There are millions of players across the world that play League of Legends, so it’s no shock that there are thousands of new members a day. If you’re one of those members, you may need a little help to get ahead of the game when it comes to learning how to play. This is a guide for how to play League of Legends for beginners.
A sort of language has sprung up strictly for League of Legends. There’s a lingo that middle and high level summoners use, and if you don’t understand fully by the time you reach a high enough level you will be ridiculed and made fun of in game; that’s just how people are. Instead, learn early so that you don’t have to face the torment of rude players. Here are just a few phrases mentioned commonly during a match.
- Champion: A character controlled by another player, a ‘hero’ by other games’ standards.
- Minion: Computer-controlled footsoldiers who mindlessly charge across the battlefield. Minions are spawned by each team’s Nexus every 30 seconds, and walk down the 3 lanes until they encounter enemies. Minions come in 4 types: melee, caster, siege, and super. Melee minions are somewhat durable and attack quickly but weakly. Caster minions are ranged but fragile, and have slower but more powerful attacks than melee minions. Siege minions, also known as cannon minions, only appear in every 3rd wave (every 2nd wave after 35 minutes). Siege minions are short ranged and significantly more durable and powerful than other minions. Additionally, siege minions take reduced damage from turrets. Super minions only spawn when an enemy has lost an Inhibitor, and are the most fearsome of all minions. Super minions have devastatingly strong attacks, are very durable, and increase the armor, magic resistance, and damage of all other minions near them. However, they are vulnerable to magic damage.
- Turret: Heavy defensive structures. Each lane has two turrets controlled by each team.
- Inhibitor: Large crystal structures inside each team’s base. Each lane has 1 inhibitor in it. When an inhibitor is destroyed, the enemy team will spawn super minions in that lane for 4 minutes, after which time the inhibitor will respawn.
- Nexus: The gigantic crystal structure at the back of each team’s base. To win the game, destroy the enemy Nexus.
- Meta: Meta, short for metagame, is the term used by players to mean the current standard way of playing the game. It generally takes two forms: lane organization, and champion choice. Lane organization is the arrangement of champions across the three lanes of the map and the jungle. This usually means 1 tank, fighter, or utility-heavy champion in the top lane, 1 tank or fighter in the jungle, 1 powerful spellcaster in the mid lane, and 1 AD Carry and 1 support in the bottom lane. (All of these terms will be defined later in this list.) Champion meta is the set of specific champions considered to be the best at filling certain roles. A champion who is rarely played is seen as not fitting in with the meta, or is ‘non-meta.’ While there is nothing to force players to make decisions that are meta or non-meta, some players frown upon decisions they see as being non-meta.
- Bot/Mid/Top: These are what the lanes are called. They’re simply shortened so as to not have to type so much in-game. Support is also sometimes shortened to “supp” and jungle or jungler is sometimes shortened to “jung.”
- Jungle: The area between the lanes. The jungle is a maze of trees containing brush and camps of powerful monsters.
- Brush: Patches of tall grass in the jungle, top lane, and bottom lane. You cannot see through brush unless an allied champion, minion, or ward is standing in that brush.
- ADC: Attack damage carry. This type champion almost always goes in the bot lane, with a support by his or her side. In theory, they are supposed to fully carry their team to victory, gaining as many kills as possible. ADCs are in general very weak at the beginning of the game, but become much more powerful as they acquire items. ADCs are almost exclusively ranged champions, and their spells or passive abilities serve to complement their basic attacks.
- Tank: A tank is supposed to gain a lot of health, magic resist, or armor (or a mixture of all three) depending on the champions on the other team. He or she is supposed to initiate group fights, taking the majority of the damage so that the rest of the team can lower the enemy’s health as fast as possible. Most tanks will also have one or more forms of CC, to make them relevant targets to the enemy team.
- Support: This type of champion is supposed to protect the ADC during the laning phase of the game, and help protect the entire team throughout the rest. The majority of support champions have either stuns, shields, or heals in order to better help their team. They aren’t supposed to have many kills or minion kills, as they want their ADC to get the majority of both.
- Mid: Mid champions are almost always either AD or AP spellcasters. Like an ADC, a mid lane champion wants to amass kills and farm, but unlike an ADC, a mid laner is also responsible for being available to roam outside of the mid lane, into either the jungle or a side lane, to help his or her allies secure a kill or apply pressure to the tower. Most mid laners deal most of their damage in a single short burst, intent on killing one or more enemies before they have a chance to respond.
- Jungler: This champion roams the battlefield, looking for fellow champions to help or turrets to take down. They feed on the monsters in the jungle, even fighting the dragon in order to help his or her team gain extra gold. The jungler’s purpose is to create an element of surprise, because the enemy team is not supposed to know where he or she is on the map unless he or she wants them to. Junglers are usually the only members of a team to use the summoner spell Smite, as it gives them the ability to kill jungle monsters much more quickly.
- B: This is a simple part of the LoL lingo. The letter B is the default hotkey for the “Recall” ability, which teleports your champion back to base. Saying you have to “B” means that you have to go back to base for one reason or another, usually because you are low on health or mana or have enough gold to purchase an item. Make sure that you have someone else guarding your turret while you’re gone, though.
- OOM: Out of mana. A champion who has run out of mana is significantly less powerful, as they cannot use their spells. Being out of mana often means that going B is a good idea, but more importantly, saying that you are OOM tells your teammates to attempt to avoid directly fighting the enemy team, as you would not be able to help them.
- Push: To attempt to quickly and aggressively kill enemy minions, to make your minions move towards and attack enemy towers. “Push” is usually used as a command to your teammates, to tell them to hurry up and kill the enemy tower in that lane. “Pushed” refers to when your team’s minions are already close to the enemy tower. “Push out” is a command given in response to enemy minions being close to your team’s towers, and is a command to tell your teammates to kill those minions before they kill your tower.
- Backdoor: The act of destroying enemy buildings while the enemy team is completely distracted. Backdooring is sometimes seen as poor sportsmanship, but it does win games sometimes. (By now, this is also known as an “xPeke.”). See below video (skip ahead to 1 hour, 11 minutes, 41 seconds):
- Blue: The Ancient Golem buff. The Blue buff spawns as an ancient golem in one of the jungle camps opposite the red buff, and when given to a champion gives a massive bonus to mana regeneration and cooldown reduction. Blue buff is extremely important on most junglers and mid laners, but be careful: if you die, the champion who killed you will steal the buff from you. Note: Some mid lane players assume that because they are mid, the jungler is supposed to give them every blue buff after the first. This is not the case; it is ultimately the jungler’s choice whether or not to share parts of their jungle with their teammates, but it should always be a communicated decision agreed upon by the team.
- Red: The Elder Lizard buff. The Red buff spawns as an elder lizard in one of the jungle camps, opposite the blue buff, and when given to a champion causes their basic attacks to deal damage over time and slow enemies who are hit. Red buff is important to most junglers, but as with the blue buff, if you die while holding it the champion who killed you will steal the buff.
- Q, W, E, R, Ult: The default hotkeys for a champion’s four spells. They are also used to refer to the spells themselves. ‘Ult’ has the same meaning as ‘R’.
- CD: Cooldown, or ‘on cooldown’. Whenever a spell is cast, there is a certain amount of time before it can be cast again; this is its cooldown. It is common for players to ask allies if they have major spells on cooldown, or if enemies have major spells on cooldown.
- CDR: Cooldown Reduction. CDR is a stat that reduces the cooldowns of a champion’s spells by a certain percent, allowing that champion to cast their spells more frequently. CDR has a maximum value of 40%.
- AD: Attack Damage. AD is an important stat for ADCs and certain top laners and junglers, as it affects the damage they deal with their basic attacks.
- AP: Ability Power. AP is an important stat for most spellcasters, as most spells in League of Legends become more powerful as your ability power increases. Spells that grow more powerful with AP have green “(+#)” text in their descriptions, showing the current bonus they are gaining from your AP.
- AS: Attack Speed. How quickly your champion can fire basic attacks. Attack speed is shown as the number of basic attacks you can fire in 1 second.
- Armor: Resistance to physical damage. 1 point of Armor mallows you to survive about 1% more physical damage.
- MR: Magic Resistance. Resistance to magical damage. 1 point of MR allows you to survive about 1% more magical damage.
- True Damage: Damage that ignores armor or MR.
- CC: Crowd Control. CC refers to any form of spell that disables enemies in some way. Stuns, snares/roots, slows, and silences are examples of CC. Having a lot of crowd control on your team is excellent.
- Utility: A catch-all term for spells that do not simply deal damage to an enemy. Utility spells include heals, shields, all forms of CC, and spells that boost some aspect of an ally.
- GLHF: This is something people tend to say at the beginning of a match. It simply stands for “Good luck, have fun.”
- GG / GGWP: Good game / good game well played. You say this at the end of a game whether you win or lose, for good sportsmanship. Calling GG before the game is over is often seen as a call of surrender.
- KS: Kill steal / kill secure. The act of finishing the kill on an enemy champion, after an ally did most of the damage. This is a practice that some people frown upon, but because League of Legends is a team game, actually isn’t that bad. Assists are worth gold, and if you have more assists than kills your assists start to become more valuable. The only circumstance in which kill stealing is actually bad is when a support finishes kills when one of their teammates could have. At the same time though, it is better for the support to get a kill and have their teammate not die, than it is for their teammate to try to finish a kill themselves and die.
- Main: If you “main” a champion, you play commonly and you play well with him or her.
- OP: Overpowered. This is how players describe a champion who is is severely fed, or just a naturally good champion.
- Broken: People refer to some champions as “broken” either because their abilities are seen as too good or too bad for the game.
- Snowball: To grow out of control. The term comes from the idea of a snowball rolling down a snowy hillside. As the ball rolls, it picks up more snow and grows bigger. In game terms, snowballing occurs when either a champion or a team acquires an advantage, and uses this advantage to acquire greater and greater advantages, eventually winning the game through sheer force. Snowballing is a force Riot has been trying to work against for some time now, but some champions can still snowball if given a lead.
- Throw: To lose a lead. The idea is that a player or team gains an advantage, and then either throws it away or throws it to the enemy team. Throws occur when a player or team with an advantage get too cocky and make one or more mistakes, resulting in them giving away their lead to the enemy team. Throws are a major reason why people say, “you can always win.”
- Farming: The act of killing minions in a lane, or monsters in the jungle. Farming is an essential activity for all players on a team except the support, as it allows them to gain gold and EXP to make themselves more powerful. The key to farming minions is to ‘last-hit’ them, to only attack them when they have very few hitpoints remaining, as only the champion who lands the killing blow on a minion receives gold.
- Fed: Getting fed or any variation of the phrase means gaining a lot of kills. The more kills you gain, the more powerful you become, eventually becoming virtually unstoppable… except by an even more fed enemy. Certain snowball champions excel when fed early, but tend to be somewhat weaker otherwise. Alternatively, ‘fed’ can be the past tense of feeding.
- Feeding: Feeding is a negative term that tends to get tossed around a lot, especially in games that go badly. Feeding is the act of dying repeatedly, especially, dying repeatedly without getting kills in response. Having one or more players on a team feed is generally not good for the success of the team, but what’s much worse is when the players on that team who aren’t feeding decide to yell at the players on the team who they say are feeding. Interestingly enough though, the more times a champion dies in a row without securing a kill, the less gold they give to the enemy team on death. By extension, this means that trading kills, while good for you, is equally good for the enemy.
- Wards: Wards are often under-respected but critical items. Wards are single-use consumable items that can be placed on the map to give your team vision of that area for a short time. Wards come in three types: Trinket, Stealth (“Green”), and Vision (“Pink”). Trinket wards can be placed for free by the yellow Warding Totem trinket, but only last one or two minutes. Stealth wards, or “green” wards, can be purchased for 75 gold, and last for 3 minutes. Trinket and stealth wards are invisible. Vision wards, or “pink” wards, can be purchased for 100 gold, will stay on the map until they are destroyed by enemy champions, and can see nearby invisible enemies. However, vision wards themselves are not invisible. Every player can have 3 green wards and 1 pink ward on the map at a time, meaning that it is not possible to only have 1 player on a team drop wards and still be successful as a team. Everyone needs to help.
- Dragon: The first of the two large monsters on the map. The Dragon spawns in the river between bottom and middle lane, and when killed grants a large amount of gold to all players on the team who killed it. The Dragon is a very dangerous opponent, and should not be fought without teammates, or when enemy champions are nearby.
- Baron: Baron Nashor, the second of the two large monsters. The Baron spawns in the river between middle and top lanes, and when killed grants a very large amount of gold to all players on the team who killed it, as well as a buff that increases their AD, AP, and HP and mana regeneration rates. Baron is an extremely dangerous opponent, and often requires the entire team to take down. Fighting baron while enemy champions are nearby is one of the most dangerous things you can do in a game.
Hopefully, this how-to guide on how to play League of Legends for beginners has helped you better understand the game, the lingo, and what to do. Though there are plenty more tips to come, it’s best not to overload your mind with too much information so that you have more of a chance of remembering it all later. Be sure to check out our League Saturday nights – come and spectate to learn more about the game or join in the fun!
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