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League of Legends 101 – Early Game Strategies

Today we’re taking a look at some early game strategies in League of Legends, to get you ahead early (or prevent your opponent from doing so).

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When you enter the Summoner’s Rift, you have about a minute and a half before the minions are on the map. During this time, most people like to emote spam with their support in bushes, or do a stare battle with their lane opponent. While fun, they aren’t very productive activities. Today, we’re going to give you more ideas for what to do in the early game.

“On my way – On my way – On my way”

“Invading”. This term is thrown around a lot. At level 1, you can try to pick up your first kill simply by taking a sneaky route into the enemy jungle with your entire team. An organized team will see this invade coming from afar, but you’d be surprised to see how many times invades actually work, especially in solo queue. There are many routes you can take into the enemy jungle, some sneakier than others, so feel free to be creative!

You can usually start an invade by simply spamming your “On my way” ping at a certain location at the map when the game starts. To make an invade work however, you’ll need someone with a strong form of crowd control at level 1. For example, Blitzcrank can hook people from afar. Morgana can hit her year-long binding, which usually results in a guaranteed kill. Even Olaf can be extremely strong, as he can keep picking up his axe, throwing it at the nearest enemy and slowing them down until they’re dead.

You can even get creative with how you enter the jungle. In recent seasons, people have been using abilities like Rakan’s W and Rell’s W to jump over walls like Dragon Pit and Baron Pit without being seen, and using that to their advantage to get behind enemy lines. There’s no limit to how creative you can get with these, so big brains will win here.

Hide on Bush

Say, the enemy team has a Blitzcrank, how do we counter their invade? A sneaky strategy people employ is to have the entire team stack in a single bush. Invading enemies can be in for a nasty surprise when they find a full team in their face as they blindly face-check the jungle’s bushes.

To make a stack work, you’ll need enough tools to take down the enemy. Especially strong in stacks are champions with forms of AoE damage or crowd control. Nothing is more embarrassing than having your entire team be knocked up by an Alistar or Cho’Gath, or taunted by a Shen. Champions like Lux and Jinx are other prime examples of champions that burn through grouped players, so definitely try this out if you’re getting sick of invades.

Fishing for Procs

Fishing is when you try to poke enemies from afar at level one to gain an edge in the laning phase. You will most often see it be done by champions who run “Manaflow Band”. Manaflow is a rune that gives you more mana and mana regeneration, but you need to hit champions with abilities to stack it up.

You can start stacking this up very early on. Champions like Karma and Xerath have extremely high range abilities, and are very much advised to try to get one or two Manaflow stacks before minions spawn. Moreover, supports who use “Spellthief’s Edge”, an item that grants you gold if you hit enemies, love to try to sneakily hit enemies from afar, in combination with Manaflow.

GOAT Cheese

We’ve already mentioned invading as a way to get First Blood at the earliest time in the game. However, there’s more techniques that can net you first blood, even in higher ELOs. At level 1, it’s common practice for either botlane or toplane to “leash” their jungler. This means they help them clear their first camp.

Since leashing is so common, you usually predict where the enemy will walk after they’re done leashing. For instance, when a team decides to leash the Red Buff for their jungler, they will often walk through what we call the “Tri-Brush” to get back into the lane. This is the perfect place to set up a tent, waiting for the enemy to step into their untimely death. This cheese is so effective that even players in high diamond are caught by it. Truly a greatest of all time.

Champions like Sett, Camille and Gangplank for toplane and Jhin, Kai’Sa and Bard for botlane are some of the many strong leash cheesers in the game. Of course, when playing into champions that are strong at level 1, you should always be careful that you don’t fall into such traps yourself. It’s always a huge risk walking back to lane if you haven’t seen your enemy yet, so give a shorter leash to take the long way around if you have to.
Level 1 strategizing is part of the hilarity of League. With champions like Sion and Singed in the game, you never know what might happen at level 1. It’s no wonder that the true Summoner’s Code of League of Legends includes: “Don’t go AFK at Level 1”. Have fun Summoner.

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Image Credit: Riot Games