League of Legends Tip of the Day: Try to Trade Champions

by James Bates

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(Photo: Riot Games)

Win lane, win the game. It's one of the most time-honored mantras in all of League of Legends, and while it's far from absolute it's a pretty good rule of thumb. If your lanes are winning, it makes the game much easier to win as you'll control the map, have better items, and generally be in control of the pacing of the game. Now, if the enemy team is built around sending a Kog'Maw your way that might not end up being enough, but, in general, it proves true game after game, year after year.

So what factor most contributes to winning the laning phase? That's simple, it's the matchup. While jungler interference or build paths certainly play a huge role, the fact of the matter is that the most important question that must be asked in the early game is whether or not you can take the enemy champion on head-on. Even if your jungler is the more active of the two, it's going to be hard for them to help you when you're a Maokai who's stuck underneath your turret praying that the enemy Kennen won't knock it down. Maybe that gank will work, or maybe the enemy jungler will be in the bush and just kill both of you, but you wouldn't need to find out one way or another if you were the one in control of the lane.

What got you into this hypothetical situation, then? Well, it's because of you, being a Maokai main, simply first picked him because it was your turn to choose a champion. The enemy team responded with a hard counter, and the rest is written in your match history in red ink. Meanwhile, your last two picks were the support and the jungler, both of whom ended up picking generic and uncounterable champions like Lee Sin and Karma anyways. 

The way out of this situation is simple, even if it's not certain: ask your teammates to trade. If you see that one of your teammates is hovering something like Lee Sin or a power pick ADC/Support and you're a solo lane, ask them if they'd be willing to ake their pick first. For many roles, it makes very little difference which team picks firs since there's just not that strong of counters available for most picks. It's much, much more difficult to counter pick a support than it is a top laner, as an example. With just a little bit of communication, you may well be able to shift the outcome of the game entirely. If that's not worth a few lines of text, I don't know what is.

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.