*** These are all my personal thoughts and opinions and in no way reflect the opinions/ideas of Riot or The Council. ***
Hey LoL community,
To supplement and really give a foundation of understanding for my current project of releasing (mini-)guides for champions and for general knowledge, I wrote an article that explains what I perceive as the various roles champions can take in League of Legends gameplay.
I highly recommend viewing the Runeterra version as it's a lot easier on the eyes.
Hope this was useful and/or enjoyable.
Current Compendium of statikk's Guides:
Know Your Role: Runeterra or LoL Forums
Kassadin, the Voidwalker: Runeterra or LoL Forums
Udyr, the Animal Spirit: Runeterra or LoL Forums
Dr. Mundo, the Madman of Zaun: Runeterra or LoL Forums
Sona, the Maven of the Strings: Runeterra or LoL Forums
Know Your Role
League of Legends is a team game and as in any other team game there are certain roles (ie: positions) that each person is meant to play. Just like there is a quarterback in football or a center in basketball, there are various roles a given champion can take. Also note that in such a complex game, many champions blur the lines between the roles and can take on multiple roles at once. At the end of the day though, one champion can only do so much by themselves and it is only in combination that champions can come together to make a formidable team destined for victory. Here’s a (kind of) quick rundown.
Note: These roles/categories I put forth here are somewhat arbitrary, but I feel they give a strong basic level of understanding of this game.
Many champions were made with a teammate-based focus in mind. These heroes excel at supporting teammates typically through heals, disables (stuns, silences, etc.), auras, and ally buffs/enemy debuffs that allow their other teammates to dominate the opposing force.
Supporters are the epitome of utility and versatility. They can be useful for ganking, pushing, and team-battles depending on their ability set. They also can take on the job of "baby-sitting" a carry during the early stages of the game in order to let the carry get farmed up. In team fights, the Supporter's role is to protect his team especially any high priority target's such as an ally carry.
Supporting abilities are wide-spread throughout League of Legends. Hence, you will often see even carry champions who can even “support” their teammates in subtler ways enhancing not only themselves but their teammates as well.
Supporters aim for items that will help them strengthen their spells and use those spells more often as well as aura-based items that buff up their allies or weaken their enemies.
Some exemplary Supporters are:
Galio - Janna - Soraka - Kayle - Taric
Some exemplary Supporting spells are:
Zilean's Time Warp - Soraka's Astral Blessing - Taric's Dazzle - Morgana's Black Shield - Nunu's Bloodboil - Malphite's Ground Slam - Janna's Monsoon
- Be unselfish - for example, be the primary team warder or sacrifice themselves for their carry if needed
- Stick together with allies to enhance their abilities
- Play to win, not to have the most kills and/or assists (or deaths =D)
Ganker (Assassin) / Semi-Carry
Gankers (or what Riot refers to as "Assassins") are champions who have a strong focus on killing enemy champions particularly in the earlier stages of the game. This is usually implicated by a champion's ability to deal large amounts of burst damage, lockdown the opponent (ie: a slow or stun), and be mobile in order to quickly close distances (hopefully taking the target by surprise).
These champions excel at picking off enemies often in the early and mid game stages to keep down the opposing team (especially their carries) hopefully being unpredictable and taking advantage of the element of surprise. When coordinated together with their team, gankers can make the opposing team’s life a nightmare.
Gankers rely on strong map/lane control and (counter) ward placement to allow for clean and effective ganking of easy, vulnerable targets in the various lanes or jungles. Effective Gankers often come from the jungle as it keeps the enemy team on its toes at all times. In team fights, Gankers look to swiftly take out high priority targets such as enemy supporters or carries to tip the odds in their favor.
If dominant enough in the early stages of the game, Gankers can gain an insurmountable lead (via items and levels) that will allow them to "carry" the game by instantly exploding enemy targets and almost single-handedly leading a victory. This type of carry that is reliant on early domination typically through their spells is usually termed as semi-carry / soft carry as opposed to pure carry / hard carry (which will be further explained in the Carry section).
Gankers typically focus on items that will increase their burst potential, reduce their cooldowns in order to secure kills more easily, and allow them to stay out on the battlefield longer (to lengthen roaming time and increase the chances of finding a gank opportunity).
Some exemplary Gankers are:
Annie - Shaco - Pantheon - Blitzcrank - Twisted Fate
Some exemplary Ganking spells are:
Sion's Cryptic Gaze - Rammus's Powerball - Twitch's Ambush - Malzahar's Nether Grasp - Akali's Shadow Dance - Twisted Fate's Destiny - Ezreal's Arcane Shift
- Take the early advantage - start searching for targets and take them down the second they gain the abilities/items to do so in order to avoid the late game and take pressure off of their teammates
- Be the hunter not the hunted - avoid sitting still and farming, instead stay active by being aware of the map and intelligently roaming for opportunities (ie: find fragile champions who overextend in their lanes or jungle heroes who are engaged with neutral creeps)
- Use the terrain to their advantage - surprise victims by hiding in nearby brush as well as sealing off escape routes.
- Not neglect the utility of warding which enhances the entire team’s play
Pushers are adept at clearing waves of creeps and/or dealing raw damage to quickly siege towers. These champions are often equipped with spammable AoE abilities or the ability to control other units to help take down the opposing base. The ability to support teammates and creeps with buffs increases pushing power as well. Having a way to escape incoming ganks or kill attempts is also a sign of a strong pusher as they will often be in dangerous territory while pushing the lanes.
The Pusher's goal is to siege the enemy base. In the early game, this can allow the Pusher's team to either finish the game before the enemy has time to effectively react (typically happens in a dedicated pushing strategy) or to create an insurmountable gold and experience advantage over the other team. A Pusher can also remove pressure off a lane or push a lane (sometimes possible to push multiple lanes especially later in the game) which applies pressure on the opposing team's buildings forcing them to defend their base. This spreads the opposing team out avoiding full on 5v5 team fights while also opening the enemy team up for small ganks and skirmishes. This also frees up other lanes so that ally (carry) champions can continue to “free farm.” This can also lead to early tower kills which will give their team an early gold, experience, and map control advantage.
Pushers want items that increase their damage output on structures and aura-like items that will help them prolong and support pushes by buffing their summons, teammates and/or the creeps. They also look for items that will allow them to sustain and spam their spells.
Some exemplary Pushers are:
Twisted Fate - Sivir - Nidalee - Heimerdinger - Mordekaiser
Some exemplary Pushing spells are:
Rammus's Tremors - Anivia's Glacial Storm - Shaco's Hallucinate - Alistar's Triumphant Roar - Sivir's On the Hunt - Twisted Fate's Destiny - Alistar's Colossal Strength
- Be ready to move across the map at any moment whether it be to keep the enemy defense off balance or to defend their own tower.
- Pressure lanes in order to free up other lanes for farming and to create gank opportunities for their team.
- Take out towers for their team early and often to give their team the edge.
- Know when to go it alone and when to be there for their team.
Tank / Initiator
A Tank's job is to have the enemy team focus their spells (especially disables) and attacks on them so their teammates can do what they need to do without getting utterly owned. Thus in team-battles, a Tank is often the one who is given the responsibility to initiate a favorable fight by going in head-first and disabling/singling out high priority, vulnerable targets. Knowing how and when to initiate is at the very core essence of being a Tank.
Tanks often have a reliable crowd control of sorts (ie: stun) to lead in with or a strong area-of-effect (AoE) ability saved for use at the beginning of large team fights that can make and break entire games. Tanks typically have abilities that force them to stay within the heat of the fight for prolonged periods of time.
Tanks also typically have active or passive defenses that allow them to take the brunt of the damage without falling prey to it. A Tank should typically be the first into a battle and the last one out even if that means death. This is another reason why the terms tank and initiator often coincide as the first champion into the fight is usually the one that is initially focus-fired.
Tanks go for items that make them beefier and harder to take down (armor, magic resist, health). At the same time, a tank must also prioritize items such that they remain a threat to the enemy throughout the game as to be worth being attacked if there is no other direct way to force the enemy to focus-fire them (ie: taunt). In line with this, Tanks can also help the support load by picking up useful aura items for their team.
Some exemplary Tanks are:
Alistar - Shen - Amumu - Rammus - Galio
Some exemplary Tanking spells are:
Udyr's Turtle Stance - Shen's Feint - Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy - Alistar's Pulverize - Rammus's Defensive Ball Curl - Nasus's Fury of the Sands - Mordekaiser's Iron Man
- Be at the front of any and every battle in order to disrupt the enemy team.
- Be able to assess whether or not to start a battle – if you’re going to start a battle, make sure you come in confident without hesitation as that allows your team to play cohesively.
- Be the first ones in, and the last ones out
- If needed save their gamebreaking abilities for the important clashes.
- Not be afraid of death (not to say that they should be dying all the time) – never lose sight of the bigger picture as sacrificing themselves for a big teamfight/push can often lead to victory
The term “carry” derives from a hero’s ability to “carry” a team on their back to victory almost single-handedly. The Carry's role is to farm up items and gain levels throughout the game until the latter part of the game where they can absolutely dominate the opposing team with their superior late-game assets.
The typical Carry or "hard carry" is usually weaker and more vulnerable early game which can be offset by a “babysitter” as a lane partner or, if the hero is adept enough at it, by jungling (killing neutral creeps to level up).
The inherent power of hard-carry heroes lie in the scaling nature of their abilities that allow them to crush the opposition in the later parts of a match. Thus Carries typically need to be high-leveled with a considerable amount of items to exploit their true potential. The Carry's power is often manifested in the ability to output massive, consistent damage which is most easily achieved through a strong auto-attack. This means that Carries in the late-game not only kill enemy champions well but also bust through buildings like it's no one's business.
On top of scaling offensive capabilities, effective Carries typically have an ability that helps them farm creeps easily as well as a clutch way of escaping dangerous situations since they will be actively focused and hunted throughout the game.
Carries typically go for items that put their damage potential over the roof while also balancing that with survivability since they will be the focus of most battles.
Some exemplary Carries are:
Master Yi - Tryndamere - Tristana - Ezreal - Shaco
Some exemplary Carry spells are:
Jax's Relentless Assault - Master Yi's Highlander - Gangplank's Parrrley - Twitch's Spray and Pray - Ezreal's Mystic Shot - Shaco's Hallucinate - Sivir's Ricochet
- Farm, farm, and farm some more, but never lose sight of the big picture - never neglect helping out their team especially when it comes to key defenses or nearby fights/ganks
- For the most part, avoid taking bad risks early - if it is a tough lane, ask for a swap or have a good lane partner and play it smart.
- Know when it's time to stop farming and time to start dominating the enemy (single out their weaklings and feed off of it).