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The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook: Cutting your losses in League of Legends

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

When a team loses a teamfight in League of Legends, it's fairly common for the losing team to have a chance to back out, frequently with near-empty health bars and several dead teammates. Sometimes a fight can't be won, and it's important to identify when a fight is won or lost as soon as possible and take the appropriate actions to minimize loss or maximize gain.

Additionally, it's important to know how to confirm on a play a team member has made. It's easy to see a Lux binding land and want to go all-in. However, sometimes that's not a good play, especially if the enemy has counter-initiation available.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Avoiding LoL's wombo combos

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

If you've played League of Legends for while, you've probably been on both ends of a wombo combo. This amusing term describes what happens when two characters combine their simultaneous murdering efforts. You know you've hit with a wombo combo if your opponent dies to your combined assault without ever getting a chance to do anything except die.

In LoL, wombo combos require quite a bit of setup. All participants need to be within striking distance of the enemy, or one of the attackers needs to pull the victim into his friends. Because of the limitations on positioning, most wombo combos are avoidable.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: A beginner's guide to League of Legends' runes

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

Runes are one of the easiest ways for a beginning player to waste IP in League of Legends. A lot of players spend a lot of IP on wasted runes. The truth is, you can get away with a relatively small number of useful runes and still be effective. We've gone a long, long time in the Summoner's Guidebook without a discussion of runes and rune pages, so we should fix that.

A bit of a disclaimer, though: Runes are costly, and you'll have to put several new champions on hold no matter what you do. At level 20, you will want around 5,000 IP for runes, and you'll want another 10,000 or so more over the course of your career. On top of that, there is easily more you can blow on runes if you want some real diversity. I'm not here to explain that, though -- we can leave that one to the pros.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Bringing power from one LoL lane to another

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

In most of the League of Legends games that I win by a landslide, I win because my mid lane takes an early lead and uses it to help win our other lanes. Lately, my main role in League of Legends has been the jungler, and while it's nice to be fed as a jungler, I often can't win the game for my team even if I'm 6/0. However, my mid lane can simply by making things happen elsewhere.

If you're ahead in your lane, you have to make your presence known, and sooner is better than later. It's nice to be 2/0 in mid lane or be up several kills as the support. However, if all you do from there is push the enemy team members to their turret and let them farm safely, you're not doing much to win the game as a whole.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Working with your LoL lane partner

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook Working with your LoL lane partner
The duo lane is the most strategically interesting lane in League of Legends, but that also makes it complex to play. In a solo lane, you have to think about only your abilities and your opponent's. In a duo lane, the interplay between ADC/marksman and support makes every situation different.

I've talked about playing ADC and support already. Both roles are vital, but whether you're the guy with the gun or you're putting the enemy on lockdown, working with your teammate is the most important thing you can do to win the game.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: How to get through a LoL teamfight alive

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The Summoner's Guidebook How to get through a LoL teamfight alive
It feels good to be back to writing strategy articles about League of Legends. When I play a lot, I want to punch out words about what I'm thinking about, and while covering a tournament is exciting, I really enjoy teaching fundamentals a lot more.

This week we're going to cover teamfighting again. You guys might remember some things about teamfighting from me a while back, including a basic primer and a guide on positioning. I feel that my understanding of teamfighting -- and perhaps more importantly, my ability to communicate it -- has improved a lot since then. Some of that is from watching tournament matches and listening to others talk about teamfighting, but a lot of it is from watching pro streams and hearing what is going on in a top player's head too.

This edition of The Summoner's Guidebook is a continuation of both of the previous teamfighting articles, and I suggest reading them too as the information there is still useful. I definitely recommend going back and reading them after you've finished reading this if you haven't already.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: The real hero of the LoL World Championships

Events (Real-World), PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook The real hero of the LoL World Championships
If you watched or heard anything about the League of Legends World Championships, it's almost certain that you heard about Faker. Perhaps the best mid-laner in the world, Faker was the star of the show at the World Championships. With his incredible midgame plays, he distinguished himself as "Faker the playmaker" early in the tournament.

But in most of the games where he dominated, Faker didn't do it alone. In fact, a good many of the other world-class mid-laners gave Faker a run for his money. He often did poorly in the laning phase, largely due to counter-picks and targeted bans. But even with the picks and bans against him, SK Telecom T1 had a secret weapon -- their jungler bengi. Before Faker would get the ball rolling, bengi would arrive from the most unexpected locations and often with perfect timing, giving Faker the early game advantage. Throughout the mid and late games, bengi would be everywhere, always at the right moment to win the match for his team. While Faker had an impressive highlight reel, it was really bengi's constant coverage that pushed the team to the top.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Learning how to not lose from the League of Legends pros

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook Learning how to not lose from the League of Legends pros
The League of Legends World Championship semifinals are over, and unfortunately the two teams I was hoping would advance ended up losing. The matches were good, especially the SKT1 versus NJBS matches. Definitely watch them!

However, this week I'm going to get back to basics, and by that I mean guides on improving your game. I've been talking about Worlds for weeks and I'll be at the finals in LA around the time you're reading this, which would make for four weeks of straight coverage about the LoL World Championships. That feels lazy to me.

I have been watching a lot of pro matches lately, both the tournament matches and just random streams and casual matches. One thing that came to mind for me was improving our losing games. We all have them, and of all the games that we should improve upon, those are the games that are the most important. Pro players take bad lanes or feeding teammates and make wins instead. How do they do it?

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The Summoner's Guidebook: LoL World Championships finally enter the quarter finals

Events (Real-World), PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook LoL World Championships finally enter the quarter finals
I will be completely honest. I was really getting sick of the group stage of the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships. It was dragging on for too long, especially when the advancing teams had been virtually locked in well in advance. Only Gambit and Ozone were in a position to actually fight for a top spot. OMG, SKT1 and Fnatic had locked in their spots and we were subjected to matches where pros ran goofy compositions and stopped trying to win.

Now we're in the actual tournament portion of the event, and the eight teams in the top spots all really deserved their places. With the exception of one matchup, all of the quarter final matches were extremely close, nail-biting games. It is easier for for me to point out which matches are not worth watching than it is to point out the really incredible matches because the majority of the games were utterly fantastic. I was on the edge of my seat constantly.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: LoL Season 3 World Championships' group stage

Events (Real-World), PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook LoL Season 3 World Championships' group stage
I am at a bit of a disadvantage here. At the time I'm writing this, the group stage isn't over, but you guys will be watching the last of it around the time you read this. Regardless of the time delay, there have been some great matches at the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships.

The matches haven't been the only thing good about the tournament. Riot has added a lot of presentation quality, including pro interviews and an analysis desk. In spite of some minor technical issues, this has been a very solid tournament thus far.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Quick League of Legends advice

PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook Quick League of Legends advice
I can't play League of Legends right now. In the most dire of circumstances, I had to send my gaming laptop back to the manufacturer to be repaired. While I frustratingly pined over not being able to play, I looked over the shoulder of my roommate while he played. He's usually pretty good; he's a better mid player than I am, and he sometimes makes genius plays.

On the other hand, he makes lots of little mistakes and is not very good at certain things. While I sat around backseat driving, I made a lot of little advice points, most of which he just whined about sucking at. He came back to me later claiming he was getting better, and of course, like the wise mentor I am, I told him that he wasn't actually trying to improve at any of the things he was performing poorly at. "You have to make an effort to improve," I said. "You can't just play and get better; you have to focus on getting better."

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The Summoner's Guidebook: You're wrong about the LoL community

Events (Real-World), Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook You're wrong about the LoL community
I'm finally home from PAX, and I'm exhausted. And if there's one thing everyone I talked to mentioned, it's that Riot Games was the elephant in the con. Everyone was comparing something to a similar thing Riot did, whether that was mistakes made or successes had or risks taken. League of Legends is enormous, and even as a columnist for the game, I didn't really grasp just how big it was until now.

Let me paint you a story. I'm familiar with fandoms. They're not a new thing. However, when you go to a huge convention and you see that probably a quarter of the people play League of Legends, it changes your perspective. When every non-Riot developer talks about LoL, it opens your eyes to just how pervasive the game is.

There was another unified thing about everyone I talked to who played LoL: All of them hated jerks. None of them were intentional trolls, and everyone loved the game and wanted to make it better. All the Riot staffers I talked to preached the same mantra: "It's all about the fans." It's clear that their attitude has paid some pretty big dividends. There's a lot of you guys, and you're all pretty awesome.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Performing under pressure in League of Legends

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook Performing under pressure in League of Legends
"Clutch" is one of those universal skills that I never really developed. In ranked or tournament play or any time when the outcome of a League of Legends match "matters," the ability to perform under fire can make a huge difference.

But I am not one of those people who can claim mastery in this skill. I mostly rely on improving my overall play level, which naturally improves my ability to play under stress. However, coping with stress in tough situations is important. If I'm in a bad situation and my play gets worse, that's no good even if my skill level is high. I want to step up when the chips are down, not struggle.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: Advice on buying League of Legends champions

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook Advice on buying League of Legends champions
One thing that really bothered me about all the various League of Legends guides available is that none of them covers which champions to pick up. A few role guides (mostly jungle guides) tackle character choices, but most are not geared toward new players. If I'm a new player on a tight budget, which characters would be the right ones?

This week, we'll look at some of my favorite bargain bin picks and which roles they are good for. I'll also be talking about Dominion roles since there are some picks that work very well for that mode.

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The Summoner's Guidebook: How to be the best at League of Legends

Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends, The Summoner's Guidebook

The Summoner's Guidebook How to be the best at League of Legends
What does it take to be a top League of Legends player? A lot of people sell themselves short, saying, "I could never be as good as HotshotGG," but I think that's a falsehood. Don't mistake me, I do think that most of the current LoL pros (including Hotshot) are prodigal. I do think that they got to where they are partially due to natural talent. I've watched a lot of streams and interviews and listened to pros talk about their training schedules, and I can honestly say that while they do practice a lot, most of them don't practice enough.

But no amount of talent can replace the other skills you'll need. Even if Pobelter has a natural ability to dominate LoL matches, he has refined that talent through hard work. If you practice the skills here dilligently, you can get in the top levels of the solo-duo ranked ladder and you can get picked up by a pro team.

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