League of Legends Tip of the Day: Learn to Use Shields

by James Bates

Sewn Chaos Orianna
(Photo: Riot Games)

If you've taken a look at either a competitive game of League of Legends or any solo queue stats recently, you'll notice that there's been a pretty large creeping trend recently. For a number of different reasons, champions with shields have started to become immensely popular. The top jungler for last season has been Ivern, who is the only jungler that boasts a shield. Orianna has become one of the most popular mid lane picks in the game, whose shield is a both a threat and an extremely potent mitigation tool wrapped up in one. Even Lulu has made a reassurance and made asserted herself as not only a viable support, but a dominant one.

What this means, in short, is that no matter what role you play, you need to start getting used to using your shields well. All too often I see players activate Black Shield directly after getting hit by Rocket Grab or try to use Stand United on an ally who's already dead to rights. When used in such a way, shields are all but useless, and a critical application of Stand United or Help! Pix! Can easily turn around a teamfight. Wasting those abilities is a mistake that any LP-seeking player should look to avoid at all costs.

Remember that shields are inherently more difficult to use than healing abilities, and for many players that will mean retraining your instincts entirely. Nami has the luxury of casting Ebb and Flow whenever she wants without it being useless. Karma isn't afforded that same luxury if she doesn't want her Inspire to be completely wasted. The key is anticipation. If you have a good grasp on what the enemy is looking to do, it's easy to take preemptive steps to mitigate it

If you need some work on your reaction time, try hopping into a custom game with bots and using your shields on a wide variety of damage sources. It might prove boring, but it's also definitely worth it. Warding off a Transfusion with a shield is nothing like blocking, say, a Dragon auto-attack, and learning the timing you need to deal with either will go a long ways when you're looking to grind up LP, especially if, Morello forbid, Morgana ever becomes a player in the metagame again.

By James Bates

A wanna-be novelist turned coach turned journalist, James is living proof that you never know where you'll end up. He's in love with narrative-heavy games, which he proves by spending his days writing about a game with less lore than Doom. His greatest regret in life is not having his name in the credits of Life is Strange, and it's galvanized him to truly pursue developing games that don't begin in packed taverns and use D20s.