League of Legends has become one of the most popular free to play games in the world and the biggest name in modern e-Sports. Much like World of Tanks, it’s a free game that has attracted the interest of many EVE players for its log-in-and-go gameplay so contrasting with the patience and preparation EVE itself demands. Yet hardcore it is, with its own terminology, strategies, and meta game. Fortunately for EVE players interested in giving LoL a try, there are several concepts that directly translate from New Eden to the League. While the UI, pacing, and other aspects of LoL could not be more different than flying spaceships, recognizing that you already know how to think about these concepts will not only make the game more accessible to you, but in fact give you a leg up on the average noob.
PART 3: FLEET COMPOSITION
In the last article, I said that planning a League of Legends match isn’t much different than planning a night of EVE PvP. The same thinking applies to which ships your friends should bring as well as how you fit your own. The primary difference between an EVE fleet and a League of Legends team is that with EVE you can use multiples of the same ship, while every LoL champion in a team is unique. Nevertheless, building your team around shared strengths and including elements to counter your weaknesses is still possible and even more essential.
In LoL, there’s the additional element of lanes. Lanes refer to the path of the streams of minions that spawn out of your base. While there are a few maps and game modes, the competitive format of 5v5 Summoner’s Rift has developed a fairly ingrained meta which combines team roles with specific lanes. During high-end play, you will commonly see this meta broken by players who change lanes for more favorable matchups (called lane swapping) or assign a roaming role to one of their champions. For “the rest of us”, however, this meta provides an easily understood framework for both the roles in a team and predicting who your opposing team will send against you in your lane.
- Mid Lane (AP Carry): AP Carries start off weak but can snowball into powerful crowd control and damage dealers. To get this effect as soon as possible, they are put in the middle lane by themselves. This allows them to soak up all of the experience and gold from the lane while also giving them the flexibility to help the bottom or top lane once they build a level and item advantage.
- Jungle (Bruiser/Tank): Though you’re not required to have a Jungler, the meta heavily favors one because it allows for roaming pressure to be applied across all the lanes. Most Jungle characters have a respectable balance between offense and tank. They need this balance to get through the Jungle quickly enough to keep up with the experience and gold gains of enemy lane champions. The most effective Junglers will also have some form of crowd control, usually a stun or strong slow, which gives them effective tackling/ganking power when they leave the jungle to put pressure on enemy lane champions.
- Top Lane (Variable): If one character is in the Jungle, that puts either top or bottom lanes down a man. The meta has decreed this to be the top lane, and as such it must be manned by a champion with the ability to sustain his presence and operate independently. As such, top lane champions tend to be either tanks, bruisers, champions with high amounts of sustain/escapes, or a counter to the enemy champion picked for that lane intended to harass them and slow their growth. I’d say the general trend is for tanks and bruisers but variation is quite frequent.
- Bottom Lane - 'bot' (AD Carry and Support): Bot is almost always a 2v2 lane. The team AD Carry goes here, since they rely a little less on ability growth than AP champions. They do require a lot of items to unlock their potential, however, and as such the minion gold is monopolized for their use. The odd man out is the support champion, intended to provide healing and buffs to the ADC while passing up the chance to earn gold for themselves. Supports can also provide crowd control abilities, either in an offensive way to set up ganks or defensively to ensure their AD Carries escape from an unfavorable situation.
EXAMPLE TEAM COMP: POKE
The following team is an example of the above concept put into practice. In this case, the overall theme of the team is long range harassment, using abilities to apply constant pressure to back their opponents up under their towers and ultimately wear them down.
Mid Lane (AP Carry): Gragas
Gragas has a long range area of effect attack and the ability to quickly regenerate health and mana. This makes him ideal for harassing the enemy, forcing them into a siege. Ideally, an enemy grouped under their own turrets would be worn down to a critical level. When the time comes to press the advantage, his ultimate is a more powerful version of that attack, doing more damage over a wider area. More importantly, it physically displaces the enemy team from the point of impact, so a well-aimed shot can send an unlucky opponent into your team while forcing his partners to be too far away to assist.
Jungle (Tank): Dr. Mundo
Dr. Mundo is a scary tank champion with seemingly endless reserves of health. However his place on this team is for his surprisingly effective offensive output. Mundo’s cleaver is a long range skill shot which deals a percentage of the targets health and slows them as well. It’s also on a rather short cooldown. Altogether, this means Mundo can throw these attacks very far, very frequently, and they rapidly take their toll on the enemy no matter how much health they have.
Top Lane (Bruiser): Jayce
Jayce is another tough champion with a long range skill shot. While it doesn’t have the low cooldown or percentage health damage of Mundo’s cleaver, it is nevertheless powerful and area of effect. Jayce also has an ability that can speed up the team, increasing your ability to create or close distance as the situation demands.
Bottom Lane (AD Carry and Support): Ezreal and Sona
Ezreal and Sona is probably the most popular carry/support tandem in the League and for good reason. Ezreal is an ability-based AD champion who benefits from both AD and AP. He also sports two long range skill shots and a low cooldown ultimate which can project damage across the map (if you aim and time it right). Conveniently enough, Sona has an ability which increases BOTH the AP and AD of champions around her; this ability can also be activated for a long range attack on up to two automatically selected targets. Sona also has a low cooldown healing ability which can keep your team’s health bars comfortably high while you wear down the enemy. Her ultimate is an area of effect stun suitable for defensive or offensive use, depending on whether you want initiate a fight or buy time to run away from an unfavorable engagement.
Taken together, these champions have powerful harassing abilities that could contain and wear down an enemy team. This strategy is commonly employed by the professional team Counter Logic Gaming, check out their matches in the upcoming tournaments if you’re interested in seeing it in action.
Of course this is only one out of tens of thousands of possible team combinations. As you become more familiar with champions, their roles, and how they fit together you’ll be able to identify team strategies and begin experimenting with your own champion selections and team composition.