In their latest issue of “Ask Riot”, Riot Games’ game designers gave a detailed list of things they think are the key attributes of what defines a good player. I want to help you guys work on every single one of those values so that you can improve yourself step by step and eventually reach that rank you’ve never reached before.

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

In today’s part of this series, ill be talking about “Game Knowledge”. Now what exactly is defined as knowledge? Riot defines knowledge as this:

Our ability to make optimal decisions based off your understanding of how the game rules work  (e.g. which items are the best choices if you want an early game build on a fighter top lane, or which champion best serves the needs of a team comp).

What i’ll be trying to help you guys with is how to work on the various elements of knowledge required in League. Fact is that game knowledge is such a broad term since there is so many variables in League of Legends and for all of them, you will want to learn how to make optimal decisions for yourself. Nonetheless, i as a diamond league player will try helping you out with some hints on how to improve your overall knowledge.

What i’ll go over in this article:

  • How to gain knowledge around the champion you play
  • Learning your limits to improve decision making
  • A way of always having a game plan in mind

 

Your Champion

A good starting point is the hero you play. Every champion belongs to different archetypes of roles and classes and has a distinctly unique playstyle. Thus, mastery of using your tool will be necessary to succeed.
LS, a popular coach, has the opinion that in order to get good at the game, your tool should be chosen to not suit you but the task best. Play a simple champion so you don’t have to deal with getting good at your champion or worry about mechanics. I personally believe that there is no objectively best solution, but you should choose whatever fits you most. Choose a champion you are passionate about and enjoy learning and playing with, or just choose one of the following characters if you want to get better at the game as a whole instead of bothering to learn a champion:

  • Top: Garen, Malphite, Renekton
  • Jungle: Zac, Amumu, Khazix
  • Mid: Annie, Swain, Morgana
  • AD Carry: Ashe, Miss Fortune, Sivir
  • Support: Sona, Soraka, Karma

When it comes to your champion, you need to understand that every hero plays differently. Whenever you choose to learn a hero, look up guides, get feedback from people above you in rank. Get the most optimal runes, masteries and item paths from either champion.gg or probuilds.net. Spend time with the hero in the practice tool to get a feeling for abilities and how they interact with different objects in the game. Play a bunch of normal games before you hop into ranked, until you feel you’re at a point where you can start ranking point-blank and still perform up to your limits.

What’s most important is that you try hard to understand what exactly the character does. Read skill descriptions carefully, learn which skills are most important to use when against what champion, which items synergize well with your hero, during which phase of the game he peaks in strength. There’s no general answer to all these things, but if you do have any questions about a specific champion, leave it in the comments below and i’ll get back to you.

Knowing limitations through power curves – Itemization and Levels

What i feel is never stressed enough when it comes to League, is that most of the power in characters comes from their ultimate, their base stats gained by levels and their items. Knowing what characters are how strong when they meet certain conditions is one of the more important skills to learn.
A good comparison would be gauging champions’ power with a score from 1 to 10. Maokai for example might only start out with a score of 4/10, but once Maokai gets a few ranks in his Q and has a Bami’s Cinder in his inventory, his above average sustained damage for how tanky he is boosts him up all the way to 8/10.

Now how do you learn to judge a champion’s power level? Mostly through a lot of playing. There is again no simple solution to analyzing champions, but one thing i have found to be very helpful for myself were the following things:

Judge your main heroes’ power level over the course of the game (when they reach certain levels or items). After games you played, compare your strength to the enemy strength and take away information from there. For some, it might help writing down these thoughts to kind of keep a diary about your attained knowledge. I personally always note if a hero in particular is way stronger or weaker than me during any phase of the game.

Get feedback from those better than you. There’s many educational streamers out there and other ressources such as the summonerschool subreddit are always a good source to learn more about your hero and how he interacts with the different stages of the game and other heroes in particular.

Watch professional play. Thanks to how far esports has come, you have another free learning ressource available through the high quality casting of the pro games. The pro games might not directly benefit you for learning a specific champion or match-up, but pro play makes the strengths and weaknesses of all the different characters show more than anywhere else. Every single one of the players involved in the game is able to judge the power level of each enemy accordingly, so grab a coffee, watch some LCS or LCK and follow the casters while also trying to understand on your own why characters are played the way they are at certain stages of the game.
An example would be the amount of Renekton showing up recently. Every single time Renekton shows up, you can see the remaining team playing around him. That’s because his early and mid game power levels are exceptionally high!

Making the most optimal decision to approach victory

Always having a game plan is the last part i want to talk about to improve your knowledge. Knowing what the most optimal decision is step by step until the nexus falls helps you have a clear goal in mind at all stages of the game and follow that plan while communicating it with your team. As a bot laner for example, you should know that since your first tower are weaker than the others and toplaners usually have teleport, your goal should be “Finding opportunities to whittle down the enemy tower while primarily avoiding getting caught out and losing yours”. Once you got your first tower, the ideal plan suddenly shifts to other objectives like dragon or mid first turret.
This is difficult to teach, as the ideal plan might shift inmidst of the game, but to give you a rough idea of how a game plan in lower elo (below diamond) games should be, here’s an example:

  1. Get outer towers while making sure at all cost that yours don’t fall. Tower first blood is very valuable.
  2. Look to help out other lanes with taking down their first towers. Just always make sure that minion waves are pushed in each lane.
    1. Alternatively, Infernal and Mountain dragon are very valuable to get for yourself and deny your enemy of. Ignore the other dragons unless the enemy goes for them
  3. Team up with your allies and force an organized teamfight. Usually you want to be the one to engage and it’s way easier to stay organized that way than when you’re the one disengaging. Take objectives like more towers or baron/dragons whenever you come out on top.

Make sure to communicate your plans with your team. Everyone having the same goal in mind will likely improve your chances of success.
For this to work, be nice with your team though. You won’t get your Caitlyn to come help you push when you tell her she’s “a moron for not positioning properly” or something the likes of that.

You also need to understand that adaptability is a necessity when it comes to this. Often enough, your team will disagree with your plan and when Jax stays top lane to push and you lose a 4 against 5 team fight in the midlane, it’s not he who is to blame, it’s you inability to adapt. If Jax refuses to group, stay back and just attempt to defend as well as possible until they have to send someone to deal with him. Again, make sure to communicate your thoughts with your team, it’s a team game after all, and coordination can win games alone.

 

This concludes the first part of this new series. Next time i’ll be talking “Positioning”, how to understand where you need to be in a fight. Thanks for reading, leave feedback or other comments below, and good luck and have fun improving! 🙂