LoL: The State of the Metagame

...what did i just read
I appreciate that this article avoids talking about "metagame" play like some sort of concrete object but rather considers it as a fluid concept. I would like to see more discussion about the new and interesting lane configurations that are being seen now. The 2v1 top/bottom switch lanes that are seeing more play in tournaments would be nice to consider and examine.
Maybe the next article should start with an explanation of what any of that means to the 90% of people who aren't l337 PVP in LOL.
As long as we have a high rating LoL players on the staff, someone should write a guide to teamwork.
It's actually a difficult editorial choice: do you assume your readers are savvy players, or do you assume that they don't know much about the games you're writing about? We err on the side of savvy, because having to re-explain the details of how Dominion sov works or what a Battlemech is gets rapidly tiresome for everyone, readers and editors. Similarly, for LoL, we assume our readers who care about the game know what a jungler is.
To elaborate, I do not know what a jungler is and had a bit of a brainmelt at the sight of this article when going in for the edits. This is due to the fact that I care not a wit about LoL, never played it, etc.However, it stands to reason that anyone actually caring about the metagame (what is hot in terms of strategy in high level LoL play) would be able to understand this.Also note that this does not preclude an attempt in the future to run more 'newb friendly' LoL pieces.
Something along the lines of a mia dragon jungling the top lane major aura... followed by ALT+F4 for me, and back to flying boats through gates
What we really need is a starcraft writer :3
I realize there's an editorial trade-off. What I was (glibly) suggesting is that in this case the article was edited on the wrong side of that continuum. The leading articles in a new subject (i.e. LOL, which heretofore has not been covered on TM) might want to be a bit more "newb" friendly... Subsequent articles can then point back to the first one and say "if you don't get this look here for an explanation of the context". Right now, LOL is a game I've heard about, but this article didn't do anything to help me get more educated. It's loaded with jargon and is almost completely unintelligible to anyone who hasn't spent a great deal of time with the game. This also results in a very narrow readership: the subset of EVE players who also are highly skilled at LOL Metagaming. With a bit of context, this immediately becomes more relevant for people interested in metagaming in general (like me). One could draw analogies to how the LOL meta has parallels (and differences) with the meta that your most likely reader will be familiar with (EVE) if you wanted to bring people in.
That's pretty much the comment that I planned to write a minute ago.
I think it would be cool, for eve, to have maybe just one article that's a breakdown of a fleet battle, maybe with like pictures mocked up to show where various fleets were at various times (like say when you read about Gettysburg or Bull Run though obviously it's harder in 3D), and then perhaps why they picked the ships they did, what they were hoping to accomplish with that ship/build. I can look up ships on the wiki but looking at the stats and actually understanding why that translates into excellent blapper is another. Also, what is a blapper. And lighting a cyno. I have only a rough ideaOf course, personally I'm just someone who tried EVE for a couple days and now only keeps track through news and the occasional forum post, so I'm probably vastly more low information than the low with this hypothetical article boring everyone to tears. Still, floating the idea out there
Without major objectives, there can never be a proper teamfight - NEVER or should I say ~NEVER~. Trash writing at its finest
If you have constructive criticism, feel free to let me know through the Contact Us page! I'd be glad to listen to what you have to say.
I'm glad you could find a LoL player with enough of a functioning brain to write about the metagame. Now, find someone for an ARTS that doesn't suck. THanks.
I installed LoL a couple months ago, went through the tutorial, then just stopped. None of it really made any sense. I still don't have any idea what any of these AD Carry and such mean. Seems like it would be fun, but I haven't seen anything that explains what all this crap is.

(Editor's Note: We're proud to introduce Wutswrong, who boasts a 2000 ELO in soloqueue as his qualification for analyzing League of Legends. One of the problems we've found with LoL discussion is that it is difficult to find high-ELO players who are also quality writers; we are delighted to have, at last, found one. If you think you can combine skill with quality writing, hit us up via our Contact Us page.)

Two years ago*1, the most comprehensive strategies in the League of Legends metagame consisted of sending high damage dealers to a solo lane and hoping they could out-farm the enemy carries in a mechanical display of skill. Team compositions were simply a mash up of the individual’s special champion (Hotshot’s Nidalee, Salce’s Vladimir, etc.) and counter-jungling was virtually nonexistent. It is hard to fathom that, two years after the development of those simplistic approaches, League of Legends has been refined to timing blue buffs down to the exact second, strategically counter picking every lane,  and choosing specific strategies and team compositions to obtain victory.

League of Legends has experienced a vast change in its metagame, including: AD carries holding solo lanes, split pushing, intensive roaming, gp/10 stacking, utilizing triple wriggles, obtaining early buff control, and lane swapping. Although the metagame will continue to evolve, an equilibrium appears to have been reached within the professional and playerbase community.

Aggression, Aggression, Aggression

Since the introduction of the Asian scene to League of Legends, aggression has taken on a new meaning. It became clear early on that aggression was the key factor to winning games and the Asian teams revolutionized what TSM and M5 had introduced. From these Asian teams, I have identified five key types of aggression: Turret pushing, lane dominance, objective control, early teamfighting, and roaming.


Lane dominance

Being a massive presence in a lane opens the door to the other four topics of aggression. Lane dominance is fundamentally the most important part of an aggressive strategy, as it can begin a snowball effect. If you lose the lane, then by default you will not be able to turret push, roam, teamfight, have objective control, or have lane dominance. You can achieve lane dominance by winning exchanges, poking, or even killing your opponents.*2 Normal players may refer to this as “winning your lane”. But imposing dominance over a lane may not necessarily be the same as “winning” that lane. For example, Ashe = 141 cs. 1/0/1. Ezreal = 130cs. 0/1/0. However, Ezreal may still control that lane by constantly harassing, poking, and pushing Ashe into her turret. This asserts dominance which makes the enemy jungler pay attention to bot lane, which in turn opens up options for Ezreal’s team.


Turret pushing

Pushing refers to shoving out your lane by killing all the minions within that lane. Pushing often leads to turret pushing which involves taking out the opponent’s towers. This accomplishes a few things. First, the aggressor lane takes control by becoming a presence. It forces the enemy carry to adopt a passive mindset and farm under the turret. This allows for the aggressor to harass the enemy carry and wear down the enemy tower. You will notice that the aggressive carry will almost always be ahead in creep score.  Second, the annihilation of turrets results in global gold for the team which ultimately complements the aggressive snowball metagame. Third, taking turrets permits massive map control. The pushed team is at the mercy of their opponents and must assume a responsive position. They can no longer act; they must react. You can see from this picture that the purple team would surrender control of the blue buff and dragon by losing that turret. This goes for any turret in the game.


Objective control

Global objectives around the map are where teamfights tend to start and players have a tendency to congregate around these areas. The major objectives include Blue Golem Buff, Red Lizard Buff, Turrets, Dragon, and Baron. Sending five people mid will cause the enemy to respond because the turret will be under siege. Committing to Baron will force the enemy to respond to your team’s attempt to take Baron. Without major objectives, there can never be a proper teamfight - there are merely ganks and skirmishes. If you are the stronger team, the only way to force a teamfight would be through the use of major objectives.

Controlling major objectives directly affects the mindset and morale of all players in the game. It is psychological warfare at its finest. A jungler that just lost his red buff will tend to adopt a passive gameplan while the jungler that counterjungled will continue to counterjungle and be assertive in his decisions. The team that loses Baron will be forced to turtle and play defensively. The team controlling the objectives will essentially control the pace of the game.


Early teamfighting

In the later phase of the game, teamfighting will come naturally as both teams will try to jostle for Baron and turrets. However, choosing proper teamfights early can trigger a snowball for your team (don’t forget you must involve major objectives to force a fight). There are three major ways you can do this.

1)      Complete major items, especially aura items

Once the jungler completes an Aegis of the Legion or the top lane completes a Frozen Heart, this is the prime time to engage in a teamfight. An early Shurelias from the support or Hourglass from the AP carry can completely swing a fight in your favor.

2)      Understand that your team excels at team fighting

If your lineup consists of Morgana, Amumu, Ezreal, Sona, and Vladimir, you should absolutely look to engage in battles as early as possible. But if your team composition is Nidalee, Shaco, Draven, Eve, and Taric, you should try and avoid a full 5 v 5 teamfight at all costs. Evaluate and understand your team’s strengths and compare with that of the enemy's.

3)      Isolate an enemy and engage a 5 v 4

Call for your top laner and fight at dragon. This will force a 5 v 4 or you’ll end up with a free dragon. If you are around baron and the enemy sends one member to clear bot lane, startup Baron and force a 5 v 4. If your team catches out an enemy, he will either be dead or too low to re-engage. Initiate a team fight while you have the upper hand.



Roaming is arguably the hardest tactic to execute properly in our current meta game. This form of aggression is the most effective way to snowball the game, but it can also devastate the roamer if not done properly. It can result in a successful 4-man dive. But it could also result in a dive-gone-wrong*3 and set your team back tremendously. So what’s the recipe for a successful roam?

  •  Always push out your lane.

Force the enemy laner to choose between the creeps and you. Lose 6 creeps or follow your roam. If you just roam without attending to your lane, you may find yourself behind in creep score, experience, and a turret.

  • Roam from a recall or when the enemy recalls

If you recall or the enemy recalls, people generally tend to forget to call “mia”. This is the sweet ingredient in roaming. You can also ask your jungler to hold the lane. This will open your options to roam without losing your lane and the other laner may not call "mia".

  • Coordinate with your jungler

If you are playing a character like Eve, Kassadin, or Twisted Fate, you MUST roam when you hit 6. You can ask your jungler to gank top or bottom with you for proper coordination. This can result in a kill, turret, buff, and/or dragon. This coordinated gank between mid lane and the jungler is the most responsible for initiating a snowball.

All these tactics and strategies sum up the current metagame: Aggression. Almost every professional team has adopted this mentality and solo queue has followed suit. Will the metagame change? Most likely. We could adapt to a slower paced game favored by But as of now, the winners have spoken.  



*1WCG 2010 US finals

*2Azubu Frost vs TPA game 1 World finals

*3Azubu vs TSM Roaming gone wrong for TSM 21:25 and roaming gone right for Azubu 24:00

Wutswrong is a retired semi-pro League of Legends player (NA) that boasts a 1900 elo in season 1 and 2100 elo in season 2. Follow him at