Positioning is a term that sounds fairly simple at first, as a carry, you stand behind your tanks and vice versa and thats it.
However, digging deeper there is a lot of things you can do with your champions positioning and focus to control the tides of battle, especially in massive team fights. Much of that could be seen in the LCS, but is hard to catch unless it is brought to your attention.
Part 1: Knowledge
Part 2: Positioning
Part 3: Breadth of Roster
Part 4: Mechanical Execution
Part 5: Map Awareness
Part 6: Team Coordination
Part 7: Resilience
Part 8: Strategic Decision Making
Part 9: Reading Your Opponent
This post will elaborate on how champions usually position both in lane as well as in teamfights, how you exert pressure simply through your presence and how to win control over a fight with merely positioning. You will learn the common practices for each role on how to properly do your job in a teamfight by being at the ideal position.
Positioning in lane – Trading stance
Already when playing in lane, positioning becomes key. One of the biggest positional adjustments you can take in lane is the trading stance.
Explained in a few words, trading stance means “stand on an enemy dying minion and punish the opponent for last hits”.
As you can see in this picture, if Swain attempts to go for the last hit, Twister Fate will have the ability to land harass on him in the meantime. If Swain attempts fighting Twisted Fate, he’ll lose valuable gold and the trade happens between the players. It’s a great way of forcing an advantage, the enemy needs to choose whether to lose gold or hitpoints essentially.
When learning how to play in trading stance, it’s important you regard some matters. Always make sure you prioritize your own last hits over this. Starving the enemy of gold doesn’t help if you don’t get any, and if you want to be a reliable threat throughout the game you need ressources, namely items.
If you use basic attacks to punish the opponent, the enemy minions will probably start attacking you as they switch focus when an ally is being attack with autoattacks. Pull your character into a brush to reset minion aggro. This is extremely important in top lane where minions can make or break a fight.
Of course also always be wary of your surroundings. Watch the map and think where the enemy could be. Maybe their laner will call for jungler help.
Learning how to utilize the trading stance requires lots of pratice and even in diamond, some people don’t know how to effectively use it. Learn how to trade properly and gain the edge in almost every laning phase.
Teamfighting as an organized unit
When watching LCS matches, often times the end game teamfights turn out quite chaotic. Taking time to rewatch them slowly will show you that fights usually have structure to them.
In proper teamfights, usually teams are structured as a unit with a direction, champions arranged from front to back depending on their role. The image to the right shows an example of how a team properly positions.
AD carries, long-range poke mages and caster supports usually are the ones sticking around the back of this unit behind the safety of their allies. The backline is coloredblue on the image
The midline is usually occupied by battle mages and melee, aggressive or jungle supports like Bard or Ivern. The midline is represented by the orange line on the timage.
Lastly, the frontline is your standard top lane tanks and also occupied by your initiators like Lee Sin that look for catches. See the red line on the image.
It is also important to note that certain heroes, in particular assassins and displacement engagers look for flanks instead of joining this unit. Their role’s effectiveness usually depends a lot on the enemy map awareness and warding. It’s why champions like Zed are considered OP in lower elos, while in higher elos champions like Orianna are preferred for their area of effect team fighting strength.
Determining your own positioning is really important and certainly won’t be the same every single game. Think about how your team needs to form a unit to face the enemy team and try executing your own tasks as well as possible.
Recognizing your zone of control
One very important thing that isn’t immediately noticeable but makes a lot of sense is that every single hero in this game exerts a zone of danger. Any enemy stepping into that zone might face the consequence of the enemy hero punishing them.
The image above serves as an example. This was from a 2016 Summer Split match in the NALCS. Gnar is zoning off the enemy from the baron pit while his teammates are doing the crucial objective. CLG knows that Gnar will likely harass them as much as he can if they attempt a direct approach. This would be Gnar attempting to zone CLG away from the baron to to ruin their attempt in stealing it. Essentially, Gnar isn’t doing anything, but its the fear of losing the fight due to unnecessary damage alone that makes CLG hesitate solely from Gnar’s potential damage range and either disengage out of respect or take the risk.
Another example would be the image to the right. Assuming that the red cross is an Ezreal that just disappeared in the brush, you can now judge the closest to you possible location and imagine a zone coming from that red cross equal to Ezreals range. You now know that you’re allowed to step around freely outside of this blue circle and he wouldn’t be able to punish you from inside the brush.
This specific picture was taken from ScrapComputer’s video about zoning, which can be a good additional ressource for learning. I recommend you check it out if you want to learn more about positioning
This concludes another part of this new series. Make sure to check out the first part too! For part 3 in particular, i’ll talk about how to properly broaden your champion pool and understand strengths and matchups more easily. Good luck on the rift, summoner. 🙂