How to start in League of Legends, Part 3: talking the talk
So, you want to get into League of Legends, eh? It’s a great game, but if you are new, a lot of the jargon will make no sense. Still, don’t worry if you don’t know your ADCs from your one-tricks, and you think baron is only a hereditary noble title in Europe – we’ll get you up to speed.
AD – short for Attack Damage, the damage champions do with their standard attacks. Many skills also use it to determine the damage they do – the higher your attack damage, the more damage such a skill will do. Skills that scale with AD will usually do physical damage and are mitigated by armor.
Armor – a statistic that reduces the incoming physical damage a champion receives.
AP – short for Ability Power, a statistic champions can boost. Like AD, many skills do more damage the more ability power a champion has. Unlike AD, it does not impact a champion’s standard attack. Skills that scale with AP will usually do magic damage and are mitigated by magic resistance.
Backdoor – When a player sneaks in and destroys the opposing base to win the game.
Baron – probably the most important monster in League of Legends. It will appear in the upper part of the map in the 20th minute. The team that kills the baron gets a big temporary boost that looks like purple icons circling their champions, who will get bonus stats and make any friendly minions around them stronger.
Bot laner – a player who plays in the bottom lane on the map, usually used to refer specifically to one who plays marksmen champions.
Buff – stands for boost magic. Players can receive buffs from either from their allies’ skills or from defeating different monsters on the map.
Carry – a champion who can have a great influence on the fights as the game progresses, thus “carrying” the team to victory, similar to the offensive players in sports. They are often separated by what kind of damage they do, for example “AD carry” and “AP carry”.
Caster – short for “Shoutcaster”, someone who comments a game. Professional League of Legends games will also have a pair of casters who comment on the game and provide insight about what is happening.
Champion – Anyone in League of Legends can choose a character to compete with. These characters are called “champions.”
CC – short for Crowd Control, temporary status effects that limit what a champion can do. For example, slows are effects that make a champion move more slowly, roots make them unable to move at all, stuns mean they cannot take any actions, and so on.
Dive – also known as a tower dive, when a champion attacks another champion under the enemy’s tower.
Draft – the champion selection of both teams before a game.
Dragon – a big monster that will appear in the lower part of the map, similar to the baron. It can be killed for a permanent team-wide buff and will respawn after several minutes. Initially, dragons will be elemental dragons that give one of several team-wide buffs that last until the end of the game. Dragons that appear after the 35th minute into the game are called elder dragons. Killing them grants a temporary buff that improves the effects from elemental dragons and makes any damage coming from a champion do extra damage over a few seconds.
Elo – the statistic used in the League of Legends ranking, also called “MMR” (short for Matchmaking Rating). It determines what kind of players you are matched with and, in ranked play, what your placement is. There are different MMRs in the different game modes.
Faker – the nickname of Lee Sang-hyeok, seen as the best League of Legends player ever. The South Korean won the World Cup three times (in 2013, 2015, and 2016).
Farm – In League of Legends, there are little monsters to kill on each lane and in small groups around the map, and killing them is called “farming”. The total amount of monsters killed is also called your farm.
Gank – When the opposing team’s jungler or your own visits a lane to kill someone.
Items – items that can be purchased during a game and make a champion do more damage, become harder to kill, or give them different abilities.
Inhibitor – a structure in a team’s base. If it is destroyed, the enemy base will occasionally create a very powerful “super minion” in that lane. When destroyed, an inhibitor will regenerate in five minutes.
Jungle – the part of the map outside the three lanes.
Jungler – a player or champion who moves on the map, killing monsters in the jungle and temporarily coming to help their teammates in other lanes (for example with ganks).
Killsteal – When someone inflicts significant damage on an enemy champion, but someone else takes the finishing blow undeservedly and thus gets the kill credit for the stats. Since there is a gold bounty for killing enemy champions, killing someone instead of letting the carry kill them is sometimes called killsteal as well.
Lanes – The League of Legends map is split into three paths the minions go down on. These are called lanes.
Lane Swap – Every role is typically played in a certain lane in the initial minutes of a game. If two or more players change what lanes they go to, this is called a lane swap.
LEC – League of Legends European championship, the top-tier League of Legends circuit in Europe. Similar to a country’s professional football league. Prior to 2019, it was called the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS).
LCK – League of Legends Championship Korea, the South Korean equivalent of the LEC.
LPL – League of Legends Pro League, the Chinese equivalent of the LEC
LCS – League of Legends Championship Series, the North American equivalent of the LEC. Previously known as the North American League of Legends Championship Series, or NA LCS, before the European pro league rebranded itself as the LEC.
Marksman – a champion specialized in doing damage with standard attacks from a long range. Usually played in the bottom lane alongside a support champion. Often referred to as an AD carry.
Magic resistance – a statistic that reduces the incoming magic damage a champion receives.
Meta – popular and successful tactics. Due to the constant adjustments to the game, some champions, strategies and items are sometimes more successful than others. The “meta” is the expected way to play the game, i.e. having one top laner, one mid laner, a jungler and two players in the bottom lane.
Mid laner – a player who plays in the middle lane of the game or a champion who is usually played in the middle lane.
Minions – Small monsters that appear on the map every 30 seconds and run on each lane until they encounter enemies they can attack.
Monsters – various monsters that appear on certain parts of the map. They will not attack you if you do not attack them, but can be killed for gold. Unlike the minions, they are neutral and do not fight for either team unless provoked.
Nexus – the central structure in a team’s base. The team that destroys their opponents’ Nexus wins the game.
One-trick – a player who is skilled at playing only one champion.
Pentakill – stands for five kills by the same player within a few seconds. As a team has five players, a pentakill means one player has killed everyone on the enemy team.
Poke – dealing damage to an enemy (mostly from a distance) without seeking direct combat.
Roaming – When a player leaves his lane and goes elsewhere on the map, usually to kill players in other lanes (ganking them). This term is specifically reserved only for champions who normally play in a lane of their own, junglers are presumed to be going around the map by default.
Respawn – when a killed champion or destroyed inhibitor is brought back into the game a certain time after they were killed.
Scrim – This is how professional players call their training games.
Shot caller – The player who tells their teammates what to do and leads them in the game. In professional teams, there is usually a single such player, but sometimes multiple players can divide the role.
Split push – When a player is alone on a lane, killing the generic minions or attacking towers to pave the way to the enemy base.
Support – A player who moves with and protects the team’s carry or champion that is usually picked for this role.
Top laner – a player who plays in the top lane of the game or a champion who is usually played in the middle lane.
Turret – a name for the towers in the game. Each team has several turrets that are hard to kill and do a lot of damage.
Worlds – a name for the annual World Championship, a World Cup-like event where the top professional teams from all regions play.
Wombo combo – a sophisticated combination of different skills that do a lot of damage together.
Thumbnail image credit: Riot Games