I’m taking a break from writing about one set of truths on my blog, to tell the video game world about another truth. Conventional wisdom says every ranked game in league of legends needs to have the following:
- A tank (to fearlessly initiate team fights and survive when the squishies start dying)
- An adc (to do damage)
- An apc (so they can’t stack armor)
- A jungler
- A support
What hardly anyone talks about at lower ranks is that a balanced team also needs:
- A character that excels early and can win early teamfights or snowball. Otherwise if your whole team hits their peak late game, someone inevitably feeds and by late game they’ve taken too many turrets, dragons, gold and experience to turn it around easily.
- A character that excels late and can carry after scaling into the late game, in case you lose early battles. Otherwise if your team excels in the early game and it’s late game, you’ll lose team fights. You could split push, but then you’d definitely lose the teamfight, so in conclusion under optimal play you’re screwed.
- A character with a ranged skillshot for poke (otherwise if you’re all melee/close range adcs you have no way of doing damage in when they keep their distance in a stand-off. So don’t go Riven, Volibear, Fizz, Vayne and Shaco. Take lux, ahri or brand. Don’t take Annie because she doesn’t have the range to poke unless your opponents are too stupid to stay out of range.)
- Characters with CC to slow down opponents, disrupt them or lock them up. The more you can chain them sequentially, the better.
- Teleport for saving turrets, objective control and people
- Wards or twin shadows
- One vision ward per person
That’s more or less standard. I’ve gone from bronze to nearly gold in the past seasons, and I’m talking about what works at my elo. (A lot of the reason I currently have a low rank is I mostly play support, and never play normal when I want to goof off.) You absolutely would use different strategies at a higher level, in the same way that a woman’s soccer team uses different strategies than a male team because they simply can’t kick as far.
If you’re playing support tanks rule the day at the lower levels. Blitzcrank, braum, and leona are great at the lower levels. As you rise you can start using squishier supports like lulu or janna, but at the lower levels people’s reflexes are slower and they don’t really expect the shield or the polymorph. You can play perfectly as lulu, but be partnered with a horrible adc that doesn’t anticipate your character well. Blitzcrank is easy because the second you grab someone they know to attack him now.
Honestly the squishier supports are more fun. But your adcs tend to be a lot more toxic and blame you for their idiocy when they don’t know how to play.
That’s a real problem with this game – chats are incredibly toxic and childish. Whoever is the adc thinks he’s the king and likes to bark orders out, and if he fails he blames the support. (Usually it’s the jungler or the support who pay the most attention to the map and should be the strategist.) Adcs whine whenever your spell happens to snare some cs, or because they don’t understand runic shield. And the whining gets even worse when you crawl out of the lower bronze level to silver where people start thinking they know how to play the game better than everyone else. Deviate from what they know and they stop playing to type and rant, and get killed in the process.
Honestly, I don’t recommend lol for the community. I love indie games because there’s a shared passion and you can often interact with the creators. It’s more of a small town feel and you tend to get to know everyone. League of legends is more like a faceless city where you masturbate with people you don’t know. It’s like a quick and nearly brainless adrenaline rush, where tactics are more important and most games are pretty similar and rely on reflexes as a pre-requisite for doing well. It’s unsurprising then that you don’t have the depth of turn-based strategies. But like any virtual sport, it has a place. As long as you can moderate it and not get too addicted, which is something I have some experience with. (These days I try to quit after getting the win of the day, or playing 3 games at most. Or just when it’s doesn’t seem fun anymore.)
That’s all I have to say to anyone else. I own most of the characters now, and my favorite characters have changed over time. I like playing ranged castors with skill shots, and currently ahri, lux, lulu, and blitzcrank are my favorites, so I naturally play middle or support. I like these characters because they can help a lot when someone doesn’t know what the heck they’re doing.
When I get back to a higher elo I’ll probably use Zilean and Lulu some more and some unconventional picks. You really can’t use them in the lower bronze because there’s a good chance your adc can’t kite, and you need to be a tank that can rescue him from killing himself. Often no one will take a character that has a ranged poke for team fights too. With Zilean especially they don’t respond instinctively to the ult, and won’t let themselves be killed so they can be resurrected.