Understanding key concepts in League of Legends can be difficult without putting in effective time and effort. This written guide should help players that have struggled with decision making in a broad or macro
sense during the mid to late game stages. This means confronting situations that will show up frequently, utilizing your win conditions based on game and map states, and finding creative and unorthodox solutions to difficult scenarios that may not appear often.
This general guide will not be role or champion specific, but certain play-styles may be helpful when it comes to using some of these tips and those styles might also allow you to better understand how aspects of the game can and should play out.
Starting out, let's discuss win conditions based on ally and enemy team compositions, and how to actually understand what those conditions are based on the game or map state.
We will begin by categorizing team compositions in a general sense in order to simplify a very complex topic. We will also separate these compositions by identifying specific win conditions and evaluating their potential versus other team compositions. Examples will be given after we declare their incentives.
As a basic example, if one team has a winning bot lane match up, hard a winning top lane match up, and a hard winning mid lane match up, the odds are in your favor and your win conditions will usually be to play standard and win through lane phase, and eventually close out the game(more on that later). In this case where top/mid have a much easier match up, junglers should try to make sure that their solo laners can play aggressive when needing to and to punish mistakes by enemy laners (such as your top laner freezing the lane and forcing the enemy top laner to over-extend). This can also be done by supporting your less, albeit, still winning, bot lane by getting them a lead. This will be situational but the point remains, the win condition will be more obvious in this type of team composition in the early game.
Note that win conditions will change throughout the game, as stated previously. They can be manipulated through creative strategies which can and will be done in more coordinated play. In Solo Queue, however, it will be much harder to utilize these strategies
. 1) Early Game
- Early Lane Phase based on Role/Lane
[Win condition] in the early lane phase will be based on which team has more or harder winning match ups. This can include the jungle match-up. Essentially, if your team has more winning match ups(including jungle interference) then your early game should be a position to attack the enemy and be aggressive in order to snowball the game. Having champions that win lane vs other champions does not mean they will fall off in the mid to late game, but more often than not, strong early game champions will be less useful than weaker early game champions when it does get to certain points in the game.
- Early Skirmish Potential related to map position
[Win condition] in early skirmish potential will be based on where your team has stronger skirmish prowess or small team fight
power. This means that your 2v2's and 3v3's will be stronger than the enemy's. This does not mean that every 2v2 and 3v3 can and should be a victory for your team, you must understand when and where these victories will take place. Learning this will take a lot of experience but using basing visual queues and simple understanding of champion mechanics will help you utilize this win condition in the early game. Having a strong early game or skirmishing jungler like Lee Sin, Elise, or Olaf will definitely put things in your favor. But that won't always be the case if the enemy also has similar strengths or advantages. Summoner spells, health and mana pools, early item purchases, levels, and other resources must be accounted for. A small example would be having a Lee Sin Jungle with a non early-dps mid laner like Ahri versing a less early skirmish jungler like Rengar but with a high mobility/dps mid laner like Irelia. This can end up being a loss based on who gets the jump on who, who hits the right abilities, if anyone has a level advantage, and where you are fighting. These things will take time to understand, but knowing the difference between when an early game skirmish will be a positive versus a negative will drastically improve your gameplay. This is not only limited to junglemid skirmished but hopefully the point got accross. Like don't all in as Ezreal/Yuumi into Thresh/Lucian, it won't be a good time.
- Early Skirmish potential based on snowball or alternate situations
[Win Condition] in the early skirmish potential based on snowballing/alternate situations will be based on knowing when to concede/not contest objectives and when you are the team that can. If your enemy bot lane has been pushed in and are still clearing a cannon wave to hit level 3, it can be difficult for them to follow the enemy bot lane into the river to help secure that scuttle crab or to follow up on an extended fight. Even if they are able to get to the fight on time, they will be down a level worth of important stats, as well as a whole ability. This means, less damage, less mana, less hp, less everything. If the fight goes south, you will not only lose that crap/fight/whatever, your team will also lose the gold/xp that has now crashed into their tower. This can be detrimental, especially if the enemy team is on the stronger scaling side. This is an example of an alternate solution. The opposite can be said for you, and utilizing these timings can be key to snowballing your team to victory. Be the person to make the call and don't be after to ping/quickly type your reasoning. Think about all potential situations but, in time, you will make the better macro decision over and over again.
- Even/Skill Match up Lane Phase
[Win Condition] in even match ups based on lane phase can come down to jungle help or making plays across the map. This can also mean understanding how to out maneuver your opponents and playing for good recall timings or having good wave management if you are a laner. You can also help your laners have good management by hovering them while they fix a wave or when it looks like the enemy wants to fight/skirmish. Helping laners who fall behind in these matchups or even losing matchups as a jungler can be huge. If they are low on mana and need to get out of lane ASAP, then help them push. If they are overextending to crash a wave into the enemy tower because they are being frozen on, hover them. And vice versa, if you can get your lane in a good spot, ask for a gank. Don't always expect it and watch your jungler's pathing. If they are going to from bot to top side, don't start slow pushing into the enemy bot lane tower and expect to get assistance from them. Do not try to go for fancy plays unless you have a higher chance of success than the enemy. Just guessing that the enemy jungler is or isn't there is going to make climbing rough. Sometimes, you have to take risks, but at least try to track or calculate them.
- Early Lane Phase/Skirmish Potential based on meta/champion potency also based on champion difficulty
[Win Condition] in this lane phase/skirmish potential category well be based on how difficult it is to pilot certain champions or for your teammates/enemies to do so. Meta will also be a key factor as the mmelo increases and mastery of certain champions will also come into play. I have seen silver Lee Sin players that have the mechanics of a diamond player when it comes to execution but will often lack the knowledge of when and where to use those mechanics, among many other problems. But the main point is that difficult champions can be piloted in the right hands, but the decisions they make might not always be that optimal. This will be true for all players on all champions. Even on challenger one tricks that play only one champion. With all of that being said, the win condition will come more from knowing that a champion like Malzahar or Annie is much more reliable than a champion like Sylas or Leblanc when it comes to locking enemy players down. Obvious all four champions are completely different and have their own benefits. But if I'm playing amumu jungle and my malzahar hits 6, you better believe that I am looking for opportunities to kill the enemy mid laner or catch someone else. This is where macro takes a big step and where we will eventually diverge into another part of this guide.
The mid game team compositions and champions. We will discuss, much like in part one, what our win conditions based on general team compositions will be based on the mid game. The mid game drastically changes and will be less practiced because of how different it can be. Champion positions change, more roaming occurs, objectives become much more contested, and item power spikes start to come in. For the sake of keeping this reddit guide a little simple, I won't separate the mid game into different parts other than explaining post 6(as in spiking with ultimates which can be seen as early game
in some capacity) and then anything after laning phase ends. The end of lane phase does not mean a tower will always fall, but generally at least one tower will be taken for this stage of the game to take place. 2) Mid Game
- Early/Mid Game post level 6 spike
[Win Condition] Much like the previous section's example with amumu and malzahar, the post 6 spike can be huge on some champions. When many champions hit 6, skirmishes and full blown team fights can and will occur in many games. Dragons will be contested, bot lane fights will take place with teleports, roams, and alcove maneuvers , but most importantly, champions will have some of their first-back items and ultimates. The win condition will become apparent based on what each team wants to fight for. Is there a a dragon your team wants/needs, is there a tower that is low and will help your team roam/get out of a lane if taken. These questions must be asked in order to get better at macro decision making. Try to play in absolutes and always ask yourself why you are going for certain objectives/plays, especially post 6. This is the most volatile point in the game that can determine whether or not your team will be leading the charge, or defending the ambush in the near future.
- Champion Placement/Positioning based on objectives/game state
[Win Condition] Play towards what you need in order for your team to succeed(My future rap career is booming). If the enemy team has an insane amount of wave clear in the mid lane after you already got the bottom tower, don't waste time in the mid lane with multiple members constantly pushing back on forth unless you are waiting for a bigger spike and the farm helps your side more than the other. But if you are already ahead by getting the towekills/cs/dragons/etc. then keep playing off that snowball. If your team has stronger map pressure due to champion kits like mobility/pick potential then play towards those strengths. You need to identify what your next move on the map should be. Does the enemy mid laner have a lot of wave clear? Go top lane and try to get that tower. Get your top laner to catch those bottom waves. Do all 3 lanes have good wave clear? Go for the rift herald and try to siege with that regardless of the waveclear. Here is where things become less black and white. What if the enemy team is ready for your siege? Say you have a winning bot lane that just got the tower. Your team is Sett, Gragas, Vladimir, Lucian, Leona and the enemy is Gangplank, Jarvan, Anivia, Ezreal, and Thresh. Well even if you get a herald and take it to mid lane so you can siege vs that pesky perma-push anivia, you have to watch out for the enemy because of the hard engage they provide from the jarvan/gangplank. This is just 1 scenario but hopefully you get my point. Play towards your advantage, and try to figure out what the enemy can and will do to stop it. In your head, pretend you are the enemy, and think about how you stop your team from doing what you want to accomplish. Then find a route around that.
[Win Condition] Play for power spikes. If your champions are dropping off in the mid game or you have been losing contests for vision/objectives, don't be scared to play safe and farm up. Think about what the enemy is trying to do and where they are. Are they setting up vision? Is that squishy support walking around with mobis getting wards into your jungle? Set up a pick. Is the enemy zed trying to assassinate your squishy ADC farming the incoming wave? Set up a bait. Is the enemy grouping up to siege? Concede it if you don't have the ability to defend it and look to pressure other areas. Shove out side lanes and get vision/clear vision. Mid game is about adaptation. If you are 300g off Infinity Edge, you wait for that. If you are 45 seconds from getting your flash back up on a non-mobile carry, you wait for that. If the enemy is looking for picks but you ran out of wards because they cleared them all, you recall and fill your sightstone. Play for your power spikes and play to punish enemy aggression. Don't completely give up everything, but give up what you know that you cannot contest.
- Mid Game Spikes(Way past level 6)
[Win Condition] Team Fight! Group! Deep Vision! Anything that will get your team a big mid game snowball. Past level 6, I am talking about the time when your bot lane is around level 9-10 and your solo laners have gotten past level 11. This can be around the 17-25 minute mark where 1-2 items are coming in and your team has many opportunities. Do you have a good engage with strong power spikes on your carries? Is your ADC at 2 items while the enemy ADC is at 1 and you have great peel for them? Does your team have good baron potential with Botrk users, dps mid laners, armor building tanks, and good vision control? All of these questions should be in your mind. You need to identify your own win condition when it comes to the mid game, especially once more and more items/situations are at hand. Always try to be aggressive if you know your team is on the same page and that the enemy team doesn't have a way to stop you. Don't face check things if you don't have to, and don't be over eager if you think a play is wrong. Trust your instincts and increase your lead. The main thing you can do to improve your macro is ask yourself why you need or want to do something. Even if the execution doesn't always go as planned, understanding the right play is important when it comes to getting better.
- Mid Game Skirmishes/Alternative Strategies
[Win Condition] Look for solutions to problems that you are currently facing. Does the enemy team have a split pushing tryndamere that is very far ahead but the rest of your members are also ahead? You need to find a solution. Tracking cooldowns (mainly teleport if the enemy is taking it is important) and noticing if they have good baron/siege control is important. Can you catch tryndamere and get a juicy shutdown? Can you hard engage a 5v4 because you have a champion like Ornn or Leona. Can you force baron and turn the fight while the tryndamere splits? All of these need to be running through your head during the game, either before or when a situation like this is happening. Split pushing might not be the only problem. Sometimes teams are behind but have incredible scaling/turtle ability making it hard to siege against them without baron. These scenarios can be scary because 50/50 smites become troublesome if you can't tank baron well or turn on them before getting chunked/poked from baron/enemy. Splitting the map in these scenarios can help. Send your team to 1 3 1 or look for picks by darkening the enemy map. Get more sweepers and pinks and try to catch them in a mistake. Deprive them of resources and try to find opportunities to foil their plans.
The late game is much harder to come by these days with the pace of the game and when it does, it usually comes down to who makes one mistake or which team has the better composition. Understanding how to play early and mid game compositions should help you be in a position to win the late game if it comes to that. Using the general ideas from parts 1 and 2 can be used in reverse (as in you are the enemy team in the examples and must think about the things you can do to stop the enemy win conditions). In the late game, it is very difficult to draw out what kind of decisions can be made, but here are some tips to having success when it comes to general compositions/conditions.
- Team that has lost the early/mid game and is low on resources
I don't even want to put [Win Condition] in these anymore because they are more just suggestions due to the variance of compositions and situations but if you have lost every tower and inhibs are dropping, it might start looking grim. Baron, dragon souls, and elder start to be the real concerns here even if you can turtle. These are the times when you look for plays around the map that are unexpected and unconditional. Sometimes if you are so too far behind, you have to just hail mary and go for a fight at baron even if you have super minions in your base. Sometimes you have to fight if your nexus turrets are down and the enemy has big leads. But sometimes, you are still a position to win. An example here is that the enemy team just took your mid inhibitor and you are farming out your lanes in order to get what little control you can. But what does the enemy generally do after baron? Well they will look to push lanes that have towers leftover or ones with inhibitors left to capture. Sometimes dragons are spawning and they will go for those, and sometimes if you are very far behind in towers/inhibs they can just run down mid and end. But what if they are getting baron and then you know they want to go bot side to get your next inhib toweinhib? Well they will likely recall if your team is alive and start heading top bot. Sometimes the enemy will go top side and catch a wave or get a buff and then head to wherever their team is or even send someone to splitpush. This is your chance to catch them. You need to set up picks in the path they are going to, especially when they have not been there in a while. If they have been around top side/baron for the past 3 minutes, you are less likely to be seen by wards. Try to go deep before they even finish baron or right as they finish it. Try to hide in that little bush so when the enemy top walks in, you can insta kill him and delay the baron play. Try to push the opposite side of the map so you have pressure and can initiate a fight on them while not worrying about multiple towers being taken. Always look for pressure on the opposite side, especially if you are running out of options.
- Hard Scaling team in the late game that has lost early/mid
Try to look for a team fight and choose your win condition. This will usually be based on a team fight if the team has big objectives like baron/soul. Different champions are capable of different things. You don't have to assassinate anyone as Leblanc if you are 0/7/12, but you might be able to peel for your Vayne at 40 minutes and have them carry the game. You don't have to look for an insec kick as Lee Sin if your mid lane Azir has scaled up and can kill the enemy team in the right circumstance. Try to kick that riven off of him. Knowing your role in and out of teamfights makes a huge difference and will win you many games.
[Win Condition] GET CREATIVE. Don't just always look for the obvious way to win. What if the enemy team is the one I described above? What if your team just did well in the early/mid game but now the enemy team scaled like monsters. You don't have to hard engage. You don't have to hard siege. You don't have to make plays. You can have your team split up. You can have your team wait for baron or soul or elder or even look for picks. Don't just do the same thing every game.
Try to figure out what your team composition is capable of based on the time of the game and the state of the game. What items does your team have and what is your
specific role in the game at any given moment. Speak to your team about what your game plan is/could be and try to ping when you want to make macro decisions. Ping how far away you are from items, or your flash timer. And tell your team to watch out for what you think the enemy may be planning. Try to keep track of TP timers in the mid game and try to counteract what the enemy is planning by putting yourself in their shoes.
This was not as In-Depth as I wanted it to be and it become more of 'tips and tricks' in certain scenarios. I could give out specific team compositions but since the game is full of changing scenarios I figured that having more general ideas in a text-based guide will be easier to understand. In the future I hope to make more content(hopefully videos) on both macro play and more specific content on champions/micro/anything.