are physical heroes, but there are a few mage
carries as well. Shining examples of this are Master Yi, Tristana, and

The Tank –
A tank in LoL is not a tank in the sense of the traditional MMORPG
term. A tank is someone dedicated to spearheading the charge and
setting someone up for a quick kill. They have skills that hold people
in place or reposition them to set them up for their team, which is
charging behind them . They will not kill a team by themselves, but
they will make sure no one escapes and possibly save allies in the
fight. If you enjoy this role, Rammus, Amumu, and Shen are wonderful.

The Initiator –
The initiator is a hero who excels at starting a fight whether the
enemy likes it or not. They have rapid movement or 
“blink”  abilities that move them into, or out of the fray.
They often do massive burst damage to get things started with a bang.
Heroes like Gragas, Singed, and Xin Zhao are perfect for picking a

The Support
– If a carry is not capable of soloing the lane and needs a hand, a
Support hero will generally be picked. A support is there to babysit
the carry and ensure that they survive to come into power. They
generally have powerful support in the form of healing, and are good at
pressuring enemies with stuns or high range. They exist to set up kills
and keep the team going, and they are damn good at that. To support
your team you’ll pick Taric, Sona, or Soraka, for instance.

The Jungler
– An optional hero pick, a jungler exists to kill the neutral creeps
around the map from the start. Generally heroes have to gain some power
before they can kill these monsters efficiently, but some heroes can
kill them quickly and efficiently from the start. This will give your
team an experience advantage since you’re not soaking up experience
from the enemies in the lane. One of your team’s lanes will likely be 2
vs. 1, so you will be expected to come into the lane from time to time
to assist. Not for beginners, heroes like Udyr, Nunu, and Warwick are
born for jungling.

Whoever you pick, you’ll have four skills to choose from. You get one
point each level, and you’ll eventually be able to max out all of the
skills at the highest level of 18 (unless you’re Udyr, who can only max
out 3). You’ll start in a fountain area where you’ll be healed quickly
upon your return. You can also shop here by clicking on the nearby
icon. Purchase a starting item and a healing potion or two if you can
afford them, and head out to the lane of your choice, by the last tower.

The Laning Phase – First 15 Minutes

The main goal of this phase is to gain experience and not die. The
armies will clash and you’ll be against one or two heroes in the lane,
probably with an ally nearby. If you don’t know what the opposing
heroes do, make sure you ask. Someone will let you know for sure,
because they don’t want you to die needlessly. You don’t lose anything
upon death, but you’re worth a lot of gold and experience to kill for

It doesn’t do you any good to attack the mindless minions carelessly.
If you get the last hit that scores the kill, you get the gold
regardless of the damage you did to the minion. Additionally, this will
keep the fight closer to your tower in case you need to retreat
quickly. Be patient and don’t overextend yourself. These are the two
main mistakes new players make.

As you level up your skills, you can try to coordinate an attack. Don’t
be afraid to use your skills to attack the enemy hero if you see an
opening. Mana is plentiful and regenerates faster in League of Legends
than it does in other games of this type, so go on the offensive once
you understand what their heroes are capable of. You need to be careful
though, as a sure kill can often be negated by a Summoner Spell—the two
spells you pick at the character select screen in the middle. Spells
such as Heal and Ghost can give an opponent an advantage while running
away, or just ensure their survival. Don’t chase too far because a
tower will murder you early on. Should you die, don’t worry--you’ll
respawn in about 30 seconds.

If you’re low on health, don’t fret and don’t give up the easy kill.
Retreat a bit and hit B to use your Recall ability. It takes 8 seconds
and warps you home, but it cancels if you take damage, so make sure
you’re safe before you use it. Do your shopping while you’re back home,
and head back out to the lane quickly. You have to be in the fight to
get experience, and you don’t want your opponents to gain an advantage.

Make sure you alert your team to any missing heroes; they’re often
roving between the lanes at that point looking to gank or ambush an
enemy hero in another lane. Heroes rarely have more than one stun or
slow, but when multiple heroes use these in rapid succession it often
leads to a kill. Help prevent that for your teammates and they will do
the same for you.

The Team Fight Phase – Remainder of the game

Once people group up and start attacking together, you need to be a
part of it. A 3v5 or 4v5 is rarely winnable, so even the odds to the
best of your ability. If you are playing a support hero, you *need* to
be there. Be careful to avoid getting too overzealous in your attack.
Overextending yourself against a team often results in you getting
pummeled before you can react, with 5 heroes nuking you to dust.

If you initiate a battle or see an opportunity, pick your targets well.
Look at your opponent’s items in advance on the scoreboard with Tab and
see if they’re building defensive items that work well against you. Try
to avoid attacking those heroes and instead hit the squishy ones that
built for raw damage or ignored the defensive type that would slow you
down. A hero that builds Thornmail should be ignored by Master Yi, for
instance, because all of his damage is dished out by attacking normally.

Focus down targets one by one, much like an MMORPG. Support heroes and
Summoner Spells can give wounded enemies a second chance at life if
they’re left alone for a second, so bring people down with everything
you’ve got. The moment a few die, the others will inevitably retreat
and a chase scenario occurs that can end in a total rout for the losing
team, or an Ace when every hero is dead at the moment.

When you reach enemy towers, they will always attack nearby minions
before attacking you unless you deal damage to a nearby enemy hero.
Keep this in mind and pull back if you can’t take the hits when the
nearby minions are almost gone. Stay with the team, and if they retreat
you should as well. Keep repeating this flow of battle and eventually
you’ll take out their inhibitors, which will apply additional pressure
and give you a further advantage you can press for victory.

Victory gives you IP, influence points. Influence points are used to
purchase champions for permanent use and runes that give you innate
bonuses. Defeat gives you some as well, so don’t fret.  Most
of all, don’t panic if you’re doing poorly. Comebacks do happen, and it
takes some time to gain the understanding necessary to be good at this
game, even for the hardened DotA veteran. Just have fun with the League
of Legends, and enjoy your time on Summoner’s Rift!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our League of Legends Game Page.

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