League of Legends Guide

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Choosing Your Champions - Buying and Selecting Champions for Solo Queue

written by Alurem

Table of Contents

  • Read Me

    Please remember that League of Legends is always being updated and that champions will go from strong to weak and vice versa as time goes on so this guide will not contain a list of champions you should buy but instead help teach you to recognize why a champion should be bought and then used during a match.  This guide, like all guides, is based on my opinion and should not be taken for what fact but as a tool to help show you how to consider the topic at hand and you should feel free to read other guides and in the end play as you see fit

    This Guide was last edited: August 1st, 2012

  • Roles

    First things first, if you plan on playing ranked then you should be able to play at least four of these roles, yes that probably means four rune sheets with full rank 3 runes, ideally you will be able to play all five but with four odds are your team will not stick you with the one role you can't play.

    The five Archetypes are: Tank (heavy cc, protect Mage/Carry), Off-Tank (Hard to kill, disrupt enemies), Mage (Ability Power focused damage dealer), Carry (Attack damage focused damage dealer), Support (Makes rest of the team perform better)

    Jungle: You want to pick a Tank or Off-Tank here usually. Make sure your comfortable with tracking spawn timers and ganking without an ult, if your not then do not fill this role

    Top: You want to pick a Tank, Off-Tank or Mage usually. Its your job to simply farm, control your lane and do your best to not die

    Mid: You want to pick a Mage, AP Tank or Ranged AD (for specific counters) usually.  Similar to top but you also need to be ready to assist Top and Bottom lanes if/when needed

    AD/Bottom/Carry: You will be going bottom lane with the support and will want to pick a Carry.  With some teams this can be a melee type or a Mage (this is not common and not recommended in solo-queue unless you have practiced with a duo.)  Your going to want to be able to farm and get fed (get kills) since you will need all the money you can get for late game

    Support:  You want to pick a straight Support, or a Tank if no one while/has pick one and will be going bottom lane with the AD.  You are there to make sure that Carry gets as many kills as possible while trying to disrupt the Other Carry at the same time.  You will also need to ward so a champion that does not need a lot of money early/mid game to be useful is essential

    All teams want one of each archetype (Off-Tank and Support can be replaced by Mage in some cases but not recommended in general) which generally means: Top and Jungle are Tank and Off-Tank, Mid is Mage, Bottom is Carry and Support

    Most guides will list the roles as archetypes that champions fall under but I always find it more straight forward to think what lane you will be playing.  Please refer to many other guides if you want more details on the archetype roles, I can recommend: Delepitore's Comprehensive Guide: Improvement 101 as one such source. I want to focus on choosing champions and this way is quicker to go through and will come up more in lower ranks.

  • Buying - Reasons

    Lets start by sorting out the reasons you should purchase a champion for.
    1. Its cheap and is popular:  Includes any champion costs less than 2000 and are good for trading purposes at the very least.  These champs are consistently popular  Examples: Ashe and Soraka

    2. Its popular but not cheap: Same as above but relates to the more expensive champions.  Examples: Vladimir, Kennen or Lee Sin

    3. Its considered OP:  This one is tricky since it changes with every update, basically refers to a flavour of the month,  you will just have to watch who gets picked/banned a lot that did not use to be during champ selects or start following forums/blogs

    4. You Like it:  It is okay to buy a champ because you enjoy playing it, even the worst champ does has some viability in game and can be used to some effect.  Saying this you should also be prepared for your champ to become sorely underpowered and consider to stop using it if most other champs are clearly superior

    5. You want to fill a Role:  Buy a Tank for top or a Carry for bottom, whatever you need to cover your team, do not rely on free champs (more details in Selecting) you should own at least two you know how to use (ideally more since then you always want to make sure you have one to choose from)

    6. That is all that is left: You purchased every rune you may want and every champion you consider remotely useful, if this is a reason for you then please skip to Selection since you can go and buy whatever want at this point.

  • Buying - Order

    So you have saved up 6500 points and now want to spend them, what do you get?

    This is a hard choice but usually runes are foremost, since its hard to be competitive without them in ranked but if you have the runes that you need then I recommend Reason 4.  This is a game and you should enjoy yourself and if you do not have any champions you enjoy using then go buy one, you might only get to use it once in a while but it will make the game that much more fun.

    Already have one or two champions you like(love?) to play, well then for with Reason 5.  It is important for you to be useful to your team and being last pick means you will have to fill whatever role is leftover so having an option is important.

    With those first three requirements filled now its time to use Reasons 1, 2 and 3.  Champions that fall into 1 and 3 should be first bought, then champions that just fall into 1, this will quickly build your champion pool and should provide more trading options.  After that feel free to use 2 or 3, whichever your prefer.  If you like to rip apart your enemy team then use Reason 3, if you prefer a less popular champions then go with Reason 2.

  • Selection - Pick Order

    Okay your queue just ended and its time for your team to pick.  First thing let sort the order.

    First and Second pick should be encouraged to fill whatever role they want but should be eager to grab your champion if they are aiming for something unpopular or easily countered.

    Fourth and Fifth pick should be ready to fill in whatever role is needed and should not hesitate to ask first or second to grab them a popular champ.

    Third pick is in between, they should request a champion but should be ready to cover for fourth or fifth pick when it turns out one or both can not play a role.

  • Selection - Communication and Courtesy

    When the picks first began, say Hi, this shows that you are paying attention and helps start up the needed conversation for the pregame selections.

    If your are first or second pick, say which role you are planning on taking and what champion you wish to use for that role.  Basically, you two can take whatever you want and the rest will have to deal with it.  That being said you should consider what the other picks are telling you and that you can be flexible whenever you want to be.  Next if If your are planning on using a unpopular champion or one that is easily countered (Like Kat) then please ask if someone on your team would like you to grab them the champion they wish to use.  If yes then make sure they have the champ that you want, you don't want to be stuck with a champion you never have used

    If you are fourth and fifth, pick then please tell everyone if there is a role you just can not play and one that you do want to play.  As an example: "Hi, I can not play support but I can play any other role and would love to play Mid please."  Being polite is very important as the last two picks since your team will see you as the worse on the team and will probably act superior to you.

    If you are third pick, then you need to state not only want but what you can not play and tie the team together.  be ready to play a part is three way trades as well as always ask for a popular champ if you want it.  The first two picks will consider more of an asset than the last two picks and will usually grab your champion if they can.

    General Rules

    Be Polite - People play better when they are not angry or frustrated with other member of their team

    Respond Quickly - Do not wait till the last second to pick your champion if someone else is waiting for you to choose (which is usually always.)  If someone asks if their a champion they can grab for you, say yes or no, do not ignore them.

    Be Informative - If you take a champion that can be played in multiple ways tell your team how you plan on using him.  Your team wants to know.

    Relax - In the end this is a game and although it is very frustrating to lose try not take it out on your next queue, this WILL only make things worse for you in the end.  This also means if your last pick and ask for mid and first pick takes it, you will have to live with it, this time they got what they wanted to play, hopefully next time you will get what you want.

  • Selecting

    Its okay to want/plan to play your favorite champ but you must not focus on it. 
       It is very likely that someone else will fill that role or that your champ will be a bad fit for your/enemy team so you must always be prepared to not get things your way.

    You should always be comfortable with your champion
       Its hard to get practice for ranked since in other modes the same challenge jsut is not present but you should know how to use your champion, how to win your lane and have a build in mind.  

       Never use a champion for the first time in ranked, no matter what your team tells you just don't do it. You will mess up your abilities and you will have awkward timing with everything you do.  

       You should also reconsider your pick if you are unsure about that champion. Not sure what his Q ability does?  Don't know what to grab for her third item?  Can champion A beat Champion B in lane?  If any of these questions (or others) come up you might want to rethink your pick.

    Always make sure your team has all the roles filled properly
       Do not take another Off-Tank for jungle if your team needs a Tank. Spread out damage type, do not take a fourth AP type champ, try for a AD

    Do not auto lock, give your team time to accept your choice
       If your second pick and picking at same time are first pick, do not grab your champion and auto lock. Yes you will get to play your champion but it may be a terrible match for your team or first pick may do the same thing with the same role so let the clock run down a little. At the very least it will give your team time to discuss what the remaining roles will play.

    CC (crowd control) is important
       These are abilities that inflict status effects upon your enemies that prevent them from taking actions. This includes taunt, hold, grab, toss, knock up, knock back, suppress, stun and fear.  There are also lesser CC that can be very helpful but do not fully incapacitate an enemy, these are: Slow, Blinds (both the one that reduces accuracy and one the that removes sight), Silence and Snare. These are quite useful and can geatly effect a battle but are overshadowed but the other types.

    Counter picking is helpful and can really help you move up the ranks
       This refers to choosing your team based on what the other team has chosen. Some champions can easily beat other champions in a given lane.  Others are good for stopping an enemies ultimate. This is a complicated subject and will take time and effort to fully understand. In general learn who your favorite champions are good against and who they are bad against and whether they should be picked first or last.

       Counter picking does not override skill. If you are unpracticed with a champion then you will probably still lose your lane so the above rules still apply when trying to counter pick for the enemy team

    Remember the Bans
       Many champions were banned for a reason so if you see three out of the four preferred junglers banned you may want to  consider grabbing the fourth.  If your champion is usually countered by another but it's banned then you should also consider  taking the champion since the other team may be gunning for it.

  • The End

    I hope you enjoyed this guide and found it helpful, I will try to check up on this guide from time to time and try to read the comments.

    Thank you for your time
      - Alurem

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